analyzing cfa level 1 results

After spending months prepping for your CFA Level I exam, you’ll want to understand your results so that you can plan your next steps—retaking Level I or prepping for Level II. Here’s what you need to know:

How do you get your results?

Level I CFA candidates are provided with a "pass" or "did not pass" message via email on the result date. The email will inform you of the percentage of students who passed, and it will provide a link to detailed information on your performance. If you can’t wait for the email, you can also try checking your results on the CFA Institute’s website.

How long do results take?

For Levels I and II, candidates can expect to receive results within 60 days of the exam date.

How do you understand your results?

CFA Institute provides a guide to understanding your results. You can read it here.

Do results expire?

No. Your results do not expire. However, your access to your detailed information does.

What should you do with your results?

We recommend that you download the results to your computer. They will be only be available online until approximately one year after the exam date. After this date, candidates will have to request an official result by writing a letter. That result only shows "pass" or "did not pass," and the topic area performance summary will be unavailable. Save your detailed results while you still have access to them!

What is the Minimum Passing Score (MPS)?

To pass your CFA exam, you have to meet the minimum passing score (MPS) set individually for each ended exam. The MPS may vary from year to year, but our best guess is that it probably never exceeds 70 percent. Neither the MPS nor individual candidate score information is ever released to the public. We have also found out that if you are slightly below the MPS, there is an “ethics adjustment,” meaning that the institute will look at your marks on “ethics” and may pass you based on that.  

What if you fail?

We highly encourage candidates who do not pass to use their personal exam result information to guide their studies for the next time. You may opt to get a retabulation, but it comes with an expense and is unlikely to change your “did not pass” to a “pass.” Find your weak areas, and work on those. Then, re-take the exam at a later date. There is no limit to the number of times you can take each exam. The CFA Institute also allows candidates to take as much time as necessary to complete all three levels of the program.

What if you pass?

Congratulations! You can register yourself for Level II as soon as the day after you get your results. Or, you can opt to take a break. Remember, your results will never expire!

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If you want to get a baseline score before you take the CFA Level I exam, take our mock exam first!

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