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Resources to Help You Become a CFA® Charterholder

Showing all 0 Become a CFA Charterholder Articles

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.

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

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?

Level III is computer-based and includes both a morning and afternoon session. The morning session consists entirely of eight to fifteen essay-style questions (constructed response questions), with multiple parts to help you organize your answer. The questions test your real-world application of the curriculum by presenting you with a scenario that you must solve or advise on. The afternoon session features item sets, similar to Level II. Each item set begins with a case statement and then asks four to six 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.
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Posted by Kaplan Schweser - August 8, 2022
Level 3 CFA Exam FAQS

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.

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

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.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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

In 2022, the CFA Institute will offer the CFA exam on a more regular schedule. Level I will be offered four times a year in February, May, August, and November 2022. Level II will be offered three times a year in February, August, and November 2022. Level III of the CFA exam will be offered twice a year in May and August/September 2022.

2022-2023 CFA® Exam Dates

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

2022-2023 CFA Level l Exam Dates

Level I Exam Date WindowRegistration Deadline
Scheduling Deadline
Rescheduling Deadline
February 15-21, 2022October 26, 2021November 17, 2021January 15, 2022
May 17-23, 2022February 8, 2022February 16, 2022April 16, 2022
August 23-29, 2022May 3, 2022May 25, 2022July 23, 2022
November 15-21, 2022August 9, 2022August 17, 2022October 15, 2022
February 14-20, 2023November 8, 2022November 16, 2022January 13, 2023
May 16-22, 2023January 31, 2023February 15, 2023April 14, 2023

 

2022 CFA Level ll Exam Dates

Level II Exam Date WindowRegistration Deadline
Scheduling Deadline
Rescheduling Deadline
February 22-26, 2022
October 26, 2021
November 17, 2021
January 22, 2022
August 30 - Sept 3, 2022May 3, 2022May 25, 2022July 30, 2022
November 22-26, 2022August 9, 2022August 17, 2022October 22, 2022
May 23-27, 2023January 31, 2023February 15, 2023April 21, 2023

 

2022-2023 CFA Level lll Exam Dates

Level III Exam Date WindowRegistration Deadline
Scheduling Deadline
Rescheduling Deadline
May 24-26, 2022February 8, 2022February 16, 2022April 23, 2022
August 30 - Sept 6, 2022May 3, 2022May 25, 2022July 30, 2022
February 21-23, 2023November 8, 2022November 16, 2022January 20, 2023

 

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

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.  

How To Register for the CFA Exam in 2022

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 2022

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

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 - August 8, 2022
CFA Program Exam Dates

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.

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

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 earned a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or be in their final year of a bachelor’s program
  • 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.

    Read Article
    Posted by Kaplan Schweser - August 8, 2022
    Level 1 CFA exam FAQS

    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

    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, be in your final year of a bachelor’s degree, 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 >>

    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.

     

    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.

    Read Article
    Posted by Kaplan Schweser - July 20, 2022
    What is the CFA charter

    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.

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    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.

    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.
    Read Article
    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

    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 be in the final year of your degree. 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.

    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 - December 10, 2020
    CFA requirements to become a CFA Charterholder

    CFA Institute Code of Ethics: Are You in Compliance?

    All CFA® Program candidates and CFA Institute members must agree to abide by a code of ethics and professional conduct that protects the integrity of CFA Institute membership, designations, and exam programs. You need to be in compliance with them at all times. Some of the standards, violations, and sanctions can take candidates and charterholders by surprise. This article shares some examples.

    CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct: What Are They?

    CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct require charterholders and candidates to put the interests of their clients above their own and to act with integrity, respect, and professional competence. Serious disciplinary actions are taken against anyone who violates the code and standards. For industry-related violations, CFA Institute maintains a list of professionals who have been sanctioned and why, and they keep statistics for all sanctions.

    Some violations are easy to understand and remember. A felon can expect a permanent revocation of the CFA charter. Those who violate the standards but are not convicted of a crime are likely to receive a summary suspension, which automatically terminate:

    • CFA Institute and Society memberships
    • The right to use the CFA designation
    • The right to participate in the CFA Program, depending on the member’s or candidate’s status

    Some of these standards can be applied more broadly than you might think, which can result in unexpected notices of violations and investigations. Here are some examples.

    Misrepresentation

    The sanctions listed by CFA Institute for misrepresentation include censure, prohibition, and summary suspension. A charterholder who wrote a report and claimed it was his original research received a written censure after it was later revealed that he copied and pasted from other sources. Although this is a clear case of misrepresentation, there are others that are not so obvious. For example, a Level I candidate was permanently prohibited from being a charterholder or CFA Institute member for manually editing a spreadsheet, so it appeared he had met his firm’s call quota.

    Begin your journey to becoming a successful CFA charter candidate! Download your free copy of CFA® Program Fundamentals eBook, 2nd Edition.

    Misconduct

    Misconduct can result in a summary suspension or a timed suspension from CFA Institute. In 2019, a charterholder was suspended for selling and teaching courses using study materials owned by his employer and violating intellectual property rights. Another example is a CFA Program candidate who was suspended for a year for misconduct for buying CFA Level II preparation materials from an approved provider, putting them in a Google drive, and using a chat group to sell and redistribute them.

    Not Cooperating with an Investigation

    Not cooperating with CFA Institute investigations is almost as serious as the violation itself and can result in the revocation of the charter. One charterholder received a summary suspension for failing to cooperate during such an investigation into bribery. He, representatives from a sports apparel company, and several NCAA men’s college basketball coaches were charged with paying high school players and their families to play for specific universities. Separately, he asked players to agree to use him as a financial adviser when they signed professional contracts. Although he later served as a crucial witness in the resulting trial, his charter was revoked when he did not request a review hearing.

    Another example is a CFA Program candidate who received a summary suspension for not cooperating with an investigation into the allegation that she claimed to be a “CFA Level II charterholder” on her LinkedIn profile. Using the CFA designation when CFA Institute membership has lapsed is also a CFA code of ethics violation, and the outcome of failing to cooperate in an investigation of the misuse is usually a summary suspension.

    CFA® Exam

    CFA Institute also sanctions individuals for not abiding by the candidate pledge they sign at the exam testing center before each level of the exam or for violating code of ethics during or after sitting for the exam. The sanctions include private reprimands, suspension of rights to participate in the exam for one to five years, and a permanent ban from CFA program participation.

    One of the most common CFA Institute code of ethics violations for the exam is failing to stop when the proctor says it’s time. Most candidates get private reprimands for this violation, but some are not allowed to participate in the exam for a year. 

    Other exam violations include:

    • Bringing prohibited items to the testing center
    • Opening the question booklet before the exam starts
    • Leaving the testing center or building
    • Talking to other candidates or assisting them with the exam
    • Disclosing exam content

    Assisting with the exam is a violation that will most likely result in being permanently banned from participating in the program.

    CFA Calculator Policy »

    Increase Your Odds of Complying with CFA Institute Code of Ethics

    Understanding CFA Institute code and standards are critical to passing the CFA exam. CFA study materials can help you get up to speed on all the rules, so you are not surprised on exam day or in your future career.

    Read Article
    Posted by Kaplan Schweser - December 10, 2020
    CFA Code of Ethics and Standards Compliance

    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 earned a bachelor’s degree or be in the final year of your degree. 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 - December 9, 2020
      How to Qualify to Sit for the CFA Exams

      5 Benefits of Joining a CFA® Society

      CFA® societies offer locally-led brand building, professional development, and advocacy to promote, facilitate, and enhance professional standards and effect change in markets and regulations. Local societies help CFA Institute as a whole raise professional standards in over 150 global financial markets.

      More specifically, they offer current CFA Institute members, CFA Program candidates, partnering institutions, or anyone seeking additional information on the charter the opportunity to learn more, attend special events, and expand professional networks. If you’re wondering if you should participate in one (or even start one yourself), here are 5 valuable benefits of joining a CFA society.

      1. Networking and Volunteering Opportunities

      The first benefit of a CFA Society is the opportunity to network and volunteer. Because these societies have regular meetings and events, members have the opportunity to discuss challenges and ask questions of their peers. If you join, you can get information from experts that keep you up-to-date on investment management and specific CFA Program and CFA charter trends. Also, if you volunteer to participate in events that cover topics of interest to CFA charterholders, you have the opportunity to discuss the latest trends with experts and showcase your expertise. You also have the satisfaction of knowing you have shared your time, talent, and knowledge.

      2. Access to Exclusive CFA® Society Member-Only and Other Events

      When you work in finance and investment, you are not immune to the changes that are happening in business as a whole, but you also face specific challenges. Joining a CFA Society offers you access to events just for members that cover these changes and challenges and how to address them. For example, currently a number of CFA societies are hosting events that cover the hottest topics in the industry, such as FinTech, artificial intelligence, data security, blockchain, and cryptocurrency (e.g., bitcoin). If you join a society, you also have the option of getting involved, potentially helping plan, and even leading one of these events.

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

      3. Professional Development Opportunities

      To succeed in a highly competitive and ever-changing industry that values expertise and trustworthiness, investment professionals must be committed to furthering their knowledge, skills, and abilities. CFA societies offer ideal professional development opportunities for such a commitment. In addition, some societies work with other local organizations to help their members develop and enhance skills such as communication, public speaking, and leadership. For example, the Toronto CFA Society is a sponsor of the Financial Analyst Toastmaster Club, which aims to help finance professionals address an audience and make the right impression.

      4. Career Assistance

      Another of the five valuable benefits of joining a CFA Society is career advancement and access to job postings in the local market, such as the CFA Society Boston career center. Members can find out who is hiring or who is looking for CFA charterholders in their area. Many CFA societies post local job opportunities and career resources on their websites. Some also host career fairs like the one the CFA Society of Los Angeles held in April 2018, which are open to more than just society members and can help students or new charterholders meet members whose institutions and organizations are hiring.

      5. CFA Charter Continuing Education

      CFA Institute advocates lifelong continuing education. Although continuing education is not a requirement, CFA Institute recommends 20 hours of continuing education credit activities (with at least two hours on the topics of standards, ethics, and regulations) each calendar year. This is because financial markets and the investment management sector are constantly in flux, and CFA charterholders need to stay relevant to provide the best guidance to their clients. Many CFA societies offer frameworks for identifying suitable educational activities and classes for earning these credits. Also, you can earn continuing education credits by volunteering for society activities.

      CFA Charter Requirements »

      How Do I Join?

      To join a CFA Society, start by finding one in your city, state, country, or region. CFA Institute’s Find a Society web page lists all 152 CFA societies. You can go down the list to see all of them, or you can search by country. If there isn’t a CFA Society near you, the web page has information about how to start your own.

      Did you know Kaplan Schweser partners with CFA societies around the world to offer world-class instruction, innovative study materials, and excellent service to CFA charter candidates?

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      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - December 9, 2020
      Why Join a CFA Society

      What Is a CFA® Society?

      Did you know that there are more than 155,000 members of CFA Institute in 150 countries and territories worldwide? Think of how much support they can give each other. And, of course, the networking opportunities are tremendous. But with so many members, how can you find other members and CFA® charterholders in your area? That’s where CFA societies come in. Let’s take a closer look.

      Introducing CFA® Societies

      As a single organization, CFA Institute offers its members a number of perks. With offices in New York, London, Mumbai, Hong Kong SAR, Brussels, and Beijing, and headquarters in Charlottesville, VA, CFA Institute has established a global presence. However, the sheer number of its members precludes any specific local branding, activities, local education opportunities, and meetups. CFA societies are the logical answer to this problem of globalization, offering CFA charterholders a chance to make contact with others in their area.

      In fact, CFA Institute itself is the result of the merger of four finance societies. These societies held a founding meeting in the 20th century to develop a certification process for the investment analysis profession. (If you’re interested in the full history, the CFA Society in Spain 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.

      What Does a CFA Society Do?

      The number one priority of a CFA Society is to promote the charter, most often through events and campaigns, and frequently in concert with CFA Institute. Here’s a great example. CFA Institute has a Let’s Measure Up campaign to broaden awareness of the charter and the value of charterholders. So, CFA Society Boston, working with CFA Institute, ran a mix of local radio, digital, social, and elevator advertising media in the Boston market and partnered with LinkedIn to incorporate a new “Search for a CFA charterholder” function.

      A CFA Society also offers locally-led brand building, professional development, and advocacy to promote, facilitate, and enhance professional standards and effect change in markets and regulations. Each society helps CFA Institute as a whole raise professional standards in over 150 global financial markets.

      5 Benefits of Joining a CFA Society »

      More specifically, they offer current CFA Institute members, CFA Program candidates, partnering institutions, and anyone seeking additional information on the charter the opportunity to learn more, attend special events, and expand professional networks. Some of the activities they promote are volunteerism, continuing education seminars, and networking events. The goal is the open exchange of information and opinions.

      For students who are thinking about investment management as a career, or are considering earning the charter, CFA societies offer the opportunity to speak one-on-one with charterholders. CFA societies also offer charterholders and candidates the opportunity to volunteer in community and local activities to help other charterholders, candidates, and students advance their careers.

      CFA Charter Requirements »

      How Do I Learn More?

      You can learn more by locating the CFA Society in your area. CFA Institute Find a Society web page lists all 152 CFA societies. You can go down the list to see all of them, or you can search by country. If there isn’t a CFA society near you, the web page has information about how to start your own.

      Also, did you know Kaplan Schweser partners with CFA societies around the world to offer world-class instruction, innovative study materials, and excellent service to CFA charter candidates?

      Read Article
      Posted by Kaplan Schweser - December 9, 2020
      What is a CFA society

      Ready to Pass the CFA® Exam?