Let us start with what June 2018 exam result says:
Level I – 43%, Level II – 45 %, Level III – 56%.
This clearly represents that the passing rate of the level 1 exam is meagre. Majority of people conclude that the Level I exam is very tough to crack. However, the fact is every level has its own difficulty levels and study pattern.
The reason behind the below average passing rate is not just difficulty in the syllabus, but the approach adopted by the candidates.
Here, we highlight 10 most common reasons why candidates fail to pass CFA® Program examinations, and yes, these reasons apply to all the three levels.
You fail these exams if you lack in strategy planning
This is the first and fundamental reason behind the failure in these exam. The candidate doesn’t spend enough time to make a strategic plan for the study. There are few strategies like focusing on the first 50 questions which will give you undoubtedly correct answers. If the candidate can focus more on those questions, he or she can easily create a strong foundation for a passing grade.
You fail these exams if you don’t spend enough time practising questions
There is a quote “Practice makes a man perfect!”, the same is applicable here. For such exam preparation, you need to spend enough time for solving practice questions under time-constraint situations. Taking mock tests regularly is very important to pass these exams. This test will give you an idea about your weak and strong areas. Accordingly, you can focus on your weak areas and practice more.
You fail due to the impulsiveness while answering the questions
Remember, exams are considered to be tricky for a reason. Normally, in the first two levels, the options for the MCQ questions are strategically given. So, if you miss out on any part of the formula or get hasty while calculating the answer, it may lead you to selecting the wrong option.
You fail these exams if your choice of study material is wrong
CFA Institute has designed its own study material. Apart from the study material, private institute study notes are also very useful for passing the exams. So,choosing the right material for understanding the subject carefully is very important to pass the exam.
You fail these exams, if you don’t pay attention to the selection of topics
“Quantitative exam is the most difficult subject in this program”, a common statement by candidates. However, it is a misguiding statement. According to a survey with the former students of CFA® Program, derivatives, portfolio management and fixed income are the hardest topics among all. However, this again depends on the educational background of a candidate. For e.g. An engineering graduate may find subjects related to quant and statistics easy, however, may face a challenge in subjects such as accounting. It is important to find your areas of strengths and weaknesses before you chart out the strategy.
You fail these exams if you don’t spend enough hours
Quite obvious for any exam, right? CFA Institute has recommended more than 300 hours of study. It is essential that the candidate spend enough time to study each topic covered under the level I of CFA® Program syllabus. Survey says that candidates who studied for more than 300 hours have cleared the exam (needless to say, optimized those study hours). A good strategy can be to cover weak areas first and then move on to the areas of forte.
You fail these exams if you are working for the full time and trying to cover everything in less time
If you have a full-time job of 10 hours plus other responsibilities, then the last six-month preparation is not enough for you. You need to balance work and study without stretching your hours. To pass these exams, try to put quality hours with a fresh mindset. If you fail to do so, it will be difficult for you to pass the exam.
You fail these exams if you study hard on last night before the exam
It is a common tendency to study for almost 20 to 22 hours a day before the exam. A night of poor sleep may lead to mental tiredness and ultimately lead to exhaustion on the exam day. Don’t stretch yourself too much on the last day, as it may lead to poor performance on the exam day.
You fail these exams if you don’t understand the difference between active and passive learning
Reading, listening to lectures and watching videos is nothing but passive learning. Only 10% to 30% knowledge can be absorbed through this. If you want to understand and remember the concepts, active learning is fundamental. Active learning is nothing but learning through interactive manner. Discussions, presentations, actual problem-solving activities are ways of active studying. Candidates should adopt active learning techniques to pass the exams; as it will help to remember maximum concepts.
You fail these exams if you don’t pay attention to Ethics score
Ethics is a section which will give you an opportunity to pass these exams as well as can make you fail in the exam. This section is worth at least 10% of your exam score. The problem with this section is, the candidates take it lightly and want to answer questions based on intuitiveness. Candidates try to memorise the code and standards of ethics, but fail to practice the problems. It is very important to pay equal attention to ethics and practice ethics questions.
These all are common causes for exam failure. Candidates can think over these reasons, identify the ones relevant to them and plan accordingly for clearing these exams.
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