Saturday, January 26, 2019

Two current AIM students – Andrew Plank and Phil Suess – passed the CFA Level 1 exam in December. Congratulations!

So, how hard is it to pass the CFA exam as an undergraduate student? Let’s just say, it is very difficult. Congratulations to Andrew Plank and Phil Suess!

Andrew Plank during an AIM  stock pitch
Investopedia says, “Overall, the CFA exams are very difficult, but candidates can increase their chances of passing by studying for over 300 hours, utilizing alternative prep materials, answering as many practice questions as possible and creating a structured study plan.”

The CFA exams have been likened to training for a marathon – the candidate has to be disciplined and invest the time since there are really no short cuts. The commonly accepted norm is that it requires about 300 hours of study to pass each level of the CFA exam (and there are three levels).

It is nearly impossible to cram for the CFA exams because these are not your typical theoretical or memorization exams. Not only are the candidates being tested on their ability to recall information, but also being able to apply it to situations.

Phil Suess pitching a stock in the AIM Room
Dr. David Krause, Marquette University’s AIM program director, said “Because the AIM curriculum is based on the CFA core body of knowledge, our students have a running start. Both Andrew and Phil worked hard during the past two years within the AIM program at mastering the material – along with their dedicated study schedules during the fall semester – they were successful in passing the December CFA Level 1 exam. I could not be prouder of their accomplishment - it is a testament to their intellect and discipline.”

While Andrew Plank and Phil Suess are not the first AIM students to take and pass the CFA Level 1 exam which being enrolled as full-time students, it is still an amazing accomplishment - and not one that Dr. Krause encourages his students to do during the fall semester. 

Dr. Krause commented further, “Candidates simply cannot cram, get through all of the material and have it mastered without dedicating at hundreds of hours per exam. While both students were involved in student clubs and pitching stocks as members of the AIM class, they had to make a significant sacrifice to pass the exam. They displayed remarkable time management and organizational skills.”

What is the CFA Level 1 pass rate? These are the statistics published by the CFA Institute:

CFA Level 1 Exam      Pass Rate
June 2014 Exam                   42%
December 2014 Exam         44%
June 2015 Exam                   42%
December 2015 Exam         43%
June 2016 Exam                   43%
December 2016 Exam         43%
June 2017 Exam                   43%
December 2017 Exam         43%
June 2018 Exam                  43%
December 2018 Exam         45%