Commitment and substantial study are needed to pass the CFA Program. On the whole, the exams are difficult as is evidenced by just 49% of people passing the Level I exam in 2020.
With the exception of Level I, which can also be taken in December, the three tests are typically offered in June. Two provisional windows for 2021 were added in March and January as a result of 2020 postponements.
The Level II and III tests will subsequently be offered twice starting in 2022 and three times in 2021 on May, August/September, and November.
Although the tests can be retaken as often as necessary, most applicants must study for each exam for more than 300 hours. After failing a level in the CFA Program, many applicants decide against continuing because of the enormous amount of time that must be spent studying. Each candidate needs to pass each of the three exams and have four years of qualifying work experience in investment decision-making in order to be granted a charter.
Passing all three examinations requires having a solid plan and the self-control to stick to it. A record number of people took the exam in 2018. The pass rate remained consistent with prior years.
The majority of CFA charterholders advise studying for more than 300 hours because the six-hour exam covers a wide range of subjects, including ethics and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, derivatives, alternative investments, portfolio management, and wealth planning.
The CFA Institute’s books offer more information than is required to prepare for the exam. Many applicants decide to study from a different source of practise materials, like the Schweser study books. Classes, videos, and online tests can all be used to help with exam preparation. A candidate’s chances of passing the exam can be improved by using a number of study techniques and taking advantage of the available study materials.
According to the CFA Institute, Level I and Level II exam success percentages in the past have typically ranged between 40 and 50 percent, with Level III having a somewhat higher pass rate. However, pass rates have been declining since the examinations’ introduction in 1963, when they were substantially higher.
49 percent of candidates completed Level I in the exams in December 2020, 55 percent passed Level II, and 56 percent passed Level III.
Additionally, between 10% and 20% of applicants who register for the exam ultimately fail to show up for it.
The test material is challenging, and the exam questions are made purposely to deceive the students. Due to this, candidates should prioritise practise exams to familiarise themselves with the kinds of questions that come up in the exam.
In Level I, there are 180 multiple-choice questions (in Level II, there are 20 item sets of questions, and in Level III, there are both item sets of questions and short essays). Although there are only three potential answers for the multiple-choice questions in Level I, applicants must carefully study the questions in order to choose the right response, which frequently includes the options “none of the above” and “all of the above.”
Is the CFA hard?
The CFA examinations are quite challenging in general, but applicants can improve their chances of passing by devoting more than 300 hours to studying, using alternate prep resources, completing as many practise questions as they can, and developing a well-organized study schedule.
Completing the CFA Program may be very satisfying, and organisations in the finance sector value the qualification. Through the knowledge they acquire and their access to a vast and outstanding network of CFA specialists, CFA holders can grow in their investing careers.