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Preparing for the Level III CFA® Exam

Level III—the Finish Line is in Sight

You’ve already come a long way in your CFA charter journey. Now it’s time to finish strong. The Level III exam will test your ability to apply everything you learned in Levels I and II to practical, real-life situations.

Previous Knowledge

The knowledge you need to possess prior to preparing for the Level III CFA exam is the same knowledge you’ve acquired to this point in preparing for the first two exams. Your exam preparation for Level III will prepare you to complete more complex item sets and also master the constructed response (essay) portion, which is exclusively a part of the Level III exam.

Tips and Tools

Looking for additional tips to help you prepare for the Level III CFA exam?

Look no further.


  • Start your exam prep early. Develop a routine, and stick to it.
  • The tools in your review package work best when used together as designed.
  • Check out these free resources specifically designed for Level II candidates.

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 III 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

CFA Institute recommends that you spend an average of 300 hours preparing for each level of the CFA exam. According to a 2019 survey, Level III candidates spent an average of 344 hours preparing for the exam.

Ready to Prepare for the Level III CFA® Exam?


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CFA Level III Exam Details

Registration and CFA® Exam Dates

August 2023

Level III August Exam Dates:
  • August 29-September 5, 2023
Registration and Scheduling Windows Open:
  • November 14, 2022
Early Registration Deadline:
  • February 1, 2023
Registration Closes:
  • May 9, 2023
Scheduling Deadline:
  • May 24, 2023
Rescheduling Deadline:
  • July 28, 2023

Register for the CFA Exam


Level III CFA Exam 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.

Level III

Candidates are required to demonstrate a higher level of understanding of the materials tested at Levels I and II, as well as display effective knowledge of the entire portfolio management process.

Master these concepts with a comprehensive Level III study package »

Level III CFA Exam Format

Level III

    Each year, there are two Level III exam windows: the first in February and the second in August.

    • Format: Vignettes/item sets with multiple choice or constructed response questions.
    • Exam Structure:
      • Session 1: 5 or 6 constructed response (essay) questions and 5 or 6 item sets
      • Session 2: 5 or 6 constructed response (essay) questions and 5 or 6 item sets
    • Duration: Each session is 2 hours and 12 minutes long.

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

    Level III CFA Exam Topic Weights

    Level III

    Here are the topic weights for the Level III exam:

    • Economics: 5–10%
    • Derivatives: 5–10%
    • Fixed Income: 15–20%
    • Equity Investments: 10–15%
    • Alternative Investments: 5–10%
    • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning: 35–40%
    • Ethical and Professional Standards: 10–15%

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

    Level III CFA Exam Results Available:

    2022 Exam Results

    May Exam:
    • July 28, 2022
    August Exam:
    • November 1, 2022

    2023 Exam Results

    February Exam:
    • Approximately 8 weeks after the exam window has closed
    August Exam:
    • Approximately 8 weeks after the exam window has closed

    CFA Exam Requirements

    Candidate Eligibility Requirements

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

    • Have a U.S. bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree
      • or select an exam window that is 23 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 Registration Fees

    For 2023 CFA exams, registration fees range from $900 to $1,200, depending on your exam level and when you register. Registration fees for 2024 CFA exams will range from $940 to $1,250.

    To enter into the CFA Program, candidates must pay a one-time $350 enrollment fee in addition to the required registration fees for each Level. CFA Institute reference material and a partial mock exam are both included with candidate registration and enrollment.

    How to Pass the Level III CFA® Exam