Details of the CFA® Program

The CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) program requires rigorous and hard work for clearing the exams. It mainly involves study of financial instruments, portfolio management and equity research. Before taking a plunge in this program, go through the following syllabus –


  • The subjects are:
    o Ethical and Professional Standards
    o Quantitative Methods (only LI and LII)
    o Economics
    o Financial Reporting and Analysis (only LI and LII)
    o Corporate Finance (only LI and LII)
    o Equity Investments
    o Fixed Income
    o Derivatives
    o Alternative Investments
    o Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
  • Level I: Focuses on basic concepts in finance. Highest weight on Ethical and Professional Standards and Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Level II: More complex type of analysis, focusing on the valuation of different types of assets. Highest weightage on Financial Reporting and Analysis and Equity Investments
  • Level III: Highest weightage on Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

Exam format:

  • Level I: All multiple choice questions where you have to choose one out of three
  • Level II: All questions are again multiple choice but they now appear in item sets (usually 6 questions for one item set) instead of singly.
  • Level III: Item sets and Essay questions. Essay questions should not really be answered by ‘essays’, rather they should be 4-5 sentence subjective answers like the type we answered while we were in school

Exam difficulty level: Generally, the CFA exam is seen as a tough exam and the passing percentage is usually around 40%

  • Of the 3 levels, level I is usually seen as the easiest and level II the toughest
  • Candidates not making the mark can retake the test in the next season

Registration body

  •  CFA Institute

Fees (do confirm with  CFA Institute website for the latest fee):

  • One-time enrollment fee: ~$450 (only at the time of Level 1)
  • Level I, II and III registration: $600- $1200 per level (depending on if you register early or late)

Exam dates:

  • Level I: Generally conducted twice a year on the 1st Sunday in June and December
  • Level II & III: Generally conducted once a year on the 1st Sunday in June

Exam Duration: All levels are 6 hours long, split into 2 three-hour sessions each

  • Morning session: 9:00am – 12:00pm (Candidates are required to be in the classroom by 8:30am)
  • Afternoon session: 2:00pm – 5:00pm (Candidates are required to be in the classroom by 1:30pm)

Materials to bring to exam:

  • Admission ticket
  • HB pencils (or #2 pencils) and pens
  • Eraser
  • Calculator – only 2 types are allowed:
    o Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional)
    o Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)
  • Valid Passport (required item, so do get one if you don’t have one yet)
    o Do make sure the name you have on your passport matches exactly with the name on your CFA admission ticket
  • No type of paper or parchment is allowed inside (even as mundane as the paper lining the base of your pencil box or eraser cover)
  • Smart phones or smart watches are not allowed
  • Food and drinks are not allowed

CFA Institute does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services offered by IMS Proschool.   CFA® Program are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.