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​CFA Exam Info & Tips

Why the CFA Program Is Right for You

As an aspiring or practicing investment professional, you need the knowledge and skills to thrive in a highly competitive industry. The CFA Program is designed to equip you with the kind of expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis that will help you advance your career. Whether you are a practicing investment professional, a student, switching careers or looking to start a career in this field, the CFA Program offers a way to move forward and achieve your professional goals.

What Is a CFA Charter?

A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) charter is a designation given to those who have completed the CFA® Program and completed acceptable work experience requirements.

The CFA Program is a three-part exam that tests the fundamentals of investment tools, valuing assets, portfolio management, and wealth planning. The CFA Program is typically completed by those with backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics, or business. CFA Charterholders earn the right to use the CFA designation after program completion, application, and acceptance by CFA Institute. CFA Charterholders are qualified to work in senior and executive positions in investment management, risk management, asset management, and more.

CFA Program Benefits

Demonstrate Your Expansive Knowledge and Skills:
CFA charterholders occupy a range of investment decision-making roles, typically as a research analyst or portfolio manager. CFA charterholders go on to enjoy lifelong careers in asset and wealth management, investment banking, commercial banking, and consulting, alongside a diverse range of career paths in and outside the industry. 

Relevant in a Variety of Career Paths:
Designed with your future in mind, the CFA Program provides a strong foundation in advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills. Ongoing input from industry experts ensures that the curriculum remains relevant and prepares Charterholders to enter today’s market.

Value in an Evolving Industry:
As a globally recognized credential in the investment management profession, earning the CFA charter demonstrates to employers that you have the knowledge and commitment to thrive in today’s complex and evolving investment industry. The CFA® designation is a mark of distinction, and investment firms know it represents a higher standard.
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About the Exams

Each of the three CFA Exams varies in length. Each session is a self-contained unit: i.e., one cannot answer morning session questions in the afternoon. 

Questions about exam day? 

 Level ILevel IILevel III
Question Format
180 Multiple choice questions88 Vignette-supported multiple-choice questionsVignette-supported essay questions and vignette-supported multiple-choice questions
Session LengthTwo sessions: 2 hours, and 15 minutes eachTwo sessions: 2 hours, and 12 minutes each
Two sessions: 2 hours, and 12 minutes each
Exam Results Availability
Within 60 days of taking the examWithin 60 days of taking the examWithin 90 days of taking the exam
​10 Year Average Pass Rate
​42%
​45%
​54%

​Learn more about Level I
Learn more about Level II
Learn more about Level III


Tools and Resources for Your Journey to Becoming a CFA Charterholder

CFA Institute has developed a comprehensive Learning Ecosystem that is available to all registered candidates. It includes an official program curriculum, study sessions for each level, custom study plans, and more.

View the complete list of Exam Tips & Tactics here
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Topic Weightings

Not all topics are given equal weight at each level of the CFA Exam. Although variations exist from year to year, and the categorization of multi-faceted problems are open to some interpretation, CFA Institute's estimate of the relative importance of the different topical areas for the different levels of the CFA Exam is as follows:

CFA Exam Tips and Reminders - Topic Weightings.pdf

Prep Providers

In addition to the support provided by CFA Institute, candidates in the CFA Program can benefit from extra exam prep courses and materials. Approved prep providers are required to meet CFA Institute standards.


ProviderLevels
Bloomberg Exam Prep (by Mindojo Ltd)
Level I | Level II | Level III
BPP Professional EducationLevel I | Level II | Level III
Fitch Learning
Level I | Level II | Level III
IFTLevel I | Level II | Level III
Kaplan Schweser (DF Institute, LLC)Level I | Level II | Level III
LevelUp, LLCLevel I | Level II | Level III
Mark Meldrum, Ph.DLevel I | Level II | Level III
Salt SolutionsLevel I | Level II | Level III
Wiley
Level I | Level II | Level III


Scholarships

As part of the CFA Institute's commitment to promoting the highest standards of professional excellence, scholarships help make the CFA Program more accessible for people who want to advance in their careers.

Learn more here


Source: CFA Institute