CFA Exam Results

CFA® exam results are out! If you didn’t pass, try not to feel discouraged. June is just around the corner. Here are six things you can do right now to ensure you’re ready for the next time.

1) Keep Things in Perspective

LOTS of people have to take it more than once. In fact, successful candidates take an average of four years to earn their CFA® charter. In the CFA Program curriculum, Michael Porter describes how a lower threat of new entrants often leads to higher ROIC and growth opportunities. The same goes for candidacy in the CFA Program. These exams are difficult. The barriers to entry are high. This is why The Economist referred to the CFA® Program as the “gold standard” for measuring ethical conduct and competency in portfolio management and investment.

2) Hang in There, It’s Worth It

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”

In other words, try to think of this temporary setback as an exercise in character building. Seriously. You’ll be better for it in the end, and chances are friends, colleagues and family will admire you all the more for sticking with it and seeing the task through to completion—no matter what it takes.

3) Get Support from Friends, Family and Colleagues

The CFA exam is one of the hardest exams there is, so be honest and make sure those who know you understand how hard you worked and that you’re disappointed. They should be able to offer the emotional support you need right now.

When it comes to colleagues, you might want to think twice before sharing your results. It is not uncommon to experience jealousy and anger from colleagues for taking the initiative to become a candidate. We’ve also heard of instances where bosses either directly or indirectly indicated they would rather their subordinates put in overtime than prepare for these rigorous exams.

4) Analyze Your Results and Review Your Study Schedule

Remember, there is a strong correlation between study hours and pass rates. On average, candidates need to study at least 300 hours, so if you spent less time than this you may be in a stronger position to pass with a little more preparation time. If you studied more than 300 hours, make sure you review your results so you can focus and adjust your study schedule this time around.

The correspondence from the Institute will read something like this:

| < 50 | 50-70 | > 70

Ethics                 *

QM          *

Econ                            *

FRA                   *

CF                               *

PM                              *

Equity                *

FI                       *

Derivatives                 *

Alternatives                 *

Believe it or not, the above would  likely not result in a pass socre.


Because Ethics, QM, FRA, and Equity make up about 60% of the exam at Level I and Level II.

Make sure to focus on these heavily weightage topic areas next cycle.

Another piece of advice is to resist the temptation to improve in low weightage areas.  Your target should be to get > 70% in these four areas.

5) Commit and Get a Plan

If you decide to re-sit, make sure you get a study schedule quickly. The sooner you have a plan and start, the fewer hours each week you will have to study — and that translates to a better work/life balance. Look for a prep provider that offers you the ability to create a personalized plan down to the day to suit your busy schedule.

6) Dust Yourself Off and Get Back Up Again

The sooner you actually start studying, the easier it will be as the content will be fresher in your mind. Remember, if you’re on a Wiley course, you will continue to have full access to your course, including all updates and upgrades, until you pass.

That even includes access to all online live classes and mentoring if you purchased our Platinum or Gold course.

So what are you waiting for? Get started and cross the finish line next time.