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What Is Level I CFA® Exam Computer-Based Testing Like?

By: Kaplan Schweser
January 12, 2021
What to expect when taking Level 1 CFA exam computer based test

The CFA® Level I Exam is now computer-based, along with Level II and Level III, and all exams are administered by Prometric. So, what is the Level I CFA exam computer-based training like? And what should you expect from a computer-based training (CBT) exam? This article answers these questions.

Scheduling Your CBT CFA® Exam

Because there is an exam window rather than one set date, you’ll have to schedule your exam with Prometric. You can schedule or reschedule your exam appointment online or by phone through CFA Institute:

  • USA: 1.800.310.6402 with a local number of 443.751.4833
  • EMEA: +31320239580
  • APAC: 60327817750

Make sure you enroll in the CFA® Program before you try to make an appointment. Testing times and locations are based on availability. After you schedule your appointment, Prometric will confirm it in an email.

Before Exam Day: Review the Computer-Based Testing Tutorial

You can familiarize yourself with how a CBT exam works and the exam tool features before exam day. Prometric has created a CFA exam tutorial with helpful information that you can preview any time before you take the exam. It will also be offered as a refresher on exam day. It explains things like:

  • What the mouse pointer will look like
  • How to navigate through the test screens
  • How to track your progress through exam questions
  • What “Time Remaining” means and how it works
  • How to answer the multiple questions
  • How to use highlighting, flagging, and strikethroughs

CFA Level I Computer Based Testing  Tutorial

At the end of the tutorial, there is a brief sample test (with two questions). However, if you want to practice taking the CFA exam in the computer-based testing format, you can try the simulation mode that is part of the Kaplan Schweser mock exam.

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

When to Arrive at the Computer-Based Testing Center

Be sure to show up about 30 minutes early for your exam time. It is a good idea to map out where the testing center is and figure out how long it will take you to get there. If you arrive late, you might not be allowed to take the test. If this happens, then you will not get any kind of exam fee refund, nor will you be able to transfer the fee to a different appointment.

At all testing centers, you will be required to show your passport. CFA Institute requires that every CFA® Program candidate have a valid international travel passport to register and sit for the exam. You are only allowed to bring certain items into the testing center room with you; any other personal belongings are best kept in your locked car. So, it’s possible that you might have to go through a metal detector wand test or turn your pockets completely inside out to ensure they have been emptied of all personal belongings.

Cell phones, handheld computers, and other communication devices or electronics are prohibited from being taken into a testing room or being used during bathroom breaks. If you do have some items that you don’t want to leave in your car, you are likely to be given a locker. Once your belongings are stored away, you will then be escorted into the testing room with only your picture ID, locker key, approved calculator, and any other permitted items.

Taking the CBT Level I CFA Exam

The testing center will have a computer ready for you. Before you start taking the exam, you will go through the Prometric tutorial again. Then the exam will begin. You should be aware that there may be cameras present in the testing room. You are expected to be quiet; any suspicious signs of cheating will disqualify you from the exam. Any CFA Institute Code of Conduct violation could lead to disciplinary action.

Once you complete the exam, you can gather any belongings from your test area and the locker and leave. CFA Institute will contact you with your exam results. At this time, CFA Institute is stating that you’ll receive those results no later than 7.5 weeks after you take the exam.

Have Other Questions About CBT and Level I of the CFA Exam?

Check out Prometric’s Exam Day page to learn more about what you should expect going into the exam. You can also ensure you are prepared for the Level I computer-based exam with CFA Level I preparation packages. We have study options to suit all learning styles! Get started today.

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