CFA Institute successfully administers first-ever computer-based testing of Level I of the CFA Program®

15 Apr 2021

Press release


CFA Institute successfully administers first-ever computer-based testing of Level I of the CFA Program® 28,683 candidates around the globe (290 in Switzerland) completed the exam in February 2021

44% of Level I candidates passed


13th April 2021 – Charlottesville, Virginia: CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, announces the results for the first administration of Level I of the CFA Program ® under its new computer-based testing approach.

CFA Program Level I candidates receive their results today. Of the 28,683 Level I candidates who sat for the examinations, 44 percent passed. The February 2021 Level I exam was administered in test centers in 400 cities in 91 countries worldwide. Computer-based testing in test centers proved to be more resistant to pandemic-related cancellations due to more testing days and smaller test centers. Overall, only about 700 candidates experienced an exam cancellation. Candidates also had the option to defer to a future testing date if they felt uneasy due to the pandemic conditions.

Margaret Franklin, CFA, President and CEO at CFA Institute, commented: “The past year has been an extraordinary year of transition as we accelerated our shift to computer-based testing while the pandemic took hold, and we are very pleased to report this first administration of computer-based testing. We warmly congratulate candidates who have successfully passed the exam and extend our thanks to all the candidates who have been so patient as we worked tirelessly to ensure we delivered the examinations in as many locations as possible. Their commitment to sitting these exams in the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic is a testament to their perseverance and their commitment to the future of the investment profession.”

Candidates reported positive experiences with the new testing approach, which utilizes test centers over a multi-day window and via computer vs. the previous approach of giving the exam on paper in large-capacity locations on one day. The vast majority of candidates who completed a post-exam survey expressed positive views of their experience.

Currently, more than 160,000 professionals worldwide hold the CFA® charter. View historical pass rates. The CFA Program curriculum constantly evolves to current investment practice and ensures that candidates who complete the program are equipped with relevant and current knowledge and skills. The curriculum that candidates studied this year includes an overview of fintech (including two new ethics case studies), machine learning, and professionalism in investment management.

Further information on registration, scheduling and deadlines for each level can be found here: The exam testing windows for the remainder of 2021 are:

Level I

  • 18 – 24 May
  • 18 – 26 July
  • 13-30 August
  • 16 – 22 November


Level II

  • 25 May – 1 June
  • 31 August – 4 September
  • 26 - 30 November


Level III

  • 25 May – 1 June
  • 1-8 September
  • 23-25 November


Notes to Editors

About the CFA Program

Explore the CFA Program - Take the Assessment is an online portal which allows prospective candidates insight into the CFA Program and an opportunity to assess their CFA Program readiness through:

  • An online self-assessment
  • A CFA Program quiz
  • A library exploring CFA Program topics
  • Information on scholarship opportunities

About CFA Institute

CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion of ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. Our aim is to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. There are more than 160,000 CFA charterholders worldwide in 164 markets. CFA Institute has nine offices worldwide and there are 161 local member societies. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter at @CFAInstitute and on