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CFA Exam Structure

CFA Level I


How Long Does the CFA Level I Exam Last?

The Level I computer-based exam consists of 180 multiple choice questions, split between two 135-minute sessions (session times are approximate). 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

Time Management Preparation for CFA Level I

Timing: On average, you should allow approximately 90 seconds for each multiple choice question. You may need more or less time, depending on the question and how well you understand the topic.

How to Study for the CFA Level I Exam?

The best way to study for the CFA Level I Exam is to follow the CFA program curriculum and give yourself enough time to learn the material in your ideal learning style. Here are some resources candidates have listed as being most helpful for their exam preparation:

· CFA Program curriculum

· CFA Institute online mock exams

· CFA Program approved prep providers

· CFA Program curriculum end-of-reading practice problems

· Study groups


CFA Level II


Structure: The CFA Level II exam consists of item sets comprised of vignettes with 88 accompanying multiple-choice questions.

Duration: The Level II computer-based exam will be 4 hours and 24 minutes, split into two equal sessions of 2 hours and 12 minutes, with an optional break in-between.

How Many Hours Does It Take to Study for the CFA Level II Exam?

The CFA® Program enables candidates to customize their preparation to match their individual needs and circumstances. Following are some numbers to consider in planning a study strategy for the CFA Level II exam.

· The average successful candidate reported spending 328 hours studying for the CFA Level II exam offered in June 2019.

· Since studying for the CFA Level II exam is self-paced, candidates will spend varying amounts of time preparing for the exam depending on how long they have until their exam date. For example, if a candidate spent a year preparing for the CFA Level II exam, the candidate would have needed to study about 27 hours per month.


CFA 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 Level III computer-based exam will be 4 hours and 24 minutes, split into two equal sessions of 2 hours and 12 minutes, with an optional break in-between.



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