cfa-level-overview

CFA Exam Program

The CFA Program consists of three exams that are offered in select testing centers across the world. The difficult three part CFA exam is known as Level I, Level II and Level III and must be passed in sequential order (i.e.- Level I needs to be passed before taking Level II). All exams, no matter of location, are given in English to provide consistency and fairness.

The CFA exams are administered by the CFA Institute only.  Keep up to date with the exam dates as you will need to register prior to taking each test.

Candidates can register for only one exam at a time, and must wait to be informed of their exam results before registering for the next exam. Candidates who fail an exam are encouraged to retake the same level exam.

All exams are administered on paper in a single day, 2 times for 3 hours.

  • CFA Level I Exam: consists of multiple choice questions
    • Offered in June and December (usually first weekend of the months)
    • 240 multiple choice questions
  • CFA Level II Exam: composed of item set questions
    • Offered in June (usually first weekend of the month)
    • 120 multiple choice questions, organized as 20 six-question item sets
  • CFA Level III Exam: composed of item set and essay questions
    • Offered in June (usually first weekend of the month)
    • Session of constructed response, essay type questions and  a session of 10 six question items sets

CFA Exam

CFA Exam Scores

There is no overall score for the text, only Pass/Fail and a range in each topic area (below 50%, between 50% and 70% and above 70%). The candidates who do not pass an exam will be notified. The minimum score is not defined or published; but the minimum score is set by the Board of Governors.

Typical Exam Day Schedule

For each session, an appointed personnel will notify you when you start and stop.

  • Each exam day consists of 2 timed sessions (one on the morning and the other in the afternoon)
  • If you miss the morning session, you will not be allowed to sit the afternoon session
  • You must attend both sessions to receive your exam results

The following is a typical exam day schedule according to the official website of the CFA Institute.  Times may vary slightly.  

Morning Session
8:00am – check-in begins
8:30am – candidates must be seated in the assigned test room
9:00am – Session begins.  Passports and calculators are checked.
11:30am – Candidates must remain seated for the duration of the session.
12:00pm – Session ends

Afternoon Session
1:00pm – check-in begins
1:30pm – candidates must be seated in the assigned test room
2:00pm – Session begins.  Passports and calculators are checked.
4:30pm – Candidates must remain seated for the duration of the session.
5:00pm – Session ends

All candidates must remain seated until all exam materials are collected, this normally takes 10 to 20 minutes.

Other items regarding the CFA exams

  • Only two calculator models are allowed.  Hewlett Packard 12C & 12C Platinum and the Texas Instruments BA II Plus & BA II Plus Professional.
  • Mobile phones or other electronic devices are prohibited from the test room.
  • Use of abbreviations is acceptable in answering the essay portion of the exam.
  • Water or other liquids is prohibited.
  • Scratch paper will not be given out.  You may, however, do scratch work in the exam book on question pages or blank pages.
  • Only a #2 pencil can be used on the answer sheet.
  • Medicines, tissues and other medical or personal items can be kept in your pockets or under your chair.
  • There is no dress code for exams.
  • There is no refund if you cannot sit for the exam on your assigned day.

Passing all three CFA exams and obtaining your CFA Charter gives you a leg up on your competition and accelerates your career as a Financial Analyst.

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