Computer based exam format

From the CFAI:

" We are excited to announce that CFA Institute will transition Level I of the CFA® Program to computer-based testing in 2021. This capability enables CFA Institute to keep pace with the evolution of global testing and credentialing practices and will enhance the overall candidate experience. We expect to offer a wider selection of test venues, more flexible scheduling, and expedited exam results delivery. The exam will be offered in proctored test centers around the world. As a natural evolution in how we design and deliver our credentialing programs, these efforts are part of a larger digital transformation for the CFA Program. For example, our one-stop digital learning platform, the Learning Ecosystem (LES), is now available for Level I candidates. The LES offers the entire Level I CFA Program curriculum, all existing study tools, and features that help candidates track and manage their learning through an online, personalized learning experience. For more information, visit our FAQs. Stephen Horan, CFA, CIPM Managing Director, Credentialing "


It’s simply because there’s too many people taking the exams in the Asian region for CFAI to effectively/efficiently administer an exam. You’re talking about 10,000 people trying to take an exam in a single test center - which is a logistical nightmare. I hear people say things like “Oh this means the charter is worth less” - which is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. How does taking an exam over a computer or filling bubbles in by hand, have anything to do with the the underlying aim of the exam? Which is to measure someone’s competency with basic financial concepts.

If anything, I think it would make the exam harder. I would NOT want to take the exam over computer because I need to be able to write all over the thing. My exam papers basically looked like a picasso by the time I turned them in. And how do you give the candidate a platform to do that using a mouse and keyboard?

Besides, it’s only level 1. Calculate CAPM a few times and you pass anyways.

I agree. I just hope they won’t start administering the test multiple times a year. That, in my opinion, would lessen the value of having the Charter.

Well, it is going to be 4 times a year for Level 1. Obviously the institute needs some extra cash.

I think it’s a non event if they keep the rigor (which they will) and the absolute number of annual passing candidates/rates stays in line with historical averages. I’m sure this is strictly to make it more efficient and not a money thing. The whole paper thing and delivery back to CFAI after exams made me uneasy anyway.

The exam is already given twice a year for level 1. So, I imagine it will look something like two consecutive weekends in June, and that same thing in December. I highly highly HIGHLY doubt, that a candidate would be able to register for both weekend days in that format.

They should spread out the curriculum and add 1-2 more parts, and make it a 4 part series.

The amount of material is ridiculous and you don’t see everything on exam day.

in the FAQ linked by the original poster

Q: What will the exam cycle look like once you transition?

“We are in the early stages of implementation, targeting 2021 for the first Level I CFA exams. We anticipate CBT administration for the Level I CFA exam will be offered annually around the world in four one-week windows.”

elsewhere in the FAQ

Prometric is currently gong to do the testing which is to start in 2021

and they may be changing the length of the exam

Also within the FAQs: “…the CBT environment would more closely resemble that of the daily practice of investment managers and their use of technology versus paper, pencil, and calculators.”

Sounds like spreadsheet modeling or the usage of some statistical software to me. This would be the major change of CBT in my opinion…

$$$ dominates business decisions.

It’s worth less because:

a) more people will have it

b) cheating will be much more rampant. Ever go to one of these testing centers? Usually some 24 year old dropout is playing on their iphone and just checks your ID and sends you to your seat. You could walk in with the text books and they have no idea what exam you are taking or care what the rules are. There are exceptions (some centers are notoriously strict), but I guarantee there will be FAR more cheating than the CFA society would have possibly dealt with, and it will be impossible to catch them because the 24 year olds DGAF. I would guess especially more in more corrupt countries (looking at you China/India), where it is very easy to pay said 24 year old off.

Only saving grace is that it is Level I, which is easy as is. If they do it to Level II the charter is truly dead.

A) The exam is designed to provide the institute data that’s used to evaluate someone’s comprehension with financial concepts. Now, whether you gather this data electronically or by scantron - It doesn’t change the analysis of how well a candidate grasped the curriculum - which is the only factor in granting them access to the kingdom (a.k.a the letters).

B) Yes, I have been to a testing center. No, I never saw a proctor chilling on their phone during the exam. C’mon man. . . I got a infraction (or whatever the heck its called) for wearing the wrong type of watch on the exam (how stupid is this? BRB, I’m going to use my Garmin Forerunner to cheat… Ya, OK). So, it’s my belief that CFAI is probably going to exhaust the budget to make sure the exam is still administered with active monitoring for cheating.

C) You’re missing the point of the charter anyway. It’s not some esoteric exclusive good gents club - and if you’ve been using the letters in this fashion this whole time, then shame on you.

D) Taking an exam of this nature using a computer would be far more difficult than by hand anyway - I doubt you could write formulas out using your mouse as cleanly as you could by hand with a pencil to solve for long drawn out calculations which is essential to passing (ESPECIALLY L2/3).

E) I know you mean well, but, if you ever disrespect my Asian/Indian brothers like this again, then God help you. . . Have you seen what Aunt Becky was up to recently? You really think white people are less susceptible to cheating?