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CFA® Level II Questions & Exam Format

CFA Level II Exam Structure and Duration

Structure: The CFA Level II exam has a total of 21 item set questions:

  • Morning session: 10 item set questions
  • Afternoon session: 11 item set questions

The CFA Level II exam includes a total of 120 items (18 vignettes with 6 items each and 3 vignettes with 4 items each, for a total of 21 vignettes) compared with 240 multiple choice items on the CFA Level I exam.

The CFA Level II exam is worth 360 points. The 120 items on the CFA Level II exam are equally weighted (3 points each) with no penalty for incorrect answers.

On the CFA Level II (and 3) exams, some topics are covered in the morning session only and other topics are covered in the afternoon session only.

Duration: The CFA Level II exam duration is 360 minutes (6 hours).

How Many Hours Does It Take to Study for the CFA Level II Exam?

The CFA® Program enables candidates to customize their preparation to match their individual needs and circumstances. Following are some numbers to consider in planning a study strategy for the CFA Level II exam.

  • The average successful candidate reported spending 328 hours studying for the CFA Level II exam offered in June 2019.
  • Since studying for the CFA Level II exam is self-paced, candidates will spend varying amounts of time preparing for the exam depending on how long they have until their exam date. For example, if a candidate spent a year preparing for the CFA Level II exam, the candidate would have needed to study about 27 hours per month.
  • On average, a typical candidate takes four years to pass all three exams. Successful candidates report spending about 300 hours studying for each level, ranging from 303 hours for the CFA Level I exam to 328 for the CFA Level II exam and to 344 for the CFA Level III exam.

CFA Level II Exam Question Format

When you prepare for the CFA Level II exam, remember to review the multiple choice question format details for the CFA Level 1 exam. This same question construction applies to the multiple choices presented in item sets.

CFA Exam Item Set Format

Item sets are sometimes called “mini-cases.” Each item set on the CFA exam consists of a vignette (or case statement) and either four or six multiple choice items (questions).

The length of a vignette ranges from about 1 to 2.5 pages. The average length of the vignettes on the exam is about 1.5 pages. Longer vignettes include several tables of information, such as for a financial statement analysis, statistics, or fixed-income item set.

The multiple choice items in each item set can be answered based on the information in the vignette. Hence, the items are not free-standing (as in the CFA Level I exam), but are drawn from the vignette. You will need to read the vignette before answering the items, and you will need to refer to the vignette for information. The multiple choice items can be answered independently of each other, but they do require information provided in the vignette.

Example CFA Level II Exam Questions

See some examples of the CFA Level II exam questions, but remember that the exam is based on the current curriculum. You can expect to see similar questions in terms of structure, format and level of difficulty, but do not expect to see the same questions repeated on future exams.

When Are CFA Level II Exam Results Released?

CFA Level II exam results are available within 60 days following your exam.

CFA Level II Exam Tips

You may mark up your exam book. Circle or underline important information in the vignette and write down your equations or logic. Note, however, only your answers recorded on the answer sheets are graded.

Exam questions referring to Financial Reporting and Analysis (FRA) are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) unless otherwise specified. When a question is based on U.S. GAAP, it will be stated in the question.

Take a CFA Level II mock exam to practice answering exam questions. This experience is designed to mimic the actual exam-day.

Be sure to review the CFA exam calendar for key dates and to meet pre-exam deadlines.

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