CFA Level 1 Passing Score

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Reportedly, there are only 20% of the people who managed their CFA exam to the end and finally earned their CFA license. To pass the CFA exam, you must have an organized and disciplined approach to conquer this beast.

The CFA exams will start from level I. That’s where you need to prepare yourself in order to pass the next CFA exams. Beforehand, you will also have to know the CFA Level passing score, so you will have a reference value for you to achieve. Let’s find out the CFA Level I passing score in our post!

Get to Know CFA Level I Passing Score

It is known that each level of CFA has its own criteria to determine its passing score. For each level, the CFA Institute Board of Governors determines the MPS, and it changes with each cycle of new candidates.

Some years, the candidates will receive a 65% overall score and fail, while in other years candidates have received a 62% score and passed. How the weighted rating will determine how your overall score will turn out. Generally, any score of 70% or higher must be a passing score.

Talking about CFA Level I Pass Rate, it is not easy to get your CFA certification. In this case, the level I test is purposely designed to be fairly hard, but for a good reason. The CFA Institute Board of Governors intentionally determines the bar high so that only those with a deep and broad understanding of the subject matter move forward to level 2, and the pass rate actually supports that philosophy. On average, only 38% of candidates who can take the CFA level I test pass the exam.

Here’s level I CFA exam pass rated (2015 – 2022)!

Level 1 CFA Exam Pass Rate
May 2022 Exam 38%
Feb 2022 Exam 36%
Nov 2021 Exam 27%
Aug 2021 Exam 26%
July 2021 Exam 22%
May 2021 Exam 25%
February 2021 Exam 44%
December 2020 Exam 49%
June 2020 Exam postponed
December 2019 Exam 42%
June 2019 Exam 41%
December 2018 Exam 45%
June 2018 Exam 43%
December 2017 Exam 43%
June 2017 Exam 43%
December 2016 Exam 43%
June 2016 Exam 43%
December 2015 Exam 43%
June 2015 Exam 42%

How Does the CFA Scoring Work?

There may be some fluctuation in scoring, due to the CFA exam grading is performed by a mix of both human and machine. In the case of developing a methodology to determine a minimum passing score can mitigate any noticeable effects of human grading variance.

With a 10% audit which is checked by humans, the multiple-choice questions for all CFA exam levels are graded by machine. In this case, the essay portion of Level 3 that is also known as ‘Constructed Response’ is graded by CFA charterholders who journey to Charlottesville, VA to assess the response during a process which takes two entire weeks.

In the case of assessment, the graders will be put on teams, and each team grades a question with a rubric which is provided by the CFA Institute. A variety of charterholder levels and a grader of graders during the first week of grading will grade all the exams, but also observe each other’s work to make sure consistency.

The middle fifty percent of exam scores in the second week are graded a second time. The exams are then graded for a third time, if there is a large variance in grading. Then, the exams are assigned a Minimum Passing Score or MPS.

Well, the MPS here is considered a benchmark to set if a given candidate has passed or failed the CFA exam. The MPS will vary from year to year and will be set by CFA charterholders on the CFA Institute Board of Governors.

The CFA Institute Board of Governors basically sets the MPS for level I and Level II about 6 weeks after the exam completion and grading during this scoring phase. The MPS will be set about 7 weeks for level 3, once exam completion and grading.

The candidates will not get a conventional numerical score for their exams. It is then used as the baseline and applied to all graded exams, after the CFA Institute Board of Governors have determined the Minimum Passing Score.

After that, the candidates will be allowed to view their results. In this case, a candidate will be given a final determination of ‘Pass’ or ‘Did not pass’ as their exam score or result. A summary of how they performed in each topic on the exam is to accompany their pass or fail determination with the maximum possible points for each topic.

Additionally, the score will be expressed as being in one of three ranges, either below 50%, between 50 and 70% or over 70%.

Get to Know about CFA Level 2 Passing Score

In addition to knowing the CFA level 1 passing score, you also need to know the CFA level 2 passing score. To pass CFA level 2 exam, you should need a score of at least 65% in order to have a good opportunity of passing, even though from year to year any score under 70% can be a pass or fail based on that year’s weighted scoring.

Once again, the CFA Institute Board of Governors will set the MPS and determine whether or not each candidate is within the passing range. You must have a good opportunity of passing the second level of the CFA, as long as you score well on the multiple-choice questions.

Get to Know about CFA Level 3 Passing Score

To pass the CFA level 3 exam, your score should be approximately 60% during each testing portion of the level 3 exam. That’s often placed in the 60% range when the MPS is determined for the level 3 exam.

Therefore, if you only score roughly 50% in the morning section, you will have to score roughly 70% in the afternoon to decrease the difference and provide you the best opportunity at being above the minimum MPS for the level 3 exam.

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