CFA Level I pass rate plunges to new excruciating low

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CFA Level I pass rate plunges to new excruciating low

Back in July 2021, the 25% pass rate for the CFA Level I exam seemed an unbelievable horror. In retrospect, that might have been a high point - CFA Institute today announced the pass rate for the July Level I exam sitting, and it was lower still at just 22%.

CFA Institute has been emailing unsuccessful candidates telling them that the CFA Program is a "challenging endeavor" and that their "candidacy is to be applauded." However, this doesn't seem to have done much to appease people horrified by the fact that passing the CFA exams seems to be a lot more difficult than they thought when the signed up.

A 22% pass rate is the lowest ever recorded in CFA Institute's history. In the past ten years, the pass rate for CFA I has averaged 41%. "I put in more than 300 hours, scored mid-70’s on the mocks, and find out I failed when I would have easily passed any other year," says one candidate on Reddit. "Calling us “GameStop” investors or “trash” is outrageous to say the least. I’m a professional with other responsibilities to my life than just being a professional student and have to plan accordingly.

"CFA needs to be transparent and mot move the goal post," he adds. "It’s an unnecessary variable and does not add more value to the material I learned."

In a comment posted on CFA Institute's website, Peg Jobst, managing director and head of credentialing, said that in future he expects the pass rate, "to approach pre-COVID historical levels in time -- so long as pandemic conditions subside.

" As we have said before, the exams and the process for setting the minimum passing score have not changed," added Jobst. "Unfortunately, the many challenges posed by life during a pandemic have clearly made the process more daunting.”

Jobst implied that the new low pass rate might also have something to do with a surge of repeat candidates taking exams in India in the July sitting ("Level I exams proceeded in India in July whereas the May exams did not occur due to public-health regulations. As a result, we are pleased that many deferred candidates have been able to take their exams thus far in 2021 – and many more will do so in the months to come.")

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash



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