CFA Level 1: Frequently Asked Questions

CFA Level 1: Frequently Asked Questions
Written by Pradeep Kumar

While you have decided to sit for the CFA exams, several questions might surround you. There are many preconceptions and misinformation regarding CFA in the public forum. You may come across certain ideas that may promote a very different picture of the exam and its importance.

You may be overwhelmed by the amount of information and details shared by experts and successful candidates. So in this post, we will look into the most frequently asked information and find appropriate answers to them.

Here are some of the most important and repeated questions asked by aspirants appearing for the CFA level 1 exam.

What is a CFA charter?

The CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst Charter is a professional designation granted by the CFA institution after successfully completing the three levels of the CFA exam. This designation is believed to be the most recognized and respected title conferred to individuals in the field of investment management.

Is the CFA charter a degree?

CFA charter is not a degree but a credential. It poses mastery in advanced investment management and analysis and real-world portfolio management. However, there are instances where candidates have the misconception that a CFA charter is equivalent to an MBA degree.

How to acquire the CFA Charter?

The designation of the CFA charter can be obtained by clearing the 3 levels of the CFA exam. The CFA exam is designed by the CFA Institution based on contemporary financial tools and topics. The I, II, and III levels of the CFA exam build the advanced financial and investment understanding in the candidate through its extensive curriculum.

What awaits in the CFA Level I exam?

The CFA exam is popular for being a difficult one. And so, candidates must take the cfa exam preparation seriously and with complete dedication. Candidates should also be comfortable with using a CFA-approved calculator and should be able to use it accurately. For the level I exam, the candidates need to answer 180 multiple-choice questions within 4 hours and 30 minutes.

What are the eligibility criteria for appearing for the CFA exams?

Any candidate planning to enrol for the CFA program and register for the CFA level I exams must have an international passport. Apart from this, there are certain other requirements that a candidate must meet to appear for the CFA exams.

A candidate should have a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree or must be in the final year of a bachelor’s program to enrol for the CFA program. A candidate must have professional work experience of 4000 hours.

On the other hand, candidates may also have a combination of education and full-time professional experience that amounts to a minimum period of 4000 hours. However, these hours of education and work experience must be completed before enrolling on the CFA program.

The structure of the CFA level I exam:

The CFA exam is computer-based. 180 multiple-choice questions need to be answered in 4 hours and 30 minutes. The exam is divided into two sessions of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

The curriculum of CFA level I:

The CFA Institution designs the Curriculum based on contemporary financial tools and topics so that the candidates are equipped to deal with the concurring investment and financial situations. The following topics are covered in the recent CFA exams:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Issuers
  • Equity Investment
  • Fixed Income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative Investments
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
The Weightage of the CFA level I topics:

Although the topics remain the same throughout the three levels of the CFA exam, the weightage of the respective topics keeps switching from level to level. Here we will look into the weightage of the  CFA level 1 curriculum topics:

Ethical and Professional Standards have around 15 to 20 % weightage in the level I exam.

Quantitative Methods, Economics, and Corporate Issuers have around 8 to 12 % weightage in the level I exam.

13 to 17 % weightage for Financial Statement Analysis in the level I exam.

10 to 12 % for equity Equity Investments and Fixed income topics in the level I CFA exam.

And Derivatives, Alternative Investments, and Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning have around 5 to 8 % weightage in the CFA level I exam.

The Registration Cost for the CFA exam:

The CFA enrollment has a one-time fee of $350. Apart from this, candidates need to pay every time they register for an exam. However, there are certain early bird offers that give a significant discount while registering early.

The CFA Institute has standard deadlines for early discounted registrations, post which the registration charges are increased. The early registration fee is $900, whereas post that period a candidate needs to pay $1200.

So when candidates register early they not only get a discount of $300 but also are motivated to begin their preparation much early in time.

Can candidates postpone their appearance for the CFA exam after registering for the exam?

Candidates can postpone their registrations only in a few specific cases that are mostly medical-related. Candidates can also withdraw their registration, but they need to do that within 3 days of registration, or else they have to again pay the registration fees and re-register themselves.

Final Thought

If you are undergoing cfa exam preparation, these pieces of information can be of great help to you. Prepare well for your exam and give it your best shot. All the best.

About the author

Pradeep Kumar

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