CFA Exam Pattern | Know the CFA Paper Pattern 2019


CFA 2018 is a worldwide exam that would be conducted to screen candidates for the CFA accreditation. If you are looking to become a certified CFA Analyst, then you need to know about the CFA Exam Pattern. You need to very clear about the CFA Paper Pattern to have a strategy in place for cracking the exam. In the following post, we would take a look at the CFA Exam Pattern. So, without wasting much time, let’s get down straight to it.

The CFA Exam Pattern – An Overview

The CFA Exam is conducted into three levels. This is the exam pattern followed worldwide. The CFA exam pattern in India is the same. The three levels are:

  • Level 1
  • Level 2
  • Level 3

The following table gives an overview of the type of questions asked in each level.

Level I Level II Level III
Morning Evening Morning Evening Morning Evening
No of Questions 120 120 60 60 12 10
Type MCQ MCQ 10 Set of Items 10 set of Items Essay Set of Items
Duration 6 Hours 6 Hours 6 Hours
Passing Score 70%* Above 70%* 50-70%* Approx.
Passing Rates 42%* 46%* 53%*

Note: * These numbers vary every year. This is just an approximation based on the historical data.

CFA Exam Pattern – Detailed View

Now, that we have a basic idea about the CFA Paper Pattern, let us take a look at the details of each of the levels of examination

CFA Level 1 Exam Pattern

Let us first take a look at the CFA Level 1 Exam Pattern. This is the first examination that students will have to appear for. In level one, questions would be asked about the concepts and tools that are applied to investment management and valuation.

The CFA Level 1 exam is conducted in two sessions. Each of the sessions is 3 hours long. You would be required to appear for both the sessions. The CFA Level 1 Paper Pattern of 240 multiple-choice questions (MCQ) in two sessions of 120 questions each.

CFA Level 2 Exam Pattern

After passing the Level 1 Exam, you would have to appear for CFA Level 2. The CFA Exam Pattern for Level 2 would include questions that deal with the assets valuation. You are expected to have the ability to apply the concepts and tools that you have learned in level 2.

Like the CFA Exam Pattern in Level 1, Level 2 would also be split into two sessions. The morning and evening sessions have 10 item set questions each. So, you would have to appear for 20 items in total. The total number of questions in the CFA Level 2 exam is 120. The duration of the exam is 360 minutes or 6 hours, with 3 hours or each session. Some of the topics in the CFA Syllabus are covered only in the morning session. Other topics are covered only in the evening session.

CFA Level 3 Exam Pattern

The last stage of the exam is CFA Level 3. The CFA Exam Pattern in Level 3 is a bit different than the other levels.  In the level 3 examination, students will have to go through portfolio management in depth. The difference is in the scope of the questions and their nature. In CFA Level 1 and CFA Level 2 exams, the questions were based on the basic financial knowledge, investment valuation comprehension and the application of both. The Level 3 exam focuses on portfolio management and wealth planning.

The CFA Paper Pattern in Level 3 has a mix of item set questions and essay type questions. The duration of the exam is 6 hours long and is written in two sessions. The morning session and the afternoon session. Now, let us look at the nature of the questions in each of the questions.

In the morning session, there will be 10-15 essay type questions. The questions are based on a case study or a hypothetical situation to which students need to either construct a solution and explain it or suggest measures to handle it.

In the afternoon session, there are 10 item sets. Each item set consists of a case statement followed by six multiple-choice questions.

These were the details of the CFA Exam Pattern. To know more about the CFA Exam 2018, click on the link below:

CFA Course -2018