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CFA® Program Curriculum Overview

The CFA Program curriculum is offered in English only, like the exams. The curriculum is organized into three levels and each level is organized into 17–18 study sessions. Each study session includes assigned readings, learning outcome statements (LOS), and problem sets.

All exam questions are based on the content in the corresponding curriculum for that level. Each exam question is based explicitly on one or more LOS.

The CFA Program curriculum increases in complexity as you move through the three levels.

Ethical and Professional Standards

The increase in complexity can be demonstrated with the ethical and professional standards curriculum content. This content is similar for each exam level; however, candidates are asked different types of questions:

  • Level I tests your knowledge of the ethical and professional standards.
  • Level II tests how you apply those standards to situations analysts face.
  • Level III tests how you apply the standards in a portfolio management and compliance context.

Level I Knowledge and Comprehension Investment Tools
Level II Application and Analysis Asset Valuation
Level III Synthesis and Evaluation Portfolio Management

CFA Topic Exam Area Weights

Level I 15 12 10 20 7 10 10 5 4 7 100
Level II 10–15 5–10 5–10 15–20 5–15 15–25 10–20 5–15 5–10 5–10 100
Level III 10–15 0 5–15 0 0 5–15 10-20 5-15 5–15 40–55 100

* These weights are intended to guide the curriculum and exam development processes. Actual exam weights may vary slightly from year to year. Please note that some topics are combined for testing purposes.

How CFA Institute supports your studying

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