How have the CFA® Exam Formats and Schedule changed?

From 2021, all the levels of the CFA® exam will be offered in a computer-based testing format, a new shift from the 60 years of paper-based testing. Furthermore, the exams will be offered over 10 days rather than one uniform date depending on the location.

In this blog, we will clarify the key highlights and changes of the new testing with clarification on the next steps ahead.


How Is It Different from Earlier?

  • All levels of the CFA exam will be computer-based.
  • The Level I exam will be offered four times a year.
  • The Level II and Level III exams will be offered twice a year.
  • There will be exam windows of up to 10 days instead of one uniform date.
  • The total testing time for all levels has been reduced to 4.5 hours instead of six hours.
  • The Level I exam will continue to be a multiple-choice format.
  • Level II and Level III will use the same item set (vignettes) and essay format (Level III) used for the paper-based exams. The total number of item sets on the exam might vary slightly.


What Are the New Schedules for all the exams?

A special exam schedule will be released for Levels II and III in 2021, and then a regular cadence will begin in 2022. The planned 2021 exam windows for Level I are still in effect. The exam windows in 2021 are:

  • February, May, August, and November for Level I
  • May and August for Level II
  • May and November for Level III

Beginning in 2022, the schedule for all exams will be:

  • February, May, August, and November for Level I
  • February and August for Level II
  • May and November for Level III


I Registered for the Postponed June 2020 Exam. What Do I Do?

There are several options you can opt for based on your registration status:

  • If you have registered for the final paper-based exam in December 2020, you can continue with this option or switch to any of the available 2021 windows based on the level.
  • If you had registered for the June 2020 exam and chose to defer to the June 2021 paper-based exam, you may register for the December 2020 paper-based exam by August 19, 2020. Candidates also have the option to select any of the available 2021 computer-based options.
  • If you would like to move to a computer-based exam, you have until October 20, 2020, to do so.
  • For the February Level I exam, registrations are currently open. Registration for all the levels will be open on August 20, 2020, with the dates for 2021 computer-based exams.


What If I Need To Postpone My Exam In The Future?

If you are trying to decide the right exam date, you must check the guidelines and rules of the government and health advisories in your test area. CFA Institute follows the guidance of local governments. Therefore, exams will only be held in locations where CFA Institute can meet public health and safety requirements.

If you were registered for the June 2020 postponed exam, and the exam you subsequently registered for is also postponed, you will have the option to defer again. Also, you can request a refund for the registration fee you paid for the June 2020 exam.


Why Is CFA Institute Making These Changes?

The world that investment professionals experience today is increasingly digital. Hence, CFA Institute has decided to embrace the new changes and transition its exam from paper-based to computer-based henceforth. The COVID-19 global pandemic was the impetus for CFA Institute’s decision to accelerate the move from paper to computer-based testing. The computer-based testing environment and additional dates and times available means that fewer candidates will sit for the exam at the same time, which reduces personal risk compared to the high-capacity venues used for the paper-based test.

Now that you have a better idea about the upcoming Level II & III exam changes, start your journey with Kaplan and learn in a manner that suits your learning needs best. To learn more, call us at 800346 or click here – studycfa