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Latest CFA® Exam Curriculum Updates

By: Kaplan Schweser
January 10, 2023
Latest CFA exam curriculum updates

In order to stay up to date with current topics and challenges professionals in the investment management industry face, CFA Institute updates the material covered in the CFA exam annually.  The CFA curriculum for 2023 was updated from 2022, which is represented in the CFA Institute's learning outcome statements (LOS). 

Knowing what information has changed and if topic weights have been adjusted is important to understand because you don’t want your CFA prep materials to be outdated.  This is especially true if you’re wondering what to do after failing a previous year’s CFA exam.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

2023 CFA Curriculum and Weight Changes

All three levels of the CFA curriculum received major updates in 2023. The most notable changes were:

  • CFA Institute has slowly begun the process of dividing each reading into several “easier-to-consume” learning modules for all three levels.
  • The Level III exam will consist of randomly placed constructed response (essay) questions and item sets.
  • There were no weight changes for any CFA curriculum level.
Below we will break down the CFA curriculum changes in detail for each level of the CFA Exam.

Level I CFA Curriculum and Weight Changes

The CFA Level I curriculum received major updates in 2023 but topic area weight ranges in 2023 did not change from 2022. The Level I curriculum now includes 73 “learning modules” (compared to 60 readings in 2022) and 543 Learning Outcome Statements (compared to 532 in 2022) and is no longer divided into Study Sessions. Below we break down CFA curriculum changes for Level I by each topic.

Economics

The Economics topic area features a new learning module, “Introduction to Geopolitics,” with four LOS.

Corporate Issuers

Corporate Issuers includes two new learning modules: “Corporate Structures and Ownership” and “Business Models & Risks,” each of which has three LOS. The learning modules “Capital Investments” (renamed from “Uses of Capital”) and “Working Capital & Liquidity” (renamed from “Sources of Capital”) add one new LOS each. Some material was removed from the learning module “Introduction to Corporate Governance and Other ESG Considerations.”

Derivatives

The Derivatives topic area was rewritten throughout. It now features ten learning modules, each of which includes two or three LOS.

Alternative Investments

The Alternative Investments topic area, which formerly included one assigned reading, now has three learning modules.

Try Today’s Level I CFA Question

Level II CFA Curriculum and Weight Changes

The CFA Level II curriculum received significant updates in 2023, though topic area weight ranges remain unchanged versus 2022.  Below we break down CFA curriculum, reading, and weight changes for the 2023 CFA Level II Exam. 

2023 Level II CFA Curriculum Changes Highlights

  • 2023 R14 “Financial Statement Modeling” was formerly 2022 R22 “Industry and Company Analysis”.
    • This reading moved from the Equity topic to Financial Statement Analysis for 2023.

  • In many 2023 readings, (#4, 11, 12, 14, 16, 20, 24, 25, 27, 33, 34, 36, 39), the LOS have been reordered (without other change).
  • Throughout the 2023 curriculum, CFAI has replaced references to LIBOR interest rates (which has been phased out in actual use) with references to a generic market reference rate (MRR).
  • CFA Institute has slowly begun the process of dividing each reading into several “easier-to-consume” learning modules.  (e.g., 2023 R1, R32.)

2023 Level II CFA Reading Changes

Two CFA Level II readings are entirely new for 2023:

  • R17 – Cost of Capital: Advanced Topics
  • R18 – Corporate Restructuring

Three CFA Level II readings were substantially rewritten for 2023, and are being treated as new:

  • R1 – Multiple Regression
  • R14 – Financial Statement Modeling
  • R32 – Real Estate Investments

Two readings within the CFA Level II curriculum contain material changes for 2023:

  • R5 – Currency Exchange Rates: Understanding Equilibrium Value
  • R6 – Economic Growth

Several CFA Level II readings were deleted for 2023:

  • R1 Introduction to Linear Regression 
  • R15 Capital Structure
  • R18 Mergers and Acquisitions
  • R19 Capital Budgeting
  • R21 Return Concepts 

Try Today’s Level II CFA Question

    Level III CFA Curriculum and Weight Changes

    For 2023 there were no new or dropped readings for the Level III curriculum and topic weights did not change. One major change for the 2023 Level III CFA curriculum is the exam format for both sections of the exam will consist of randomly placed constructed response (essay) questions and item sets. 

    This means each section of the exam will consist of a total of 11 questions comprised of

    • either 5 constructed response (essay) questions and 6 item sets
    • or 6 constructed response and 5 item sets.

    Each item set will be 4 questions and all questions, item sets, and constructed response (essay) questions will be a total of 12 minutes (points). 

    There is also a new 2022 CFA Program: Level III Errata. Most notable is errata deleting any reference to how call and put options and swaptions affect a bond portfolio’s convexity.   

     Try Today’s Level III CFA Question

    What Is The CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge?

    The CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK), is a document that represents the core competencies used by investment professionals. The CFA Institute released the 2022 Candidate Body of Knowledge, which contains the latest survey results from investment professionals around the world about what should be included in the CFA 2022 Program curriculum.  

    Assess your baseline knowledge of the Level I CFA Program curriculum with a free CFA diagnostic exam

    CFA Candidate Body of Knowledge Topic Areas

    1. Ethical and Professional Standards
    2. Quantitative Methods
    3. Economics
    4. Financial Statement Analysis
    5. Corporate Issuers
    6. Equity Investments
    7. Fixed Income
    8. Derivatives
    9. Alternative Investments
    10. Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

    What Is The Global Body Of Investment Knowledge?

    The Global Body of Investment Knowledge® is an all-inclusive document about the knowledge needed for the investment profession. The concepts contained in the GBIK are for CFA charterholders to use as a source of inspiration for new concepts and lifelong learning opportunities throughout their careers.

    The GBIK® is maintained by the CFA Education Advisory Committee, which is composed of individuals around the world from various backgrounds in the investment management industry.

    Who Makes Changes To The CFA Curriculum?

    The CFA Institute makes changes to the CFA curriculum through the practice analysis process and guidance from the CFA Institute Education Advisory Committee.

    What Is The Practice Analysis Process?

    The practice analysis process is a methodology for the CFA Institute to keep the CFA curriculum up to date with current skills and competencies for success in the investment management industry.  The Practice Analysis Process contains multiple stages from which the Candidate Body of Knowledge ultimately gets updated. 

    CFA Exam Updates

    There are no major changes to CFA Exam dates in 2023 and candidates will continue to take the exam at a secure, proctored test center. 

    CFA Exam Dates »

    How To Prepare For CFA Curriculum Changes

    The most important way to prepare for curriculum changes is to keep your CFA prep materials up to date.  If you do decide to use previous years’ materials, try to avoid outdated topics and trends and focus on what will be present on the exam.

    Ready to Pass the CFA® Exam?