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Level III CFA® Exam Structure

Exam Structure and Duration

Structure: The Level III exam consists of item sets comprised of vignettes with accompanying multiple-choice items  and constructed response (essay) questions.

Duration: The computer-based exam will be approximately 4.5 hours, split into two sessions with an optional break in-between.

CFA Level III Exam Question Format

CFA Exam Constructed Response (Essay) Format

The first session of the CFA Level III exam is comprised of 8 to 11 constructed response (essay) questions. Each essay question on the exam consists of a vignette followed by several related items that require a written response. There will be some multiple-choice items in this session, as well. For example, you may be asked a multiple-choice question to select the portfolio (A, B or C) that meets a particular objective, followed by an essay question to justify that response.

Essay questions have varying point values. At the start of each essay vignette, the total point value for that essay will be stated. For time management purposes, consider 1 point to equal 1 minute of time to be spent on that essay question. 


CFA Exam Item Set Format

The second session is comprised of 44 multiple choice items, each worth 3 points. Each item set on the CFA exam consists of a vignette followed by either 4 or 6 multiple choice items (questions).

Both essay and multiple-choice items must be answered based on the information in the vignette. Hence, the items are not free-standing (as in the CFA Level I exam). You will need to refer back to vignette before answering each item.

Example Level III Exam Questions

Below is a link to examples of Level III item set questions. Note that in a computer based testing format, the designated answer space for each question will be a blank box.