The Level I CFA Program exam is moving to computer-based testing. For candidates already doing Level I then there will be no change. However, for those enrolling to start in 2021 and onwards, we answer some of the main questions about what this will mean…


What are the changes?

Any new starter studying for Level I from 2021 onwards will sit the computer-based testing rather than the existing paper-based exams. Like before, the exams will still take place in examination centres. However, the length of exams, and the dates and locations they can be taken, will change…


Why is it changing?

The move is aimed at making the exams for Level I more suited to today’s faster-paced digital workplace. Computer-based testing enables the CFA Institute to offer exams in more global locations and increase the number of exam windows from two to four. Candidates will have more choice with four exam sittings a year in February, May, August, and November – the first being February 2021. In addition to this, the actual time required to sit the exams will reduce. Plus, candidates should also receive their exam results faster.


Will there be any changes to the way a candidate needs to study?

No. While the exams will be shorter and contain fewer questions, the amount of information in the CFA Program curriculum or required study time will not reduce. Candidates who complete the new computer-based exam will be held to the same standard as those who completed the paper-based exam. The exams will be digital and based in proctored centres.


Does it change the time a candidate must wait to retake an exam?

Candidates that do not pass Level I will still have to wait a minimum of six months to retake the exam. Therefore, a maximum of two exams a year is possible – even if there are now four dates. This is consistent with the time that current candidates must wait to retake the exam.


Where will the new exams take place?

Registration for the February 2021 exam opens in June 2020. CFA Institute has said that it will release details of the locations for the new computer-based testing at this point.