Changes to the CFA® Program in 2021: computer-based testing

07 / 02 / 2020
Category: Blog

You may have read about some forthcoming changes to the CFA Program that will have quite a significant impact on the Level I timetable.
CFA Institute is moving the Level I exam of the CFA Program to being computer-based, with a wider range of examination dates through the year.

The key points to note are:

  • • There will be four “windows” of exams through the year, in February, May, August and November, beginning in February 2021. The windows will be up to seven days long at each location. Exam administration will be by Prometric and the range of test centres around the world is likely to be more extensive than at present. Exact dates and locations have yet to be published.
  • • The exam itself is reducing in length from 240 questions (over 6 hours) to 180 questions (over 4.5 hours). There should be no noticeable change in difficulty, minimum passing score or pass rate.
  • • Topic weights are changing from a fixed percentage (e.g. 15% for Ethics) to a band weight, as is currently the case for Levels II and III.
  • • The speed of progression through the exam is largely unchanged. An unsuccessful candidate will need to wait 6 months before resitting (e.g. from February to August 2021), with a similar gap before enrolling on Level II. Hence a November 2021 Level I candidate will be able to enrol, if successful, on Level II for June 2022. A February Level I candidate will not be able to sit the June Level II exam in the same year.
  • • Levels II and III are not affected by these changes. Decisions on transitioning these levels have yet to be made.

Overall, the changes are good news for candidates in terms of dates and flexibility. Other than the time of year, studying requirements are not in any way affected.

The curriculum will be published in a few months and we are already busy planning our Education and Revision materials so that we can support all candidates from the moment they enrol in a 2021 course.
We will publish 2021 timetables in plenty of time for candidates to plan their studying.

Further information on the changes can be found on the CFA Institute website.

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