Understanding CFA Exam Scores: The Evaluation Process

CFA exam scores


The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams are renowned for their rigorous evaluation process, designed to assess candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in finance. Understanding how these exams are graded and scored is crucial for aspiring finance professionals aiming to obtain their CFA
charter. In this blog, we delve into the intricacies of the CFA exam scoring system, shedding light on the evaluation process and offering valuable insights for candidates.

CFA Exam Score Grading

The CFA exams consist of three levels, each requiring candidates to demonstrate proficiency in various areas of finance. These exams are graded on a pass/fail basis, with candidates receiving their results several weeks after taking the exam. However, the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA Institute) does not disclose the exact scoring methodology or minimum passing score (MPS) for each exam.

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CFA Exam Grading Process

The grading process for CFA exams is meticulous and follows a well-defined methodology:

Minimum Passing Score?

The Minimum Passing Score (MPS) is the lowest score a candidate can achieve and still pass the exam. While the CFA Institute does not publicly disclose the MPS, estimates are made based on historical data and candidate performance. The MPS is determined through a series of workshops using the Angoff model, where a diverse group of CFA charterholders evaluate the exam questions and estimate the probability of a just-competent candidate answering each question correctly.

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Final Grade

Candidates’ final grades are determined based on their overall performance in the exam. There are no topic-specific passing scores, meaning candidates must achieve an overall score that exceeds the MPS to pass. The grading process ensures consistency across exam administrations and aims to maintain the integrity of the CFA charter.

Tips for Passing:

1. Comprehensive Preparation: Thoroughly review the CFA curriculum and practice exam questions to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content.

2. Focus on Weak Areas: Identify your areas of weakness and allocate additional study time to improve your understanding.

3. Time Management: Practice time management strategies to ensure you can answer all exam questions within the allotted timeframe.

4. Mock Exams: Take mock exams under exam-like conditions to gauge your readiness and identify areas for improvement.

5. Stay Calm and Confident: Maintain a positive mindset during the exam and trust in your preparation and abilities.


Achieving success in the CFA exams requires dedication, perseverance, and a thorough understanding of the evaluation process. By familiarizing yourself with how the exams are graded and following effective study strategies, you can increase your chances of passing and earning your CFA charter. Remember, the journey to becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst is challenging but immensely rewarding.


What is the Minimum Passing Score (MPS)?

The MPS is the lowest score a candidate can achieve and still pass the exam. It is determined by the CFA Institute through a rigorous evaluation process.

Are there topic-specific passing scores?

No, candidates must achieve an overall score that exceeds the MPS to pass the exam. There are no specific passing scores for individual topics.

How can I improve my chances of passing the CFA exams?

Focus on comprehensive preparation, identify your areas of weakness, practice time management, take mock exams, and maintain a positive mindset during the exam.

Does the difficulty of the exam vary from year to year?

The difficulty of individual exams may vary slightly, but the grading process aims to maintain consistency across exam administrations.

Understanding the evaluation process of the CFA exams is essential for candidates aiming to succeed in their pursuit of the CFA charter. By following effective study strategies and staying informed about the grading process, candidates can maximize their chances of passing and achieving their professional goals in finance.

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