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CFA® Program Candidate Checklist

In addition to studying for the exam, you also need to prepare for exam day – getting to the test center, checking in, what to wear, and so on. Here is a high-level timeline of steps to take to be prepared for exam day. 

Soon After Registration  

  • If you haven’t already, be sure to schedule your exam date and location as soon as possible. 
  • Follow CFA Program on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, and Weibo to connect with peers and stay up to date on the latest news.  
  • Review the CFA Program Quick Start Guides: level I; level II; level III
  • Bookmark the Candidate Success Center. This page includes everything you need to know to prepare for your exam and be successful on your professional journey. Tip: review the study habits of successful candidates and make your study plan early! 
  • Log into the CFA Institute Learning Ecosystem; download the CFA Institute Learning mobile app
  • If you haven’t already, consider purchasing the Practice Pack to gain access to an additional 1,000 practice questions, five mock exams, and one exam day simulation mock exam – all written by the same individuals who write the real exams. Practice Pack is available to Level I candidates for purchase for the February 2024 or later exam. 
  • Decide when you will complete your Practical Skills Module requirement. You must complete at least one Practical Skills Module to receive your exam result. Practical Skills Modules are required for Level I candidates beginning with the February 2024 exam, Level II candidates beginning with the May 2024 exam, and Level III candidates beginning with the February 2025 exam. 

Several Months Prior to Exam Day

  • Review the testing policies.
  • Watch a video from our testing partners at Prometric to learn about the exam day experience.  
  • Confirm your valid international travel passport – the only type of identification accepted – does not expire before your exam date and the name in your CFA Institute account matches the name on your international travel passport. If your passport expires prior to exam day, read the identification exceptions.
  • Familiarize yourself with the exam software features in this tutorial.

During the Month Prior to Exam Day

  • Log in to your CFA Program tile and review your exam date, time, and location.
  • Plan your travel route to the test center on exam day. We recommend you arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
  • Review the Rules of Procedure for Professional Conduct (PDF).
  • Make sure you know what to expect on exam day and that you are familiar with the exam format:  
  • Familiarize yourself with the software features of the exam in this tutorial before your scheduled exam date. Don’t make the mistake of exiting your exam early!

During the Week Prior to Exam Day

  • Log in to your CFA Program tile and review your exam date, time, and location.
  • Know how to clear the memory of your calculator. You will be instructed to do so before you begin your exam.
  • Be sure to read the entire Personal Belongings Policy. No jewelry (other than wedding or engagement rings), ornate hair clips, headbands, combs, barrettes, tie clips, or cufflinks are permitted.

Items to Bring on Exam Day

  • Valid international travel passport
  • Approved calculator. Only two calculator models are authorized for use during the CFA Program exams:
  • Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional)
  • Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)
  • Face mask if desired or required in your test center (based on local guidelines)
  • Additional layers of clothing to ensure comfort with the temperature in the test center. 
  • Food must be kept in your locker / personal belongings area. Water in a clear bottle (no label and no images or writing) will be allowed in the testing room.
  • Additional personal care items are allowed for your comfort in the test center. These items do not require pre-approval.


On Exam Day

What to expect at the exam center

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