CFA® Level 2 Exam

A Step Closer to the CFA Charter

Congratulations! You have most likely passed the first phase of the CFA® exam and are now ready to begin studying for CFA® Level 2. The Level 2 exam, the second of the three levels of the CFA exam, expands on the concepts covered previously, emphasizing analyzing and applying what you have learned so far. According to the CFA Institute (CFAI), Level 2 will occur three times in 2023 and 2024: May, August and November.

What Is the CFA Level 2 Exam Format, Structure, and Duration?

Level 2 is similar to Level 1 in the time allotted and the number of sessions on exam day but differs in the number of questions and weighting for each topic. Level 2 offers 11 item sets for each session, for a total of 22 on the exam. Each item set consists of a case statement followed by four or six multiple-choice questions. Multiple-choice questions in each item set must be answered based on the information in the vignette. Hence, the items are not free-standing, as in the Level 1 exam, but rather you will need to refer to the vignette before answering each item.

The Level 2 exam is divided into two equally timed sessions as follows:

  • SESSION 1: 2 hours 12 minutes with 44 questions
  • SESSION 2: 2 hours 12 minutes with 44 questions

CFA Level 2 Topics Overview

The CFA Level 2 exam is more or less an extension of the concepts studied in the Level 1 exam. For Level 2, the focus shifts more toward asset classes, although the investment tools are still weighted relatively high.

Topic Topic Name Weight Number of Questions
1 Ethical and Professional Standards 10-15% 17-24
2 Quantitative Methods 5-10% 8-13
3 Economics 5-10% 8-13
4 Financial Statement Analysis 10-15% 17-24
5 Corporate Issuers 5-10% 8-13
6 Portfolio Management 10-15% 17-24
7 Equity Valuation 10-15% 17-24
8 Derivative Investments 5-10% 8-13
9 Alternative Investments 5-10% 8-13

CFA Level 2 Exam Curriculum Updates for 2023

Like the Level 1 exam, the CFA Level 2 exam curriculum hasn't changed much since 2021. Adding back Testing and Simulation and removing Publicly Traded and Real Estate Securities highlight just a few minor changes.

Here are some CFA Level 2 curriculum changes for 2023 (revisions, additions, and major updates):

Topic
Readings
Quantitative Methods
Revised: Multiple Regression
Dropped: Introduction to Linear Regression
Economics
Revised: Economic Growth
Updated: Currency Exchange Rates: Understanding Equilibrium Value
Financial Statement Analysis
Revised: Financial Statement Modeling
Corporate Issuers
Revised: Corporate Restructuring
Added: Cost of Capital: Advanced Topics
Updated: Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Considerations in Investment Analysis
Dropped: Capital Structure, Capital Budgeting
Equity Valuation
Revised: Industry and Company Analysis
Dropped: Return Concepts
Alternative Investments
Revised: Real Estate Investments
Ethics
Revised: Application of the Code and Standards: Level II

In 2024, the Level 2 curriculum will see some significant changes in terms of additional practical skill readings as part of the newly introduced PSMs. For Level 2 candidates will have the following readings:

  • Python Programming Fundamentals: A fundamentals course to demonstrate the basics of Python and how to use Jupyter Notebook for developing, presenting, and sharing data science projects related to finance. (if not taken at Level I)
  • Analyst Skills: Focuses on the skills equity and credit analysts need using insights gained from hundreds of successful analysts.
  • Python, Data Science & AI: Introduces candidates to machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science to understand financial statements, reporting, and analysis using Python.

Note: The content from the Practical Skills Modules (PSMs) is not directly tested on the CFA exam. The PSMs are designed to help candidates develop practical skills in investment analysis, portfolio management, and ethics. The PSMs can be a valuable supplement to the CFA exam curriculum, and may help candidates develop the practical skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the investment profession.

While the content from the PSMs is not tested on the CFA exam, the knowledge and skills gained from completing the PSMs can be useful in preparing for the exam and in performing well in the investment profession.

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CFA Level 2 Exam Eligibility, Registration, and Scheduling

You must first pass the Level 1 exam to register for the CFA Level 2 exam. Beyond passing, the registration process and exam cost (no one-time fee) is consistent with Level 1.

Eligibility and Registration

The requirements for CFA Level 2 exam eligibility are similar to those for CFA Level 1 exam. The primary distinction is that final-year candidates may take the CFA Level 1 exam, whereas Level 2 candidates must have completed their degree and have work experience. Moreover, the registration process of Level 2, with the exemption of the one-time enrollment fee, is the same as that of Level 1.

Some basic eligibility requirements are:

  • CFA exams are only administered in English. As a result, candidates must be fluent in English to read a comprehension and respond to a variety of complex financial scenarios.
  • Candidates who do not have a valid international travel passport will be unable to register or sit for the CFA Level 2 exam.
  • It is mandatory for all candidates to attest "Professional Conduct Statement Form," which states that they are in compliance with the requirements.
  • Candidates must hold a Bachelor's degree from a recognized college or university.

Exam Fees

The cost to register for each exam will increase from $900 to $940 for early registration and from $1,200 to $1,250 for standard registration, starting from the February 2024 window.

Type of Registration Nov 2023 May 2024 Aug 2024 Nov 2024
Early Registration Due Date May 10 12 Oct, 2023 23 Jan, 2024 16 April, 2024
Standard Registration Due Date August 8 6 Feb, 2024 14 May, 2024 7 August, 2024

Scheduling and Rescheduling Your CFA Level 2 Exam

The CFA Level 1 and Level 2 exam scheduling and rescheduling processes are nearly identical, with Level 2 having a slightly longer rescheduling period and an additional $250 fee per rescheduling. The entire process is aided by a dedicated platform known as ProScheduler.

In 2023, the CFA Level 2 exam will be administered three times a year. The same will apply for 2024 as well. It is important to note that registering for the exam is a two-step process. You must first register, then schedule your appointment. You will see test center options from among 400 locations during the registration process, with confirmed available seating. If you don't see your preferred location listed, keep checking back because the CFAI regularly updates the appointment availability.

Exam Center Locations

CFA exams are administered in over 400 locations worldwide. Candidates will see test center options during the scheduling procedure with confirmed available seating. Remember that you must first register before scheduling your appointment. If you don't see your preferred location listed, try checking back since the CFAI updates the appointment availability routinely.

CFA Level 2 Exam-Day Requirements

For the CFA Level 2 exam, you may only bring the following items to the test center:

  • A CFA exam calculator (including the case and loose batteries)
  • A valid international travel passport
  • Eyeglasses (without the case)

Please Note:

  • Additional personal items are allowed in the test center (if applicable), e.g., earplugs, medication, etc
  • Personal baggage and food items aren't allowed inside the test center

Calculators used for the Level 2 exam

Only two calculator models are authorized for use during the tests:

  1. Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional)
  2. Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th-anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)

Practice Level 2 Exam with UWorld

In addition to the readings, a proper practice strategy replicating the actual exam is imperative to your success. UWorld's Mock Exams closely simulate the actual CFA Level 2 exam experience to help you prepare and boost your confidence on test day.

Like the actual exam, our CFA Level 2 mock exams consist of two 2-hour and 15-minute sessions, each with 44 multiple-choice questions, allowing you to identify your development areas and compare your relative ranking with other UWorld users. Plus, when you select CFA Mode, your screen will simulate the real Prometric interface, preparing you for the actual test day environment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The CFA Level 2 exam is divided into two equal sessions, each lasting 2 hours and 12 minutes, plus an optional break.

Since all levels of the CFA exams are difficult, determining which CFA exam is the hardest can be tricky. The CFA Level 2 exam is relatively challenging because it requires you to apply concepts rather than simply understand their basic meaning. To increase your proficiency, spend time practicing QBank questions and taking mock exams to identify and address weak areas that need additional preparation.

Some of the CFA exam scholarships that the test-takers can apply to receive a significant discount on the registration fee. Here’s a list of five scholarships that the CFAI offers:

  • Access Scholarship – $250
  • Women’s Scholarship – $350
  • Student Scholarship – $350
  • Professor Scholarship – $350
  • Regulator Scholarship – $350

The CFA Level 2 exam consists of 88 multiple-choice questions—including vignette-based item sets—divided into two sessions of 44 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) each.

For the 2024 exams, the candidates will be charged $940 for early registration and $1,250 for standard registration. These prices do not include any preparatory materials or assets of any kind.

Candidates can take the exam a maximum of two times a year and six times in total (for each level). The CFA Level 2 exam is currently administered three times a year.

Like the CFA Level 1 exam, candidates can access their results after just two months of the CFA Level 2 exam. Candidates will receive periodic messages to keep them up to date on the status of their CFA exam results, and new information will be added to the CFAI page as it becomes available.

The CFAI reports that 52% of Level 2 candidates passed in May 2023, up from 44% in November 2022. This is slightly higher than the 10-year average pass rate for Level 2, around 45%. The most recent results, with the advent of computer-based testing and the pandemic, contrast with historically low CFA exam pass rates across all levels for the previous years.

UWorld’s Mock Exams closely replicate the actual CFA Level 2 exam experience to help you prepare and boost your confidence on test day. Like the real exam, it consists of two 2-hour, 15-minute sessions, each with 44 multiple-choice questions spanning multiple subjects. Even better, after completing the mock exam, the performance graphs will identify areas for improvement and compare your results with other users.

Read More About the CFA Exam

Struggling with having a consolidated list of formulas all in one place? Our Level 2 Formula Sheet serves as a quick reference guide for locating the most important formulas for the test.
Finding it difficult to determine which study guide will be the best for you? This study guide is tailor-made for you, with intelligent QBanks and interactive study plans, making your preparation steadfast.
Looking for a consolidated list and info on the CFA Level 2 exam topics? Visit this quick-look guide on the topics you need to focus on and why, before attempting the exam.
Planning to register for the CFA exam? Learn more about the eligibility, topic lists, exam structure, and everything else that can help you get familiar with the exam.
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