What is CFA Exam?

Chartered Financial Analyst
CFA Practice Test

The CFA Exam consists of a series of three examinations (Levels I, II, and III) to be taken successively. Exams are given only once a year in June, except for Level I applicants, who also have the opportunity to take the test in December. The number of times you can take each exam is not limited, and you can spend as much time since you have to pass the exam.

The CFA Level 1 exam consists of basic knowledge and understanding questions based on investment instruments, while the CFA Level 2 examination includes more complex analysis and emphasis on asset valuation. 

The CFA Level 3 exam incorporates all concepts and analytical methods in several applications for effective portfolio management and capital planning.

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Getting Started with CFA Certification

What does CFA stand for?

CFA stands for the Chartered Financial Analyst Program. It is a specialized certification offered globally to investment and financial practitioners by the American-based CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research or AIMR).

What is the CFA Institute?

The CFA Institute is an international body that provides education to investment and financial practitioners. It also provides investment professionals with a code of ethics to follow and several certification programs they can complete. It is formerly known as the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR). Its principal mandate is to set and maintain high standards for the finance industry.

What are all subjects in CFA all levels?

The Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) and the core principles for the CFA exams are based on the Candidate Knowledge Body developed by the CFA Institute. While the material is revised per exam cycle, all three CFA test levels concentrate on the same 10 subject areas. Exam weights differ by standard and may differ slightly year by year. The following subject areas are covered:

                                       Topic Area                              Exam Weights
Level 1Level 2Level 3
Ethical and Professional Standards1510-1510-15
Quantitative Methods125-100
Financial Reporting and Analysis2015-200
Corporate Finance75-150
Equity Investments1015-255-15
Fixed Income1010-2010-20
Alternative Investments45-105-15
Portfolio Management75-1040-55

What opportunities does the CFA have?

Job opportunities following completion of the CFA program are as follows:

       • Portfolio Manager
       • Research Analyst
       • High-Level Investment Executives
       • Investment Banking Analyst
       • Corporate Certified Financial Analyst
       • Investment Strategist
       • Personal Finance Executive
       • Freelance Investment Consultant

CFA Test Structure and Format

How long is the CFA exam?

                 Level 1                 Level 2                  Level 3
Exam Structure240 multiple choice questions20–30 vignettes supporting 120 multiple choice questions20–30 vignettes supporting a variable number of constructed response and multiple choice questions
Exam Duration

Morning session: 3 hours; 120 questions

Afternoon session: 3 hours; 120 questions

Morning session: 3 hours; 10–15 vignettes supporting 60 questions

Afternoon session: 3 hours; 10–15 vignettes supporting 60 questions

Morning session: 3 hours; 8–15 vignettes supporting constructed response questions

Afternoon session: 3 hours; 10–15 vignettes supporting 60 multiple choice questions

Question FormatMultiple-choice questionsVignette-supported multiple-choice questionsVignette-supported constructed response questions and vignette-supported multiple-choice questions
CFA Results AvailabilityWithin 60 days of taking the examWithin 60 days of taking the examWithin 90 days of taking the exam
CFA Pass Rates

CFA Level 1 passing score


CFA Level 2 passing score


CFA Level 3 passing score


CFA Exam Costs and Registration Fees

CFA Registration cost vary depending as to when you choose to apply for CFA charter or the test, find out more about the CFA fees below.

One-time Enrollment Fee$450 USD
Early Registration Fee$700 USD
Standard Registration Fee$1,000 USD
Late Registration Fee$1,450 USD

Note: For the first-time registrants of the Level 1 exam, there is a one-time application fee of USD 450.

CFA Requirements

To become a CFA applicant, you must enroll for the CFA program before you can apply for the Level I test. You must meet all the CFA charterholder requirements mentioned below in order to be eligible.

● Have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or equivalent

       ○ Or be in the final year of Bachelor’s program at the time of registration.
       ○ Or have four years of professional, qualified work experience (doesn’t have to be investment-related)
       ○ Or a combination of job experience and college experience totaling at least four years. Part-time jobs are not 
             eligible, and a minimum of four years must be incurred before enrolment.

● Meet the criteria for admission to professional conduct (you will be told to sign professional conduct and                   applicant obligation statements during the CFA charter application process)
● Be ready to take the tests in English.
● Must have a valid International Travel Passport (required for registration and examination)
● Resides in a participating country

CFA Registration

To become a charterholder is a turning point for many financial professionals and shows a strong understanding of quantitative investment research and real-world portfolio management capabilities. To become a CFA charterholder, you have to:

1. Pass CFA Examinations – The CFA program consists of three curriculum levels, each with its own test. The                  completion of the three-level exam is a prerequisite to acquiring a CFA charter.

2. Achieve Accredited Job experience – Complete work expertise specifications before, during, or after participation        in the CFA program. Your experience should be directly involved in the investment choice-making process or in          the development of a work product that adds value to that process.

3. Submit Reference – You will have to provide 2-3 relevant sources to back up your membership application.                  References will be contacted for comment on your qualifications and work experience.

4. Register to be a Charterholder – Register to be a regular member of the CFA Institute. When your registration has        been accepted, and you have joined the CFA Institute, you will have received the CFA Charter.

CFA Scoring System

While the CFA Institute is extremely secretive in the way it grades the tests, it does give some details about its methods and the overall procedure. The CFA tests are both computer-graded and approved by the charterholders of the CFA.

For all multiple-choice parts in Levels 1, 2, and 3, the exams are machine graded. The essay section of the Level 3 exam is graded by the charterholders of the CFA who travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to grade these essays.

Once the exams have been graded, the CFA Governing board shall set the CFA minimum passing score (MPS) for each level. The goal of the MPS is to establish a uniform difficulty level and fairness throughout the exams. The MPS has not been released.

Since the CFA Institute does not disclose the MPS, it is impossible to determine your passing grade for each test. You do not get a numerical score when you submit the results of your CFA test. Alternatively, you will receive a:

● The “Pass” or “Didn’t Pass” result. “Pass” indicates that your performance has met or exceeded the MPS. “Didn’t          Pass” indicates that your score was lower than the MPS average.
● Overview of how you did each subject area covered by the test, as well as the total number of points you received     in each subject area. Instead of getting one rating for each subject area, the score range is less than 50 percent;         between 50 percent and 70 percent; or more than 70 percent for each subject area.

CFA Questions

Why did the CFA institute add cryptocurrency to their exam?

Investment managers and other institutional finance professionals are urging their customers to add cryptocurrency alternatives to their portfolios. These investment managers begin to talk to each other, and unavoidably at least some of them may be active members of the CFA Institute. The CFA Institute introduced a requirement for cryptocurrency knowledge, and thus decided to add it to their program.

How much does a CFA Salary?

According to the CFA Society, the CFA average salary for charterholders (in the U.S.) is roughly $300,000. The average basic Chartered Financial Analyst salary (CFA income) is approximately $180,000, leaving the balance to be divided between cash bonuses and equity or profit-sharing.

Is taking the CFA worth it?

CFA is among the best investments you can make in your financial CFA career. Benefits could take time to come. If you’re already an MBA, CFA is a great add-on in India. The job opportunities of CFA versus MBA can never be compared as an MBA requires more time, effort, and money and will certainly give you better options to get started. So if you pair it with a CFA certificate, you’re going to reap your returns in the long run.

Is CFA ethics same for all years?

Yes, for the most part. The CFA ethics shall be the same for each level and shall be assessed throughout all levels. If you’re very persistent in studying them at level 1, you’re going to reap the rewards at all following levels.

Why do CFA charterholders pay to remain a CFA member?

To maintain the charter, the holders must certify both the ethical status and the yearly requirements for professional development. As a member of the CFA Institute, qualified education is sponsored and promoted. Also, networking and social incentives are provided by staying a member of the organization that encourages career growth.

What Can You Expect on The Level 3 CFA Exam?

The CFA Level 3 test is required to obtain the CFA Level 3 certificate. It is the third and final exam in the CFA Institute’s three-part series. Successful completion of the final level, when combined with at least 48 months of relevant work experience, results in charter membership.

What’s the use of CFA designation?

In the text of magazine and newspaper articles, interviews, books, advertisements, and other textual or verbal contexts where use of the certification mark is impossible or impractical, the CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® marks should be used. When these marks are used in certain situations or applications, charterholders should make certain that reporters, authors, editors, publishers, and others are aware of the right usage requirements.

Is it worth reading CFA Secret Sauce?

Secret Sauce Kaplan (CFA Level 1 Secret Sauce & CFA Level 2 Secret Sauce) offers exam hints and ideas on how to prepare for and use your knowledge on exam day. Schweser’s team of experienced authors provide succinct, clear explanations of the essential sections of the CFA Program curriculum in the first section of this book.

Is Princeton Review a Best CFA Prep Course?

Nonetheless, these best CFA prep materials will help you pass the first few levels of the exam! The Princeton Review CFA course is a good place to begin studying for the CFA test.

What exactly is QBank CFA?

CFA QBank, a new online study tool, can help you consolidate your information in the run-up to the exam. It will allow you to improve your studies by allowing you to choose where you want to spend your practice. With 3,000+ questions for Level I, 2,500+ for Level II, and 1,500+ for Level III, you may create tests on any topic, study session, or reading you like. Choose the length of the quiz, keep track of your scores, and boost your confidence before the exam.

How long should you study for CFA level 1?

CFA candidates typically begin studying 6 to 4 months before to the exam. This isn’t to say that three months isn’t sufficient. The main thing to remember is that you’ll have to study virtually every day! How long is the CFA level 1 exam? The CFA level 1 exam takes roughly 300 hours CFA of study time on average. You’ll need to put in roughly 22 hours of study time per week to obtain those 300 hours.

Why is the CFA Exam Going Computer-Based?

Modernizing the exam’s (CFA computer based exam) administration ensures that the CFA charter remains relevant and valuable in the long run. CFA Institute will begin using CFA Computer Based Testing (CBT) for all three levels of the CFA Program in 2021. Greater flexibility, faster results, a better candidate experience, and an exam that represents today’s digital workplace are all benefits of this progression.

Chartered Financial Analyst jobs?

CFAs are trained in economics, financial reporting, corporate finance, and complex equities investing strategies and are focused on high-level investment management. CFAs frequently work for large corporations, conducting research and analysis for investment firms (CFA jobs).

Is cancelling CFA exam allowed?

CFA applicants will be able to withdraw or cancel their CFA tests, according to the CFA Institute. CFA candidates have until five days before the start of their exam window to request a CFA exam withdrawal of their exam registration. You will not receive a refund for the enrollment and registration fees if you withdraw or cancel your CFA Exam. These payments are not refundable or transferable to another CFA exam. About CFA rescheduling, if you need to reschedule your CFA exam, aim to do so before the deadline for your exam window. Any changes to your schedule must be approved by your CFA candidate tile.

CFA Test Dates 2021

Here’s the 2021 CFA exam dates or CFA schedule:
CFA Exam Level I 2021 – Remaining Windows
• May 18–24, 2021
• July 18–24, 2021
• August 24–30, 2021
• November 16–22, 2021

CFA Exam Level II 2021 Windows
• May 25–29, 2021
• August 31–September 4, 2021
• November 26–30, 2021

CFA Exam Level III 2021 Windows
• May 25–27, 2021
• September 1–8, 2021
• November 23–25, 2021

CFA Preparation Guide

The CFA exam is not just a test of one’s intelligence, but also of their stamina, hard work, creativity, and will. It is designed in a way to demonstrate one’s dedication to becoming a CFA charterholder. Like other standardized tests, learning to take the tests is just as important as knowing the content.

All three CFA exams are structured as a self-study program, but whether you choose to do it on your own or with the help of a tutor or a study course, there are some things you need to consider to prepare effectively for taking the tests. Here’s the best CFA prep:

1. Come up with a study strategy

In addition to the particular study skills that need to be learned to pass the tests, you need to develop a thorough study plan that includes time management, skill evaluation, and numerous previous and sample exams.

2. Consider self-study but don’t rely on it

While many have passed the CFA tests by studying on their own, this is certainly the most difficult method. The amount of information the candidate needs to absorb is so large that it could be overwhelming. This approach enables the candidate the greatest number of freedom to manage resources and time; however, those who are not diligent in studying consistently for six months or so until the test face the risk of leaving so much information to be learned in a short time.

3. Take a study course

There are a number of course options available, from weekly classroom programs to short-term immersion courses. Several local CFA companies are conducting pre-exam courses, and there’s an ample supply of third-party vendors offering similar services. The benefit of taking a course in preparing for the examinations is that it compels the candidate to focus regularly on some parts of the exam. In most of the courses offered, the students also need to take timely sample tests and help them to decide where their flaws lie.

CFA Code and Standards

The Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct (Code and Standards) is the international ethical standard for investment professionals. More than 20 languages have been translated into the Code and Standards. The advice provides practical examples of how to apply the Code and Standards to ethical challenges that may arise in members’ daily professional activities.