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

CFA exam / Results / Pass Rates

CFA Exam Pass Rates, All Levels

  1. Level 1 CFA exam pass rates
  2. Level 2 CFA exam pass rates
  3. Level 3 CFA exam pass rates

Level 1 CFA Exam
Pass Rates (2015 – 2020)

Level 1 CFA Exam Pass Rate
December 2020 Exam 49%
June 2020 Exam postponed
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%

December 2020 level 1 CFA exam pass rate is 49% and it’s higher than usual. In past years, the level 1 CFA exam pass rate was fairly fixed and it ranged from 41% to 45% with an average pass rate of 43% (for June 2015 to Dec 2019 level 1 exams).

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 2020 level 1 pass rate of 49% turned out to be a bit higher. Will CFA exam pass rates continue to grow in 2021? 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 2020

In 2020, CFA exams (all levels) were held only in December due to the spreading coronavirus pandemic. June 2020 exams were postponed.

Dec 2020 CFA exam pass rates:

  • Level 1: 49%
  • Level 2: 55%
  • Level 3: 56%

The reason why the 2020 CFA exam pass rates were so high is because many Dec candidates had their exams postponed from June and while they prepared to take their exam – they reviewed their study material again and again. Regular review is one of the pillars of our study approach and we always encourage you to revise as often as possible to minimize your forgetting and improve your learning curve.


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 Exam Pass Rates (2015 – 2020)

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
December 2020 Exam 55%
June 2020 Exam postponed
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
December 2020 Exam 56%
June 2020 Exam postponed
June 2019 Exam 56%
June 2018 Exam 56%
June 2017 Exam 54%
June 2016 Exam 54%
June 2015 Exam 53%

While the level 2 CFA exam 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.

Unexpectedly, for the Dec 2020 level 2 CFA exam (postponed from June 2020), the pass rate also exceeded 50%. It was 55% high!

It All Starts With Your CFA Exam Study Plan


CONTROL your CFA exam calendar using WEEKLY study schedules

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

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