Posted by: Kaplan Schweser
Updated: March 25, 2020
CFA Institute has announced changes to the dates and format of the Level I CFA® exam effective in 2021. This article has all the information you need to understand what this means for candidates.
Beginning in 2021:
These changes represent the most significant update to the exam framework that we’ve seen from CFA Institute in many years. The main reason for the changes that was given by CFA Institute in an announcement in February 2020 is that the computer-based format will better reflect a workplace setting where Excel and other software tools are used. CFA institute also stated that the four exam windows will enable the exam to be offered in 400+ locations around the world (it is currently offered in 87).
Based on demand, the dates and windows offered in February, May, August, and November will vary from city to city. In addition, CFA Institute says, their research indicates that accurate measurement of concept mastery has evolved and that 180 questions and a proportional reduction in the length of time for the exam is more suited to today’s world. Also changing is the fact that the candidates will be able to leave the testing center as soon as they complete their exams.
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 Level I exam preparation packages offer adaptive question banks and exam-focused reviews. These will be valuable tools in ensuring that happens.
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:
Neither level is changing in 2021 or 2022. CFA Institute says that the earliest they would move these levels to computer-based testing format is 2023.
Good news! In most cases, the fastest and least complicated path to earning the CFA charter is to sit for the June 2020 or December 2020 exam and then sit for Level II in June 2021. Waiting until the first window in 2021 means that you must wait nearly a year and a half to sit for Level II and another year for Level III. Our June 2020 study packages can help you get started.
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