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 Program 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.

How Long it Takes to Study

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

How to Study

We suggest that candidates employ The Kaplan Way, a three-phase learning strategy: Prepare • Practice • Perform®. This methodology is the foundation upon which Schweser’s CFA Program exam prep products are built.

  • In-Person: Attend live classes in select cities, led by CFA charterholders.
  • Online: All the quality of a live class, with convenient online delivery.
  • Self-Study: Comprehensive, flexible, no-frills exam prep package.

Tips and Tools

Looking for additional tips to help you prepare for the Level III CFA Program 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.

Ready to Prepare for the Level III CFA® Exam?

CFA Level III Exam Details

Registration and Level III CFA® Exam Dates

All June 2020 Level III candidates have the option of registering for one of the next three exam administrations: December 2020, May 2021, or November 2021. You can re-register for your exam by following instructions per CFA Institute.

December 2020 CFA® Exam registration closes:

  • August 19, 2020

Re-registration closes for currently enrolled candidates:

  • October 20, 2020

December 2020 CFA® Exam day:

  • EMEA and AMER: December 5, 2020
  • APAC: December 6, 2020

Register for the CFA Exam »

Registration and Level III CFA® Exam Dates

May 2021

Level III May Computer Based Exam Dates:

  • May 25, 2021 - May 27, 2021

Registration opens:

  • August 20, 2020

Early registration deadline:

  • November 3, 2020

Registration closes:

  • February 23, 2021

Register for the CFA Exam »

Registration and Level III CFA® Exam Dates

November 2021

Level III November Computer Based Exam Dates:

  • November 23, 2021 - November 25, 2021

Registration opens:

  • August 20, 2020

Early registration deadline:

  • May 4, 2021

Registration closes:

  • August 10, 2021

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

Beginning in 2021, there will be two Level III exam windows each year; the first in May and the second in November. Additionally, all CFA® exams in 2021 and beyond will be offered in a computer-based format. The December 2020 CFA exam is the last to be offered in print format.

  • Format: Essay, item sets, and multiple choice
  • Questions:
    • Morning Session: 8-12 essay questions;
    • Afternoon Session: 8 item sets with 6 multiple-choice questions in each and 3 item sets with 4 multiple-choice questions in each.
    • Exam is graded for 360 points, corresponding to the number of minutes on the exam

Our 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

  • Ethical and Professional Standards: 10-15%
  • Quantitative Methods: 0%
  • Economics: 5-10%
  • Financial Reporting Analysis: 0%
  • Corporate FInance: 0%
  • Equity Investments: 10-15%
  • Fixed Income: 15-20%
  • Derivatives: 5-10%
  • Alternative Investments: 5-10%
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning: 35-40%

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:

December 2020 Exam:

  • January 2020

May 2021 Exam:

  • To be determined

November 2021 Exam:

  • To be determined

Level III 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 be in the final year of your bachelor’s degree program at the time of registration
    • or have four years of qualified, professional work experience (does not have to be investment related)
    • or a combination of work and college experience that totals at least four years. Part-time positions do not qualify, and the four-year total must be accrued prior to enrollment
  • 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

To enter into the CFA Program, candidates must pay a one-time 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.

CFA Program exam fees range from $620 to $1,610, depending on your CFA Program exam level and when you register.

How to Pass the 2020 Level III CFA® Exam