The Level II CFA exam consists of 20 item sets — 10 in the morning session of the exam and 10 in the afternoon session.
Item sets are sometimes called “mini-cases.” Each item set on the CFA exam consists of a case statement and six multiple choice questions.
The six questions in each item set can only be answered based on the information in the case. Hence, the items are not free-standing (as in Level I), but are drawn from the case. You will need to read the case statement before answering the items, and you will need to refer back to it for information.
On the Level II exam, you will have a total of 120 items (20 vignettes with 6 items each) compared to 240 multiple choice items on the Level I exam.
The Level II exam is graded for 360 points, corresponding to the number of minutes on the exam. The 120 CFA Level II items are equally weighted, 3 points each, with no penalty for guessing.
When you are preparing for the Level II item set exam, remember:
- Re-read the Level I exam details to review the exam format conventions for multiple choice questions. These same “best practices” are followed for item set questions at Levels II.
- Expect to go slower on the Level II exam than on Level I. You are answering 50% fewer questions, but spending twice as much time thinking about each one (including time for reading and analyzing the vignettes).
- You may mark up your exam book. Circle or underline important information in the case and write down your equations or logic. However, only your final answers recorded on the answer sheets are graded.
- Mark your answers on the answer sheet as you complete each question. Some candidates mark their answers in the exam book and wait until the end of the exam to complete the answer sheet. This is not an advisable strategy.
- If you do not know the answer to a question:
- You might be able to eliminate one or more choices based on what you know about the topic. There is no penalty for guessing.
- Use reasoning and logic. The concepts that you know on one topic often apply to another topic.
- Expect to encounter questions that you will not be able to answer correctly. There is a great deal of material to master and exam questions are challenging.