The Number Of Candidates Who Passed One Of The Hardest Financial Tests In The World Was Highest Since 2006


The number of candidates who passed what many consider to be one of the hardest standardized tests in the world was the highest its been in 12 years. A record 35,518 people took the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam in June, an 18 percent international spike from a year ago, and 56 percent of the test takers passed the Level III exam. For reference, in 2010, just 46 percent of candidates passed the test, which tests everything from financial modeling to derivatives to business ethics (*in Billy Madison voice*).

According to Bloomberg, candidates spend an average of 300 hours studying for each exam and typically take four years to complete the series of three tests.

You can see the passing rates below from the CFA Institute website.

June 2018 exam pass rate:

  • Level I: 43%
  • Level II: 45%
  • Level III: 56%

December 2017 exam pass rate:

  • Level I: 43%

June 2017 exam pass rate:

  • Level I: 43%
  • Level II: 47%
  • Level III: 54%

As Business Insider points out, “of a total of 179,241 people who took a level of the exam this year, 83,339 passed. That’s an overall pass rate of 46.5% and means 95,902 people did not pass.” Only one in five candidates who start the CFA program make it through all three levels to become a charter holder.

The grueling test and man hours required to complete the series typically pays off–as doors open for job opportunities and the pay for a CFA rise considerably. It’s especially appealing to candidates who want to get a leg up but don’t want to shell out the tens of thousands of dollars an MBA would require. The average CFA cost hovers around $2,500 total for the program.

Via The Balance Careers:

When you consider the average pay for various CFA positions, the most highly paid work as a chief financial officers earns on average about $167,000 a year. Portfolio managers earn about $101,000, senior financial analysts earn around $83,000, financial analysts earn about $62,500, and securities or investment analysts earn around $70,000. Research analysts earn about $72,000.

If you’re thinking of becoming a CFA, be prepared to kiss your social life goodbye for an extended period of time. But you’ll be better for it in the long run.

[h/t Business Insider]

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Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.