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HomeFinancial AdvisorCFA Final Exam Pass Rate Slips To 47%, Below Historic Average

CFA Final Exam Pass Rate Slips To 47%, Below Historic Average

The pass rate for the final level of the chartered financial analyst exam stayed below the decade average but above the historic lows set two years ago, when the pandemic disrupted testing.

In August, 47% of candidates successfully finished the series, below the 48% pass rate for those who sat for the Level III exam this past February and August of last year. Still, the rate was higher than the historic low of 42% for that exam, set in 2021. The 10-year average success rate for the final exam is 52%, according to the CFA Institute.

“The CFA Program is a tough undertaking, and I’m pleased that the August Level III pass rate continues to be in line with recent pass rate trends,” Chris Wiese, managing director for education at the institute, said in a statement Wednesday.

Despite the small slip, the latest results show improvement from the historically low pass rates across all levels of the CFA exam in 2021. Schedule changes and disrupted study contributed to lower pass rates, and are still affecting some test-takers, though rates are trending back towards historic averages.

More than 16,000 candidates sat for the Level III exam in August, which was administered at 456 testing centers around the world. Historically, the institute offered the exam on paper, but transitioned to computer-based testing during the pandemic. Level III is offered twice a year, while Level I and Level II are scheduled five and four times respectively.

Earlier this month, Level I and Level II candidates got their results, with a 37% and 44% success rate for those who sat in August, both down from their previous test-taking periods and below historic averages. The institute has cited deferrals—candidates who pushed off taking the test—as a factor in their success.

Soon, the CFA will transition to a new testing model, which emphasizes practical skills and reduces the amount of time candidates study. The institute said it will start taking registrations for the new exam structure starting in May 2024. Under the new format, Level III candidates choose between specialist pathways including portfolio management, private markets and wealth.

“The introduction of specialist pathways recognizes that CFA candidates and charterholders work in a wide variety of roles across the industry,” Wiese said, adding that “70% of the learning content will be common across all three pathways with precisely the same exam performance calibration.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.




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