In the run up to tomorrow's results from the June CFA exams, you might find it useful to have a quick FAQ covering some of the questions most asked by candidates.
What is the minimum passing score (MPS)?
Simply put, the MPS is the score you have to match or beat in order to pass. Coming in at anything below this score, and it’s a case of good try, come back again next year. The MPS is never known externally – but chances are it has a maximum of around 70 percent.
What is the “ethics adjustment”?
If your results indicate that you’re a borderline fail, you can be lifted into the passing zone by a strong performance in ethics. What if you’re a borderline pass? You could be failed if your ethics performance was particularly weak. This is taken directly from the CFA Web site:
The Board of Governors instituted a policy to place particular emphasis on ethics. Starting with the 1996 exams, the performance on the ethics section became a factor in the pass/fail decision for candidates whose total scores bordered the minimum passing score. The ethics adjustment can have a positive or negative impact on these candidates’ final results.
When and how will results arrive?
For the June 2012 exam:
CFA Level I and II: July 24, 2012, after 9 a.m. EDT
CFA Level III: August 7, 2012, after 9 a.m. EDT
Your results will be e-mailed to you, with a title "Your CFA Exam Results" or something similar. Sender will most likely be firstname.lastname@example.org in case you need to set up auto-forward on your e-mail account.
Results format – what are all these categories and bands?
Unfortunately, the CFA Institute does not publish your detailed score. You will receive a Pass / Fail grade and in the case of a Fail, an additional Band one to 10 score (10 indicating the closest to a Pass grade). You will also receive a categorical score on your exam topics – just three categories: 0 to 50 percent, 51 percent to 70 percent, 71 percent and above.
If you’re not satisfied with your results and wish to request a re-tabulation, note that this is only a technical check to ensure that your paper was graded correctly with no mistakes. It is not a subjective reconsideration of your case so only request one if you think there has been an error in the grading process.
A version of this article first appeared on 300 hours, a blog devoted to helping people pass CFA exams.