By Arif Irfanullah, CFA
Posted on 08-10-20 at 5:25 pm
Changes for 2021 Level I CFA Program Exam
In this blog, we provide you a brief overview of the Level I exam and will also go over the major changes that will come into effect from the February 2021 exam. The biggest change is that from 2021 all testing will be computer-based and not paper-based. December 2020 will be the last paper-based exam.
Key changes in exam format, topics, and topic-wise weights
Here are some key points related to changes in exam format, topics, and topic-wise weights.
|Ethics||15 – 20|
|Quantitative Methods||8 – 12|
|Economics||8 – 12|
|Financial Reporting and Analysis||13 – 17|
|Corporate Finance||8 – 12|
|Equity||10 – 12|
|Fixed Income||10 – 12|
|Derivatives||5 – 8|
|Alternative Investments||5 – 8|
|Portfolio Management||5 – 8|
A comparison between paper-based and computer-based exam is given below:
|Paper-based exam||Computer-based exam|
|Scheduling||One exam day/time offered||· Self-schedule your exam within the exam window (up to a 10-day period)|
· Now the candidates will have an option to schedule their CFA® exams on any day within the ten days predetermined exam window. The candidate can choose a date and location/center of their choice.
|Locations||Proctored exam in 192 locations globally||· Proctored exam in 400+ locations globally, to include all locations currently offered in June.|
· Like before, the exams will still take place in examination centers.
· However, the length of exams, and the dates and locations they can be taken, will change.
|Exam length||Two 3-hour sessions with breaks in between||· Two 2.25-hour sessions for L1.|
· 135 minutes for sessions 1.
· 135 minutes for session 2.
· Total testing time is 4.5 hours.
· Optional break in between the sessions;
· There is going to be a 30 minutes period before the start of the exam which is allocated to pledge, tutorial, and survey.
Hence, the Total appointment time for the exam will be 5.5 hours.
|Exam date||When to start studying|
Paths to Receive the Charter
If you take the Level 1 exam in Feb 2021, then the earliest you can take the Level 2 exam is in August 2021. There is a Level 2 exam in May 2021 but you are not allowed to take that because the time period between Feb and May is too short. Similarly, if you pass the August 2021 Level 2 exam then the earliest you can take the Level 3 exam is in May 2022 although there is a Level 3 exam in Nov 2021. And then if you pass the Level 3 exam, you need to complete 4 years of relevant work experience in order to earn the CFA ® Charter. This is the best-case scenario.
However, if you are not able to pass the L1 exam, you cannot re-take it in the next session. For example, if you take the exam in Feb 2021 but do not pass then you can re-take it in August 2021 or November 2021 but not May 2021 exam. This means that Candidates that do not pass Level I will still have to wait a minimum of six months to retake the exam. Therefore, a maximum of two exams a year is possible – even if there are now four dates. This is consistent with the time that current candidates must wait to retake the exam.
What study material you will get from CFA Institute
When you sign up for the L1 exam, you will get the following study material:
How Will the Changes Affect Preparation and Curriculum?
The changes discussed above will neither reduce the volume of information in the curriculum nor will they reduce the level of difficulty of the exam. Hence, we recommend that you prepare for the exam with great dedication and commitment. IFT provides a number of comprehensive prep materials including video lectures, notes, practice questions, mock exams, etc for the candidates. There is a separate video in which we have discussed different IFT materials designed to help the students pass the exam.
Last, but not least, always remember that the key to success is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, AND PRACTICE.