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"I feel like a buffoon:" CFA level II pass rates down again

After the controversy surrounding CFA® Institute following declining pass rates for its flagship qualifications during the pandemic, today's revelation that only 40% of August exam sitters succeeded in passing the CFA Level II exam has reopened a wound.

Unbelievable”, said one Reddit user, as the test hit its lowest pass rate since the controversial exams of August 2021, when only 30% of candidates succeeded. 

The 40% pass rate for CFA Level II in August was marginally better than 37% August pass rate for CFA Level I, released last week. Both numbers were significantly below the historic pass rates (41 per cent and 46 per cent for Levels I & II, respectively). However, things are at least looking up from the historic lows of 2021, when just 22% of people sitting the Level I exams in June passed and just 29% passed Level II in August. 

This is unlikely to be much consolation, however. "I’m heartbroken. I felt so confident leaving," one test taker, speaking on Reddit, said. "My third attempt and I didn't pass... I don’t know what to do. I feel like giving up."

Another unsuccessful candidate said: "My second fail and somehow significantly worse than my first time around? I don’t understand... I'm going to pack it up."

"Three times and I’m embarrassed to show my face in front of my coworkers in equity research. I’m going to try one more time... After that, I’m giving up. I’m 32 in equity research and strongly considering just giving up on this career path if I can’t pass it. I feel like a buffoon. I thought I did so well," an anonymous poster stated.

Although the CFA Charter was generally considered important for a career in finance, there are suggestions that it's becoming outdated. Studying for the exams has also been noted to put severe pressures on some students' mental health.

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Photo by Teslariu Mihai on Unsplash

AUTHORZeno Toulon
  • M
    14 October 2022

    The only upside to the CFA is if you're going for a job interview against someone without it.

  • ro
    13 October 2022

    According to CFA Institute figures the total number of exam entrants exceeded 200k for the first time in 2017, reaching 256k in 2018 and 270k in 2019. A long trend of year-on-year growth appears to have reversed in 2021 with just 229k entrants. It remains to be seen if this is a temporary effect due to the frustrations of lockdown, a loss of interest due to some unreasonably low pass rates in recent sittings (which would be a real shot-in-the foot for the institute), or a genuine waning of interest due to the qualification being seen as outdated.

  • Su
    11 October 2022

    Dear Author, If CFA exam is becoming outdated then why are you writing negative articles on them (CFAI) after every 2 months?? Because, generally people like to read about things which are in current trend and not outdated.
    In fact, writing/thinking negative about someone (person/institute) results in higher stress level and may affect mental health of writer as well as reader. pls take care

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