Failing CFA Exams: What Should You Do Next? | Zell Education

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      Have You Failed Your CFA Exams? What Next?

      The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is among the most sought-after credentials in the global finance industry. Those belonging to finance, accounting, business, or economics typically pursue the CFA programme. Considered the ‘highest standard’ in the field, CFA exams are pretty challenging, with low pass rates.

      You are not alone if you fail your first CFA attempt. Failing a crucial examination is frustrating and disappointing, but CFA results should not stop you from chasing your dream of becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst. You can overcome the setback by strategically planning your next course of action.

      Check out our blog ‘How Hard is the CFA Exam’ to understand the difficulty level of the CFA exam. 

      Coping with Failing the CFA Exams: What Should You Do?

      CFA Exams

      Considering the difficulty levels of the CFA exams, failing them should not deter you from moving ahead. Instead of sulking and repenting over the failure, here’s what you can do before registering for the next session:

      • Accepting your CFA results and deciding whether to continue CFA or not

      The first step to coping with CFA exam failure is accepting it. Many candidates fail this exam, and feeling sorry and upset about it doesn’t solve the problem. Instead, focus on how you will recover from the failure. 

      At this point, you must decide whether you want to continue with CFA or pursue another course. This crucial decision will direct your next step. 

      • Performance analysis is important

      If you have decided to continue with the CFA qualification, it is time to analyse your last exam’s performance. You will get a summary of your performance on each topic, along with the CFA results

      On analysing this performance, you will develop an understanding of your weaknesses and strengths. You can work on your weak areas to strengthen them and do well when you reappear for the CFA exam. 

      • Re-evaluation of the study plan

      You indeed invested more than 300 hours of study for your CFA exam. Yet, this did not prove to be enough to clear the exam. It is time to re-evaluate your study plan keeping the CFA course details in mind. 

      The goal is to study smart. Before you start your studies, make a week-by-week plan to cover the whole course adequately. A duration of 4 weeks is great for completing the studies before the main examination. With this schedule, you will have ample time to review the most challenging areas in the course. 

      • Take coaching if you haven’t already 

      CFA courses can be beneficial in preparing candidates to clear the exams. These courses prepare candidates through a structured study plan, practice exams, quiz questions and final review. Along with keeping track of the study plan, the preparatory course also works on the weaker areas of the candidate. 

      Experienced faculties take preparatory courses, increasing the chances of good CFA results

      Zell Education offers all these perks and more, such as 360-degree placement support through its online and classroom Chartered Financial Analyst course.

      Check out our blog: Best Books for CFA: Which Books Should You Refer?

      Retaking the CFA Exam

      CFA Exam

      • Frequency for retaking the CFA exam

      A candidate can appear for each exam level a maximum of six times. They can sit for the CFA exam twice in one calendar year. Thus, candidates can appear for the exams six months apart. Experts say it is best to retake the CFA exam in the same calendar year, i.e. within six months. 

      • Best time to retake the CFA exam

      Before you decide on the time for retaking the CFA exam, assess your experience regarding the previous exam preparation. There are many factors that you need to consider in this regard, including:

      • The hours you invested in preparations
      • Having and following a structured study plan
      • Following some study materials that might help in clearing the exam
      • Having a different approach to exam preparation
      • Reflecting on professional and personal goals

      Looking for Alternative Qualifications in Investment and Finance 

      There is no doubt that clearing CFA is ideal for a career in finance and investment. But if you decide not to repeat the path after a failed attempt in the CFA examinations, you can choose from other alternative qualifications. These include FRM, CFP, CAIA, SCR, IMC or Financial Modelling courses. A US CMA Course can also prepare you for finance and investment careers. Many of these courses help strengthen the foundation for CFA exams (if you intend to appear for CFA exams later). 

      Read ‘How is CFA related to Financial Modelling’ to learn more about Financial Modelling as a CFA alternative.

      Many aspirants wonder if taking up alternative courses provides better chances of success. But this depends on the circumstances (like the aspirant’s professional goals) and the alternative course that the candidate chooses. The candidate is the best person to judge the situation and choose the most suitable option. 

      Things to Consider Before Enrolling for CFA Courses Online

      With the CFA qualification, you can plan how to make a great career in the finance and investment industry. But before you go for CFA registration, make sure that you explore CFA course details. This gives an idea of the CFA courses online and helps understand the CFA scope. You must also look up the various CFA jobs and assess if they align with your career objectives. 

      Learn about ‘What is CFA? Course Details, Full Form, Exam Pattern, Fees, Syllabus.’


      Considering the low pass rates, CFA results can be disappointing for many. The pass rate for CFA Level 1 exam in November 2022 was 36%, a 1% decrease from CFA Level 1 exam in August 2022. For CFA Level 2, the pass rate for November 2022 was 44%, a 4% increase from August 2022. The pass rate for CFA Level 3 stood at 48% in August 2022. 

      Clearing the CFA exams at different levels is mandatory to get CFA jobs. Therefore if you intend to have positive CFA results, you must keep trying hard. Prepare yourself for the challenging journey and work on your weaker areas to pass the CFA exam on the next attempt.

      Zell Education offers a comprehensive CFA course to help candidates clear all three exam levels. The course lasts 2-3 years; candidates can opt for either classroom studies or online mode. You can access a personalised study plan and Zell’s Learning Management System to amp up your preparations. Visit Zell Education for more information.


      Can I get a job after clearing CFA level 1?
      Yes, you can get CFA jobs right after clearing CFA Level 1 exam. After completing the first level successfully, you will become eligible to work in global companies and financial firms.

      Does CFA have scope in India or outside India?
      The CFA scope is extensive in India and other countries. Employers across the global finance industry look forward to CFA qualifications in aspiring job seekers.

      How long does it take to get CFA results?
      According to the CFA Institute, CFA results for Levels 1 and 2 are available after about 8-10 weeks of the closure of the exam window. For Level 3, the period is ten weeks.

      Is a passport required for CFA registration?
      Yes, the CFA Institute mandates that every candidate must have a valid international passport for CFA registration.


      Partham Barot is an ACCA-certified professional. showcasing his expertise in finance and accountancy. he’s revolutionising education by focusing on practical, real-world skills. Partham’s achievements underscore his commitment to elevating educational standards and empowering the next generation of professionals.

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