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CFA Level 1 candidates who passed exam face horror of voided scores

As we explained here a few days ago, it's probably worth taking the CFA Level 1 exams if you're a student hoping to get a job in banking. But be warned, that even if you pass the notoriously difficult exams, you face having your pass voided if you fail to complete some extra tasks.

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Yesterday, CFA Institute informed candidates who sat the CFA Level 1 exams in February whether they'd passed or not. 44% did, which was the highest pass rate since May 2023 and far below the depths of the 22% pass rate in July 2021 when the pandemic was disrupting studying and cancelling exams.

Passing CFA exams is no longer simply a question of exceeding the minimum passing score, though. As of this year, for the first time ever, candidates must also complete something known as the 'practical skills modules.' These comprise '10-20 hours of videos and practice case studies.' Students who don't watch the videos and partake of the case studies will have their exams voided, even if they pass them. They will then need to re-register as a CFA Level 1 candidate, pay the fees again, and go through the entire rigmarole of retaking the exams, hoping they don't fail.   

Writing on Reddit, the CFA Institute account says the deadline for completing the practical skills modules is 11 April, 11:59 pm ET. Writing on its own site, CFA Institute says: "If you do not complete a PSM by the time results are released, your exam result will be voided, and you will not be provided with a pass or fail result." CFA Institute didn't immediately respond to a request to comment on which is correct. 

CFA Institute introduced the practical skills modules (PSMs) for students who sat the Level I exams in February. It plans to roll them out to the Level II exams too from May 2024 and to add them to Level III from 2025.

Given that passing CFA exams already requires a grueling amount of work (one successful candidate says he studied for 600 hours and answered 2,000 practice questions), some are questioning why they now need to spend another 20 hours watching CFA Institute videos. Others are suggesting it might be a method to raise more money. "CFA would love nothing more than to void a bunch of results for resit fees," suggested someone.

Photo by Igor Omilaev on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Qu
    7 April 2024

    They took 500 pages out of the testable curriculum (they are available in the prerequisites section). Trading 500 pages of testable content for 15-20 hours of PSMs (which more directly translate to skills in an analyst job) is actually a total reduction in effort required. Sorry if their study planning was subpar and did not include the PSMs. That would stink. Not sure how many actual candidates had scores voided if any.

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