What To Bring To The CFA Exam Quick Facts

  • A valid international passport is the only approved form of identification.
  • Check with your testing center to verify if a print out of your appointment confirmation is required.
  • Face masks are required. You will be asked to briefly remove it during the identification process.
  • The items allowed in the testing room are limited, but you may bring a bag with you to leave outside of the testing room.

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CFA Exam Day Schedule

The CFA exams now use a computer-based model. This is different from traditional papered testing, and does impact what your test day will look like.Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled test time. This time is needed to complete the check-in process. With the transition to computerized testing, exam times have been reduced to 135 minutes per session.

Here is a breakdown of the day:

  • 30 minutes – Pledge, tutorial, and survey
  • 135 minutes – Session 1 Exam
  • 30 minutes – Optional Break
  • 135 minutes – Session 2 Exam

There will be a total testing time of 4.5 hours, with the appointment taking approximately 5.5 hours total.

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CFA Exam Day What To Bring During COVID

This list is only relevant while COVID restrictions are mandatory – the list is subject to change.

Face Mask (Mandatory)

You must wear a fask mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times.

Medical masks and cloth face coverings are permitted. Masks with an exhale or one-way valves are not allowed. Masks with wearable technology are also not permitted.

You will be asked to briefly remove your mask for identification purposes.
Testing facilities will not provide them, so please be sure to bring your own. If you do not bring one, or refuse to wear one, you will not be allowed to test.

Other Personal Protective Equipment (Optional)

If you wish to bring gloves, face shield, or any other personal protective equipment, you may.
The testing facility may not allow a face shield to replace a face mask. If you opt for the use of a face shield, be sure to bring a mask too, just in case.

Sanitizing Equipment (Optional)

You may bring hand sanitizing gel and/or wipes.

What to Bring: CFA Exam Requirements

A CFA admission ticket is no longer required. In most cases, all that is needed is your passport ID. However, some testing facilities may request a copy of your confirmation email, with your appointment confirmation number on it. This isn’t always a requirement. If it is, they will ask in advance of the test.Other items you may bring into the testing room include:

A Valid International Passport

No other form of identification is accepted. Please be sure to check your passport to ensure it will be valid on your scheduled test date. If not, you will need to renew the passport prior to testing.

If the name on your passport is not the exact same as the name you used to register for the test (ie: Bill vs. William), you will need to notify the CFA Institute immediately.

A CFA Approved Calculator

There are two types of calculators that are approved for the CFA exam:

  • Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional)
  • Hewlett Packard 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige

In order to reduce undue stress and eliminate potential issues on test day – be sure to test your calculator settings in advance.

Also, you may want to consider borrowing or buying an extra calculator, in the event your calculator stops working, or the batteries die.

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Eyeglasses Only

People may bring their glasses into the test room, but eyeglass cases are not allowed.

Permissible Personal Items (Pre-Approval Needed)

There are some of the approved optional extras you may be allowed to bring into the test room. Some of which include:

  • Earplugs (foam with no strings)
  • Epi-pen
  • Eyedrops
  • Inhaler
  • Handheld magnifying glass (non-electronic, and no case)

If you plan to bring any optional extras with you for testing, they need to be pre-approved with the test provider.

What Shouldn’t You Bring Into Your CFA Exam?

Here are some of the common items that aren’t allowed to be taken into the test room.You may keep some of these items in your bag to access during the break and after the exam.

Food and Drink

There is a no food and drink policy within the test room. However, you may bring a drink and snack to have during the optional break between exam sessions.

If any accommodations are needed (ie: Type 1 diabetic), you may contact the test center to request an exception.

Tech Tools

For security and test integrity purposes, tech tools are not permitted into the test room. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Phones
  • Cameras
  • Tablets
  • Smart watches, or any other form of wearable technology (ie: fitness tracker)
  • Headset
  • Computer
  • Any Bluetooth enabled, remote communication, or photographic device

Baggage of Any Kind

You may bring your purse, wallet, and backpack into the test center with you. However, it will have to be held outside of the test room. There will be a designated space to keep your personal belongings while you are in the test room.

Study Materials

If you wish to bring study materials with you to review before the test, or during the break, you may. Study materials include any notes, textbooks, and study guides. You will need to leave these outside of the test room with the rest of your personal belongings.


The CFA Institute and Prometric provide a laminated sheet or whiteboard for you to use during the exam. You will not be allowed to bring your own writing utensils, eraser, or scratch paper into the exam room. You also cannot bring your calculator manual.

Weapons of Any Kind

This includes pocket knives.


All jewelry is expected to be removed. This includes wristwatches, hair clips, headbands, combs, tie clips and cufflinks. Wedding and engagement rings are allowed.

Helpful Items To Keep In Your Bag on CFA Exam Day

These are useful things to keep with you in a bag, or backpack, if you choose to bring one. Please note, these items will be kept outside of the test area.


Staying hydrated and thinking clearly is important on test day.

Some Form of Caffeine

Caffeine helps improve focus. Additionally, after long test sessions, it will help prevent feeling tired as the day progresses.

A Snack

Avoid feeling hangry and losing focus during the exam by bringing a snack for your break.

Your Mobile Phone (Turned Off)

If you bring your phone into the test center, please be sure to shut it off and put it in your bag before you enter the test room. Your bag will be kept in a designated area outside of the test room. You may turn it back on during the break and when both sessions are completed.

A Handy Checklist for CFA Exam Day

First, you should confirm if your testing facility needs a copy of your confirmation email. This is not always required, and the facility will let you know in advance. But, if you are uncertain, call to confirm if this is needed.Secondly, make sure your passport will be valid at the time of the test. If not, you will need to get it renewed before you can test. Third, bring your passport, calculator and face covering when you present for the test. You may bring other items as well, but they will not be permitted in the testing room.

What You Must Bring to the CFA Exam

  • Valid international travel passport
  • Face covering
  • CFA exam approved calculator

What To Do in Advance of the CFA Exam

  • Review testing policies
  • Confirm passport isn’t expired
  • Verify if the confirmation email print out is needed at your test facility
  • Plan your route so you can arrive at least 30 minutes early
  • Review the Rules of Procedure
  • Obtain an extra, CFA exam approved, calculator, or replace your calculator’s batteries before the test day
  • Plan what to put in your bag

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What To Bring To The CFA Exam – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about what to bring to the CFA exam.

  • You will need to bring a CFA exam approved calculator, eyeglasses (if applicable), and a valid international passport.
  • Yes, you can; however, you will need to keep it outside of the test room.
  • Yes you may. If you need to use the restroom during the test, raise your hand. A proctor will then take your answer sheet and wait at your table for your return.
  • Face masks are required. Test center temperatures may vary so you are encouraged to wear layers to stay as comfortable as possible during the exam sessions.
  • Yes, it is encouraged you have a backup calculator in the event your primary calculator stops working.
  • Yes; however, it will need to be turned off and placed in your bag during the exam.