Level II Purgatory


Didn’t think I’d get my exam results today – reporting website was obviously being overloaded.

After 15 minutes of re-loading I finally got to the login screen. And the answer is: I failed!

They tried to make me feel better by saying that even though I’m a loser, I’m in the top 70-80% of losers. ๐Ÿ™

Time to re-group and lick my wounds. I think a few hundred dollars of mine are going to be transferred soon to either Stalla or Schweser.

Down, but not out…

Update: I finally passed all the CFA exams and wrote an eBook about the program. If you’re interested, click here.

28 thoughts on “Level II Purgatory”

  1. Unlucky – the pass rate was very low this year, the third lowest. Level 3 pass rate was the lowest ever.

  2. Sorry to hear Lumi.

    From my end I passed the level 2 with excellent marks (all but two topics above 70%). Keep the positive attitude and remember that perseverance and tenacity are virtues of the CFA program.

    Craig makes an interesting observation. When was the last time that the Level 2 had a lower pass rate than Level 1?

  3. Lumi,

    Sorry to hear about that. I am sure you would be able to pass the next time.

    I failed, too. Have to think about whether to continue or not. Some people said Level 2 is harder than Level 3, I guess that might be it. I expect to be in the border line, but the results disappointed me.


  4. I failed as well. I tried to strike a balance between over-preparing and under-preparing. Looks like I called it wrong! It would be nice if they offered representative mocks early on, so that one can actually tell if they are prepared or not.
    I did okay on the mock they offered, but f#@#$cked up on the actual exam.

  5. I failed L2 too.

    Down AND out for me, though. I’ve decided a couple of weeks ago (while still quite sure I’d pass L2) to get out of finance. Being long-term bearish, disillusioned by the crisis and very annoyed by the (un)ethical aspect of the business does that to you.

  6. I am sorry about this news. Good luck next time. I just started my Level 2 and now I know what I am up against. I will try to work as hard as possible. I heard that L2 is the hardest of the three and now I believe it.

  7. Great to hear from everybody. I’m glad at least a couple people passed!

    I will enroll for Level II 2010 Exam today or tomorrow. Currently researching Stalla and Schweser for this time around. As they say, it’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.

    – lumi

  8. Lumi, sorry to hear the news on L2. Much to my own astonishment, I was surprised to learn I passed. I would definitely recommend Schweser Notes to you. I relied on the problems from these books almost exclusively and found them to be as close as possible to being ‘the Cliff Notes for the CFA’!

  9. Hey Lumi,
    Sorry to hear about the news. Next time around, Nail it !! I was not confident at all after I took the test because I felt the actual test was harder than CFAI Mock/Practice Test, all of Schweser Qbank. However, i was happy to pass. I have a few suggestions to add if you will.

    1) Schweser is EXCELLENT in explaining complex topics in level2, much better than CFAI text. I raved about it in level 1 and will do the same for level 2.

    However, as good as Qbank was for Level1 as miserable it was to predict the actual test in Level2. In other words, Qbank was a dud (my opinion).

    Just get the Basic text and Qbank from Schweser. I haven’t bought those extra stuff like secret-sauce, audio cd and other crap like that.

    2) Rinse and Repeat end of chapter questions of CFAI. again and again till you nail every single end of chapter question.

    There were a few questions (MBS and others) that i had to guess due to not doing the end of CFAI text thoroughly.

    3) this time around you would need less time to understand hard topics because you already have done it. So spend more time on little details throughout the CFAI text.

    Schweser did not have the Private Equity calculation example in the book at all but CFAI did.

    4) Motivate. I know its easy to say since i passed this time but in my mind i couldnt even think how I would motivate myself reading same stuff for 6 more months. I put in already over 600 hours and thought didnt have the energy to do it again.

    5) Luck. a lot of people did all that is physically possible to prepare the test but there is an element of luck to it. this is outside everyones control, so no reason to sweat over it!!

    Best of luck. You WILL nail it next time around.

  10. Missed it too, 7th decile. My feeling is unless you have a strong academic profile or you work right on some of the core topics (equity, FA, FI…) you can’t steal it… it really does take a lot of hours to prepare properly (200 seems far from the number..) The only guy I know who passed it this year claims some 550 hrs!

    at least they don’t give it away easily ! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  11. Thanks for info on Schweser, Bob!

    Rick, I was wondering something very similar about academic background, and if my engineering one was what helped me pass level one due to having seen a lot of the quantitative stuff before. Level Two was almost all brand new. As you said, it’s great to know they don’t give it away easily.

    Drymartini- thank you SO much for all your comments and tips. I am about to head over to the CFAI now to re-register and am checking out the Schweser packages. It looks like the minimum package you can buy and still get Qbank is the Essential Prep Package for $599. I’m 99% sure I’ll get that one too but will wait a day or two to order. It’s easier for me to spend $600 today for CFAI and $600 later for Schweser than dropping the full $1200 in a single day!

    – lumi

  12. Hey Lumi,
    That usual kick in the a$$!# thing happens despite the best of efforts to prevent it–consequently we are again reminded that it is the “journey that makes life worthwhile”–obviously from other responses level 2 is really the most difficult of tests– nevertheless,perservere as purgatory leads us to the opportunity of going up or down– and I know that a repeat attempt will land you way high up with the stars!!!!

  13. Is this the passing rate this time?

    “According to CFA Institute, the June 2009 pass rate is as shown below:Level I Pass Rate: 46% Level II Pass Rate: 41%Level III Pass Rate: 49%”

  14. I failed too. Good times!!

    Has anyone used both the Stalla and Schweser? Which is better? I used Schweser in my last attempt but due to work constraints didnโ€™t have the time to give it a full attempt, but was happy with the notes. Far better than normal CFA books.

  15. Andrew, for what it’s worth I ordered Schweser b/c 99% of the CFA candidates I bump into that use 3rd party use Schweser and I also liked what I could get for the amount of money I was willing to spend.

    I placed the order about a week ago but haven’t received anything yet. Will probably give a review when I do.

    – lumi

  16. hi there,

    i’m trying to figure out how much does it cost to re-take level 2 exam ?

    I just passed level 1 exam in december, and would like to take level 2 in june, though i know it’s be almost impossible to get it so little time.

    So in case I take the exam in june 2010 and failed, how much will it cost to re-take it in june 2011 ? I can’t find the info on the cfa official website.

    Thanks a lot for your help ๐Ÿ™‚
    You have my email address ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Hey – congrats on passing Level 1!

    For a Level 2 retake, it would be basically the same price you paid the first time you took Level 2, minus a token amount (like $50). See the small text at the bottom of this link:


    I’m looking at my receipt from re-registering for Level 2 on August 20, 2009 right after finding out that I failed and they charged me $570:

    Quantity Item Price
    1 Level II CFA Examination Registration $395.00
    1 Level II Curriculum June 2010 $175.00
    Transaction Amount: $570.00

  18. I just took L2 exam about a month ago. It was a lot harder than L1 exam! I feel that I screwed it up in derivatives big time. What are the chances of passing the exam while getting below 50% in one topic and perhaps between 51% and 70% in two other? I think I might have failed it! ๐Ÿ™

  19. I re-took it too and it seemed very hard. At least we don’t have to wait until August to get test results this year. Good luck!

  20. I took the level 2 in june of 2010 and failed. I guess starting in mid January was no good, even though I put probably 500 or 600 hours in. Oh well, will try next time, gl to us all!

  21. hey anyone please give me reply is that registration fee of 500 usd for level one exam limits for one exam only if i fail am i required to pay it againl

  22. unless something has changed you have to pay each time. i think there’s a one time fee you pay to enter the program when you register for your very first test that you only pay once though.

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