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How I passed the CFA® Level 2 Exam

July 26th, 2017
CFA, Cookie, and Coffee

First of all for those who surfed on in looking for a Jedi Mind Trick to easily pass the CFA® Level 2 exam, this is not the blog post you’re looking for.

Second of all, I’ve already written too much about the CFA program. I have not had an easy time in the CFA program. I’m sure someone has had it harder, but few have studied longer or suffered more while attempting to pass these exams. My latest calamities include having emergency surgery to have an infected organ removed just over two weeks before the exam in Shanghai and going to the wrong test location in Shanghai. I imagine the exams and program would be easier for a healthy person who doesn’t keep making mistakes they should be smart enough to avoid…

I’m not sure I have much more to say that I haven’t said already. But considering how unpopular and off the beaten path my blog is, most of what I have to say is probably unread and unheeded. To pass the CFA Level 2 exam you need to start early. Passing while studying 300 hours or less does happen, but then there is someone like me who took four attempts and I don’t even want to know how many hours I spent studying alone. To pass the CFA Level 2 exam you need to prioritize, things like hobbies, relationships, your health, will all get neglected. You also need to prioritize what you’re going to study. I’ve heard some crazy theories such as not studying Economic and just guessing “C”, but you should really analyze the exam weightings and then analyze your personal strengths and weaknesses and spend your study time intelligently. I carefully tracked my practice exam performance for four years, so I’m well aware of which sections I struggle with. Finally to pass the CFA Level 2 exam you may have to get a little lucky. A section like Alternative Investments can boost or hurt your score and your carefully developed study plan can emphasis all the wrong material.

I still think my Band 10 score distribution looks better than my passing score distribution.

Just like for Level 1, I made my own study materials. I even typed out several hundred flash cards and posted them to the Internet over the years. This allowed me to study them on my iPhone in the hospital after my surgery. I pulled out all the stops to pass this exam. I used my weekends, my vacation days, I studied on holidays. If you think I wasted four years of my life, you can leave a snide comment below. If you’re hiring, you can view my resume. If you want more hard earned insights into the CFA exam, I suggest you read the other posts linked to below:


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