CFA ESG Exam Frequently Asked Questions

CFA ESG Exam Frequently Asked Questions

Is the demand for ESG expertise waning in the face of a shrinking job market? Far from it. In fact, the allure of the CFA ESG certification remains undiminished amidst evolving industry trends. With such compelling prospects, isn’t it time you fortified your career credentials with this formidable exam?

Yet, amid the buzz surrounding CFA ESG exams, how can one discern fact from mere hearsay? Seeking clarity on this shouldn’t leave you scratching your head. This article is your definitive guide, demystifying the core truths and intricacies of CFA ESG exams. So, settle in and journey with us to uncover all you need to know.

Is CFA ESG Difficult?

No, not really. How hard it feels depends on how much effort you put in and if you’re interested in the topic. If you’re doing it for yourself, it can feel easier. Plus, passing the exam can help your career a lot. But remember, some topics might be new to you, so you might need to study more if you’re also working or studying other things.

What’s on the exam? It’s a test that lasts about 2 hours and 20 minutes. There are 100 questions, and you need to get around 60% to 70% right to pass. The questions talk about things such as picking investments based on certain rules, special types of funds, and how to invest for a good cause. People who know a lot about this topic compose the questions. Nevertheless, with good study habits, you can get ready for it.

Are the questions designed to trick you? Not really. They just check if you know the things you learned. And many people find learning about ESG investing interesting. The exam guide says you should study for about 130 hours. But if you know some things about ESG already, you might need less time.

It’s noteworthy that some questions ask for specific details, such as exact numbers. The exam is constantly evolving, but it’s good to be ready for these kinds of questions. If you study well and understand the details, you should excel.

How Long Does It Take to Prepare for CFA ESG Exams?

Wondering how long you should study for the CFA ESG exams? For those new to the field, plan for about 130 hours. Why? Because you’ll come across new ideas that might take a while to understand fully. Plus, the way these topics are taught might be different from what you’re used to.

Once you get used to these topics, you’ll need time to gauge yourself with mock exams and self-assessment questions. And if you’re new to topics such as Professional Ethics or Financial Analysis, studying with others can help.

What Should I Study for CFA ESG?

There are a couple of areas you must cover in your CFA ESG certification. These courses are highly examinable and are crucial for your professional practice. They include: 

  1. Introduction to ESG Level 1.
  2. Fundamentals of ESG Level 2.
  3. ESG Disclosure Level 2.
  4. Financial Analysis and ESG Integration Level 3.
  5. Greenhouse Gas Accounting Level 3.
  6. Human Capital Management Level 1. 
  7. Professional Ethics Level 1.
  8. Corporate Governance Level 2.
  9. Carbon Market Fundamentals Level 3.
  10. Introduction to Climate Risk Management Level 1.

The certification extends to two more lab practice courses: Developing ESG Policies and Conducting a Materiality Assessment.

Why Do I Need a CFA ESG Certification?

Thinking about the benefits of the CFA ESG certification? Well, it helps you learn the best ways to understand and manage ESG risks. With topics covering ESG integration, analysis, and how to engage with them, the course gives you a solid understanding. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to assess risks and make choices that meet CFA ESG standards.

This certification is well-known in finance and can lead to better remuneration. The training focuses on high standards and good ethics, which are key in finance. Having this certification will boost your resume and show you’re an expert in ESG. In addition, companies will trust you with important investment tasks.

Looking for a course that goes beyond finance basics? The CFA ESG is a great choice. It equips you with tools to handle sustainability challenges. You’ll also get better at analyzing ESG topics and engaging with them. Through the course, you’ll meet professionals from anywhere around the world and enjoy knowledge exchange as you expand your network.

What Are the Career Opportunities for CFA ESG?

There are a ton of career paths for candidates with CFA ESG certifications, including:

  • Investment Officer.
  • Portfolio Analyst.
  • Chief Investment Officer.
  • ESG Advisory Manager.
  • Investment Consultant.
  • Director of Private Equity Strategies.

These roles fall under categories such as Asset Management, Management Consulting, Business Analyst, Research, Corporate Development, Senior Leadership, and Credit Analyst.

In Asset Management, you’ll handle investments for clients. With CFA ESG, you can help institutions, such as insurance companies or pension funds, manage their money better.

For Management Consulting, understanding ESG strategies is key. You’ll guide public groups, companies, and investors in making good financial choices.

As a Business Analyst, you’ll help companies understand their finances and find ways to do better.

In Senior Leadership roles, you’ll use your CFA ESG knowledge to guide businesses on important ESG topics.

Credit Analysts check if someone can be trusted to pay back loans. Your skills will help decide if someone should get a loan or not.

Corporate Development focuses on how a company can grow. You’ll be part of decisions that help a company expand.

And if you’re a CFA ESG Researcher, you’ll study the financial world. Then, you’ll give advice on if it’s a good time to buy, sell, or hold onto investments.

Is CFA ESG Better Than Garp SCR?

Wondering which course is best for you: CFA ESG or Garp SCR? Let’s discuss this.

Both courses cost about the same. But they focus on different things. CFA ESG talks a lot about ESG investing and managing portfolios. On the other hand, Garp SCR focuses on climate risks and how to manage them.

Garp SCR covers a lot about financial climates, rules, and laws. It’s a bit more detailed than CFA ESG. For beginners, studying about 100 hours for Garp SCR might be enough. But for CFA ESG, you might need around 130 hours. Both courses give you one practice exam. It’s worth appreciating that some people think that’s not enough. If you want more practice tests, you can buy them from other places. Just be careful and pick ones that are good quality.

When it comes to the real exams, Garp SCR has 80 questions, while CFA ESG has 20 more. Having more questions can be good because it means you can make a few mistakes and still do well.

You can take both exams online or in person. But the results come out at different times. With CFA ESG, you get your results quickly, usually right after the exam. For Garp SCR, you might wait for up to 2 months. And Garp SCR exams happen twice a year.

In the end, the choice is yours. Both courses have their benefits.

How Do I Access CFA ESG Study Materials?

The CFA ESG exam is administered by the CFA Institute, whose website provides access to learning materials. The website requires you to register before you can access the different study materials for free.  The study materials include the syllabus, downloadable PDFs covering the curriculum, self-assessment questions, and the mock exam (initially called specimen paper).

After completing your registration, you’ll need to log into the CFA Institute website. You’ll access premium candidate resources there.


Thinking about the CFA ESG certification? It’s becoming more important in the industry. Whereas it might seem tough at first, with determination and extra study time, you can do it. Don’t let the idea that it’s too hard stop you. Once you get it, you’ll see its value, especially when you start your career.

Thinking about when to take the exam? It’s good to choose a time when you’re not too busy. But hey, if you’re working and want to give it a try, go for it! Just make sure you can manage your time well. If you haven’t yet, consider taking the CFA certification first before taking this high-tier one.

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