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Level III CFA® Exam Structure

Exam Structure and  Timing

The Level III exam consists of item set and constructed response (essay) questions:

  • Morning session: Constructed response (essay) questions (usually between 8 and 12 questions, each with several subparts) with a maximum of 180 points. (The point value for each question is provided in the exam book.)
  • Afternoon session: 10 item set questions

Exam Question Format

When you prepare for the Level III exam, remember to review the Level II item set question details.

Constructed Response (Essay) Questions

Each essay question has two or more parts (A, B, etc.) and one or both of the following types of designated answer pages:

  • One type of answer page is an unlined page, clearly labeled for that question part. You are free to write your response as needed on that page.
  • The other type of answer page has a structured set of boxes. The boxes are clearly labeled for that question part and provide a visual structure to guide you in writing your responses.

Your Essay Exam Book

Read and follow the instructions on the front cover and throughout the exam book.

  • Page one of the exam book lists all the questions on the exam as well as the topic and the minutes allocated for each question.
  • The heading where a question begins states the number of parts in that question and the total number of minutes allocated. For example: “Question 2 has two parts (A, B) for a total of 18 minutes”
  • Instructions in bold print immediately following the question direct you to the designated answer page for each question part. For example: "Answer 2A on page 17”

Examples of Level III Exam Questions

Below are examples of Level III item set questions and an actual 2015 Level III essay exam with guideline answers. You can expect to see similar questions in terms of structure and level of difficulty, but don't expect to see the same questions repeated on your exam. Additionally, the format of the answer pages for each question may change from year to year.

Exam Grading and Results

Level III exam results are available within 90 days following your exam.

Learn more about exam grading and see recent pass rates

Learn more about the requirements for earning your charter

Learn how to become a member

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