What is the CFA exam?
If you want to set yourself apart from the competition by achieving the highest distinction in the investment management profession, you have a viable path. As a finance professional, you are always looking to maximize your value to your clients; your career should be no different. One significant way to advance your career is by becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®).
To attain this prestigious distinction, you must first pass the CFA exam. The CFA exam is a finance certification comprising three levels (I, II, and III) that evolve in complexity from one to the next. The CFA Institute offers the exams twice a year in June and December. There are several requirements to sit for the CFA exam, and a CFA candidate must pass all three levels to become a CFA charterholder. The CFA Institute recommends spending about 300 hours of study time per exam to pass the CFA exam successfully. Each CFA candidate has up to four years to pass all three levels.
What content is on the CFA exam?
- Level I exam is a broad array of topics that cover relevant areas needed in the finance industry including financial accounting, ethics, statistics, corporate finance, fixed income, and alternative investments.
- With Level II, the exam expands the curriculum into more detail and is more specialized in finance topics.
- By Level III, the exam is even further specialized in the areas of portfolio and wealth management. It also introduces essay questions that require you to combine many topic areas and apply them to real-world scenarios..
How many questions are on the CFA exam?
The CFA Level 1 exam comprises 180 multiple-choice questions and is taken in one day and split into two sessions—morning and afternoon. Each exam session (2) is 135 minutes long.
Paper-Based Testing: The Level I paper-based exam consists of 240 multiple choice questions, split between two 3-hour sessions. Candidates must take both sessions to receive an exam result.
- Morning session (3 hours): 120 multiple choice questions, covering all topics
- Afternoon session (3 hours): 120 multiple choice questions, covering all topics
Computer-Based Testing: The Level I computer-based exam consists of 180 multiple choice questions, split between two 135-minute sessions. There is an optional break between sessions. Candidates must take both sessions to receive an exam result.
- First session (2 hours, 15 minutes): 90 multiple choice questions, covering all topics
- Second session (2 hours, 15 minutes): 90 multiple choice questions, covering all topics
Is the CFA Level I exam difficult?
When should I take the CFA Level I exam?
- Have a bachelor’s degree or be in the final year of obtaining a bachelor’s degree;
- Possess four years of relevant work experience;
- Have a combination of four years of education and work experience.
When should I start studying for the CFA exam?
How is the CFA exam scored?
What is the CFA exam passing score?
How soon do I get my CFA exam results?
How many times can you take the CFA exam?
The CFA Level 1 exam is offered four times per year, typically in February, May, August, and November. In 2021, there were additional dates added to accommodate rollover from the COVID cancellations in 2020. Levels 2-3 will typically be offered two times per year, although some incremental dates were added in 2021 for COVID cancellations, as well.
You must first pass level I to take level II, and pass level II to take level III. The CFA Institute allows candidates to take as much time as needed to complete all three levels of the CFA program. How long it will take a candidate to pass all three levels and how many times a candidate may take the CFA exam will vary from one individual to another.
How much does it cost to take the CFA exam?
What calculators can I use on the CFA exam?
The CFA Institute has a concise list of approved calculators allowed in the CFA exams. They are not lenient on this, so it’s crucial to get the right calculator. If you don’t have the exact model of the approved calculator, you will not be allowed to use it in the actual exam. The Texas Instruments BA II Plus and the Hewlett-Packard 12C are the two models (and some variations) supported by CFA Institute. It’s up to you which one to choose.
CFA Institute does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services offered by UWorld Finance. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.
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