CFA level- I Exam is the stepping stone on this beautiful journey of becoming a CFA Charter holder, this is where the hardworking yet blissful journey starts. So let’s understand everything there is to know about it without further ado.

Syllabus

There are 10 subjects in total in the CFA level 1 curriculum along with their respective exam weightages:

TopicWeightage
Equity11%
Fixed Income 11%
Financial Reporting and Analysis 15%
Derivatives6%
Alternate Investments 6%
Economics10%
Portfolio Management6%
Corporate Finance10%
Ethical and Professional Standards15%
Quantitative Methods10%

Fees

There is a one-time USD 450 enrollment fee which is required when you enroll for the 1st time for the CFA Level-I exam. It is valid throughout your CFA journey no matter how many attempts you appear for. Apart from this there is a registration fee for the CFA Level-1 exam which varies depending on the time of your enrollment.

Early registration feesUSD 700
Standard registration feesUSD 1000
Late registration feesUSD 1450

Exam Pattern

The CFA Level-I exam is a completely Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) based exam. It is an Offline Exam but from 2021 onwards The CFA Institute has decided to make CFA Level-1 Exam a completely online-based exam, although the pattern remains the same. It is a 6 hour based exam which is divided into two parts of equal time. There is a 2-hour break in between for your lunch and other activities.

  • Morning session– This is the 1st part of the exam and is of 3 hours which consists of 120 MCQ questions, which can be based on any of the subjects.
  • Afternoon session– This is the 2nd part of the Exam which also is of 3 hours and consists of 120 MCQ questions, which again can be based on any of the subjects.

Eligibility criteria to enroll for the CFA level- I Exam

The candidate must have a valid International travel Passport, and one of the following –

  • The Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree or must be in final year student at the time of enrollment as you need to submit the documents of the same for your Level-II Exam.
  • 4 years of professional and fulltime work experience (not necessarily investment related).
  • Or a combination of work experience and education totaling 4 years.

Average Salary of a CFA Level- I cleared candidate

These figures are for the ones who have no prior work experience and have just started with their careers:

  • In India: Average Pay for a CFA Level 1 cleared in India is around 3-4 L.P.A. for someone who has just started out with his career. Note- getting into a core finance profile such as Valuations, Investment Banking, etc. right after CFA Level- I is not very easy and you might have to gain some prior work experience or right connections in the industry.
  • In US – Average Pay for CFA Level- I cleared in US is about $35,000 annually for a newbie who has just started out.

How much time is required to study for CFA Level- I

On average, it is estimated by the CFA Institute that a minimum 300-hour preparation is required for CFA Level- I, although this a very ballpark figure as it very much depends upon prior knowledge, experience, grasping skills and various other factors.

How to prepare for CFA Level- I

There is no one way to this, as everyone has their own methods and techniques of preparations, some like to go slow, whereas some rapidly catch up in the last couple of weeks.

Mostly the research suggests that the more mock papers one gives the more your chances increase of passing the exam, apart from mock exams the end of chapters questions from CFA Institute books are highly recommended, the CFA institute questions available online are also a good measure to test yourself before the big day.

Usually, you should consider giving at least 10-12 mocks before the exam and carefully examine the results of those mocks. The most important mocks are the CFA Institute website mocks and the mocks given by Kaplan Schweser, these are like the building pillars for you to prepare before the exam.  

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Things you should carry in the Exam hall:

  • BA Plus II Calculator/ Ba Plus II Professional Calculator
  • A set of Pencils
  • A rubber
  • A Pencil sharpener
  • A watch (Not a Smart Watch)
  • An extra battery for you calculator along with a screwdriver
CA Manoj Goel
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