Preparing for Level I of the CFA® Exam

Studying for the Level I exam is crucial, and it takes a substantial effort.

There are no shortcuts. The one thing standing between you and success on the Level I CFA® Program exam is hard work. CFA Institute recommends you aim to spend at least 300 hours preparing for the Level I exam. Schweser’s Prepare • Practice • Perform® methodology gives you the structure you need to get the most out of the time you spend preparing.

Previous Knowledge

Prior to enrolling in the CFA Program, you are required to have a bachelor’s degree, or be in the final year of a bachelor’s degree program. That degree does not need to be in a particular area of study, but you will be in a much stronger position if your education is finance-based. The CFA Program is designed to be a supplement to a finance-related education and investment experience already completed by an investment professional. You don’t need to have a finance degree to sit for Level I, but you may face greater challenges than those who do have a finance-based education.

Study Tips and Tools

Looking for additional tips to help you prepare? Schweser has you covered.


  • Start early. Build your confidence by getting into a routine.
  • The tools in your study package are designed to work together. Use them all.
  • Find exam prep tips on the Schweser Blog.
  • Download our free eBook: CFA Fundamentals, 2nd edition.

How to Study

The Kaplan Way is a three-phase learning strategy: Prepare • Practice • Perform®. Using this methodology, we have built the most comprehensive study packages available for Level I of the CFA exam, designed to help you make the most of the time you spend preparing for the exam.

How Long It Takes to Study

The generally held notion is that candidates should spend an average of 300 hours studying for each level of the CFA Program exam. In a

2019 survey, Level I candidates reported spending an average of 303 hours studying for the exam.

Ready to Prepare for the Level I CFA® Exam?

 

View Study Packages

Study materials for your exam will be available to preorder soon. Meanwhile, visit our blog for expert advice and exam tips.

CFA Level I Exam Details

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

May 2022

Level I May ComputerBased Exam Dates:
  • May 17–23, 2022
Registration and Scheduling Windows Open:
  • July 20, 2021
Early Registration Deadline:
  • November 1, 2021
Registration Closes:
  • February 8, 2022
Scheduling Deadline:
  • February 16, 2022
Rescheduling Deadline:
  • April 16, 2022

 

Register for the CFA Exam

 

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

August 2022

Level I August Exam Dates:
  • August 23–29, 2022
Registration and Scheduling Windows Open:
  • October 26, 2021
Early Registration Deadline:
  • February 9, 2022
Registration Closes:
  • May 3, 2022
Scheduling Deadline:
  • May 25, 2022
Rescheduling Deadline:
  • July 23, 2022

 

Register for the CFA Exam

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

November 2022

Level I November Exam Dates:
  • November 15–21, 2022
Registration and Scheduling Windows Open:
  • February 1, 2022
Early Registration Deadline:
  • May 3, 2022
Registration Closes:
  • August 9, 2022
Scheduling Deadline:
  • August 17, 2022
Rescheduling Deadline:
  • October 15, 2022

 

Register for the CFA Exam

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

February 2023

Level I February Exam Dates:
  • February 14-20, 2023
Registration and Scheduling Windows Open:
  • May 10, 2022
Early Registration Deadline:
  • August 9, 2022
Registration Closes:
  • November 8, 2022
Scheduling Deadline:
  • November 16, 2022
Rescheduling Deadline:
  • January 13, 2023

Register for the CFA Exam

 

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

May 2023

CFA Institute® has not yet announced the May 2023 registration and exam schedule. Please check back soon for the latest information.

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

August 2023

CFA Institute® has not yet announced the August 2023 registration and exam schedule. Please check back soon for the latest information.

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

November 2023

CFA Institute® has not yet announced the November 2023 registration and exam schedule. Please check back soon for the latest information.

Body of Knowledge

The Learning Outcome Statements and core concepts in the CFA® Program are built on the Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK), a practice-based curriculum that is determined by thousands of CFA charterholders from around the world.

All CFA exams are only offered in a computer-based format.

Level I

Candidates concentrate on the tools and concepts related to investment valuation and portfolio management, as well as an overview of how these processes fit within the guidelines of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. There are four Level I exam windows each year—February, May, August, and November.

Master these concepts with a comprehensive Level I study package:

 

View Level I Packages

Exam Format

    2022 Level I

    • Format: Computer-based and multiple-choice
    • Questions:
      • 180 equally weighted questions
      • Session 1: 90 questions
      • Session 2: 90 questions
      • Each session is 2 hours and 15 minutes long

    Our CFA Level I study packages are built to replicate the exam, leaving no surprises on exam day. Begin your preparation today.

     

    Level I Study Packages

    Topic Weights by Level

    Level I

    For the 2022 Level I exams, the topics are weighted as follows: 

    • Quantitative Methods: 8-12%
    • Economics: 8-12%
    • Financial Reporting and Analysis: 13-17%
    • Corporate Issuers: 8-12%
    • Equity Investments: 10-12%
    • Fixed Income: 10-12%
    • Derivatives: 5-8%
    • Alternative Investments: 5-8%
    • Portfolio Management: 5-8%
    • Ethical and Professional Standards: 15-20%

    These topic weights were used to develop a Level I study plan you can follow to ensure complete coverage of the material. The study plan is included in all of our packages.

     

    Level I Study Packages

    Exam Results Available:

    2021 Exam Results

    February Exam:
    • April 13, 2021
    May Exam:
    • July 27, 2021
    July Exam:
    • September 14, 2021
    August Exam:
    • October 14, 2021
    November Exam:
    • January 11, 2022


    2022 Exam Results

    February Exam:
    • Approximately 8-10 weeks after the exam window has closed
    May Exam:
    • Approximately 8-10 weeks after the exam window has closed
    August Exam:
    • Approximately 8-10 weeks after the exam window has closed
    November Exam:
    • Approximately 8-10 weeks after the exam window has closed


    2023 Exam Results

    February Exam:
    • Approximately 8-10 weeks after the exam window has closed
    May Exam:
    • Approximately 8-10 weeks after the exam window has closed
    August Exam:
    • Approximately 8-10 weeks after the exam window has closed
    November Exam:
    • Approximately 8-10 weeks after the exam window has closed

    CFA®  Exam Requirements

    Candidate Eligibility Requirements

    To be eligible to enter the CFA® Program, you must accomplish the following:

    • Have a U.S. bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree
      • or select an exam window that is 11 months or fewer before your graduation month for your bachelor’s degree or equivalent program. Understand that you must complete your degree program prior to sitting for level II.
      • or have a combination of 4,000 hours of work experience and/or higher education that was acquired over a minimum of three sequential years and achieved by the date of registering for the Level I exam.
    • Meet the professional conduct admission criteria (during the application process, you will be asked to sign statements of Professional Conduct and Candidate Responsibility)
    • Be prepared to take the exams in English
    • Have a valid international travel passport (required for enrollment and exam registration)

    Enrollment and Exam Fees

    For 2022, CFA Program exam fees range from $700 to $1,000, depending on your exam level and when you register. To enter into the CFA Program, 2022 candidates must pay a one-time $450 registration fee in addition to the required enrollment fees for each Level. CFA Institute reference material and a partial mock exam are both included with candidate registration and enrollment.

    Beginning with the 2023 exam cycle, the cost of the one-time enrollment fee will decrease from $450 to $350. The cost to register for each individual exam will increase from $700 to $900 for early registration, and from $1,000 to $1,200 for standard registration.

    Because these changes in pricing will be implemented beginning with the February 2023 exams, candidates sitting for exams in May, August, and November 2022 will not be affected by the new pricing.

    How to Pass the Level I CFA® Exam