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When Is the CFA® Exam?

"When is the CFA® exam?" is one of the first questions you want to be answered if you’re planning to sit for the exam. This article has information about the CFA exam dates and schedules for each exam level.

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CFA Exam Schedule: A Regular Cadence for CFA Exam Dates and Schedules

In 2023, the CFA Institute will offer the CFA exam on a regular schedule. Level I will be offered four times a year in February, May, August, and November 2023. Level II will be offered three times a year in May, August/September, and November 2023. Level III of the CFA exam will be offered twice a year in February and August/September 2023.

2023 CFA® Exam Dates

The specific CFA exam windows/dates for each level of the CFA Program are as follows:

2023 CFA Level l Exam Dates

Level I Exam Date Window

Registration Deadline

Scheduling Deadline

Rescheduling Deadline

February 14-20, 2023November 8, 2022November 16, 2022January 13, 2023
May 16-22, 2023January 31, 2023February 15, 2023April 14, 2023
August 22-28, 2023May 9, 2023May 24, 2023July 21, 2023
November 11-17, 2023August 8, 2023August 16, 2023October 13, 2023

 

2023 CFA Level ll Exam Dates

Level II Exam Date Window

Registration Deadline

Scheduling Deadline

Rescheduling Deadline

May 23-27, 2023January 31, 2023February 15, 2023April 21, 2023
August 29 - Sept 2, 2023May 9, 2023May 24, 2023July 28, 2023
November 18-22, 2023August 8, 2023August 16, 2023October 20, 2023

 

2023 CFA Level lll Exam Dates

Level III Exam Date Window

Registration Deadline

Scheduling Deadline

Rescheduling Deadline

February 21-23, 2023November 8, 2022November 16, 2022January 20, 2023
August 29 - Sept 5, 2023May 9, 2023May 24, 2023July 28, 2023

 

Before you choose your CFA exam date, download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

August 2023 CFA Exam Registration Details

 

How Much Does the CFA Exam Cost?

CFA exam costs vary depending on when you decide to register for the exam but regardless there is a one-time enrollment fee of $350 the first time you register for the Level I exam. 

For each CFA level, early registration costs $900 and standard registration costs $1,200.  

Total CFA Program Cost »

How To Register for the CFA Exam in 2023

The CFA exam is administered to registrants in a computer-based testing format for three levels, which ended 60 years of paper-based testing for Level ll and Level lll.  To register for the CFA exam, you must first register with the CFA Institute; then you will be given the option to schedule your exam during one of the dates provided by the CFA Institute. 

Sign up for our question of the day and get a CFA question sent directly to your inbox every day to help you prepare.

What to Bring to the CFA Exam in 2023

The video below lists all materials you are required to bring to your CFA Exam day, plus more materials and supplies that can help you on test day.

 

Bring these materials to your CFA Exam:

  1. A valid international passport: this is the only type of identification that will be accepted for admission
  2. Your CFA Exam Admission Ticket: the CFA Institute will alert you when your ticket is available, at which point you should print it on clean paper
  3. An approved calculator: the TI BAII Plus or the Hewlett Packard 12C
    1. Tip: bring extra batteries and a backup calculator, if you have one
  4. Pencils: multiple sharpened #2 pencils
    1. High-quality erasers
    2. Pencil sharpener
  5. A sweater or jacket in case you get cold in your testing room
  6. A wristwatch to make timing as simple as possible
    1. FYI: Smartwatches are not allowed!
  7. Earplugs to help avoid distractions in your testing room

Do Not Bring these materials to your CFA Exam:

  1. Food
  2. Drinks
  3. Study/prep materials
  4. Phones
  5. Tablets
  6. Computers
  7. Highlighters
  8. Correction fluid
  9. Rulers
  10. Pencil cases
  11. Large purses/bags
  12. Scratch paper
  13. Unapproved calculators
  14. Calculator manuals
  15. Timers

What To Expect On Exam Day >>

Ready To Start Preparing for the CFA Exam?

As you get ready for your next CFA exam, consider making a Kaplan Schweser CFA study materials—complete with classes, study tools, exam prep study packages, and mock exams—the centerpiece of your mission to earn a passing grade.

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Posted by Kaplan Schweser - December 19, 2022
CFA Program Exam Dates

Kaplan Schweser vs. Wiley: CFA Prep

Picking a prep provider to help you succeed in your pursuit of the prestigious CFA designation can be difficult. Each provider offers different prep packages and individual study materials specifically developed to give you the best chance at passing each CFA exam. In this article, we compare Kaplan Schweser vs. Wiley to help you understand which products and services have proven to be most helpful and favored by CFA candidates. 

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Kaplan Schweser vs. Wiley: CFA Prep Package Comparison

CFA candidates rely on high-quality, easy-to-use study materials designed by experts that closely mimic the actual exam. Recent candidates have expressed their overwhelming satisfaction with the mock exams, practice questions, and study notes offered by Kaplan Schweser compared to Wiley.

“Kaplan Schweser is used by more CFA Level I candidates than any other CFA exam prep provider.”*


 

Kaplan Schweser

Wiley

24/7 Instructor Assistance

Community (Including Forums Access)

Diagnostic Exam

Live Review Workshops

Mock Exams w/Exam Sim

Performance Tracker

Activity Feed

Flashcards

Formula Sheets

Guarantees

Practice Questions

Study Notes

Video Lectures

 

Start a free trial and see how Kaplan Schweser’s core study tools will help you prepare for the CFA exam

 

Kaplan Schweser vs. Wiley: CFA Cost Comparison

Kaplan Schweser and Wiley offer three different CFA prep packages at different costs. Each provider’s prices are similar however candidates prefer Kaplan Schweser’s CFA prep packages over Wiley because Kaplan Schweser’s are seen by candidates as having a higher value and are more easily customizable for each person’s specific needs. 

“U.S. CFA Level I and Level II candidates consider Kaplan Schweser to be among the highest quality, most comprehensive, and easiest to use CFA exam prep providers in the industry.”*

Package Tier

Kaplan Schweser Cost

Wiley Cost

PremiumPlus

$1,299

$1,395

Premium

$999

$995

Essential

$699

$645

 

CFA Essential Exam Prep Package

Kaplan Schweser’s Essential Exam Prep Package turns your self-study path into a guided tour with concise study notes to help you master each exam topic.

CFA Premium Exam Prep Package

Kaplan Schweser’s Premium Exam Prep Package contains everything you need to be successful on exam day, including convenient OnDemand classes and review sessions that are led by the industry’s largest team of expert CFA instructors.

CFA Premium Plus Exam Prep Package

Kaplan Schweser’s PremiumPlus™ CFA Prep Package is an all-inclusive study package that contains the same tools found in the Premium Package but allows you to select a Live Online option for your Instruction and Review.

Wiley vs Kaplan Schweser: CFA Pass Protection

Kaplan Schweser offers Schweser’s PassProtection™, which means if CFA candidates need a second chance, their entire exam prep package for the next exam sitting will be free and this is included in all prep packages. Wiley’s also offers a “Partner Until You Pass” policy. if a candidate fails an exam, they will need to call in to renew their access with Wiley.  

Practice Question Comparison

CFA candidates want access to a large number of CFA practice questions that mimic the real exam when preparing for each level, especially when self-studying. Both Wiley and Kaplan Schweser offer a large number of practice questions but candidates prefer Kaplan Schweser’s QBank because they most closely match the actual exam and candidates have the ability to control their experience with different question difficulties, topic coverage, and create custom quizzes. 

Get a CFA exam question delivered to your inbox every day. Sign up for Schweser’s Questions of the Day

Mock Exam Differences

All Kaplan Schweser prep packages come with 6 CFA mock exams and exam sim which allows candidates to experience what the actual test will be like. Wiley offers 2 mock exams without exam sim which doesn’t allow candidates enough time to get comfortable with the testing software and develop effective test-taking skills. 

Kaplan Schweser also offers a free diagnostic CFA exam designed to give Level I candidates a way to evaluate their baseline knowledge of the Level I Program curriculum.

CFA Prep Course Formats

Flexibility in how prep courses are offered is an important aspect of what CFA candidates expect to have when choosing a prep course. Kaplan Schweser’s courses are available OnDemand and Live and recent CFA candidates have preferred Kaplan Schweser’s classes 2:1 over Wiley. No matter which format is chosen, with Kaplan Schweser, candidates have access to

  • A two-volume set of Class Workbooks containing material, examples, and questions to support instruction.
  • Access to the Kaplan Schweser Community forum, where they can engage with instructors and fellow candidates.
  • InstructorLink which gives them a direct line to expert instructors.

Curriculum Topic Lessons

Kaplan Schweser really exceeds Wiley’s curriculum prep content in terms of comprehensiveness and accuracy. Recent candidates strongly prefer Kaplan Schweser’s rigorous curriculum and felt challenged and better prepared for the actual exam when using an exam prep package from Kaplan Schweser.  

OnDemand Video Lectures

Both Kaplan Schweser and Wiley offer OnDemand video lectures for each exam level. Kaplan Schweser offers this option in prep packages and as an individual study resource. So both self-study candidates and traditional candidates have the option to use OnDemand video lectures to help them prepare.

One benefit of Kaplan Schweser’s OnDemand classes over Wiley is each candidate gets access to the Kaplan Schweser Community forum when they purchase an OnDemand class. The Kaplan Schweser community forum is a great place for candidates to continue learning after watching video lectures and ask follow-up questions to instructors and other candidates.  

Expert Online Mentoring

Kaplan Schweser has the industry's largest team of expert CFA instructors. Wiley gives candidates access to their instructors when they purchase a prep package but Kaplan Schweser gives candidates multiple ways to get in touch with their experts. Kaplan Schweser’s InstructorLink and Community forum provide candidates a direct line to their knowledgeable and experienced CFA instructors. 

Both options are included in individual study materials like OnDemand courses and all CFA prep packages. Candidates often express how Kaplan Schweser’s instructors helped them learn the curriculum and CFA-specific exam-taking strategies.

“U.S. CFA Level I and Level II candidates consider Kaplan Scwheser to be the most experienced CFA exam prep provider in the industry.”*

CFA Final Review Options

Both Wiley and Kaplan Schweser offer CFA Final Review products. Wiley’s 11th Hour Review course is available in their Platinum package or as an individual product. Kaplan Schweser’s Final Review products are also available as individual products in OnDemand and Live Online formats and in both Premium and PremiumPlus prep packages.

Kaplan Schweser vs. Wiley CFA Summary

When considering an exam prep provider, candidates look for quality, comprehensiveness, value for money, and ease of use which Kaplan Schweser consistently provides for all CFA candidates. Wiley offers some lower-cost prep packages but lacks comprehensiveness and value. Candidates typically use one exam prep provider in addition to their CFA Institute-provided materials for either Level I or Level II, and Kaplan Schweser is the most commonly used.   

“U.S. CFA Level I and Level II candidates consider Kaplan Schweser to be the leader in CFA exam prep.”*

Need Help Deciding Which CFA Prep Package is Right For You?

Contact Kaplan Schweser directly for more information or choose the best CFA Program study package for you. 

 



* These are the findings of a quantitative survey conducted by Kaplan between June 30 and August 30, 2021. For this survey, a sample of 313 U.S. CFA Level I and Level II candidates was interviewed online. The survey was fielded to subscribers of 300Hours.com and AnalystForum.com.

 

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Posted by Kaplan Schweser - November 15, 2022
Kaplan Schweser vs Wiley CFA Prep Comparison Guide

What Is the CFA® Charter?

The CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst®) charter is primarily a postgraduate professional designation that certifies the competence and ethics of financial analysts. According to CFA Institute, which offers the charter, it is the most respected and recognized investment management designation in the world. The process of earning the CFA charter will give you deep knowledge in the areas of investment analysis, asset management, and ethics.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. What Is A CFA Chartholder
  2. What Is The CFA Exam
  3. Common Roles and Industries For CFA Charterholders
  4. Format, Questions, Topic Weights For Each CFA Exam Level
  5. How Hard is the CFA Exam
  6. CFA Exam Pass Rates and Results
  7. Preparing For The CFA Exam

What is a CFA Charterholder?

CFA Institute has a global network of over 167,000 investment professionals and numerous societies around the world. The CFA charter is recognized by regulators, universities, and certification programs in at least 30 countries and territories. You’ll gain unmatched career resources and relationships by holding the charter and joining a CFA Society, as well as access to jobs around the world that require a CFA charter or candidacy. 

Requirements for Becoming a CFA Charterholder

  • Achieve the required work and/or educational experience. Before registering for the CFA level I exam, you need to have completed a bachelor’s degree, have two years remaining in your undergraduate studies, or have 4,000 hours years of combined work experience and/or undergraduate education.
  • Take the exams. Although passing even just Level I of the CFA exam is an impressive addition to your resume, you need to pass all three to become a CFA charterholder.
  • Submit reference letters. Submit two to three professional reference letters (two if one is an active member of the local CFA society to which you’re applying, three if not). Have a valid international passport and live in a participating country.
  • Complete your application to become a CFA charterholder. The CFA charterholder application requires that you have qualifying work experience in addition to your professional references.

How To Become a CFA Charterholder >>

Recent CFA Program Eligibility Changes

 

What is the CFA Exam?

The CFA exam is made up of three levels, each designed to test your knowledge of different investment tools and skills. You should expect to spend approximately 300 hours studying for each level. Candidates typically take between 4 and 5 years to pass all three levels of the CFA exam.

Considering the CFA charter? Download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

CFA Exam Topics

The Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) and core concepts on the CFA exams are built from the Candidate Body of Knowledge™, which is developed by the CFA Institute. While the curriculum is updated every exam cycle, all three levels of the CFA exam focus on the same 10 topic areas. Exam weights vary by level and can change slightly from year-to-year. The following topic areas are covered:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Issuers
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative Investments
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

The CFA curriculum is comprehensive and challenging even for experienced financial professionals. For candidates just getting introduced to the skills required of financial professionals, financial modeling courses can help enhance excel skills and prepare individuals for a shift into a finance or investment-related career.

Common Roles and Industries For CFA Charterholders

Many of the top financial firms employ CFA charterholders because they are seen as having attained the “gold standard” of the industry. Holding the CFA charter demonstrates mastery of a broad range of practical portfolio management and advanced investment analysis skills.

CFA charterholders guide businesses and individuals who are making investment decisions. Assessing the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments, they work in banks, pension funds, insurance companies, and other businesses. Some of the most common roles for CFA charterholders include:

  • Portfolio managers are in charge of a fund or group of funds, working with analysts, researchers, and clients to stay current on the markets.
  • Research analysts review data and market movements to make future predictions.
  • Risk managers help their company anticipate changes and avoid potential financial pitfalls.
  • Financial advisors typically help clients with investments, tax laws, and insurance product selection decisions.

The CFA Levels Explained

What is the CFA Level I Exam?

The CFA Level I exam is a computer-based, multiple-choice test that will take you approximately 4.5 hours to complete (broken into two 2.25-hour sections with an optional break in between). The CFA Level I exam is offered four times a year so find a CFA exam date that works for you. 

The pass rates for the Level I exam are the lowest of the three levels and you must meet certain qualifications in order to take the CFA Level I exam. 

CFA Level I Exam Format

Level I of the CFA exam tests knowledge and comprehension. The focus is on investment tools and ethical and professional standards. The Level I curriculum mainly focuses on recalling formulas and definitions from memory, and most of the material is a straightforward introduction to the concepts covered.

The Level I CFA exam covers 19 study sessions, 57 readings, and 10 topics. 

CFA Level I Exam Questions

There are 180 total questions in the CFA Level I exam, all of which are free-standing. There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so try to answer as many questions as you can. Each of the Level I exam questions is unrelated to the others and is usually a prompt, such as, “The period of time within which a hedge fund must fulfill a redemption request is called…” This is not the case for Level II and Level III.

Sign up for our question of the day and get a CFA question sent directly to your inbox every day to help you prepare.

CFA Level I Exam Topic Weights

CFA Exam Level I TopicsCFA Exam Level I Topic Weights
Ethics and Professional Standards15-20%
Quantitative Methods8-12%
Economics8-12%
Financial Statement Analysis13-17%
Corporate Issuers8-12%
Equity Investments10-12%
Fixed Income10-12%
Derivatives5-8%
Alternative Investments5-8%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning5-8%


Free CFA Level I Study Resources »

What is the CFA Level II Exam?

The CFA Level II exam is a computer-based, 4.5-hour exam similar to Level I in administration method and timing, but the questions on the CFA Level II exam are vignette-based, not free-standing. In 2022, the CFA Level II exam will be offered three times. The pass rate for the Level II exam historically hovers between 45% and 46% depending on the timeframe.

That means that even though fewer candidates sat for the Level II exam than Level I and less than half of them passed. It is generally believed by CFA charterholders that Level II is the hardest level.

CFA Level II Exam Pass Rates >>

CFA Level II Exam Format

Level II of the CFA exam tests application and analysis with a focus on asset valuation. Unlike Level I, Level II focuses on how you apply standards to situations that analysts face. 

Top 10 Differences Between Level I and II >>

CFA Level II Exam Questions

The CFA Level II exam has 88 multiple-choice questions that cover 48 readings and has 14 study sessions. The Level II exam has questions organized as “item sets,” each based on a shared situation, called a vignette, with four to six multiple-choice questions that go deep into a single topic. 

Be prepared to demonstrate that you can apply tools and relationships to the analysis of financial data and the valuation of assets. Memorizing concepts should not be your focus; instead, you need to show you understand how to use them. 

Each vignette uses a combination of text, tables, financial statements, and more to describe a business scenario. Learn how to scan through a vignette quickly and pick out the pieces of data needed to answer a particular question.

Free CFA Level II Exam Practice Questions »

CFA Level II Exam Topic Weights

The 10 topics for the CFA Level II exam are the same as Level I, but at Level II, CFA Institute provides a different range of topic weights. For example, Portfolio Management in Level II can have a weight anywhere from 10–15% (each 5% weighting represents one item set on the exam). Ethical and Professional Standards, Financial Statement Analysis, Equity Investments, Fixed Income, and Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning are the key topics for passing the 2022 Level II with topic weights of 10–15%.

You can register for Level II of the CFA exam once you pass Level I. 

Free CFA Level II Study Resources »

What is the CFA Level III Exam?

The CFA Level III exam is a computer-based, 4.5-hour exam, but the format is significantly different from Levels I and II. The CFA Level III exam requires you to demonstrate the same skills as Level II, but you also have to show that you can make judgment calls and that you can write about them. The exam is also more subjective than Level II.

Free CFA Level III Study Resources »

CFA Level III Exam Format

The constructed-response section of the Level III CFA exam is Level III’s biggest difference from Level II and Level I. You must answer open-ended questions on a blank piece of paper without any answers to choose from.

The CFA Level III exam has 16 study sessions and 38 readings, and the exam only covers seven topics. It excludes Financial Statement Analysis, Quantitative Methods, and Corporate Issuers.

CFA Level III Exam Questions

The first session of the CFA Level III exam is comprised of 8 to 11 vignettes followed by several questions that require a written response." ... "The second session of the CFA Level III exam 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 questions. In total there are 52 - 55 questions on the CFA III exam.

The Level lll CFA exam integrates more topics in a question than Level II. For example, a question may combine the concepts from Study Session 3, Behavioral Finance, and Study Sessions 12 and 13, both on Private Wealth Management.

Free CFA Level III Exam Practice Questions »

CFA Level III Exam Topic Weights

The weightings of the topics are also in ranges, with Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning weighted the heaviest at 35–40%, followed by Fixed Income at 15–20%, and Ethical and Professional Standards, both at 10–15%.

The pass rate for Level III is the highest of the three levels. It is usually over 50%.

CFA Level III Exam Pass Rates >>

CFA Difficulty: How Hard is the CFA Exam?

The CFA exams are notorious for their difficulty. Rather than just answering how difficult is the CFA? We’ve asked some of our former students, who are now CFA charterholders, to provide their opinions on the question.

“It is one of the most difficult exams in the world.” – Hu Jia, CFA

“Having already passed the CMA, CFM, and CPA programs, I was overwhelmed with the amount of study and preparation that was required for the CFA Program.” – John Mario Furtado

It’s definitely tough. Our students have said it’s harder than any other designation program they’ve ever done. But, that makes getting through the program even more rewarding.

“Finishing the charter was one of the best feelings of accomplishment I’ve ever had in my career.” – Tim Davis, CFA

Achieving the CFA charter is no small feat, but all of the former students we talked to said it’s worth the hours of commitment. It is a true test of perseverance and discipline. The sky’s the limit if you can commit to preparing for it!

Join Kaplan Schweser’s Expert CFA Instructors for a Series of Free Webinars Discussing How to Pass the Exam and Earn the Charter

CFA Exam Pass Rates & Exam Results

Everyone who takes a CFA exam is provided with a “pass” or “did not pass” exam result and a summary of performance in each topic area. Level I and II results are released within 8-10 weeks of the exam date and Level III within 10 weeks.

View Latest CFA Exam Pass Rates » 

To pass, a candidate needs to meet the minimum passing score (MPS), which is never given and varies year to year, which can make it difficult to interpret the results of your CFA exam. Candidates will receive an indicator of the score range for each topic area instead (<50%, 51–70%, >70%), along with their final result. Level III candidates are provided with only two topic area summaries: one reflecting the essay portion and one reflecting the item set portion.

Individuals who do not pass the exam are also given more information about their performance relative to all other candidates who did not pass. All candidates who did not pass are divided into 10 equal score bands, which shows how well an individual score compares with the overall scores of others who did not pass.

Leverage a CFA Exam Study Plan

Preparing a thorough CFA study plan is the best way to ensure effective CFA Exam preparation that will help you pass the exam.

 

How to Study for the CFA Level I Exam in 6 Months

Ready to start preparing for the CFA Exam?

As you get ready for your next CFA exam, consider making a Kaplan Schweser CFA exam prep package—complete with classes, practice exams, and mock exams—the centerpiece of your mission to earn a passing grade.

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Posted by Kaplan Schweser - November 1, 2022
What is the CFA charter

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Level I of the CFA® Exam

If you have considered sitting for CFA level I exam, you probably have questions. You’re always welcome to reach out to our knowledgeable Student Support team with any questions you have about preparing for the exam. We’ve also created this article to answer some of the most common questions we receive from people preparing to take the first step toward becoming a CFA charterholder.

What is the CFA® charter?

Let’s start with the basics. The Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) charter is a professional designation administered by CFA Institute. According to CFA Institute, it’s the most respected and recognized investment management designation in the world.

How do I earn the CFA charter?

To earn the CFA charter, you must pass three levels of the exam in order: Level I, Level II, and Level III. Each exam builds on the mastery demonstrated by achieving a passing score on the previous exams.

Join Kaplan Schweser’s Expert CFA Instructors for a Series of Free Webinars Discussing the CFA Program

Is the CFA charter a degree?

It is not a degree. It’s a professional credential that demonstrates mastery of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management. Candidates often weigh the benefits of the CFA charter against those of an MBA, which may be a contributing factor in this common misunderstanding.

What To Expect on the CFA Level I Exam?

Candidates should expect the CFA Level I exam to be complicated. Candidates should take their prep seriously and anticipate using an approved CFA calculator when answering the 180 multiple-choice questions in 4 hours and 30 minutes.

 

What is the date for Level I of the CFA exam?

The Level I CFA exam is offered multiple times per year so find a CFA exam date that works for you.

Considering the CFA charter? Download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

Can I postpone my CFA exam after I’ve registered?

You can only postpone your CFA exam after you’ve registered in specific circumstances, mostly related to medical reasons. It’s easier to withdraw, but unless you withdraw within three days of registering, you will have to pay the registration fees again and re-register. There are many CFA exam postponement rules for candidates to be aware of, especially if you think you can’t take the exam on the scheduled date.

What are the requirements to sit for the CFA exam?

An individual wishing to enroll in the CFA Program and register for the Level I exam for the first time must possess an international travel passport. In addition, candidates must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or two years remaining in your undergraduate studies
  • Have accumulated 4,000 hours of applicable professional work experience (not required to be investment-related)

Candidates may also have a combination of full-time professional experience and education that totals a minimum of 4,000 hours. Those hours of experience/education must be accrued prior to enrollment in the program. Continue learning about enrollment requirements for the CFA Program.

What is the format of Level I of the CFA exam?

The exam format is computer-based with 180 multiple-choice questions. There are two 2 hours and 15 minute session times.  Learn about the best way to study for the CFA Level I exam

What subjects or topics are tested on the Level I CFA exam?

The Level I exam will cover the following topics:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Issuers
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative Investments
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

What are the weights of the topics of Level I of the CFA exam?

The weights of the Level I exam topics are subject to change on a year-to-year basis, at the discretion of the CFA Institute. Currently the Level I CFA exam weights and topics are:

TopicExam Weight
Ethical and Professional Standards15-20%
Quantitative Methods8-12%
Economics8-12%
Financial Statement Analysis13-17%
Corporate Issuers8-12%
Equity Investments10-12%
Fixed Income10-12%
Derivatives5-8%
Alternative Investments5-8%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning5-8%

 

How much time does it take to study for the exam?

The average candidate for Level I of the CFA exam should spend a minimum of 300 hours over the course of six months preparing for the exam.

How hard is the exam?

The CFA exam as a whole is difficult by design. It’s an exclusive designation that truly demonstrates mastery of the investment management field.  Continue learning about what makes the CFA Program the most respected and recognized investment management designation in the world

How is Level I of the exam graded?

CFA exam grading is done by machines and charterholders. CFA Institute then uses a methodology to determine a minimum passing score that is applied to each exam. Our article on how the CFA exam is graded at all levels has all the details.

What is the Level I CFA exam pass rate?

Knowing the pass rate for the CFA exam is an important metric to know considering only 20% of candidates who begin the program actually earn the charter, according to the CFA Insitute. You can greatly improve your odds of success by learning from other candidates’ experiences and avoiding common pitfalls in your preparation. 

How much does it cost to sit for the exam?

How much you'll pay to sit for the Level I exam depends on how early you register. First of all, there is a one-time CFA enrollment fee of $350. In addition, you must pay an exam fee each time you register to sit for an exam. CFA Institute has early and standard deadlines, and the price goes up the later you register.

The early registration fee is $900. If you register by the standard deadline you'll pay $1,200. There are two really good reasons to register early.

  1. You will save $300, which you could put towards CFA exam prep.

  2. The earlier you commit to sitting for the exam, the sooner you can begin preparing.

    Total CFA Program Cost »

    Contact Kaplan Schweser

    If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to the Kaplan Schweser Student Support team for the answers you need to take this next step in your career.

    Ready To Start Preparing for the CFA Exam?

    Looking for more guidance on how to prepare for Level I of the CFA® exam? Enroll in one of our CFA Level I Premium study packages to receive expert instruction, CFA Program study materials, and more. Give yourself the best chance to prepare, practice, and perform on the CFA exam.

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    Posted by Kaplan Schweser - November 1, 2022
    Level 1 CFA exam FAQS

    How to Become a CFA® Charterholder

    If you’re wondering how to become a CFA charterholder, you’ve probably realized that it’s a great way to set yourself apart in the financial industry. Not only will your job prospects improve with the charter, but you’ll gain global recognition and real-world expertise that will help you better serve your clients for the rest of your career. The path to becoming a CFA charterholder is challenging, but it can open new doors to you in global finance.

    Here are the four main steps you’ll need to follow to earn your charter.

    Step 1: Pass the CFA Exam

    To earn the CFA charter, you first have to pass the CFA exams. There are three exam levels (I, II, III) with unique topics and learning focuses. The topics include investment tools, asset valuation, and portfolio management. Each exam will test different learning focuses. The CFA Level I exam focuses on knowledge and comprehension, while CFA Level II exam is more application- and analysis-based. The CFA Level III exam focuses on synthesizing information and making evaluations. Make no mistake: these exams are challenging. According to CFA Institute, candidates spend an average of 300 hours preparing for the exam for each level and will find it easier with CFA exam prep.

    It takes many candidates more than one attempt to pass each level. If you do not pass a level, you can take it again the following exam season.

    There are a number of different ways to fulfill the education and work experience requirements to enroll in the CFA Program. If you are new to the industry, you need to have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or two years remaining in your undergraduate studies. If you have been working in the industry, and you have 4,000 hours of relevant work experience or a combination of professional work and university experience that totals 4,000 hours, you are also eligible to start the CFA Program.

     

    Step 3: Become a Member of CFA Institute

    Before you receive your charter, you have to become a member of the CFA Institute. You can become a member while you are in the process of getting the charter or wait until the end. The application process has three phases, and it typically takes a few weeks to get approved. To apply, you need to have passed at least Level I of the CFA exam or the self-administered Standards of Practice Examination, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education/work experience, 4,000 hours of professional work experience in investment decision-making, and three professional references are also required. You are also strongly encouraged to join a local CFA Society to network with your peers and take advantage of local continuing education opportunities.

    Step 4: Abide by the Code of Ethics

    The Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct is the ethical benchmark for investment professionals around the world. As a CFA Program candidate or CFA Institute member, you are required to abide by the Code and Standards. The Code maintains that you must place the interests of your clients and the integrity of the profession above your own interests and that you must act with respect and professional competence.

    Ready to Learn More About How to Become a CFACharterholder?

    We have five good reasons why you should become a CFA charterholder.

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    Posted by Kaplan Schweser - November 1, 2022
    How to become a CFA charterholder

    CFA® Charter Requirements

    The CFA® charter requirements include specific educational prerequisites, an exam, work experience, and CFA Institute membership. Although meeting these requirements can be challenging, becoming a CFA charterholder can open many doors for you in global finance. You also gain real-world expertise that will help you better serve your clients for the rest of your career. This article breaks down the requirements in detail to help you understand what you need to do to earn the charter.

    Pass the CFA Exam

    To earn the CFA charter, you must first pass the CFA exam. There are three exam levels with unique topics and learning focuses. The topics include investment tools, ethics, asset valuation, and portfolio management. Each exam level tests different learning focuses. Level I focuses on knowledge and comprehension, while Level II is based on applying concepts and analysis. Level III focuses on synthesizing information and making evaluations, and a portion of it has an essay section called constructive response.

    The CFA exam is challenging. According to CFA Institute, candidates spend an average of 300 hours preparing for the exam for each level, and many find it easier with exam prep packages. It takes many candidates more than one attempt to pass each level. If you do not pass a level, you can take it again the following exam season.

    CFA Pass Rates »

    Requirements for taking the CFA Exam

    • Meet the CFA exam education prerequisite: To sit for the exam, you’ll need to have earned a bachelor’s degree or have two years remaining in your undergraduate studies. However, if you have four years of relevant work experience, or you have a combination of university education and work experience that totals four years, you could be eligible to take the exam.
    • Have the proper documentation: To register for the Level I exam for the first time, you must have an international travel passport. It is the only form of identification accepted at the exam centers.
    • Enroll in the CFA Program: The CFA Program is a self-study, graduate-level curriculum. You can start your enrollment from this CFA Institute web page.
    • Understand the exam language: All three levels of the CFA exam are administered only in English.
    • Live in a country where CFA Institute conducts business: Individuals who live in certain countries cannot take the CFA exam because of U.S. laws, sanctions, and trade regulations. CFA Institute has all the details.

    Are you thinking about taking the CFA exam? Download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA® Exam eBook.

    Recent CFA Program Eligibility Changes

    Meet Work Experience Requirements

    To become a charterholder, you must have 4,000 hours of professional work experience with a focus on investment decision-making in no less than 36 months. Internships are accepted as experience if they are paid and full-time. In addition, if you own a business or work with a family business, that business can qualify you if your work is full-time, and you are paid for it.

    Become a Member of CFA Institute

    To receive your charter, you must become a member of CFA Institute. You can become a member while you are in the process of getting the charter or wait until the end. The application process has three phases, and it typically takes a few weeks to get approved. To apply, you must have:

    • Passed at least Level I of the CFA exam
    • Earned a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education and work experience
    • Provided three professional references

    You are also strongly encouraged to join a local CFA Society to network with your peers and take advantage of local continuing education opportunities.

    How To Study For CFA Level I »

    Abide by the Code of Ethics

    As a CFA Program candidate or CFA Institute member, you are required to abide by the Code and Standards of Professional Conduct, which are the ethical benchmarks for investment professionals around the world. The Code maintains that you must place the interests of your clients and the integrity of the profession above your own interests and that you must act with respect and professional competence.

    Ready to Learn More about How to Become a CFA Charterholder?

    If you’re thinking about becoming a CFA charterholder, we have five good reasons why you should get started. If you’re planning to take the CFA exam, explore our CFA study materials.

    Read Article
    Posted by Kaplan Schweser - November 1, 2022
    CFA requirements to become a CFA Charterholder

    CFA® Exam Requirements: How to Qualify to Sit for the Exams

    If you are considering the CFA charter, you have probably heard about the exams you have to pass first. The three exam levels (I, II, and III) have unique topics and learning focuses that include investment tools, asset valuation, and portfolio management. To take the exams, you’ll have to complete the following 5 steps.

    1. Meet the CFA® Exam Education Prerequisite

    To sit for the exams, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or two years remaining in your undergraduate studies. However, if you have 4,000 hours of relevant work experience, or you have a combination of university education and work experience that totals 4,000 hours, you are also eligible to take the exams.

    2. Have the Proper Documentation

    To enroll in the CFA Program and register for the Level I exam for the first time, you must have an international travel passport. If you don’t have one and want to know more about obtaining one, this Wikipedia article has useful information.

    Join Kaplan Schweser’s Expert CFA Instructors for a Series of Free Webinars Discussing the Process of Earning the Charter

    3. Enroll in the CFA Program

    You’ll need to enroll in the CFA Program to take the exams. CFA Institute describes the program as a “self-study, graduate-level” curriculum. You can start your enrollment from this CFA Institute web page. Passing all three levels of the exams will demonstrate your mastery of the CFA Program and its curriculum.

    Considering the CFA charter? Download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

    4. Understand the Exam Language

    The CFA exams are administered only in English, so you should speak English and understand the English curriculum well in order to take the exam.

    5. Live in a Country Where CFA Institute Conducts Business

    Individuals who live in certain countries cannot take the CFA exam because of US laws, sanctions, and trade regulations. In addition, some individuals who live in countries where the exam is permitted still may not be eligible because of their specific designations. This CFA Institute web page explains it in detail.

    What's Next After These Requirements?

    If you meet all five of these requirements and want to take the exams, your next steps should be:

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - November 1, 2022
      How to Qualify to Sit for the CFA Exams

      Can I Earn the CFA® Charter without a Finance Background?

      Is it possible to earn the CFA® charter without a finance background? You can sit for the CFA exam without one, but to complete the process of becoming a charterholder, you will have to get experience by working in certain finance positions. In this article, we’ll break this all down for you, starting with the requirements for earning the charter, and show you how you can do it even if you haven’t studied or worked in finance.

      Requirements for Earning the CFA® Charter

      To become a CFA charterholder, you need to:

      1. Have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or two years remaining in your undergraduate studies. If you have 4,000 hours of relevant work experience or a combination of professional work and university experience that totals 4,000 hours, you are also eligible to start the CFA Program.
      2. Take and pass Level I, Level II, and Level III of the CFA exam.
      3. Become a member of CFA Institute (which costs $275 USD and requires agreeing to abide by its code of ethics).
      4. Provide CFA Institute with proof that you’ve been working full-time for 4,000 hours in an investment decision-making role or with a product that contributes to that process. This can include any work experience you had before passing the exam, as well as after.

      As you can see, the first three steps do not require a finance background. As a result, there are definitely CFA charterholders who have taken the CFA exam without finance experience. As one charterholder wrote in a Quora comment, “It is a great learning experience if you want to quickly understand what finance is generally about. It provides a good, general picture.”

      Considering the CFA charter? Download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

      Recent CFA Program Eligibility Changes

      Tips for Studying for the CFA Exam

      If you haven’t studied or worked in finance before, here are some study tips that can help you prepare for the exam and increase your chances of passing it:

      • Learn the differences between the CFA exam levels. Read this article about the difference between Level I and Level II and then read this one about Level II and Level III. Knowing the differences will help you with your study plan for each one.
      • Develop your study plan 9 months before you sit for each level of the exam. CFA Institute recommends a minimum of 300 hours of study. However, you should plan to put in about 360 hours (or more) to allow for learning concepts that finance practitioners already know. Set aside the first 120 hours for reading and listening to lectures. Then, spend 150 hours or so working through practice questions. Your final 90 hours should be dedicated to simulating exam conditions with practice and mock CFA exams to assess how ready you are. Mock exams can also help you learn how to stay calm on exam day.
      • Make all CFA Institute Learning Outcome Statements part of your plan. The Learning Outcome Statements (LOS), CFA Program curriculum, and core concepts from CFA Institute help you determine what to study. Follow them in the order that they’re presented, and make sure you put extra time in on ethics.
      • Stick to your plan with the help of CFA exam prep courses. To stay on task, take a CFA exam prep course, and treat it like a university class. Read the relevant material beforehand, get rudimentary ideas of the topics to be covered, and compile any questions you want to ask.
      • Consider how to apply each concept in the real world. If you’re not sure, ask someone with experience for assistance. Joining a local CFA Society, visiting online forums on reddit, or attending financial education meetups can connect you with resources who can help with this.
      • Take a break if you start feeling overwhelmed. At some point, you might start wondering if all the work is worth it. Don’t give up. Instead, take a few days or a full week off. Don’t answer any more practice questions, and don’t open a book. You’ll be surprised at how a short break can motivate you to return to your studies.

      How to Study for the CFA® Level I Exam in 6 Months

      What about the Work Experience Requirement?

      The general consensus of CFA charterholders who started without a finance background is that gaining work experience is the biggest hurdle. A good rule of thumb is to look for a position as soon as you pass Level I of the exam. The kind of jobs you can get after passing Level I are intern, accountant or assistant accounting manager, investment administrator, fund analyst, investment product analyst, and junior equity research analyst.

      To find a job, apply the determination you used to pass the exam to your search. You should also network as much as possible. If there is a CFA society where you live, you should join it (if you haven’t already) as part of your job search. Besides offering opportunities for networking via events and volunteering, many CFA societies have professional development programs and specific career assistance. You should also use contacts from LinkedIn, attend career fairs, and participate in professional finance events.

      If you do find work after passing Level I or Level II, here is a helpful article about how to study for the CFA while working full-time.

      Ready to Take on the CFA Charter?

      If you’re ready for the challenge, CFA study materials are an excellent option for professionals or students without a finance background who want to become charterholders.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - November 1, 2022
      CFA without Finance Background

      Most Frequently Asked Questions About Level III of the CFA® Exam

      By this point, you’re a CFA® exam veteran. After passing the Level I and Level II exams, your confidence is strong. That confidence is an asset, but don’t take your foot off the gas just yet. Passing Level III is going to take some work. We answer questions every day from candidates preparing to sit for Level III of the CFA exam, and we developed this article based on the most common ones, giving you all the information you need as you take this final step in your mission to earn the CFA charter.

      What To Expect on the CFA Level III Exam?

      Candidates will have 4 hours and 24 minutes to finish the exam and should expect to demonstrate advanced portfolio management and wealth planning knowledge. A new question format called constructed response questions or essay questions will be introduced which will require candidates to justify or explain their answers.

      What Makes Level III of the CFA® Exam Different?

      The Level III exam is markedly different from the previous two levels. The most significant difference is that you have to write. It’s no longer just multiple-choice questions. If you learn and can recall the appropriate factoids, you’re going to pass the exam. But CFA Institute really throws you for a loop on Level III by changing the format of the test. Level III CFA exam questions are more like case studies. There’s math involved, but it often can’t be reduced to a single equation. Level III essentially tests your ability to effectively do what employers will expect of you as a CFA charterholder.

      Because the exam is so different, you also need to drastically adapt your preparation strategy in order to pass. Not adopting a Level III-specific preparation strategy is a primary reason candidates who did well on the previous two levels struggle when they get to Level III.

      What is the Format of Level III of the CFA Exam?

      The Level III exam is computer-based and includes two exam sessions. Each session is a mix of either 5 constructed response (essay) sets and 6 item sets or 6 essay sets and 5 item sets for a total of 11 sets of questions per exam session. All question sets are worth 12 points. Each essay sets test your real-world application of the curriculum by presenting you with a scenario that you must solve or advise on. Each multiple-choice item set begins with a case statement and then asks four multiple-choice questions related to the statement.

      When is Level III of the CFA Exam Offered?

      The Level III exam will be offered twice a year, but the months differ. You can learn more in this article about CFA exam dates.

      Before you choose your CFA exam date, download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

      Can I Postpone My CFA Exam After I’ve Registered?

      You can only postpone your CFA exam after you’ve registered in specific circumstances, mostly related to medical reasons. It’s easier to withdraw, but unless you withdraw within three days of registering, you will have to pay the registration fees again and re-register.

      CFA Exam Postponement >>

      What Subjects are Tested on Level III?

      Candidates preparing for the Level III exam are not tested on all the topics that were part of the Level I and Level II exams. Here’s what you will be tested on:

      • Ethical and Professional Standards
      • Economics
      • Equity Investments
      • Fixed Income
      • Derivatives
      • Alternative Investments
      • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

      The topic that is most tested on the Level III CFA exam is Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning.

      Sign up for our question of the day and get a CFA question sent directly to your inbox every day to help you prepare.

      What Are the Topic Weights for the Level III Exam?

      Each year, Level III exam topic weights are subject to change at the discretion of CFA Institute. Here are the topic weights for the June 2021 Level III exam:

      TopicExam Weight
      Ethical and Professional Standards10–15%
      Economics5–10%
      Equity Investments10–15%
      Fixed Income15–20%
      Derivatives5–10%
      Alternative Investments5–10%
      Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning35–40%


      How Much Time Should I Spend Studying for Level III of the CFA Exam?

      While CFA Institute recommends candidates spend a minimum of 300 hours preparing for each level of the CFA exam, a June 2017 survey found that candidates actually spent an average of 335 hours preparing for Level III.

      7 Tips for Effectively Using Your 300 Hours >>

      How Difficult is the Level III Exam?

      The Level III CFA exam is challenging because, as detailed previously, the exam format is quite a bit different than the Level II and Level I formats.

      What is the Level III CFA Exam Pass Rate?

      The pass rate for Level III of the CFA Exam usually falls within the 50-57% range but most recent CFA pass rates have been lower. It’s important to remember that everyone sitting for Level III has already passed the first two levels. So these are the best of the brightest candidates, and still only slightly more than half passed.

      How is the Level III Exam Graded?

      CFA® exam grading is done by machines and charterholders. CFA Institute then uses a methodology to determine a minimum passing score that is applied to each exam.

      CFA Exam Grading Process >>

      How Much Does it Cost to Sit for Level III?

      What you’ll pay to sit for Level III of the CFA exam varies depending on when you register. If you enroll before the early registration deadline, you will pay $900. The cost of registering by the standard deadline is $1,200. Registering early means you have extra money to invest in CFA Level III exam prep materials. You’ll also have a longer time frame over which to spread your preparation.

      CFA Level III Exam Fees >>

      Contact Kaplan Schweser

      If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to the Kaplan Schweser Student Support team for the answers you need to take this next step in your career.

      Ready To Start Preparing for the CFA Exam?

      Looking for more guidance on how to prepare for Level III of the CFA® exam? Enroll in one of our CFA Level III Premium study packages to receive expert instruction, CFA Program study materials, and more. Give yourself the best chance to prepare, practice, and perform on the CFA exam.
      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - October 11, 2022
      Level 3 CFA Exam FAQS

      5 Reasons to Become a CFA® Charterholder

      If you’re interested in a finance career, odds are you are considering the alphabet soup of financial certifications. If you’re looking for a cost-effective certification that will give you global recognition and a deep understanding of finance, you should consider the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) designation.

      Preparing for the exams can be a rigorous and demanding process, for good reason. The CFA charter is one of the highest distinctions you can earn in the investment management profession. If you’ve considered advancing your career by adding those three letters to your business card, we’ve outlined five good reasons you should enroll in the CFA Program and take the first step toward becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst.

      Watch "5 Reasons to Become a CFA® Charterholder" Video:

       

      5 Benefits of Earning the CFA® Charter

      Reason 1: Better Job Prospects

      While nothing on your resume guarantees you a job (even the CFA charter), the charter will boost your finance credentials. People in the industry know the time and discipline it requires to become a CFA charterholder. Earning the charter demonstrates your work ethic, analytical abilities, and ethical grounding to employers.

      The CFA charter is not the golden ticket to landing your dream job; however, it will give you deep knowledge in the areas of investment analysis, asset management, and ethics. It will also speak volumes to your credentials and work performance. Firms that focus on the “buy side” (investing institutions like mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance firms that buy large portions of securities for money-management purposes) prefer CFA charterholders to MBAs. And that’s powerful motivation to ask how to become a CFA.

      According to CFA Institute, the top ten employers of Chartered Financial Analysts are:

      • JP Morgan Chase
      • PricewaterhouseCoopers
      • HSBC
      • Bank of America
      • Merrill Lynch
      • UBS
      • Ernst & Young
      • RBC
      • Citigroup
      • Morgan Stanley
      • Wells Fargo

      Reason 2: The CFA Charter is Affordable

      While an MBA can cost over $100,000, the CFA charter only costs between $3,050 and $12,000, depending on when you register, what study materials you buy, and how many exams you end up taking. For a professional qualification, that is quite a bargain. You also don’t have to quit your job, unlike in some full-time MBA programs. While hectic, it is manageable to study for the CFA exam while you work.

      CFA vs. MBA >>

      Reason 3: Career Advancement Opportunities

      Completing the CFA Program allows you to become a CFA Institute member, which is a global network of over 135,000 investment professionals. That’s a pretty impressive club to join for the networking opportunities alone. The charter prepares you well for a variety of investment-related jobs, such as portfolio manager, risk manager, and research analyst. Seven percent of CFA charterholders even go on to be chief-level executives.

      Join Kaplan Schweser’s Expert CFA Instructors for a Series of Free Webinars Discussing the Career Benefits of the CFA Program

      Reason 4: The CFA Charter is Globally Recognized

      As we said, CFA Institute has a global network of over 135,000 investment professionals. The CFA charter is recognized by regulators, universities, and certification programs in at least 30 countries and territories. You’ll gain unmatched career resources and relationships, as well as access to jobs around the world that require a CFA charter or candidacy.

      Reason 5: Real-World Expertise

      A CFA charter is considered niche in the larger business world compared to the MBA, which addresses a broad array of topics with less depth. Getting your CFA charter allows you to gain analytical skills and expertise in quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting, investment analysis, and portfolio management. This set of skills and knowledge you will develop as you become a CFA charterholder will serve you well throughout your career.

      So, How Do You Become a Chartered Financial Analyst?

      Now that you know the top benefits of getting the CFA charter, you might be thinking of firing up Google and searching for “how do you become a CFA?” We’ll save you the trouble. Start now by learning how to become a CFA charterholder.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - August 8, 2022
      5 reasons to become a cfa charterholder

      Most Frequently Asked Questions About Level II of the CFA® Exam

      You’ve reached your first milestone on the way to becoming a CFA® charterholder by passing the CFA Level I exam. So, next up is Level II. As a recognized leader in CFA exam prep, Kaplan Schweser fields a wide variety of questions from candidates preparing for the CFA Level II exam. Here, we compiled those questions (and answers) into one simple place for Level II candidates to get the information they need.

      What is the Difference Between Level II of the CFA® Exam and Level I?

      Level I tests your understanding of the basics of investment valuation. Level II begins to test your ability to put that understanding to practical use. You will be presented with real-life scenarios and be asked to put your knowledge of investment management and portfolio concepts to the test.

      What To Expect on the CFA Level II Exam?

      Candidates should expect the CFA Level II exam to test their curriculum knowledge in more depth than Level I. Candidates can count on facing new question types called vignettes and will have 4 hours and 24 minutes to finish the exam.

      What is the Date for Level II of the CFA exam?

      Level II of the CFA exam will be offered three times a year. To learn the dates, read this article, which breaks the changes to the Level II exam dates and provides information on Levels II and III also.

      Before you choose your CFA exam date, download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

      Can I Postpone My CFA Exam After I’ve Registered?

      You can only postpone your CFA exam after you’ve registered in specific circumstances, mostly related to medical reasons. It’s easier to withdraw, but unless you withdraw within three days of registering, you will have to pay the registration fees again and re-register.

      What is the format of Level II of the CFA® Exam?

      Level II of the CFA exam is a multiple-choice exam, like Level I. These questions are divided into question sets, and you will be tested on half of the item sets in the morning and a half in the afternoon. For each item set, you will be provided information, and the questions will require you to use the information provided to solve them.

      What Subjects Are Tested on Level II?

      When sitting for Level II of the CFA exam, you will be tested on the following topics:

      • Ethical and Professional Standards
      • Quantitative Methods
      • Economics
      • Financial Statement Analysis
      • Corporate Issuers
      • Equity Investments
      • Fixed Income
      • Derivatives
      • Alternative Investments
      • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

      Sign up for our question of the day and get a CFA question sent directly to your inbox every day to help you prepare.

      What are the Level II Topic Weights?

      The Level II exam topic weights are subject to change yearly at the discretion of CFA Institute. Currently, for Level II of the CFA exam, the topics are weighted as follows:

      TopicExam Weight
      Ethical and Professional Standards10–15%
      Quantitative Methods5–10%
      Economics5–10%
      Financial Statement Analysis10–15%
      Corporate Issuers5–10%
      Equity Investments10–15%
      Fixed Income10–15%
      Derivatives5–10%
      Alternative Investments5–10%
      Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning10–15%


      How Much Time Do I Need to Dedicate to Studying For Level II?

      The general consensus is that you should dedicate a minimum of 300 hours to studying for Level II. In the CFA Institute June 2017 CFA Candidate Survey, respondents reported spending an average of 328 hours preparing for Level II of the CFA exam. Typically, candidates will spread that time over a 6-month period, which averages out to about 12.5 hours per week. However, some candidates do not begin studying as early and compress their study time into a shorter window. How intense your study schedule depends on how early you begin preparing.

      How Hard is the Level II Exam?

      Don’t let anyone tell you any level of the CFA exam is easy. They all require focused study and preparation. That’s because the CFA charter is an exclusive designation, designed to truly demonstrate mastery.

      How is the Level II Exam Graded?

      CFA exam grading is done by machines and charterholders. CFA Institute then uses a methodology to determine a minimum passing score that is applied to each exam. Our article on how the CFA exam is graded has all the details.

      What is the Level II CFA Exam Pass Rate?

      The 10-year average pass rate for the Level II CFA Exam is 45% but most recent CFA pass rates have been lower.  According to CFA Institute, only 20% of candidates who begin the program actually earn the charter. Preparation is critical to reaching the finish line. We’ve outlined other candidate experiences and some of the common pitfalls people encounter to help you along the way.

      How Much Does It Cost To Sit For Level II of the CFA Exam?

      The cost to sit for the exam varies depending on when you register. CFA Institute has early and standard registration windows for each exam sitting. The early registration fee is $900. Registering by the standard deadline will cost $1,200.

      We suggest registering during the early period for two reasons. First, you will save $300, which you can put toward a CFA exam prep course. Second, the earlier you commit to sitting for the exam, the sooner you can begin preparing.

      Total CFA Program Cost »

      Contact Kaplan Schweser

      If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to the Kaplan Schweser Student Support team for the answers you need to take this next step in your career.

      Ready To Start Preparing for the CFA Exam?

      Looking for more guidance on how to prepare for Level II of the CFA® exam? Enroll in one of our CFA Level II Premium study packages to receive expert instruction, CFA Program study materials, and more. Give yourself the best chance to prepare, practice, and perform on the CFA exam.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - August 8, 2022
      CFA Exam Level 2 FAQS

      CFA® Scholarship Guide

      A CFA Scholarship is financial support for individuals who may be unable to afford all the fees of the CFA program. All CFA Institute Scholarships include a waived enrollment fee and discounted registration.

      There are multiple scholarships and each one has a different set of application requirements, eligibility rules, and application windows.  CFA scholarships are available for existing CFA program candidates and people considering pursuing the CFA charter.  If you are an existing CFA program candidate you can apply for a scholarship for Level I, II, or III exams depending on which stage of the program you are at.  

      TABLE OF CONTENTS

      What Are The Total Fees of The CFA Program?

      The total fees for a CFA program candidate are somewhere in the range of $3,050 to $3,950 USD.  Considering it’s common for CFA program candidates to have accrued debt from gaining a traditional education in finance from a college or university, a CFA Scholarship can make a difference.  

      What Is The CFA Access Scholarship?

      The CFA Access Scholarship is designed to specifically improve access for individuals who are considering the CFA program and may be unable to afford all the fees associated with the program.  Recipients of the CFA Access Scholarship will be able to enroll in the CFA Program for free and pay $250 USD to register for the CFA exam vs the standard exam registration fee of $1,200 USD. 

      CFA Access Scholarship Application Requirements

      As you gather materials for the CFA Access Scholarship application don’t forget to:

      • Disclose any potential conflicts of interest
      • Include references
      • Write a personal statement
      • Submit application within the designated application window

      How To Apply For The CFA Access Scholarship

      The first step to applying for the CFA Access Scholarship is to make sure you meet the enrollment criteria and requirements for the CFA program

      If you meet those requirements, check to see when applications are being accepted for the CFA Access Scholarship

      The CFA Institute usually opens registration for the CFA Access Scholarship once or twice a year.  When the application window is open you can submit your application for the scholarship through your CFA Institute account.

      How To Write A Personal Statement For The CFA Access Scholarship

      Writing a personal statement for the CFA Access Scholarship is an important part of developing your application because awards may be granted based on a combination of factors.  The factors to emphasize in your personal statement should be:

      • Financial need
      • Academic, professional, or other accomplishments
      • Any obstacles you’ve overcome
      • Any contributions to your local community
      • Why you’re interested in pursuing the CFA charter
      • Some personal characteristics that indicate why you should be considered for the scholarship

      What Are The Rules For The CFA Access Scholarship?

      Besides being eligible to enroll in the CFA program and submitting your application on time, there are rules that you should be aware of when applying for the CFA Access Scholarship.

      1. While your scholarship application is pending, you should not register for a CFA Program exam.
      2. If you are awarded the CFA Access Scholarship, you’ll receive email instructions that must be followed about when you can register for the exam.
      3. Awards may not be sold, transferred, deferred, or assigned and are not convertible to cash.
      4. If you are awarded the CFA Access Scholarship, and you don’t show up for the exam, you may be ineligible to receive future scholarships.

      CFA Access Scholarship Deadlines

      CFA Access Scholarship application windows contain an open date and a deadline. The deadlines for applying to the CFA Access Scholarship fluctuate each year but are usually around 35 days after the open date.  

      What Is The CFA Women’s Scholarship?

      The CFA Women’s Scholarship is designed to specifically improve access for women who are considering or currently enrolled in the CFA program and do not qualify for other CFA Institute scholarships.  Recipients of the CFA Women’s Scholarship will be able to enroll in the CFA Program for free and pay $350 USD for exam registration vs the standard exam registration fee of $1,200 USD.

      CFA Women’s Scholarship Application Requirements

      Make sure to include these components in your CFA Women’s Scholarship Application:

      • Disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest
      • References
      • A personal statement

      How To Apply For The CFA Women’s Scholarship

      CFA Women’s Scholarship applicants can be currently enrolled in or be in the consideration phase of enrolling into the CFA program.  The steps for applying are the same however if you are not already enrolled in the CFA program you should make sure you meet the enrollment criteria and requirements for the CFA program first. 

      The next step regardless of what stage of the CFA Program you are in is to check when applications are being accepted for the CFA Women's Scholarship

      The CFA Institute usually opens registration for the CFA Women’s Scholarship once or twice a year.  When the application window is open you can submit your application for the scholarship through your CFA Institute account. 

      If you receive the CFA Women’s Scholarship, apply for Kaplan Schweser’s materials scholarship to help cover the cost of your materials.

      How To Write Your Essay For The CFA Women’s Scholarship

      Writing a personal statement for the CFA Women’s Scholarship is an important part of developing your application because awards may be granted based on a combination of factors.  

      The factors to emphasize in your personal statement should be:

      • Financial need
      • Academic, professional, or other accomplishments
      • Experience in the investment management industry
      • Any contributions to your local community
      • Why you’re interested in pursuing the CFA charter
      • Some personal characteristics that indicate why you should be considered for the scholarship

      What Are The Rules For The CFA Women’s Scholarship?

      Besides submitting your application on time and being eligible to enroll in the CFA program if you haven’t enrolled yet, there are rules you should be aware of when applying for the CFA Women’s Scholarship.

      1. While your scholarship application is pending, you should not register for a CFA Program exam.
      2. If you are awarded the CFA Women’s Scholarship, you’ll receive email instructions that must be followed about when you can register for the exam.
      3. Awards may not be sold, transferred, deferred, or assigned and are not convertible to cash.
      4. If you are awarded the CFA Women’s Scholarship, and you don’t show up for the exam, you may be ineligible to receive future scholarships.

      CFA Women’s Scholarship Deadlines

      The CFA Women’s Scholarship application window contains an open date and a deadline. The deadlines to apply for the CFA Women’s Scholarship fluctuate each year but are usually around 28 days after the open date.

      What Is The CFA Student Scholarship?

      The CFA Student Scholarship is designed to financially support students around the world who are enrolled at a CFA Insitute affiliated university and considering entering the CFA program. Recipients of the CFA Student Scholarship will be able to enroll in the CFA Program for free and will be able to pay $350 USD for exam registration vs the standard exam registration fee of $1,200 USD.

      CFA Student Scholarship Application Requirements

      Each CFA Institute-affiliated university has a different set of requirements for the CFA Student Scholarship so pay extra attention to the additional documentation pertaining to your college or university for the CFA Student Scholarship.

      How To Apply For The CFA Student Scholarship

      The first step to applying for the CFA Student Scholarship is to make sure your school or college is in the CFA Insitute University Affiliation Program. If they are not currently enrolled in that program you will need to discuss enrolling your college or university into this program with the appropriate person at your school.  

      If your college or university is enrolled in the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program, start by checking when applications are being accepted for the CFA Student Scholarship.

      The CFA Institute usually opens registration for the CFA Student Scholarship once or twice a year.  When the application window is open you can submit your application for the scholarship through your CFA Institute account. 

      If you receive the CFA Student Scholarship, apply for Kaplan Schweser’s student scholarship to help with the cost of your exam prep materials.

      What Are The Rules For The CFA Student Scholarship?

      Besides being enrolled at a college or university that is a part of the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program, there are rules that you should be aware of when applying for the CFA Student Scholarship.

      1. While your scholarship application is pending, you should not register for a CFA Program exam.
      2. If you are awarded the CFA Student Scholarship, you’ll receive email instructions that must be followed about when you can register for the exam.
      3. Awards may not be sold, transferred, deferred, or assigned and are not convertible to cash.
      4. If you are awarded the CFA Student Scholarship, and you don’t show up for the exam, you may be ineligible to receive future scholarships.

      CFA Student Scholarship Deadlines

      The CFA Student Scholarship application window is open for most of the year but does contain an open date and a deadline. The deadline to apply for the CFA Student Scholarship fluctuates each year but is usually around 10 months after the open date.

      What Is The CFA Professor Scholarship?

      The CFA Professor Scholarship is designed specifically for full-time college or university professors or department administrators who teach topics found in the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge. Recipients of the CFA Professor Scholarship will be able to enroll in the CFA Program for free and pay $350 USD for exam registration vs the standard exam registration fee of $1,200 USD.

      CFA Professor Scholarship Application Requirements

      Applications for the CFA Professor Scholarship must:

      • Disclose any potential conflicts of interest
      • Confirm you are a full-time professor and the number of credit hours you teach per quarter or semester
      • Include a CV
      • Attach a form of employment verification
      • Be submitted within the designated application window
      • Be submitted before registering for an exam

      How To Apply For The CFA Professor Scholarship

      The first step to applying for the CFA Professor Scholarship is to make sure you teach the minimum number of credit hours at your institution, which is set by the CFA Institute. 

      If you do, then you must get that information verified by obtaining an English language letter from your university.  This English language letter should be on a university-branded letterhead and signed by an administrator from your institution. 

      Then you’ll need to gather one of the following forms of employment verification:

      • A copy of a university-issued identification card
      • A university-affiliated email address
      • Proof of a teaching license from an issuing government agency
      • A list of current publications, research papers, or some other document that confirms your affiliation with said institution

      Once you have those materials, you can start checking to see when applications are being accepted for the CFA Professor Scholarship.

      The CFA Institute usually opens registration for the CFA Professor Scholarship once a year.  When the application window is open you can submit your application for the scholarship through your CFA Institute account. 

      If you receive the CFA Professor Scholarship, apply for Kaplan Schweser’s professor discount to help with the cost of your exam prep materials.

      What Are The Rules For The CFA Professor Scholarship?

      Besides being teaching the minimum number of credit hours in topics covered in the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge, there are rules that you should be aware of when applying for the CFA Professor Scholarship.

      1. While your scholarship application is pending, you should not register for a CFA Program exam.
      2. If you are awarded the CFA Professor Scholarship, you’ll receive email instructions that must be followed about when you can register for the exam.
      3. Awards may not be sold, transferred, deferred, or assigned and are not convertible to cash.
      4. If you are awarded the CFA Professor Scholarship, and you don’t show up for the exam, you may be ineligible to receive future scholarships.

      CFA Professor Scholarship Deadlines

      The CFA Professor Scholarship application window is usually for most months of the year but it does contain an open date and a deadline. The deadline to apply for the CFA Professor Scholarship fluctuates each year but the application window usually closes around 11 months after the open date.

      What Is The CFA Regulator Scholarship?

      The CFA Regulator Scholarship is designed specifically for organizations in the financial industry that regulate operations in the investment management industry. Organizations that receive CFA Regulator Scholarships will be able to nominate employees to apply internally to receive free enrollment in the CFA Program and a reduced exam registration fee of $350 USD vs the standard exam registration fee of $1,200 USD. 

      CFA Regulator Scholarship Application Requirements

      If you are applying for the CFA Regulator Scholarship as an organization, the application should contain:

      • Disclosures of any potential conflicts of interest
      • Confirmation that the organization oversees or regulates operations, standards of practice, or business conduct in the investment management industry
      • Agreement to the terms and conditions of participation set by the CFA Institute 

      How To Apply For CFA Regulator Scholarship

      If you represent an organization, you will need to get in touch with the CFA scholarship team at CFA Institute to discuss the process of entering into a program agreement with CFA Institute.  

      If you have been nominated to receive a CFA Regulator Scholarship on behalf of your organization, HR or the CFA representative in your organization will determine the requirements for your scholarship application.

      What Are The Rules For The CFA Regulator Scholarship?

      As an individual who gets nominated for the CFA Regulator Scholarship through their employer, you should be aware of the rules below if you are awarded the CFA Regulator Scholarship.

      1. You’ll receive email instructions that must be followed about when you can register for the exam.
      2. Awards may not be sold, transferred, deferred, or assigned and are not convertible to cash.
      3. If you don’t show up for the exam, you may be ineligible to receive future scholarships.

      CFA Regulator Scholarship Deadlines

      CFA Regulator Scholarships are allocated annually to participating organizations and those organizations will determine the application window.

      Check Your CFA Scholarship Application Status

      If you want to check the status of your CFA Scholarship application, start by logging in to your CFA Institute account and looking for a status update on your application.  Pay attention to the dates listed for the application window and make sure the application deadline has passed.  

      If you would like to speak with someone directly about your application email the CFA Insitute Scholarship department

      When Are CFA Scholarships Recipients Announced?

      It can take a few weeks or months for the CFA Institute to announce CFA Scholarship recipients. Sometimes members of the CFA society will request additional information from you or request to conduct a reference check or personal interview.  

      If you would like to speak with someone directly about your application email the CFA Insitute Scholarship department

      Can You Reapply For A CFA Scholarship If You Aren’t Chosen?

      Yes, if you are eligible and apply for a CFA scholarship and don’t get selected, you can re-apply.  Even if you receive a CFA scholarship, you can be selected again for the same CFA scholarship if you re-apply.  

      How Many People Get CFA Scholarships?

      The CFA Institute does not disclose how many scholarships are awarded each year, however, it is fair to assume that at least one CFA scholarship is awarded each year for each type of scholarship.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - August 8, 2022
      CFA Scholarship Guide

      How Much Will the CFA® Program Cost Me?

      The cost of the CFA Program starts at $3,050 USD, which includes a one-time enrollment fee and discounted early registration. But that might not be enough to earn you the CFA charter. Investing more than the bare minimum can increase your odds of passing the exam. This article explains all the costs and why you are likely to benefit from spending more than just the basic fees.

      CFA Program Cost: The Bare Essentials

      To earn the CFA charter, you must enroll in the CFA Program and then take and pass three exams.

      When you register for the Level I CFA exam, you will pay a one-time enrollment fee of $350 USD. That gets you into the CFA Program.

      You will pay an additional registration fee to sit for the exam at each of the three levels. Currently, the fees for each exam level of the CFA from CFA Institute are:

      • Early registration fee: $900 USD
      • Standard registration fee: $1,200 USD

      Depending on when you register, you can pay anywhere from $2,700 to $3,600 USD total to take all three levels, assuming that you pass each CFA exam the first time. Add the $350 USD enrollment fee, and the total CFA exam fees range from $3,050 to $3,950 USD.

       

      Are you thinking about taking the CFA exam? Download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA® Exam eBook.

      Compared to earning an MBA at a top university, which can cost as much as $60,000–$100,000, the CFA Program looks like a steal no matter when you register. However, the CFA exams are only offered in certain cities, so you might need to add travel costs to the exam fees if you don’t live in one of those cities.

      Available CFA Scholarships »

      Adding to Basic CFA Program Costs Is a Worthwhile Investment

      As we mentioned, not passing a level of the CFA Program exam means that you have invested your registration fees for nothing. If you are determined to become a charterholder, you will have to pay the same registration fee to take the exam or exams you failed again. And because only 20% of the people who start out in the CFA Program end up earning the charter, and few pass all three levels on the first try, you might have to take at least one level of the exam again and save funds for that purpose.

      While there are no guarantees that you will pass all three levels of the CFA exam the first time around, you can significantly increase your odds by investing in a CFA exam preparation package or course.

      Interestingly, the price of the top offerings ranges from $649 to $1,499, which is within the range of the money you might be allotting as a contingency for failing the exam. These packages include practice questions, online resources, in-person and online classes, reviews, and, in some cases, mock exams.

      If you go all out and purchase packages for all three levels, you’ll spend between $1,947 and $4,497 to greatly increase your chances of earning the charter. And when you think about it, that is still much less than you would spend earning that MBA.

      Interested in CFA® Exam Study Packages or Courses?

      If you think CFA Program prep is the way to go, check out our 10 tips for choosing the best exam prep. Or visit our CFA exam prep resources to learn about different CFA study packages.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - August 8, 2022
      Fees and Registration Costs for CFA Program

      How Hard are the CFA® Exams?

      Each CFA exam is demanding and will test your knowledge of the program’s curriculum in a computer-based format. Recently, the Level I CFA exam has been especially tough on program candidates, which is reflected in the current CFA pass rates. To increase your chance of passing each exam you should take your CFA prep seriously and utilize free study materials to help with the overall cost of pursuing the CFA charter

      TABLE OF CONTENTS:

      Why is Earning the CFA Designation So Difficult?

      Program candidates rarely pass all three exams the first time and completing the CFA program can take 4+ years. If you factor in the hundreds of hours needed to study and practice for each exam while working a full-time job, you’ll realize just how major an accomplishment it is to become a CFA charterholder and add the CFA® designation to your resume.

      What is a Passing Score on the CFA Exams?

      The CFA exam is a pass/fail exam that has a Minimum Passing Score (MPS) assigned each time the exam is administered. This means candidates do not receive a numeral score when receiving exam results. Instead, candidates receive a breakdown of how they performed in each topic area, which will be represented within a percentage range:

      • More than 70 percent
      • Between 50 and 70 percent
      • Less than 50 percent

      Each time the exam is administered, the CFA Institute and its members thoroughly review the results and determine a score range that dictates whether a candidate has passed or failed the exam. 

      How CFA Exams Are Graded? »

      How Hard is the CFA Level I Exam?

      Level I of the CFA Program usually has the lowest pass rate which could imply it’s the most difficult exam in the program. However, this will not apply to every candidate because each person has different strengths and weaknesses. One reason Level I can be hard for program candidates is they don’t take the exam as seriously as it requires. The Level I exam may be the most comprehensive and rigorous exam they have ever experienced. 

      One advantage Level I candidates have is they are in the beginning stages of pursuing the charter so there is less risk of burnout whereas candidates preparing for the Level III exam will have an increased risk of burnout. 

      Hardest Topics on CFA Level I

      The hardest Level I topics will vary for each candidate based on their background but if you struggle with learning mathematical formulas you should expect Quantitative Methods to be the most difficult. If math is one of your strengths but you have a difficult time remembering lots of rules and procedures you may find Ethical and Professional Standards the most difficult topic. No matter your background, all topics on the CFA Level I exam can be challenging to those that are not prepared. 

      Get fundamental information about the CFA Program and the curriculum by downloading this free CFA Program Fundamentals eBook

      What is a Passing Score on the CFA Level I Exam?

      To pass the Level I exam, candidates will need to score above 70% on multiple topics and can only afford to score below 50% on one or two of the least weighted topics. Since the CFAI does not issue traditional scores, to pass Level I, candidates will need to prove they are ready to advance to Level II.

      CFA Level I vs Level II Difficulty

      There are quite a few differences between Level I and Level II which can make either exam more difficult than the other.  The Level II exam will introduce new question types and ask candidates to dig deeper for answers. The Level I exam however requires candidates to memorize and recall the foundations, including formulas and definitions, which could trip up candidates who learned about these topics on the job.

      How to Prep for the CFA Level I Exam?

      To study for the CFA Level I exam, candidates should start by getting familiar with the curriculum topics of the CFA Program. Then they should take some time to figure out their strengths and weaknesses, which can be done by utilizing a CFA prep package. Once candidates understand which topics they need to focus on the most, they should develop a study schedule that prioritizes those topics and keeps them on track.


      How Hard is the CFA Level II Exam?

      Level II of the CFA Program is when candidates need to dig deep and demonstrate their ability to apply the foundational knowledge learned while preparing for Level I to more complex subtopics within the program curriculum. Candidates will be introduced to a new question format, called vignettes, which can be very difficult to interpret. These questions can be long reads and require test-takers to learn how to quickly scan multiple paragraphs and pull relevant data points to answer a series of questions which are called “item sets.”

      Hardest Topics on CFA Level II

      The hardest Level II topics will vary for each candidate based on their background and what they learned during their preparation for Level I. Candidates should notice the increase in the weight given to Portfolio Management & Wealth Planning for the Level II exam compared to the Level I exam. If you scored low in this topic on Level I, you may find it to be the most difficult topic on Level II. All topics on the CFA Level II exam are guaranteed to be challenging to those that are not prepared to demonstrate a deeper understanding than was required on the Level I exam. 

      What is a Passing Score on the CFA Level II Exam?

      To pass the Level II exam, candidates will need to score at least 70% on multiple topics and can only afford to score between 50% - 70% on one or two of the least weighted topics. Since most topics on the Level II exam carry the same weight, getting below 50% on one of the topics could cost you the exam.

      CFA Level II vs Level III Difficulty

      Candidates should expect the Level III exam to be more difficult than the Level II exam. The primary reasons Level III is more difficult than Level II are:

      • Level III covers fewer topics which increases the weight of each topic, especially Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
      • A new question format introduced called constructed response questions
      • Advanced judgment and writing skills are required
      • Mental fatigue can kick in after spending years of preparation to get to this stage of the program

      How to Prep for the CFA Level II Exam?

      Program candidates preparing for the CFA Level II exam should start by assessing their performance on the Level I exam. Use your CFA prep package analytics to determine which topics need to be emphasized. Then start reading and working through the Level II Learning Outcome Statements of the CFA Program. When you are ready to begin preparing for the vignette questions, remember that quantitative methods can consist of one or two item sets.

      Sign up for our question of the day and get a CFA question sent directly to your inbox every day to help you prepare for Level II

      How Hard is the CFA Level III Exam?

      Don’t be deceived by historical pass rates for Level III of the CFA Program. The all-time average pass rates are higher than Level I, but barely. Level III is difficult and requires candidates to master time management and a new question format called “constructed response questions.” The Portfolio and Wealth Management topic is weighted 35-40% of the total exam so expect to demonstrate your expert writing and judgment skills when answering questions from this topic.

      Hardest Topics on CFA Level III

      Take what you will, performance in Portfolio and Wealth Management is 35-40% of the total weight on the Level III exam. Past candidates have expressed Derivatives to be the hardest topic on Level IIl for them, but that seems mostly to come from their lack of interest in the subject matter. Candidates' interests and previous work experience can be a big factor in determining which topic will be the hardest on Level III. 

      What is a Passing Score on the CFA Level III Exam?

      The percentage score candidates will need to pass the Level III exam fluctuates after each sitting but it’s safe to assume that if you are able to score a 70% or higher in all seven topic areas you may pass.

      How to Prep for the CFA Level III Exam?

      Program candidates preparing for the CFA Level III exam should try to get an early start on studying because average CFA candidates spend the most time studying for the Level III exam compared to previous exams. When you start practicing constructed response questions, remember to demonstrate your understanding of the basics in your written responses.

       

       

      Are CFA Practice Questions Harder than the Actual CFA Exam?

      CFA practice questions are designed to be similar to the actual exam questions at every level. If candidates are experiencing difficulty with practice questions this usually means that candidate is not fully prepared or their nerves got the best of them. Stress and anxiety can inhibit candidates from grasping new material and concepts thus preventing them from learning the subject material and struggling to answer practice questions correctly.

      Are Mock Exams Easier than the CFA Exam?

      CFA mock exams can be slightly more challenging than the actual exam simply because candidates are still preparing for the exam and haven’t finished studying. The best mock exams are designed to simulate the actual testing interface and format. If candidates are finding mock exams easy and their scores are looking good, then they have prepared well for the CFA exam. 

       

       

      Ready To Start Preparing for the CFA Exam?

      As you get ready for the CFA exam, consider making a Kaplan Schweser CFA exam prep package—complete with classes, study tools, and mock exams—the centerpiece of your mission to earn a passing grade.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - May 26, 2022
      How hard is each level of the CFA exam

      What Is the CFA® Institute Research Challenge?

      The CFA Institute Research Foundation Challenge is an equity research competition amongst thousands of undergraduate and graduate students from over 90 countries annually. Each year, teams from hundreds of universities prepare written reports about publicly traded companies with hopes to emerge as the global champion.

      TABLE OF CONTENTS:

      When is the CFA Institute Research Challenge?

      The CFA Research Challenge usually begins in September and ends sometime in May, which means the team that wins the global final can spend up to 9 months involved in the research challenge. The research challenge can take this long for the winners because there are 4 stages (local, sub-regional, regional, global) of the challenge and over 5,000 competitors.

      How does the CFA Institute Research Challenge Work?

      The CFA Research Foundation Challenge works with Local CFA Societies, bringing together teams of three-to-five students from participating universities to defend their research and recommendations to a panel of industry experts.  

      Initial competitions are hosted and judged by local CFA Institute society members and volunteers in an area near you.  Local winners advance to sub-regional competitions in areas such as Washington DC, Mexico, Toronto, Sydney, Beijing, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Greece, and South Africa by March.

      Research Challenge teams that win in their sub-regional competition will advance to the regional semifinals, which are usually held in April. At this stage of the competition, each team is trying to become a representative of regions, such as Asia or Europe, and ultimately earn a spot in the Global Final.

      The Global Final is usually held in New York during May. The winning team of the CFA Research Challenge will receive a scholarship for their university in the amount of US $10,000 and be declared the global champion. 

      Why Students Should participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge

      There are many benefits for students who participate in the CFA Research Challenge including:

      • Access to financial industry experts
      • Demonstrate research analytical skills
      • Exposure to new financial networks
      • Enhance your CV/resume
      • Travel opportunities
      • A better understanding of what the CFA charter is

      Help for CFA Research Challenge Students

      Kaplan Schweser has free video resources for CFA Research Challenge students to help teams learn the foundational knowledge and skills needed to succeed.

      Industry Mentors

      Each CFA Research Challenge team can only have one industry mentor to help prepare them for the competition.  Industry mentors will be selected by the host of your local competition. If you have questions about how an industry mentor is assigned to your team for your CFA Research Challenge team, contact your local level host. The only purpose an industry mentor for the CFA Research Challenge can serve is to provide teams with guidance, direction, suggestions, or feedback on their written report or presentation. 

      Research Help

      Only CFA Research Challenge team members may perform research on the chosen subject company. The data sources used by teams must be publicly available information such as company financial statements and press releases. Consider using search modifiers on Google to find specific information about the company you are researching.

      Writing Report Help

      Only CFA Research Challenge team members can prepare a written research report on their chosen subject company. Teams can use their industry mentor or faculty advisor as a resource, but they can only provide guidance, direction, suggestions, or feedback on the written report. Before beginning to write, get to know the official competition requirements for your written CFA Research Challenge report

      To see an example of what the CFA Research Challenge report should look like, view the winning 2021 CFA Research Challenge Report by the BI Norwegian Business School.

      Presentation Help

      CFA Research Challenge teams can use presentation coaches or other public-speaking resources to get guidance, direction, suggestions, or feedback, but they are not allowed to contribute to the content of the presentation. To avoid conflict, consider taking a free online presentation skills course as you prepare for your CFA Research Challenge presentation.

      How to Get Your Ideas Accepted

       

      View more videos about foundational Research Challenge topics

      Past CFA Research Challenge Champions

      The BI Norwegian Business School which represented the CFA Society of Denmark and Norway were the global final and EMEA regional champions in 2021.

      Past CFA Research Challenge Regional Finals Champions

      Americas Regional Final Champions

      Asia Pacific Regional Final Champions

      EMEA Regional Final Champions

      Guidance for CFA Societies

      CFA societies that host local-level CFA Research Challenge events provide a critically important role in the Research Challenge. 90% of students who compete at the local level never make it beyond this round. Students need a good understanding of how the CFA Institute supports financial professionals throughout their careers and what expectations will be held for them if they decide to pursue the CFA charter.

      What CFA Institute Research Foundation Society Members and Volunteers do as Hosts

      CFA society members and volunteers can serve as host coordinators, industry mentors, report graders, presentation judges or submit their company for consideration as a subject company by contacting a local CFA Institute member society

      CFA Research Challenge volunteers acting as local hosts will be involved with:

      • Selecting and announcing the subject company
      • Introducing teams to their industry mentors
      • Ensuring CFA Research Challenge branding is consistent
      • Selecting a competition format
      • Creating an event timeline for the competition
      • Creating a budget for the competition
      • Invite Universities to take part in the Research Challenge
      • Recruit Volunteers
      • Provide Feedback to Research Teams

      How Local Level Challenge Volunteers should prepare for Challenge day

      Many tasks need to be worked through by CFA Research Challenge volunteers on Challenge day.  Fortunately, the CFA Institute has prepared a Research Challenge local level manual for volunteers to use. The Local Final is an exciting day for everyone involved, so remember to enjoy it. 

      $500 Kaplan Schweser Contribution for Participating Societies

      Kaplan Schweser offers support for CFA Research Challenge societies by offering sponsorships to local-level Research Challenge events.

      Each local hosting society can receive a Kaplan Schweser USD 500 contribution by submitting information about themselves, their CFA society, and some general information about the Research Challenge event they are hosting at least 7 days before the start of the event.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - January 19, 2022
      Everything You Need To Know About the CFA Institute Research Challenge

      CFA Institute to Offer Level I CFA® Exam Four Times Per Year in 2022

      CFA Institute has announced changes to the dates and format of the Level I CFA exam effective in 2022. This article has all the information you need to understand what this means for candidates.

      What Are All the Changes to the Level I CFA® Exam in 2022?

      • There will be four sittings of the Level I exam.
      • Each quarter, in the second month (February, May, August, and November) there will be an exam window that candidates can test within.

      Why Are the Level I Dates Changing?

      CFA Institute had planned for four seatings In 2021. However, CFA added more seatings for Level I of the exam in 2021 because of the June 2020 postponements and December 2020 cancellations related to the Covid-19 pandemic. CFA Institute will, therefore, return to the planned February, May, August, and November seatings in 2022.

      Considering the CFA charter? Before you choose your CFA exam date, download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

      How Will the Changes to the Level I Exam Affect Preparation?

      The biggest question is how these changes will affect preparing for the exam. The short answer is that it shouldn’t. The volume of information in the curriculum is not being reduced, and the consistent pass rate of 41-43% over the last several sittings shows that the Institute is committed to upholding a rigorous standard of testing. It would be a mistake to think that a more frequent computer-based exam with fewer questions will be in some ways easier to pass.

      The ideal approach will still require a significant time commitment and question practice. Kaplan CFA level I study materials offer adaptive question banks and exam-focused reviews. These will be valuable tools in ensuring that happens.

      What Isn’t Changing?

      As noted in the previous section, how you prepare for the exam won’t change. Other aspects of the exam that will remain the same are:

      • The 10 exam topics
      • Passing rates and calculations
      • Registration fee (although there will be a $250 rescheduling fee for students who need to retake the exam)

      What About Level II and Level III?

      The Level II exam will be offered three times in 2022 and the Level III exam will be offered twice a year in 2022.  Continue learning about Level II and Level III Exam changes in 2022

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - March 5, 2021
      Level 1 CFA Exam Format Changes

      Choosing the Best CFA® Exam Prep Course & Study Materials

      With the number of prep providers increasing, candidates are often left with a bewildering array of choices. We’ve put this guide together to give you a heads-up on the factors you should be considering when choosing which CFA® Program prep course is the best fit for you.

      1. Recommendations of Friends and Colleagues

      Do you know people who have successfully studied for the CFA exam? Your first port of call should be to speak to these people. Ask them about the CFA Program study material they used and how they felt it prepared them for exam day. If you don’t know anyone personally, check with your local CFA Society to see if any of their members would be willing to share their experiences.

      2. History of the CFA® Program Prep Course Provider

      Some prep providers have been producing CFA exam prep notes and question banks for decades, while others have only just entered the market. Experience for a prep provider is essential, as it ensures that their products are tightly honed through the years to be the most effective for exam preparation. A full understanding of the CFA Institute examination process only comes with years of experience. You don’t want to be studying with a provider who is still learning themselves.

      Considering the CFA charter? Download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

      3. Number of Faculty Members Who Hold the CFA Charter

      Check to see if the authors of the materials actually hold the CFA designation. Believe it or not, some vendors rely on authors who have not actually sat for the exams. This goes for the people leading your classes, too. You want your materials and instructors to have successfully navigated the exams themselves. You can’t rely on somebody who has not actually mastered the exams themselves to advise you how to pass.

      4. Learning Methodology & Study Materials

      Ineffective study practices are the source of a lot of candidate failure. This is often due to candidates reverting to university study habits, namely reading and note-taking. Learning science tells us that these methods are very ineffective ways to study for the CFA exam. Look for a provider who incorporates the insights from learning science into their products. When you hear 300 hours of study are required per level, remember that it needs to be effective study.

      Try Some Free CFA Flashcards to Study on-the-go

      5. CFA Exam Question Practice

      Learning methodology takes us nicely to point five, which is the availability of practice questions and practice exams. Learning science shows us that the most effective study technique, by some margin, is question practice. You must ensure that your chosen provider can offer you plenty of question practice. Questions should be included in the study notes and online question banks. You also want to pay attention to the volume of mock (practice) examinations provided. Ensure that online question banks are fully customizable, allowing you to design custom tests to work on those weak points.

      Sign up for our question of the day and get a CFA question sent directly to your inbox every day to help you prepare.

       

      6. Mock CFA Exams

      Mock examinations provide what learning scientists call interleaved learning. Put simply, interleaved learning means testing yourself on all areas of the curriculum, rather than just focusing on one at a time. This is shown to significantly aid in retention. You also need exposure to exam format question practice, especially at levels II and III, with items set and essay formats. You need to use these mock exams to develop your exam technique in the weeks leading up to the exam.

      Select a provider that can give you at least four high-quality practice exams, in addition to the mocks provided by CFA Institute. The mock exam portion of your study is where you will develop a stronger recall of the syllabus and improve your test scores.

      7. Speed to Market

      One of the greatest challenges of the CFA Program is covering the volume of material effectively. Many bright candidates have failed simply because they run out of time with their studies. Candidates short on time tend to sacrifice question practice, which has disastrous consequences come test day. Not all providers have their materials ready at the start of the exam window. Look for a provider who has their materials ready to go as soon as the previous exam results come out. The longer you have to spread your study, the smaller the impact on your social life.

      8. Multiple Learning Options

      You should consider how you want to study and find a provider that gives you options, so you can pick what's right for you.

      Live Online Course Training

      Scheduled, live online classes with an instructor provide structure, and you can plan the rest of their tasks and study around the class times. In live online classes, you can also ask the instructor questions. They are led by expert CFA charterholders and cover the same material at the same pace and frequency as the sessions in a classroom.

      OnDemand Prep Course

      OnDemand classes offer flexibility. You can access them when you have time while still having access to the instructor via email and chat. OnDemand classes are a good option if you have a full-time job, or you learn at a different speed. Actually, OnDemand classes are ideal for any kind of student. You might consider them one of CFA exam prep’s best-kept secrets. OnDemand classes can help you retain information more successfully than other learning methods because your approach to learning is personalized.

      QBank Study Materials

      A QBank, or, question bank, is the most popular of the supplementary study materials. A CFA exam question bank is a collection of exam-style questions designed to reflect the current CFA Program curriculum and standards. An example is SchweserPro™ QBank, which has thousands of questions that help you ensure you’ve learned the CFA exam material and can apply the concepts you’ve mastered.

      9. Volume of CFA Charter Candidates

      The number of candidates using a particular prep provider can be a significant indicator of quality. More candidates mean more feedback for the CFA Program prep provider to develop and refine their study products. Additionally, some providers allow you to compare your practice exam results online to everyone who has taken that exam. More candidates mean more data and more accurate comparisons.

      10. Hard Copy vs. Electronic CFA Program Study Materials

      Some providers only provide their study materials in an electronic format. You need to ask yourself, “Do I really see myself studying 300 hours or more looking at a computer screen, especially if I am staring at one at work all day?” Look for a provider that offers the flexibility of both hard copy and online materials, so you can choose the blend that fits your study preferences.


      Finally, remember that an exceptional CFA Program prep course can help make your studies more efficient and give you a structure to the study process. But even the best prep course can’t replace the need for your hard work. There is no magic bullet in the market, and you should be very suspicious of any provider who claims they can seriously reduce the study commitment.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - January 15, 2021
      How to Choose the Best CFA Prep Course

      Free Download: CFA® Program Fundamentals, 2nd Edition

      Begin Your Journey to Becoming a Successful CFA® Program Candidate!

      Kaplan Schweser has developed this exclusive eBook for new and aspiring CFA® candidates. Review this introduction to the main topic areas of the Level I CFA exam. Each chapter concludes with a sample of multiple-choice questions, complete with answers and explanations.

      Download Your Free Copy of CFA® Program Fundamentals eBook, 2nd Edition

      • STEP 1: Enter your information in the form below and click Submit.
      • STEP 2: You will receive an email from Kaplan Schweser with a link to access your eBook anytime.
      • STEP 3: Click the link in your email to access your free eBook.
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      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - January 14, 2021
      Free Download CFA Fundamentals eBook

      Free eBook: Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA® Exam

      Advice From Past Exam Takers

      If you are asking yourself “Should I sit for the CFA® exam?” this free eBook is for you. We’ve enlisted the help of over 100 CFA charterholders who have successfully gone through the program and asked them for advice on what it takes to earn the charter and succeed in the investment industry. We brought all of their advice together in this eBook to help you decide if the CFA charter is right for you.

      How to Download Before You Sit for the CFA® Exam eBook

      Step 1: Enter your information in the form below and click Download Now.
      Step 2: You will receive an email from Kaplan Schweser with a link to access your eBook anytime.
      Step 3: Click the link in your email to access your free eBook.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - January 8, 2021
      Free CFA eBook Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam

      Level II and Level III CFA® Exam Changes in 2022

       

      Level II and Level III of the CFA® exam are offered in a computer-based testing format, ending 60 years of paper-based testing. What does that mean for candidates? Read on to find out.

      What Is Changing?

      Here is a summary of the changes:

      • All levels of the CFA exam will be computer-based.
      • There will be no more June exams at any level.
      • The Level II exam will be offered three times in 2022.
      • The Level III exam will be offered twice a year in 2022.
      • There will be exam windows instead of one uniform date.
      • The total testing time is 4.5 hours.
      • Level II and Level III will use the same item set (vignettes) and essay format (Level III) used for the paper-based exams. The total number of item sets on the exam might vary slightly.

      What Are the New Schedules for Level II and Level III?

      The CFA exam schedules have been updated and CFA exam dates for 2022 are now available.

      Before you choose your CFA exam date, download this free Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA Exam eBook.

      Why Is CFA Institute Making These Changes?

      The world that investment professionals experience today is increasingly digital. For that reason, CFA Institute has been working on the transition of its exam from paper-based to computer-based for several years. The COVID-19 global pandemic was the impetus for CFA Institute’s decision to accelerate the move from paper- to computer-based testing. The computer-based testing environment and additional dates and times available means that fewer candidates will sit for the exam at the same time, which reduces personal risk compared to the high-capacity venues used for the paper-based test.

      What About Future Postponements?

      If you are trying to make a decision about when to take the CFA exam, be sure to check the government and health advisories in your test area. CFA Institute follows the guidance of local governments. The plan is to hold exams in any location where CFA Institute can meet public health and safety requirements.

      There are rules for CFA exam postponements that you should be aware of, especially if the CFA Insitute does not announce a postponement for all candidates.

      Ready to Start Preparing for the CFA Exam?

      Our CFA study materials offer live instruction, practice questions, and more. They can help you stick to your study plan and show up on your scheduled exam day, feeling confident about your odds of passing.

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - December 10, 2020
      CFA Exam Level 2 and 3 Changes

      Ready to Pass the CFA® Exam?