fbpixel If You Pass the Level I CFA Program exam | IFT World

Advice for those who passed the Level I exam

By Arif Irfanullah

Posted on 06-08-19 at 5:51 pm



Passing the Level I exam is the first major milestone on your journey towards the CFA charter and is a major accomplishment. At this stage, you might be wondering whether to take the Level II exam in June next year and if so, when to start studying?

Whether or not to take the Level II exam in June 2020 should depend on the following:

  1. Did you enjoy the Level I material and are you still excited about pursuing a career in investment management?
  2. Given your personal and professional commitments, will you have enough time to study for the Level II exam? The minimum required study time will vary from person to person but I’d say the average candidates needs roughly 400 hours.

If you enjoyed the Level I material, are excited about expanding your knowledge of investment management, and will be able to make time to study, then I say  take the Level II exam next year.

Before addressing the issue of when to start studying, I’ll make some high level points related to the Level II exam.

  1. Level II is significantly more quantitatively intense relative to the Level I. Specifically, there is an emphasis on pricing and valuation across multiple topics.
  2. Some candidates might have cleared Level I by slogging in the last few weeks; this strategy is much less likely to work at Level II.
  3. Working through curriculum questions at Level I was important. At Level II, I’d say it is critical.

Given the above I’d suggest you start you studies as early as possible. If time is on your side, you have the luxury of being able to properly understand Level II concepts. You’ll enjoy the material and learn a lot more this way. Alternatively, you could wait for the last few months and then cram with the sole objective of passing the exam. Unfortunately, many people follow this ‘strategy’, but I hope you understand when I say it is not the recommended approach.

For either path you choose to take, I wish you the best of luck.


Arif Irfanullah, CFA

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