CFA®CFA® Tips and Tricks

What To Take to the CFA® Exam on Test Day

a student filling MCQs on the cfa exam

Whether this is your first time taking a CFA level exam or you’ve taken one before, we have all the information you need to prepare for exam day. All exams are administered at a Prometric test center. There are over 400 Prometric centers around the world that offer computer-based CFA exams.

When you registered for a CFA exam level, you should have received available seating options for the different Prometric test centers. After choosing a seat, you will receive separate instructions from the test center regarding lunch, parking, and any other information you may need to know.

It is recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before taking the exam to ensure that you have time to properly check-in. If possible, consider arriving 45 minutes early in case there are any delays with the registration process.

How Are Prometric Testing Centers Ensuring CFA Candidate Safety?

From the beginning of the pandemic and continuing today, Prometric has worked closely with several experts, including epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins University, to create their enhanced COVID-19 Safety Plan for their testing centers. These policies and procedures include increased training for test center staff, staff health checks, detailed cleaning protocols, mandatory mask-wearing, and reduced or flex capacity.

It should also be no surprise that social distancing protocols continue to remain in place and that instructions from staff and signage are to be adhered to while at a Prometric facility. For additional information, Prometric has provided the following helpful links to CFA candidates:

  1. What To Expect On Test Day
  2. COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Test Center Policies
  4. Site Status
  5. ProScheduler – Search Availability

What to Take to the Prometric Test Center

You will need to bring an original, valid, government-issued identification that includes both a photo and a signature to take any level of the CFA Exam. A valid international travel passport is preferred.

The following items are allowed in the testing room and must be in full view on your desk:

  • Approved calculator, which can only be from the following list:  includes the Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional) or the Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th-anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige).
  • Only soft earplugs (with no wires/cords attached) and center-supplied tissues are permitted in the test room.
  • Calculator cases and keystroke cards
  • Eyeglasses
  • Permitted personal items are included on a list that you can download here. Keep in mind that some allowable personal items might be inspected before admittance into the testing room.

Prometric testing centers will provide CFA candidates with a whiteboard or erasable writing tablet for use during the CFA Exam.

Prohibited items not allowed in the Prometric testing room include:

  • Weapons of any sort
  • Food or drink*
  • Electronic devices, phones, or cameras*
  • Unauthorized personal items such as wallets, bags, hair clips, or jewelry*
  • Written notes, published materials, or other testing aids except when allowed by your test sponsor.

*Keep in mind that some items, like phone, food, drink, or wallet, can be brought to the testing center, just not allowed inside the testing room. There is a designated area provided to CFA candidates for their personal items not permitted in the testing room.

What to Expect Upon Arrival at the Prometric Test Center

When you arrive at the Prometric testing center, you will be required to wear a mask during the entirety of your time there. If you fail to follow this rule, your exam will be terminated. Any face coverings with wearable technology or exhale/one-way valves are forbidden.

If you have been diagnosed or exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, you will not be allowed to take the CFA Exam. If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, the testing center will ask you to reschedule your exam. If you must reschedule your exam due to any COVID-related reason, you may contact Prometric directly to request reimbursement.

Once you enter the testing center, you will be scanned with a metal detector wand each time you enter the test room. You will also be required to raise your pants legs above your ankles, empty and turn all pockets inside out, and raise shirt sleeves above your wrists.

Candidates who take any CFA exam level in the United States must remove eyeglasses for visual inspection to ensure they do not contain a recording device. You must store any large jewelry items in a locker for this reason.

You may place any items not permitted in the testing room in a personal locker provided to each test taker at the testing center.

What to Expect During CFA Exam Testing

Once you have entered the testing room, you will need to keep the following in mind:

  • All test takers will be seated in a socially distant manner.
  • You will be provided with a laminated sheet or erasable writing tablet for use during the exam.
  • Light clothing items removed for comfort, such as sweaters or jackets, must be hung on the examinee’s chair, not placed in laps or on the workstation desktop.
  • Talking to candidates in the test room, referring to their screens, testing materials, or written notes is strictly prohibited.
  • If a test taker needs to take a scheduled or unscheduled break during the exam, they must sign out each time they leave the test room. Test takers can simply raise their hand if a break is needed.
  • If for any reason a test taker needs to visit their locker during the exam, Prometric requests that they only visit their lockers for food, drink, or medication(s). Anytime a candidate leaves the room, their time in and out will be recorded by a Prometric staff member.

What to Expect After CFA Exam Testing

CFA candidates will be asked to return to the administration area once they have completed their testing to sign out. Test takers must return all materials issued by the Test Center Administrator after testing. Once they have returned all materials, test takers may collect their personal items from their lockers and leave.

Prometric has implemented an effective plan to keep you safe during these unprecedented times. With so much uncertainty in today’s environment, one thing remains the same: the CFA Charter is the gold standard for finance professionals. Enhance your chances to sustain and advance your career to overcome economic uncertainty and refocus on your professional goals. Become a CFA charterholder!


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