Studying for the CFA program can be very challenging especially if you get to pass level 1 and are now ready to embark on your journey to study for the level 2 exam which is a total beast.
Here are the three main differences between level 1 and level 2 and what the strategies are to tackle each one of the levels.
Complexity - The first main difference between level 1 and level 2 is the complexity of the topics. Level 1 deals with topics that anyone with a finance background should have gone through during their Bachelor's degree. Indeed, level 1 tends to be a compressed format of what you would have done in the 4 years of university. Level 2 instead is an extension of the level 1 curriculum. It is a more detailed version of level 1. It entails understanding rather than memorizing the concepts. Each topic in level 2 is about valuation and the assumptions behind the final number we see in the stock market. The level 2 materials are much more complex, detailed, and intensive. Hence why they require a much deeper understanding of every single topic.
Time Commitment - In terms of time, if level 1 can be studied maybe in 5-6 months, level 2 requires you to start studying for it as soon as you receive the result of your level 1. Because of the complexity, it requires more hours of study and much more practice. For instance with level 1, as long as you keep practicing you should be learning all the concepts, but with level 2 you should dedicate much longer hours because sometimes you may get stuck with complex materials and you don't want to end up the last few months trying to figure why certain things are the way they are. With level 2, you always want to have a time cushion, so that you can give yourself time to digest and really internalize the materials you are studying and also to increase the chances of passing the exams
Exam structure - Level 1 strictly consists of multiple-choice questions and so does level 2, but the level 2 questions will be more in a vignette-style format where you will have cases to read and answer questions based on what you have just read. Whereas level 1 was really about independently answering every single question which wasn't related to any particular scenario. With level 2, all the vignette questions will be coming based on the scenario given. So my advice is really to read, highlight and understand what is going on in the scenario given.
All in all, no exam in life is meant to be easy. The secret recipe to success is really about discipline and constant work. When you apply these two techniques rigorously, you will see the results paying off. #hardworkpaysoff
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
― Pelé, Brazillian pro footballer