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Student FAQs

Answers to frequently asked student questions.

CFA Program 

As an aspiring or practicing investment professional, you need the knowledge and skills to thrive in a highly competitive industry. The CFA Program is designed to equip you with the kind of expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis that will help you advance your career. Whether you are a practicing investment professional, a student, switching careers or looking to start a career in this field, the CFA Program offers a way to move forward and achieve your professional goals.

Try this Readiness Assessment to learn more.

Enrollment requirements to register for the Level I exam can be found here.

Due to the nature of the program, we do not offer any exemptions.

There are 4 exam windows for CFA Program Level I: February, May, August, and November. See the Exam Information, Dates and Fees page for additional information.

Undergraduate students are eligible to register and take the Level I exam in any of our offered exam cycles (February, May, August, or November) as long as you are within 23 months of graduation. After passing the Level I exam, students may take the Level II exam within 11 months of graduation.

Circumstances differ for everyone, but students beginning the third year of their undergraduate degree may already be enrolled in finance courses that complement their study of the CFA curriculum. Students planning to apply for a summer internship might benefit from sitting for their Level I exam in August, to allow final studying over the summer and to avoid conflict with academic exams. This will allow focused study time and to use your results during critical fall internship and job application periods.

You should plan to devote about 300 hours of study time in the pursuit of success on the Level I exam. This includes 10-15 hours of a Practical Skills Module that provides hands-on application of the material you are learning.

You may register and sit for the Level II exam while you are still working toward your undergraduate degree at university, Please note that the date of Level II exam must be 11 months or fewer before graduation date. See the Expanded Eligibility page for more information.

There is no time limit to complete the exams, but we have found that students that take each level in quick succession often find it easier to stay focused.

Candidates are permitted to take the exam twice per calendar year (when applicable), but not in consecutive windows or windows that are six months or less apart. Candidates are allowed a maximum of six attempts per exam level.

All exams are administered through computer-based testing at local test centers. CFA Institute has over 400 test center locations globally. You can find a list of local text centers here.

For registered candidates who cannot sit for their scheduled exam and want to move to a new exam window, please review the CFA Program Deferral Policy.

You can find information on how to update your name under Popular Inquiries on the Customer Support page.


CFA charterholders occupy a range of investment decision-making roles, typically as a research analyst or portfolio manager. Career paths include asset and wealth management, investment banking, commercial banking, and consulting, alongside a diverse range of other roles in and outside of the finance industry.

CFA charterholders work at companies throughout the investment industry, as well as in a variety of other industries. Top employers include:

  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • BofA Securities
  • HSBC Holdings
  • Wells Fargo and Company
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • BlackRock
  • TD Bank Financial Group

This is a personal choice, but we have found that students who take CFA level I during their time at university tend to be more successful with their studies than those who wait until later in their career. We provide a direct comparison of CFA vs MBA here.

CFA Institute offers a variety of certificate programs that can help to accelerate an early career in finance. See the links below for more information. Investment Foundations® Certificate: Essentials of finance, ethics, and investment roles in the global investment industry. Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM): Leverages the expertise of CFA Institute, the respected global leader in investment education, ethics, and standards, to deliver practice-based approaches and develop skills for effective investment performance evaluation and manager selection. Certificate in ESG Investing: Master real-world investing skills, incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in your skillset. Data Science for Investment Professionals: Gain practical understanding of data science and machine learning applications in the investment process.

Student resources

The LES provides everything you need to be successful in your studies. This customized online platform is an engaging, efficient, and effective study tool. You can access mock exams, practice questions, flashcards, and games to help support your studies in a tailored way. You will also have access to a community of peers who are also studying for the program through the discussion forums. Find out more here.

As soon as you register for the CFA Program you will receive access to the LES and will continue to have access for as long as you are a candidate registered for your exam.

The Learning Ecosystem (LES) provides everything you need to be successful in your studies. However, every student studies in different ways, and some prefer to have a more structured study preparation. You can find a list of approved providers here.

You can purchase the latest print curriculum via our website here or on Amazon.

UAP/ Scholarships

The UAP is an affiliation program that recognizes academic institutions that embed a significant portion (more than 70%) of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) into their curricula. Through cooperation with universities around the world, we seek to promote ethics-based investment education in university degree programs aimed at developing investment professionals. As a student enrolled at an affiliated university you are eligible to apply for a CFA Program Student Scholarship.

All affiliated Universities are visible on our website here.

Applications may be submitted via the online platform here. Please note that all award decisions are determined only by the Principal Contact at your university. It is up to your university’s discretion who, when they are awarded and the reasoning behind the decision.

Each affiliated university has their own set schedule for making scholarship review decisions and the only requirement is that their allotment must be awarded by July 31 each year. You will be notified immediately by email once the Principal Contact (PC) at your university submits their review decision. If you are not awarded, you will be eligible to register for your next exam at the early-registration deadline pricing for up to one year.

Scholarships are valid for one year from the date they are awarded. You can register for any exam during this period which allows you to use your scholarship when it works best for you.


The CFA Program credential sets the standard as the most highly respected designation in the investment management profession. Completion of the program equips charterholders with the knowledge and skills to excel in the investment industry, and signals to potential employers your commitment to the investment profession. The certificates offer both practical application and technical knowledge in certain topic areas and provide the opportunity to add to your overall financial knowledge base. Certificates are designed for a range of individuals including those who have completed the CFA Program and are interested in elevating their knowledge in certain topics, and those in support roles across the investment and finance industries who are looking to gain an overview of the industry.

There are a limited number of student scholarships available for the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) for students enrolled at affiliated universities. Currently, we do not offer scholarships for other certificate programs.


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