Hi and welcome to another informative article on the Chartered Financial Analyst Level 3 examination.

This article will, in detail, explain what the CFA level 3 exam is all about, the curriculum, exam fees and registration, and various preparatory courses that will ensure you pass the exam, even for first-time enrollees.

In this article, we shall explore:

CFA Level III Exam Structure and Duration
CFA Level III Program Curriculum
CFA Level III Exam Dates, Cost, and Registration Fees
Preparing for Level III of the CFA Exam – Prerequisites
CFA Level III Scheduling and Deferrals
CFA Level III Prep Courses

So, relax, and let’s begin!

CFA Level III Exam Structure and Duration

The item sets for the Level III exam are made up of vignettes with multiple-choice and constructed response (essay) questions.

The Level III exam will last 4 hours and 24 minutes, divided into two 2 hours and 12 minute periods with a break in between.

The CFA Level III exam’s first session consists of 8 to 11 vignettes followed by a series of questions that demand a written response.

This session will also include some multiple-choice questions.

For example, you might be offered a multiple-choice question to choose the portfolio (A, B, or C) that best satisfies a specific goal, followed by an essay question to support your choice.

There may also be some numerical entry questions that demand only a number and do not allow you to exhibit your work.

However, standard essay questions will make up the majority of the questions.

The point values of the questions in the essay session vary.

The exam provides the overall point value for each essay vignette at the beginning of each vignette.

Consider 1 point to be 1 minute spent on the essay vignette for time management purposes.

The CFA level 3 exam’s first part, constructed response (Essay), will consist of vignette-supported essay sets containing items that you can answer in one of three ways: essay, numerical entry, or multiple choice.

Essay Questions: “Explain, with two reasons,” for example, will be utilized as a command. For the response, a textbox is available.

If more than one response is necessary, it must be written per paragraph.

A key lesson to remember is that when a candidate is asked to offer more than one response, the responses will be reviewed in the order presented by the applicant, up to the number requested.

Anything above the requested number will be ignored.

Numerical Entry: Typed words and numbers will be accepted in an essay text field. Simply typing a valid numerical value in the essay box earns full credit; formulae and explanations are unnecessary.

If a candidate desires, they may use a math editor function or type out variables in an equation to describe the calculation’s steps or illustrate values.

Only numbers, commas, and decimal points are accepted in a numerical entered response box.

There isn’t enough space to display your work.

It may include a note that specifies how to format the answer, such as: “Provide your answer as a percentage, rounded to the second decimal point.”

Multiple Choice:  There may be more or less than three answer choices when a multiple-choice question format is employed in the essay component of the exam.

In multiple-choice questions, there are no bolded command words.

The CFA Level III exam’s second session (Item Set Questions) consists of 44 multiple-choice questions worth three points.

Each topic consists of a vignette on the CFA test followed by four or six multiple-choice questions.

All questions must be answered using the vignette’s information.

As a result, unlike the CFA Level I exam, the items are not free-standing.

Before answering each question, you’ll need to refer back to the vignette.

The CFA curriculum topic areas for Level III will be random on the exam.

The exam may cover all topics in either the first or second session. Each vignette will start with a topic statement and a total point value.

CFA Level III Program Curriculum

The CFA Level III exam will not assess candidates on all topics covered in the I and II tests. Here’s how you’ll be assessed:

  • Ethics
  • Economics
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative Investments
  • Portfolio Management

Portfolio Management is the most heavily tested topic on the Level III CFA exam.

Quantitative methods and Corporate finance are not included in the level 3 exam.

CFA Level III Exam Dates, Cost, and Registration Fees

The CFA exam, including level 3, is administered over a specific period, and the exam dates available to each candidate may vary based on scheduling availability at the time of booking.

It’s vital to remember that registering for an exam is two-step.

First, after you’ve registered for your exam, you’ll need to schedule your exam.

You may need to come back if your desired size is not displayed.

Candidates can enroll for the CFA Level 3 exam for $700 if they register early.

Preparing for Level III of the CFA Exam – Prerequisites

To be eligible for the CFA Level 3 test, a candidate must first pass the CFA Level 2 exam.

You must arrange your exam date and test venue using the Prometric scheduling tool after the exam registration on the CFA website.

Prometric will send you a confirmation email once your exam has been scheduled successfully.

Passing the exam requires long-term preparation before the planned exam date.

The use of review programs, online or in-person classes, and hundreds of mock examinations or test questions are all beneficial to exam achievement.

CFA Institute will send you a series of emails with primary test material and instructions on using the study materials available to you.

CFA Level III Scheduling and Deferrals

You can search for Prometric test centers by address, city, or zip code during the scheduling process.

To ensure that you obtain your selected test facility, make your exam appointment as soon as feasible.

A limited number of exam seats are available, so you should book early.

Don’t limit yourself to just a few days of searching.

As the date range, select the entire exam window. You may need to be flexible while deciding the day to test.

Any modifications to your exam appointment will be charged a fee of $25.

For life-threatening illnesses (candidate or immediate family), expecting women, natural disasters, and necessary military duty, registration deferrals to the next possible exam are considered on a case-by-case basis.

CFA Level III Prep Courses

In addition to the study assistance provided by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, candidates can take advantage of other exam preparation courses and tools.

Approved prep providers agree to follow CFA Institute norms and standards in their offerings and dealings with CFA Program applicants.

The CFA Institute’s approved providers have resources to help candidates prepare for each exam level.

The Approved Preparation Provider (APP) Program of the CFA Institute ensures that all providers follow the CFA Institute’s current curriculum and best practices.

CFA Society Los Angeles, Kaplan Schweser (DF Institute, LLC), CFA Society New York, Wiley Efficient Learning, and others are recognized prep course providers.


Like any other professional exam, the Chartered Financial Analyst Level 3 exam necessitates a significant amount of effort.

Using exam tools and practice tests to their full potential, committing hundreds of hours to in-depth study, and having a solid study strategy can secure a pass even on the first try.

As a result, any applicant who has passed the level 2 exam must enhance their study plan for the level 3 exam.



CFA Level 3 Curriculum

CFA Level III mock exam

CFA 3 Exam Structure

CFA 3 Exam costs, fees, registration

CFA 3 Exam Deferrals, refunds, withdrawals

CFA Level 3 Exam Registration

Approved CFA Exam Prep Providers

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