Introduction to CFA® Level III Exam

Once you pass this exam and accumulate 4 years of relevant work experience, you will transition from candidate to charterholder.

Setting Expectations

Set aside the time

According to the CFA Institute, the 10-year average pass rate for the CFA Level III exam is 54%. In total, candidates report investing more than 300 hours into their studies for each level of the CFA exam.

  • Important Dates

    Registration Opens: Dec 1, 2021
    Registration Closes: May 3, 2022
    Exam Dates: Aug 30 - Sep 6, 2022
    Results are provided 6-8 weeks after exam

  • Exam Information

    8–10 constructed-response (essay) questions, supported by vignettes
    44 multiple-choice questions, supported by vignettes
    Approx. 132 minutes per session
    Computer-based testing

  • Enrollment Information

    Requirements for the Level III exam

    Enroll at the CFA Institute website

  • Question Format

    Session 1 includes 8–10 vignettes followed by constructed-response questions
    Session 2 includes 44 total multiple-choice questions supported by vignettes

Level III 2022 Curriculum

Topics, Weights, and Content Offerings

The Level III 2022 curriculum is broken into the following 8 topics, uniquely weighted according to their importance.

Portfolio Management (Part I)

10% - 12%

An introduction to behavioral biases of individuals as well as behavioral finance, followed by asset allocation and its principles. We conclude by discussing how real-world constraints impact asset allocation decisions.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 13,500+ Words in manuals
  • 205+ Minutes of video
  • 40+ Assignments questions
  • 80+ Quiz and Exam questions

Economics

5% - 10%

An exploration of setting capital market expectations and the major tools of economic analysis. We first review the framework for developing expectations, then focus on macroeconomic analysis. We conclude with expectation setting for specific asset classes.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 17,500+ Words in manuals
  • 135+ Minutes of video
  • 15+ Assignments questions
  • 35+ Quiz and Exam questions

Derivatives

5% - 10%

An illustration of how to use derivatives in investment decisions. We start by examining option strategies, then review swaps, forwards, and futures strategies. The topic concludes with an exploration of managing currency exposures.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 20,900+ Words in manuals
  • 225+ Minutes of video
  • 20+ Assignments questions
  • 45+ Quiz and Exam questions

Fixed Income

15% - 20%

An overview of fixed-income portfolio management. We examine liability-driven and index-based strategies in greater detail, then cover yield curve and credit strategies for fixed-income portfolios.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 24,700+ Words in manuals
  • 245+ Minutes of video
  • 30+ Assignments questions
  • 60+ Quiz and Exam questions

Equity Investments

10% - 15%

An overview of equity portfolio management leads into a discussion of two approaches for managing equity portfolio. Both passive and active equity strateges are included.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 15,100+ Words in manuals
  • 195+ Minutes of video
  • 30+ Assignments questions
  • 60+ Quiz and Exam questions

Alternative Investments

5% - 10%

An exploration of hedge fund strategies, followed by a discussion of asset allocation to alternative investments. Learn why alternative investments present risk and return characteristics unique from traditional investments.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 16,900+ Words in manuals
  • 140+ Minutes of video
  • 15+ Assignments questions
  • 25+ Quiz and Exam questions

Portfolio Management (Part II)

25% - 30%

An overview of private wealth management, followed by a deeper exploration of the topic. We explore risk management for individuals, portfolio management for institutional investors, and performance evaluation and investment manager selection.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 65,000+ Words in manuals
  • 600+ Minutes of video
  • 55+ Assignments questions
  • 105+ Quiz and Exam questions

Ethical and Professional Standards

10% - 15%

An exploration of ethics in the investment profession. Through case studies, we illustrate practical application of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. We conclude with two real-world violations with resulting regulatory actions.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 16,400+ Words in manuals
  • 195+ Minutes of video
  • 30+ Assignments questions
  • 50+ Quiz and Exam questions

Level III 2023 Curriculum

Topics, Weights, and Content Offerings

The Level III 2023 curriculum is broken into the following 8 topics, uniquely weighted according to their importance.

Portfolio Management (Part I)

10% - 12%

An introduction to behavioral biases of individuals as well as behavioral finance, followed by asset allocation and its principles. We conclude by discussing how real-world constraints impact asset allocation decisions.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 14,000+ Words in manuals
  • 205+ Minutes of video
  • 40+ Assignments questions
  • 80+ Quiz and Exam questions

Economics

5% - 10%

An exploration of setting capital market expectations and the major tools of economic analysis. We first review the framework for developing expectations, then focus on macroeconomic analysis. We conclude with expectation setting for specific asset classes.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 17,700+ Words in manuals
  • 135+ Minutes of video
  • 15+ Assignments questions
  • 35+ Quiz and Exam questions

Derivatives

5% - 10%

An illustration of how to use derivatives in investment decisions. We start by examining option strategies, then review swaps, forwards, and futures strategies. The topic concludes with an exploration of managing currency exposures.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 21,300+ Words in manuals
  • 225+ Minutes of video
  • 20+ Assignments questions
  • 45+ Quiz and Exam questions

Fixed Income

15% - 20%

An overview of fixed-income portfolio management. We examine liability-driven and index-based strategies in greater detail, then cover yield curve and credit strategies for fixed-income portfolios.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 25,200+ Words in manuals
  • 245+ Minutes of video
  • 30+ Assignments questions
  • 60+ Quiz and Exam questions

Equity Investments

10% - 15%

An overview of equity portfolio management leads into a discussion of two approaches for managing equity portfolio. Both passive and active equity strateges are included.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 15,400+ Words in manuals
  • 195+ Minutes of video
  • 30+ Assignments questions
  • 60+ Quiz and Exam questions

Alternative Investments

5% - 10%

An exploration of hedge fund strategies, followed by a discussion of asset allocation to alternative investments. Learn why alternative investments present risk and return characteristics unique from traditional investments.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 17,100+ Words in manuals
  • 140+ Minutes of video
  • 15+ Assignments questions
  • 25+ Quiz and Exam questions

Portfolio Management (Part II)

25% - 30%

An overview of private wealth management, followed by a deeper exploration of the topic. We explore risk management for individuals, portfolio management for institutional investors, and performance evaluation and investment manager selection.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 66,200+ Words in manuals
  • 600+ Minutes of video
  • 55+ Assignments questions
  • 105+ Quiz and Exam questions

Ethical and Professional Standards

10% - 15%

An exploration of ethics in the investment profession. Through case studies, we illustrate practical application of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. We conclude with two real-world violations with resulting regulatory actions.

We Prepare You With Over

  • 16,900+ Words in manuals
  • 195+ Minutes of video
  • 30+ Assignments questions
  • 50+ Quiz and Exam questions

Learn From CFA Experts

Study Tips From Our Instructors

Mike Carmody
Mike Carmody CFA, FSA, MAAA Lead Instructor

Keep It Quick

Constructed response questions can be intimidating. But remember they expect your answers to be brief. So don't write in full paragraphs, or elaborate too much on minor details. Answer the questions with short phrases, focusing on what's most important to truly answer the question.

Marc Coward
Marc Coward CFA, MBA, MPhil Lead Content Manager

Manage Your Time

Time management is critically important for Level III. If you find yourself getting stuck on a question, move on to another one. You can come back to challenging questions later, but you will regret it if you run out of time before you have a chance to get to all of the questions that you can answer correctly. As you go through the various topics, think about how the content might be tested. Any topic may be tested in either the morning or afternoon session, but some types of questions are better suited for the constructed response format than others. Similarly, certain types of questions are a better fit for the multiple-choice format that is used in the afternoon session.

Tong Teh
Tong Teh CFA, FSA Vice President of Product

Invest the Time

Constructed response questions are all about partial credit. To pass the exam, your focus should be on gathering as many partial credit points as possible. Therefore, for the constructed response questions, always try to share your thought process as needed. Even if you feel like you cannot arrive at the final answer, write all the important steps or points down clearly.

Get Started on Level III Today

If you’re reading this, you’re ready to earn your CFA charter. And our team of educators is here to support you along the way. Begin your journey with a Salt Solutions account.

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