Candidate Survey

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This survey was created following the June 2018 exams with the goal of helping r/CFA, along with other future candidates, gain insight into exam preparation and results distributions. We have had more than 3,000 responses to date and with every data point collected, the data improves. Responses are collected for two weeks following results day.


The links below will bring you to the results survey(s) and the sections in this wiki will highlight certain areas, along with providing potential answers to questions frequently asked by candidates including "I am scoring xx% on mocks, will I be okay?" or "when should I begin studying?"


June 2019 CFA Results Survey

Level I
Level II
Level III


Important Disclosure: The nature of how this data was collected involves bias for the following reasons. a) test-takers who receive a fail result may have less desire to respond to a survey about the exam. b) responses were almost entirely sourced from the subreddit r/CFA. In the collection of this data and sharing of the results some have commented that this sample is more likely to be well versed in, or socially involved with, the CFA curriculum. This causes the sample to be more representative of the r/CFA community than the entire population of test-takers.


Resulting from the inherent bias, each level's sample pass rate is considerably higher than the populations, I encourage you to interpret the data with this in mind. The way I choose to interpret the pass rates in my own analysis is to use each level's sample pass rate as a benchmark. For example, say the Level I sample pass rate is 91.4% and 92.5% of respondents that took three mock exams passed - this could suggest that taking three mocks would provide a slight edge when compared to a sample of over 1,500 test-takers that accomplished a 91.4% pass rate. I have included the 'relative' column in each pass rate table for this purpose, though it must still be viewed relatively to the sample for each respective response.


Survey Sample and Population

As mentioned above, the sample for the surveys is more likely to be well versed in, or socially involved with, the CFA curriculum than the entire population of test-takers. Additionally, those who fail are less likely to complete a survey on their exam result, which seems to be reflected in the higher pass rate for the survey compared to the population pass rate. As a testament to this, here is how the sample compares to the population, across levels.

Level I

Exam Date Sample Population Share Sample Pass Rate Population Pass Rate
December 2019 568 73,688 0.77% 93.0% 41.6%
June 2019 476 83,656 0.57% 89.7% 41.3%
December 2018 442 77,245 0.57% 91.4% 44.9%
June 2018 220 79,507 0.28% 90.9% 43.5%
Total Level I 1,706 314,096 0.54% 91.4% 42.8%

Level II

Exam Date Sample Population Share Sample Pass Rate Population Pass Rate
June 2019 575 74,735 0.77% 88.2% 44.1%
June 2018 317 64,216 0.49% 83.9% 44.9%
Total Level II 892 138,951 0.64% 86.7% 44.5%

Level III

Exam Date Sample Population Share Sample Pass Rate Population Pass Rate
June 2019 384 38,377 1.00% 93.2% 55.7%
June 2018 158 35,518 0.44% 91.1% 56.1%
Total Level III 542 73,895 0.73% 92.6% 55.9%

MPS Estimates

The CFA Institute does not disclose what the Minimum Passing Score (MPS) is. The survey has two parts, the first focuses on preparation and learning more about the sample. The second part asks respondents to provide detail about where they scored and to provide estimates for the 10th and 90th percentiles. Using the responses and the methodology below, an attempt to estimate the MPS is made for each exam. Only approximately one-third of respondents elect to complete this portion, making the data set smaller.


MPS Estimates
Level December 2019 June 2019 December 2018 June 2018
I 64.8% 63.8% 64.2% 63.8%
II N/A 62.8% N/A 63.2%
III N/A 57.4% N/A 55.3%


Methodology: Only responses that completed every topic area were used. Topic areas were weighted as assigned by the CFA Institute and multiplied by the estimated scores broken out in the performance section. The methodology behind the estimated scores can be found in the table below. If a respondent scored between two levels (e.g. between 70% and the 90th percentile) and selected an estimate for proximity to a level (on a scale of 1 - 3, 1 being closer to 70% & 3 being closer to the 90th percentile) they were assigned the product of 0.25 multiplied by the proximity they chose multiplied by the difference between the upper and lower bound. This figure was then added to the lower bound. All other topic areas were weighted as assigned by the CFA Institute and multiplied by the estimated scores broken out in the performance section. Topic areas were weighted as assigned by the CFA Institute and multiplied by the estimated scores broken out in the performance section. The midpoint between the max score estimate recorded by respondents who failed and the minimum score estimate recorded by respondents who passed was assigned a 25% weight. The midpoint between the 90th percentile of fail responses and the 10th percentile of pass responses was assigned a 75% weight. The sum of these two values is how I arrived at my MPS estimate.


A more detailed breakdown by topic area score estimates can be found in each level's respective 'Topic Area Breakdown' portion. The table below shows how the responses were used to determine the different topic area's score estimates.


Response Methodology
Above the 90th percentile 15% of the distance between the 90th percentile & 100%
Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile The estimated mean of the 90th percentile
Between 70% and the 90th percentile Midpoint between the mean of the 90th percentile & 70%
Pretty darn close to 70% 70%
Between 50% and 70% 60%
Pretty darn close to 50% 50%
Between the 10th percentile and 50% Midpoint between the mean of the 10th percentile & 50%
Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile The estimated mean of the 10th percentile
Below the 10th percentile Midpoint between 20% & the mean of the 10th percentile


Level I

The Level I MPS appears to be around 64% using the methodology above.


Exam Date & Result Sample Mean Range Std. Dev. 10th Percentile
December 2019 - Pass 267 74.6% 61.3% - 84.6% 6.3% 65.7%
June 2019 - Pass 177 74.4% 60.8% - 84.5% 6.0% 64.0%
December 2018 - Pass 142 75.1% 59.2% - 85.7% 6.6% 66.2%
June 2018 - Pass 58 72.4% 58.5% - 84.5% 6.7% 63.8%
Total Level I - Pass 644 74.5% 58.5% - 85.7% 6.3% 65.7%


Exam Date & Result Sample Mean Range Std. Dev. 10th Percentile
December 2019 - Fail 13 57.0% 43.2% - 68.8% 6.6% 63.9%
June 2019 - Fail 16 58.3% 51.4% - 65.0% 4.2% 64.3%
December 2018 - Fail 12 57.5% 43.5% - 64.0% 5.7% 64.0%
June 2018 - Fail 1 51.9% 51.9% - 51.9% N/A 51.9%
Total Level I - Fail 42 57.5% 43.2% - 68.8% 5.4% 63.9%



  • L1EstimatesTS.11.PNG
  • Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 10.5% 77.2% 9.6% 64.2% 11.4%
    Corporate Finance 8.5% 77.5% 10.2% 59.1% 11.0%
    Economics 10.0% 70.7% 12.0% 52.4% 13.7%
    Equity Investments 10.5% 78.0% 9.4% 58.0% 12.9%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 15.0% 75.0% 8.4% 65.8% 11.8%
    Fixed Income 10.5% 71.8% 11.1% 56.3% 12.8%
    Financial Reporting & Analysis 17.5% 70.2% 11.8% 49.2% 10.8%
    Portfolio Management 6.5% 72.3% 11.2% 61.3% 13.3%
    Quantitative Methods 11.0% 71.1% 12.4% 52.7% 14.7%


Overall it appears that the most difficult areas are Quantitative Methods, Economics, and Financial Reporting & Analysis while the best performing areas are Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, and Ethical & Professional Standards. Below the topic area score estimates are broken down by each exam. Observing the changes in mean scores by topic area through the years may imply that certain areas have become more difficult over time, while others have become easier. A more detailed breakdown of score estimates by topic area can be found in the "Topic Area Breakdown" section for Level I.


  • L1EstimatesD19.1.PNG
  • December 2019
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 12% 77.4% 9.3% 61.8% 13.6%
    Corporate Finance 10% 78.4% 9.4% 62.2% 13.5%
    Economics 10% 74.1% 10.5% 57.0% 14.6%
    Equity Investments 11% 81.2% 8.6% 57.0% 15.1%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 15% 74.6% 8.1% 64.0% 14.3%
    Fixed Income 11% 72.3% 10.8% 57.3% 16.5%
    Financial Reporting & Analysis 15% 69.1% 12.5% 43.7% 13.0%
    Portfolio Management 6% 74.1% 11.0% 60.2% 12.5%
    Quantitative Methods 10% 72.5% 12.0% 55.5% 17.6%


    June 2019
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 12% 78.4% 9.3% 67.3% 11.2%
    Corporate Finance 10% 76.0% 9.4% 57.4% 10.8%
    Economics 10% 69.2% 13.0% 49.2% 15.4%
    Equity Investments 11% 76.7% 9.0% 59.7% 10.7%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 15% 75.6% 8.9% 68.5% 11.8%
    Fixed Income 11% 75.5% 9.8% 59.5% 9.0%
    Financial Reporting & Analysis 15% 72.2% 11.2% 51.6% 7.3%
    Portfolio Management 6% 72.0% 10.5% 65.4% 12.2%
    Quantitative Methods 10% 71.4% 11.1% 51.2% 11.5%
  • L1Estimates.PNG


  • L1EstimatesD18.PNG
  • December 2018
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 9% 77.9% 8.2% 63.2% 9.5%
    Corporate Finance 7% 77.5% 11.4% 58.5% 10.4%
    Economics 10% 68.2% 11.8% 51.9% 10.8%
    Equity Investments 10% 74.8% 9.5% 57.8% 13.9%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 15% 74.8% 8.2% 64.8% 9.8%
    Fixed Income 10% 67.3% 11.1% 51.3% 12.8%
    Financial Reporting & Analysis 20% 72.7% 9.4% 51.9% 11.7%
    Portfolio Management 7% 71.6% 11.8% 58.5% 15.0%
    Quantitative Methods 12% 70.7% 13.7% 53.2% 14.1%


    June 2018
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 9% 71.8% 12.8% 60.0% N/A
    Corporate Finance 7% 78.4% 12.2% 50.0% N/A
    Economics 10% 66.5% 12.2% 50.0% N/A
    Equity Investments 10% 77.1% 9.5% 43.7% N/A
    Ethical & Professional Standards 15% 75.2% 8.3% 60.0% N/A
    Fixed Income 10% 69.6% 11.7% 50.0% N/A
    Financial Reporting & Analysis 20% 62.5% 11.9% 50.0% N/A
    Portfolio Management 7% 65.8% 10.5% 50.0% N/A
    Quantitative Methods 12% 63.8% 13.0% 26.8% N/A
  • L1EstimatesJ18.PNG

Level II

The Level II MPS appears to be around 63% using the methodology above.


Exam Date & Result Sample Mean Range Std. Dev. 10th Percentile
June 2019 - Pass 228 69.4% 48.8% - 81.3% 6.5% 60.4%
June 2018 - Pass 69 72.1% 58.3% - 81.3% 6.5% 67.1%
Total Level II - Pass 297 71.4% 48.8% - 82.3% 4.8% 67.1%


Exam Date & Result Sample Mean Range Std. Dev. 10th Percentile
June 2019 - Fail 21 59.0% 45.2% - 70.8% 7.6% 67.2%
June 2018 - Fail 11 57.3% 46.6% - 65.9% 5.3% 65.9%
Total Level II - Fail 32 58.4% 45.2% - 70.8% 6.8% 66.4%


    Total Sample
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 20.0% 70.8% 10.5% 60.9% 14.4%
    Corporate Finance 7.5% 71.8% 16.5% 66.7% 18.0%
    Economics 7.5% 70.3% 16.5% 64.0% 18.7%
    Equity Investments 15.0% 72.0% 10.8% 62.9% 16.9%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 10.0% 71.8% 9.6% 66.2% 12.3%
    Fixed Income 10.0% 77.8% 10.8% 68.1% 17.1%
    Financial Reporting & Analysis 15.0% 62.3% 14.8% 54.6% 15.2%
    Portfolio Management 7.5% 63.6% 14.8% 52.8% 17.5%
    Quantitative Methods 7.5% 72.6% 13.7% 61.5% 17.9%
  • L2EstimatesTS.PNG


Overall it appears that the most difficult areas are Financial Reporting & Analysis, Portfolio Management, and Economics while the best performing areas are Fixed Income, Quantitative Methods, and Equity Investments. Below the topic area score estimates are broken down by each exam. Observing the changes in mean scores by topic area through the years may imply that certain areas have become more difficult over time, while others have become easier. A more detailed breakdown of score estimates by topic area can be found in the "Topic Area Breakdown" section for Level II.


  • L2EstimatesJ19.PNG
  • June 2019
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 20% 70.0% 11.0% 62.6% 15.9%
    Corporate Finance 5% 69.2% 17.5% 69.9% 18.7%
    Economics 5% 69.6% 17.5% 68.2% 19.2%
    Equity Investments 15% 72.3% 11.2% 64.1% 18.7%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 10% 72.0% 8.9% 68.7% 12.2%
    Fixed Income 10% 78.1% 11.2% 72.3% 14.8%
    Financial Reporting & Analysis 15% 59.3% 13.2% 51.8% 15.9%
    Portfolio Management 10% 63.3% 13.7% 55.8% 16.1%
    Quantitative Methods 10% 72.3% 13.0% 66.1% 15.9%


    June 2018
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 20% 73.4% 7.9% 58.1% 9.8%
    Corporate Finance 10% 76.8% 11.0% 57.8% 14.1%
    Economics 10% 72.6% 11.2% 53.4% 14.2%
    Equity Investments 15% 71.3% 9.5% 60.0% 12.1%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 10% 71.3% 11.5% 60.1% 12.0%
    Fixed Income 10% 77.0% 9.7% 55.2% 18.1%
    Financial Reporting & Analysis 15% 72.3% 19.1% 61.7% 13.7%
    Portfolio Management 5% 64.3% 17.8% 43.1% 17.2%
    Quantitative Methods 5% 73.4% 15.5% 44.8% 14.4%
  • L2EstimatesJ18.PNG


Level III

The Level III MPS appears to be around 56% using the methodology above.


Exam Date & Result Sample Mean Range Std. Dev. 10th Percentile
June 2019 - Pass 121 66.6% 63.9% - 78.3% 6.8% 56.6%
June 2018 - Pass 36 65.7% 48.8% - 74.1% 7.5% 55.3%
Total Level III - Pass 157 66.4% 48.8% - 78.3% 6.9% 55.3%


Exam Date & Result Sample Mean Range Std. Dev. 10th Percentile
June 2019 - Fail 7 51.1% 39.7% - 58.8% 6.6% 58.8%
June 2018 - Fail 4 40.0% 37.7% - 41.8% 1.7% 41.8%
Total Level III - Fail 11 47.1% 37.7% - 58.8% 7.6% 58.8%



    Total Sample
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Essay 50.0% 64.2% 8.3% 45.7% 14.9%
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 8.0% 75.2% 10.5% 49.2% 12.1%
    Behavioral Finance 13.8% 66.4% 9.4% 52.0% 6.3%
    Economics 8.3% 67.5% 11.5% 52.5% 18.1%
    Equity Investments 4.5% 66.9% 16.7% 48.6% 14.8%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 5.0% 72.0% 11.6% 65.5% 11.4%
    Fixed Income 6.8% 61.5% 13.4% 45.0% 14.7%
    Trading 3.8% 69.9% 15.8% 53.5% 17.9%
  • L3EstimatesTS.1.PNG


Overall it appears that the most difficult areas are Fixed Income, the Essay, and Behavioral Finance while the best performing areas are Alternatives & Derivatives, Ethical & Professional Standards, and Trading. Below the topic area score estimates are broken down by each exam. Observing the changes in mean scores by topic area through the years may imply that certain areas have become more difficult over time, while others have become easier. A more detailed breakdown of score estimates by topic area can be found in the "Topic Area Breakdown" section for Level III.


  • L3EstimatesJ19.PNG
  • June 2019
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Essay 50.0% 64.0% 8.1% 50.5% 11.6%
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 8.0% 79.0% 9.3% 51.2% 10.8%
    Behavioral Finance 12.5% 65.6% 9.7% 52.3% 6.5%
    Economics 7.5% 70.8% 10.6% 56.1% 19.6%
    Equity Investments 6.5% 72.3% 11.6% 52.3% 13.1%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 5.0% 71.4% 12.3% 65.5% 9.6%
    Fixed Income 8.0% 60.1% 13.5% 39.7% 15.4%
    Trading 2.5% 71.8% 16.0% 58.8% 21.9%


    June 2018
    Topic Area Weight Mean (Pass) St. Dev. (Pass) Mean (Fail) St. Dev. (Fail)
    Essay 50.0% 64.2% 8.7% 39.4% 17.3%
    Alternatives Investments & Derivatives 8.0% 68.3% 10.9% 45.2% 14.2%
    Behavioral Finance 15.0% 68.6% 8.0% 51.5% 5.7%
    Economics 9.0% 60.2% 12.0% 46.8% 16.9%
    Equity Investments 2.5% 54.8% 17.9% 40.1% 11.9%
    Ethical & Professional Standards 5.0% 73.6% 9.5% 65.7% 14.6%
    Fixed Income 5.5% 64.7% 12.6% 52.3% 7.7%
    Trading 5.0% 65.5% 15.0% 46.5% 4.9%
  • L3EstimatesJ18.PNG

Level I

The charts, tables, and commentary below will display highlights of exam preparation and corresponding results distributions, in addition to providing potential answers to questions that are frequently asked by candidates.


Mock Exam Performance

The CFA Institute provides three mock exams. The averages suggest that passers typically will go beyond this amount while those who failed, on average, completed less than the provided mock exams.


Full Mock Exams Completed
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
December 2019 (Pass) 3.7 2.3 528
June 2019 (Pass) 4.1 2.6 427
December 2018 (Pass) 3.5 2.4 404
June 2018 (Pass) 3.9 2.4 200
Total Level I Pass 3.8 2.5 1559
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
December 2019 (Fail) 2.8 1.8 40
June 2019 (Fail) 2.7 2.0 49
December 2018 (Fail) 2.5 2.1 38
June 2018 (Fail) 2.3 2.2 20
Total Level I Fail 2.6 2.0 147


    Full Mocks Taken Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 169 10% 86.4% -5.0%
    1 117 7% 78.6% -12.8%
    2 226 13% 88.1% -3.3%
    3 424 25% 92.5% +1.1%
    4 220 13% 93.2% +1.8%
    5 202 12% 93.6% +2.2%
    6 159 9% 95.6% +4.2%
    7 73 4% 95.9% +4.5%
    8 44 3% 97.7% +6.3%
    9 25 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    10 23 1% 95.7% +4.3%
    11 3 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    12+ 20 1% 100.0% +8.6%
  • L1mockstaken.1.PNG


Below is a chart displaying the average MPS estimates for respondents by number of mock exams completed. It is important to note that only approximately one-third of all exam respondents fully complete the performance section used to calculate the MPS estimate. Keep this reduced sample in mind when interpreting the MPS estimate charts both immediately below and in the other segments MPS estimate data is available for.


L1mockest.11.PNG


Looking in to mock exam scores by prep provider may also offer candidates comfort or insight in to their performance leading up to the exam date.


CFAI Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
December 2019 (Pass) 69.3% 6.7% 434
June 2019 (Pass) 70.1% 6.4% 362
December 2018 (Pass) 69.0% 6.3% 326
June 2018 (Pass) 70.0% 6.0% 172
Total Level I Pass 69.6% 6.5% 1,294
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
December 2019 (Fail) 61.2% 7.6% 32
June 2019 (Fail) 62.4% 5.8% 38
December 2018 (Fail) 61.2% 6.9% 21
June 2018 (Fail) 58.2% 6.6% 13
Total Level I Fail 61.2% 6.7% 104



    CFAI Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 0 0% N/A N/A
    40 - 44% 1 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    45 - 49% 5 0% 40.0% -51.4%
    50 - 55% 39 2% 56.4% -35.0%
    56 - 59% 36 2% 50.0% -41.4%
    60 - 62% 116 7% 85.3% -6.1%
    63 - 64% 102 6% 91.2% -0.2%
    65 - 67% 265 16% 90.6% -0.8%
    68 - 69% 151 9% 95.4% +4.0%
    70 - 72% 286 17% 98.3% +6.9%
    73 - 74% 86 5% 98.8% +7.4%
    75 - 77% 160 9% 99.4% +8.0%
    78 - 79% 50 3% 100.0% +8.6%
    80 - 82% 68 4% 100.0% +8.6%
    83 - 84% 10 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    85 - 87% 13 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    88 - 89% 2 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    90% + 6 0% 83.3% -8.1%
  • L1CFAITS.1.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their CFAI Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L1cmockest.11.PNG


Kaplan Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
December 2019 (Pass) 69.7% 8.4% 215
June 2019 (Pass) 70.1% 8.0% 197
December 2018 (Pass) 69.3% 8.1% 175
June 2018 (Pass) 70.0% 7.4% 102
Total Level I Pass 69.8% 8.1% 689
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
December 2019 (Fail) 58.0% 8.9% 12
June 2019 (Fail) 63.0% 5.4% 20
December 2018 (Fail) 62.6% 6.7% 14
June 2018 (Fail) 63.0% 4.0% 4
Total Level I Fail 61.7% 6.8% 50



    Kaplan Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 0 0% N/A N/A
    40 - 44% 3 0% 66.7% -24.7%
    45 - 49% 2 0% 50.0% -41.4%
    50 - 55% 39 2% 79.5% -11.9%
    56 - 59% 25 1% 84.0% -7.4%
    60 - 62% 72 4% 88.9% -2.5%
    63 - 64% 32 2% 84.4% -7.0%
    65 - 67% 120 7% 88.3% -3.1%
    68 - 69% 64 4% 95.3% +3.9%
    70 - 72% 142 8% 95.8% +4.4%
    73 - 74% 36 2% 100.0% +8.6%
    75 - 77% 81 5% 100.0% +8.6%
    78 - 79% 25 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    80 - 82% 64 4% 100.0% +8.6%
    83 - 84% 10 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    85 - 87% 12 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    88 - 89% 2 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    90% + 5 0% 100.0% +8.6%
  • L1KTS.1.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their Kaplan Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L1kmockest.11.PNG


Wiley Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
December 2019 (Pass) 67.8% 8.7% 24
June 2019 (Pass) 66.5% 9.8% 33
December 2018 (Pass) 69.2% 6.7% 23
June 2018 (Pass) 70.0% 7.3% 9
Total Level I Pass 67.9% 8.5% 89
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
December 2019 (Fail) 62.0% N/A 1
June 2019 (Fail) 57.3% 4.6% 4
December 2018 (Fail) 70.0% N/A 1
June 2018 (Fail) 55.0% 7.1% 2
Total Level I Fail 58.9% 6.4% 8



    Wiley Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 1 0% 100% +8.6%
    40 - 44% 0 0% N/A N/A
    45 - 49% 0 0% N/A N/A
    50 - 55% 8 0% 62.5% -28.9%
    56 - 59% 2 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    60 - 62% 14 1% 71.4% -20.0%
    63 - 64% 8 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    65 - 67% 16 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    68 - 69% 4 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    70 - 72% 21 1% 95.2% +3.8%
    73 - 74% 3 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    75 - 77% 6 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    78 - 79% 2 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    80 - 82% 10 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    83 - 84% 2 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    85 - 87% 0 0% N/A N/A
    88 - 89% 0 0% N/A N/A
    90% + 0 0% N/A N/A
  • L1WTS.1.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their Wiley Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L1wmockest.1.PNG

Study Materials

In addition to the prep provider mock exam scores compared to results, seeing what resources others have commonly used could help a candidate narrow their focus more when selecting study materials.


    Resources Utilized Sample Share Pass Relative
    CFAI Mocks 1,302 76% 93.5% +2.1%
    CFAI Q Bank 1,162 68% 93.6% +2.2%
    CFAI Books 926 54% 90.4% -1.0%
    Kaplan Schweser Textbooks 954 54% 92.8% +1.4%
    r/CFA 649 38% 93.1% +1.7%
    Kaplan Schweser Mocks 629 37% 93.8% +2.4%
    Kaplan Schweser Q Bank 627 37% 93.1% +1.7%
    Mark Meldrum (paid) 217 13% 90.8% -0.6%
    Kaplan Schweser SecretSauce 352 21% 92.6% +1.2%
    Mark Meldrum (free) 459 27% 93.7% +2.3%
    Kaplan Schweser Videos 116 7% 88.8% -2.6%
    Analyst Forum 127 7% 94.5% +3.1%
    Live Mock 93 5% 96.8% +5.4%
    IFT 137 8% 91.2% -0.2%
    300hours.com 111 7% 93.7% +2.3%
    Wiley Mocks 70 4% 90.0% -1.4%
    Wiley Textbooks 65 4% 87.7% -3.7%
    Wiley Q Bank 57 3% 89.5% -1.9%
    Other 65 4% 89.2% -2.2%
    AnalystNotes 90 5% 95.6% +4.2%
    Wiley Videos 38 2% 92.1% +0.7%
    Study Group 30 2% 93.3% +1.9%
    Local CFA Society Sponsored Study Session 25 1% 92.0% 0.6%
    Bloomberg Exam Prep 21 1% 85.7% -5.7%
    LevelUp 0 0% N/A N/A
    Fitch Learning 17 1% 94.1% +2.7%
    Mentor 10 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    Tutor 14 1% 78.6% -12.8%
    N/A (I didn't study) 9 1% 88.9% -2.5%
    GoStudy 2 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    U of T (Toronto) 4 0% 100.0% +8.6%
  • L1resources.11.PNG

Duration of Study

Data on when respondents began studying and how many hours they committed may be useful for a candidate hoping to plan their own pacing schedule. The 300 hours rule of thumb appears to hold true, and respondents typically begin studying in January or February (July or August) and begin revision some time in May (November).


    Hours Studied Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 50 34 2% 85.3% -6.1%
    50 - 100 86 5% 86.0% -5.4%
    100 - 150 151 9% 87.4% -4.0%
    150 - 200 215 13% 86.5% -4.9%
    200 - 250 270 16% 91.5% +0.1%
    250 - 300 291 17% 91.8% +0.4%
    300 -350 280 16% 93.2% +1.8%
    350 - 400 173 10% 94.8% +3.4%
    400 - 450 102 6% 95.1% +3.7%
    450 -500 47 3% 95.7% +4.3%
    500 - 550 22 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    550 - 600 5 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    600+ 30 2% 100.0% +8.6%
  • L1hrsP.11.PNG
  • L1hrsF.1.PNG


The chart below shows MPS estimate averages for hours studied. Unsurprisingly, there seems to be a clear positive correlation between hours studied and exam score.


L1hrsest.11.PNG


    When did you begin studying? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Previous June (December) or Prior 12 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    Previous July (January) 10 1% 60.0% -31.4%
    Previous August (February) 24 1% 95.8% +4.4%
    Previous September (March) 57 3% 89.5% -1.9%
    Previous October (April) 70 4% 94.3% +2.9%
    Previous November (May) 103 6% 94.2% +2.8%
    Previous December (June) 122 7% 93.4% +2.0%
    January (July) 315 18% 92.7% +1.3%
    February (August) 366 21% 91.5% +0.1%
    March (September) 326 19% 89.0% -2.4%
    April (October) 159 9% 91.8% +0.4%
    May (November) 116 7% 90.5% -0.9%
    June (December) 24 1% 83.3% -8.1%
  • L1beginP.11.PNG
  • L1beginF.1.PNG


Below is a chart displaying MPS estimates by start date. There is less of a correlation here than hours studied, though it does noticeably decline as the exam date approaches.


L1studyest.11.PNG


    When did you finish the curriculum? Sample Share Pass Relative
    January (July) or Prior 10 1% 80.0% -11.4%
    Early February (August) 12 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    Late February (August) 12 1% 91.7% +0.3%
    Early March (September) 22 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    Late March (September) 42 2% 95.2% +3.8%
    Early April (October) 86 5% 95.3% +3.9%
    Late April (October) 180 11% 97.2% +5.8%
    Early May (November) 423 25% 93.1% +1.7%
    Late May (November) 353 21% 91.8% +0.4%
    Early June (December) 250 15% 88.8% -2.6%
    Didn't follow explicit curriculum 41 2% 97.6% +6.2%
    I never finished a curriculum 147 9% 80.3% -11.1%
    I chose not to read a curriculum 128 8% 86.7% -4.7%
  • L1endP.111.PNG
  • L1endF.1.PNG

Education, Other Designations, and Work Experience

This section may not assist a candidate in their preparation, but it could help provide a better understanding of the candidate population and how they compare.


    Years of Job Experience Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 1 665 39% 91.4% -N/A
    1 - 2 406 24% 92.9% +1.5%
    2 - 3 193 11% 91.2% -0.2%
    3 - 4 125 7% 93.6% +2.2%
    4 - 5 117 7% 88.9% -2.5%
    5 - 10 143 8% 88.8% -2.6%
    10 - 15 42 2% 88.1% -3.3%
    15+ 15 1% 86.7% -4.7%
  • L1jobexp.11.PNG


One insight that I personally draw from the years of investment related experience compared to job experience is that it seems many candidates may be pursuing the designation in an attempt to break in to the investments industry, or have recently done so.


    Years of Investment Related Job Experience Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 1 1,186 70% 91.3% -0.1%
    1 - 2 250 15% 92.8% +1.4%
    2 - 3 110 6% 93.6% +2.2%
    3 - 4 59 3% 93.2% +1.8%
    4 - 5 45 3% 82.2% -9.2%
    5 - 10 36 2% 88.9% -2.5%
    10 - 15 16 1% 87.5% -3.9%
    15+ 4 0% 75.0% -16.4%
  • L1invjobexp.11.PNG


    Degrees Obtained Sample Share Pass Relative
    Bachelor's Degree (Finance, Econ, Accounting related) 1,192 70% 91.5% +0.1%
    Bachelor's Degree (Non-Finance, Econ, Accounting related) 378 22% 91.8% +0.4%
    MBA 82 5% 93.9% +2.5%
    Post-work / Masters (Non-MBA, MS in Finance) 117 7% 94.9% +3.5%
    MS in Finance 106 6% 94.3% +2.9%
    Associates Degree 47 3% 85.1% -6.3%
    Doctorate 16 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    Juris Doctor 9 1% 100.0% +8.6%
  • L1degrees.11.PNG


    Other Designations Sample Share Pass Relative
    CPA 96 6% 95.8% +4.4%
    FRM 28 2% 100.0% +8.6%
    CFP 26 2% 92.3% +0.9%
    CAIA 17 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    ACCA 24 1% 100.0% +8.6%
    ASA 15 1% 93.3% +1.9%
    CIM 8 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    FSA 6 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    CIMA 6 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    CERA 2 0% 100.0% +8.6%
    AACI 2 0% 100.0% +8.6%
  • L1designations.11.PNG

Other

Description (Age, Gender, Continent, English Speaking, etc.)


    What is your age? Sample Share Pass Relative
    < 25 928 54% 92.3% +0.9%
    25 - 29 566 33% 91.5% +0.1%
    30 - 34 154 9% 86.4% -5.0%
    35 - 39 40 2% 95.0% +3.6%
    40 - 49 12 1% 66.7% -24.7%
    50+ 6 0% 83.3% -8.1%
  • L1age.11.PNG


    What Continent are you from? Sample Share Pass Relative
    North America 934 55% 90.0% -1.4%
    Asia 348 20% 93.4% +2.0%
    Europe 250 15% 92.0% +0.6%
    Australia / Oceania 68 4% 92.6% +1.2%
    Africa 67 4% 94.0% +2.6%
    South America 39 2% 94.9% +3.5%
  • L1cont.1.PNG



    Gender Sample Share Pass Relative
    Male 1,467 86% 91.8% +0.4%
    Female 213 12% 89.7% -1.7%
  • L1gender.11.PNG
  • Is English your first language? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Yes 1,175 69% 90.4% -1.0%
    No 531 31% 93.6% +2.2%
  • L1eng.1.PNG


    First time sitting for that level? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Yes 1,512 89% 91.9% +0.5%
    No 194 11% 87.1% -4.3%
  • L1first.11.PNG

Topic Area Breakdown

This section dissects the responses to each individual topic area more.


Sample: Using the mean of respondents estimated scores, the ranking of difficulty for each topic area is as follows.


1. Financial Reporting & Analysis (Mean 68.9%, St. Dev. 12.8%)

2. Economics (Mean 69.6%, St. Dev. 11.9%)

3. Quantitative Methods (Mean 69.9%, St. Dev. 13.3%)

4. Fixed Income (Mean 70.1%, St. Dev. 11.8%)

5. Portfolio Management (Mean 71.6%, St. Dev. 11.7%)

6. Ethical & Professional Standards (Mean 74.4%, St. Dev. 8.9%)

7. Corporate Finance (Mean 75.5%, St. Dev. 11.9%)

8. Alternative Investments & Derivatives (Mean 76.3%, St. Dev. 11.29%)

9. Equity Investments (Mean 76.9%, St. Dev. 10.7%)


Population: Using respondents estimates for the 90th percentile, the ranking of difficulty for each topic area is as follows.



1. Ethical & Professional Standards (78.7%)

2. Financial Reporting & Analysis (79.4%)

3. Fixed Income (79.5%)

4. Portfolio Management (80.0%)

5. Economics (80.9%)

6. Quantitative Methods (82.1%)

7. Equity Investments (83.3%)

8. Alternative Investments & Derivatives (83.5%)

9. Corporate Finance (85.5%)


It appears that the sample struggles with Quantitative Methods and Economics, while excelling in Fixed Income and Ethical & Professional Standards when compared (relatively) to the total population. The samples scores are slightly lower than the estimated 90th percentile of all test-takers, it is worth noting that none of the sample means for an individual topic area falls below the estimated MPS for Level I.


    Alternative Investments and Derivatives (Weight: 10.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 201 1 202 86.0%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 105 0 105 83.5%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 180 12 192 76.7%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 86 7 93 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 73 12 85 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 9 7 16 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 2 1 3 42.7%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 3 0 3 35.4%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 0 0 27.7%
  • L1ad1.PNG
    Corporate Finance (Weight: 8.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 156 0 156 85.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 104 1 105 85.5%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 220 4 224 77.8%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 91 4 95 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 72 21 93 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 15 6 21 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 3 4 7 43.1%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 1 2 3 36.1%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 0 0 28.1%
  • L1cf1.PNG
    Economics (Weight: 10.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 129 0 129 83.8%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 87 0 87 80.9%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 122 5 127 75.5%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 125 4 129 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 122 10 132 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 45 5 50 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 21 12 33 42.7%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 4 5 9 35.4%
    Below the 10th percentile 2 2 4 27.7%
  • L1ec2.PNG
    Equity Investments (Weight: 10.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 234 0 234 85.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 111 1 112 83.3%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 157 2 159 76.7%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 80 9 89 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 64 18 82 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 9 3 12 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 4 5 9 43.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 0 1 1 37.0%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 3 3 28.5%
  • L1eq1.PNG
    Ethical & Professional Standards (Weight: 15.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 275 3 278 81.9%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 101 4 105 78.7%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 85 5 90 74.3%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 97 12 109 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 84 13 97 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 13 2 15 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 4 1 5 44.4%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 1 1 2 38.8%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 1 1 29.4%
  • L1et1.PNG
    Fixed Income (Weight: 10.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 206 1 207 82.6%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 61 1 62 79.5%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 112 2 114 74.8%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 86 4 90 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 149 18 167 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 30 8 38 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 16 5 21 41.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 0 1 1 33.1%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 2 2 26.5%
  • L1fi1.PNG
    Financial Reporting & Analysis (Weight: 17.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 169 0 169 82.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 69 0 69 79.4%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 103 0 103 74.7%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 95 1 96 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 157 16 173 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 42 8 50 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 19 10 29 41.6%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 4 5 9 33.2%
    Below the 10th percentile 1 2 3 26.6%
  • L1fra1.PNG
    Portfolio Management (Weight: 6.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 212 2 214 83.0%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 78 3 81 80.0%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 91 5 96 75.0%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 76 5 81 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 149 16 165 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 29 6 35 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 14 6 20 40.8%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 0 0 0 31.6%
    Below the 10th percentile 1 0 1 25.8%
  • L1pm1.PNG
    Quantitative Methods (Weight: 11.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 158 1 159 84.8%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 62 1 63 82.1%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 131 2 134 76.0%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 80 2 82 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 157 14 171 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 49 9 58 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 20 8 28 41.9%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 2 3 5 33.7%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 3 3 26.9%
  • L1qm1.PNG

Level II

The charts, tables, and commentary below will display highlights of exam preparation and corresponding results distributions, in addition to providing potential answers to questions that are frequently asked by candidates.


Mock Exam Performance

The CFA Institute provides three mock exams. The averages suggest that passers typically will go beyond this amount while those who failed, on average, completed less than the provided mock exams.


Full Mock Exams Completed
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Pass) 3.9 2.8 507
June 2018 (Pass) 4.4 3.0 266
Total Level II Pass 4.0 2.9 733
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Fail) 3.5 2.4 68
June 2018 (Fail) 3.5 2.8 51
Total Level II Fail 3.5 2.6 119


    Full Mocks Taken Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 91 10% 84.6% -2.1%
    1 66 7% 86.4% -0.3%
    2 165 18% 85.5% -1.2%
    3 116 13% 76.7% -10.0%
    4 126 14% 94.4% +7.7%
    5 116 13% 84.5% -2.2%
    6 69 8% 91.3% +4.6%
    7 67 8% 86.6% -0.1%
    8 25 3% 96.0% +9.3%
    9 18 2% 100.0% +13.3%
    10 10 1% 90.0% +3.3%
    11 5 1% 60.0% -26.7%
    12+ 18 2% 94.4% +7.7%
  • L2mockstaken.PNG


Below is a chart displaying the average MPS estimates for respondents by number of mock exams completed. It is important to note that only approximately one-third of all exam respondents fully complete the performance section used to calculate the MPS estimate. Keep this reduced sample in mind when interpreting the MPS estimate charts both immediately below and in the other segments MPS estimate data is available for.


L2mockest.PNG


Looking in to mock exam scores by prep provider may also offer candidates comfort or insight in to their performance leading up to the exam date.


CFAI Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Pass) 66.7% 6.9% 414
June 2018 (Pass) 66.7% 6.6% 224
Total Level II Pass 66.7% 6.8% 638
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Fail) 64.1% 8.1% 49
June 2018 (Fail) 59.4% 5.4% 36
Total Level II Fail 62.1% 7.4% 85



    CFAI Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 0 0% N/A N/A
    40 - 44% 1 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    45 - 49% 6 1% 50.0% -36.7%
    50 - 55% 44 5% 70.5% -16.2%
    56 - 59% 32 4% 75.0% -11.7%
    60 - 62% 122 14% 83.6% -3.1%
    63 - 64% 55 6% 85.5% -1.2%
    65 - 67% 162 18% 88.3% +1.6%
    68 - 69% 79 9% 93.7% +7.0%
    70 - 72% 111 12% 96.4% +9.7%
    73 - 74% 20 2% 100.0% +13.3%
    75 - 77% 46 5% 100.0% +13.3%
    78 - 79% 8 1% 87.5% +0.8%
    80 - 82% 24 3% 87.5% +0.8%
    83 - 84% 2 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    85 - 87% 6 1% 83.3 -3.4%
    88 - 89% 1 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    90% + 1 0% 100.0% +13.3%
  • L2CFAITS.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their CFAI Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L2cmockest.PNG


Kaplan Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Pass) 67.6% 8.1% 194
June 2018 (Pass) 67.8% 7.4% 132
Total Level II Pass 67.7% 7.8% 326
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Fail) 62.6% 12.6% 21
June 2018 (Fail) 61.9% 6.0% 19
Total Level II Fail 62.3% 9.9% 40



    Kaplan Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 3 0% 33.3% -53.4%
    40 - 44% 1 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    45 - 49% 1 0% 100% +13.3%
    50 - 55% 21 2% 71.4% -15.3%
    56 - 59% 19 2% 63.2% -23.5%
    60 - 62% 61 7% 88.5% +1.8%
    63 - 64% 17 2% 94.1% +7.4%
    65 - 67% 61 7% 91.8% +5.1%
    68 - 69% 31 3% 96.8% +10.1%
    70 - 72% 70 8% 90.0% +3.3%
    73 - 74% 8 1% 100.0% +13.3%
    75 - 77% 31 3% 96.8% +10.1%
    78 - 79% 11 1% 90.9% +4.2%
    80 - 82% 21 2% 95.2% +8.5%
    83 - 84% 3 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    85 - 87% 5 1% 80.0% -6.7%
    88 - 89% 1 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    90% + 0 0% N/A N/A
  • L2KTS.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their Kaplan Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L2kmockest.PNG


Wiley Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Pass) 64.9% 8.1% 28
June 2018 (Pass) 67.9% 8.4% 18
Total Level II Pass 66.1% 8.3% 46
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Fail) 63.0% 9.2% 4
June 2018 (Fail) 65.0% N/A 1
Total Level II Fail 63.4% 8.0% 5



    Wiley Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 0 0% N/A N/A
    40 - 44% 0 0% N/A N/A
    45 - 49% 1 0% 100.0% +13.3
    50 - 55% 5 1% 80.0% -6.7%
    56 - 59% 2 0% 50.0% -36.7%
    60 - 62% 8 1% 100.0% +13.3%
    63 - 64% 2 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    65 - 67% 10 1% 80.0% -6.7%
    68 - 69% 3 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    70 - 72% 11 1% 100.0% +13.3%
    73 - 74% 0 0% N/A N/A
    75 - 77% 3 0% 66.7% -20.0%
    78 - 79% 1 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    80 - 82% 3 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    83 - 84% 0 0% N/A N/A
    85 - 87% 1 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    88 - 89% 0 0% N/A N/A
    90% + 0 0% N/A N/A
  • L2WTS.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their Wiley Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L2wmockest.PNG

Study Materials

In addition to the prep provider mock exam scores compared to results, seeing what resources others have commonly used could help a candidate narrow their focus more when selecting study materials.


    Resources Utilized Sample Share Pass Relative
    CFAI Mocks 690 77% 88.7% +2.0%
    CFAI Q Bank 653 73% 89.3% +2.6%
    CFAI Books 551 62% 89.3% +0.8%
    Kaplan Schweser Textbooks 492 55% 89.8% +3.1%
    r/CFA 385 43% 89.4% +2.7%
    Kaplan Schweser Mocks 342 38% 90.6% +3.9%
    Kaplan Schweser Q Bank 283 32% 86.9% +0.2%
    Mark Meldrum (paid) 361 40% 85.9% -0.8%
    Kaplan Schweser SecretSauce 226 25% 88.9% +2.2%
    Mark Meldrum (free) 45 5% 84.4% -2.3%
    Kaplan Schweser Videos 82 9% 82.9% -3.8%
    Analyst Forum 68 8% 95.6% +8.9%
    Live Mock 62 7% 90.3% +3.6%
    IFT 24 4% 85.7% -1.0%
    300hours.com 36 4% 88.9% +2.2%
    Wiley Mocks 32 4% 78.1% -8.6%
    Wiley Textbooks 43 5% 74.4% -12.3%
    Wiley Q Bank 34 4% 70.6% -16.1%
    Other 23 3% 78.3% -8.4%
    AnalystNotes 15 2% 93.3% +6.6%
    Wiley Videos 21 2% 71.4% -15.3%
    Study Group 24 3% 79.2% -7.5%
    Local CFA Society Sponsored Study Session 18 2% 88.9% +2.2%
    Bloomberg Exam Prep 8 1% 75.0% -11.7%
    LevelUp 1 0% 0.0% -86.7%
    Fitch Learning 8 1% 75.0% -11.7%
    Mentor 10 1% 70.0% -16.7%
    Tutor 5 1% 60.0% -26.7%
    N/A (I didn't study) 4 0% 50.0% -36.7%
    GoStudy 1 0% 0.0% -86.7%
    U of T (Toronto) 6 1% 83.3% -3.4%
  • L2resources.PNG

Duration of Study

Data on when respondents began studying and how many hours they committed may be useful for a candidate hoping to plan their own pacing schedule. The 300 hours rule of thumb appears to hold true, and respondents typically begin studying in Late January and begin revision in Early May.


    Hours Studied Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 50 7 1% 71.4% -15.3%
    50 - 100 28 3% 75.0% -11.7%
    100 - 150 46 5% 87.0% +0.3%
    150 - 200 83 9% 86.7% +0.0%
    200 - 250 115 13% 84.3% -2.4%
    250 - 300 145 16% 86.2% -0.5%
    300 -350 173 19% 80.9% -5.8%
    350 - 400 126 14% 92.9% +10.7%
    400 - 450 76 9% 97.4% +10.7%
    450 -500 37 4% 86.5% -0.2%
    500 - 550 21 2% 85.7% -1.0%
    550 - 600 11 1% 100.0% +13.3%
    600+ 24 3% 87.5% +0.8%
  • L2hrsP.PNG
  • L2hrsF.PNG


The chart below shows MPS estimate averages for hours studied. Unsurprisingly, there seems to be a clear positive correlation between hours studied and exam score. It also appears that Level II requires more hours of study than Level I.


L2hrsest.PNG


    When did you begin studying? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Previous June or Prior 7 1% 71.4% -15.3%
    Previous July 3 0% 100.0% +13.3%
    Previous August 7 1% 100.0% +13.3%
    Previous September 29 3% 86.2% -0.5%
    Previous October 68 8% 83.8% -2.9%
    Previous November 7 8% 80.8% -5.9%
    Previous December 73 8% 84.9% -1.8%
    January 218 24% 87.2% +0.5%
    February 227 25% 82.4% -4.3%
    March 115 13% 73.9% -12.8%
    April 65 7% 75.4% -11.3%
    May 45 5% 82.2% -4.5%
    June 10 1% 70.0% -16.7%
  • L2beginP.PNG
  • L2beginF.PNG


Below is a chart displaying MPS estimates by start date. There is less of a correlation here than hours studied, though it does noticeably decline as the exam date approaches.


L2studyest.PNG


    When did you finish the curriculum? Sample Share Pass Relative
    January or Prior 7 1% 85.7% -1.0%
    Early February 14 2% 92.9% +6.2%
    Late February 5 1% 100.0% +13.3%
    Early March 16 2% 93.8% +7.1%
    Late March 28 3% 92.9% +6.2%
    Early April 73 8% 93.2% +6.5%
    Late April 119 13% 80.7% -6.0%
    Early May 194 22% 87.6% +0.9%
    Late May 172 19% 85.5% -1.2%
    Early June 150 17% 88.7% +2.0%
    Didn't follow explicit curriculum 23 3% 82.6% -4.1%
    I never finished a curriculum 46 5% 82.6% -4.1%
    I chose not to read a curriculum 42 5% 88.1% +1.4%
  • L2endP.PNG
  • L2endF.PNG

Education, Other Designations, and Work Experience

This section may not assist a candidate in their preparation, but it could help provide a better understanding of the candidate population and how they compare.


    Years of Job Experience Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 1 140 16% 84.3% -2.4%
    1 - 2 199 22% 87.4% +0.7%
    2 - 3 176 20% 90.3% +3.6%
    3 - 4 105 12% 86.7% +0.0%
    4 - 5 102 11% 82.4% -4.3%
    5 - 10 120 13% 88.3% +1.6%
    10 - 15 34 4% 82.4% -4.3%
    15+ 16 2% 81.3% -5.5%
  • L2jobexp.PNG


One insight that I personally draw from the years of investment related experience compared to job experience is that it seems many candidates may be pursuing the designation in an attempt to break in to the investments industry, or have recently done so.


    Years of Investment Related Job Experience Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 1 394 43% 85.2% -1.5%
    1 - 2 196 22% 86.7% +0.0%
    2 - 3 125 14% 93.6% +6.9%
    3 - 4 63 7% 90.5% +3.8%
    4 - 5 59 7% 78.0% -8.7%
    5 - 10 42 5% 90.5% +3.8%
    10 - 15 19 2% 78.9% -7.8%
    15+ 4 0% 75.0% -11.6%
  • L2invjobexp.PNG


    Degrees Obtained Sample Share Pass Relative
    Bachelor's Degree (Finance, Econ, Accounting related) 656 74% 86.9% +0.2%
    Bachelor's Degree (Non-Finance, Econ, Accounting related) 182 20% 83.5% -3.2%
    MBA 71 8% 83.1% -3.6%
    Post-work / Masters (Non-MBA, MS in Finance) 77 9% 89.6% +3.2%
    MS in Finance 79 9% 89.9% +3.2%
    Associates Degree 39 4% 89.7% +3.0%
    Doctorate 12 1% 75.0% -11.7%
    Juris Doctor 3 0% 0.0% -86.7%
  • L2degrees.PNG


    Other Designations Sample Share Pass Relative
    CPA 62 7% 93.5% +6.8%
    FRM 35 4% 91.4% +4.7%
    CFP 19 2% 63.2% -23.5%
    CAIA 16 2% 81.3% -5.5%
    ACCA 13 1% 53.8% -32.9%
    ASA 4 0% 75.0% -11.7%
    CIM 8 1% 87.5% +0.8%
    FSA 3 0% 66.7% -20.0%
    CIMA 4 0% 75.0% -11.7%
    CERA 1 0% 0.0% -86.7%
    AACI 2 0% 50.0% -36.7%
  • L2designations.PNG

Other

Description (Age, Gender, Continent, English Speaking, etc.)


    What is your age? Sample Share Pass Relative
    < 25 322 36% 87.6% +0.9%
    25 - 29 383 43% 86.7% +0.0%
    30 - 34 136 15% 84.6% -2.1%
    35 - 39 36 4% 88.9% +2.2%
    40 - 49 12 1% 83.3% -3.4%
    50+ 3 0% 66.7% -20.0%
  • L2age.PNG


    What Continent are you from? Sample Share Pass Relative
    North America 560 63% 85.9% -0.8%
    Asia 156 17% 91.0% +4.3%
    Europe 101 11% 83.2% -3.5%
    Australia / Oceania 40 4% 87.5% +0.8%
    Africa 18 2% 94.4% +7.7%
    South America 17 2% 82.4% -4.3%
  • L2cont.PNG



    Gender Sample Share Pass Relative
    Male 717 80% 86.2% -0.5%
    Female 96 11% 86.5% -0.2%
  • L2gender.PNG
  • Is English your first language? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Yes 649 73% 85.7% -1.0%
    No 243 27% 89.3% +2.6%
  • L2eng.PNG


    First time sitting for that level? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Yes 705 79% 85.2% -1.5%
    No 187 21% 92.0% +5.3%
  • L2first.PNG

Topic Area Breakdown

This section dissects the responses to each individual topic area more.


Using the mean of respondents estimated scores, the ranking of difficulty for each topic area is as follows (sample).


1. Financial Reporting & Analysis (Mean 61.4%, St. Dev. 15.0%)

2. Portfolio Management (Mean 62.4%, St. Dev. 15.5%)

3. Economics (Mean 69.6%, St. Dev. 16.9%)

4. Alternative Investments & Derivatives (Mean 69.7%, St. Dev. 11.3%)

5. Equity Investments (Mean 71.0%, St. Dev. 11.9%)

6. Corporate Finance (Mean 71.2%, St. Dev. 16.7%)

7. Ethical & Professional Standards (Mean 71.2%, St. Dev. 10.0%)

8. Quantitative Methods (Mean 71.3%, St. Dev. 14.7%)

9. Fixed Income (Mean 76.7%, St. Dev. 12.0%)



Using respondents estimates for the 90th percentile, the ranking of difficulty for each topic area is as follows (population).


1. Financial Reporting & Analysis (70.3%)

2. Portfolio Management (75.9%)

3. Alternative Investments & Derivatives (76.7%)

4. Ethical & Professional Standards (77.1%)

5. Equity Investments (81.8%)

6. Economics (82.0%)

7. Quantitative Methods (84.1%)

8. Fixed Income (87.7%)

9. Corporate Finance (91.8%)



Compared to the total populations 90th percentile estimate, the sample struggled in similar topic areas - underperforming in Economics and Corporate Finance while outperforming in Ethical & Professional Standards.


    Alternative Investments and Derivatives (Weight: 20.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 111 8 119 80.2%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 36 1 37 76.7%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 31 5 36 73.3%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 52 2 54 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 57 9 66 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 19 5 24 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 3 6 9 42.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 4 3 7 35.0%
    Below the 10th percentile 1 0 1 27.5%
  • L2ad.PNG
    Corporate Finance (Weight: 7.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 26 3 29 93.0%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 27 2 29 91.8%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 108 12 120 80.9%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 66 5 71 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 24 4 28 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 43 9 52 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 2 1 3 43.0%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 16 3 19 33.9%
    Below the 10th percentile 4 1 5 27.0%
  • L2cf.PNG
    Economics (Weight: 7.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 99 6 105 84.7%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 53 9 62 82.0%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 4 1 5 76.0%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 55 7 62 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 28 4 32 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 33 7 40 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 3 1 4 41.7%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 20 3 23 33.5%
    Below the 10th percentile 6 3 9 26.7%
  • L2ec.PNG
    Equity Investments (Weight: 15.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 62 6 68 84.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 34 3 37 81.8%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 82 6 88 75.9%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 53 6 59 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 55 6 61 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 16 5 21 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 7 3 10 44.6%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 2 3 5 39.2%
    Below the 10th percentile 1 3 4 29.6%
  • L2eq.PNG
    Ethical & Professional Standards (Weight: 10.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 95 9 104 80.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 66 6 72 77.1%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 35 5 50 73.6%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 44 3 47 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 51 7 58 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 9 5 14 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 3 3 6 46.4%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 7 1 8 42.7%
    Below the 10th percentile 2 1 3 31.4%
  • L2et.PNG
    Fixed Income (Weight: 10.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 54 5 59 89.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 43 1 44 87.7%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 140 14 154 78.8%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 30 5 35 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 28 6 34 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 8 2 10 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 2 5 7 48.3%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 3 0 3 46.5%
    Below the 10th percentile 2 3 5 33.3%
  • L2fi.PNG
    Financial Reporting & Analysis (Weight: 15.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 76 2 78 74.7%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 31 1 32 70.3%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 28 4 32 70.1%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 35 6 41 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 59 9 68 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 41 8 49 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 34 7 41 39.0%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 5 2 7 28.0%
    Below the 10th percentile 2 2 4 24.0%
  • L2fra.PNG
    Portfolio Management (Weight: 7.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 63 3 66 79.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 42 2 44 75.9%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 12 2 14 73.0%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 32 3 35 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 68 6 74 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 49 6 55 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 24 10 34 40.4%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 8 3 11 30.9%
    Below the 10th percentile 3 2 5 25.4%
  • L2pm.PNG
    Quantitative Methods (Weight: 7.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 72 5 77 86.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 37 3 40 84.1%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 78 6 84 77.0%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 33 2 35 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 53 10 63 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 19 5 24 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 4 2 6 45.3%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 12 5 17 40.5%
    Below the 10th percentile 2 3 5 30.3%
  • L2qm.PNG

Level III

The charts, tables, and commentary below will display highlights of exam preparation and corresponding results distributions, in addition to providing potential answers to questions that are frequently asked by candidates.


Mock Exam Performance

The CFA Institute provides three mock exams. The averages suggest that passers typically will go beyond this amount while those who failed, on average, completed less than the provided mock exams.


Full Mock Exams Completed
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Pass) 5.7 3.4 358
June 2018 (Pass) 5.7 3.3 144
Total Level III Pass 5.7 3.4 502
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Fail) 3.9 3.2 26
June 2018 (Fail) 4.5 3.2 14
Total Level III Fail 4.1 3.1 40


    Full Mocks Taken Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 38 7% 87.6% -11.0%
    1 21 4% 85.7% -6.9%
    2 52 10% 92.3% -0.3%
    3 46 8% 89.1% -3.5%
    4 67 12% 91.0% -1.6%
    5 78 14% 96.2% +3.6%
    6 40 7% 97.5% +4.9%
    7 49 9% 95.9% +3.3%
    8 38 7% 86.8% -5.8%
    9 34 6% 88.2% -4.4%
    10 30 6% 100.0% +7.4%
    11 12 2% 100.0% +7.4%
    12+ 37 7% 100.0% +7.4%
  • L3mockstaken.PNG


Below is a chart displaying the average MPS estimates for respondents by number of mock exams completed. It is important to note that only approximately one-third of all exam respondents fully complete the performance section used to calculate the MPS estimate. Keep this reduced sample in mind when interpreting the MPS estimate charts both immediately below and in the other segments MPS estimate data is available for.


L3mockest.PNG


Looking in to mock exam scores by prep provider may also offer candidates comfort or insight in to their performance leading up to the exam date.


CFAI Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Pass) 68.1% 7.6% 284
June 2018 (Pass) 68.7% 6.2% 117
Total Level III Pass 68.3% 7.2% 401
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Fail) 63.3% 5.7% 20
June 2018 (Fail) 63.9% 7.9% 8
Total Level III Fail 63.4% 7.9% 28



    CFAI Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 0 0% N/A N/A
    40 - 44% 3 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    45 - 49% 3 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    50 - 55% 14 3% 78.6% -14.0%
    56 - 59% 7 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    60 - 62% 60 11% 86.7% -5.9%
    63 - 64% 20 4% 90.0% -2.6%
    65 - 67% 84 15% 90.5% -2.1%
    68 - 69% 38 7% 94.7% +2.1%
    70 - 72% 102 19% 97.1% +4.5%
    73 - 74% 9 2% 88.9% -3.7%
    75 - 77% 56 10% 98.2% +5.6%
    78 - 79% 8 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    80 - 82% 15 3% 100.0% +7.4%
    83 - 84% 3 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    85 - 87% 5 1% 100.0 +7.4%
    88 - 89% 0 0% N/A N/A
    90% + 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
  • L3CFAITS.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their CFAI Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L3cmockest.PNG


Kaplan Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Pass) 68.9% 6.9% 138
June 2018 (Pass) 66.6% 10.7% 60
Total Level III Pass 68.2% 8.2% 198
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Fail) 61.0% 66.4% 2
June 2018 (Fail) 66.4% 6.5% 5
Total Level III Fail 64.9% 8.7% 7



    Kaplan Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 0 0% N/A N/A
    40 - 44% 0 0% N/A N/A
    45 - 49% 0 0% N/A N/A
    50 - 55% 9 2% 88.9% -3.7%
    56 - 59% 4 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    60 - 62% 27 5% 92.6% +0.0%
    63 - 64% 4 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    65 - 67% 37 7% 97.3% +4.7%
    68 - 69% 22 4% 100.0% +7.4%
    70 - 72% 51 9% 96.1% +3.5%
    73 - 74% 6 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    75 - 77% 22 4% 95.5% +2.9%
    78 - 79% 8 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    80 - 82% 12 2% 100.0% +7.4%
    83 - 84% 0 0% N/A N/A
    85 - 87% 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    88 - 89% 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    90% + 0 0% N/A N/A
  • L3KTS.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their Kaplan Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L3kmockest.PNG


Wiley Mock / Q Bank Scores
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Pass) 72.% 7.4% 19
June 2018 (Pass) 66.8% 20.7% 15
Total Level III Pass 69.8% 14.8% 34
Exam Date Mean St. Dev Sample
June 2019 (Fail) N/A N.A 0
June 2018 (Fail) N/A N/A 0
Total Level II Fail N/A N/A 5



    Wiley Mocks / Q Bank Average Sample Share Pass Relative
    <40% 0 0% N/A N/A
    40 - 44% 0 0% N/A N/A
    45 - 49% 0 0% N/A N/A
    50 - 55% 2 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    56 - 59% 0 0% N/A N/A
    60 - 62% 3 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    63 - 64% 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    65 - 67% 2 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    68 - 69% 4 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    70 - 72% 4 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    73 - 74% 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    75 - 77% 7 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    78 - 79% 3 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    80 - 82% 2 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    83 - 84% 0 0% N/A N/A
    85 - 87% 4 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    88 - 89% 0 0% N/A N/A
    90% + 0 0% N/A N/A
  • L3WTS.PNG


The chart below displays the average MPS estimates for respondents according to their Wiley Mock Exam / Q Bank average.


L3wmockest.PNG

Study Materials

In addition to the prep provider mock exam scores compared to results, seeing what resources others have commonly used could help a candidate narrow their focus more when selecting study materials.


    Resources Utilized Sample Share Pass Relative
    CFAI Mocks 426 79% 95.1% +2.5%
    CFAI Q Bank 368 68% 94.8% +2.2%
    CFAI Books 371 68% 92.7% +0.1%
    Kaplan Schweser Textbooks 257 47% 93.0% +0.4%
    r/CFA 255 47% 93.0% -1.2%
    Kaplan Schweser Mocks 214 39% 93.5% +0.9%
    Kaplan Schweser Q Bank 142 26% 96.5% +3.9%
    Mark Meldrum (paid) 182 34% 92.3% -0.3%
    Kaplan Schweser SecretSauce 138 25% 94.9% +2.3%
    Mark Meldrum (free) 18 3% 88.9% -3.7%
    Kaplan Schweser Videos 60 11% 93.3% +0.7%
    Analyst Forum 64 12% 92.2% -0.4%
    Live Mock 38 7% 89.5% -3.1%
    IFT 46 8% 89.1% -3.5%
    300hours.com 21 4% 95.2% +2.6%
    Wiley Mocks 31 6% 96.8% +4.2%
    Wiley Textbooks 14 3% 92.9% +0.3%
    Wiley Q Bank 10 2% 100.0% +7.4%
    Other 23 4% 100.0% +7.4%
    AnalystNotes 6 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    Wiley Videos 9 2% 100.0% +7.4%
    Study Group 14 3% 71.4% -21.2%
    Local CFA Society Sponsored Study Session 11 2% 90.9% +1.7%
    Bloomberg Exam Prep 7 1% 85.7% -6.9%
    LevelUp 43 8% 86.0% -6.6%
    Fitch Learning 7 1% 85.7% -6.9%
    Mentor 2 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    Tutor 0 0% N/A N/A
    N/A (I didn't study) 2 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    GoStudy 13 2% 92.3% -0.3%
    U of T (Toronto) 2 0% 100.0% +7.4%
  • L3resources.PNG

Duration of Study

Data on when respondents began studying and how many hours they committed may be useful for a candidate hoping to plan their own pacing schedule. The 300 hours rule of thumb appears to hold true, and respondents typically begin studying in December or January and begin revision some time in Late April.


    Hours Studied Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 50 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    50 - 100 7 1% 71.4% -21.2%
    100 - 150 23 4% 87.0% -5.6%
    150 - 200 44 8% 90.9% -1.7%
    200 - 250 67 12% 94.0% +1.4%
    250 - 300 95 18% 93.7% +1.1%
    300 -350 99 18% 90.9% -1.7%
    350 - 400 79 15% 100.0% +7.4%
    400 - 450 40 7% 90.0% -2.6%
    450 -500 29 5% 89.7% -2.9%
    500 - 550 18 3% 88.9% -3.7%
    550 - 600 11 2% 81.8% -10.8%
    600+ 29 5% 96.6% +4.0%
  • L3hrsP.PNG
  • L3hrsF.PNG


The chart below shows MPS estimate averages for hours studied. Unsurprisingly, there seems to be a clear positive correlation between hours studied and exam score.


L3hrsest.PNG


    When did you begin studying? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Previous June or Prior 0 0% N/A N/A
    Previous July 5 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    Previous August 8 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    Previous September 24 4% 91.7% -0.9%
    Previous October 37 7% 94.6% +2.0%
    Previous November 71 13% 94.4% +1.8%
    Previous December 51 9% 96.1% +3.5%
    January 181 33% 90.6% -2.0%
    February 90 17% 92.2% -0.4%
    March 30 6% 86.7% -5.9%
    April 29 5% 93.1% +0.5%
    May 12 2% 100.0% +7.4%
    June 4 1% 100.0% +7.4%
  • L3beginP.PNG
  • L3beginF.PNG


Below is a chart displaying MPS estimates by start date. There is less of a correlation here than hours studied, though it does noticeably decline as the exam date approaches.


L3studyest.PNG


    When did you finish the curriculum? Sample Share Pass Relative
    January or Prior 8 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    Early February 12 2% 83.3% -9.3%
    Late February 11 2% 100.0% +7.4%
    Early March 17 3% 88.2% -4.4%
    Late March 41 8% 97.6% +5.0%
    Early April 67 12% 98.5% +5.9%
    Late April 108 20% 94.4% 1.8%
    Early May 114 21% 90.4% -2.2%
    Late May 70 13% 91.4% -1.2%
    Early June 45 8% 84.4% -8.2%
    Didn't follow explicit curriculum 11 2% 90.9% -1.7%
    I never finished a curriculum 21 4% 85.7% -6.9%
    I chose not to read a curriculum 17 3% 100.0% +7.4%
  • L3endP.PNG
  • L3endF.PNG

Education, Other Designations, and Work Experience

This section may not assist a candidate in their preparation, but it could help provide a better understanding of the candidate population and how they compare.


    Years of Job Experience Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 1 17 3% 88.2% -4.4%
    1 - 2 61 11% 88.5% -4.1%
    2 - 3 77 14% 96.1% +3.5%
    3 - 4 94 17% 91.5% -1.1%
    4 - 5 103 19% 97.1% +4.5%
    5 - 10 139 26% 92.1% -0.5%
    10 - 15 41 8% 90.2% -2.4%
    15+ 10 2% 80.0% -12.6%
  • L3jobexp.PNG


One insight that I personally draw from the years of investment related experience compared to job experience is that it seems many candidates may be pursuing the designation in an attempt to break in to the investments industry, or have recently done so.


    Years of Investment Related Job Experience Sample Share Pass Relative
    0 - 1 99 18% 88.9% -3.7%
    1 - 2 71 13% 88.7% -3.9%
    2 - 3 95 18% 95.8% +3.2%
    3 - 4 89 16% 93.3% +0.7%
    4 - 5 98 18% 93.9% +1.3%
    5 - 10 65 12% 95.4% +2.8%
    10 - 15 19 4% 94.7% +2.1%
    15+ 6 1% 83.3% -9.3%
  • L3invjobexp.PNG


    Degrees Obtained Sample Share Pass Relative
    Bachelor's Degree (Finance, Econ, Accounting related) 425 78% 91.5% -1.1%
    Bachelor's Degree (Non-Finance, Econ, Accounting related) 89 16% 96.6% +4.0%
    MBA 55 10% 92.7% +0.1%
    Post-work / Masters (Non-MBA, MS in Finance) 48 9% 95.8% +3.2%
    MS in Finance 39 7% 92.3% -0.3%
    Associates Degree 10 2% 100.0% +7.4%
    Doctorate 8 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    Juris Doctor 6 1% 100.0% +7.4%
  • L3degrees.PNG


    Other Designations Sample Share Pass Relative
    CPA 45 8% 93.3% +0.7%
    FRM 18 3% 77.8% -14.8%
    CFP 22 4% 95.5% +2.9%
    CAIA 12 2% 100.0% +7.4%
    ACCA 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    ASA 4 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    CIM 3 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    FSA 3 1% 100.0% +7.4%
    CIMA 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    CERA 1 0% 100.0% +7.4%
    AACI 0 0% N/A N/A
  • L3designations.PNG

Other

Description (Age, Gender, Continent, English Speaking, etc.)


    What is your age? Sample Share Pass Relative
    < 25 88 16% 93.2% +0.6%
    25 - 29 298 55% 91.9% -0.7%
    30 - 34 107 20% 96.3% +3.7%
    35 - 39 34 6% 85.3% -7.3%
    40 - 49 11 2% 90.9% -1.7%
    50+ 4 1% 100.0% +7.4%
  • L3age.PNG


    What Continent are you from? Sample Share Pass Relative
    North America 368 68% 90.5% -2.1%
    Asia 83 15% 96.4% +3.8%
    Europe 52 10% 100.0% +7.4%
    Australia / Oceania 20 4% 95.0% +2.4%
    Africa 12 2% 91.7% -0.9%
    South America 7 1% 100.0% +7.4%
  • L3cont.PNG



    Gender Sample Share Pass Relative
    Male 469 87% 93.0% +0.4%
    Female 64 12% 92.2% -0.4%
  • L3gender.PNG
  • Is English your first language? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Yes 420 77% 91.4% -1.2%
    No 122 12% 96.7% +4.1%
  • L3eng.PNG


    First time sitting for that level? Sample Share Pass Relative
    Yes 462 85% 92.9% +0.3%
    No 80 15% 91.3% -1.4%
  • L3first.PNG

Topic Area Breakdown

This section dissects the responses to each individual topic area more.


Using the mean of respondents estimated scores, the ranking of difficulty for each topic area is as follows (sample).

1. Fixed Income (Mean 60.4%, St. Dev. 14.1%)

2. Essay (Mean 63.0%, St. Dev. 9.9%)

3. Behavioral Finance (Mean 65.6%, St. Dev. 9.8%)

4. Equity Investments (Mean 65.8%, St. Dev. 17.2%)

5. Economics (Mean 66.6%, St. Dev. 12.6%)

6. Trading (Mean 69.0%, St. Dev. 16.3%)

7. Ethical & Professional Standards (Mean 71.6%, St. Dev. 11.7%)

8. Alternative Investments & Derivatives (Mean 73.4%, St. Dev. 12.4%)



Using respondents estimates for the 90th percentile, the ranking of difficulty for each topic area is as follows (population).


1. Essay (68.5%)

2. Fixed Income (73.6%)

3. Behavioral Finance (74.7%)

4. Equity Investments (78.4%)

5. Economics (81.1%)

6. Ethical & Professional Standards (84.0%)

7. Alternative Investments & Derivatives (83.5%)

8. Trading (84.9%)



Compared to the total populations 90th percentile estimate, the sample struggled in similar topic areas while slightly underperforming in Trading.


    Essay (Weight: 50.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 53 0 53 73.2%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 26 0 26 68.5%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 8 0 8 69.2%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 8 2 10 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 70 1 71 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 25 4 29 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 1 1 2 40.9%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 0 4 4 31.7%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 1 1 25.9%
  • L3es1.PNG
    Alternatives & Derivatives (Weight: 8.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 40 0 40 86.0%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 37 0 37 83.5%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 51 0 51 76.7%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 32 2 34 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 23 1 24 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 8 5 13 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 2 1 3 46.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 0 3 3 43.1%
    Below the 10th percentile 1 2 3 31.5%
  • L3ad.PNG
    Behavioral Finance (Weight: 13.8%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 35 0 35 78.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 17 0 17 74.7%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 15 0 15 72.4%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 28 0 28 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 55 4 59 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 16 4 20 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 6 3 9 43.9%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 0 0 0 37.7%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 0 0 28.9%
  • L3bf.PNG
    Economics (Weight: 8.3%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 26 1 27 84.0%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 13 1 14 81.1%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 38 0 38 75.6%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 40 1 41 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 32 2 34 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 23 4 27 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 9 0 9 46.9%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 6 0 6 43.8
    Below the 10th percentile 1 4 5 31.9%
  • L3ec.PNG
    Equity Investment (Weight: 4.5%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 40 0 40 81.6%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 15 0 15 78.4%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 32 0 32 74.2%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 31 1 32 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 31 3 34 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 26 5 31 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 7 1 8 41.1%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 6 2 8 32.1%
    Below the 10th percentile 1 1 2 26.1%
  • L3eq.PNG
    Ethical & Professional Standards (Weight: 5.0%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 29 1 30 86.4%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 27 1 28 84.0%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 47 2 49 77.0%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 30 2 32 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 35 4 39 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 13 2 15 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 6 1 7 47.0%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 2 0 2 44.0%
    Below the 10th percentile 0 0 0 32.0%
  • L3et.PNG
    Fixed Income (Weight: 6.8%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 33 0 33 77.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 17 0 17 73.6%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 8 1 9 71.8%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 24 0 24 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 51 2 53 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 33 3 36 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 16 3 19 40.2%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 4 4 8 30.5%
    Below the 10th percentile 3 0 3 25.2%
  • L3fi.PNG
    Trading (Weight: 3.8%)
    Response Pass Fail Total Est. Score
    Above the 90th percentile 31 0 31 87.1%
    Pretty darn close to the 90th percentile 23 1 24 84.9%
    Between 70% and the 90th percentile 34 1 35 77.4%
    Pretty darn close to 70% 26 0 26 70.0%
    Between 50% and 70% 35 3 38 60.0%
    Pretty darn close to 50% 16 2 18 50.0%
    Between the 10th percentile and 50% 4 4 8 36.5%
    Pretty darn close to the 10th percentile 5 0 5 22.9%
    Below the 10th percentile 2 0 2 21.5%
  • L3t.PNG


Other Surveys

CFA Institute 2019 Compensation Study (login required)

CFA Society Chicago 2018 Financial Compensation Survey

CFA Society Los Angeles 2018 Financial Compensation Survey

CFA Society San Francisco 2018 Financial Compensation Survey

CFA Institute June 2018 Candidate Survey




Created and managed by: Finnesotan