Exam Preparation

Where can I view past exam questions?
Many actual exam questions are embedded in the curriculum and included in the online sample and mock exams. We take great care to eliminate past questions that are no longer consistent with the current curriculum and question-formatting conventions. We also provide free sample questions for each exam level.
Are Level I candidates expected to memorize all the formulas presented in the study materials?
Candidates are expected to be able to perform the actions specified in the learning outcome statements (LOS). If a formula is required, then it should be committed to memory.
What features of the approved calculators should I be prepared to use on the exams?
You should practice and become proficient at using any of the specific calculator features needed to address the learning outcome statements (LOS) in the curriculum. Examples include, but are not limited to, present and future values, annuity payments, square roots, and exponents. You should also know how to use general features of your chosen calculator, such as changing the number of decimal places displayed.
Should I be concerned that the HP 12C automatically rounds up when computing the time required to accumulate a given future value?
No. CFA Institute is aware that the HP 12C rounds up when computing the time required to accumulate a certain sum. We have taken that into consideration in the creation of questions and in the grading process.
On the exam, when trying to calculate a ratio that mixes income statement and balance sheet statement information, when should I use the average values of the balance sheet information as opposed to the beginning- or end-of-year values?
The way ratios are calculated depends on the availability of data and how particular ratios are going to be used. There is no "one size fits all" solution, and such differences are part of the nature of financial analysis. Candidates should be familiar with the assigned curriculum and be prepared to perform calculations and interpretations based on that curriculum. If it is relevant, the exam questions will normally specify how the calculation is to be performed (e.g., "use beginning-of-year balance sheet data for your calculations"). Candidates must determine the most appropriate data to use in any calculations. The intended use of the ratio will help you to choose the appropriate data.
In quantitative methods we refer to the z-table, t-table, and F-table. Will these tables be provided during the exam?
No. CFA Institute does not provide distribution tables with the exam. If a question requires information from a specific distribution table, that information will be provided with the question, but the tables themselves will not be provided. Similarly, time value of money tables (present value, future value, etc.) are neither needed nor provided. The two approved calculators are capable of performing any required present value and future value calculations.
When answering constructed response-essay exam questions, may I use abbreviated words to save time or must I write out all words in full?
Use of abbreviations is acceptable. Candidates are responsible for the clarity of answers and for ensuring that there is no uncertainty or ambiguity of meaning in the abbreviations used. Candidates should be cautious about abbreviating highly technical, specialized, or less widely used terms.
What are the benefits of taking the sample and mock exams?
Sample and mock exams can provide a realistic assessment of your mastery of the CFA Program curriculum, and they provide valuable experience by mimicking the format and difficulty of the actual CFA exam. Find out more about the sample and mock exams.
When are the sample and mock exams available and when should I take them?
You should take the sample exam after working through the complete curriculum at least once. Two sample exams at each level are typically available for approximately 12 weeks prior to the exam.
You should take the mock exam close to the actual exam date. One mock exam at each level is typically available approximately 30 days prior to the exam.
How up-to-date is the material on the sample and mock exams?
All material is directly sourced from the current CFA Program curriculum and presented in the same manner as actual CFA exam questions.
How are the sample and mock exams like the actual CFA exams?
Each exam is designed to reflect the question formats, topics, length, and level of difficulty that candidates will experience on the actual exam. Please note that the sample and mock exams are intended only as a representation of the actual exams and do not mirror all possible question types or formats. Performance on a sample or mock exam should not be used in any way to predict performance on the actual exam.
I think I found an error in the curriculum. What should I do?
If you believe you have discovered an error in the curriculum materials, please submit full details to CFA Institute. The error can then be investigated and, if needed, a correction will be included in the appropriate errata list.
How can societies assist with the Prep Provider Guidelines Program?
Societies can assist with the program by helping to ensure that the prep provider they have selected is either a Prep Provider Guidelines Program participant or is in compliance with the program. In addition, societies can assist by helping to reinforce the messages of the educational purpose, rigor, and principles of the CFA Program.

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