coronavirus-cfa-frm-soa

CFA, FRM and SOA exams Postponed because of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Following the coronavirus outbreak, various professional bodies have resulted in pushing forward the exam dates of various professional examinations.

CFA Exams

The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute has postponed the June CFA exams globally as according to an email received by CFA candidates. Levels 1 to level 3 CFA exams were initially supposed to be held on the first weekend of June (6th and 7th June). The exams will now be held in either December 2020 or in February 2021. CFA institute candidates are hereby reminded to be on the lookout for an official email from the Institute with details on how they can re-register themselves for the exam (the re-registration is free and will only need a student to pick a new exam date from the two available dates). It is important for CFA candidates to note that the December 2020 date allows a candidate to proceed to the next level come June 2021. However, if a candidate picks the February date, he/she will have to wait up-to June 2022 in order to proceed to the next level.

Candidates registered, as well as candidates not registered to the exam, can still learn the CFA exam content via the platform at https://app.analystprep.com.

FRM Exams

The Global Association of Risk Professionals equally postponed the FRM exam dates. The FRM exams were initially supposed to be attempted on 16th May 2020, but GARP has now announced the new date, which is October 24th. There is only one exception; all May 2020 candidates from India registered to take an exam will automatically be deferred to November 01, 2020.

Candidates and potential candidates are encouraged to learn more at https://analystprep.com/frm/.

SOA Exams

The Society of Actuaries has also postponed its spring exams. The exams, which were initially supposed to be held between 24th April and 5th May, will be held at a later date that is yet to be announced. Postponed exams include Long Term Actuarial Mathematics (LTAM), Enterprise Risk Management Exam ERM, Enrolled Actuaries Exam 1 (EA1) and Enrolled Actuaries Exam 2 Law (EA2L).

Candidates and potential candidates are encouraged to learn more at https://analystprep.com/actuarial-exams/.

Reasons for the Postponement of Professional Exam Dates

The move to postpone professional certifications by various professional bodies across the world has been seen by many as a prudent move. In addition to the fact that the Coronavirus is a global pandemic with no known cure as at the writing of this article, some candidates hail from the most affected nations. It would, thus, be unfair to retain the original exam dates as this will greatly disadvantage the affected candidates.

More importantly, we cannot ignore the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the daily lives of various people, if not all people on the planet. Readjusting to a new norm could take some time. For people who find it hard to readjust, this could mean a potential loss of quality study time. This, in turn, results in a lag in the exams syllabus coverage and a possible inability to meet the minimum required revision time. A candidate who fails to revise for the minimum number of hours required is more likely to fail and thus repeat a professional paper as compared to a candidate who manages to revise for the minimum required period of time.

Also of important consideration is the fact that the professional bodies were trying to avoid a situation in which candidates could not attempt the various professional exams due to lockdowns in their countries.

Is it all Negative with the Change of Exam Dates?

On the brighter side, pushing forward the exam dates allows candidates additional study and revision time. With a total lockdown initiated in almost all countries, candidates are more likely to have an ample study period. Candidates have been relieved of off their daily commitments, be it work, school or both, and with nothing entertaining to watch and no matches for the game lovers to follow, candidates are now able to focus on their studies entirely. Time that would have been normally split between various activities can now be fully vested into study. This works well, especially for the candidates who registered late for the professional examinations.

Rescheduling Example – Late Registration

Consider a CFA level 2 candidate who just recently registered for his/her exams in March 2020, just before the late registration deadline. Assume that the candidate has a full-time job since only CFA Level 1 can be attempted by a candidate who is in their final year of study. Before the corona epidemic, the candidate would have had only about two and a half months to prepare for the exam (May, April, and part of March). In two and a half months, the candidate would have had to study for a period of at least three hours per day, including weekends and holidays, in order to achieve the 300-hour minimum recommended study period. In as much as this can be achieved, studying for an exam for at least three hours a day is quite overwhelming, especially for an individual with a full-time job.

For such an individual, the coronavirus pandemic has bought him/her more study time. The candidate can now be able to comfortably go through his/her study materials, attempt a good number of practice questions and even attempt several mock examinations in a bid to boost memory retention of the concepts to be examined.

But what about candidates who have already achieved the minimum recommended study period?

The rescheduling of exam dates can be discouraging to a candidate who is already adequately prepared for the exams. Assume that the above candidate registered for the CFA Level 2 exams in October before the late registration deadline. Such a candidate is “almost adequately” prepared for the exam. With a good study plan, such a candidate has already gone through study videos, study notes, question banks on various topics, and probably one or two mock examinations. Such a candidate is now polishing on his/her weak areas.

For such a candidate, the news of the postponement of the professional exam dates might have been disheartening to him/her. As AnalystPrep, we encourage such a candidate not to give up on reading but instead go through our summarized notes and short videos that focus on the learning objective statements. This will ensure the retention of the concepts already learned. On our website, the candidate in question will equally have access to question banks with over 3000 exam-style questions on various topics, and most importantly, mock exams that have been tailored to reflect the difficulty of the actual CFA exam. The candidate can even be able to track his/her progress to ensure that much of his/her time is spent on understanding his/her most difficult concepts. This applies to all candidates, CFA, FRM, and actuarial exam candidates.

A Recap of CFA Topics and their Exam Weightings

If you missed any of our earlier articles, this is a recap of what CFA candidates are tasted on and the exam weightings of the various topics. This is to help candidates know the topics that they are yet to cover. This will also help candidates know which topics carry more weight. All this is to enable a candidate to plan this extra time wisely.

TOPIC

CFA LEVEL 1 (%)

CFA LEVEL 2 (%)

CFA LEVEL 3 (%)

Ethics and Professional Standards

15%

10-15%

10-15%

Financial Reporting and Analysis

15%

15-20%

Not examined

Corporate Finance

10%

5-15%

Not examined

Quantitative methods

10%

5-10%

Not examined

Economics

10%

10%

5-10%

Portfolio Management and wealth planning

6%

5-10%

35-40%

Equity Investments

11%

15-25%

10-15%

Fixed Income

11%

10-20%

15-20%

Derivative Investments

6%

5-15%

5-10%

Alternative Investments

6%

5-10%

5-10%

A recap of FRM topics

FRM Part 1

  1. Foundations of risk management- 20%
  2. Quantitative Analysis- 20%
  3. Financial Markets and products- 30%
  4. Valuation and risk models- 30%

FRM Part 2

  1. Market risk measurement and management- 20%
  2. Credit risk measurement and management- 20%
  3. Operational and Integrated risk management- 20%
  4. Liquidity and treasury risk management- 15%
  5. Risk management and Investment management- 15%
  6. Current issues arising in financial markets- 10%

A Word of Caution

Candidates are, however, encouraged not to throw caution to the wind. With most of the professional bodies yet to announce their new dates, the dates might actually be closer than presumed by many. They are advised to continue preparing for their exams with the same energy that they had before the global coronavirus epidemic. AnalystPrep will religiously ensure that the candidates have all the required up to date revision materials to ensure a smooth revision process even in the middle of an international crisis.

Understanding how the virus that has disrupted professional exams dates

Coronavirus stems from a family of viruses that were originally transmitted from animals to people. The first case of COVID-19 was spotted in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

The incubation period of Coronavirus can be as long as 14 days with signs of infections that include fever (in about 85% of cases), shortness of breath, coughs, and difficulties in breathing.

To reduce the chances of infection and spread, people are encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer as often as possible. Also, people should avoid close contact with people who display flu-like symptoms, cover their nasal area when coughing/sneezing, and stay at home. People who display the above symptoms and/or those who recently traveled are encouraged to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days to eliminate any chances of spread.

Parting Shot

Let us all help in the fight against this virus by observing all the proposed measures above. While at it, all candidates should use this extra time to study for their respective professional exams. AnalystPrep will provide all registered candidates with adequate, up-to-date and well-summarized revision materials that can be found at https://app.analystprep.com.

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