When should you attempt the Level I CFA exam - December 2020 or February 2021?
The CFA designation is one of the highest and globally recognized distinctions in the investment management profession. It is designed to offer aspiring candidates the expertise and real-world insight required to thrive in today’s competitive market.
Recently, CFA Institute announced that Level I CFA® exam candidates will have a new testing window in February 2021 unlike the previous years, and candidates can register from June 16, 2020 onwards. There is a difference of merely 3 months between the testing windows but there are quite a few differences in the exam format, so which one should you sit for?
December 2020 and February 2021 Level I CFA® Exam Comparison
The exam is paper-based and has 240 multiple-choice questions.
Exam day is broken into two three-hour sessions with a break in-between. Each session has 120 questions.
The exam will be proctored and held in 192 locations globally.
The exam window is February 23, 2021, to March 1, 2021.
The exam is computer-based and has 180 multiple-choice questions.
Exam days are broken into two sessions, each of which is 2 hours and 15 minutes, with a break in-between. Each session has 90 questions.
The exam will be proctored and held in more than 400 locations globally.
Which CFA Level I Exam Date Should You Choose?
We recommend sitting for the December 2020 exam as it is your fastest track to the CFA Level II exam and beyond. Once you pass your Level I exam in December 2020, you can appear for the Level II exam in June 2021 and then for the Level III exam in June 2022. In case you need to re-attempt the Level I exam in 2021, you can attempt the exam with the same curriculum two additional times, in May 2021 and November 2021.
The February 2021 exam window offers reduced number of questions and a computer-based format, but it also adds around 12 months to your CFA journey. Once you pass the Level I exam in February 2021, you will have to wait until June 2022 for your Level II exam and then another year to appear for the Level III exam in June 2023. In case you need to re-attempt the Level I exam, the only next opportunity to appear for the exam with the same curriculum will be in August 2021.