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Computer-Based Exam Information

All CFA exams are administered through computer-based testing.

Registering for your CFA exam is a two-step process.  

  • Step 1: Enroll in the CFA exam through the CFA website.
  • Step 2: After you complete the registration process and your payment is processed, you will see the “schedule your exam” option in your CFA Program tile. This will take you to the Prometric scheduling tool where you will be presented with available testing centers with dates and times. You must complete this step by the scheduling deadline. If you do not receive a confirmed date and time, you are not yet successfully scheduled for an exam.

View our scheduling tool instruction sheet (PDF).

Exams in 2022 will be offered:

  • For Level I in February, May, August, and November
  • For Level II in February, August, and November
  • For Level III in May and August

Exam administrations in 2023 will set the standard CFA exam cadence, and will be offered: 

  • For Level I in February, May, August, and November
  • For Level II in May, August, and November
  • For Level III in February and August

Computer-based exams

Scheduling Self-schedule in exam window. Note there is a USD 250 fee if you wish to reschedule your exam appointment in your exam window after initial scheduling.
Locations Proctored exam in 400+ locations globally.
Exam length
  • 30 minutes allotted to pledge, tutorial, and survey
  • approximately 135 minutes for session 1
  • 30 minutes for optional break
  • approximately 135 minutes for session 2
  • Total testing time is 4.5 hours
  • Total appointment time is 5.5 hours

Learn More

What to Expect on Exam Day

Exams will be delivered in proctored exam centers with robust security measures in place. Each test center will closely monitor candidates for cheating in any form. Candidates will be provided with writing materials to use during CBT exams, and you will still be allowed to bring a calculator to the exam center. Just as before, the calculator must be either the Texas Instruments BA II Plus or the Hewlett Packard 12C.

Learn how hardware/software at the test centers may impact your exam-day experience.

Exam Duration

With the transition to computer-based testing, CFA Institute implemented a change in exam length. CFA Institute invested in independent psychometric research which clearly showed that a shorter exam would not affect our ability to reliably determine who has demonstrated the required competency to pass the exam. Candidates will have the same average time per question that they had under paper-based testing. 

Registration Deadlines, Fees, and Invoicing Option

Registration deadlines will apply to all levels of candidates registering for the exam for the first time. Fees and deadlines will be published on the CFA Institute website. An enrollment fee must be paid prior to registering for the Level I exam for the first time. Invoicing is available for computer-based exams during early registration period only.

Time Between Exams

We are committed to maintaining the rigor of the exam and the candidate experience. Candidates are permitted to take the exam a maximum  of two times per calendar year (when applicable), but not in consecutive windows or windows that are six months or less apart. Candidates will have a total of six maximum attempts per exam level. For example, a Level I candidate who takes the February administration and does not pass may not sit again until the August administration. A Level I candidate who passes the exam during the May administration may not sit for Level II until the November administration. 

Proctor Assistance

During the normal course of the exam, candidates may find they need assistance from proctors. Proctors will come to workstations as quickly as possible to assist. If able, we encourage candidates to continue working on their exam until a proctor has assisted. Our exam writers have designed the exam to account for minor disruptions or pauses in order for candidates to still have adequate time to respond to all questions.

Scheduling Your Exam

In CBT, candidates must first register for their exam, and then schedule their exam appointment. You must schedule your exam appointment by the published deadline for your exam window or you will not be able to test. Test center options with confirmed available seating will be presented to you after registration during the scheduling process. If you do not see your preferred test center, please confirm it is listed on our planned CBT test center locations PDF. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

CBT Exam Format and Scoring

All questions are written by a team of experienced charterholders and all questions come directly from the curriculum and are reviewed to be sure they are consistent with the expectations set in the Learning Outcome Statements.

  • The Level I exam is in a multiple-choice format.
  • For the Level II and Level III exams, there are 11 question sets (item sets only at Level II; item sets and essays at Level III)  for each session, for a total of 22 on the exam. Twenty are scored, and two are question sets we are trialing that will not be scored.

Until last year, the length of item set questions was standardized to six multiple choice questions per vignette at both Levels II and the item set portion of Level III. Last year we began introducing some item sets with four multiple choice questions per set. The mixed length of four and six question item sets will continue and so the total number of item sets on the exam may vary slightly.

In responding to a calculation question in essay format on the Level III exam, candidates are not required to show their work. A correct numerical value will receive full credit. If a candidate is so inclined, it is possible to use the equation editor that is part of the exam software to build a formula as part of a response. Alternately, a candidate might choose to include a simple written description of the steps used in a calculation. If a candidate chooses to show their work, it will be evaluated as part of the response.

All item sets and essays are scored in proportion to their length. Each question within an item set is worth 3 points while essay questions are scored based on length and complexity. Wrong answers do not count against you. Cyber-security in Computer-based Testing

We have strict cyber-security measures in place, and we work continuously with our IT experts to thoroughly define any potential risks and solutions. Our selected vendors have a track record of success and years of experience in this area, and we will partner with them to implement security measures that mitigate any potential risks. We will take all available precautions to secure the exams.

COVID Guidelines in Place at CBT Test Centers

The CBT environment will be quite different from the typical paper-based venue environment. Please watch this video from our exam vendor, Prometric, to learn what the exam day experience may look like as a result of COVID guidelines. Note that candidates will be provided with writing materials to use during CBT exams.

CBT Exams Impacted by COVID-19

Due to smaller group sizes and an easier environment for adhering to safety standards, we hope that postponing an exam at a CBT site will be less likely. Please stay abreast of government and health advisories in your test area. CFA Institute will adhere to the guidance of local governments. We plan to hold exams in any location where we can meet the applicable public health and safety requirements.

Impact on the Relevance of the CFA Program

Our primary objective for the CFA Program is, and has always been, to develop future professionals who exemplify the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. CBT will enhance the Program’s value to the industry by allowing us to deploy new question types that employers, candidates, and other stakeholders would recognize as being more reflective of the day-to-day application of concepts on the job.