Introduction to CFA® Level I Exam

The CFA Level I exam is the first exam you need to pass to become a CFA charterholder. Once you pass the Level I exam, you will move on to the Level II and Level III exams, taken in that order.

What to expect for Level I

According to the CFA Institute, the 10-year average pass rate for the CFA Level I exam is 42%. In total, candidates report investing more than 300 hours into their studies for each level of the CFA exam.

Registration Opens: October 26, 2021

Registration Closes: May 3, 2022

CFA Exam Dates: August 23-August 29, 2022

Results are provided 6-8 weeks after exam

Exam Format

Exam Format

180 multiple choice questions
Evenly divided into 2 sessions
Approximately 135 minutes per session
Computer-based testing

Question format

Enroll Information

CFA Institute logo

Question Format

Each question will have up to 3 answer choices to select from.

Exam Format

180 multiple choice questions
Evenly divided into 2 sessions
Approximately 135 minutes per session
Computer-based testing

The benefits come the minute you raise your hand and say you want to take the exam.

Lisa Stange, CFA, interviewed by Salt Solutions about the benefits of becoming a charterholder

Level I Topics and Weights

The Level I curriculum is focused on comprehension of investment tools, asset classes, portfolio management, and ethical and professional standards. The exam is broken into the following 10 topics, uniquely weight according to their importance:

Study Tips From Our Coaches

Focus On What You Know

Don't get stressed during the exam when you see questions that leave you dumbfounded. That's to be expected when there is so much material on an exam. Instead, just focus on answering the questions correctly that you are familiar with.

Mike Carmody  CFA, FSA, MAAA
Lead Instructor

Write It Down

If you're stuggling to memorize formulas, write them down when you're answering practice questions. Then you can plug in the values that you've been given and solve for the answer. It's easier to remember a formula when you've seen it in action.

Marc Coward  CFA, MBA, MPhil
Lead Content Manager

Manage Your Time

Don't be afraid to skip questions. You can always mark a question and come back to it later. Give yourself enough time to ace easy questions that may be at the end of your exam. Remember, easy questions are worth just as much as hard questions.

Tong Khon Teh  CFA, FSA
Product Manager

Experience Level I for yourself with free, full access to Quantitative Methods