Are you stepping up on the way to becoming a superb financial investment professional? Well, then the CFA program is for you.
It is designed to provide you with the expertise and skills in financial investment analysis that you need to advance in your career.
Anyone can sign up for the program. Whether you are a practicing investment professional, a student, switching careers, or looking to start a career in this field. If you have got the required discipline and a drive to surge ahead in this career, then the CFA program is for you.
We’ll be covering a lot of information about the various exams that take place in CFA so buckle up and read on!
How does the CFA program work?
The CFA Institute is a globally recognized institute for CFA certification.
The CFA program consists of 3 levels of curriculum to clear which, you have to pass through 3 levels of examinations, namely, level-1, level-2, and level-3.
Now, as easy as it may sound, candidates often need about 4 to 5 years to clear all the levels of the CFA program.
The exams are designed to thoroughly test your knowledge of investment instruments and other related skills.
Although even clearing level-1 can help you land an impressive job, you can only become a CFA charter holder after you have cleared all the levels and completed some more procedures.
How to become a CFA Charterholder?
Becoming a CFA Charterholder is one of the most powerful professional achievements an individual can accomplish.
The CFA Institute is a globally recognized financial investment institute and has a vast network of more than 1,50,000 investing professionals and countless investing societies.
Becoming a CFA Charterholder can aggressively boost your professional career by giving you invaluable career resources and the ability to work as a CFA charter in companies all around the world. (mostly in countries that recognize the CFA institute).
Here are the fundamental requirements for becoming a CFA Charterholder:
- Ensure that you have the required work experience needed to be able to apply for CFA level-1 exams. You can take the CFA exams if you have completed your bachelor’s degree, or have 4000 hours of work experience, or have a total experience of 4000 hours of work+education.
- Clear all the levels of exams namely, level-1, level-2, and level-3.
- Submit reference letters about your work experience. It would give you an edge if the reference letters are by members of the CFA society to which you are applying.
- Have a valid functional passport and be a citizen of a country that recognizes the CFA institute.
- Complete and submit your application to be a CFA Charterholder.
It’s as simple as that.
CFA program Fees in India
Here we will try to provide a complete breakdown of CFA program fees in India.
- The CFA program has a first-time enrollment fee of 450 USD.
- For the level-1, level-2, and level-3 exams to be held in the year 2022, the early registration fees for each one of them separately are 700 USD. And the standard registration fee is 1000 USD.
- In case of any rescheduling of the exams, there is an added fee of 250 USD.
Here are some tables depicting the various levels’ fees and their registration dates:
As can be seen from the tables, there are only 2 windows to appear for CFA level-3 exams while there are 3 windows to appear for the CFA level-1 and level-2 exams.
Fees breakdown in INR
If we assume that an individual gives all the exams without any rescheduling and with early registration,
Then the total fees for the entire program would amount to,
450+700+700+700= 2550 USD
Taking the current conversion rate of 1 USD = 74.92 INR,
The total fees in INR come to be around = 1,90,995 INR.
That’s around 2 LAC Rupees!
Yes, that’s a bit hard on the bank balance, but if completed, the program is all the more worth it.
How difficult are the CFA exam levels?
Let’s just say that the pass rate for the CFA exam level-1 was about 40% in the year 2019.
Yes! Just for CFA level-1.
The exams are highly difficult and thorough.
The CFA institute releases a Minimum Passing Score(MPS) for each test.
The MPS is established with the help of vast resources of experts, algorithms, and calculations.
Furthermore, unlike a lot of competitive examinations, in the CFA exams, not all subjects have the same score value. Thus, if you score high in one subject, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it could compensate for your low score in any other subject.
Level-2 is inarguably the hardest out of all the levels.
The syllabus becomes more refined and complex, and the competition gets even more fierce.
One of the worst things about the CFA program is the number of people that often quit it mid-way.
The exam studies can be brutal and require more than 300 hours of prep.
And even after going through all that if a student fails a level, then the motivation can die down quickly.
In a way, these exams also test an individual’s willpower, patience, and discipline.
Paper pattern and types of questions in CFA exams
Different levels have different exam patterns, difficulty levels, and time durations.
Here’s all that you need to know about the pattern and types of questions at each level.
Exam pattern for Level-I
Considered to be the major candidate filter, this exam has 180 Multiple Choice Questions in total.
The exam is divided into two sessions, each 135 minutes in duration.
Yup! That is 4.5 hours of total examination time.
Here’s a breakdown of what topics constitute the 2 exam sessions.
- ethics & professional standards
- quantitative methods
- financial reporting and analysis
- Corporate finance
- fixed income
- alternative investments
- portfolio management
In each of the examinations, the MCQ questions will be based on the above-given topics.
Exam pattern for level-2
This is going to be a tough one. Again, only about 40% of people are usually able to clear through this level.
The CFA Level II exam consists of item sets consisting of vignettes accompanied by 88 multiple-choice questions.
The total exam duration for the Level-II examination is 4 hours, 24 minutes.
The exam is again split into two sessions of 132 minutes each.
Each item set has a vignette that comprises 4-6 MCQs.
Thus, there will be 44 MCQs per session.
The item set will be based on a particular topic. The thing to remember with Level-II examination is that the topics and their based item sets are randomly assigned to any session.
Exam pattern for level-3
The last hellhound at the gates of hell!
The first session exam of level-3 requires you to flex your writing fingers.
Because the exam consists of essay-type questions.
The time duration is the same as that of level-2, with 132 minutes allotted to each of the two sessions.
The exams shall consist of itemsets with vignettes and essay-type questions along with some Multiple Type Questions.
One of the more thorough examinations, the paper shall have questions ranging from essay types, MCQs, and even numerical types wherein you’d need to just enter a numerical value as an answer.
The second session of the exam consists of only MCQs accompanying vignettes.
There will be 44 questions in session 2, each worth 3 marks.
The MCQs in this exam are to be answered with the information given in the vignette.
Just like Level-2, the topics will be randomly placed in each of the sessions.
Considering all of this and more, the CFA program does seem to be one hell of a tough cookie to crack.
But it also holds vast potential to boost your career in Financial Investments.
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