Level I CFA® Program Exam Structure

  • All multiple choice – 3 choices.
  • Morning session – 2 ¼ hours
    • 90 questions – 1 ½ minutes each.
  • Afternoon session – 2 ¼ hours
    • 90 questions – 1 ½ minutes each.
  • Every question has its own stem and answer choices – there are no multiple part questions.

Exam Tips and Strategies

  • Watch the time – you should answer approx. 40 questions per hour.
  • There is no certainty on what the exact exam pass mark is, but 70% is known to be safe! However, the pass mark is adjusted according to the difficulty of the exam and candidates’ scores, so mid to high 60’s may be good enough. You do not have to pass each topic to pass the exam – it’s your total score that counts.
  • Don’t waste time on difficult questions – leave them until the end
    • You can usually eliminate 1 of the 3 answer choices.
    • 180 questions (90 in the morning and 90 in the afternoon) need to be answered on exam day.
    • You can get 54 (probably more) questions wrong and pass
      180 – 54 = 126 → 126 / 180 = 70%
      180 – 60 = 160 → 120 / 180 = 66.7% (may be good enough!)
  • Don’t leave anything blank – there is no negative marking!
  • Always read all 3 answer choices. A choice at first glance may look good, but there may be a better choice!
  • After you read the question, it is a good idea to formulate your own answer before reading the answer choices – this may make the answer sound better to you when you read it.
  • For long questions, it often helps to read the end of the question first – you will then know what information is relevant as you read through the body of the question.
  • Practice exams and practice questions are vital to your success – it is important to spend most of your time in the few weeks remaining before the exam doing practice exams and questions, e.g., CFA Institute Practice Problems (End-of-Reading  questions), CFA Institute mock exams, Schweser Practice Exam books, SchweserPro™QBank.

For further CFA Program exam information, please visit: https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa/exam

CFA Institute does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services offered by Financial Training Solutions or Kaplan Schweser. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

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