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How Hard Is The CFA Exam

How Hard Is The CFA Exam Reddit

How difficult is the CFA exam? A few weeks ago, I launched a poll on Twitter to gauge the attitudes of CFAs and other finance professionals about their time in the program. We got over 1,100 responses from all over the world, so it’s pretty safe to say we have a decent sample size. What I discovered was astounding. The CFA program, which has been widely criticized for being difficult to pass and geared towards rich professionals , was overwhelmingly viewed as easier than people thought.

CFAs said that passing the exam was harder than they expected, with about 75% of respondents saying that passing was much harder than they anticipated. If you’re considering taking the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam, you’ve probably been trying to gather as much information about it as possible. You’ve obviously found your way here. That’s step one of the process! I know that when I was studying for the CFA exam I had many questions, but most of them were never really answered by my study materials. That led me to searching online where I came upon a number of forums where other students were asking and answering questions — which is where I learned a lot.

How Difficult Is The CFA Exam?

The CFA exam is an exam that is taken by people who want to become Chartered Financial Analysts. The test consists of 3 parts, and each part has 9 hours of study material. The questions on the exam are divided into three categories: ethics and professional standards, quantitative analysis, and financial analysis.

The first part of the CFA exam takes place over a period of 3 days, and it covers quantitative analysis and financial analysis. In this section, there are about 100 questions that must be answered in 3 hours. The second part of the CFA exam takes place over a period of 2 days, and it covers ethics and professional standards. In this section, there are about 100 questions that must be answered in 2 hours. The third part of the CFA exam takes place over a period of 1 day, and it covers both quantitative analysis and financial analysis at once. In this section, there are about 200 questions that must be answered in 4 hours.

The CFA Level I exam is generally considered to be the hardest of the three levels. It is also the most important, as it determines whether or not you can move forward with your CFA certification.

Of course, there’s no way to know exactly how difficult it will be until you take it, but we can provide some insight into what you can expect.

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The test covers a wide range of topics including accounting and financial reporting, economics, ethics and professional standards, quantitative methods and portfolio management. The exam lasts three hours and 45 minutes (including breaks) and consists of 220 multiple choice questions separated into six sections: 1) Financial Reporting Analysis, 2) Economics and Globalization (covers macroeconomics and microeconomics), 3) Quantitative Methods (covers statistics and probability), 4) Portfolio Management Tools and Applications, 5) Strategic Asset Allocation Policies: Equities/Fixed Income/Real Estate (covers asset allocation), 6) Ethics and Professional Standards.

How Hard Is The CFA Exam Reddit

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Which CFA Level Is Hardest?

The CFA exam is a challenging test—but which level is the hardest?

It’s a question that keeps on coming up, so we wanted to lay out the facts for you. We looked at all three levels of the CFA exam and compared them in terms of difficulty, length, scope and content.

We found that while each level has its own challenges, it’s really only Level III that stands out as especially difficult. That’s because Level III requires you to have a thorough understanding of high-level concepts, including how companies make decisions about their investments and how they manage their portfolios. You also need to be able to analyze complex financial data and make predictions about future economic trends based on this data.

Level II requires more foundational knowledge than Level III does, but it doesn’t require quite as much advanced knowledge or analysis skills as Level III does. The biggest challenge for Level II candidates is understanding accounting processes, which can be abstract for some people at first glance. In addition, Level II requires you to understand industry-specific terminology and concepts related to economics and finance—something that can be hard if your background isn’t in these areas already!

Level I is by far the easiest level

How Hard Is The CFA Exam Reddit

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How Long Does It Take To Study For The CFA Exam?

The CFA Exam is a challenging test, and it takes time to prepare for it. How long it takes depends on your current knowledge level, how much you practice with sample questions, and how many hours you dedicate to studying each day.

A good rule of thumb is that for every hour you spend studying for the CFA exam, you’ll need two weeks to review everything. This means that if you want to pass within three months, you should plan on studying for at least ten hours per week. If you want to take the exam in a shorter amount of time—say, six months—you’ll have to study even more diligently.

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You should also consider whether or not you have experience with similar tests like the SAT or GRE: these can help give you an idea of how much time and effort should be put into preparation before sitting down for the CFA exam itself!

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The Answer Depends On Your Motivation

The CFA exam is one of the most difficult tests in the world. It’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for a quick and easy guide to passing it, this article isn’t for you. But if you want to know what it takes to pass the test—and how much work goes into preparing for it—read on!

A lot of people think that they can just study for a few days or weeks and pass the test without much effort. They’re wrong! Passing the CFA exam requires months of preparation and dedication, but if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be done.

The first step is motivation: what is motivating you? Are you motivated by money? Then, becoming a certified financial analyst will  elp with that goal. Are you motivated by helping people? Then becoming a registered investment advisor would help with that goal. Or maybe you just want to have an advanced degree in finance so that when people ask “So what do you do?” there’s an answer more impressive than “I’m just an accountant.”

Whatever your motivation, it’s important to keep it front of mind as you prepare for the CFA exam so that every study session feels worthwhile and purposeful!


The majority of CFA charterholders advise studying for more than 300 hours because the six-hour exam covers a wide range of subjects, including ethics and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, derivatives, alternative investments, portfolio management, and wealth planning.

The CFA Institute’s books offer more information than is required to prepare for the exam. Many applicants decide to study from a different source of practice materials, like the Schweser study books. Classes, videos, and online tests can all be used to help with exam preparation. A candidate’s chances of passing the exam can be improved by using a number of study techniques and taking advantage of the available study materials.

Pass Rates

According to the CFA Institute, Level I and Level II test success percentages historically have been between 40% and 50%, with Level III having a somewhat higher pass rate. However, pass rates have been declining since the examinations’ introduction in 1963, when they were substantially higher.

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In the exams held in December 2020, Level I was passed by 49% of applicants, Level II by 55%, and Level III by 56%.
Additionally, between 10% and 20% of applicants who register for the exam ultimately fail to show up.

Exam Questions

The test material is extremely challenging, and the exam questions are made purposely to deceive the applicants. Due to this, candidates should take lots of practice exams to familiarize themselves with the kinds of questions they will encounter.

In Level I, there are 180 multiple-choice questions (in Level II, there are 20 item sets of questions, and in Level III, there are both item sets of questions and short essays). In Level II, there are 20 item sets of questions. Although there are only three potential answers for the multiple-choice questions in Level I, applicants must carefully study the questions in order to choose the right response, which frequently includes the options “none of the above” and “all of the above.” Candidates experience some anxiety due to the exam’s time constraints.


The CFA exam is not an easy feat. Thousands of candidates pass each year, but the sad truth is thousands more will be left with failure and have to try again next time round. However, this should not send you into a flurry of despair. Instead, it should make you aware that you need to take your studies seriously and truly devote yourself to achieving the goal you set yourself.

The more effort you put into preparation for the CFA, the closer you will get to passing. Achieving a certificate from this qualification is certainly not impossible, even if most candidates have failed in their first attempt because the task proves daunting. For those who did succeed before, the journey was probably arduous. But those who failed have realised that succeeding is possible when they devote themselves fully to preparation for the CFA exam. It won’t always be easy, but then again you can’t say that conquering any exam would ever be easy simply because learning itself never is!


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