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Once you receive passing results for the Level II exam, schedule your Level III exam for at least 6 months after your Level II exam date. The Level III exam takes the longest to study for compared with the other 2 exam levels, so make sure you have enough time to study.
The 2022 Level III CFA exam is offered in May and August.
Learn more about the current CFA exam dates.
Use the same two steps to register for the Level III CFA exam as you used for the Level II CFA exam: Register for the exam and pay the CFA Level III exam fee ($700 for early registration or $1,000 for standard registration), then self-schedule your exam date and location via your CFA Program tile.
Create a consistent study schedule. Use what you learned from studying for the first two exams to perfect your study habits for this last exam. Just prepare to spend more time studying for Level III than any other exam level. Recommended study time for Level III is at least 344 hours (compared to 303 hours for Level I and 328 for Level II).
Learn more about Wiley CFA Level III Study Supplements and how they can help keep your study schedule on track.
Level III is often considered the hardest of the 3 exam levels because it introduces new open-ended answer formats and tests good judgment skills. Make sure you’re prepared by investing in a CFA review course that will help you understand the exam material and feel confident on exam day.
Wiley CFA review courses reliably prepare you for the Level III CFA exam with features like video lessons presented by expert instructors, practice exams, 30-45-minute bite-sized lessons, expert mentors, a Score Predictor, and more!
At this point, you’ve passed Level I and Level II of the CFA exam, so you should feel confident in your ability to pass Level III. Yes, it will still take a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but you know you’re up for the challenge.
Stick to your study plan, use Wiley CFA Program Exam study materials, pace yourself, and go into the Level III exam with a positive attitude and expecting to pass!
In August 2021, the Level III CFA exam pass rate was 39%–a historic low. This was likely due to COVID-19 test schedule disruptions, and pass rates are expected to recover. As with the other exams, if you make enough time to study and use the right exam prep service, you can be part of the percentage that passes.
According to CFA Institute, candidates who passed Level III in 2019 spent an average of 344 hours studying. Plan your study schedule after reviewing the CFA program curriculum and/or investing in a CFA exam prep service.
|CFA Exam Topic Area|
Level III Topic Weight (%)
|Ethical & Professional Standards||10-15|
|Financial Statement Analysis||0|
|Portfolio Management & Wealth Planning||35-40|
CFA Institute’s Board of Governors sets the minimum passing score (MPS) for the Level III exam based on recommendations from groups of CFA Charterholders who review the exam questions to establish how a minimally qualified candidate would perform. After taking the exam, you will receive an email with a result of “pass” or “did not pass” within approximately 90 days of taking your exam (or 10 weeks after the exam window has closed).
The Level III exam curriculum focuses on fixed income investments along with portfolio management and wealth planning via questions that test analysis, synthesis, and evaluation skills.
Ethics and Professional Standards make up 10-15% of the Level III CFA exam. Candidates will be tested on their good judgment as it relates to ethics and professional standards in the investment industry.
Economics makes up 5-10% of the Level III CFA exam. This area tests the ability to synthesize concepts and evaluate situations related to developing capital market expectations for security selection and portfolio management.
Equity Investments makes up 10-15% of the Level III CFA exam. Candidates will be tested on equity investments, security markets, indexes, and basic equity valuation models.
Fixed Income makes up 15-20% of the Level III CFA exam. This section tests information related to fixed income securities, yield measures, risk factors, and valuation measurements and drivers.
Derivatives make up 5-10% of the Level III CFA exam. Candidates must demonstrate a high level of knowledge related to derivatives and derivative markets.
Alternative Investments make up 5-10% of the Level III CFA exam. The alternate investments tested in this area include hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, and infrastructure.
Portfolio Management makes up 35-40% of the Level III CFA exam. Candidates must demonstrate their analysis, synthesis, and evaluation skills related to portfolio and risk management.
As you go through final preparations make sure to check out our last-minute CFA exam tips.
Hopefully, at this point, you have established a night-before-exam routine that includes healthy meals, relaxation, and plenty of sleep. We know a lot is riding on this exam but try to relax, perhaps reviewing any areas you want to reinforce. Avoid compromising your sleep with a late-night cram session.
Like the Level I and Level II exams, you are only allowed to bring a few approved personal items into the testing center (like a calculator, glasses, and your passport). For a refresher on this, see CFA Institute’s CFA Exam Personal Belongings Policy.
It will typically take longer to receive your CFA Level III results than it took to hear back on your other two exams. Your exam results will be delivered to you via email within approximately 90 days of your exam date or 10 weeks after the exam window has closed.
If you don’t pass the Level III CFA exam, take a minute to mourn, give yourself grace, and register to retake it ASAP. Since you can only take one exam every 6 months, you will have to schedule your retake exam date at least 6 months after your most recent Level III exam date.
You will have to re-register to take the exam and pay another exam registration fee ($700 for early registration or $1,000 for standard registration). After that, self-schedule your retake exam. Both May and August 2022 exams must wait until February 2023 to retake.
Once your new exam is scheduled, resume studying immediately and use your performance report to craft your study plan.
Here are quick answers to some frequently asked questions about the Level III CFA exam.