The Best Time to Register for the CFA Exams

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When is the Best Time to Register for the CFA Exams

By Mike

I was recently asked for advice by a friend who was considering taking up CFA Level I. He had just accepted a new job offer and the CFA qualification was looking very strategic for him.

I went through the basics of what the CFA exams were like, what do you get from the exams and qualificationsbasic things he should know before starting. But most importantly, I found myself repeating something that I felt important enough to make this the focus of my post today: whether you decide to sign up or not, make sure you decide by the second CFA registration deadline.

Three deadlines to register for the CFA exams, and it gets more expensive the later you leave it

For those of you who are unfamiliar, there are 3 registration deadlines for each CFA exams. You can register for the CFA exams at any time up to the third deadline, but the registration fee becomes progressively more expensive the later you leave it.

The deadline schedule usually goes something like this:

First Deadline
Second Deadline
Third Deadline
CFA June 2020
Dates and Fees
2 October 2019
USD 450* + USD 700
12 February 2020​
USD 450* + USD 1,000
11 March 2020​
USD 450* + USD 1,450
CFA December 2020
Dates and Fees
25 March 2020
USD 450* + USD 700
​19 August 2020
USD 450* + USD 1,000
9 September 2020
USD 450* + USD 1,450

*First-time enrolment fee, applicable only to CFA Level I candidates enrolling for the first time

You can get the latest dates (and more CFA events and dates of note) by checking out our CFA Calendar. Exam registration deadlines come into effect at 11:59 p.m. ET on the day of each deadline.

Why it is important to register for the CFA exams by the second deadline

I have two very good reasons why every serious candidate should ensure they decide and register by deadline #2:

1. The fee increase goes up significantly after the second deadline.

As mentioned before, there is a fee differential across all 3 deadlines, but the fees increase the most when you miss the second deadline. The CFA exams are costing enough already, so why pay extra when you don’t have to?

2. You NEED to commit to the CFA exams with 3 months to seriously study.

This is the more important reason of the two. I’ve heard a lot more talk about taking the CFA exams than actually committing to it. Usually this leads to a lot of delaying until it’s too late to feasibly study for it in time, and that’s no way to decide on the CFA exams.

Deciding by the third deadline only leaves you 2+ months to study (less than that if you have to wait for your materials to arrive), and while it’s possible, it drastically reduces your chances of passing.

If you’re serious about the exams, commit by the second deadline at the latest. Have you registered? Let me know in the comments below!

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan


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