CFA Syllabus

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CFA Syllabus

Established in 1947 and recognised globally, the CFA Institute’s benchmark program, The Chartered Financial Analyst or the CFA course provides credentials to aspiring professionals in the field of Financial & Investment Management. Counted amongst one of the toughest exams in the world, the syllabus of the CFA program is very vast and evaluates your knowledge on various fronts like Accounting, Economics, Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, etc. Moreover, the difficulty level increases with the increase in the level. So, here is a blog that will familiarise you with the topics included in the CFA syllabus. 

CFA Course Highlights

Before delving deep into the topics included in the CFA syllabus, let us first take a quick glance over the key details of the exam.

Exam Name Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Eligibility Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline or experience of four years
Exam Frequency Level 1: Conducted  Twice in a year [June & December]

Level 2 & 3: Conducted only once (June)

Conducting Authority CFA Institute
Duration 1.5 – 4 years
Examination Mode Computer-Based

Exam Pattern

To obtain the CFA certification, you have to clear all three levels or phases of the examination conducted by the CFA Institute. Though the number of questions varies as per the level, all the phases are of 6 hours. Furthermore, there is a specific weightage assigned to every subject at various levels of the course. Tabulated below are the important attributes of the CFA exam, number of questions, duration, and time.

Exam Level I
Morning Session 120 Questions
Afternoon Session 120 Questions
Duration 3 hours for each session
Question type Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
Exam Level II
Morning Session 60 Questions in 10 case studies
Afternoon Session 60 Questions in 10 case studies
Duration 3 hours for each session
Question type MCQ’s based on caselets
Exam Level III
Morning Session Essay type
Afternoon Session 60 Qs in 10 Case studies
Duration 3 Hours for each session
Question type Essay + MCQ

What Does the CFA Syllabus Entail?

The CFA syllabus is designed to impart skills in benchmark subjects like Economics, Accounting, Security Analysis, Money Management, etc through three levels namely, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. The CFA syllabus of Level 1 lays emphasis on ethical standards, professional ethics, and investment tools. However, when it comes to Level 2, your ability to apply the principles of asset valuation is assessed. For CFA Level 3, concepts related to Portfolio Management will be focused on. Enlisted are the topics from which questions will be framed in the CFA exam.

  • Equity Investments
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Fixed Income
  • Economics and Derivatives
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Alternative Investments
  • Corporate Finance
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

CFA Syllabus Level 1

The very first stage of the CFA exam is considered as a foundation for the rest of the two levels. The CFA syllabus of Level 1 encompasses the basic aspects of investment analysis and financial analysis. It comprises a total of ten topics whose weightage has been given a rundown below. 

Topic Area Level I
Equity Investments 11%
Ethical and Professional Standards 15%
Quantitative Methods 10%
Fixed Income 11%
Economics 10%
Derivatives 6%
Financial Reporting and Analysis 15%
Alternative Investments 6%
Corporate Finance 10%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 6%

CFA Syllabus Level 2

Upon qualifying the first level, you will be eligible to apply for the level 2 exam. With topics more or less the same, the difficulty level increases in the 2nd level. Tabulated below is the topic-wise weightage for the CFA syllabus level 2. 

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Topic Area Level II
Equity Investments 10%-15%  
Ethical and Professional Standards 10% to 15%
Quantitative Methods 5% to 10%
Fixed Income 10% to 15%
Economics 5% to 10%
Derivatives 5% to 10%
Financial Reporting and Analysis 15% to 20%
Alternative Investments 5% to 10%
Corporate Finance 5% to 10%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 10% to 15%

CFA Level 3 Curriculum

Considered as the last milestone in obtaining the CFA certification, the CFA syllabus of this level encompasses the concepts related to the field of Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning, and associated analytical methods. Enlisted is the topic-wise weightage for this level. 

Topic Area Level III
Equity Investments 10%-15%
Ethical and Professional Standards 10% to 15%
Quantitative Methods
Fixed Income 15% to 20%
Economics 5%to 10%
Derivatives 5% to 10%
Financial Reporting and Analysis
Alternative Investments 5% to 10%
Corporate Finance
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 35% to 40%
Total 100

Tips to Qualify The CFA Exam 

Passing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam is a tough nut to crack and needs rigorous practice and preparation to gain mastery over the topics.

  • Focus your efforts on the CFA Institute’s curriculum
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses and formulate a time table accordingly.
  • Keep up-to-date with the CFA syllabus.
  • Understand the format.
  • Plan the logistics of the exam day.
  • Time management is key.

As seen, the CFA syllabus is very vast. Dedication and hard work are what will help you sail through this exam! Exploring Finance courses abroad? Not sure about how to get started with it? Then reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu who will help you pick the most suitable university and will also provide guidance throughout the admission process!

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