CFA Level 3: Curriculum, Format and Pass Rates


CFA level 3 exam is your last hurdle towards the CFA charter. The exam content is built on what you learned in Level 1 and Level 2, with heavy emphasis on portfolio management.

CFA Level 3 Curriculum

Half of the exam will involve portfolio management and you can expect in-depth and complex questions. The coverage on alternative investments and derivatives is similar to that in Level 2. There will not be questions from financial reporting, economics, corporate finance and quantitative methods.

CFA Level 3 Exam Format

  • Constructed response questions (ie. essay) in the morning session.
    • Exam duration: 3 hours.
    • 8-12 questions totally 180 points.
  • 10 item set questions in the afternoon session.
    • Exam duration: 3 hours.
    • 10 case studies with 6 questions each, i.e. 60 multiple choice questions in total.
    • 3 points for each multiple choice questions, totally 180 points.

Exam Grading and Results

Results of Level 3 exam is typically released within 90 days. The fastest and most convenient way is to check the score online. Candidate ID is required.

Online results are available for approximately 1 year after the exam date. After this date, candidates may request an official letter confirming their result, but their topic area performance summary will no longer be available.

CF Level 3 Exam Pass Rates

cfa exam pass rate level 3

After some big fluctuations 10 years ago, we are seeing the CFA Level 3 pass rate stabilizing at 50%. The 10-year average pass rate is 54% which is considerably higher than Level 1 and Level 2.

One reason is that only those who are both committed and knowledgeable in the field of finance and management has the ability to move on to Level 3. You can take a lot at this more detailed analysis on pass rate trends here.

Further Reading

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