Is Level 1 CFA® Exam Pass Rate Fixed Around 43% For Good?

CFA exam / Results / Level 1 Pass Rate

CFA Exam: Level 1 Pass Rate >> 2015-2019

Level 1 CFA Exam Pass Rate (2015 – 2019)

Level 1 CFA Exam Pass Rate
December 2019 Exam 42%
June 2019 Exam 41%
December 2018 Exam 45%
June 2018 Exam 43%
December 2017 Exam 43%
June 2017 Exam 43%
December 2016 Exam 43%
June 2016 Exam 43%
December 2015 Exam 43%
June 2015 Exam 42%

In recent years, the level 1 CFA exam pass rate is fairly fixed. For level 1 exams held from June 2015 to June 2019, the pass rate ranged from 41% to 45% with an average pass rate of 43%. No significant difference between June and December level 1 pass rates can be found.

However, level 1 pass rates were not always above 40% and as fixed from exam to exam as recently. For example, pass rates for level 1 exams held from 2009 to 2013 ranged from 34% to 46% and the average pass rate for this period was 39%.

It is an open question whether the recent trend of pass rates stabilizing around 43% holds true in the future. The Dec 2019 level 1 pass rate of 42% turned out to be a bit lower. So did the June 2019 L1 pass rate! Will CFA exam pass rates continue to go down in 2020? We need to wait and see.

Read more about CFA exam results, pass rates and MPS on our blog: What is the passing score? How is the CFA exam graded?

CFA Exam Pass Rates in 2019

June 2019 pass rates:

  • Level 1: 41%,
  • Level 2: 44%,
  • Level 3: 56%.

December 2019 pass rate:

  • Level 1: 42%


The "real" pass rate for all registered level 1 candidates is significantly lower than the average 43%. We explain why in our post delineating the details of level 1 CFA exam.

Level 2 & Level 3 CFA Exams Pass Rates for (2015 – 2019)

Whether you're still a level 1 candidate or are about to move to the next levels of your CFA exam, you might be interested in the pass rates for level 2 and level 3 exams. That's what they looked like for the last 5 years:

Level 2 CFA Exam Pass Rate
June 2019 Exam 44%
June 2018 Exam 45%
June 2017 Exam 47%
June 2016 Exam 46%
June 2015 Exam 46%
Level 3 CFA Exam Pass Rate
June 2019 Exam 56%
June 2018 Exam 56%
June 2017 Exam 54%
June 2016 Exam 54%
June 2015 Exam 53%

While the level 2 pass rate was just a bit higher than the pass rates given for the level 1 exam, level 3 pass rate was higher by a lot and always exceeded 50% over the last 5 years. Below, you will also find some more historical data for all exam levels.


Historical CFA Exam Pass Rates Since 1963 (Level 2 & 3 Included)

The table below presents pass rates for all levels of CFA exam since 1963 until now (refresh if you can't see the table):

The numbers just confirm that it is not easy to pass the CFA exam at the first attempt, regardless of the exam level.

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