Level I CFA® Exam Structure

Exam Structure and  Timing

Structure: The Level I exam consists of 240 multiple choice questions, split between two 3-hour sessions. Candidates must attend both sessions.

  • Morning session (3 hours): 120 multiple choice questions, covering all topics
  • Afternoon session (3 hours): 120 multiple choice questions, covering all topics

Timing: On average you should allow approximately 90 seconds for each multiple choice question. You may need more or less time, depending on the question and how well you understand the topic.

Exam Question Format

Multiple Choice Questions

Each item on the Level I multiple choice exam consists of a question, a statement, and/or table and three answer choices: A, B, and C.

Two basic formats are used:

  1. Sentence completion with three unique choices
  2. Questions with three unique choices

Example 1 (Sentence completion)

An analyst suspects that a particular company’s U.S. GAAP financial statements may require adjustment because the company uses take-or-pay contracts. The most likely effect of the appropriate adjustments would be to increase that company’s

  1. return on assets.
  2. debt-to-equity ratio.
  3. interest coverage ratio.

Example 2 (Question)

An analyst suspects that a particular company’s U.S. GAAP financial statements may require adjustment because the company uses take-or-pay contracts. Which of the following is most likely to increase as a result of the appropriate adjustments being made to that company’s financial statements?

  1. Return on assets.
  2. Debt-to-equity ratio.
  3. Interest coverage ratio.

All questions are equally weighted and there is no penalty for an incorrect answer.

Learn more about item stems and item construction (PDF)

Examples of Level I Exam Questions

Are you ready for the Level I exam? These 20 sample questions provide a broad sampling of the types of questions you’ll see in the Level I exam.

Take the quiz

Exam Grading and Results

Level I exam results are available within 60 days following your exam.

Learn more about exam grading and see recent pass rates

Tips for Taking the Level I Exam

  • Be comfortable with your calculator. Make sure you know how to use the calculator features needed to address the learning outcome statements (LOS).
  • Exam questions referring to Financial Reporting and Analysis (FRA) are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) unless otherwise specified. When a question is based on U.S. GAAP, it will be stated in the question.
  • Answer all questions. There is no penalty for incorrect answers.

Review the CFA Program enrollment requirements

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