All You Need To Know About CFA Level 1

Are you ready for an exciting journey into the world of finance? 

Just imagine you’re eager to explore the world of finance, a field that can change lives and even entire economies. But where do you start? How do you take the first step? Here’s where we step in with the knowledge base.

This is your ultimate guide to CFA Level 1, where we’ll simplify everything for you. No fancy words or complex jargon, just a friendly conversation to help you kickstart your financial career. So, let’s dive right in!

Overview and Importance of CFA Level 1 in Financial Careers

CFA Level 1 is your passport to finance—a foundational step in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) journey. It equips you with essential skills in ethics, economics, and financial reporting. As an aspiring candidate, we’re here to guide you through this crucial stage, simplifying the journey and preparing you for success. Let’s dive into CFA Level 1 and kickstart your career in finance!

Recent Updates in CFA Level 1 (2024)

The CFA Program is getting a significant facelift for 2024-25. IMS Proschool has condensed the latest CFA Level 1 curriculum updates for 2024 into a convenient summary for your ease!

In 2024, CFA Level 1 introduces significant changes:

  • Learning Modules Integration: CFA Level 1 has shifted entirely to Learning Modules (LMs) for all subjects, offering a more streamlined and manageable study approach.
  • Content Simplification: Core topics like time-value of money, basic statistics, microeconomics, and introductory company accounts are provided separately for reference. This optimizes exam time for more advanced concepts and practical modules, aligning with candidate needs.
  • Companion Pre-Read Materials: Available at no additional cost, these materials serve candidates seeking to review or fill knowledge gaps during their Level I studies, enhancing their preparation.

All candidates appearing for exams in 2024 and beyond will be assessed based on the updated Level I curriculum.

Did you know, 84% of our CFA students recommend that you join us for your CFA Prep

The 2024 CFA Curriculum Changes You Need to Know

IMS Proschool has simplified the overview for you.

CFA Level 1 curriculum changes 2024:

In 2024, CFA Level 1 shifts to Learning Modules (LM) from traditional Readings, enhancing comprehension and retention. LM, designed for how candidates approach studies, includes visual aids and real-world finance content.

While areas like Portfolio Management, Derivatives, and Ethics remain largely unchanged, additional Learning Modules have been integrated, especially in the domains of Fixed Income, Quantitative Methods, and Alternative Investments.

LM 13 – Introduction to Geopolitics

LM 28 – Corporate Structures and Ownership

LM 30 – Business Models

The 2024 CFA Level 1 curriculum emphasizes practical knowledge, interactive content, and a restructured format, aligning with market demand. 

CFA Institute’s Approach to Keeping the Curriculum Relevant

Here are answers to the approach taken by the CFA Institute to maintain the relevance of the 2024 CFA curriculum

  • Why was content removed from the Level I exam?

Some content was removed from the Level I test to focus on key areas within the 300-hour study limit, aiding candidates in today’s evolving financial landscape.

  • Do the changes make it harder to pass the Level I exam?

The changes aren’t designed to increase difficulty; they aim to aid better preparation for success.

  • Why complete the Practical Skills Modules if they aren’t tested?

Practical Skills Modules, while not tested, offer value. They equip candidates with hands-on skills like financial modeling and Python, enhancing job prospects as per employer feedback.

Significance of Staying Updated for CFA Aspirants

Staying current in finance is crucial:

  • It maintains the relevance of your knowledge amidst the fast-paced changes.
  • Provides an edge in a competitive job market.
  • Enhances decision-making in investments.
  • Increases the chances to ace challenging CFA exams.
  • Enables meaningful conversations with peers and employers.
  • Upholds ethical standards, vital in finance.
  • Fuels continuous learning, opening doors to better job prospects.

Get 250+ hours of classroom training for CFA Level 1 at the most affordable price.

CFA Level 1 Eligibility

To qualify for the CFA Program, you have a few options:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: You need one or something similar. If you’re still in undergrad, you can take Level I if you’re about to graduate within 11 months.
  • Work Experience: You can also qualify with 4,000 hours of work, spread over at least 36 months. Your education time and work time can’t overlap, and every year of higher education counts as 1,000 hours.
  • Ethics: You’ve got to meet the conduct requirements and sign some statements during the application.
  • Passport: Need a valid international passport since the exams are in English, and you’ve got to be good at English.
  • Live in a Participating Country: If you’re in a country involved in the CFA program and have that passport, you’re good to take the exams.

Remember, the CFA Institute relies on what you report about meeting these requirements. 

Special Considerations for Indian Candidates: CFA Level 1 Eligibility

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification.
  • Eligibility within 23 months of graduation.
  • Four years of higher education or 4,000 hours of work experience.
  • Evidence of education and work might be needed.
  • Additional prerequisites: passport, English proficiency, conduct statement, and fees.

Registrations for the February and May 2024 sessions are open for the 2023 CFA Level 1 exam. You can apply online.

CFA Level 1 Content Highlights

CFA Level 1 Exam Topic Weightage Comparison 

IMS Proschool has structured the 2024 Level 1 CFA Exam Topics by Weight to simplify it for you.

CFA Level 1 Topic Weights



Quant Methods






Financial Statement Analysis



Corp. Issuers






Fixed Income






Alt. Investments



Portfolio Mgmt.






The 2024 CFA Level 1 curriculum emphasizes practical subjects like Equity, Fixed Income, Alternative Investments, and Portfolio Management, potentially reducing the emphasis on theoretical topics. This shift prepares candidates for real-world application early in their careers.

The Level 1 CFA exam topics can be categorized as follows based on their significance and complexity:

The Most Important Topics:

  • Financial Statement Analysis (FSA)
  • Ethical and Professional Standards (Ethics)
  • Quantitative Methods (QM)

The Harder Topics:

  • Financial Statement Analysis (FSA)
  • Fixed Income Investments (FI)
  • Derivatives (DER)

The Easiest Topics:

  • Equity Investments (EI)
  • Corporate Issuers (CI)
  • Portfolio Management (PM)

Understanding these categories will help you focus your preparation effectively for the CFA Level 1 exam.

Proschool has a whooping 65% passing rate for CFA Course across all its canters.

CFA Level 1 Focus on Practical Skill Development 

Practical Skills Modules (PSMs) – for CFA Level 1 in 2024

Topic: Financial Modeling

This module delves into practical financial modeling using Excel, aiming to enhance finance skills. You’ll create a comprehensive three-statement financial model, covering essential areas like revenues, costs, tax, capital, and financial statements. The course, lasting 10–15 hours, is self-paced and online, catering to candidates with basic financial modeling knowledge from CFA Level I Financial Statements Analysis. The focus is on hands-on skills relevant to finance.

Topic: Python Programming Fundamentals

This course covers Python fundamentals, Pandas, and Matplotlib to handle financial data. Divided into units, it includes Python basics, data types, loops, and functions. A final project applies skills to real financial data. It’s a 10–15 hour self-paced online course, beneficial for finance and data science. Prior knowledge of CFA Level I Quantitative Methods is helpful.

Also Read – How are CFA And Financial Modeling Connected? 

CFA Level 1 Registration 2024

To help you get started, IMS Proschool provides an overview of the registration process for the CFA Level 1 exam in 2024. 

  • Ensure you meet CFA Institute criteria for education or work experience.
  • Visit the official website and make an account for CFA activities.
  • Log in, choose the 2024 Level 1 exam, enter personal info, and pick your exam spot.
  • Double-check details for accuracy before confirming your registration.
  • Pay registration and exam fees promptly using various payment options.
  • After payment, expect an email from CFA Institute with exam details.

Enrollment and Registration Fees for the CFA Program Exam

  • It’s $940 for early registration and $1,250 for standard registration.
  • By opting for early registration, you can secure your exam spot and save on registration fees. It’s advisable to register as soon as possible to take advantage of this cost-saving opportunity.
  • If you miss the early registration deadline, standard registration is still an option, but the fees will be higher.

Enrollment Fee:

  • There is a one-time enrollment fee of $350.
  • This fee is paid when you first decide to pursue the CFA designation, and it covers the administrative costs of processing your initial application.

New Payment Option for Indian Candidates:

CFA Institute now offers an EMI payment option for Indian residents through Eduvanz, allowing installment payments over several months. Choose ‘Pay by Invoice’ during checkout and follow the guidelines provided. Click here.

Country-Specific Restrictions:

  • It’s crucial to be aware that residents of certain countries may face restrictions when registering for the CFA exam. This is due to international sanctions or policies. To check whether your country is affected, please review the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Policy on the CFA Institute’s website.

Important Considerations:

  • The CFA Institute may alter them due to various factors and reserve the right to close registration early if necessary. Keeping abreast of these announcements is crucial to your planning.

Also Read – CFA Scholarship – Are you eligible for it?

Important CFA Level 1 Exam Registration Dates and Deadlines

CFA Exam Dates / Deadlines

Nov 2023

Feb 2024 

May 2024 

Aug 2024

Nov 2024 

Registration Opens

31 Jan 2023

16 May 2023

15 Aug 2023

14 Nov 2023

8 Feb 2024

Early Registration Deadline

10 May 2023

13 July 2023

12 Oct 2023

23 Jan 2024

16 Apr 2024

Final Registration Deadline

8 Aug 2023

8 Nov 2023

6 Feb 2024

14 May 2024

7 Aug 2024

Scheduling Deadline

16 Aug 2023

21 Nov 2023

14 Feb 2024

21 May 2024

13 Aug 2024

Rescheduling Deadline

13 Oct 2023

18 Jan 2024

15 Apr 2024

22 July 2024

10 Oct 2024

CFA Exam Windows

11-17 Nov 2023

19-25 Feb 2024

15-21 May 2024

20-26 Aug 2024

13-19 Nov 2024

IMS Proschool Tips for a Smooth Registration Experience 

  • Plan Early: Note key dates, especially early registration, to save on fees.
  • Check Eligibility: Ensure you meet all requirements before registering.
  • Verify Payment: If paying by card or wire transfer, confirm prompt processing.
  • Secure Your Spot: Level 1 exams fill up fast, so register early to secure a seat.
  • Seek Help: If issues arise, contact CFA Institute support for assistance.

Career Opportunities and Job Profiles After CFA Level 1

Completing CFA Level 1 opens doors to various financial career opportunities. Here are roles well-suited for Level 1 candidates:




Junior Financial Analyst

Assist in financial data evaluation, report preparation, and investment decisions.

Strong analytics, financial software proficiency, market understanding, and attention to detail.

Equity Research Analyst

Analyze stocks, conduct market research, and provide investment recommendations.

Deep equity market knowledge, financial analysis, research skills, and decision-making abilities.

Investment Product Analyst

Evaluate investment products like mutual funds or ETFs, assessing risks and suitability.

Understanding various investments, risk assessment, and guiding informed investment choices.

Junior Business Analyst

Analyze data, improve processes, and aid decision-making in various industries.

Analytics, business insight, problem-solving, and effective communication across business and tech.

Also Read – Top Job profiles & 5 tips to get a job after passing CFA level 1

Tips for Accelerating Career Options After Clearing CFA Level 1

Earning your CFA Level 1 certification is a significant achievement that can catapult your career in the financial industry.

  • Stay updated on industry trends through various sources. This knowledge complements your CFA qualification and boosts your professional standing.
  • Hone your ability to communicate financial insights clearly and effectively—essential in reports, meetings, and presentations.
  • Network actively by attending industry events, joining associations, and connecting with professionals. A robust network can unlock opportunities and mentorship.
  • Leverage LinkedIn for professional connections, highlighting achievements, and exploring job opportunities. Maintain a polished online presence.
  • Seek internships to apply CFA knowledge in real-world settings and potentially secure full-time roles in finance.

Changes in CFA Level 1 Curriculum and Exam Structure (2024)

Understanding CFA Level I exam structure and preparing effectively is essential for success. Here’s a breakdown of the exam and some key tips for preparation:

Exam Structure:

Consists of 180 multiple-choice questions, divided into two 135-minute sessions. You have the option of taking a break between the sessions.

First Session (2:15 hrs):

  • 90 questions in a multiple-choice format covering subjects such as Economics, Ethics & Professional Standards, Financial Statement Analysis, and Quantitative Methods.

Second Session (2:15 hrs):

  • 90 questions in a multiple-choice format covering Alternative Investments, Corporate Issuers, Derivatives, Equity, Fixed Income, and Portfolio Management.

Time Management:

On average, allocate around 90 seconds per multiple-choice question. Adjust your timing as needed based on the question’s complexity and your understanding of the topic.


The best approach for CFA Level 1 preparation is to adhere to the CFA program curriculum and customize your study style. 

  • Curriculum for the CFA Program
  • Learning ecosystem provided by the CFA Institute (LES)
  • Online mock exams by the CFA Institute
  • Preparation providers accredited by the CFA Program
  • Practice problems at the end of each curriculum section
  • Collaborative study groups

Preparing for the Exam:

CFA Level I preparation requires adequate study time, typically exceeding 300 hours per exam level. Around half of candidates pass on their first try. Successful preparation involves adopting effective study habits and comprehending topics like investment tools, asset classes, portfolio management, and ethics across ten areas. Randomized questions within these domains make a structured study approach essential for success and achieving the CFA charter.

Also Read – What Salaries Can You Expect In India As a CFA?

CFA Level 1 Exam Frequency and Duration

CFA exams are computer-based and managed by global partners, Prometric and British Council. Essential exam details include:

Exam Administrations

CFA Level 1 exams follow a specific schedule (consult the Exam Calendar for exact deadlines by level).

Exam Attempts and Scheduling

Candidates can attempt the exam twice yearly, with a maximum of six attempts per level. Attempts shouldn’t be consecutive or within six months.

Scheduling Your Exam Appointment

The process involves registering for the exam and scheduling via the Prometric tool. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis, with limited weekend slots. Complete scheduling before the deadline for a confirmed exam date and time.

Testing Accommodations

Submit accommodation requests within the exam window deadline. Past accommodations require a new request with each registration. Review official guidelines for allowed items and accommodations.

For Test Center Locations and comprehensive guidelines, visit the CFA Institute website.

Also Read – Is Schweser the right material to prepare for CFA Level 1?

Proschool students get customized CFA study plan which helps them retain all 10 subjects. Start Your CFA Level 1 Journey Today!

CFA Level 1: Question Format and Sections

The CFA Level I exam questions are crafted by experienced CFA charter holders, closely aligned with the curriculum’s Learning Outcome Statements. They use a multiple-choice format, presenting a question or statement alongside three answer choices (A, B, or C) in two main formats.

Example 1: Sentence completion

If a security’s annual return is compounded continuously at 9% over 12 months, the approximate holding period return for that same duration would be:




Example 2: Question

Which statement is more likely an assumption in technical analysis?

  1. Security markets are efficient.
  2. Market trends depict irrational human behaviour.
  3. Equity markets swiftly respond to changes in the broader economy.

Question Structure

The Level I CFA exam avoids using terms like ‘except,’ ‘true,’ or ‘false’ in items and minimizes the use of ‘not’ whenever possible. The question stems may include qualifiers such as ‘most likely,’ ‘least likely,’ ‘best described,’ ‘most appropriate,’ ‘most accurate,’ ‘least appropriate,’ or ‘least accurate.’ Each question stem corresponds to only one item on the exam.

Answer Choices

In the Level I CFA exam, specific answer options like ‘all of the above,’ ‘none of the above,’ and variations like ‘A and B only’ are not used. Choices are arranged uniformly in order of length, and the question stem includes shared language for all answer options. All questions are of equal weight, and no penalties are applied for incorrect answers.

Should You Take the CFA Exam?

Ensure you meet the enrollment criteria before registering for the CFA Level I Exam.

Exam Day Preparation and Logistics

  • Familiarize yourself with the exam software via the tutorial. 
  • Don’t prematurely exit the exam; click “Finish Test” only when ready to submit.
  • Exam Day Logistics
  • Arrive at the test center at least 30 mins early.
  • Bring a valid international passport and approved calculator(s).
  • Store personal belongings appropriately.
  • Dress comfortably.
  • Work at your pace; follow instructions for breaks.

CFA Level I Exam Tips

  • Questions follow International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), unless stated otherwise.
  • Practice using your calculator for LOS-related calculations.
  • No penalty for incorrect responses; attempt all questions.
  • No specific dress code, dress comfortably, consider layers.
  • Proctors are available for help during minor disruptions; continue working if possible.
  • Understand how hardware/software might affect your exam.

Exam Breakdown

Exam Page

Time Allotted on Screen

Section: Introduction – Candidate Pledge & Exam Software Tutorial

19 minutes

Section (1 of 6): Exam Content Session 1*

135 minutes

Section (2 of 6): Break Introduction/Optional Break

31 minutes

Section (3 of 6): Exam Content Session 2 Introduction

1 minute

Section (4 of 6): Exam Content Session 2*

135 minutes

Section (5 of 6): Survey Introduction

1 minute

Section (6 of 6): Survey

8 minutes

Section: Finish

1 minute

Also Read – 10 Reasons People Fail in the Exams of CFA® Program

Significant Changes for 2024 CFA Level 1 Candidates

Expansion in Eligibility:

University students with at least 23 months until graduation can now take the Level 1 CFA exam. This widens opportunities for internships and entry-level roles.

Practical Skills Module (PSM):

Starting Feb 2024 for Level 1 and later for Levels 2 and 3, the PSM enhances practical skills.

CFA Level 1 Practice Pack:

Upon Level 1 exam registration, access to CFA Institute curriculum, learning platform, mock exams, and study resources. New Practice Pack with 1000 questions and six mock tests (optional purchase).

Curriculum Updates (from 2024):

Foundational topics like time value of money, basic statistics, microeconomics, and company accounts will be pre-read materials, aiming to streamline study to an estimated 300 hours per level.

How do Proschool Students pass CFA Level 1 with ease? By solving 2000+ questions & 5+ mock tests

Choosing The Right Institution For CFA Level 1

Selecting the right institution for your CFA Level 1 preparation is a crucial step in your journey to becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst. 

IMS Proschool, affiliated with the renowned IMS brand since 1977, focuses on unlocking individual potential.

Why Choose IMS Proschool for CFA Level 1?

  • Expert faculty providing comprehensive online and offline training.
  • Over 200 hours of in-depth Level 1 preparation.
  • Tailored study plans to suit diverse learning styles.
  • Immediate career prospects after Level 1 completion.
  • Additional resources and support for exam excellence.

Enrollment with IMS Proschool for CFA Level 1

  • Open to all interested candidates without specific prerequisites.
  • Recommended minimum age of 18 years for program benefits.
  • Background in economics, commerce, finance, or business is suggested but not mandatory.

Preparing for Job Interviews with IMS Proschool

The CFA interview is a pivotal step in the finance world, assessing candidates for roles in top-tier firms like JP Morgan and Barclays. IMS ProSchool ensures students are well-equipped to navigate these high-stakes interviews, providing comprehensive preparation for this significant milestone.

This focuses on the importance of CFA job interviews and how IMS Proschool helps candidates prepare for these challenging assessments.

Also Read – Can I go abroad after completing CFA® Program ?


  1. What is the Salary of a CFA Level 1 Professional in India?

Salaries for entry-level CFA Level 1 candidates in cities like Mumbai, Gurgaon, and Hyderabad start around INR 50,000 monthly, reaching up to INR 5 lakhs annually. As candidates gain experience and progress through the CFA levels, earnings can exceed INR 15 lakhs or more annually.

  1. Is CFA Valuable in India?

The CFA designation holds substantial value in India’s finance and investment sectors. Employers in banking, asset management, equity research, and corporate finance highly regard the CFA, offering enhanced career prospects and increased earning potential due to its global recognition and emphasis on ethical standards.

  1. Is CFA Easy for Indians?

The difficulty of the CFA program varies individually. It’s renowned for its rigorous curriculum and demanding exams, necessitating dedication and discipline for success. Completion by Indian candidates, like others worldwide, requires a substantial time commitment and effort, making its level of difficulty subjective based on prior knowledge and study efforts.

  1. Is a CFA Better than an MBA in India?

Choosing between a CFA and an MBA in India relies on career aspirations:

CFA: Specialized in finance, recognized globally, quicker to complete, suitable for finance-focused roles.

MBA: Offers broader business education, versatile across various industries like consulting and marketing.

Consider your long-term goals, industry preferences, and commitment level before deciding. Some professionals pursue both for a specialized finance career.