CFA examination scheme

CFA examinations are divided into three Levels: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.

Did you know that CFA Institute typically updates the CFA curriculum and topic weights in August annually for all 3 levels?

Due to coronavirus, CFA Institute has kept the 2021 curriculum the same as 2020’s. This means that 2020’s curriculum material would still be 100% relevant for the 2021 exams – but the topic weights HAVE been changed for 2021.

Their curriculums are broken down into the following topic areas:

CFA Exam Topic Area Weights [ 2021]

 

Topic Area

 

Level 1

%  

Level 2

%   

Level 3

%

Ethics

15-20

10-15

10-15

Quantitative Methods

8-12

5-10

-

Economics

8-12

5-10

5-10

Financial Reporting and Analysis

13-17

10-15

-

Corporate Finance

8-12

5-10

-

Equity Investments

10-12

10-15

10-15

Fixed Income

10-12

10-15

15-20

Derivatives

5-8

5-10

5-10

Alternative Investments

5-8

5-10

5-10

Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

5-8

10-15

35-40

       

Why Are Curriculum Changes and Topic Weights Important?


Topic weights are key to CFA study plans, as it guides candidates on the importance of each topic for the exams. Needless to say, higher weighted topics deserve more study time, focus and practice.

CFA Level I Exam

The CFA Level I Computer Based exam consists of 180 multiple choice questions split between two 135-minute sessions. There is an optional break between sessions. Candidates must take  both sessions in order to receive an exam result.

First session - 2hrs, 15 min -: 90 multiple choice questions, covering the topics of ethics & professional standards, quantitative methods, economics and financial reporting and analysis.

Second session - 2hrs, 15 min -: 90 multiple choice questions covering the topics of corporate finance,equity,fixed income,derivatives,alternative investments and portofolio management.

For more informaiton please visit CFA webpage at  https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa/exam/level-i

CFA Level II Exam

The Level II exam consists of item sets comprised of vignettes with accompanying multiple-choice questions. The Computer Based Exam will be approximately 4.5 hours, split into two sessions with an optional break-in between.

Each item set on the CFA exam consists of a vignette followed by either 4 or 6 multiple choice items (questions).  There will be 44 multiple choice items in each of the two sessions, for a total of 88 for the entire exam, each worth 3 points.

Multiple-choice items in each item set must be answered based on the information in the vignette. Hence, the items are not free-standing ( as in the CFA Level I Exam). You will need to refer back to the vignette before answering each item.

For more information, please visit the CFA webpage at  https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa/exam/level-ii

CFA Level III Exam

The Level III exam consists of item sets comprised of vignettes with accompanying multiple-choice items and constructed response(essay) questions.  The Computer Based exam will be approximately 4.5 hrs, split into two sessions with an optional break-in between.

  • CFA Exam Constructed Response ( Essay) Format

The firste session of the CFA Level III exam is comprised of 8 to 11 constructed response (essay) questions. Each essay question on the exam consists of a vignette followed by several related items that reqire a written response. There will be some multiple-choice items in this session, as well.  Essay questions have varying point values. At the start of each essay vignette, the total point value for that essay will be stated. For time management purposes, consider 1 point to equal 1 minute of time to be spent on that essay question.

  • CFA Exam Item Set Format

The second session is comprised of 44 multiple choice items, each worth 3 points. Each item set on the CFA exam consists of a vignette followed by either 4 or 6 multiple choice items (questions).

Both essay and multiple-chooce items must be answered based on the information in the vignette.

For more information please visit the CFA webpage ~https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa/exam/level-iii