CFA Says 45% Passed Level 1 Exams in December, Best in 9 Years

(Bloomberg) -- Forty-five percent of test-takers passed the first level of the Chartered Financial Analyst exam last month, the highest rate since 2009.

A record 34,651 candidates passed the test, the first of three needed to earn the designation, according to results published Wednesday by the Charlottesville, Virginia-based CFA Institute. The Level I exam is given in both June and December.

In 2018, 156,752 candidates took the first-level test, a 19 percent annual increase driven by growth in the Asia Pacific region. More than 23,000 people sat for December’s exam in mainland China, nearly double the U.S. total.

CFA Says 45% Passed Level 1 Exams in December, Best in 9 Years

Finance workers aspire to the CFA designation to improve job prospects, earn higher salaries and better understand their industry. The Level I exam is the initial hurdle in a process that takes an average of four years. Fewer than one in five who begin the process successfully earns a CFA charter.

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