The CFA® Exam and Coronavirus Survey Results

17 / 03 / 2020
Category: Blog

The results are in.
First of all, thank you to all you who participated. We had more than 400 responses from over 100 different test centres: the largest responses were from Mumbai, London, Cairo and New Delhi; but we also heard from (amongst many others) Accra, Brunei, Milwaukee, Tianjin, Ulaanbaatar and Yerevan, generating a truly global spread of opinions.
We asked you (1) what your own plans are if you are enrolled for the June CFA exam sitting, and (2) what action you think CFA Institute should take.

What are your plans for the CFA exam?

We offered four options including, to paraphrase, (1) intending to sit the exam, (2) monitoring the situation, (3) probably not sitting the exam, and (4) definitely not sitting the exam.
The results were far more evenly split than we had expected, with 18% intending to sit the exam as planned, 17% definitely deferring and 31% probably deferring. 34% are monitoring the situation.
With 48% probably or definitely not sitting the exam, the centres themselves will be sparsely populated, reducing risks of viral transmission, though candidates still have the journey to and from the centre.

What action should CFA Institute take?

Survey results here were biased towards caution, with just 11% saying CFA Institute should proceed as planned. One-third of respondents felt that a two to three month postponement should be the chosen action, 32% thought December was the best date, and 24% felt that CFA Institute should cancel the June exams altogether, setting everyone back six or twelve months.
As I suggested previously the logistics of deferring (rather than cancelling) are complex to say the least, with exam centres needing to be available on the same dates globally if CFA Institute is to avoid the need for having multiple versions of the exam, each one graded separately from the others. Exams have been cancelled (or postponed) in the past, though generally only in single locations. Certainly one would expect CFA Institute to tread at the cautious end of public health advice, and survey respondents seem to confirm this opinion.


With governments around the world making pronouncements daily about travel restrictions and public gatherings, June remains a long way away, the exams being in more than eleven weeks’ time. Where we are in June on “the curve” of COVID-19 is, for most of us, pure speculation. CFA Institute will want to give as much notice as possible to candidates, though may defer decisions until we know more about the likely trajectory of infection.
Many CFA candidates by now will be working from home. This does provide an opportunity for increased study time. Of course this is not for everybody, but even if you are determined to defer your exam, the more knowledge you gain in the coming months, the easier the studying will be in the future. Bear in mind that there is a vast amount of learning that can be done online – in fact all Quartic revision courses will be live-streamed, with or without a classroom – and once our lives are getting back to normal your firm and clients may be grateful for the knowledge you have acquired.

Whatever your choice, and whatever happens to the CFA exams, we hope you and your families and circles remain safe.

Please contact us to hear about online studying.

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