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Exam Day – Screen Sizes and Functionality

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.

Screen Size

You may find that computer equipment may vary slightly, sometimes within the same test center.  One of these variations may be the monitor size of the equipment that you will use. Resolution is set by the administrator to ensure a sharp view of the material.

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

For Level II and Level III exams, a standard screen (19” 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 receives full credit – formulas and explanations are not required. If a candidate chooses to do so, they may describe steps used in the calculation or show values using either a math editor function or by typing out variables in an equation.

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 and the math editor function is not available.

Note that you will be allowed to use either of the exam-approved calculators for doing your calculations.


The highlighting function cannot be used to highlight elements within the case scenario. The highlighter does work within the question box.


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.