CFA Examination: Test Curriculum and Preparation Strategy

The CFA test curriculum is developed by the Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) of the CFA institute and covers numerous topics related to the global financial and investment sector. The CFA test curriculum includes subject areas like Ethics and Ethical standards; Quantitative Methods; Economics and Finance. Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management are also included in the curriculum.

Ethics and Ethical Standards

Ethics and Ethical Standards covers all the areas related to the code of professional behavior expected from the professional CFA charter holders.

Quantitative Methods

Topics covered under Quantitative Methods include various statistical analytical methods such as regression analysis and time series analysis. Several topics like portfolio management and time value of money are also included in this subject.


Topics covered under ‘Economics’ include microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and various economics analytical methods.


Finance test includes subjects such as financial analysis and financial reporting. Financial test is all about various financial analytical methods; financial ratios; analysis of financial statements etc.

Investment Analysis

Investment Analysis includes equity analysis or stock analysis, analysis of bonds; derivative analysis (futures and options); commodity analysis; analysis of venture capital and real estate analysis.

Portfolio Management

Portfolio Management includes various topics on asset management such as asset allocation and asset pricing as well as other portfolio related topics such as measurement of portfolio performance and risk management of portfolio.

Since the CFA test curriculum is expected to change every year in order to meet the changing standards of the global investment industry, CFA test-takers are advised to collect the CFA test curriculum at the time of their registration for the exam itself.

Tips for Test Preparation

While preparing for the CFA test, candidates must schedule their time in a systematic way spending equal amount of time for the preparation of all three levels of the CFA test. On an average one must have at least 300-400 hours of preparation for each level of examination. It is advisable that test-takers must plan to take all three levels of examination in a systematic manner, one at a time. An ideal preparation strategy includes practicing with the previously administered sample questions. Test-takers may also purchase commercially available study materials.