CFA® Level 3 Exam
Aced the CFA® Level 2 exam? Congratulations! The CFA® Level 3 exam is the third and final exam required by the CFA Institute. You will receive your CFA Charter once you have passed Level 3 and have at least 48 months of relevant work experience and the required references.
Unlike the first two levels, which focus on basic financial knowledge, investment valuation comprehension, and application, the CFA Level 3 exam focuses on portfolio management and wealth planning. According to recent changes in the CFA exam dates and frequency, the CFA Level 3 exam will be held twice a year in 2023: February and August.
What Is the CFA Level 3 Exam Format?
The CFA Level 3 exam is conducted twice a year with both item-set and essay-type questions. The Level 3 exam takes place over a 4-hour and 24-minute period split into two 2-hour and 12-minute sessions. Candidates can also take an optional break.
The morning session (Session 1) features 8 to 11 open-ended essay-type questions. Each question has multiple parts, such as A, B, C, and so on, which help you organize your answer in a template. These questions will present you with a situation that requires an apt recommendation or solution.
The afternoon session (Session 2)will have 10 item sets, divided into 44 Multiple Choice Questions beginning with a case statement and ending with six multiple-choice questions. At approximately 52%, Level 3 has the highest pass rate for all levels over the last 10 years.
CFA Level 3 Topics Overview
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning account for a sizable portion of the CFA Level 3 exam. It also covers seven topics divided into two categories: Ethical and Professional Standards, and Asset Classes.
|5||Ethical and Professional standards||10-15%|
|6||Fixed Income Investments||15-20%|
|7||Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning||35-40%|
Here are some brief pointers about the most crucial CFA Level 3 topic—Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning:
- Portfolio management concepts will be predominant in both the morning and afternoon sessions.
- The curriculum is extensive and introduces new behavioral finance concepts that serve as the foundation for financial decision-making.
- The topic also covers concepts like risk management, including tools and techniques for measuring and managing risk.
- You will most likely be tested on individual and institutional wealth questions.
Registration, Scheduling, and Exam Requirements
The CFAI has set some CFA eligibility requirements you must meet to register for the exam. Naturally, to sit for the CFA Level 3 exam, you must first pass the CFA Level 1 and 2 exams. After meeting the eligibility requirements, the CFA registration process is similar to Level 1 and Level 2.
Some pointers to consider:
- Clear the CFA Level 1 and Level 2 exams.
- Make sure you have the particulars of your CFAI account.
- Pay the fees per your selected payment window.
- Accept the ‘Candidate Agreement’ and submit the Professional Conduct Statement. After registering, you must schedule your exam date within the exam window of your choice. While the scheduling deadlines are much like those of the Level 1 exam, the rescheduling deadlines are usually a little longer for levels 2 and 3.
2022 Registration Fees
- Early Registration: $700
- Standard Registration: $1000
2023 Registration Fees
Beginning with the 2023 exam cycle, the price of the one-time enrollment fee will decrease from $450 to $350, while the cost to register for each exam will increase from $700 to $900 for early registration and from $1,000 to $1,200 for standard registration.
|Type of Registration||Feb 2023
|Early Registration Due Date||Aug 2022||Feb 2023||$900|
|Standard Registration Due Date||Oct 2022||May 2023||$1200|
Scheduling and Rescheduling your Level 3 Exam
The CFA Level 3 exam, unlike the Level 1 has a slightly more extended rescheduling period with an additional $250 fee per rescheduling. The entire process is aided by a dedicated platform known as ProScheduler.
It is important to note that registering for the exam is a two-step process. You must first register, then schedule your appointment. During the registration process, you will see test center options from among 400 locations, with confirmed available seating. If you don't see your preferred location listed, keep checking back because the CFAI regularly updates the appointment availability.
To increase the participation of all candidates for the CFA exams, the CFAI offers scholarships that offer a considerable discount on the registration fee. You can also apply for UWorld’s CFA® scholarship, which recognizes deserving CFA candidates based on merit and involvement (Level 3 candidates will be included in 2024). The scholarship covers everything you need to prepare for and take the exam. Each recipient will receive over $1,400 in tools and financial aid, including a full scholarship to UWorld's Elite-360 Course, CFAI one-time enrollment, and the CFAI exam fee for the period chosen by the candidate.
Apart from this, the CFAI also offers about five scholarships with varying eligibility requirements and scholarship amounts. Before registering, visit the CFAI website for much more detailed information regarding the aforesaid scholarships.
Exam Center Locations
CFA exams are administered in over 400 locations worldwide. Candidates will see test center options during the scheduling procedure with confirmed available seating. Remember that registering for the exam is a two-step process: You must first register, then schedule your specific exam date and location. If you don't see your preferred location listed, try checking back since the CFAI regularly updates these specifics.
Looking for a more detailed overview of the exam center locations? CFAI's exam-center-location guide can help you sort through any confusion.
For the CFA Level 3 exam, you may only bring the following items to the test center:
- A CFA exam calculator (including the case and loose batteries)
- A valid international travel passport
- Eyeglasses (without the case)
- Additional personal items are allowed in the test center (if applicable), e.g., earplugs, medication, etc
- Personal baggage and food items aren't allowed inside the test center
CFA Level 3 Exam Curriculum Updates
The CFAI is well-known for revising sections of the curriculum every year to stay relevant and consistent with changes in the industry. Compared to 2021, modifications to the CFA Level 3 exam in 2022 are minor. The most recent CFAI level 3 curriculum changes are focused on fixed income readings, private wealth management, and performance evaluation.
Staying abreast of the newest changes in the CFA curriculum is critical to successful exam preparation:
Removed: Professionalism in the Investment Industry, The Behavioral Finance Perspective, Taxes and Private Wealth Management in a Global Context, Estate Planning in a Global Context
Added: Integrating Cases in Risk Management: Institutional
Major updates: Yield Curve Strategies, Fixed-Income Active Management: Credit Strategies, Topics in Private Wealth Management, Overview of the Global Investment Performance Standards