CFA® Exam Level 1, 2 & 3 Curriculum and Changes

What Changed and What Did Not?

One of the biggest concerns candidates face during their CFA® exam preparation is the amount of time spent analyzing the recent CFA exam curriculum changes. Being aware of the curriculum changes in advance can be beneficial in certain situations.

For example, those who have not yet registered for the 2023 exam but want to begin studying early would want to confirm that the material they are studying will be included in the updated curriculum. Additionally, candidates who are looking to purchase used study materials from previous years for the next exam would benefit from knowing about curriculum changes. Those who have failed this year's exam and are preparing to retake it in 6-12 months, with the knowledge of minor curriculum changes, can re-use the existing third-party study materials.

CFA Exam Curriculum and Topics/Syllabus

It is important to note that the CFAI® exam curriculum is comprehensive and covers the material tested on the CFA exam. The CFA exam syllabus is divided into three levels, each covering investment management and analysis topics. Level 1 covers ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, and economics, while Level 2 covers financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, and portfolio management. Level 3 focuses on asset valuation and portfolio management.

Here’s a list of the topics for CFA exam L1, L2, and L3:

CFA Exam Level 1 & 2 Topics

CFA Exam Level 3 Topics

Economics

Economics

Alternative Investments

Alternative Investments

Derivative Investments

Derivative Investments

Equity Investments

Equity Investments

Ethical and Professional Standards

Ethical and Professional Standards

Fixed Income Investments

Fixed Income Investments

Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

Quantitative Methods

N/A

Financial Statement and Analysis

N/A

Corporate Finance

N/A

Each year, the CFA Institute updates the exam material to reflect the ever-changing landscape of investment management and the market in general. Naturally, this raises the need to keep up with curriculum changes. Knowing what has changed and whether topic weights have been updated is critical when selecting study resources and ensuring that you only prepare what is required. This is especially important if you failed the CFA exam last year and don't know what to do next.

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Changes to the CFA Exam Curriculum in 2023

Through careful examination of practices and the creation of a new curriculum, significant updates have been made to Level 2 for 2023. These revisions, along with previous changes made in 2022, are intended to provide candidates with a more current understanding of investment practices.

Some of the key changes for 2023 include the breaking down of the Multiple Regression content into smaller, more manageable sections. Corporate Restructuring has been updated to include more spreadsheet modeling, and Real Estate has been split into three parts with simplified content.

Why Is Knowing the Curriculum Changes Important?

Knowing the curriculum changes ahead of time is beneficial in many ways. Aside from assisting candidates in understanding the importance of each topic for the exams, students looking to get a head start before the 2023 exam can see these changes in advance of their study preparations.

But in some cases, knowing the changes is of greater importance, especially if you are:

A Deferring Candidate
Candidates who have been deferred will be tested on the new curriculum (2023). Knowing the changes can help them focus on what is required and eliminate readings that will no longer be included. Not only will this save them a lot of money, but it will also be a huge plus to their study schedule.

A Returning Candidate
Candidates who have failed previous exams will be subjected to a retest using the new curriculum. Knowing about the curriculum changes can help them focus on the new learning objectives and disregard those that have been wiped out. Needless to say, a better understanding of the curriculum will help them score better on the CFA exam.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Only the CFAI makes any changes to the CFA exam curriculum. The institute does this to stay up-to-date with current topics and challenges that professionals in the investment management industry face. There’s no clear guideline regarding the frequency of the syllabus being changed. Typically, about 2-5% of the syllabus gets changed over a year.
The CFA exam Institute’s curriculum for the CFA exam is updated annually and can be found on the CFAI website, which candidates can easily access.

Read More About the CFA Exam

Are you worried about upcoming exam dates? For those confused by the changing timetables, here is a handy summary of new dates and frequencies.
Looking for the most up-to-date information on CFA exam scoring and pass rates? Check out the most recent statistics to know how much time you’ll need to study for the exam.
Want to know more about the eligibility criteria to sit for the CFA exam? Learn more about the eligibility, enrollment criteria, and all the deadlines.
Looking to learn more about the prerequisites for the CFA exam? Here is a detailed read regarding the registration criteria and the rest of the costs involved.
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