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Preparing for Level II of the CFA® Exam

Level II Builds on the Fundamentals You Mastered in Level I.

Level I was a test of your knowledge of the ethical and professional standards of sound financial analysis. In the Level II CFA exam, you'll be tested on your ability to use that knowledge in realistic situations that analysts face.

Previous Knowledge

The knowledge you need prior to preparing for Level II is the knowledge you were tested on during your Level I exam. Your exam prep process for Level II will arm you with the skills to apply that knowledge to some of the work financial analysts are expected to perform.

How Long It Takes to Study

The general recommendation is that you spend roughly 300 hours preparing for each level of the CFA exam. According to a 2019 survey, Level II candidates spent an average of 328 hours preparing for the exam.

How to Study

We suggest that candidates employ The Kaplan Way, a three-phase learning strategy: Prepare • Practice • Perform®. This methodology is the foundation upon which Schweser’s CFA exam prep products are built.

  • In-Person: Attend live classes in select cities, led by CFA charterholders.
  • Online: All the quality of a live class, with convenient online delivery.
  • Self-Study: Comprehensive, flexible, no-frills exam prep package.

Tips and Tools

Looking for additional tips to help you prepare for the Level II CFA exam?

Look no further.

  • Start your exam prep early. Develop a routine and stick to it.
  • The tools in your review package work best when used together as designed.
  • Check out these free resources specifically designed for Level II candidates.

Ready to Prepare for the Level II CFA® Exam?


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CFA Level II Exam Details

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

May 2021

Level II May Computer-Based Exam Dates:
  • May 25 – June 1, 2021
Registration and Scheduling Windows Open:
  • August 20, 2020
Early Registration Deadline:
  • November 3, 2020
Registration Closes:
  • February 23, 2021
Scheduling Deadline:
  • March 25, 2021
Rescheduling Deadline:
  • April 16, 2021


Register for the CFA Exam

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

August 2021

Level II August Computer-Based Exam Dates:
  • August 31 – September 4, 2021
Registration and Scheduling Windows Open:
  • August 20, 2020
Early Registration Deadline:
  • February 2, 2021
Registration Closes:
  • May 4, 2021
Scheduling Deadline:
  • May 23, 2021
Rescheduling Deadline:
  • July 22, 2021


Register for the CFA Exam

Registration and CFA Exam Dates

November 2021

Level II November Computer-Based Exam Dates:
  • November 26 – 30, 2021
Registration and Scheduling Windows Open:
  • February 2, 2021
Early Registration Deadline:
  • May 4, 2021
Registration Closes:
  • August 10, 2021
Scheduling Deadline:
  • August 25, 2021
Rescheduling Deadline:
  • October 14, 2021

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Body of Knowledge

The Learning Outcome Statements and core concepts in the CFA® Program are built on the Candidate Body of Knowledge™ (CBOK), a practice-based curriculum that is determined by thousands of CFA charterholders from around the world.

Level II

Candidates are expected to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding of the tools and techniques that were introduced in the Level I curriculum, in addition to applications in asset valuation within the context of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

Master these concepts with a comprehensive Level II study package:

View Level II Packages

Exam Format

Level II

Beginning in 2021, there will be two Level II exam windows in each year; the first in May and the second in August. For 2021 only, CFA Institute added an additional exam window in November.

Additionally, all CFA exams in 2021 and beyond will be offered in a computer-based format.

  • Format: item set or “mini-cases” - Each item set contains a vignette (with an average length of 1.5 pages)
  • Questions:
    • 21 item sets or “mini cases”
    • Morning Session: 10 item sets; Afternoon Session: 11 item sets
    • 18 item sets will have 6 multiple-choice questions and 3 item sets will have 4 multiple-choice questions
    • Exam is graded for 360 points, corresponding to the number of minutes on the exam

Our Level II study packages are built to replicate the exam, leaving no surprises on exam day. Begin your preparation today.

Level II Study Packages

Topic Weights by Level

Level II

  • Ethical and Professional Standards: 10–15%
  • Quantitative Methods: 5–10%
  • Economics: 5–10%
  • Financial Reporting Analysis: 10–15%
  • Corporate Finance: 5–10%
  • Equity Investments: 10–15%
  • Fixed Income: 10–15%
  • Derivatives: 5–10%
  • Alternative Investments: 5–10%
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning: 10–15%

These topic weights were used to develop a Level II study plan you can follow to ensure complete coverage of the material. The study plan is included in all of our packages.

Level II Study Packages

Exam Results Available:

December 2020 Exam:

  • January 28, 2021

May 2021 Exam:

  • Within 60 days of the exam

August 2021 Exam:

  • Within 60 days of the exam

November 2021 Exam:

  • Within 60 days of the exam

CFA® Exam Requirements

Candidate Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to enter the CFA® Program, you must:

  • Have a U.S. bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree
    • or select an exam window that is 11 months or fewer before your graduation month for your bachelor’s degree or equivalent program. Understand that you must complete your degree program prior to sitting for level II.
    • or have a combination of 4,000 hours of work experience and/or higher education that was acquired over a minimum of three sequential years and achieved by the date of registering for the Level I exam.
  • Meet the professional conduct admission criteria (during the application process, you will be asked to sign statements of Professional Conduct and Candidate Responsibility)
  • Be prepared to take the exams in English
  • Have a valid international travel passport (required for enrollment and exam registration)

Enrollment and Exam Fees

To enter into the CFA Program, candidates must pay a one-time $450 registration fee in addition to the required enrollment fees for each Level. CFA Institute reference material and a partial mock exam are both included with candidate registration and enrollment.

CFA Program exam fees range from $700 to $1,000, depending on your CFA Program exam level and when you register.

How to Pass the 2021 Level II CFA® Exam