Dec 2020 CFA Exams Cancelled in Multiple Locations: Here’s What You Can Do

Dec 2020 CFA Exams Cancelled in Multiple Locations

By Zee Tan

On 7th Oct 2020, CFA Institute announced that the Dec20 CFA exams have been cancelled in 37 locations worldwide. This was followed by:

  • 15th Oct 2020: increased to 58 locations
  • 22nd Oct 2020: 61 total cancelled locations
  • 29th Oct 2020: 63 total cancelled locations
  • 5th Nov 2020: 70 total cancelled locations
  • 11th Nov 2020: 83 total cancelled locations
  • 19th Nov 2020: 90 total cancelled locations
  • 24th Nov 2020: 98 total cancelled locations
  • 4th Dec 2020: 104 total cancelled locations

Hopefully there will be no more cancelled locations announced. In this article we cover where’s been cancelled, and a roundup of the top most-asked candidate questions.

CFA exam locations cancelled for December 2020: the full list

Dec 2020 CFA Exams Cancelled in Multiple Locations - Full Location List

The full list of cancelled locations are listed below:

All Current Cancelled Test Locations for the December 2020 CFA Exams

  • Buenos Aires, AR
  • Yerevan, AM
  • Melbourne, AU
  • Vienna, AT
  • Baku, AZ
  • Nassau, BS
  • Manama, BH
  • Brussels, BE
  • Rio de Janeiro, BR
  • Sao Paulo, BR
  • Sofia, BG
  • Calgary, CA
  • Edmonton, CA
  • Halifax, CA
  • Montreal, CA
  • Ottawa, CA
  • Quebec, CA
  • Regina, CA
  • Toronto, CA
  • Vancouver, CA
  • Victoria, CA
  • Winnipeg, CA
  • Santiago, CL
  • Nicosia, CY
  • Prague, CZ
  • Helsinki, FI
  • Paris, FR
  • Frankfurt, DE
  • Munich, DE
  • Athens, GR
  • Budapest, HU
  • Ahmedabad, IN
  • Bangalore, IN
  • Bhopal, IN
  • Chennai, IN
  • Hyderabad, IN
  • Jaipur, IN
  • Kolkata, IN
  • Lucknow, IN
  • Mumbai, IN
  • New Delhi, IN
  • Pune, IN
  • Dublin, IE
  • Tel Aviv, IL
  • Milan, IT
  • Kingston, JM
  • Amman, JO
  • Almaty, KZ
  • Kuwait City, KW
  • Riga, LV
  • Vilnius, LT
  • Kuala Lumpur, MY
  • Mexico City, MX
  • Ulaanbaatar, MN
  • Casablanca, MA
  • Yangon, MM
  • Oslo, NO
  • Lima, PE
  • Manila, PH
  • Warsaw, PL
  • Lisbon, PT
  • Doha, QA
  • Moscow, RU
  • Jeddah, SA
  • Riyadh, SA
  • Belgrade, RS
  • Singapore, SG
  • Cape Town, ZA
  • Johannesburg, ZA
  • Barcelona, ES
  • Madrid, ES
  • Geneva, CH
  • Zurich, CH
  • Istanbul, TR
  • Birmingham, GB
  • Edinburgh, GB
  • London, GB
  • Boston, US
  • Charlotte, US
  • Chicago, US
  • Columbus, US
  • Denver, US
  • Des Moines, US
  • Detroit, US
  • Honolulu, US
  • Indianapolis, US
  • Long Island, US
  • Los Angeles, US
  • Madison, US
  • Milwaukee, US
  • Minneapolis, US
  • New York City, US
  • Philadelphia, US
  • Phoenix, US
  • Portland, US
  • Rochester, US
  • Sacramento, US
  • Salt Lake City, US
  • San Diego, US
  • San Francisco, US
  • San Jose, US
  • Seattle, US
  • Northern NJ, US
  • Washington DC, US
104 locations translates to more than 53% of all listed CFA exam centers for Dec20. Here’s how the cancellations have trickled in over the past weeks leading up to the exam:

​CFA candidates affected by the cancellations should receive an email from CFA Institute within 24 hours of the announcement informing them of the cancellation, together with a ‘complimentary registration’. You should be able to defer to a 2021 exam immediately upon receiving the email.

If it’s been 24 hours and you’ve not received an email, it’s best to get in touch with CFA Institute as soon as you can.

​“While I know this comes as disappointing news to some of our candidates, the combination of local public health rules and the lack of venue availability means we cannot proceed with the exams in some markets,” said Margaret Franklin, CFA, President and CEO, CFA Institute.

​“I want to thank our candidates for their patience as we work through the impact of this public health crisis, and I assure them that we considered all options before making this difficult decision.”

FAQs: Dec20 local exam cancellations

What Should You Do If Your CFA Exams Have Been Cancelled

How do I reschedule my cancelled CFA exam?

If your exam location is impacted, you will receive a notification email from CFA Institute ‘within 24 hours’. You will find a complimentary registration in your account and can immediately defer to an exam in 2021.

Please remember that because of the introduction of the computer-based testing format, registration is now a two step process:

  • Step 1: Registering for a window. You can register for a window immediately (i.e. Feb21, May21, etc)
  • Step 2: Scheduling your exam appointment. This means confirming the actual day you’d like to take the exam. If you’re unsure exactly what date and time will work best for you, you can do this step later. CFA Institute have also stated that they are ‘adding exam availability all the time’, so if you don’t currently see availability or your preferred location, you can check back later. You have until the scheduling deadline to complete step 2, which should be about 2 months before the exam window. You can view all scheduling deadlines with other key deadlines here.

My CFA exam location is not cancelled…for now. What options do I have?

All Dec20 CFA candidates are allowed to postpone their exam to any 2021 date – they have until 20 Oct 2020 to do this.

If you feel that your exam location will be cancelled and you don’t want to take the risk, you can postpone now.

Will more Dec20 CFA exam centers be cancelled later on?

CFA Institute has announced cancelled locations every week, but hopefully this is all done now.

What about 2021? Won’t the 2021 CFA exams be under the same threat of cancellation?

Nothing’s impossible, but CFA Institute hopes it’ll be a lot less likely. As you likely know, the 2021 CFA exams will be computer-based tested.

The computer-based testing format employed by CFA Institute will allow for:

  • multiple exam days instead of just one exam day
  • more exam locations, with less candidates per exam center
  • simpler exam logistics (e.g. personnel, shipping)

It’s hoped the more COVID-robust format will mean that the 2021 CFA exams will be less likely to be cancelled.

With the influx of Jun20 and Dec20 candidates into 2021, won’t test centers reach capacity?

There were 196,768 registrations for Jun20, and typically December exams attract more than 50,000 more registrations. So it’s likely that 2020 would have around 250,000 CFA exam registrations, if not more.

This could mean that 2021 would need to process up to half a million individual CFA exams. Yikes.

CFA Institute, however, would be fully aware of this and likely factor this into their 2021 CBT exam logistics. In addition to more exam days and more test locations, CFA exam sessions also now occur twice as often under the new CBT exam schedule.

CFA Institute have highlighted all the above points, but they’ve not explicitly guaranteed that every postponed candidate will be able to get their first choice of exam slot and location.

Which CFA exam slot should I defer to? Which exam slot would be the least likely to be cancelled again?

Given that Feb21 is so close to Dec20, if you’re feeling jittery about your chances, it might be better to shoot for May21. Other than that, your guess is as good as ours, I’m afraid.

Can I get my CFA exam fee refunded?

If this is your second postponement, you can get your exam fee refunded if you want to. You can see our full guide to refunds, and your options if you don’t qualify for a refund.

Welp, I’ve got some free time now. Any recommendations on courses to take while I wait for my CFA exams?

When the Jun20 CFA exams were postponed, we published a list of alternative, COVID-proof qualifications that CFA candidates might be interested in, which includes financial modelling, programming, data science, languages and well-being courses.

Additionally, CAIA has just announced that online proctored exams are now available, so you can take your CAIA exams right from home.

Alternatively – you could also take a break. Spend some time with your family and friends, practice some yoga, and focus on yourself.

It’s been a tough week (and year). But keep things in perspective, and take care of yourself.

CFA Exams Cancelled? Remember to Take Care of Yourself.

2020 has been the toughest year, ever, for CFA candidates. I sympathize with your frustration, anger and despair. But remember that it’s just an exam, and the most important thing is to take care of yourself, whatever that may mean to you right now. Keep things in perspective.

u/Rotis127419 at Reddit summed it up well:

Given the cancellations in a lot of places, I feel like a lot of us who are frustrated and upset need to hear that life isn’t all about work and our career. Yes, it’s important of course – but it’s not the end all, be all.

The other day, I found out that someone in my firm’s pregnant wife had a brain aneurysm and passed away unexpectedly. He lost his wife and unborn child. The guy’s whole life got turned upside down in the blink of an eye.

The point is, stop stressing about this exam. Yes, it’s hard work. But life isn’t all about this stuff. So take a day or two or several off, get some sleep, spend time with friends and family, and then dive right back in with a positive attitude. Good luck for whoever is still taking in December!

If you need any additional help or have any questions, we’re at hand. Just comment below.

23 thoughts on “Dec 2020 CFA Exams Cancelled in Multiple Locations: Here’s What You Can Do”

  1. Hi, I just applied to August level II but wasn’t able to sign up for a location yet. It mentions they are working to increase the availability but no luck ao far. Meanwhile I have access to the studying resources / books from 2020. Do you also know if that will change in 2021? One last thing. I really feel for all that worked so hard to study to have their exams canceled.. I can’t imagine the feeling and you should deserve a special certification or benefit somehow.. Perhaps you could suggest to have an easier exam / less hours for all that got their exam cancelled last minute. Exam is based on knowledge comparison anyway. I am struggling exactly to understand if it will happen to me in August as well..

    • Hi Ines, 2021 CFA syllabus is the same as 2020’s due to the pandemic. So you can study for August 2021 exams now with your 2020 curriculum.

      It is up to CFA Institute to set the Minimum Passing Score, and I don’t think the exams will be any easier even with the current circumstances. Some candidate are even thrice postponed (Jun20-Dec20-Feb21), so we all just have to get on and make the best out of the extra study time.

  2. Hi,

    I missed the email referring to the Oct 20 deadline. I was due to sit the exam last June and then last December. I have emailed CFA Institute but wondered what chance you though I may have of deferring this to July?

    many thanks,


    • Hi Liam, this is an interesting question. Have you log into your CFA Institute account to see what your current status is? Are you automatically deferred to February, for example? Let me know.

      There may be some announcements this week on 2 Feb by CFA Institute on deferral options and even online proctoring option that is applicable for Feb candidates only.

      Contacting CFA Institute is the right move though.

  3. I was registered for lvl 3 in Des Moines, and the cancellation yesterday 1.5 weeks before the test is crushing… I’m so demoralized, so depressed, I can’t believe they would do that to us.

    • Hey there, we are soooo sorry to hear that, it must be super frustrating to be cancelled so close to the finishing line. Please hang in there, we feel for you 🙁

  4. Its November 25th, i got an email yesterday that my December exam got cancelled with just 9 days left. I was appearing for level 3. Its soo frustrating, the earliest i can give it now is 6 months from now, which is may, i feel if they are canceling so close to the exam they should have some flexibility to give it sooner. If its in may now i ll have to start from scratch all over again

  5. Why was the exam cancelled in Des Moines, IA? What are the options- the soonest someone can take the exam?

    • Hey Marie, I’m so sorry to hear that. Des Moines was cancelled today due to the 3 factors (pandemic restrictions/lack of available/willing testing personnel). You should be receiving an email from CFA Institute ‘within 24 hours’ of cancellation, for a complimentary registration for a 2021 exam. Have you got that yet?

  6. The quote by u/Rotis127419 at Reddit is not helpful. In fact, the reason the double cancellation is so painful to many of us because WE KNOW that there are better things to be doing with our lives than studying for a full year for a non-existent exam. We have given up time with our friends, family, children, grandparents, and WE KNOW that life is precious and that the time lost with them is lost forever. It is not just about the stress of the exam, though it does take a mental and physical toll! It is about everything we have given up. We cannot be refunded for the time we have lost. It’s very sad. Just wanted to point out that saying “there are more important things in life” is actually the reason why it sucks. I wanted to finish with this and move on. As did many others. And other programs have managed to do so, so why not the CFA?

  7. Today, November 11th, I have been noticed that my exam location is canceled for December 2020. There is only 25 left to my exam. Is this really necesary? Of course this year have been tough and I understand the reasons for the postpone of 2020 June exams. But I think cancelation of December exams is not fair at all. I consider CFA had enough time to be prepare for the pandemic restrictions. In my country, Spain, there is not such a think as sheltering right now and students are going to the universities , offial exams are being taken ass well. This is not fair at all and students who has trust in CFA deserve more that just the cancelation of the examens without further clarifications or alternatives.

    • Hey Cecilia, I’m so sorry to hear that – it is really frustrating to have it cancelled so close to the actual day. What is the next available slot you could book? Unfortunately, this is going to continue weekly until the last week before the Dec exams. It is likely that there are more locations to come. Our understanding is the CFA Institute is trying to have it in as many locations as they can, if it’s a pandemic restrictions reason for Spain, it is likely that they couldn’t get the green light from the relevant authorities to hold it, hence the cancellation. Hang in there, we all feel for you…

  8. I registered for December 2020 exams. Exams at my test centre are cancelled and i have missed 20th oct deadline. What should i do now?

    • Hi Mosham, if your exam location is cancelled, you will receive a notification email from CFA Institute ‘within 24 hours’. You will find a complimentary registration in your account and can immediately defer to an exam in 2021.

  9. Hi I just found out my exam venue was cancelled (the mail was received on 8 October but I didn’t open it till today). It’s the second time the exam has been postponed and I’d like to register for the next available level 2 slot (May ‘21) but on the website when I click “change my exam registration” it says I’m not registered for any cfa exam and doesn’t give me the option to choose May ‘21. Please can someone advise.

    • Hi Neel, sorry to hear you got postponed twice. Did you receive an email from CFA Institute on this? It may be worth emailing CFA Institute about the lack of options online to defer. However, I think there is a better way for you to save some money on your May21 registration. Since you are twice postponed, you have the option to request for a refund on 7th Dec 2020, and wait for a refund (latest processed by Apr21). And then, you can register later before 23 Feb 2021 for Early Registration fee for May21 exams. This is feasible as CFA Institute has confirmed in writing to us that once a candidate’s refund has been requested and they will reset their account so that they aren’t registered for any exam [re-setting should happen within approximately 24 hours], they can re-register and submit payment for the new exam at any time. They can do this even if they haven’t actually received their money back yet. Hope this helps!

  10. What are your thoughts about the 10/20 deadline? I’m worried that if my exam is cancelled after the 20th I won’t be able to register for 2021 exams. Perhaps I’m being to literal when I read CFAI verbiage about the deadline


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