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Level II Candidates pressure cooker (letting off steam!)

Just finished my fourth week of study towards Level II. My wrist feels very fragile from hours upon hours of writing.
How are others doing?

I've been progressing through the official curriculum in the linear order of the chapters but I'm pleasantly surprised that so far, I've not found any of the material so dull that I've wanted to skip it. On the contrary, I've enjoyed a lot of what I've read.

On the other hand, the volume is absolutely killing me. I've been rigid about progressing to the next Study Session every Monday, and if I fail to finish a Study Session, too bad, I'll have to catch up later. On average 14 hours per week of reading, but even that feels like less than half of what I ought to be doing.

Is this why so many people call Level II the hardest? I hope no truly difficult subjects crop up later on in the curriculum, that would really be a hell week :-D

Comments

  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    I'm on my 5th topic and haven't found it any harder than level 1. On the plus side, I think the material is a lot more interesting and I am more engaged. I've just been going through the readings and understanding everything. I haven't attempted too many problems. My goal is to get through all the readings first, then I will go back and redo end of chapter questions as well as watching videos. Hardest part I feel will be getting use to the item format. What volume are you on? I think FRA may be challenging, but I'm studying chartered accounting and just finished financial reporting, so some of the topics look familiar....i'll cross that bridge when it comes lol.

    What topics have you done? I have read through: Ethics, Quant, Economics, Alternative Investments and now on Fixed Income. Fixed Income has been the slowest, but probably the most interesting to me. The others weren't too bad.
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    I've read bits of Ethics, Quant and Econ, and tonight I'm starting FRA.
    In contrast with last year, I'm being very rigid about my study schedule, so if I can't complete a Study Session in the scheduled week, I skip to the next and will revisit later on for a second read through the curriculum to cover everything I skipped.

    You're right, I've found everything much more interesting to read too. I'm hoping that both FRA sessions are directly applicable to my role as a credit analyst so that I can put them to use and internalise them straight away.
  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    We started down similar paths and have now gone our own way. Let me know how you go with FRA. Fixed Income first reading is long but the second reading is 20 pages so it balances out. Alternative Investments was a fun, easy read. A lot more detailed than level 1 though but pretty easy to comprehend
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    The first reading of FRA is really something else. Relative to previous readings, comparatively short, but the font size is smaller in my printout, and the text is dense. It takes a lot more of my focus and concentration, there is a lot more to learn, and I am not confident I'll even finish this first reading after a week of study (some 13 hours).
  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    Good to know! There are two readings in Fixed Income that may take more than a week (first and the third); however, the high level concepts are pretty easy to grasp. The other three readings are not too bad. It will be down to remembering the detail in the calculations. I'm just reading to understand so if it takes 1.5 weeks, then I'm not fussed. I wont be stressed to complete readings till mid-February but port mgmt and FRA seem to be the hardest slog to get through.
  • Hey guys.
    Are we responsible for the differences between IFRS and GAAP in the first three chapters ( pensions, multinational operations..) of the financial reporting? I recall from the level 1 that candidates are not responsible for the differences between those standarts.
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    Responsible?
    I can only point you to the Learning Outcome Statements for Reading 16:

    16b. distinguish between IFRS and US GAAP in the classification, measurement, and disclosure of investments in financial assets, investments in associates, joint ventures, business combinations, and special purpose and variable interest entities

    So you must be able to differentiate between the different treatment of those types of intercorporate investment under IFRS and US GAAP.
    They're generally similar so it's not awful.
  • guys lookin for advice here please

    are there any topic areas you recommend sticking to curriculum for? (vs. others reading Schweser) 
    I've read a lot online that schweser is too condensed sometimes, so I don't want to risk it for areas that you know to be more complex/depth-requiring

    thanks :)
    Go big or go home!
  • @lulu123 I think condensing can be an advantage as it saves you time. Rather than using the curriculum for certain topics, I'd recommend going through the end of topic questions for ALL of the topics, which will help you highlight any areas that you're missing (if there are any). That I think gives you the best balance between speed and thoroughness.

    If you're looking for something other than Schweser, Elan / Wiley is what I used for L2 and it was also excellent.
    When things get too tough, sit back with a nice bottle of red wine and remind yourself how inconsequential things are.
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    Damn, @rsparks , you weren't kidding. The first fixed income reading is a dense slog!
  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    I know bro! I found FI is one of my weaker subjects yet I keep consistently getting over 70% on questions/exams. Its like when i see a question it all comes back to me lol. How are you tracking?  @jasdev
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    My strategy this year is to skip to the next Study Session every Monday even if I haven't finished the previous week's readings. This has usually worked fine but this week, I began reading about interest rate trees and their usage in determining the forward rates for embedded options. Within a single page, I realised I was way over my head. The words "That escalated quickly!" were very appropriate.
    I glanced at the contents for the previous week's readings and realised the reading I had skipped was pretty much all about interest rate trees!
  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    Don't sweat it too much. take a look at the learning outcomes and you'll realise one or two calcs to remember..i don't have the books in front of me, but i remember seeing a lot of 'describe' lol
  • aurora77aurora77 CanadaPosts: 1 Associate
    I am onto my third week of studying. I'm doing on average 10 hours per week (need to bring this up). I am falling behind my original study plan due to an unforeseeable workload that came my way since two months ago. I started with Ethics and onto Quants. I totally dreaded quants after reading 3 lessons and skipped this to save for the end. I did reasonable on Quants on my Level 1 but somehow feels L2 quants are in absolute alien language. Pleasantly surprised at how interesting Econ and FRA are on this level. I'm keeping track my study progress through the Wiley online curriculum, which I have found to be very helpful. Anyone has suggestions on how to boost moral to study for the exam? I'm currently working 50 hours per week, however my work also involves a lot of evening work events, which really drains me. Good luck fellow candidates!
  • I take a day off once a week and do something nice, a bit of a treat, either get myself a new game, or a night out with friends. I also tidy and reorganize my study table at the same time - that seems to help 'reset' my motivation quite a lot.
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    Mm, I definitely couldn't do without one night out per week. Even if it is a short one, just meeting friends and spending a couple of hours with them will keep your morale up more than becoming a hermit.

    Do you also work out, @aurora77 ? I'm lucky in that I can cycle to and from work 4 days per week, hit the work gym twice during my lunch breaks and go out for a run one lunch break. It can be exhausting but I think it helps me in the long run. If not, is there anything you could do?
    policedog
  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    haha. I try to have one night during the week to do 'whatever'; usually a thursday or saturday, but never past midnight and rarely past 10pm. i am more productive in the morning. Usually i'm drained after a full day of study so i like to do mind-numbing events with friends: dinner or movie. The gym is interesting. If i go, I usually feel more alert and can study for another half hr to an hour after, but when you're getting off work at 8pm with no dinner and they stopped providing taxi rides home, I usually end up skipping.

    You may be falling behind, but take some time off around easter as a contingency plan. you're generally gonna be over your schedule. I procrastinate too much and try my best to keep up with yesterday.

    I've given myself till the beginning of march to finish the readings. which will give me a few weeks buffer.

    For Quant, I think Elan has a free video that's a pretty good compliment to the reading.

    I still have have port mgmt, equity and fra. i'm just finishing derivatives this week. the only two that really stretched me for learning and time: fixed income and derivatives. I got to a point in derivatives where 'i kind of get it' so i moved on and know that i'll flush it out with practice questions.

    my day usually involves studying on the train in the morning for half an hour. I study for half an hour on the way home. Sometimes at work, I do a few questions...i just started with the CFA topic questions and I'm hitting 67% albeit in AI for now lol.
    policedog
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    That's good progress!
    I thought I found Fixed Income tough, but the first reading of Derivatives has completely humbled me. The blue box examples are great but ploughing through the reading was literally like encountering a fog in my brain. I didn't know what hit me...
    There's no doubt in my mind now that Level II is proper hardcore.
  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    haha. same here. luckily i trade options so the last reading wasn't so bad, but the first was hard to get through....and I'm pretty good with FRA lol. I finished the last reading lying on a beach, getting a tan and sipping on cocktails for four days. I like to balance the pain with pleasure lol. Now on the final three topics
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    Damn you Aussies and your fantastic summers!

    Is anyone else becoming acutely aware of the time they don't spend studying?
    As an example, I could tell someone how many hours I spend per weekend doing necessary housekeeping chores and groceries, or out with friends/family... The closer the exam gets, the more the figurative "hours not studying" feels like a millstone around my neck!
  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    haha. Well, when you go the exam and it is still sunny outside when you leave, then you can rub that in. I'll wake up in the dark and go home in the dark :-/.

    yeah, i know what you mean. In my downtime or even when i'm trying to relax, I constantly think 'I should be studying' or about a formula. There is one funny post about a guy who thought about formulas so much, he was constantly trying to remember them in the bathroom as well as the bedroom lol.

    I have a routine where grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking and laundry are done during the week. weekends are distraction-free for studying. If people want to catch-up, I can see them for dinner/movie on thursday. Friday, I go home...read a little and just relax. go to bed early to study on the weekend. It's my calm-before-the-storm day. mentally prepare for the weekend.

    I have two more topics to go...aiming to finish mid-march. I wouldn't worry to much about what you have missed. focus on the remaining time and the fact that you do not want to be doing this again next year lol.

    I'm struggling to stay motivated though....taking so long to get through the material. Once I finish the reading, I'm hoping to gain some encouragement and momentum.
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    Well, as a guy, I can think of one way to make fun times in the bedroom last longer; think of Black-Scholes!

    I am a huge fan of every one of these posts by Lisa Pollack, CFA, on the FT's Alphaville blog.

    https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2013/05/10/1495422/oh-yeah-its-on-now-its-the-cfa-meme-competition/
    https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2013/05/13/1497452/cfa-meme-competition-winners/
    https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/05/30/1865902/the-sun-isnt-shining-and-it-still-sucks-to-be-a-cfa-candidate/
    https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2015/06/04/2131055/how-to-troll-cfa-candidates-and-other-acronym-hunters/

    But they are all a few years old now. I'm sure we can come up with a few new slogans in here!
    I'm on the hunt for a few memes along the theme of suffering. My scheduled 1st run through of the curriculum ends this weekend; I'm starting from the beginning again next week but this time I have to up my game, focus on hammering away at blue box examples, EOCs, topic tests and later on some mock exams - a few well-timed posts on Instagram ought to remind my friends I'm far more masochistic than they are :D




  • rsparksrsparks MelbournePosts: 72 Sr Associate
    @jasdev    I tried the links, but you need an account with the fin times. I'll have to register when I have time lol. You're doing well for time. I'll finish mid-March and then hammer out questions (EOCs, topic tests and blue box) and then start a mock in april.
  • Hi guys. Just joined here and am really loving the discussions here, some of them amusing, some of them interesting. By the way, I was wondering if anyone is doing question from Konvexity. I am currently doing EOC questions, along with Finquiz Item sets, but read somewhere that Konvexity questions are also good to practice. Any pointers on this would be appreciated indeed.
  • ajoysidajoysid Hong KongPosts: 1 Associate
    Anybody else find Fixed income exhausting and frikkin insane? :'(
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    It knocked me for six. I have yet to finish the study sessions on fixed income but the sooner I get to it, the better!
    In fact, fuck Equity, Fixed Income and Derivatives.

    @adutta017 I have only ever used Schweser Pro QBank (on Level I) and Schweser, Wiley and Quartic mock exams, so I can't vouch for Konvexity. I did see a comment elsewhere today, on AnalystForum, about how useful Konvexity is, but I couldn't confirm that for you.
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 26 Associate
    I should totally be studying but I couldn't resist Googling for CFA memes. All credit to the original people who created them:

















    christine
  • puffy10puffy10 SingaporePosts: 3 Associate
    I have just started studying this damn exam and I am ready to die inside and be reborn in 3 months. whos with me.
    fabian
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