Frequently Asked Questions on the CFA Level III® Exam

Frequently Asked Questions on the CFA Level III® Exam

Congratulations on passing the first two levels of the CFA® exam. If you are a CFA level III candidate, you are familiar with the CFA exam and have more confidence in passing the exam. As you take the final exam level, you must put in the recommended 300 hours of study and prepare using practice questions and mock exams.

This article answers the most common CFA level III exam questions and gives you the information you need to pass your exam.

How is the CFA level III exam different from the CFA level II and I exams?

CFA Level III is the most advanced level of CFA, which requires you to demonstrate the ability to carry out financial analysis, make judgment calls and explain them. There are 16 study sessions and 38 readings in CFA Level III.

The first part of the Level III exam consists of eight to twelve response questions, while the second part has vignettes with multiple-choice questions. Response questions are open-ended, requiring constructed answers on a blank paper without multiple choices.

CFA level II exam questions usually involve complex math problems and case studies. The CFA Institute uses a different exam format that tests your ability to apply your knowledge and competence as a CFA charter holder. Consequently, you should adapt your study and preparation techniques to pass the exam.

What is the exam format for CFA level III?

Like CFA level I and level II exams, CFA level II is computer-based and consists of a morning and afternoon sessions. Each session is four and a half hours long.

The first session includes eight to fifteen constructed response questions that are open-ended and require essay-style answers. In addition, these questions present real-life scenario problems that you should analyze and solve.

On the other hand, the afternoon session consists of vignettes which are item set questions. Each vignette has a case study statement and between four and six related multiple-choice questions.

When is the CFA level III exam offered?

The CFA Institute announced the following changes to the exam schedule starting in 2021. The new CFA level III exam windows are;

  • The May exam window dates are May 25th to June 1st, 2021
  • November exam window dates are November 23rd to 25th, 2021
  • The CFA Institute will announce the August exam window dates soon.

Is it possible to postpone the CFA level III exam after registration?

You need to fulfill specific criteria and appeal directly to the CFA Institute to postpone your level III CFA exam. Postponing an individual exam is referred to as a deferral and is only allowed in specific circumstances. You should submit a deferral request to the CFA Institute before or within ten U.S. business days after the exam window. The CFA Institute reviews your deferral request, and they decide on a case-to-case basis.

The exceptional circumstances that may allow a deferral include;

  1. Your government, employer, or university impose travel restrictions that prevent you from accessing the testing center
  2. You or an immediate member of your family have a very serious or life-threatening disease
  3. You are pregnant
  4. There is a sudden death of one of your immediate family members
  5. You are obligated to mandatory military service on the date of the test
  6. There is a natural disaster affecting your local area

You should notify the CFA Institute through email about your request to defer your examination. If your case meets the criteria, you will get a qualified deferral, but you will forfeit the paid payments. However, the CFA Institute will defer your enrollment to the next scheduled sitting.

If you fail to qualify for a deferral, you can withdraw from the CFA exam. If the CFA Institute rejected your deferral request, you could choose to withdraw from the CFA exam up to five days before the set test date. You will not have to take the exam, but you will have to register to take it in the next sitting.

According to the CFA Institute policies on exam withdrawal, you will get a full refund of your registration and exam fees if you withdraw within the first three days after you registered. If more than three days have passed after you registered, you will have to forfeit all the fees paid.

What are the subjects and exam weights and pass rates for the CFA level III exam?

As a CFA level III candidate, the following subject topics are tested.

  • Ethical and professional standards – 10 -15%
  • Economics – 5-10%
  • Equity investments – 10-15%
  • Fixed income – 15 -20%
  • Derivatives – 5-10%
  • Alternative investments – 5-10%
  • Portfolio management -35-40%

The topics with the most weight are portfolio management (35-40%), fixed income (15-20%), equity (10-15%), and ethics (10-15%).

However, CFA level III has the highest pass rate, with more than half the students passing the exam compared to the other two levels. The pass rate in 2019 was 56%. The CFA Institute determines a minimum passing score using a special methodology while CFA charter holders and machines do grading.

How much is CFA level III registration?

If you enroll for early registration, you will pay $700, and on the other hand, standard registration is $1,000.

Early registration for the exam gives you enough time to study and prepare for your exam. Enroll in study packages and gain access to additional revision materials. Our vast library of practice questions will help you practice for the exam and pass it on the first try.

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