CFA® Exam Formulas

Your One-Stop Guide

While memorizing the CFA® formulas would be ideal, understanding why they work is often just as crucial. For example, because the CFA Level 1 exam is primarily conceptual, rote memorization isn’t enough, and since each level requires a different approach when it comes to preparation, there’s definitely a lot more to just "knowing the formula."

CFA Formula Sheets

CFA formula sheets are an excellent supplement to your CFA readings and other CFA study materials, and should be immediately available. We help you understand the utility of CFA formulas so that you can then derive related formulas as needed, instead of memorizing each and every one.

CFA Level 1 Formula Sheet

The CFA Level 1 formula sheet from UWorld Finance includes a description of each equation used on the CFA Level 1 exam, such as the Efficient Global Minimum Variance Portfolio (a method that represents all portfolios of risky assets in the investment opportunity set) and DuPont analysis. It's structured by subject, starting with Quantitative Methods and Economics, which are heavy on formulas. Following that, you'll delve into Corporate Issuers and Equity Investments before moving on to Derivative Investments, Portfolio Management, and Fixed Income.

NOTE: You won't be allowed to carry the formula sheet to the exam, but it serves as a valuable resource throughout your CFA studies.

CFA Level 2 Formula Sheet

The CFA Level 2 formula sheet from UWorld Finance is as valuable as the Level 1 formula sheet. It provides an overview of all the main equations featured on the CFA Level 2 exam and is structured by the topics you’ll need to study as you prepare. One such CFA Level 2 formula is the Sharpe ratio: (asset return - risk-free rate) / asset standard deviation. This metric manages risk across assets while assessing return on the same scale.

CFA Level 3 Formula Sheet

The CFA Level 3 exam requires the most preparation and study time, and UWorld's CFA Level 3 formula sheet is one of the most useful study resources available. It will assist you in understanding ideas and organizing information by providing an overview of all the necessary Level 3 formulas (organized by topic area). The UWorld CFA Level 3 formula sheet will not be with you on exam day, but it’s one of the most useful study aids available as you prepare for the last phase of your CFA journey.


Our SimpleSheets feature provides a fast reference for locating and remembering the essential formulas, definitions, and ideas from all of our CFA review courses. It's free to download and print, or you may use it as an online tutorial.

SimpleSheets are your easy access to Level 1 and Level 2 Formulas!

Importance of Memorizing CFA Exam Formulas

The quantity of information CFA candidates must retain can be intimidating. On top of the core curriculum, topics, and learning outcome statements (LOS) is a mountain of related formulas. UWorld's CFA formula sheets help organize everything by including classified formulas for each chapter of the CFA program. This is also helpful because, as you advance, the ability to grasp topics and demonstrate your knowledge becomes more critical.

Why Use UWorld's CFA Formula Sheets?

Most CFA candidates reinforce their understanding of concepts by working through various tasks that necessitate the usage of formulas. Repetition will help you recall their structure and use. Going through the UWorld CFA QBank and CFA mock exam questions is the ideal way to put what you've learned into practice.

UWorld Finance provides additional tools to assist you in repeating these principles until they are memorized:

  1. SmartCards and ReadyDecks: Nothing surpasses comprehending the fundamental ideas, but our intelligent flashcards and prefilled flashcard decks featuring spaced-repetition technology help you better remember CFA exam formulas. Our smart flashcards "hack your brain" by repeating complicated topics at strategically timed intervals using spaced repetition.
  2. SimpleSheets: Use our SimpleSheets to study and recall essential CFA formulas on exam day. Our SimpleSheets contain the basic formulas for all disciplines where formula-based questions are expected. Our SimpleSheets, active-learning QBank, SmartCards, and ReadyDecks will help you learn and remember CFA content. On exam day, your greater memory retention and recall will provide you with a competitive advantage, increasing your odds of passing the first time.
  3. Calculator Keystrokes: When leveraging the Uworld QBank, questions that require calculations offer you assistance with the keystroke sequence needed to find the correct answer for both TI and Hewlett Packard calculators.

An example of key-stroke assistance:

TI BA II Plus Example:

HP12C Example:

Understanding the Concepts Behind the Formula

Almost all CFA formulas for numerous areas, such as fixed income, equity income, and derivatives, are based on one core principle. Understanding the linked ideas and formula is frequently a rapid step if you comprehend the concept. Not only will you understand where the formulas originated from, but you will also be able to recall them more readily. Understanding and using a concept to create a formula is far simpler than remembering several formula.

For example, knowing that:

CCC = DOH + DSO – DPO may easily conclude that DPO = DOH + DSO – CCC

When preparing for the CFA exam at each level, make sure to include formula sheets in your study strategy. Not only are the CFA formula sheets a tried-and-true resource for organizing information and understanding ideas, but they are also an excellent practice tool for individual or group learning. Whether you're studying covariance, liabilities, depreciation, anticipated return, or inventory turnover, UWorld's CFA formula sheets and other study tools provide you with everything you need to become a Certified Financial Analyst.

Read More About the CFA Exam

Want to know where you stand when it comes to actual testing conditions? Try our CFA mock exams and QBanks to get that extra edge in your preparation strategy.

Looking to get some information about the CFA exam? Here’s all you need to know about the CFA exam difficulty, the pass rates, the subject topic lists, and much more.

It sure is perplexing when enrolling in the CFA exam for the first time. With extensive and up-to-date information on the dates, fees, and much more, registration has never been easier.

Looking to better understand the CFA passing score and passing rates? Here’s all you need to know about the historical pass rates and the recent updates to give you an extra edge.

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