CFA Exam Updates – All you need to know

CFA Exam Updates – All you need to know

Expanding Exam Options

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its global assault, government restrictions have increased and introduced new challenges to our efforts to acquire capacity for interested candidates in 2021, particularly in the February Level I window. In some areas, we have not yet been able to confirm enough available seating to accommodate everyone who might wish to take the February 2021 exam.

Level I Candidates

To alleviate the strain on the schedule, we are adding an exam window 21-23 March for Level I candidates whose exams have been or may be postponed. This March registration option is not yet available in our system. We will notify you when it opens in the coming weeks. 

  • If you are registered for February and have NOT scheduled your exam appointment, we encourage you to schedule before the 14 December deadline. Additional appointments have been added in most areas. If you do not secure an appointment for February because there is no capacity in your desired area, you will be eligible to sit for the exam in March at no additional cost. Instructions will be provided when March registration is opened. No appointments can be scheduled after the 14 December deadline.
  • If you are registered for February and HAVE secured an exam appointment, you are not eligible to move to March so that we may allow your fellow candidates an opportunity to find an appointment.
  • If you have not yet registered for 2021, you will be eligible to register for any of the Level I windows in 2021. February is at capacity in the cities listed below. If you are in one of these locations, we encourage you to choose another available administration in May, August or November, or await the opening of the March window.
  • If your exam has been twice postponed by COVID19 closure, you may qualify for a refund. Information about the refund application process and timeframe (7 December – 21 December) will be sent to you by 7 December.

We continue to have capacity issues in the following locations for the February 2021 exam: 
If you are a Level I candidate in one of these locations, we encourage you to choose another currently open exam administration window or await the opening of March registration.

Ahmedabad, India 
Athens, Greece
Bangalore, India
Bhopal, India
Brussels, Belgium
Cairo, Egypt
Calcutta, India
Chennai, India
Delhi, India
Denver, CO 
Halifax, NS 
Hyderabad, India
Jaipur, India
Jakarta, Indonesia 
Johannesburg, South Africa
Hanoi, Vietnam
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Lisbon, Portugal 
Lucknow, India
Milan, Italy 
Montreal, PQ
Munich, Germany
Nairobi, Kenya
Nicosia, Cyprus
Oslo, Norway
Prague, Czech Republic
Pune, India 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Taipei, Taiwan 
Victoria, BC
Vienna, Austria
Winnipeg, MB

Level II and Level III Candidates

For December Level II and Level IIII candidates whose locations have been closed, you may register for any applicable 2021 exam. If you would like to sit in May (LII and LIII), August (LII) or November (LIII), you may register now.

In addition to the current available windows, we will be adding more testing windows in 2021 for LII and LIII candidates.  New windows will be scheduled for the second half of 2021, following the May exam. No windows for LII or LIII will be available before May. 

More information will be shared soon regarding registration for new windows.  

  • Registration and scheduling for the 2021 computer-based CFA exams is a two-step process. You must first log in to your account and select your new exam window, then schedule your exam appointment. Current available dates, times, and test center options will be presented to you during the scheduling process, but note that more appointments will be added.  
  • If your exam has been twice postponed by COVID-19 closure, you may qualify for a refund. Information about the refund application process and timeframe (7 December – 21 December) will be sent to you by 7 December.

We are working diligently to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and meet the needs of our candidates by creating new, more frequent opportunities to sit for the CFA exam across 2021. We will continue to be responsive as the environment continues to change.  

Thank you for your patience as we work through these complex processes. We will continue to provide more detail on this CFA Exam Updates page, so check back often! 

December 2020 Exam


For an update on the December 2020 exam administration and an overview of computer-based testing for 2021, please watch this video.

Important Dates

  • 20 October 2020, 11:59pm ET: Deadline for postponed June 2020 candidates who have not re-registered, and candidates who want to move out of the December 2020 exam, to register for any 2021 exam
  • Saturday, 5 December: December 2020 exam, EMEA and AMER all levels; APAC Level I
  • Sunday, 6 December: December 2020 exam, APAC Level II and Level III

*Candidates approved to sit on the Religious Alternate Date will be communicated to separately with their exam dates.

How will I know if my exam will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

CFA Institute is actively monitoring factors globally.

At a high-level, we need four things to be able to administer an exam:

  • A venue that will accommodate all registered candidates
  • Testing personnel who will supervise and monitor the administration
  • The ability to ship exam materials to and from the venue
  • All relevant local government approvals

The global pandemic has created significant challenges with several of these requirements: we need twice the space within each venue to accommodate social distancing requirements; local governments have regulations in place restricting the number of people who can gather for indoor events; venues are reticent to execute contracts in uncertain times; and proctors are unwilling to commit to long periods of time in confined spaces with hundreds of people.

We have been working diligently over the last months to overcome these challenges. In some cities however, we have not been able to do so. We will continue to make determinations about specific test centers throughout October.

Ultimately, three insurmountable factors have forced us to conclude we cannot administer exams in certain locations:

  • Pandemic-related indoor gathering bans and limitations
  • Venues’ inability or unwillingness to contract for services
  • Lack of available and willing testing personnel

We will inform candidates who are impacted via email as soon as possible following each decision. You may also visit our Test Center Updates page for the latest test center information, including testing locations in which CFA Institute has determined that it will not administer the exam.

What if my testing location is impacted?

After impacted test centers are announced, we will email impacted candidates within 24 hours to alert them, at which time they will find a complimentary registration in their account. Upon notification, you will immediately be able to defer to an exam in 2021. Please wait to receive your email notification before logging in to your account to defer. You will need to re-register for one of the exam administrations available for your level and will have until the end of each registration deadline to re-register. For example, if you select the May 2021 exam, you will have until 23 February to register.

NOTE: Registration for a computer-based exam is a two-step process. Step 1: Register for a 2021 exam now. Step 2: Schedule your actual exam appointment. You can wait to do step 2 if you want to lock in the registration but are unsure exactly what date and time will work best for you, or if you don’t currently see availability. We are adding availability all the time, so check back for your preferred location. Learn more about computer-based testing.

If you have been twice impacted by COVID-19 (meaning, deferred from June 2020 and then again impacted in December), you will have the option to request a refund. Refund requests will be accepted between 7-21 December. No requests for refunds will be accepted prior to 7 December and no exceptions will be made. Please visit our refund policy page for more information.

If your December registration is postponed due to COVID-19 and you exercise the complimentary deferral in your account for a 2021 administration, that action is binding and you will forfeit your right to request a refund. You can find additional information about refunds on our refund policy page.

Can I switch my exam registration from December to a 2021 exam?

The deadline for impacted candidates to defer to a 2021 administration at no additional cost expired on 20 October. You may still withdraw from the December exam after 20 October, however, you will not receive a refund and must pay the registration fee if you choose to re-register for a future exam.

How can I be sure that my chosen 2021 exam won’t be filled?

We understand your concern that 2021 exams may reach capacity. Unlike the paper-based exams, which required us to serve all candidates in one day, the computer-based exams provide more exam day options, along with smaller, more convenient settings. This allows us to respond more easily in areas with greater demand.

We are negotiating with our partners at Prometric and British Council to ensure we are able to accommodate all displaced December candidates. In some cases, this may mean an extension of the testing windows in affected areas. Although we will not be adding testing locations for computer-based exams, we will continually add test center capacity.

After registering, if you do not see available appointments in your desired exam location, please continue to check back through the scheduling function for availability to be added in the coming days.

Why can’t you test ALL levels in CBT in February?

The coronavirus forced us to accelerate by several years our plans to transition both LII and LIII to CBT. With all the constraints that we and our CBT vendors were facing, it was not feasible for the first LII or LIII CBT offering to be any earlier than May in order to meet our rigorous requirements. Level I was planned to begin in February, as announced in early 2020.

Can I expect special protocols for paper-based exams in December?

Yes, you can expect to see social distancing measures in place at the test centers. Candidates and testing personnel will be required to wear face coverings that cover from nose to chin throughout the duration of the exam. At most centers, candidates will be seated six feet apart, and we will allow personal cleaning and sanitary supplies. Additional protocols and test center specific details will be communicated as we get closer to exam day. Please visit our COVID procedures page for more detail. You can also refer to our candidate checklist to prepare for exam day.

When will admission tickets be issued?

We will notify candidates via email when admission tickets are ready. This will likely be in early November, a month before the scheduled exam date, as is the tradition for paper-based exam tickets. Please verify that the email address in your CFA Institute account is your primary email address.

How can I change my test center?

The deadline for December 2020 test center change requests has passed. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS. 

Will December candidates receive results in time to register for May exams?

Yes. We will ensure the exam registration window will remain open following results release to allow December candidates the opportunity to register for the May exam. Published standard registration fees will apply. Early pricing will be available for the August and November administrations respectively.

Do I need a current passport?

Please check and make certain that your passport will be current at the time of your scheduled exam. You will not be allowed to sit for the exam if your passport is expired.

Stay Informed

We will communicate with everyone through a variety of channels including email, social media, our website, and candidate resources portal. We encourage you to verify your email address on record by logging in to your CFA Institute account and to follow our CFA Program social channels on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WeChat and Weibo. We will also communicate directly with all Approved Prep Providers and local CFA Societies around the globe as details are available.

CFA Exam Updates – All you need to know

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Rajat Singh
Rajat Singh is the chief Author at Bioinformatics India, he has been writing for the past 3 years and has a special interest in SEO, Technology, Health, Life Sciences and gaming.

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