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Preparing for Level II: IFT Products and Study Strategy

By Arif Irfanullah, CFA

Posted on 02-11-19 at 2:17 am

As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, Level II is significantly more quantitatively intense relative to the Level I. Specifically, there is an emphasis on pricing and valuation across multiple topics. 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.

It is critical that, firstly, you have the right materials to study from, and secondly, you use a well thought out strategy for preparation.

In this blog, I will address both of the above.

Beyond the curriculum, at IFT we feel that we have one of the best suites of products and services to use as your resources to prepare.  Below you will find a brief overview of these.

IFT Detailed Lecture Videos: These videos closely follow the curriculum and cover all sections and learning outcomes for every reading. Lecture slides are also made available in PDF format for your ease. You can print these slides out and make notes on them as you watch a video lecture. This practice is part of active learning whereby you make notes and carefully follow the examples.

IFT Study Notes: IFT Study Notes are closely aligned with the Detailed Lecture Videos and present information in a way that is easy to understand. The most important points, formulas, and examples are highlighted and explained. Reading the notes helps reinforce your understanding and grasp of concepts. Both the notes and videos are organized to match the curriculum (reading number/section number) so you can stay close to it.

IFT Example Videos: These videos present examples and their worked solutions. These videos follow blue-box examples from the curriculum. The concepts explained in these example videos are the same as the blue-box examples, however, the numbers might be different.

IFT Question Bank: Practicing lots of exam-like questions (and solving them correctly!) is the key to your exam success. The IFT Question Bank has questions for every learning outcome, reading, and topic.

IFT Topic Exams: These will test your preparation at the topic level. A topic exam should be taken after you have studied all the readings of a given topic and have completed practice questions for each reading. This is an essential step in preparing for the exam.

IFT High-Yield Course: IFT High-Yield Notes and Videos are based on Pareto’s 80-20 rule according to which 80% of the exam questions are likely to be based on 20% of the curriculum.  Hence, the course focuses on the 20% material which is most testable. The High-Yield Notes and Videos summarize the most important concepts from each reading and will help you immensely in your revision.

Key Facts & Formulas Sheet: The most important facts and formulas are compressed and presented in a few pages only.

IFT Mock Exams: IFT has full-length mock exams to get you exam-ready. Answers and detailed explanations are provided for self-grading.

Q&A with IFT: When are you are stuck on a concept, example, or question, then the ‘Q&A with IFT’ service is where to turn to. Submit your query, and an IFT instructor will provide an individualized response.

Recommended Strategy

Start your preparation as early as possible. You may begin with a topic that you are most comfortable with. Give yourself at least 6 months for a thorough preparation and begin by making a schedule. Break your total preparation time into three distinct phases:

  • Phase 1: Active learning phase (Steps 1 to 5 below)
  • Phase 2: Revision phase (Step 6 below)
  • Phase 3: Final review phase (Step 7 below)


  1. Watch IFT Detailed Video Lectures. Pause, rewind, and review where you need more time to understand. Print out the slides and take your own notes as you watch the videos.
  2. Read IFT Study Notes for each reading.  If you need more details about a concept, refer to the curriculum.
  3. Read the examples in the curriculum (also known as blue-box examples) and do them on your own. Watch IFT example videos to further grasp concepts and practice them.
  4. Do the practice problems from the curriculum at the end of each reading. For additional practice, you can also do the IFT Question Bank for that reading.
  5. After completing all the readings in a topic, take the IFT Topic Exam and the topic exams available on the CFA Institute Learning Portal.
  6. Two months prior to the exam or when you have done the above steps for every reading, you should start your revision using the IFT High-Yield Course.
  7. One month before the exam you should attempt the CFA Institute and IFT mock exams. These should be done in a manner to replicate your real exam experience. At this stage, you should also refer to the Key Facts & Formula sheet to revise and remember all important formulas.

Do reach out to the IFT team if you need any help or have questions.

All the best in your studies!

Arif Irfanullah, CFA

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