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Final Advice for Level II Candidates

By Arif Irfanullah, CFA


Posted on 22-06-18 at 10:14 am


As a Level II candidate you are a veteran of at least one CFA exam. Hence, most of what I’m going to say is probably not going to be a revelation.  Nevertheless, I feel the points made here will serve as useful reminders.

  1. Print your admission ticket and make sure the name matches exactly what you have on the passport. If there is a discrepancy, inform CFA Institute as soon as possible. I know people who were sent back on exam day because the name on the exam ticket and the name on the passport did not match.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep before the exam. A fresh mind is your biggest asset on exam day.
  3. On the last day carefully review facts and formulas. Go over your mistakes so you don’t repeat them on the exam. Work hard but avoid stressful activity such as taking a brand new mock exam.

Fast forward to exam day

  1. Make sure you get to the exam center ahead of time. If you are late you’ll not be allowed to take the exam.
  2. Follow all instructions in letter and in spirit.
  3. Once you start the exam make sure you stay on schedule. For example if you start the first case study at 9:00 AM, you should be done by 9:18 AM (preferably slightly before that). Stay on schedule or ahead of schedule as you work though the case studies.
  4. Do not get hung up on any question. If a questions is taking too much time simply bubble in what you think is the best answer, mark the question on the question paper, and move on. You can come back to such questions at the end if you have time.  If you are spending too much time on a question that is probably because you don’t know the concept very well.  It is much better to spend your time on questions that can solve more easily.
  5. Follow the strategy you defined while working through mock exams.
  6. Underline key terms like ‘most likely’, ‘least likely’, etc. Many candidates incorrectly bubble the ‘most likely’ option when the question asked for ‘least likely’.
  7. Don’t get frazzled if you see something you don’t know/understand. Give it your best shot. You only need to pick the best answer out of three. This can often be done without knowing every detail.
  8. Even if it appears on first glance that a question requires a lot of calculation, spend a few seconds thinking about whether there is a short method.
  9. Try to get done with the exam with at least 15 minutes to spare. Use this time to go over questions that you had issues with. Often you can figure these questions out if you are not stressed about completing the exam.
  10. Stop writing and close the exam booklet when you are told to do so. I know people who were disqualified because they were trying to bubble in answers after the time was over.

I’d love to hear from you after the exam.  Please let me know how you did and whether you have any feedback on IFT prep products.

Good luck and best wishes,

Arif Irfanullah, CFA