The CFA Program includes a series of three exams, Levels I, II, and III, which must be passed sequentially.
All three exams are offered annually — at test centers around the world — on the first Saturday in June. (The Level I exam is also offered in December.)
Exams are offered in English only, in order to ensure global consistency, both in administering the exam questions and in grading candidate responses.
The exam formats change along with the learning focus at each level:
Examples of exam questions
The progressive nature of the three different levels means that the types of questions increase in complexity as you advance. In general:
- The Level I exam asks you basic knowledge and comprehension questions focused on investment tools; some questions will require analysis.
- The Level II exam emphasizes more complex analysis, along with a focus on valuing assets.
- The Level III exam focuses on synthesizing all of the concepts and analytical methods in a variety of applications for effective portfolio management and wealth planning.
A good example of this approach is in the area of ethical and professional standards. The ethics curriculum — the Standards of Practice Handbook
— is identical for each exam level. However, candidates will have to respond to different types of questions about this content:
- Level I exam questions will test your knowledge of the ethical and professional standards.
- Level II exam questions will test how you apply those standards to situations analysts face.
- Level III exam questions will test how you apply the standards in a portfolio management and compliance context.
See topic area weights by exam level