CFA Program Level III Exam Details

What to review when you're getting ready for the Level III exam:

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

How the Exam Questions Are Structured

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 of 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”

Back to top

Examples of Exam Questions and Guideline Answers

Below are examples of Level III item set questions and an actual 2014 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.

Remember that the exam is based on the current curriculum.

Current candidates: Log in for additional Level III essay exams and guidelines answers, plus feedback from graders.

Back to top

Exam Topics and Study Session Outlines (including LOS)

2018 Level III Study Sessions index | 2018 Level III Study Sessions combined

Ethical and Professional Standards
Behavioral Finance, Individual Investors, and Institutional Investors
Capital Market Expectations
Asset Allocation
Fixed Income and Equity Portfolio Management
Alternative Investments, Risk Management, and the Application of Derivatives
Portfolio: Execution, Evaluation and Attribution, and Global Investment Performance Standards