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Level II CFA® Program exam: Ethical and Professional Standards cheat sheet

In this series of revision posts, we ask your AB Maximus CFA® Program exam trainers to give you quick tips and essential advice for different chapters in the syllabus. Handy for revision or simply for a last minute review to make sure you’re thoroughly prepared – don't miss the chance to brush up on your knowledge and do a little extra prep!

A new Cheat Sheet topic is available every Sunday on the AB Maximus blog.

3 great study tips are: read the 'Guidance' section of the Standards of Practice handbook, do the practice questions, and note how Standards are worded.

1. Read the 'Guidance' section of the Standards of Practice handbook

The Standards of Practice Handbook might comprise the bulk of the Level I readings, but continues to be relevant in Levels II and III. There's probably no shortcut to learning the subject but to read this section thoroughly for each of the standards. It provides a detailed explanation on what each of the required standards means, or is intended to address. The section "Application of the Standard" provides examples of how these standards are upheld.

2. Do the practice questions

Doing the practice questions found at the back of the Standards Handbook is highly recommended, as is reviewing your answers against the detailed solutions provided. Note that certain parts of the Standards Handbook within the prescribed readings are marked "Optional Reading": these parts aren't tested and can be skipped if you're pressed for time.

3. Note how Standards are worded

Take note of the exact wordings prescribed in the standards, such as "in writing" and "current and prospective". Know what they mean and entail. For example, If "in writing' is specified when giving notice, then a mere verbal notice will not suffice. If "current clients" is mentioned but not "prospective", it would mean that "prospective clients" is not covered in that instance.

Students often get confused when it comes to: Readings that are outside of the Standards Handbook.

Sometimes, students struggle to deal with readings that are outside of the Standards Handbook. These could be cases related to the concepts found in the Handbook, or cover different areas/sub-topics, but which are not found within the book itself. Non-practitioner candidates tend to find it difficult to fully grasp the concepts, so it is best to seek out a practitioner or instructor to discuss these concepts or questions with.

A good resource is: CFA Institute readings.

Although there are many study aids (by different prep providers and schools) and different resources, candidates should focus only on the readings and sample exam questions prescribed for their specific exam level by CFA Institute and the Standards of Practice Handbook. Avoid relying on material from other sources that are not from the exam-setting body.

About the Author

Th’ng Beng Hooi, CFA, lectures on Ethics for AB Maximus & Co. He was previously VP for Dealing and Resource Development at a listed regional stock-broking firm and is the lead co-author of various financial regulatory examination study guides in Singapore and Malaysia.

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