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How to Prepare for CFA Level 2 Exam 2024 - Preparation Tips & Study Plan

How to Prepare for CFA Level 2 Exam 2024 - Preparation Tips & Study Plan

Edited By Marar Sumeet Sudarshan | Updated on Apr 20, 2024 04:07 PM IST | #CFA Exam

Unlike its preceding level, CFA Level 2 preparation requires a change in strategy. The CFA level II syllabus mostly includes vignettes with follow-up questions that put to test the analytical skills of the candidate. Any candidate preparing for the CFA level 2 should consider factors such as exam pattern, syllabus, and difficulty level.

CFA level 2 is available for candidates who have cleared the CFA level I exam and fulfil the work and education requirements as laid out by the CFA institute. Find out in this article, how to prepare for CFA level 2 including important topics and quick preparation tips.

CFA level II Exam Preparation Study Plan

With a pass percentage of around 46%, less than half of the registered candidates clear the second level of the CFA exam. In a situation like this, building a proper CFA level 2 preparation strategy becomes important. It’s also important to make sure one fulfils the CFA level II eligibility requirements before sitting down to build a CFA Level 2 study plan.

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Preparing a CFA level II study plan well in advance and giving adequate time for practice is very important in preparation. The CFA institute advises candidates to devote at least 300 hours towards CFA level 2 exam preparation. So ideally a candidate needs a CFA Level 2 preparation time of 5-6 months. The CFA level II exam is held three times a year in the months of May, August and November.

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CFA Level II Exam Preparation Syllabus

Candidates should fine-tune their CFA exam Level 2 preparation as per the CFA level II syllabus and the weightage allotted to each of the topics. Although the topics for the CFA level II are the same, the preparation for the second level of the CFA exam should take into account the difference in weightage given to each topic in the two levels.

CFA Level II Exam Topics and Weights


Ethical and Professional Standards




Financial Statement Analysis


Corporate Issuers


Equity Investments


Fixed Income




Alternative Investments


Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning


Also Read: How to Prepare for CFA Level I Exam 2024 - Preparation Tips and Tricks

CFA level II Exam Pattern

Imperative for the CFA level II exam preparation is understanding the exam pattern. The exam pattern of CFA level 2 differs significantly from CFA level I

Overview of the CFA level II exam pattern


Vignettes Item Sets


Total Number of Questions



2 Hours 12 Minutes

88 questions



2 Hours 12 Minutes

The CFA level II exam consists of two sessions to be completed in 132 minutes each with an optional break in between. In each of the sets, there will be 11 item sets of vignettes followed by multiple choice questions to be answered based on the set. The item sets include a case statement and around 4 questions that need to be answered by analysing the case statement.

There is no negative marking for wrong answers so candidates must try to answer all the questions to improve their chances of success. As part of their CFA level II exam preparation, candidates should solve as many CFA level II sample papers as possible and attempt mock exams which are made available by the CFA institute on its official website

CFA Level II Exam Preparation Quick Tips

Here are a few CFA level 2 tips that will help in CFA level II exam preparation.

  • The CFA institute provides a learning ecosystem for all the registered candidates to perform well in the second level of the CFA examination. This includes CFA level II curriculum and study material, CFA level II sample questions and mock tests. Any CFA level II preparation strategy must include these materials also.

  • Set a time table and stick to it. One must set specific goals and targets to finish a particular book or going through specific topics and materials. Consistent practice is what will get you through.

  • Know what material is important and which ones to discard. Not all books will be worthy of your time. So choose the materials wisely and allocate time for different resources accordingly.

  • Candidates are required to analyse situations and cases and perform calculations. Practising regularly with problems, puzzles and case studies will greatly enhance exam readiness. Greater the time spent on reading and practising, greater the level of comfort.

  • Reading through the vignettes can be time consuming so candidates must work on enhancing their reading speed. Apportion the overall time on each vignette depending on the paragraph length.

  • In order to save time, one can also first quickly go through the questions of a particular item set in order to grasp the core idea of the case statement.

  • As CFA level 2 is a slightly advanced level than CFA level I, one should make sure they have a solid understanding of the fundamentals and basic concepts. Revise and brush up on the basics to build upon existing knowledge.

  • Give time for leisure activities. An approach of all work and no play is unlikely to fetch dividends. So take time off in between study time and stay mentally refreshed.

Important Points to Remember for CFA level 2 Preparation

  • The CFA Institute recommends a preparation time of 300 hours for CFA Level 2. Considering a study time of 5 hours per day, it translates to 60 days or two months. However, candidates are advised keep adequate time for revision and consolidation and adjust their preparation as per their own learning pace and needs.
  • CFA level 2 is the intermediate level of the CFA coures. Preparing for CFA level 2 could be difficult. It requires altering one's earlier preparation strategy due to change of weights assigned to the topics contained in the CFA level II syllabus. With an appropriate CFA level 2 study plan, it might not be very difficult to clear CFA level II.
  • There is no one best way to prepare for CFA level 2. One can opt to study under a tutor or through self study mode. Candidates can also access preparatory materials from authorised providers. In addition, CFA makes available learning materials for registered candidates. There are many ways to prepare for CFA level 2. One can opt for what's best for oneself.
  • 300 hours is the time that the CFA Institute recommends to learners for CFA level II. But it is always advisable to start early and give oneself as much time as possible. The CFA level 2 study plan should allocate enough time for learning and understanding the concepts, practising with mock papers and final revision.

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. What is the ideal gap between CFA level I and CFA level II?

Since preparation for CFA level II requires a minimum time of 5-6 months, attempting the two exams should be spaced accordingly.

2. How do I start preparing for CFA level II?

One can start preparing for CFA level II by brushing up on the basic concepts. Further one must work on improving reading speed as CFA level II exam requires candidates to analyse case statements.

3. How many months for CFA Level 2?

The CFA institute recommends a study time of 300 hours so CFA level II exam preparation will require around 5-6 months of preparation time.

4. Is the CFA Level II exam difficult?

Less than half of the candidates are able to clear the exam as the 10 year pass rate stands at 45%. CFA level II exam preparation is more intense as it involves analysing a case in depth and applying concepts to find solutions to real life problem situations.

5. How many hours to study for CFA Level 2?

The CFA institute recommends a study time of 300 hours for CFA level 2

6. Best way to study for CFA level 2?

The best way to study for CFA level 2 is to start early, wisely choose materials, prepare a study plan and duly follow it. 


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