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CFA® Program
Chartered Financial Analyst® Program

Level 3

The CFA Program curriculum is focused on ten key topics which increase in complexity at each of the three levels: ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, portfolio management and wealth planning.

At this final level, candidates are required to incorporate everything they’ve learned in the previous levels and display effective knowledge of the entire portfolio management process.

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1. Structure

The Level 3 exam consists of item set and constructed response (essay) questions.

The morning session features constructed response (essay) questions (between 8 and 12 questions, each with several subparts) with a maximum of 180 points. (The point value for each question is provided in the exam book.) The afternoon session covers 10 item sets with 6 multiple-choice questions in each.

Entry requirements

To register for your Level 3 exam, you need to have passed Level 2.


Below is a syllabus overview detailing each topic and their approximate exam weighting:

Level 3 topic Approximate exam weight
Ethical and Professional Standards 10% - 15%
Economics 5% - 15%
Equity Investments 5% - 15%
Fixed Income 10% - 20%
Derivatives 5% - 15%
Alternative Investments 5% - 15%
Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning 40% - 55%


At this final level, the ten key topics are combined, depending on their level of interrelationship, to form advanced knowledge areas, or study sessions. That’s why they differ from the form and structure of topic areas at Level 1 and 2. These knowledge areas are highlighted below:

Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct

Study the framework for ethical conduct in the investment profession so you understand and can apply it. You’ll also learn the recommended procedures designed to prevent violations of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

Ethical and Professional Standards in Practice

You’ll examine case studies to reflect on the practical application of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct (Code and Standards) in real-life scenarios.

Behavioral Finance

Behavioral finance provides insight into how emotional biases and cognitive errors could influence individuals’ perceptions and investment decisions. Being aware of behavioral biases may help in understanding client goals, in constructing investment portfolios, and in identifying inconsistencies in investment decision making and market anomalies.

Private Wealth Management (1)

Identify the process of private wealth management and how to construct an investment policy statement (IPS) for the individual investor. This area also focuses on investment strategies applicable across a wide range of localities.

Private Wealth Management (2)

This session examines the considerations and risks associated with concentrated single asset positions. You’ll be presented with strategies for managing concentrated positions in publicly traded common shares, privately held businesses, and real estate.

Portfolio Management for Institutional Investors

You’ll be given a framework for understanding institutional portfolio management. Concepts and practices important in determining the investment policy statement (IPS) are presented for different types of institutional investors.

Applications of Economic Analysis to Portfolio Management

Study the process of setting capital market expectations and explore major tools of economic analysis. You’ll be introduced to the application of neoclassical growth theory to develop economic forecasts and think about how economic forecasts can be integrated with equity valuation techniques to value an equity market.

Asset Allocation and Related Decisions in Portfolio Management (1)

This session introduces you to asset allocation and provides a conceptual framework for understanding asset allocation considerations and key implementation approaches.

Asset Allocation and Related Decisions in Portfolio Management (2)

The asset allocation decision is affected by multiple constraints that present practical challenges to asset allocation. This session examines the effects of these constraints and presents adaptations to address them by institutional investor type. It also looks at how to assess performance using market indexes.

Fixed-Income Portfolio Management (1)

This session explains the role played by fixed-income securities in portfolios and focuses on the two primary types of fixed-income mandates (liability-based and total return). It covers approaches, risks, and challenges associated with both immunization of single and multiple liabilities and the indexation and laddering of a fixed-income portfolio.

Fixed-Income Portfolio Management (2)

Building on the what you’ve learned on the previous level, you’ll examine yield curve and credit strategies for fixed-income portfolios. Portfolio management strategies, which are based on the investor’s expectations regarding the level, slope, and curvature of the yield curve, are demonstrated.

Equity Portfolio Management

You’ll focus on the role of equities in an investment portfolio, three major approaches (passive, active, and semi-active) used to manage equity portfolios, and the evaluation of equity managers.

Alternative Investments for Portfolio Management

You’ll learn the characteristics of alternative investments and discuss concerns related to specific types of alternative investments.

Risk Management

You’ll examine framework for risk management, focusing on the concepts and tools for measuring and managing market risk and credit risk.

Risk Management Applications of Derivatives

Supporting your outcomes of the previous session, you’ll learn risk management strategies using forwards and futures, option strategies, floors and caps, and swaps.

Trading, Monitoring, and Rebalancing

You’ll learn how managers and traders interact with markets, choose appropriate trading strategies and tactics, and measure success, and also discuss the ongoing monitoring and rebalancing of the investment portfolio.

Performance Evaluation

You’ll learn how to evaluate the portfolio management process through performance measurement, performance attribution, and performance appraisal.

Global Investment Performance Standards

The final session provides a grounding in the requirements and recommendations of Global Investment Performance Standards.

Register your interest


For more information please visit the CFA Institute website.

2. Study methods

Do you prefer face-to-face classroom courses with a tutor, or studying using distance learning that fits around your work and home commitments?

Our study methods have been designed to maximise your time and help you pass your exam. Whichever study method you choose, you’ll receive high quality resources and continuous support right up to your exam.

To see which study method is best for you, please see our infographic.

Study methods available for this qualification

grid_on Study method comparison table

people people
Classroom Enhanced

Our recommended and most popular package including classroom tuition and classroom revision integrated with Kaplan Schweser study materials. This package gives you a wide range of tools for exam success.

excl. VAT)
laptop people
Blended Enhanced

Package combining live online tuition and classroom revision study options with Kaplan Schweser study materials.

excl. VAT)
Tuition Plus

Classroom tuition course and Kaplan Schweser study materials.

excl. VAT)
laptop laptop
Distance Learning

Study at your own pace with live online tuition and revision classes. This package offers maximum flexibility for independent study and comes with integrated Kaplan Schweser study materials.

(VAT not applicable)

Or you can choose an individual tuition or revision classroom course without the supporting Kaplan Schweser study materials.

Tuition only

Classroom tuition without the Kaplan Schweser study materials.

excl. VAT)
Revision only

Classroom revision without the Kaplan Schweser study materials.

excl. VAT)

Timetables - Classroom and Live Online

Classroom tuition courses take place over 6 days (from 9-5pm) or 14 evenings (from 6-9pm). Live online tuition classes take place over 15 sessions of 3 hours each. Classroom revision courses take place over 5 days (from 9-5pm) or 12 evenings (from 6-8:30pm).

We offer a wide variety of classroom tuition and revision dates covering weekday, evening and weekend options. You can also “mix and match” course dates between classroom groups if required, in order to avoid missing a classroom date due to an unexpected commitment.

date_rangeView timetables

Don’t forget, if you’re studying towards the June sitting and would like additional study time, you can choose our ’Early Start’ option. You’ll receive 9 months of study time and start 3 months sooner than most candidates. This will give you extra time to prepare for your exams and is ideal for anyone with busy schedules.

location_on Classroom location

We have classes in London and Edinburgh:

For further information on mainland European classes, see our partner website Top Finance.

Optional extras

Although we have designed our packages to include key items to assist you in preparing for your exam, there are a number of additional items that you may choose to purchase.

Schweser Mock Exam 2

A fully invigilated mock exam that helps you to replicate the exam hall experience, sitting with your peers. At the end of the process we provide full solutions to take away as well as online question and technique debriefs which then allow you to identify any last minute areas to focus on.

excl. VAT)
1-2-1 tutor sessions

A one hour 1-2-1 meeting with your tutor, either at our training location or online, within the last two weeks leading up to your exam. You can get your final questions answered before the exam day.

excl. VAT)
MindMap and Q&A Book

Revision tools including summaries of the whole curriculum plus an extensive question bank. (Already included for students who are attending a live revision course.)

excl. VAT)
Secret Sauce

A compact book providing insights and exam tips on how to effectively prepare and apply your knowledge on exam day (downloadable as eBooks as well as in print).

(VAT not applicable)

Inhouse training

Looking to invest in your organisation? We can design and deliver inhouse training for you and your team.

Our public classroom courses run in central London and Edinburgh. Like many of our courses, we can also offer these courses inhouse for your team or organisation. Please contact us on 020 7920 3060 or email us at to find out more about how we can help train your team.

3. Exams and sittings


Exams are offered annually in June. Please be aware, it's your responsibility to register with the CFA Institute® for exam entry with the cost of the exam depending on the date of registration. There is also a one-time program enrollment fee when you register for the CFA Level I exam for the first time.

Exam results are available within 60 days of the exam date. All candidates receive a “pass” or “did not pass” result as well as details as to performance per topic.

You’ll need to pass Level 2 of the CFA Program before registering for Level 3. There is no limit to the number of times you can take each exam, and you can take as much time as you need to complete the program.

How long does it take to pass?

The examining body recommends around 300 hours of study for each level in the CFA charter, although some candidates will need more or less time, depending on their individual backgrounds and experience.

It is possible to complete the CFA Program in two years but with a recommended study time of 300 hours per level, it takes most people three to four years to complete the three three levels.

What are pass rates like?

Passing Level 3 takes dedication and commitment. Of those who took the exam between 2008–2017, the average pass rate as reported by the CFA Institute was 52%.

Can Kaplan help if I fail an exam?

We do all we can to help you to pass the exam. However, if you don't pass first time then don't worry. There are a lots of ways we can support you. What you will be entitled to will depend on the last study package you purchased with us.

What CFA resits are available

Below is a table showing you what resit support you will be entitled to depending on what package you purchased from us in the first place.

Package Resit support
  Lifetime Pass Guarantee Schweser Commitment Pass Assurance
Classroom Enhanced check check  
Blended Enhanced check check  
Tuition Plus   check check
Distance Learning   check  
Tuition only     check
Revision only     check

You can access your resit support by filling in the resit enrolment form.

Resit enrolment form

Lifetime Pass Guarantee

Lifetime pass guarantee is applicable to Classroom Enhanced and Blended Enhanced. Depending on your study option, you may qualify for unlimited weekday revision for free. You'll be able to make the most of our guarantee, right up until you pass the exam... however many times it may take. However, if you don't meet the criteria, then you may be entitled to Pass Assurance.

Terms and conditions – You'll need to have attended both the live or online tuition course and either the 5 day or 12 evening revision course in the same sitting with Kaplan. An attendance record of at least 90% is needed. This will be based on your signature given at class registers and/or the time you logged into online classes when using the online study portal. The Lifetime Pass Guarantee will expire if you do not attend 100% of the free weekday revision course. The Lifetime Pass Guarantee will expire if an exam sitting is missed. This resit offer entitles you to a free weekday revision course. If you would like weekend or evening revision then you are entitled to this at a 50% discount under the ‘Pass Assurance' resit offer.

The Schweser Commitment

Schweser Commitment is applicable to Classroom Enhanced, Blended Enhanced, Distance Learning and Tuition Plus. Should you need a second chance, you may be eligible to receive the same material package at the next exam sitting for free. However, if you don't meet the criteria, then you may be entitled to PassProtection™ which entitles you to 50% off from your same-part purchases for the next exam sitting.

Terms and conditions – Available for 2019 purchasers of Complete Enhanced, Blended Enhanced, Tuition Plus, Distance Learning, Essential, Premium, or PremiumPlus™ packages. You must answer at least 50% of the available online questions from your QBank and Practice Exams. Your Performance Tracker dashboard will turn from red to green when your Questions Used shows at least 50%. If you meet the criteria, you will receive the same study package (eBook and hardcopy) FREE of charge for the 2020 exam sitting. Please note this does not include the delivery fee of £80 but you can opt to select just the ebooks which would not include the delivery fee.

If you don't meet the criteria, you can still receive PassProtection™.

If you purchased our 2018 packages, you are also eligible for the Schweser Commitment although terms and conditions differ. Please contact us for further details.

Pass Assurance

Pass assurance is applicable to Tuition Plus, Tuition Only and Revision Only. If you failed your exam then you can benefit from receiving 50% off a Tuition and/or Revision course.

Terms and conditions – You should have taken a Tuition/Revision course with Kaplan.

Can Kaplan help if I fail an exam but studied with another provider?

If you have failed your exam and studied with a different provider, we'd like to help save you some money. We're pleased to be able to offer you 50% off our study packages. You'll just need to send us an invoice from your previous prep provider.

Register now for 50% off

4. Study Materials and Delivery Costs

We offer a comprehensive range of study materials to enhance your learning experience. They’ve been designed to keep you on track and stay motivated on your learning journey. These include hard copy books as well as online resources on Schweser’s study portal.

All course packages come with core materials, including:

  • Getting Started Guide

    Explains how to use the resources effectively to maximise your chance of passing the exam.

  • Schweser Online Study Portal

    Includes dashboard with activity feed and performance metrics

  • SchweserNotes

    Clear, concise study notes and examples that cover every learning outcome statement (downloadable as eBooks as well as in print). These notes also include module quizzes and topic assessments which can demonstrate your level of mastery of a topic and where you need to focus additional attention.

  • Quicksheet

    A compact study tool summarising key formulae, definitions and concepts (available online, downloadable as an eBook as well as in print).

  • Schweser videos

    Reference videos to supplement the Schweser Study Notes. For every learning outcome statement there is a short video where a tutor guides a student through the content and explains how to solve the examples.

  • SchweserPro QBank

    Thousands of online practice questions designed to assess and adapt to your understanding of the curriculum.

  • Schweser Checkpoint Exams

    Three key tests that you will be prompted to work through online during your studies. These mimic the difficulty and format of the actual exam. Performance reports then highlight your understanding and weak areas where more review is needed.

  • Kaplan Schweser Practice Exams

    Four full-length practice exams to help you perform on exam day.

Additional materials come with the following packages:

  • Classroom Enhanced keyboard_arrow_up keyboard_arrow_down
    • Classroom Tuition - Slide Pack
    • Classroom Materials - Mindmap and Q&A Book inc.full mock exam
    • Schweser Mock Exam 1 (Post or Online) plus online mock debrief
    • Live Online pre exam masterclasses
  • Blended Enhanced keyboard_arrow_up keyboard_arrow_down
    • Live Online Tuition Slide Pack
    • Online Revision Workbooks
    • Classroom Materials - MindMap and Q&A Book inc. full mock exam
    • Schweser Mock Exam 1 (Post or Online) plus online mock debrief
    • Live Online pre exam masterclasses
  • Tuition Plus keyboard_arrow_up keyboard_arrow_down
    • Classroom Tuition Slide Pack
  • Distance Learning keyboard_arrow_up keyboard_arrow_down
    • Live Online Tuition Slide Pack
    • Online Revision Workshops
    • Schweser Mock Exam 1 (Post or Online) plus online mock debrief

Delivery costs

Materials are delivered to the address you provide us (and must be signed for on delivery). Please note, our packages include European delivery in the price.

Outside of Europe, delivery costs start at £41.67 (excluding VAT) with £16.67 (excluding VAT) payable for each additional item added to your order.

5. Kaplan Schweser online study portal

Kaplan Schweser’s online portal provides access to a wide variety of resources to help you prepare for your exams. It also hosts all our Live Online tuition and revision classes.

Online features

Depending on the study package you choose, features can include the following:

  • check
    Dashboard (Activity Feed and Performance Metrics) - This provides an easy way to view task completion and performance metrics along with recommended activities to try next.
  • check
    Live Online Weekly Classes - 15 sessions of 3 hours each. Watch at your own convenience either live or recorded.
  • check
    SchweserNotes (including module quizzes and topic assessments) - Clear, concise study notes and examples that cover every learning outcome statement (downloadable as eBooks as well as in print). These notes also include module quizzes and topic assessments which can demonstrate your level of mastery of a topic and where you need to focus additional attention.
  • check
    Quicksheet - A compact study tool summarising key formulae, definitions and concepts (available online, downloadable as an eBook as well as in print).
  • check
    SchweserPro™ QBank - Over 3,800 online practice questions designed to assess and adapt to your understanding of the curriculum.
  • check
    Videos - Reference videos to supplement the Schweser Study Notes. For every learning outcome statement there is a short video where a tutor guides a student through the content and explains how to solve the examples.
  • check
    Three Schweser Checkpoint Exams - You will be prompted to undertake these during your revision. Questions will mimic the difficulty and format of the actual exam and your performance report will identify how well you understand the topics that have been covered and highlight weak areas where more revision is needed.
  • check
    Kaplan Schweser Practice Exams - Four full-length practice exams to help you perform on exam day.
  • check
    Three Day Online Revision Workshop - This workshop includes a final review of topics and the Secret Sauce® eBook.
  • check
    Schweser Mock Exam 1 and 2 - These are as close to the actual exam in format, difficulty, and length as possible and will help develop your test-taking skills, identify your weak areas, and demonstrate your mastery of the curriculum.

For more information on technical support available and minimum system requirements for Kaplan Schweser’s online portal, visit the Schweser portal technical support.

Access duration

You can access your content from 48 working hours of purchase (subject to availability) until your examination date.

6. Tutor support

We’ll support you every step of the way throughout your learning experience with us. You can contact a tutor and get the help you need within 48 working hours.

We are open weekdays (excluding bank holidays) 9:00am to 5:30pm. In addition, our classroom tutors will provide you with their personal contact details.

7. Testing and mocks

Vital to passing your exam will be attempting as many questions and mocks as possible. Depending on your chosen package, you will gain access to over 3000 questions in the SchweserPro™ Qbank, three checkpoint exams, four full exam standard practice exams, Schweser Mock exam 1, as well as an extensive Q&A Bank during revision.

In addition, we offer a separate invigilated Schweser Mock Exam 2, that helps you replicate the exam hall experience, sitting with your peers. This mock will:

  • Provide additional question practice using exam standard questions that are not replicated in any other products.
  • Highlight any weak points in your knowledge so you can focus on these areas pre exam day.
  • Provide final practise for your timings and techniques.

You will also be provided with fully worked solutions at the end of the mock session.

After the mock, many candidates also take the opportunity of a final 1-2-1 meeting with their tutor.

You can find information about our mocks and 1-2-1s in our comparison table.

8. Course pricing and funding options

Pricing structure

To keep decisions simple, we price per package including delivery fees (within Europe). The only additional decision is whether to purchase any optional extras.

You can find information about our packages and optional extras in our comparison table.

Package Price (excl. VAT) Price (incl. VAT)
Classroom Enhanced £2,490 £2,934
Blended Enhanced £2,070 £2,358
Tuition Plus £1,750 £1,985
Distance Learning £1,095 (VAT not applicable)
Tuition only £1,250 £1,480
Revision only £1,300 £1,560

Funding options

Employer sponsored ›

Your employer may fund the costs of your studies if you’re already working in a related field and want to develop your learning. You’ll need to speak to them to see if you’re eligible and confirm that they’re happy to pay for your studies.

Payment plans ›

Our CFA packages are covered with our interest-free payment plan, providing the total cost is £500 minimum (including VAT). The plan lets you spread the cost of your studies over 12 months, with no extra costs.

Apprenticeships ›

You may eligible for an Apprenticeship through your employer, depending on your circumstances. Speak to your employer to find out more.

How to enrol

The quickest way to enrol is to select your course online. You can also call us on 020 7920 3060 or enrol with form which you can download, fill out your details and email to

Download enrolment form ›

Why study Level 3 with Kaplan?

Over 25 years of experience

We have over 25 years of teaching experience with the largest global network of tutors who are CFA® Charterholders and know the syllabus inside out.

Flexible study options

Our study tools are flexible enough to fit around your lifestyle. From online to classroom, we give you all the support and materials you need to succeed.

Pass commitment assurance

We know the exams are tough but we’re here to help you every step of the way. Should you need a second chance we’ll put you back on track with our pass commitment.

1000s of practice questions

Get exam confident with testing at every stage of your studies, including 1000s of practice questions and mock exams that will help you feel prepared for the real exam.

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