CFA Level 1 Exam Pattern

cfa level 1 exam pattern

Computer-based testing

CFA level 1 exam pattern has changed drastically from 2021 from paper to computer based testing (CBT mode). The digital transition is here.

From the year 2021, the CFA Level I exams are being conducted digitally. Only a computer screen and no pen & paper, anxious? Let’s break down the process of the new exam system.

CFA Level 1 Exam Pattern

From 2021 and onwards, the following changes have been introduced:

  • Level 1 CFA exam moves from paper to computer-based testing.
  • You will have FOUR Level I exam windows to choose from in February, May, August, and November.
  • However, you may sit twice a year with 6 months gap in-between.
  • Introduction of rescheduling fee of USD 25 in case you change your mind.
  • The number of exam questions is reduced from 240 to 180 (2×90 questions). There will be two sessions altogether covering all the 10 subjects in each session.
  • First session (2 hours, 15 minutes): 90 multiple choice questions, covering the topics of:
    • ethics & professional standards,
    • quantitative methods,
    • economics, and
    • financial reporting and analysis¬†
  • Second session (2 hours, 15 minutes): 90 multiple choice questions, covering the topics of:
    • corporate finance,
    • equity,
    • fixed income,
    • derivatives,
    • alternative investments and
    • portfolio management
  • Total testing time gets reduced to 4.5 hrs (2×135 minutes).

Break-up of exam day schedule:

Each exam appointment will include:

  • 30 minutes for optional break
  • 135 minutes for session 1
  • 30 minutes for optional break
  • 135 minutes for session 2
  • Total testing time is 4.5 hours
  • Total appointment time is 5.5 hours

Moreover, the exam results are released sooner in less than two months.


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