CFA® Level 2 Exam
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: 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|
|4||Financial Statement Analysis||10-15%||17-24|
CFA Level 2 Exam Curriculum Updates
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||Revised readings||Added readings||Updated readings||Dropped readings|
|Quantitative Methods||Multiple Regression||No additions||No updates||Introduction to Linear Regression|
|Economics||Economic Growth||No additions||Currency Exchange Rates: Understanding Equilibrium Value||Nothing Dropped|
|Financial Statement Analysis||Financial Statement Modeling||No additions||No updates||Nothing Dropped|
|Corporate Issuers||Corporate Restructuring||Cost of Capital: Advanced Topics||Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Considerations in Investment Analysis||Capital Structure
|Equity Valuation||Industry and Company Analysis||No additions||No updates||Return Concepts|
|Alternative Investments||Real Estate Investments||No additions||No updates||Nothing Dropped|
|Ethics||Application of the Code and Standards: Level II||No additions||No updates||Nothing Dropped|
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
To avoid disqualifications, later on, it is recommended that you understand the eligibility criteria before taking the exam. The requirements for CFA level 2 eligibility are similar to those for CFA level 1. 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.
The cost to register for each exam will increase from $700 to $900 for early registration and from $1,000 to $1,200 for standard registration.
|Type of Registration||May 2023 Window||August 2023 Window||November 2023 Window||Registration Fees|
|Early Registration Due Date||CLOSED||Feb 1||May 10||$900|
|Standard Registration Due Date||January 31||May 9||August 8||$1200|
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.
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)
- 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:
- Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional)
- Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th-anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)
CFA Exam Scholarships
To give more people a chance to attempt the CFA exam and avoid candidates dropping out due to the fee, CFAI® has a list of scholarships that can be claimed (sic) to avail a considerable discount on the registration fee.
Here's a list of five scholarships the CFAI offers:
- Access Scholarship: $250
- Women's Scholarship: $350
- Student Scholarship: $350
- Professor Scholarship: $350
- Regulator Scholarship: $350
For much more detailed information, please have a look at the CFAI Scholarships page.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the CFA Level 2 exam?
The CFA Level 2 exam is divided into two equal sessions, each lasting 2 hours and 12 minutes, plus an optional break.
How hard is the CFA Level 2 exam?
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.
How many questions are on the CFA Level 2 exam?
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.
How much does taking the CFA Level 2 exam cost?
For the 2023 exams, the candidates will be charged $900 for early registration and $1,200 for standard registration. These prices do not include any preparatory materials or assets of any kind.
How often can you take the CFA Level 2 exam?
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.
How soon do I get my CFA Level 2 exam results?
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.
What is the average CFA Level 2 pass rate?
The CFA Institute reports that 46% of Level 2 candidates passed in November 2021, up from 29% in August of the same year. 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.
Where can I get CFA Level 2 exam practice questions?
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.