What is CFA? Course Details, Full Form, Exam Pattern, Fees, Syllabus

What is CFA? Full Form & Course Details

CFA, also known as Chartered Financial Analyst (Full Form), is one of the most sought-after professions in the field of finance. If your inclination lies toward investment management, you are sure to master it efficiently by pursuing this course. However, let us inform you beforehand, that clearing CFA isn’t for the fainthearted.

In the three CFA levels that you appear for, it’s not just your learning and skill level that will be tested but also your patience and consistency. Once you clear CFA and become a Charter holder, you are sure to be welcomed into this field with several exciting opportunities and attractive salary packages.

If you’ve made up your mind or are still deciding whether to pursue CFA or not, we’re about to simplify this course for you with exam pattern, syllabus, and fees.

Course Name   Chartered Financial Analyst
Exam Mode Online
Fees 50,000 – 1,50,000 Rs
Duration of Course 2 – 3 Years
Levels in CFA Course 3
Eligibility for CFA  Bachelor’s Degree

CFA Course Details

CFA Eligibility Criteria

First things first, let’s check whether you are eligible for this course. And if not, what are you going to need to be eligible for the financial analyst course?

  1. A Bachelor’s degree from a renowned university
  2. An undergraduate degree before applying for CFA level 2
  3. A combination of 4000 hours of professional work experience and higher education
  4. Professional work experience need not be investment-related, they could also be paid articleships or internships
  5. Live in a participating country and have an international passport
  6. You need to fill up and submit a Professional Conduct Statement form 

Please note: The CFA Institute may request proof of education (copy of diploma, mark sheet, any other relevant documents) and/or work experience (letter of employment, salary slips, any other relevant documents) to be submitted at any point of your learning duration.

Things to Keep in Mind About CFA Examinations 

CFA is a globally recognised qualification offered by the CFA Institute based out of the USA. Thus, its exam pattern is quite different from the examinations offered by the Indian board.

  • CFA includes three levels of exams (Level 1, 2 & 3)
  • Level 1 is conducted every June and December, and Levels 2 and 3 are conducted every June
  • The syllabus covers the entire world of investment management – from Equity to Derivatives to Portfolio Management
  • From 2021, the CFA exams were been conducted four times a year for Level 1, Level 2 and 3 exams will be held quarterly

CFA Syllabus

cfa syllabus

The CFA Course curriculum comprises the following 10 topics, further split into their corresponding sub-topics as mentioned below:

CFA Level 1

CFA Level 1 Subjects


Ethical and Professional Standards 15-20%
Quantitative Methods  8-12% 
Economics  8-12%
Financial Statement Analysis 13-17%
Corporate Finance  8-12%
Equity Investments  10-12%
Fixed Income  10-12%
Derivatives  5-8%
Alternative Investments 5-8%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning  5-8%

CFA Level 2 

CFA Level 2 Subjects


Fixed Income 10-15%
Derivatives 5-10%
Alternative Investments 5-10%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning  10-15%
Ethical and Professional Standards  10-15%
Quantitative Methods  5-10%
Economics 5-10%
Financial Statement Analysis 10-15%
Corporate Finance 5-10%
Equity Investments 10-15%

CFA Level 3

CFA Level 3 Subjects


Ethical and Professional Standards  10-15%
Quantitative Methods 0%
Economics 5-10%
Financial Statement Analysis 0%
Corporate Finance  0%
Equity Investments 10-15%
Derivatives 5-10%
Alternative Investments 5-10%
Fixed Income 15-20%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning  35-40%

CFA Exam Pattern and What to Expect

CFA Level 1 Exam Pattern

  • 2 exams of 3 hours each on the same day, with a 2-hour break covering all 10 topics
  • Total of 240 MCQs (120 per exam) with subject wise bifurcations
  • No Negative Marking

CFA Level 2 Exam Pattern

  • CFA Level 2 of two 3-hour sessions consisting of 21 case-studies with 10 and 11 item-set questions in each respective session
  • There will be 120 questions –  18 case studies x 6 questions, and 3 case studies x 4 questions
  • The length of a case study is from 1 to 2 and a half pages. It can include tables and diagrams

CFA Level 3 Exam Pattern

  • CFA Level 3 consists of two 3-hour sessions. The first session can contain anywhere from 8-12 essay questions (with sub-parts) and the second session can contain 11 case studies where 8 case studies x 6 questions, and 3 case studies x 4 questions.
  • An essay question has 2+ parts
  • The length of a case study is from 1 to 2 and a half pages. It can include tables and diagrams

Scope for CFA in India


CFA is one of the most recognised courses for finance in India, with jobs in profiles such as Portfolio Manager, Research Analyst, Risk Manager, Corporate Financial Analyst, and Investment Banking Analyst.

There’s a rising demand for the skills that these professionals possess. That’s why companies such as KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Motilal Oswal, and Anand Rathi hire CFAs from Level 1 itself.

The pay packages are similar to that of CAs, ranging as a CFA salary from ₹4 to 8 lacs per annum. One common question we are asked is whether CFA Level 1 students get hired and paid? The answer is – yes, CFA Level 1 students do get hired and paid with packages ranging from ₹4 to 6 lpa depending on the company and profile. A fully qualified CFA Level 3 would be paid higher in the range of ₹7 to 10 lpa.

CFA Course Fees

  • Program Enrolment Fee: $450 (for first-time exam registrants only)
  • Early Registration Fee: $700
  • Standard Registration Fee: $1000
  • Late Registration Fee: $1450
  • Zell Coaching Fee: Starting from INR 17,700

The Chartered Financial Analyst is a globally recognised qualification in the field of finance and investment. If you have recently completed your graduation or are appearing for your final semester, you may be eligible to become a CFA. Interested? We highly recommend checking out our Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course.

Is CFA worth pursuing?

CFA is one of the toughest accounting courses to crack, but it is also an in-demand profession with high earning potential. While your learning journey may be posed with interesting challenges, the final destination is surely going to be worthwhile.

Why is the CFA program so hard?

CFA requires time commitment, patience and hard work which can often get difficult for those who want to fast-track their career.

Which level of CFA is the toughest?

As per several CFA charter holders, Level 3 of the CFA exam is considered to be the toughest.

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