CFA® Program Practical Skills Modules (PSMs)
Learn about this exciting CFA program development and how it will help prepare you for your career.

What are Practical Skills Modules (PSMs)?

Practical Skills Modules (PSMs) are hands-on components incorporated into the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) curriculum to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Each module is crafted to enhance a candidate's understanding by applying concepts in the CFA curriculum to real-world scenarios, preparing candidates more effectively for careers in the finance industry.

How are PSMs structured?

PSMs combine video, multiple-choice questions, guided practice, and case studies covering key learning objectives. Each module takes 10-15 hours to complete, is self-paced, and is broken down into units.

When do PSMs open for candidates?

PSMs became mandatory starting in the 2024-2025 period, contingent upon the exam level you're pursuing. They can be completed upon registration, during exam preparation, or following the exam, but the PSM requirement must be fulfilled by the results’ release date to receive exam results. Notably, the content covered in a PSM is not subject to testing in the CFA exam.

  • Level 1 candidates — February 2024
  • Level 2 candidates — May 2024
  • Level 3 candidates — 2025
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What are the benefits of PSMs for candidates?

By focusing on practical skills, PSMs prepare candidates more effectively for careers in the finance industry, making them more competitive and capable professionals. For example, the “Python Programming Fundamentals” PSM teaches candidates to leverage Python libraries to obtain real-world financial data, make calculations, visualize data, and optimize portfolios, and ends in “capstone projects” that you can add to your resume.

What PSMs will be available?

So far, there are 4 PSMs between Level 1 and Level 2. They are:

Level I
  1. Financial Modeling - Construct sophisticated three-statement models using Excel to tackle real-world financial problems.
  2. Python Programming Fundamentals* - Learn the basics of Python and Jupyter Notebook for developing, presenting, and sharing data science projects related to finance. (can be taken for Level II)
Level II
  1. Analyst Skills - Develop essential skills employed by buy-side and sell-side equity research analysts, incorporating best practices and frameworks.
  2. Python, Data Science & AI - Learn to implement financial data science workflows with Python, employing sophisticated machine learning methods from forecasting EPS changes to sentiment analysis.
*Python Programming Fundamentals can be taken for Level I or Level II, but can only be taken once.

How do candidates access PSMs?

Candidates can access PSMs through the CFAI website.

Are PSMs Required?

You’re required to complete 10-15 hours of PSMs for each level to receive your CFA exam results. PSMs must be completed by the results release date.

If candidates fail the exam, do they still have to complete the PSM?

You won’t know if you failed if you don’t complete the required PSM before the exam result release date. However, if you’ve taken a PSM, fail, and have to repeat it, you will not have to complete another PSM for that level.

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