Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is one of the most sought after ranks for finance professionals to enhance their market skills and become more valued in the industry. It is an official designation administered by the CFA Institute and is claimed by the same as a self-study, distance learning program that takes a versatile approach towards stock analysis, valuation, and portfolio management. The Institute encourages the highest level of ethical and professional standards along with in-depth knowledge of the financial industry.
The entire CFA program consists of 3 levels that the candidates are required to pass in order to complete the certification. All these exams include areas related to accounting, economics, money management, and security analysis. CFA Level 1 exam is conducted in June and December and Level 2 and 3 in June. Aspirants appearing for Level 1 and 2 can check the result 60 days after the exam date and level 3 result after 90 days.
Now, we are going to focus on the CFA Level 1 Examination, its course, eligibility, and some tips and tricks to clear this rather-arduous course.
CFA Level 1: Exam Structure
The exam consists of 240 multiple-choice based questions dividing into 120 questions each in the 2 part manner it is conducted. Unlike most exams, CFA certification if a 6-hour long exam and because of the obvious problems in conducting it at a go, it is divided into 2 sessions morning and afternoon.
CFA Revised Guidelines: Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic
However, some guidelines have changed for the 2021 CFA examination. This has been done amid the COVID-19 pandemic due to the uncertainty and challenges faced by students and administrators. The December 2020 CFA exam is the last paper-based exam for all the 3 CFA levels. After that, only computer-based exams will be conducted.
The CFA exam has been shifted from pen and paper to computer-based with 180 questions only (earlier there were 240 questions). Basically, the overall length of the CFA Exam has also been reduced from 6 hours to 4.5 hours only. It would still be divided into two sessions but each would be of 2 hours 15 minutes instead of 3 hours.
Also, as per the revised guidelines, the CFA Level 1 exam would be conducted 4 times in a year specified as the second month of each quarter, i.e February, May, August, and November. Please note that this exam window is opened for upto 10 days only and the candidate has to wait for another window if one is missed.
Is CFA Worth it? Learn about it and then take your career decision.
CFA Level 1: Eligibility
Aspirants willing to take the CFA certification must be determined and hardworking as it a rather challenging and complex course. But considering its value as a profession, all that hard work shall pay off. Since it is a self-study course here are some personal skills you must inculcate in your life to pass the exam:
- Time management
- Focus, and
Apart from this, the official eligibility criteria for the CFA certification is as follows:
- Candidate should hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in any discipline. (Of course, people with Finance and Accounting backgrounds have an extra advantage)
- Candidate in their last year of graduation can also apply.
- In case of the absence of such a degree, a candidate must have at least 4 years of work experience.
- According to the 2020 guideline, the Candidate must possess an international travel passport.
Test Your Knowledge
CFA Level 1 Exam Quiz: Quantitative Methods
CFA Level 1 Fees: How much does the CFA Exam Cost?
The registration cost varies according to the time you register for the exam. Firstly, there is a one-time CFA registration fee of 450 USD. Please note that you will have to pay an additional 250 USD if you wish to reschedule the exam. So choose the slots wisely! Secondly, the CFA Institute has early, standard, and late registration deadlines, and the price increases as time delays. The early registration fee is 700$, the standard is 1000$, and 1450$ for late registration.
It could be a way of the CFA Institute to motivate you to start ASAP! It brings us to the next important question, How to register for the CFA Level 1 Program?
CFA Level 1 Exam Registration: Process to Know
As mentioned above, The CFA institute has divided the registration process into 3 periods. The last date for early registration 2020 is 26th March. The standard registration is opened till 19th August 2020 and the Final late registration is due till September 9th. No registration can take place after the said date.
As far as the registration process is concerned, you have to visit the CFA institute’s official website and click on ‘Register for exam’. It will then ask you to create your account. Following up with the questions and providing the necessary documents, you will reach the end page i.e the payment page. You can pay the registration fee via credit card, wire transfer, money order, cheque, or postal order.
Wish to know more about CFA Certification, don’t miss to have a look at the CFA Level 1 Exam Curriculum & Subjects
These are all the common concerns you might’ve had about the CFA examination. Now that you’re ready to register let’s look at some tips and tricks that might help you!
CFA Examination: Study Tips and Tricks
We all like gathering ideas to pass our exams smoothly. And when it comes to passing a professional exam like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) one needs to be more careful and proactive. So, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Time Management:
The first and foremost thing to keep in mind is time management. There are 180 questions and you should not spend more than 90 seconds on one question. Fixating about something you’re not sure of may make you miss the important sections that you know!
2. Regular Study Routine:
Now, How much should you study? According to a report by the CFA Institute itself, a candidate must study 25 hours a week which means an average of 3.5 hours daily. But, it is all based on your capability to grasp new things. Being consistent is very important here.
Not to miss out, useful tips on How to prepare for CFA Level I? A Complete Study Plan.
Here’s another quiz to test your CFA Level 1 Knowledge
Test Your Knowledge
CFA Level 1 Exam Quiz: Economics
CFA Examination Tips: Get Ready for Exam Day
There is no negative marking and each question carries the same weightage. So attempt ALL questions and start with the ones you’re sure of.
Dress comfortably. There is no dress code for the exam center so wear something you can comfortably sit in for 2.5 hours and attempt the exam with ease.
Master using a financial calculator with speed. It will give you an advantage. And you know, only two Model Calculators are approved to use in the CFA exam:
- Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional)
- Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)
You can also visit our CFA Quiz page to try the practice questions at one place.
CFA Cerification: Scope
There is a huge scope for a CFA charter holder. It could help you land a high paying job in profiles like Asset management, Equity analysis, portfolio creation, corporate banking, private equity, stock markets, derivatives industry, and trading and research departments. Common designations held by a CFA charter are Research Analyst, Portfolio Manager, Investment banker, and chief level executive to name a few.
Therefore, holding a prestigious certification like CFA can definitely open numerous door towards building a successful financial career. No doubt, you’ll find a number of career options in finance and accounting, you have to choose the one you of your interest.
We hope now you have all the information you needed about the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. This was all about the CFA Level 1 examination. For further queries feel free to discuss below.