The CFA exam checklist for 2021 computer-based exams changes significantly. There's no admission ticket and you are allowed just a few items on your desk while in a testing room. All other items are prohibited from the testing room. Here's what to bring on your CFA exam day.
What to Bring to CFA Exam? Level 1, 2, 3
Here's the list of items you MUST BRING to your 2021 CFA exam:
- valid international travel passport – for your identity verification,
- your own approved calculator – 'cos there’s no sharing,
- face covering – for your and others' safety (see also here!),
- your confirmation number – no admission ticket, though!
You may also bring:
- calculator case/cover and keystroke card (no manual!),
- loose calculator batteries (and a small screwdriver if needed),
- eyeglasses (without the case),
- pre-approved medication or items such as ear plugs or rubber gloves (see the list).
And that's it!
If not used, all the items you take with you into your testing room – including your passport and calculator – must be kept on your desk, in full view.
All other personal belongings that you bring with you on your test day such as your jewelry, wristwatch, mobile phone, wallet, bag, etc. must be kept in a locker outside the testing room. As a rule, you'll be allowed to access your personal belongings only while on a scheduled break.
Try to bring only the most necessary things and leave all dispensable belongings in your car or at home.
If the test center staff finds out you have any prohibited items with you in the testing room, you'll be required to place them away in your locker and you'll have no access to them while being tested. It is your responsibility to have only permitted items with you and to obey all the rules.
To your testing room, you mustn’t bring any:
- writing tools or scratch paper,
- food or drinks,
- mobile phones or other devices,
- watches, clocks or timers,
- jewelry, hats, ornaments, etc.
All these rules and measures are aimed at reducing cheating and are intended to provide all test-takers with equal chances and safe testing conditions. All test centers are equipped with monitoring systems. If it's found that you were in possession of some prohibited or unauthorized items while taking your exam (cf. your calculator) or that you gained some unfair advantage, you can be refused your CFA exam result.
"Must-Do" CFA Exam Checklist
There's also a few things you need to do before your 2021 CFA exam:
- Plan your best travel route to your test center. Allow for a delay, e.g. due to a traffic jam. But first – check your exam date, time, and location to avoid any mistakes!
- Arrive approx. 30 minutes before your scheduled exam appointment to allow for the check-in. If you arrive late, you may be refused admission and you will forfeit your exam fees (they are non-refundable and non-transferable).
- Bring as few things as possible and wear comfy clothes. There'll be a visual inspection of your person and your personal items you bring into the testing room.
- Don't go to your exam if you are experiencing flu or cold-like symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14-days.
Explained in Detail
VALID INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL PASSPORT
To take your CFA exam, you must have a valid international travel passport. No other IDs are permitted. If your passport has expired, you must have it updated in time for your exam.
It’s important that the information given in your CFA Institute account exactly matches the data given on your passport. In particular, if the name as stated in your passport is not exactly the same as given in your CFA Institute account, you won’t be allowed to take your exam and you will forfeit your fees.
The only permitted ID in your CFA exam:
- is an original government-issued valid international travel passport,
- contains your name, date of birth, passport number, expiration date, and the name of the country/region that issued the passport,
- is machine readable (testing personnel may use a passport reader to decipher the machine-readable strip on the data page),
- includes a recognizable photograph.
APPROVED CFA EXAM CALCULATOR
You can choose one of the 2 calculator models allowed, which are:
- Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including TIBA II Plus Professional)
- Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)
You must have your own calculator – there’s no sharing! If not used, it must be kept in full view on your desk.
If you take loose batteries (+ a small screwdriver if needed) or the calculator case or keystroke card, you must also keep them on your desk. However, consider replacing the calculator batteries a couple of days before your exam (then use your calculator to make sure it works!). You want to optimize and not lose your time on bad batteries.
Both your calculator and calculator items will be inspected before the exam. It is your responsibility to have an approved calculator. If you use an unauthorized calculator during your CFA exam, your exam results may be nullified.
If you forget a face covering or refuse to wear it, you won’t be allowed to take your exam and you will forfeit your fees! Masks are for your and others' safety. You must wear your face covering all the time, except for identity verification when you'll be asked to briefly remove your mask.
Please note that some test centers may have some specific requirements!
Masks with exhale/one-way valves are prohibited to use at the test center, due to the lack of viral particle filtration provided by these masks. Masks with wearable technology are also banned.
Also, test centers should have hand sanitizing stations you're encouraged to use frequently (there’s no need to bring your own hand sanitizer).
If you need your eyeglasses, they will undergo visual inspection during the check-in process. The same may be true for your medication or other items such as ear plugs or rubber gloves if you need to use them during your exam. Also note that some medically necessary items may be allowed in the testing room only with prior approval.
Note that owing to the pandemic there may be slight variations in the testing experience.
"Don't-Bring" Checklist Clarified
NO ADMISSION TICKET
For 2021 computer-based CFA exams, there’s no admission ticket. However, when you arrive at your test center, you may be required to give your confirmation number. At least that's what the Prometric website says. So, check your inbox – if any confirmation number is needed you should receive an appropriate email.
NO PENCILS, PENS, PAPER
In the past, CFA candidates needed to remember to bring their No. 2 or HB pencils to the exam. Now, for computer-based 2021 CFA exam, no writing tools nor scratch paper are allowed in the testing room. Instead, you will be provided with a laminated sheet or an erasable writing tablet or whiteboard for use during your exam.
NO FOOD & DRINKS
No food nor drinks are allowed in the testing room. However, you may bring your packed lunch (preferably something light, a quick bite) to be eaten during the break between the sessions (if you choose to take one). After all, the whole exam day lasts more than 4 hours. You will be allowed to access your food or drink only when on a scheduled break. Other than that they will have to be kept in your locker.
Please note there'll most likely be no designated food-and-drink stations.
Updated: Sept 10, 2021