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Exam Day – Hardware and Software

Your CFA exam will be given at one of over 400 test centers around the world.  We have worked hard to make the exam experience as consistent as possible at each test center.

You will be provided with the same tools, timeframe, and exam questions wherever you sit for your exam. However, there are a few elements that will be useful to know before taking the exam.

Computer Monitor

You may find that computer equipment may vary slightly, sometimes within the same test center.  One of these variations may be the monitor size  or resolution of the equipment that you will use. 

Level I exams are presented in a multiple-choice format and will appear in the same way on all screen sizes. Level II and Level III exam questions may be formatted in a slightly different way from screen to screen.

For Level II and Level III exams, a standard screen (17” monitor) will present the case scenario side-by-side with the answer screen. The answer screen will provide either multiple-choice options or a text box for essay responses.

On a wide screen, you can see both the case scenario (on the right) and the answer screen (on the left) side by side on the same screen.

If you have a smaller screen, you will see a single view of the case scenario. After reading it, you may close the case scenario and proceed to the questions.

If you wish to refer back to the case at any time, simply click the “Case Scenario” icon that appears above each question to bring it back to the front.

On a smaller screen such as a laptop, the case scenario will appear as a pop-up over the answer screen.  You can close the case scenario pop-up to view the answer screen.
On a smaller screen like a laptop, you can close the case scenario pop-up to answer the question.

Questions That Require a Numerical Answer

A question that requires a numerical answer will be presented in one of two ways, either as an essay or a numerical entry.

An essay text box will accept typed words and numbers.  A correct numerical value typed in the essay box by itself receives full credit – formulas and explanations are not required. If you choose to do so, you may describe steps used in the calculation by typing out variables in an equation using normal keyboard strokes.

A numerical entry box will accept only numbers, commas and a decimal point, with no additional words or formulas. There is no room to show your work.


All test centers are equipped with the QWERTY keyboard to be provided for all CFA exams. Requests to use a local and/or different type of keyboard must be approved as a special accommodation. Candidates may visit our Disability Accommodations webpage for more information on how to request testing accommodations.

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