CFA Online Proctored Testing (OPT): A Timely Summary

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Since the first mention of online proctored testing (OPT) on 12th Jan 2021, CFA Institute has promptly revealed more information about this online proctored exam option last week.

Here’s a summary of what we know so far:

What is Online Proctored Testing (OPT)?

CFA online proctored testing (OPT)

OPT candidates can take exams at home, with proctors monitoring the exam live and remotely by camera.

Can I take CFA exams via OPT anytime?

Similar to CAIA exams which now have an Online Proctoring option, the first OPT CFA exams are offered in a set window on 13–15 April 2021.

Is the OPT option available to me? How do I register for this exam?

Currently, CFA Institute is only offering the OPT option to candidates who meet all these requirements:

  1. Level 1 Feb21 candidates whose exam appointment has been cancelled and cannot be rescheduled at their test center;
  2. be in a country where OPT option is available (e.g. OPT is not available in mainland China due to government regulations);
  3. Meet the appropriate environment and system requirements (see further below).

Eligible candidates will be notified by CFA Institute via email in mid March 2021, in order to register for the exam cycle on CFA Institute’s website, before scheduling a suitable time with Prometric.

Will OPT option be offered to other CFA Level 1 exam cycles and/or CFA levels as well?

CFA Institute’s current plan is to only offer the OPT option to a subset of CFA Level 1 candidates whose exams are cancelled. They may offer OPT in future exam cycles.

We think CFA Institute is keeping their options open in the current pandemic. Exploring OPT on a limited basis now for L1 Feb 2021’s exam cycle is a good testing ground to prepare for future exam cycles rollout, if necessary.

Would online proctored CFA exam results be announced right away?

When will CFA exam results be released

No, scoring the online proctored CFA Level 1 exams is subject to the same rules as other CFA exams. CFA Level 1 results will be announced via email approximately 60 days after the exam.

What is the CFA Online Proctored Testing experience like?

CFA Institute’s test partner – Prometric – is using the ProProctor application to administer OPT.

On your online-proctored exam day, here’s a summary of what happens before you can start your exam:

  1. You’ll need your OPT confirmation number from your confirmation email
  2. Run a system readiness check
  3. Install the latest ProProctor application
  4. Check in process (identification and photo capture, read through a checklist)
  5. Prometric Agent joins in for 3 checks:
    • identification checks (confirming your name, email address, exam details via video chat)
    • 360 degree environmental scan (using your webcam to provide a thorough scan of your surrounding area, including your work surfaces. It is useful to have a medium/large mirror during this process.)
    • security checks (of you basically, for example – but not limited to – inspecting your pockets, glasses, sleeves)

Once these checks are done (usually takes 15 minutes), you can proceed to start the exam with online proctoring.

What are the environment and system requirements for online-proctored CFA exams?

CFA online proctored testing Proproctor system requirements

ProProctor has the following system requirements:

  • Minimum screen Resolution: 1024 X 768
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 or above / MacOS 10.13 or higher (tablets and Chromebooks are currently not supported)
  • Web Browser: Latest Google Chrome
  • WebCam Resolution: 640 X 480p
  • Microphone: Enabled
  • Download Speed: at least 0.5 mbps
  • Computer device should be plugged directly into a power source, unattached from a docking station to avoid connectivity issues
  • Ideally Ethernet connection, rather than Wi-fi to ensure stable connection

CFA OPT environment requirements:

  • Testing location must be indoors (walled), well lit, free from background noise and disruptions.
  • No third party may be present in the room or enter the room for the duration of the exam. If this occurs, your exam will be terminated and/or your results invalidated.
  • Candidates must sit in upright position, with computer or laptop on a table/desk (i.e. not computer on lap).
  • Single monitor configuration, i.e. dual-monitor configurations are not allowed.
  • Your workstation and surrounding area must be free of pens, paper, electronic devices, etc. No content that could potentially provide an unfair advantage during your exam, including that posted on walls or within your immediate area, should be present during your exam session.
  • Two tissues are permitted at workstation, but must be inspected by the Proctor prior to the start of the exam.

For more information, you can check out the latest ProProctor user guide here.

What is allowed (or not) during an online-proctored CFA exam?

  • Unauthorized personal items may not be accessible while testing. Such items include, but are not limited to: outerwear, hats, food, drinks, purses, bags or briefcases, notebooks, watches, cell phones, electronic devices, or wearable technology.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking, and chewing gum are prohibited during the exam.
  • Written notes, published materials and other testing aids are strictly prohibited.
  • Light clothing items removed for comfort such as sweaters, suit jackets, scarves, etc., must be hung on the candidate’s chair, not placed in laps or on the workstation desktop. Outerwear such as heavy coats, parkas, rain coats, etc., is not permitted in the immediate testing area.
  • Changing location while testing, turning off lighting or audio, speaking to or receiving aid from other individuals is strictly prohibited.
  • Large jewellery items should be removed from candidate prior to and throughout the duration of the exam.
  • Test alone (no other people or pets). No third party may be present in the room or enter the room for the duration of the exam. If this occurs, your exam will be terminated and/or your results invalidated.
  • Leaving the camera view while the exam is in progress is strictly prohibited unless otherwise specified by your test sponsor.

If you’re a CFA Feb 2021 candidate that has been offered an OPT exam in April, best of luck! Do let us know how the experience goes via the comments below!

Meanwhile, these related articles may be of interest:

Sophie Macon
Author: Sophie Macon


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