2023 Level 2 CFA® Exam Topic Weights

CFA Exam: Level 2 / Topics / 2023 Weights

Last Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Level 2 CFA exam topic weights are given in ranges. Five level 2 topics take the higher 10-15% exam weight range, and the other five level 2 topics take the lower 5-10% exam weight range.

That the level 2 topic weights are given in ranges isn’t very helpful, though. It's hard to say how many questions each topic will get in your exam. But we try to help

Your CFA Exam:
2023 Level 2 Weights

CFA Exam Topics Level 2 Exam Weight
Quantitative Methods (QM) 5-10%
Economics (ECO) 5-10%
Financial Statement Analysis (FSA)* 10-15%
Corporate Issuers (CI)* 5-10%
Equity Investments (EI) 10-15%
Fixed Income (FI) 10-15%
Derivatives (DER) 5-10%
Alternative Investments (AI) 5-10%
Portfolio Management (PM) 10-15%
Ethics (ETH) 10-15%

* Before 2022, CFA Program curriculum referred to Financial Statement Analysis as Financial Reporting and Analysis (FRA for short) and to Corporate Issuers as Corporate Finance.

The table shows the current weights of all level 2 CFA exam topics.

As you can see, the topics with the highest number of questions in your 2023 CFA exam include:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards (ETH),
  • Financial Statement Analysis (FSA),
  • Equity Investments (EI),
  • Fixed Income (FI), and
  • Porfolio Management (PM).

MORE on CFA exam level 2 topics

How Many Questions for Level 2 CFA Exam in 2023?

As CFA exams move to computer-based testing, level 2 CFA exam includes a total of 88 multiple-choice questions, 44 in SESSION 1 and 44 in SESSION 2. The number of questions has been reduced, e.g. in 2020 it was 2 x 60, i.e. 120 multiple-choice questions overall. It's because the total testing time is now down to ca. 4.5 hrs (2 hrs 12 min per exam session) instead of 6 hrs (2 x 3 hrs). You can rehearse the new exam format here

Importantly, level 2 exam questions are arranged into item sets. What it means is that the 44 questions per each exam session are divided into 11 item sets with 4 multiple-choice questions. Each set is topped with a vignette, i.e. a case description forming the basis for the multiple-choice questions grouped for the case.

So, in your 2023 level 2 CFA exam you can expect:

  • 22 item sets (11 per exam session), each with 4 multiple-choice questions,
  • randomly placed topics in both exam sessions,
  • each item set topped with information about the TOPIC and the total number of points possible to score, e.g.:

Also, 1 item set will not be scored in each exam session, being a trial question.

Predicted Number of Questions in 2023 CFA Exams

Level 2 Topics

What you can see below in the 'Predicted no. of Questions' column is an example of how your level 2 exam questions may be distributed among the topics in your test. We also give you the minimum and the maximum number of questions for each topic. The values are derived from the weight ranges given above.

Our prediction is just an educated guess and the actual number of topic questions may differ when you take your exam. However, when all the recent CFA exam changes and the MIN and MAX weight ranges are considered, this is what you can expect in your 2023 level 2 CFA exam:

MIN no. of Questions MAX no. of Questions Predicted no. of Questions Predicted no. of Item Sets
Quantitative Methods 4 8 8 (2x4) 2 item sets
Economics 4 8 4 1 item set
Financial Statement Analysis 8 12 12 (3x4) 3 item sets
Corporate Issuers 4 8 8 (2x4) 2 item sets
Equity Investments 8 12 12 (3x4) 3 item sets
Fixed Income 8 12 8 (2x4) 2 item sets
Derivatives 4 8 8 (2x4) 2 item sets
Alternative Investments 4 8 8 (2x4) 2 item sets
Portfolio Management 8 12 8 (2x4) 2 item sets
Ethics 8 12 12 (3x4) 3 item sets
SUM 60 100 88 22

We assume there'll be no item sets with questions from various topics, which however happened in the past.

Before 2019, there used to be 20 item sets altogether (10 per exam session), where each item set included 6 multiple-choice questions. So, there was a total of 120 multiple-choice questions to be solved in 6 hrs, with a break meanwhile. However, as of June 2019 level 2 CFA exam, CFA Institute decided to have item sets with a varying number of questions. So, in June 2019 exam, there were 21 item sets: 18 with 6 and 3 with 4 multiple-choice questions. Then, in 2020 level 2 candidates were told to expect from 20-30 vignettes altogether supporting 120 multiple-choice questions, which could be divided into item sets of 4 or 6 questions. Now, with the total testing time getting reduced down to 4 hrs 24 min, the number of questions also gets reduced. Moreover, the structure of item sets gets set at 4 multiple-choice questions per an item set.

Interestingly, before June 2019, level 2 topic weights were different. The highest values of 15-25% were for Equity. Other level 2 topics weights were as follows: FRA (15-20%), FI (10-20%), Ethics (10-15%), CF (5-15%), DI (5-15%), QM (5-10%), PM (5-10%), ECO (5-10%), and AI (5-10%). Now, level 2 exam weights are less varied.

CFA Exam: Difficulty of Level 2 Topics

Although over the last years the exam weights or the number and structure of questions changed, the difficulty of the level 2 CFA exam topics stays pretty much the same. Of course, topic difficulty is a subjective criterion but you’ll surely agree that EI with its current weight of 10-15% and still more than 500 pages in your CFA Program curriculum seems both important and difficult. In our CFA Exam Study Planner, you get lots of extra time scheduled to study Equity and other important topics, e. g. Ethics, Financial Statement Analysis, or Fixed Income.

We propose what we call Soleadea Topic Sequence, which is: EI, FI, DER, FSA, CI, QM, PM, ECO, AI, ETH. However, while creating your personalized CFA exam study schedule, you can change the topic sequence according to your liking:

It All Starts With Your
CFA Exam Study Plan


& customize it to suit your needs!