LAST UPDATED: May 18, 2020

CFA exam / 2020 & 2021 dates & schedule





2020 & 2021 CFA® Exam Dates & Schedule


Below we present all CFA exam dates every candidate should find useful. Because the CFA exam calendar is full of important dates, we arranged our CFA exam schedule into categories. See which one you’re currently most interested in.


IMPORTANT:

  1. Because of the COVID pandemic and the unprecedented postponement of June 2020 CFA exam administration globally, the nearest CFA exam date for June 2020 candidates (all levels) is December 2020. Read more here
  2. Owing to the transition of level 1 exams to computer-based testing as of 2021, there are many differences between Dec 2020 and Feb 2021 exams, as described in this post.
  3. Starting in 2021, level 1 exams will be held 4 times a year – in February, May, August, and November. Level 2 and 3 exams will still be organized once a year, in June. See below for currently available exams and their dates.


CFA Exam 2020 & 2021: Detailed Schedule

December 2020

level 1 June 2020 all levels

February 2021

level 1 June 2020 level 1


START: 5 Feb 2020 | 16 June 2020

registration for DEC 2020 | FEB 2021 exam opens

scholarship deadlines

CFA exam registration deadlines

some additional CFA exam dates

CFA Institute study materials availability

exam admission tickets availability

substitution & rescheduling deadlines

CFA EXAM DATE: 5/6* Dec 2020 | 23 Feb - 1 March* 2021

* For more details, see below.

FINISH: 26 Jan** 2021 | late March/early April** 2021

CFA exam results available (** our educated guesses)

Note: all the deadlines end at 11:59 p.m. ET unless stated otherwise.



CFA Institute Scholarship Deadlines

Access Scholarship

15 September 2019

Access Scholarship for *2020* CFA exams

15 September 2020

Access Scholarship for *2021* CFA exams (START: mid-May 2020)

Remember: if you want to apply for Access Scholarship, the deadline expires in mid-September of the year before the exam you wish to take. That is why Access Scholarship application deadline for 2020 CFA exams passed. However, as of mid-May 2020 you can apply for Access Scholarship for 2021 CFA exams (levels 1, 2, 3). The deadline expires in mid-September 2020.


Other Scholarships

8 Aug 2020 | not given

Student Scholarships for DEC 2020 | FEB 2021 exams

already awarded | not given

Women's Scholarships for DEC 2020 | FEB 2021 exams (LIMITED! HURRY!)

Other CFA Institute scholarships are subject to limitations, e.g. not all students can apply for Student Scholarships (ask your alma mater) and women need to hurry because Women's Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

CFA Exam Registration Deadlines

25 March 2020 | 13 Aug 2020

early registration for DEC 2020 | FEB 2021 exam (registration fee: USD 700)

19 Aug 2020 | 3 Nov 2020

standard registration for DEC 2020 | FEB 2021 exam (registration fee: USD 1000)

9 Sept 2020 | n/a

late registration for DEC 2020 | FEB 2021 exam (registration fee: USD 1450)

For the Dec 2020 exam, the second CFA exam registration deadline is the best with its most attractive price relative to the timing of payment. If you wait till the late registration deadline, you’ll defer your registration fee payment about a month but you will pay over USD 400 more.

For the Feb 2021 exam, there is no late registration fee/deadline.

Note that newcomers to the CFA Program have to pay a one-time program enrolment fee of USD 450. The amount is the same regardless of the CFA exam registration deadline you choose.


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CFA Institute study materials availability

upon registration

CFA Program Curriculum (e-book format) + Practice Questions + Mock Exams

You will get free access to the digital version of your CFA Program Curriculum upon registration for your exam. Upon registration or at a later date, you may also purchase a printed version for USD 150 + costs of shipping and customs. You may also choose to print the whole or parts by yourself.

Practice Questions and Mock Exams are available after logging into the CFA Institute website and they are free of charge for all registered candidates.

Feb 2021 Scheduling & Rescheduling Deadlines

22 Nov 2020

scheduling deadline for FEB 2021 (choosing exact day within the Feb exam window)

25 Jan 2021

re-scheduling deadline for FEB 2021 (USD 250 of rescheduling fee)


For your Feb 2021 exam, you are asked to self-schedule your exam. What it means is that after you register for your exam (and pay the exam registration fee), you must schedule your exam day within the Feb exam window (23 Feb-1 March). Appointments are made on the first-come, first-served basis. You may also re-schedule before the rescheduling deadline if you pay the rescheduling fee of USD 250 (for each reschedule!). Read more below in the Substitution & Rescheduling section.

Exam admission tickets availability

Nov 2020 | Feb 2021


Your exam admission ticket will be available in your CFA Institute website account about 4 weeks before the exam date. You must carefully check all the data written on the ticket and make sure it is correct. Notify CFA Institute in case of any inaccuracies. Before the exam, print out your admission ticket (check if all information is visible!) and bring it with you! Otherwise, you will not be admitted to the testing room and you will forfeit your registration fee. Also, remember to reprint your admission ticket if you update any of your information such as passport expiration date or test center change.

Note that before you are allowed to view your admission ticket, you will be asked to agree to all kinds of terms and conditions. It is important that you read the CFA exam policies which explain everything you need to know about the exam other than the required material.

Substitution & Rescheduling deadlines

19 Aug / 21 Sept

disability accommodations requests for: standard / final DEC 2020 registration

21 Sept 2020

religious alternate date requests to sit the exam on 6 Dec 2020

30 Nov 2020 | 25 Jan 2021

test center change requests for DEC 2020 | FEB 2021 exams (NOTE: The Dec 2020 deadline passes at 12 Noon ET!)

Dec 2020 CFA exam date is fixed. If, however, it is unsuitable to you for religious reasons, you may submit your religious alternate date request. Also, the disabled may count on support if needed. If your impairment prohibits you from sitting for the exam like other candidates, you may ask for necessary adaptation. You need to document your disability and fill in some forms available at the CFA Institute website. CFA Institute also offers a possibility of changing your test center location. However, it greatly depends on seating availability. Dec 2020 candidates may file in no later than four business days before their exam.

Feb 2021 candidates are given a week-long exam window (23 Feb-1 March, may vary from center to center) to self-schedule their exam. Appointments are made on the first-come, first-served basis. Candidates may reschedule their appointment within the exam window after paying USD 250 of rescheduling fee (note the rescheduling deadline of 25 January 2021!). The rescheduling option enables you to alter your exam day or test center location (within your exam window). The change is possible based on seating availability. However, even if there is no free spot at a given time, it doesn't mean it can't change – you should check regularly for seating availability. Mind, though, that every rescheduling costs USD 250. Moreover, be sure to get familiar with test centers information (options may vary from center to center). Also, when scheduling your exam, you should take your religious beliefs into account. Try to pick an appropriate exam date so that you need not reschedule.

CFA exam date

5/6* Dec 2020 | 23 Feb - 1 March* 2021


* 5/6 Dec 2020 – exams can be held on Sat and Sun to accommodate also June 2020 candidates + religious alternate date is 6 Dec. Read more about postponed exams here

* 23 Feb – 1 March 2021 – exam window when you can self-schedule your level 1 exam. Read more about computer-based exams here


Dec 2020 exam is the last paper-based level 1 exam. Starting in 2021, level 1 exams will be computer-based and will be held 4 times a year – in February, May, August, and November. Level 2 and 3 exams will still be paper-based and organized once a year, in June. Currently, no level 2 or 3 exam registration is open.

Typical CFA Exam Day Schedule

Dec 2020 CFA Exam Day Schedule Morning session Afternoon session
check-in 8.00 a.m. 1.00 p.m.
doors closed,
announcements begin
8.30 a.m. 1.30 p.m.
exam starts 9.00 a.m. 2.00 p.m.
exam ends 12.00 p.m. 5.00 p.m.

The CFA exam (all levels) consists of two sessions with a break meanwhile. Both sessions are obligatory. For level 3, the morning session consists of open-ended (constructed response) questions and the afternoon session – of 60 multiple-choice questions (formed into item sets). Level 2 has 60 multiple-choice questions (formed into item sets) per session. Changes are due for level 1. Each level 1 session consists of:

  • 120 questions, for the Dec 2020 exam; and
  • 90 questions, for the Feb 2021 exam.

That makes it 240 questions total for Dec 2020 and 180 questions total for Feb 2021. Importantly, regardless of the level 1 exam, you'll have 1.5 minutes per question on average.



Because the number of questions is different for Dec 2020 and Feb 2021 level 1 exams, the overall testing time also varies. It's:

  • 6 hours, for the Dec 2020 exam; and
  • 4.5 hours, for the Feb 2021 exam.

NEW LEVEL 1 CFA EXAM DAY SCHEDULE
IN 2021

Feb 2021 Level 1 CFA Exam Day Time
pledge, tutorial, and survey 30 minutes
SESSION 1 135 minutes
no. of questions 90 questions
BREAK 30 minutes
SESSION 2 135 minutes
no. of questions 90 questions
WHOLE TESTING TIME 4.5 hrs
WHOLE EXAM DAY 5.5 hrs

Summing Up 2021 Changes to Level 1 Exams

Together with the 2021 transition of level 1 exam to computer-based testing, there are many crucial changes to the exam itself:

  • Level 1 will be held 4 times a year: in Feb, May, Aug, and Nov.
  • There will be many more proctored test-centers around the world (over 400!).
  • You’ll be able to self-schedule your exam within the exam window of up to 7 days (depending on area).
  • There will be 3 kinds of 'exam enrollment' deadlines: registration fee deadline, scheduling deadline, and rescheduling deadline.
  • You'll have 2 exam registration fees (USD 700 or USD 1000) to choose from and a new rescheduling fee of USD 250 will be introduced.
  • There will be fewer multiple-choice questions in your exam, 90 per one exam session (180 total).
  • The total testing time also decreases from 6 to 4.5 hours.
  • Some new types of exam questions may be expected due to the digital environment of the exam.
  • Exam results are said to be available sooner, i.e. in less than 7-8 weeks.

So, basically, there’s no longer going to be one single date when candidates are told to sit their exam. Instead, there’s an exam window of up to 7 days and you can decide (self-schedule) when you want to take your exam. Also, you'll be able to reschedule your exam within your exam window (after an additional payment of USD 250 and before the rescheduling deadline is up). Exam windows will be available in Feb, May, Aug, and Nov. Finally, the exam itself will be shorter and there will be fewer questions. Plus, results can be expected sooner! You can read more about 2021 level 1 CFA exams here.

CFA exam results availability

26 Jan** 2021 | late March/early April** 2021


** These are our educated guesses based on how CFA Institute released exam results in the past.

For paper-based exams, you will wait about 7.5 weeks for your level 1 and level 2 exam result and about 9.5 weeks for your level 3 exam result.

CFA Institute says that for computer-based exams – results will be available sooner than 7.5 weeks post-exam. Still, the exact date is not yet known (even to CFA Institute).

CFA exam pass rates vary across levels:
level 1 pass rate (December 2019): 42%
level 1 pass rate (June 2019): 41%
level 2 pass rate (June 2019): 44%
level 3 pass rate (June 2019): 56%
level 1 pass rate (December 2018): 45%
level 1 pass rate (June 2018): 43%
level 2 pass rate (June 2018): 45%
level 3 pass rate (June 2018): 56%




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