Eligibility for cfa & when to start preparing for it

If you’re someone passionate about finance, chances are you’re already familiar with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program which is a true game-changer in the finance industry! 

But for those of you who may not have come across it yet, it’s something you definitely want to know about!

The CFA program is like a golden ticket to success for finance professionals. It’s a globally recognized certification that equips you with top-notch skills in investment analysis, portfolio management, and financial decision-making. Whether you’re into investment banking, asset management, or any finance-related field, this program is worth considering.

Why should you pursue the CFA certification? 

  • Opens doors to exciting career opportunities: 

Employers worldwide value CFA holders for their deep financial knowledge and ethical standards. 

  • Global recognition:

 It’s like an international badge of expertise that gives you credibility in any market.

  • Gateway to higher education: 

 The CFA program can be your gateway to keep you up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices making you an indispensable asset in the ever-evolving finance landscape.

In this article, we’ll dive into the all-important topics of CFA eligibility criteria and the perfect timing to kickstart your exam preparation, with a special focus on CFA eligibility criteria in India.

Understanding CFA Eligibility

Let’s kick off our analysis by talking about the very first step which is the CFA Eligibility Criteria.

Requirements for CFA Level 1: 

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: You must possess a college or university degree and have successfully finished a Bachelor’s or equivalent program
  2. Undergraduate Student: As part of CFA Institute’s increased eligibility, students with two years left in their undergraduate education will be able to appear for the Level 1 exam. Please be aware that you must complete your degree program before sitting for the CFA Level 2 exam.
  3. Professional job Experience: Prior to signing up for the Level 1 exam, you must have amassed around 4,000 hours of professional job experience or higher education. Make sure the timelines for your education and work experience do not cross.
  4. Live in a Participating Country: Being a resident of a participating country and holding an international passport makes you eligible to take the CFA exams.
  5. Professional Conduct Statement Form: This form is a must for all aspiring CFA candidates, and it ensures adherence to ethical conduct.

Requirements for CFA Level 2: 

To take the Level 2 exam, you must have passed the Level 1 exam and earned your bachelor’s degree. 

Requirements for CFA Level 3: 

Prior to registration, CFA levels 1 and 2 should have been passed.

NOTE THAT: Full-time, part-time, or remote employment can be used to earn this experience before, during, or after you enroll in the CFA Programme. This work experience may involve monitoring those responsible for making financial decisions or conducting lessons on how to make investments.

Also Read – A Detailed Guide On Work Experience Requirements For CFA

Let’s discuss the importance of a bachelor’s degree in meeting the CFA eligibility criteria for Indian candidates: 

  1. Foundation of Knowledge: The fundamental building block of knowledge, analytical capabilities, and critical thinking is a bachelor’s degree.
  2. Recognition of Professional Degrees: Professional degrees like CA, CS, or CWA might satisfy the educational criteria for Indian candidates.
  3. Global Standard: The minimum prerequisite of a bachelor’s degree guarantees that applicants have a sufficient level of education and intellectual capacity to comprehend the challenging financial topics taught in the CFA curriculum.
  4.  Diversified profile: A bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or a comparable subject will help you build a well-rounded profile for a career in investment banking.

Now, let’s talk about the million-dollar question. 

When is the best time to start preparing for the CFA exam? 

Well, the sooner, the better! Seriously, the CFA exam is no walk in the park, so giving yourself ample preparation time is a game-changer.

For those of you in India, it’s essential to align your preparation with the CFA exam’s schedule. The Level I exam is usually held twice a year, in June and December. So, if you’re looking to take the June exam, kicking off your preparation around September or October of the previous year is a smart move. This gives you around eight to nine months of preparation time, and believe me, you’ll need every bit of it.

Why Starting Early Pays Off?

  • More time: You get more time to cover the extensive syllabus thoroughly, absorb the concepts, and review topics at your own pace. 
  • Comprehensive collection of all material: CFA exam materials can be quite the beast, and rushing through them last minute can lead to unnecessary stress and sleepless nights.
  • Create a balanced scehdule: Spacing out your study schedule allows you to balance work or academic commitments alongside your preparation. It’s all about creating a healthy study routine that works for you!

If you’re seeking to find all these aspects in your CFA journey, check out the IMS Preschool CFA course. They offer a customized study plan with a 6-month coverage of all 10 subjects and an additional 3 months for revision. Moreover, they provide classroom training in 10 cities, and their faculty consists of CFA charter holders.

Eligibility for CFA in India

Let’s kick off our analysis by talking about the very first step which is understanding the CFA Eligibility Criteria.

So make sure to fulfil the following requirements:

Level 1: Apart from the points in the previous section Indian candidates can appear for Level 1 in their final year of a Bachelor’s program, which is unique to India.

Level 2 & 3: The eligibility criteria for Level 2 & 3 are consistent for Indian candidates and candidates globally.

Common Misconceptions about eligibility for CFA

  1. Do I need a finance background to be eligible for CFA?

The CFA program welcomes candidates from diverse academic backgrounds. As long as you meet the educational criteria, you’re good to go!

  1. Can I take Level 1 during my final year of college in India?

Absolutely! Indian candidates have the advantage of taking Level 1 during their last year of a Bachelor’s program, making it easier to kickstart their CFA journey.

  1. Is CA, CS, or CWA equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree for CFA eligibility?

Yes! If you hold these professional degrees you’re eligible to take the CFA exams without needing a traditional Bachelor’s degree.

  1. Can I appear for multiple levels in the same exam cycle?

No, you can only register for one level per exam cycle. Each level requires separate preparation and examination.

  1. Are there age restrictions for CFA eligibility in India?

No, there are no specific age limitations for CFA candidates in India or globally.

  1. Is coaching necessary to prepare for CFA?

While self-study is okay and can be effective, coaching can really enhance your preparation and understanding of the material, making the whole process smoother and more efficient.

So, bust these misconceptions. In fact you can simply master CFA subjects in 6 months with the help of IMS Proschool’s CFA course and access 2000 Practice Questions.

Advantages of Early Preparation

Start preparing early! Trust me, it’s a game-changer. 

  • More time, less stress 
  • Master the curriculum
  • Remember like a boss
  •  Flexibility galore

And guess what? There are real success stories out there! 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive and enriching CFA course that guarantees success look no further than IMS Proschool! They have garnered praise from their students, with testimonials serving as a true testament to the program’s excellence. 

One such testimonial from Viveka Anbukarasan highlights the faculty’s unparalleled experience and profound subject knowledge. 

  • Their guidance makes grasping complex topics effortless, as they promptly address any doubts, setting them apart with their personalized teaching approach.
  • The program’s commitment to quality education shines through its reasonable coaching fee, making it accessible to all aspiring learners.
  •  Students can rest assured that their investment in the future yields top-notch education and valuable skills.

Clearly, prospective students are encouraged to embark on their CFA journey with IMS Proschool as the path to a prosperous career begins here.

Choosing the Right Time to Begin

Time for a personal Approach!

Before starting this course you must assess your Personal Circumstances and Career Goals

  1. Evaluate your Commitments: Take a moment to understand your existing academic, professional, and personal responsibilities. Consider whether you can realistically devote sufficient time to CFA exam preparation without overwhelming yourself.
  2. Career Aspirations: Reflect on your career goals. Clarify how the CFA program aligns with your long-term ambitions.

Tip: At Proschool, by reaching out to your  dedicated mentor, individuals can receive guidance in discovering the ideal career path for them. The Mentor will assist in charting a course towards achieving those aspirations, ensuring continuous support throughout the journey. 

Challenges and Time Commitment!

  1. Rigorous Curriculum: The exam is renowned for its depth and complexity. Give yourself ample time to absorb the material.
  2. Exam Levels: The program has three levels. Plan your preparation timeline accordingly, allowing sufficient months for each level.
  3. Balancing Work and Study: If you’re already working, achieving work-study balance is crucial. Recognize that CFA preparation might demand additional hours outside of your job.
  4. Personal Life: Don’t overlook personal commitments. Allocate time for family, friends, and leisure activities to avoid burnout during your CFA journey.

Tip: Having trouble juggling CFA prep and other commitments? ProSchool’s short-term courses and structured teaching approach got you covered! Their guidance will help you crush it in both fields without the stress.

Making an Informed Decision!

  1. Self-Assessment: Be honest about your study habits, learning style, and dedication and assess yourself accordingly.
  2. Financial Considerations: Factor in the costs associated with CFA exam registration, study materials, and potential retakes.
  3. Learning Preferences: Consider whether self-study or a structured classroom/course-based approach suits you better. 

Tip: At Proschool, candidates learn with real-life case studies and examples, guided by mentors with 15+ years of industry experience. It’s all about practical learning, and these mentors will provide you with the best guidance!

Final Thoughts?

Well with careful planning and dedication, you can embark on a rewarding journey towards becoming a CFA in the first attempt itself. 

So whenever you plan to start, don’t forget to explore the opportunity of learning from CFA Charter holders in your city  with IMS Proschool’s CFA course.

Also Read – Tips on passing CFA Level 1 with ease

Building a Solid CFA Study Plan

Crafting Your Personalized CFA Study Plan? Here are some tips-

  1. Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses
  2. Set Realistic Goals
  3. Emphasize Discipline and Consistency
  4. Utilize Effective Study Resources
  5. Take practice exams under timed conditions to simulate real exam settings
  6. Analyze Your Progress
  7. Spend extra time on your weak areas while maintaining a balanced approach.
  8. Practice Exam Strategy
  9. Learn intelligent guessing techniques to maximize your chances when uncertain.
  10. Ensure adequate rest and breaks to avoid burnout. A fresh mind absorbs information better.

Remember, creating a comprehensive study plan tailored to your strengths and weaknesses is key to succeeding in the CFA exams. 

Stay disciplined and be consistent. In fact, checkout IMS Proschool as their faculty will teach you the updated CFA curriculum of 2023, including Financial Modeling & Python. Rest assured, they’re aiming to provide the best knowledge in these subjects. So with the latest syllabus stay ahead with the latest skills!


You’ve reached the conclusion of our CFA adventure! 

Understanding the CFA eligibility criteria is the key that opens the door to your dream career in finance. By grasping the requirements and recognizing the benefits of early preparation, you’ve already taken the first step towards greatness.

CFA program is not just a certification; it’s a transformative journey.

Your strategic study plan, bolstered by top-notch resources from premium institutions  like IMS Proschool, will be your loyal companion throughout this marathon. From official CFA materials to review courses and practice exams, these tools will sharpen your abilities, ensuring you’re well-prepared for success.

Future CFA charterholders, this is your moment! May your dedication and hard work lead you to triumph in the CFA exams.