CFA® Exam Structure
CFA® Exam Structure

CFA® Curriculum and the Examination Structure

The CFA® Programme is continuously updated by practitioners to ensure that what you learn remains relevant in today's finance industry.

The main topic areas and exam weights are:

Topic AreaLevel ILevel IILevel III
Ethical and Professional Standards 15% 10% 10%
Quantitative Methods 12% 5-10% 0%
Economics 10% 5-10% 0%
Financial Reporting and Analysis 20% 15-25% 0%
Corporate Finance 8% 5-15% 10%
Total: Investment Tools 50% 30-60% 0%
Equity Investments 10% 20-30% 5-15%
Fixed Income 12% 5-15% 10-20%
Derivatives 5% 5-15% 5-15%
Alternative Investments 3% 5-15% 5-15%
Total: Asset Classes 30% 35-75% 35-45%
Portfolio Management 5% 5-15% 45-55%
Total 100% 100% 100%
Source: CFA® Institute  

Exam process

The CFA® examination process requires that you sit and pass three consecutive levels of exam. Level I exams are held in June and December each year with levels II and III only in June.

Each of the exams is a six hour exam though the format changes from level to level.

Level I – Both of the three hour exams will cover all of the level I curriculum areas. In total there are 240 multiple choice questions, each based around the level I Learning Outcome Statements and each offering three choices.

Level II – The level II exam is in 'item-set' form, a different style of multiple choice tests. You will be given 10 'vignettes' – mini case studies – and then have to answer six questions based on that vignette.

Level III – The morning exam at level III is a constructed response test where you have to provide written answers, for example calculating an appropriate asset allocation strategy for a given portfolio and explaining your recommendation. The afternoon paper is in the same format as level II.

CFA Institute does not endorse, promote or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services offered by LSBF. CFA Institute, CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

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