In every industry that requires certifications, exam dates can shift year to year for a variety of reasons. However, it is always up to the student to know when that happens. After all, you won’t be able to get certified if you don’t show up on exam day.
Since a CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) is a globally-recognized designation given to financial professionals, failing the CFA® exam is not an option. Much like a doctor or lawyer, you cannot practice without the required merits. And more importantly, you can’t earn the required merits without knowing the 2021 CFA® exam dates.
About the 2021 CFA® Exam
The CFA® Institute, (formerly known as the Association for Investment Management and Research), is the organization responsible for measuring the integrity of financial analysts. Consequently, it’s their job to certify your competency in the field through the CFA® exam.
In order to demonstrate your mastery of the subject matter to the institute and to future clients, CFA® Institute requires all candidates for certification to pass three levels of the exam. People typically report investing over 300 hours of study time to successfully pass each level of the exam, so you’re going to want to start studying for them as early as possible.
CFA® Exam Dates 2021
Things are being handled a little differently in 2021 than previous years. The CFA® plans to offer the CFA® exam on 3 separate June testing dates.
Here is the 2021 schedule for the chartered financial analyst exam with all three levels:
CFA® Level 1 Exam Date
Every year, you have two opportunities to take the CFA® Level I Exam. It’s administered in the months of June and December.
June 6th, 2021 is when most students take the Level 1 Exam. Anyone located in the Americas and EMEA countries will have this as their exam date.
However, it’s a different story for other parts of the world; Asia Pacific candidates will take the Level 1 CFA® Exam on June 7th, 2021.
There is an additional date in June that is set aside for students who need to reschedule for religious reasons. The religious alternate exam date is June 7th for people in the Americas and EMEA countries, and June 8th for those located in the Asia Pacific.
In December, candidates also have the option to take the Level 1 exam. However, if you need to take Level II and/or Level III, you’ll need to wait until next June to get your chance.
The CFA® Level 1 Exam is held on December 5, 2021 The early exam registration deadline is March 25, 2021, and the standard registration deadline is August 19, 2021. Your final deadline for registration is September 9, 2021— so keep that date in mind as the year continues.
(Here’s a quick tip if you’re trying to save money: standard registration fees will vary depending on when you register for the exam. The sooner you sign up, the cheaper it is!)
CFA® Level 1 Exam Structure
The CFA® Exam Level 1 consists of 240 multiple choice questions in two separate sessions: 120 questions in the morning and 120 questions in the afternoon. The format is multiple-choice and exam results are given within 60 days of testing. In order to qualify for this exam, candidates must meet the CFA® program enrollment requirements.
The average pass rate for this exam is 43%, making it one of the hardest tests in professional finance and accounting. Hence, you’re going to want to study hard in order to pass.
CFA® Level 2 Exam Date
The CFA® Level 2 Exam only happens one time each year in June, so it is critical you have the right date. As was previously mentioned, you won’t have the opportunity to take the Level 2 Exam in December— only the Level 1 Exam.
The date for the CFA® Level 2 Exam is June 6th, 2021. They also have alternate dates for religious accommodations: June 7th in the Americas/EMEA, and June 8th in the Asia Pacific.
CFA® Level 2 Exam Structure
The CFA® Exam Level 2 Exam consists of 20-30 vignettes supporting 120 multiple-choice questions. There is a morning and evening session that are each three hours long. Each session has 10-15 vignettes supported by 60 multiple-choice questions. Results are released within 60 days of taking the exam. In order to qualify, students must pass the CFA® Level 1 Exam first.
The average pass rate for this exam is 45%, which is even lower than Level I. Keep that in mind when studying!
CFA® Level 3 Exam Date
Just like Level II, the CFA® Level III Exam only happens once a year. The date for the CFA® Level 3 Exam is also the same as the previous two levels: June 6th, 2021. For students who need to postpone their exams for religious purposes, the alternate dates are the same as Level II.
CFA® Level 3 Exam Structure
The CFA® Exam Level 3 Exam consists of 20-30 vignettes supporting a variety of constructed response and multiple-choice questions. There are two sessions — one in the morning and one in the evening — that last for 3 hours each.
The morning session has 8-15 vignettes supporting constructed response questions. The afternoon session is a little different, with 10-15 vignettes supporting 60 multiple-choice questions. Results are released within 90 days of passing the exam, and students must pass the CFA® Level 2 Exam first in order to qualify.
The average pass rate for this exam is 56%, which is much higher than the previous two. That being said, it’s still going to be a tough test, so be sure you study hard!
Why Are There Separate 2021 CFA® Exam Dates?
The CFA® is dedicated to maintaining exam dates that work for people across the globe. Additionally, this is being done to honor religious needs. That’s why you can reschedule your exam days to a Sunday or Monday by filling out the proper forms in the appropriate time period.
Although this is an allowance for the purpose of religious freedom, the CFA® reminds candidates that they must abide by the CFA® Program Candidate Agreement and testing policies/rules. In other words, the religious rescheduling policy is not meant to be used for anything other than religion. You could have your exam results dismissed if the dates are misused, so be mindful of the rules!
CFA® Exam Results Date and Digital CFA® Exams
Most CFA® results will be released in July 2021 for students who took their tests on the first available date. Looking forward, December 2021 marks the last paper exam ever for the CFA® Level 1 exam. In 2021, the CFA® Institute is going digital; all Level 1 exams will be totally computer-based, with the next two levels likely to follow.
Make sure you have all these dates correct in your calendar! In today’s age, a CFA® charter holder salary is anywhere from $65k to $250k. Earning your CFA® charter is what sets you up for growth, so you don’t want to miss the opportunity because you got the dates wrong.
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Bryce Welker is a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, and Business Insider. After graduating from San Diego State University he went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant license and created CrushTheCPAexam.com to share his knowledge and experience to help other accountants become CPAs too. As Seen On Forbes