CFA Level I exam details | One Page Guide Cheat Sheet

CFA Level 1 Exam Details

CFA Level I Exam Details | Notes

CFA Charterholders have earned that designation by passing all 3 Levels of the CFA examinations. The CFA Level I Exam Details vary from the other two levels. Level I consists of 240 multiple choice questions and is offered in June and December. Level II consists of 20 item sets; ten in the morning and ten in the afternoon. The Level II exam is offered in June only. An item set is a “mini-case” with six multiple choice questions following each set. The Level III examination consists of an essay format in the morning and then 10 item sets in the afternoon and is offered in June only.

For the Level I exam, 120 multiple choice questions are administered in the three hour morning session and then the remaining 120 questions in the three hour afternoon session. There is a two hour break in between session. Each question is independent of the other questions (and their possible answers) and has only four possible answers; A, B, C, and D. There is no penalty for wrong answers so guessing is encouraged for questions the candidates are unsure on. With the time frame for the Level I exam and the number of questions to answer, candidates should spend no more than 1.5 minutes on each question. In the possible answers to the questions, the CFA institute does not use the words EXCEPT ,TRUE, FALSE, ALL OF THE ABOVE, NONE OF THE ABOVE, A and B ONLY, B and C ONLY, CANNOT DETERMINE, CANNOT CALCULATE, or NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION TO CALCULATE. The exam will use the phrase(s); most likely, least likely, best described, most appropriate, most accurate, least appropriate, or least accurate.

The Level I exam curriculum emphasizes tools and inputs which includes some asset valuation and portfolio management techniques. A basic breakdown of how the Level I exam is broken down is as follows; portfolio management roughly 5%; Ethics and professional standards represent 15%; Quantitative methods comprise around 12%; Economics 10%; financial statement analysis 20%; corporate finance 8%; analysis of equity investments around 10%; analysis of fixed income investments 10%; derivatives 5%; and alternative investments approximately 5%.

The CFA institute only permits candidates the option of using two calculators; the Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator or a Hewlett Packard 12C calculator. There is no set minimum passing score, and the CFA Institute determines what the passing score will be year-to-year. On average, around 40% of candidates worldwide pass the Level I examination.

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