CFA exams are not very easy

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Figures just out from the CFA Institute confirm what has long been known to be the case: the CFA Level 1 exam is no pushover.

A mere 35% of candidates who took the exam last December passed it, down from 39% in 2007.

Could it be that rather than succumbing to the dumbing down prevalent elsewhere in education, the CFA is actually making its exams harder? Or is it simply that more and more (low calibre) people are taking them?

We suspect it's the latter. Between 2007 and 2008 alone, the number of people sitting Level 1 rose 25% to 36k, and candidates have increased 45% since 2003. With so many more entrants, the pass rate needs to remain low if the CFA is to retain any cachet. Expect it to fall even further in future.

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