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Level III CFA® Exam Structure

Exam Structure and Duration

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

Duration: The CFA Level III paper-based exam duration is 6 hours. The computer-based version will be approximately 4.5 hours. Candidates will have the same average time per question that they had under paper-based testing. More detail will be provided soon.

Exam Question Format

CFA Exam Item Set Format

Item sets are sometimes called “mini-cases.” Each item set on the CFA exam consists of a vignette (or case statement) and either four or six multiple choice items (questions). The length of the vignettes vary and they may include several tables of information for analysis.

CFA Exam Constructed Response (Essay) Format

In addition, the Level III exam includes constructed response (essay) questions. Each essay question on the CFA Exam consists of a vignette with two or more related items that require a written response.


Examples of Level III Exam Questions

Below are examples of Level III item set questions and an actual 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 designated answer space for each question may change from year to year.

Exam Grading and Results