Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Pass Rate

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The CFA exam grading is performed yearly by machines and charterholders. Then, the CFA Institutes will use a methodology to determine a minimum passing score which is applied to each level of the exam. Well, the score is not made public.

You may know that the CFA exam pass rate is low. That’s because it is such a challenging exam with three levels. Reportedly, the percentage of people who pass all the levels is small, particularly when you consider that the passing rate for level 1 is less than half.

To make it easier for you to know the CFA exam pass rate, you can dive into our post to find it. Let’s check it out!

The Recent CFA Exam Pass Rate

We will show you the CFA exam pass rates for all levels of the CFA exams. Let’s see the highlighted CFA exam pass rate per level!

  • CFA Level I Exam Pass Rate: May 2022 CFA Level I exam pass rate: 38%
  • CFA Level II Exam Pass Rate: February 2022 CFA Level II exam pass rate: 44%
  • CFA Level III Exam Pass Rate: May 2022 CFA Level III exam pass rate: 49%

Here are they:

Level I

CFA Level I Exam Administration CFA Level I Exam Pass Rate
December 2020 Level I Exam 49% pass rate
February 2021 Level I Exam 42% pass rate
May 2021 Level I Exam 25% pass rate
July 2021 Level I Exam 22% pass rate
August 2021 Level I Exam 26% pass rate
November 2021 Level I Exam 27% pass rate
February 2022 Level I Exam 36% pass rate
May 2022 Level I Exam 38% pass rate

As you can see on the table, those recent pass rates have been noticeably low. In history, the July 2021 pass rate of 22% was the lowest that was the beginning of a trend which has only slightly corrected since.

That’s why the fear within the CFA community is extremely high, thus candidates should make a huge investment of time and money only to yield a devastating result. However, the CFA Institute has not given much information as to why the Level 1 pass rate is so much lower than previous exam administrations.

Level II

CFA Level II Exam Administration CFA Level II Exam Pass Rate
December 2020 Level II Exam 55% pass rate
February 2021 Level II Exam 46% pass rate
May 2021 Level II Exam 40% pass rate
August 2021 Level II Exam 29% pass rate
November 2021 Level II Exam 46% pass rate
February 2022 Level II Exam 44% pass rate

It is known that the results from recent level 2 CFA exams have varied. Well, from the August 2021 exam (29%) is the only significantly lower-than-average pass rate. It seems that dip is a part of a similarly alarming trend as level I’s consistently declining pass rates. In fact, the February 2022 exam pass rate of 44% marks that level II candidates will be back on track as results get to normalize.

Level III

CFA Level III Exam Administration CFA Level III Exam Pass Rate
December 2020 Level III Exam 56% pass rate
February 2021 Level III Exam 57% pass rate
May 2021 Level III Exam 42% pass rate
August 2021 Level III Exam 39% pass rate
November 2021 Level III Exam 43% pass rate
May 2022 Level III Exam 49% pass rate

As you can see on the table, the May 2022 level III CFA exam pass rate was around 49% that continues the low pass rate trend that they have seen in 2021. Well, the results of May are above the 2021 average Level III pass rate that is a positive sign for future Level II pass rates.

Just like the level I and level II results, it is not clear why pass rates have been so low for recent exams, but their goal remains the same to assist you become a CFA charterholder. You are lucky if you passed the exam. If you fail, they will help you to take the next best step forward and will be dedicated to helping you reach your professional goals.

They will lay out a tactical plan for what your next steps would be, especially if you received your results and failed the CFA exam. As of 2022, CFA pass rate for level I will be granted four times a year to correspond with the exam windows. Also, as of 2022, CFA pass rate for levels II and III will be granted for each window.

Why Are Recent CFA Exam Pass Rates So Low?

You may notice the stark contrast between the 2021 scores and the 2020 scores. Of course, there has been all sorts of speculation about the reasons for the low scoring. But, it is reportedly still a limited data set among years of data sets.

Well, it is the best time to wait to check if the next round of scores is more on par with early early 2021 and late 2020 scores or even if they remain low before looking for the cause, well, it is a great time for you to take a consideration a CFA exam prep package that can increase your odds of being in the passing statistics, especially if you have not taken the exam yet and those scores concern you.

How Difficult Is the CFA Exam?

If you have a plan to pass the CFA exam, you should prepare for a challenge at any level. Based on the recent passing rates, the CFA exams are considered to be hard exams. For levels I and level II, you may be expected to know the major concepts regarding those topics and how they are applied:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Economics
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Issuers
  • Equity Investments
  • Fixed Income
  • Derivatives
  • Alternative Investments
  • Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning

For Level III, you may have to use your knowledge to evaluate certain finance scenarios and make recommendations. Keep in mind, no level of CFA exam is easy, so you should prepare and learn more and more to pass the CFA exam.

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