CFA® Exam Cost: New Fees in 2020

CFA exam / Registration / Fees

CFA Exam Fees 2020 - Don't overpay!


In August 2019, as they opened the June 2020 registration, CFA Institute introduced new exam registration fees. The new CFA exam fees range from USD 700 through USD 1000 to USD 1450. The sooner you pay, the cheaper for you. The CFA® Program enrollment fee is still USD 450.

CFA Exam Cost: How Much Will I Pay for 3 Exam Levels?

The total cost of the CFA Program used to be USD 2400, which included a one-time enrollment fee of USD 450 and a discounted early registration fee for the 3 levels of the CFA exam. Beginning June 2020, the minimum cost of the CFA exam (all 3 levels) rises to USD 2550. (We analyze CFA exam cost in 3 scenarios here.)

It still includes a one-time enrollment fee of USD 450 and a discounted early registration fee that goes up from USD 650 to USD 700 in 2020:

MINIMUM COST OF CFA EXAM (all 3 levels) as of 2020:
USD 450 of enrollment fee + 3 x USD 700 of early registration fee = USD 2550

The minimum total CFA exam cost of USD 2550 leaves out any other costs, e.g. printed curriculum or additional study materials. Plus, it's the best CFA exam cost scenario there is and - sadly - it's not available to many.

What Are Level 1 CFA Exam Fees?

But first things first. You want to enter the CFA Program.

When registering for your first level 1 CFA exam, you pay USD 450 of enrollment fee and the exam registration fee. In 2020, level 1 CFA exam fees are up and they are:

  • early registration fee: USD 700,
  • standard registration fee: USD 1000, and
  • late registration fee: USD 1450.

The lowest level 1 CFA exam cost is USD 700 but it's only when you register at the early-bird discount and if it’s not your first level 1 CFA exam:

Dec 2020 Level 1 CFA exam fees
Enrollment fee USD 450, just before your first level 1 CFA exam
Early registration fee USD 700, register before 25 March 2020
Standard registration fee USD 1000, register before 19 Aug 2020
Late registration fee USD 1450, register before 9 Sept 2020

NOTE: Every time you’ll need to retake your level 1 CFA exam, you’ll need to pay the registration fee – no enrollment fee, however, which is a one-time fee only.


  • one-time program enrollment fee (USD 450; just before your first level 1 CFA exam),
  • exam registration fee (each exam you take or retake; all 3 levels: USD 700 or USD 1000 or USD 1450 depending on when you register),
  • cost of print version of the curriculum (optional; all 3 levels: USD 150 plus USD 20 of shipping fee).

You can reduce your CFA exam cost: see if you are eligible for a CFA exam scholarship

What Are Level 2 and Level 3 CFA Exam Fees?

For level 2 and level 3 CFA exams, there’s no enrollment fee. This basically means you pay only the registration fee, which always depends on when you register. The registration fees and deadlines are the same for level 2 and level 3. CFA exam levels 2 and 3 is held only once a year, in June. Currently, no level 2 or level 3 registration is open.

Registration Fees for June 2020 Exams

For June 2020 (all levels), exam registration fees go up! It’s either by USD 50 for the early and standard or by USD 70 for the late registration. The new CFA exam fees and deadlines set by CFA Institute for June 2020 exams:


June 2020
CFA Exam Fees


Early registration

USD 700

until 2 Oct 2019

Standard registration

USD 1,000

until 20 Feb 2020

Late registration

USD 1,450

until 11 March 2020

IMPORTANT! Due to COVID pandemic, CFA Institute
has made the decision to postpone the June 2020 CFA Exam administration globally. Read more here

Dec 2020 Level 1 CFA Exam Registration Fees


Dec 2020
CFA Exam Fees


Early registration

USD 700

until 25 March 2020

Standard registration

USD 1,000

until 19 Aug 2020

Late registration

USD 1,450

until 9 Sept 2020

IMPORTANT! The deadlines end at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Feb 2021 Level 1 CFA Exam Registration Fees

Also, exam registration fees for Feb 2021 level 1 candidates are already there. The registration opens on 16 June 2020. The fees generally stay the same, only there’s no late registration. You can read more about the Feb 2021 level 1 exam here


Feb 2021
CFA Exam Fees


Early registration

USD 700

until 13 August 2020

Standard registration

USD 1,000

until 3 November 2020

IMPORTANT! The deadlines end at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Any Other CFA Exam Costs?

CFA exam enrollment and registration fees are the direct cost. But there are also some indirect costs which may include:

  • time,
  • cost of study materials,
  • travel costs (exam day),
  • accommodation costs (exam day),
  • lost opportunities.

Time is a valuable currency – there’s no denying. One of the time-related truths about the CFA exam is that: the later you start your CFA exam prep, the lower your chance to pass gets!

There’s no need to put it off. You want to be smart and responsible about your CFA exam prep. You can join us by creating a free CFA exam study plan where you'll be able to:

  • manage your study time effectively,
  • see your chance to pass grow as you progress,
  • unlock all the study tools and review apps inside your study plan.

Our study planner may be used with any kind of study resources because we know that CFA Program candidates like to use different study aids when preparing for their exam. In the market, you’ll find a whole spectrum of study materials ranging in prices and quality. We go for easy solutions great both for studying and for revision: (1) bite-sized videos, (2) exam-type questions you can generate into tests varying in length and difficulty, (3) formulas you can view inside our special app, (4) abridged L1 topic notes in the form of short printable e-books.

Once again: the sooner you start to prepare for your exam, the better results you can expect.

AND REMEMBER: Each time you fail an exam, you lose not only your time and the money you paid for the exam but also an opportunity for a promotion and thus better salary. Of course, each retake means new costs, including another exam fee plus another travel and accommodation costs on the exam day.

Total CFA Exam Cost in 3 Scenarios

Total CFA exam cost may vary significantly. The minimum CFA exam cost is USD 2550 – it’s based on exam registration costs only (incl. enrollment fee) and assumes you pass all your 3 exams at the first attempt and always pay the early registration fee of USD 700.

Best Case Scenario Standard Case Scenario Worst Case Scenario
CFA® Program Enrollment Fee USD 450 USD 450 USD 450
CFA Exam Registration Fee USD 700 USD 1000 USD 1450
no. of your exam retakes 0 2 4
Total CFA Exam Registration Fees
(icluding all exam levels & retakes)
USD 2100 USD 5000 USD 10150

  • Best Case Scenario: no exam retakes; each exam registration before the early fee deadline.
  • USD 2550 is the minimum total cost of passing all CFA exam levels. It includes the CFA® Program enrollment fee, 3 early exam registration fees, and allows for no retakes. Guess, it doesn’t happen that often…

  • Standard Case Scenario: 2 exam retakes; each exam registration before the standard fee deadline.
  • Standard total cost of passing all levels of your CFA exam are somewhere around USD 5450. In our calculations, we assumed 2 retakes and the standard registration fee for all exams taken. This seems to be the most common scenario among candidates. Of course, to economize a bit here, you can still count in 2 retakes but always register at an early bird fee and pay USD 3950 total under this standard case scenario.

  • Worst Case Scenario: 4 exam retakes; each exam registration before the late fee deadline.
  • This total cost of passing your whole CFA exam is huge but it’s here to draw your attention to a couple of things:

  1. First of all, don’t overpay! Register for your exams early enough not to pay the late registration fee. If for this scenario (assuming as many as 4 retakes altogether) you always pay the standard registration fee – your whole CFA exam will cost you total of USD 7450 instead of USD 10600 (and with early registration, you will pay even less!).
  2. Secondly, you need to trade off your costs against your benefits. Think how many times you can afford to retake your exams for the whole undertaking to be still beneficial to you.
  3. Last but not least, take you exams seriously! Don’t ever allow underachievement but always aim at the best CFA exam prep you can have. This way, you won’t need too many retakes :

Smart Preparation Starts With Smart Planning

When your plans have this dangerous tendency to fall through - you need more than just timetabled topics!

You need concrete readings assigned to concrete study weeks,
weekly progress assessments,
and all the means to stay in charge!


CONTROL your CFA exam prep using WEEKLY study schedules

Updated: May 21, 2020

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