AuthorTopic: How I passed Levels 1 and 2 on my 1st try
@2013-11-04 08:19:51
Hi All,

Since I have used the AnalystNotes Forums many times for advice on passing these exams, I thought I should repay the favor and let you all know how I passed both Levels 1 and 2 on my first try. So here goes...

I never opened a single CFAI book. Ever. Not one time. And I don't plan on opening one for Level 3 either. I believe you can pass by studying the CFAI material (of course), however I think to guarantee yourself to pass, you need to use a secondary vendor like AnalystNotes, Schweser, etc. The CFAI material is just too boring, broad, and confusing. Use a secondary vendor. And of course, AnalystNotes is the best.

However, AnalystNotes is only the best if you actually work through every word of notes and every question on this site. I only used AnalystNotes both years for studying, and then for extra practice, I took the Schweser practice tests too. Other than that though, AN was it for me. Here was my study schedule, and I didn't change it for Level 2. I stuck to what worked...

January 16th: Start studying. And no, I didn't pick that date arbitrarily. That is the day after Martin Luther King holiday in the US, so I let that weekend be my last weekend of fun, and then hit the books the day after.
I began studying with Economics. I would urge you to skip ethics and quant and study those last. Quant is a HUGE amount of material, especially at Level 1, but they don't cover it in detail on the test. In fact, I was shocked at how easy the Quant section was in Level 1 (nothing was easy at Level 2). So, if you just spend a week close to the test learning it, you will be fine. So I saved it for closer to the end both years and was glad I did.

So, I just started with Econ in January, read the notes on AN, took the Basic questions, and when I was finished with a section, I took the Review Questions. I also made flash cards as I went. This really helped me remember the equations and when I should use them. I worked like this with a goal of finishing on May 1st with every section. That meant I had 5 weeks to review.

May 1st: Begin review. I reviewed flash cards standing in line at the grocery store, on the way to work, EVERYWHERE I could! I also went back and did EVERY question, both Basic and Review, on this site. You'll say, but wait! That's like 1,500 questions! And I say, yep. Do it anyway. That's how I passed. Most people who fail these tests know the material... they just don't know how to answer questions about the material.

Also, during this review time, take 2 3-hour practice tests per week. Don't take full length practice tests (you'll get burnt out, and they are identical on test day anyway at Level 1). Just take 3-hour ones, twice per week. This is my number one piece of advice - take every practice test you can get your hands on!

How much time did I end up studying? Probably 600 hours, each level. However, that was way too much time at Level 1. I was way over prepared and finished both morning and afternoon in 45 minutes. Study for maybe 350 hours for Level 1, but as many hours as humanly possible at Level 2. Level 2 was crazy hard, and I was even studying on my lunch break during the test (glad I did too, I got one question right because of it!)

So there you go. I hope all of this helps. Good luck to everybody, and trust that AnalystNotes is the best way to prepare - it is the only reason I passed the first two levels on my first try!

@2013-11-17 10:58:36
Awesome, thanks a lot for that.
@2019-05-05 16:30:10
Thank you Rachel - Excellent advice!

CFA Discussion Topic: How I passed Levels 1 and 2 on my 1st try

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Your review questions and global ranking system were so helpful.