What Should Finance Professionals Do About the CFA Exam?

Candidates hoping to earn the coveted Chartered Financial Analyst designation are wondering whether what to do about the December exam.

Earning the CFA designation requires passing three different, challenging exams that take 300 hours of study each. Typically described as grueling, the passing rate for the first two is below 50% and only somewhat better for the third.

Despite the effort to pass and the cost — several hundred — to take each exam level, annually almost a quarter million finance professionals from across the globe register to take one . When the CFA Institute, which administers the tests and awards the designation, cancelled the June exams due to the COVID pandemic 245,000 were signed-up.

Many re-registered for the December exam.

Now, with the outbreak still not under control and voluntary postponement deadlines approaching, candidates are uncertain whether to stick with the December test date or switch to a date next year. Complicating the decision is that next year’s exams will be conducted online and will be shorter by 90 minutes. That might seem a good enough reason to delay, but many disagree.

Adding yet another uncertainty is the possibility some of the 193 testing locations may not meet local health and safety requirements. The CFA Institute explains this on its website saying, “Beginning in October, we expect to make preliminary determinations about our ability to administer at each test area. We will inform candidates who are impacted by exam cancellations via email as soon as possible following each decision.”

In an article for eFinancialCareers, Zee Tan, founder of the CFA help site 300Hours.com, says apprehensive candidates have been asking him what to do..

“Personal choices and circumstances will drive a lot of your reasoning,” he writes. “But at the same time, there are some definite advantages and disadvantages of postponing to 2021.”

He gives candidates three reasons for and three against postponing. More test dates, a shorter exam and the reduced chances the 2021 tests will be cancelled are good reasons, he says, to postpone.

On the other hand, sticking with the December schedule means getting it over with. “Don’t delay the pain,” is Tan’s bullet point. Another reason applies to those hoping to get their fees refunded. If the test is cancelled, the CFA Institute has promised to refund the money.

Some, Tan says, just want to take the test on paper. “Whatever the reason, there is genuine preference by many candidates for a paper-based CFA exam, and Dec 20 will be the last chance to take the CFA exam in a paper-based format.”

What’s his recommendation? Postpone.

“Personally, I’m leaning slightly towards the idea that it might be better to postpone – it’s likely COVID-safer, more certain to take place as planned, and will be a shorter, more flexible exam.”

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Anthony Agosto
Accounting + Finance General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Leadership + Management Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Anthony Agosto

Shop for Jobs this Holiday Weekend
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

Shop for Jobs this Holiday Weekend

Thankful for Our Community this Thanksgiving
General Interest Green Key News Leadership + Management Worklife

Thankful for Our Community this Thanksgiving

Green Key Unlocked: Behavioral Interviews in IT
General Interest Green Key News Information Technology Worklife

Green Key Unlocked: Behavioral Interviews in IT

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Stu Leifer
Accounting + Finance General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Stu Leifer

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Sam Jaberi
General Interest Green Key News Information Technology Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Sam Jaberi

Preparing for Different Types of Interviews
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

Preparing for Different Types of Interviews

Benefits of Working Hybrid
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

Benefits of Working Hybrid

Green Key Unlocked: How to Succeed in Desktop Support
General Interest Green Key News Information Technology Worklife

Green Key Unlocked: How to Succeed in Desktop Support

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Andrew List
Financial Services General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Andrew List

How to Improve Sleep Hygiene (For a Better Work-Life Balance)
General Interest Green Key News Healthcare Worklife

How to Improve Sleep Hygiene (For a Better Work-Life Balance)

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Karlina Cordero
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Karlina Cordero

How to Ask for a Raise
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

How to Ask for a Raise

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Brittany Kinsella
General Interest Green Key News Leadership + Management Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Brittany Kinsella

Green Key Unlocked: Why Green Key?
Accounting + Finance Architecture + Engineering Financial Services General Interest Green Key News Healthcare Human Resources Information Technology Leadership + Management Legal Support Marketing Technology Pharma Professional Support Worklife

Green Key Unlocked: Why Green Key?

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Samantha Leveille
Architecture + Engineering General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Samantha Leveille

How to Answer Salary Expectations
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

How to Answer Salary Expectations

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Sean Coyne
Architecture + Engineering General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Sean Coyne

Questions to Ask During a Job Interview
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Angela Singh
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Angela Singh

Latest Blog Posts
View All Posts
#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Anthony Agosto

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Anthony Agosto

Anthony has been with Green Key for over eight years and has played an integral role in the success of...
Read More
Shop for Jobs this Holiday Weekend

Shop for Jobs this Holiday Weekend

This coming weekend may call for hearty food, crazy sales, and some quality down time to unwind. But while you're...
Read More
Thankful for Our Community this Thanksgiving

Thankful for Our Community this Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches, we'd like to take the time to thank our amazing Green Key community! This includes all of...
Read More