2021 CFA® Exam Info

Candidates studying for any of the 2021 CFA® exam at Levels I, II and III : we have compiled essential information to help guide you through the process.

Comprehensive CFA® 2021 Exam Information

Candidate Eligibility Requirements (effective March 3 2021)

To enter the CFA® Program, you must:
• Have a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree
◦ or be in the final year of your bachelor’s degree program at the time of registration and your selected exam window must be 11 months or fewer before your graduation month for your bachelor’s degree or equivalent program. Understand that you must complete your degree program prior to sitting for level II.
◦ Have a combination of 4,000 hours of work experience and/or higher education that was acquired over a minimum of three sequential years and achieved by the date of registering for the Level I exam. If you have a combination of work experience and higher education to achieve the minimum hours and years, assume that higher education takes 1,000 hours per year.
• Meet the professional conduct admission criteria (during the application process, you will be asked to sign statements of Professional Conduct and Candidate Responsibility)
• Be prepared to take the exams in English
• Have a valid international travel passport (required for enrollment and exam registration)
• Live in a participating country

If you are coming from a non-financial background you should consider taking our exam support courses, the Essential Fnancial Maths and the Introduction to Accounting short courses.

Enrolment and Exam Fees

To enter into the CFA Program, candidates must pay a one-time registration fee.
Additionally, you must pay the required exam enrolment fees for each Level.
CFA Institute reference material and a partial mock exam are both included with candidate registration and enrolment.
Early Registration Fee: $700 from Registration Window Opens until Early Registration Deadline
Standard Registration Fee: $1000 from Early Registration Deadline until Registration Closes

Exam Structure, Duration, Format & Results

Level I

  • Question Format: Multiple choice question.
  • Structure: 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 in order to receive an exam result.
    First session (2 hours, 15 minutes): 90 multiple choice questions, covering the topics of ethics & professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, and financial reporting and analysis.
    Second session (2 hours, 15 minutes): 90 multiple choice questions, covering the topics of corporate finance, equity, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments and portfolio management.
  • Results available: Within 60 days of taking the exam.
  • Pass rate: ranges from 36%-49% since 2010, with a 11-year average of 42%

Level II

  • Structure: The CFA Level II exam consists of item sets comprised of vignettes with accompanying multiple-choice questions.
  • Duration: The computer-based exam will be approximately 4.5 hours, split into two sessions with an optional break in-between.
  • Item sets: each consists of a vignette followed by either 4 or 6 multiple choice items (questions). There will be 44 multiple choice items in each of the two sessions, for a total of 88 for the entire exam, each worth 3 points.
  • Multiple-choice items: in each item set these must be answered based on the information in the vignette making items not free-standing (as in the CFA Level I exam). You need to refer back to the vignette before answering each item.
  • Results available: Within 60 days of taking the exam
  • Pass rate: ranges from 39%-55% since 2010, with a 11-year average of 45%

Level III

  • Structure: The Level III exam consists of item sets comprised of vignettes with accompanying multiple-choice items and constructed response (essay) questions.
  • Duration: The computer-based exam will be approximately 4.5 hours, split into two sessions with an optional break in-between.
  • CFA Exam Constructed Response (Essay) Format: The first session of the CFA Level III exam is comprised of 8 to 11 constructed response (essay) questions. Each essay question on the exam consists of a vignette followed by several related items that require a written response. There will be some multiple-choice items in this session, as well. For example, you may be asked a multiple-choice question to select the portfolio (A, B or C) that meets a particular objective, followed by an essay question to justify that response.
    Essay questions have varying point values. At the start of each essay vignette, the total point value for that essay will be stated. For time management purposes, consider 1 point to equal 1 minute of time to be spent on that essay question.
  • CFA Exam Item Set Format: The second session is comprised of 44 multiple choice items, each worth 3 points. Each item set on the CFA exam consists of a vignette followed by either 4 or 6 multiple choice items (questions).
    Both essay and multiple-choice items must be answered based on the information in the vignette. Hence, the items are not free-standing (as in the CFA Level I exam). You will need to refer back to vignette before answering each item.
  • Results available: Within 90 days of taking the exam
  • Pass rate: ranges from 46%-56% since 2010, with a 11-year average of 53%

Exam Topic Weights

Topic Weights Level I Level II Level III
Ethical and Professional Standards 15-20% 10-15% 10-15%
Quantitative Methods 8-12% 5-10%
Economics 8-12% 5-10% 5-10%
Financial Reporting and Analysis 13-17% 10-15%
Corporate Finance 8-12% 5-10%
Equity Investments 10-12% 10-15% 10-15%
Fixed Income 10-12% 10-15% 15-20%
Derivatives 5-8% 5-10% 5-10%
Alternative Investments 5-8% 5-10% 5-10%
Portfolio Management 5-8% 10-15% 35-40%

 

May 2021 Exam Level I, II & III

Registration Window: Passed
Scheduling Window Opens: Passed
Early Registration Deadline: Passed
Pay by Invoice Deadline: Passed
Registration Closes: Passed
Scheduling Deadline: 25 March 2021
Rescheduling Deadline: 16 April 2021
Level I Exam Window: 18 – 24 May 2021
Level II Exam Window: 25-29 May 2021
Level III Exam Window: 25-27 May 2021
Early Registration Fee: $700 from now until 3 November 2020
Standard Registration Fee: $1000 from 4 November 2020 until 23 February 2021

July 2021 Exam Level I

Registration Window Opens: Passed
Scheduling Window Opens: Passed
Pay by Invoice Deadline: 10 March 2021
Early Registration Deadline: 10 March 2021
Registration Closes: 20 April 2021
Scheduling Deadline: 11 May 2021
Rescheduling Deadline: 22 June 2021
Level I Exam Window: 18 – 24 July 2021
Early Registration Fee: $700 from Registration Window Opens until Early Registration Deadline
Standard Registration Fee: $1000 from Early Registration Deadline until Registration Closes

August 2021 Exam Levels I, II & III

Registration Window Opens: Passed
Scheduling Window Opens: Passed
Early Registration Deadline: Passed
Pay by Invoice Deadline: Passed
Registration Closes: 4 May 2021
Scheduling Deadline: 23 May 2021
Rescheduling Deadline: 22 July 2021
Level I Exam Window: 24 – 30 August 2021
Level II Exam Window: 31 August – 4 September 2021
Level III Exam Window: 1 – 8 September 2021
Early Registration Fee: $700 from Registration Window Opens until Early Registration Deadline
Standard Registration Fee: $1000 from Early Registration Deadline until Registration Closes

November 2021 Exam Levels I, II & III

Registration Window Opens: Passed
Scheduling Window Opens: Passed
Early Registration Deadline: 4 May 2021
Pay by Invoice Deadline: 4 May 2021
Registration Closes: 10 August 2021
Scheduling Deadline: 25 August 2021
Rescheduling Deadline: 14 October 2021
Level I Exam Window: 16 – 22 November 2021
Level II Exam Window: 26 – 30 November 2021
Level III Exam Window: 23 – 25 November 2021
Early Registration Fee: $700 from Registration Window Opens until Early Registration Deadline
Standard Registration Fee: $1000 from Early Registration Deadline until Registration Closes

Please, note that all deadlines are 23:59 ET (Eastern US Time).

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