How High is the CFA® Exam Pass Rate?

How High is the CFA® Exam Pass Rate?

The CFA exam pass rate is not high since aside from being challenging, the course is tested in three levels. Very few people pass all the levels, and less than half of the candidates clear the first level. This article will explore the CFA exam passing rate and give you tips on how to pass the course.

What is the Average CFA Exam Pass Rate?

The charter holders and algorithm machines grade CFA exams.  The CFA Institute then determines a minimum pass score using a unique method. This minimum pass score is applied to all exam levels but is not made known to the public. It is, however, never above 70%.

2019 is the last year where complete data is available since the CFA Institute postponed the 2020 exams due to the global Covid 19 pandemic. The CFA Institute provided the following data for the exams carried out in 2019:

  • Level I (June) – 41%
  • Level I (December) – 42%
  • Level II – 44%
  • Level III – 56%

The CFA Institute has made changes to how they will release the pass rates. From the start of 2022, the pass rates for Level I CFA exam will be released four times a year due to the additional exam sittings for 2021. The pass rates for CFA Level II and III will be made known for every exam window.

How Easy is It to Pass the CFA Exams?

As evidenced by the pass rate data, the CFA exam is not easy. Each level also gets progressively more challenging, and the number of candidates who successfully register and pass all three exam levels is negligible. It is possible to attain this success, but you should be prepared for the challenge when you enroll in the CFA program.

The core topics you should master and learn the skills to apply include:

  1. Derivatives
  2. Equity investments
  3. Alternative investments
  4. Ethics
  5. Economics
  6. Quantitative methods
  7. Corporate finance
  8. Fixed income
  9. Portfolio management.

The third level will test your ability to apply this knowledge to specific financial situations and make professional recommendations.

What Can I Do to Increase My Chances of Passing the CFA Exam?

You should prepare for the CFA exams and be ready to put in many hours of study and practice for each level. The following study tips will help you have the best chance of success.

Set Up a Study Routine and Adhere to It

To pass your exams, you need to understand the material and have the skills to apply this knowledge. The exam will test how to apply what you learned to different scenarios.

Setting up a study routine will help you attain this high level of understanding and application skill, and starting a study routine as early as possible will go a long way in helping you achieve this.

You should adhere to the set study routine as much as possible and develop a study strategy to ensure that you maximize the time you have in each session. You can start by reading or listening to lectures and understanding the information, then learn to apply the knowledge through practicing with examinations.

Pay Attention to the Core Areas of Study and Expected Learning Outcomes

As discussed above, there are some core areas of the curriculum that you need to master in your preparation for your CFA exam. During your study sessions, you should pay more attention to these topics to master them.

Specific learning outcomes refer to what you should be able to do by the end of your CFA program. It is the actual knowledge, skills, and abilities that the lecturer or instructor intends for you to learn or develop.

Specific learning outcomes are measurable and tested, for example, asking you to explain, identify or analyze a concept. The CFA Institute from the Candidate Body of Knowledge designs these learning outcomes, which are the core knowledge, skills, and abilities generally accepted and applied by investment professionals globally.

Paying close attention to the core areas of study and understanding the expected learning outcomes will help you have a more focused study session.

Relate Your Knowledge to Real Situations

To pass the CFA exams, you should know the material and the skill to apply that knowledge to real life. It would be best if you studied to gain the skills to use the information in real scenarios.

It would be best to keep in mind that you will need to use the material you learn to work in the real world. You can make your learning material simpler to remember by relating it to real-life situations.

Practice Taking the Exam Using Mock Tests

You must be familiar with the terms used in the tests and how to answer the questions effectively. Practice using mock examinations as many times as possible leading to your scheduled test. Taking mock examinations will enable you to identify any knowledge gaps and adjust your study sessions. You will also understand the terms used during testing, the calculations required, and how to apply the knowledge to solve problems.

You will be given a mock exam by the CFA Institute and buy additional resources from CFA program societies in over 120 locations worldwide also offer a six-hour live mock exam which includes a multimedia tutorial that helps you understand how to answer the questions. Contact us at and access our extensive computer-based mock exam database. Our simulated exams are mimic the test at the end of your course and equip you with experience to help you pass any level.

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