LAST UPDATED: Oct 12, 2020

CFA exam / Registration


2021 CFA® Exam Registration:

How to Enroll in Level 1
and Level 2 CFA® Exams

From 20 August 2020, candidates of all levels may register for 2021 CFA exams: February, May, August or November. Exam registration means you have to pay relevant fees: early (USD 700) or standard (USD 1000). After registering for your exam, self-schedule your exact CFA exam date!

CFA Exam Registration?
More Than Payment!

CFA exam registration is not only about entering the list of candidates and paying for the exam. It is also strongly linked with the CFA Program entrance requirements, scholarships available to many or the responsibility you accept as a candidate when you register for your exam.

Additionally, starting in 2021, it is associated with the necessity to self-schedule the exam.

CFA Exam Requirements: Can I Enter the Program?

To be able to enroll in the list of exam candidates and take your CFA exam, you must have:



a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or be a final-year student.

4 years (=48 months) of professional work experience (investment-related or not).

a combination of professional work experience and education totaling 4 years (=48 months).

Note that residents of Syria, Cuba, North Korea and the Crimea region of the Ukraine, as well as Specially Designated Nationals are prohibited from participating in the CFA Program in accordance with the OFAC Compliance Policy.

Level 1 CFA Exam Registration
Step by Step


To register for your level 1 CFA exam, you first need to create an account at the CFA Institute website. Usually, it’s done just before actual registration for the exam. However, if you’re eligible and plan to apply for Access Scholarship or Women’s Scholarship, you will need to register at the CFA Institute website much earlier to be able to submit your scholarship application.

Check if you can apply for a scholarship before you register for your CFA exam. Read more about when to register & pay for your exam if you apply


The next step of your registration involves fee payment. If you are awarded a scholarship, the payment will be substantially reduced.

If you are ineligible for a scholarship, you’ll have to pay relevant fees to register for the exam you want to sit. Your CFA exam cost will depend on when exactly you decide to register. There are 2 registration fee deadlines. The first one is for early birds and it amounts to USD 700. The second is called standard and it is as much as USD 1000.

Level 1 CFA Exam
Registration Fees & Deadlines in 2021

CFA Exam Cost Feb 2021 Registration Deadline May 2021 Registration Deadline Aug 2021 Registration Deadline Nov 2021 Registration Deadline
Early Registration USD 700 13 August 2020 3 November 2020 2 February 2021 4 May 2021
Standard Registration USD 1000 28 October 2020 23 February 2021 4 May 2021 10 August 2021

NEWCOMERS ONLY: $450 one-time program enrollment fee

Additionally, when you register for your first level 1 CFA exam ever, you have to pay a one-time enrollment fee of USD 450 at registration. The amount is the same regardless of the registration deadline or the exam you choose. As a rule, the enrollment fee is waived if you're awarded a CFA Institute scholarship.

CFA Exam Fees Summed Up

CFA Program Enrollment Fee CFA Exam Registration Fee
USD 450 in USD: 700 (early) or 1000 (standard)
your first level 1 CFA exam only the sooner you register, the lower the fee
paid only once paid before every exam (incl. retakes)
valid throughout your whole candidacy valid only for a particular exam
non-refundable* non-refundable* and non-transferable

* Limited fee refund availability is regulated by the CFA Program Refund Policy.

The moment you pay for your first Level 1 CFA exam, you enter the CFA Program. It means you accept responsibilities that go hand in hand with your candidacy. During your registration, you are asked to agree to the provisions of Candidate Agreement. It specifies for example possible exam violations and relevant testing policies but it also tells you when your exam can be deferred. You must also submit your Professional Conduct Statement (disclosing relevant reprimands, investigations, litigations, etc.) upon your first CFA exam registration and then annually and before every next exam registration.

Always submit your Professional Conduct Statement on time or you will be excluded from the CFA Program.

New 2021 CFA Exam Rescheduling Fee

Starting in 2021 – after they register – candidates need to self-schedule their CFA exam within the chosen exam window. The level 1 exam windows in 2021 are as follows:

  • FEBRUARY level 1 exam window: Feb 16 – March 1
  • MAY level 1 exam window: May 18-24
  • AUGUST level 1 exam window: August 24-30
  • NOVEMBER level 1 exam window: November 16-22

It means you can choose when exactly you want to take your level 1 exam within the available exam windows. Mind, however, that for some regions and test centers the exam windows may be shorter. So, be sure to get familiar with the test center info when choosing your exam day.

Scheduling is obligatory and free of charge. Moreover, the scheduling period is longer than the registration period:

  • FEBRUARY: schedule your exam before 14 December 2020
  • MAY: schedule your exam before 10 March 2021
  • AUGUST: schedule your exam before 23 May 2021
  • NOVEMBER: schedule your exam before 25 August 2021

If you schedule your exam but find either the exam date or the test center not optimal, you can reschedule your exam after an additional payment of USD 25 for each re-appointment. The rescheduling option is for your chosen exam window and depends on seating availability. The rescheduling deadlines for 2021 level 1 exams are as follows:

  • FEBRUARY: reschedule your exam before 17 January 2021
  • MAY: reschedule your exam before 16 April 2021
  • AUGUST: reschedule your exam before 22 July 2021
  • NOVEMBER: reschedule your exam before 14 October 2021


The decision about entering the CFA Program can be a long-lasting process. You may know you’d like to take your CFA exam one day but you may need some time before you actually register for an exam. Besides, life often verifies our hopes and postpones our plans.

But even if you do not register for the nearest CFA exam, it’s worth registering at a learning portal like Soleadea the moment you set the CFA exam as your future goal. Why? Because a decision about CFA Program enrollment is a serious one and you could surely use some help while getting there (and we support our users by keeping them updated and informed about the CFA exam).

At Soleadea, registration is free and you get your personalized study plan right away. Inside, you’ll find lots of study tools and materials (some are free and some are premium). You’ll get to know how much you should study per week and get some idea of how your study routine should look like. Outside the exam study planner, you’ll also find many valuable contents concerning the CFA designation and CFA exam and you’ll be guided towards the best way to prepare for your exam.

My 1st Registration: Steps to Follow

1. register with CFA Institute

apply for the scholarship if you’re eligible

2. register for your level 1 CFA exam:

wait for your scholarship if you apply

pay the due fees

NOTE: different registration fee deadlines + enrollment fee for those ineligible or not accepted for a scholarship

read and accept your Candidate Agreement + submit your Professional Conduct Statement

self-schedule your exam date within your chosen exam window

3. register at Soleadea – consider making it STEP 1

set up a free CFA exam study plan

get access to many study tools and materials

learn the best way for your study routine based on the weekly approach

Level 2 CFA Exam Registration

If you're a level 2 candidate and want to take your exam in 2021, you can do it either in May or in August. Currently, registration for both level 2 exam windows is open. Below are the relevant registration fees and deadlines.

Level 2 CFA Exam
Registration Fees & Deadlines in 2021

CFA Exam Cost May 2021 Registration Deadline Aug 2021 Registration Deadline
Early Registration USD 700 3 November 2020 2 February 2021
Standard Registration USD 1000 23 February 2021 4 May 2021

Basically, enrolling in your level 2 CFA exam does not differ much from your level 1 registration. If – however – you have your doubts, the list below shows how to register for the level 2 exam (or another level 1 exam if you need to retake it):

  1. You already have your CFA Institute account.
  2. If you’re eligible for a scholarship – just apply for it before the deadline and then wait for the official decision before you register and pay for your exam [LEARN MORE].
  3. If you’re ineligible for a scholarship – relevant registration fees and deadlines apply (there is no enrollment fee for you, though).
  4. After you register, you need to self-schedule your exam date within your chosen exam window. Both the scheduling and rescheduling deadlines are the same as for the corresponding level 1 exams.
  5. Candidate Agreement needs to be accepted and Professional Conduct Statement submitted – no change here.
  6. Also, no changes as far as well-planned prep goes: create a study plan that adapts to your needs but stays demanding!

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