Should you retake CFA® Level II?

Should you retake CFA® Level II exam?

You’ve received the email from CFA® Institute and results were not what you had been hoping for…

It’s no surprise that many people consider Level II to be the hardest one to pass. It’s not just the number of readings to cover, it’s the depth of knowledge that you’re expected to have mastered by the time you sit down and open the morning exam paper.

Perhaps it was nerves that got the better of you. Or perhaps work commitments meant that there were parts of Level II that you never quite got to grips with. Whatever the case, spend some time looking at your results slip objectively. Are you a marginal fail (band 7-10), need more work across all areas (band 4-6) or maybe did not give yourself a chance first time round (< 4)? Did you spend enough time on the “Big Two” (Financial Reporting and Equity) which typically account for 35-40% of the exam? Did you score well enough in the Fixed Income and Ethics, which have the largest weightings after Financial Reporting and Equity?

Whatever you decide to do, here are some things to bear in mind. First, you’re unlikely to have to study everything from scratch again. The syllabus will change slightly each year but you’re going to be familiar with many parts of it because of the work that you’ve put in this year. Secondly, now that you have a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses, you can plan your time accordingly. Start studying again in October, give yourself more time to cover the syllabus in detail, and be well ahead of the game by the time May comes along (remember that December Level I candidates are only likely to start studying in February, so you’ll have a serious head start!). And finally, see this resit as a way of demonstrating your commitment to achieving a globally-recognised qualification. This is going to be good news for your employer too as they’d much rather have a CFA® Charterholder meet with clients.

Go on – you know it’s worth it!



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