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

CFA exam / Results / Level 1 Pass Rate

CFA Level 1 Pass Rate: 2015-2019

CFA Level 1 Pass Rate (2015 – 2019)

CFA Level 1 Exam Pass Rate
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 CFA level 1 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 CFA 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 June 2019 level 1 pass rate of 41% turned out to be a bit lower. Maybe the December 2019 pass rate will be higher than 43%? The Dec 2019 exam results are expected to be released on 28 January 2020. We need to wait and see .

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

CFA Pass Rates in 2019

June 2019 pass rates:

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

December 2019 pass rate:

  • Level 1: to come in late Jan 2020


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

CFA Pass Rates for Level 2 & Level 3 Exams (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:

CFA Level 2 Exam Pass Rate
June 2019 Exam 44%
June 2018 Exam 45%
June 2017 Exam 47%
June 2016 Exam 46%
June 2015 Exam 46%
CFA Level 3 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 CFA level 2 pass rate was just a bit higher than the pass rates given for the level 1 exam, CFA 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 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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