5 Frequently Asked Questions about CFA Results Day

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The CFA results day for the Dec 2020 exams are:

  • 28th Jan 2021 for Level 1 and Level 2
  • 17th Feb 2021 for Level 3

​​Remember that you can track all important events by syncing with our CFA Calendar, including our predicted exam results dates.

Results day can be a bit chaotic – that’s why in anticipation of results day, we’ve put together a few FAQs about results day that you’re like to wonder about, regardless of whether it’s your first time receiving CFA results or not.

If you’ve got an additional question, simply drop it in the comments and you’ll get an answer from us!

#1 – How will CFA results be delivered?

The CFA results used to be posted on the CFA Institute website, and you had to log into the website to check your results. Naturally, this crashed their website every results day, and after several years CFA Institute switched to delivering full detailed results via email.

The results email’s format then changed again from the December 2017 exam. CFA Institute now emails you just a pass/fail grade on results day. Additional details, including your results charts, will be available online on the same day, but you may have issues logging into the website due to heavy traffic.

​The results email is now a lot shorter than what it used to be:

Passed email example:

Congratulations! We are very pleased to inform you that you passed the December 20XX Level X CFA exam. XX% of candidates passed the December 20XX Level X CFA exam.

Failed email example:

​We sincerely regret to inform you that you did not pass the December 20XX Level X CFA exam.  XX% of candidates passed the December 20XX Level X CFA exam.

You can find out more details about the current format through the articles below.

#2 – When will my CFA results email come? I’ve been waiting for hours!

On results day, results emails have historically arrived some time after 9AM ET – equivalent times in major timezones:

  • PST: 6AM
  • UK: 2PM
  • Europe: 3PM
  • India, Pakistan: 6.30PM
  • China, Singapore: 9PM

This time CFA Institute has not quoted any time, but you can expect results to be emailed some time after 9AM ET. This could mean hours after 9AM ET, so don’t plan to sit by your inbox and wait!

​You can check the exact corresponding time in your local timezone using the button below. You can also add our free CFA Calendar to your calendar so that you’ll be reminded of important upcoming CFA events!

Emails may take several hours from this time to land in your inbox – remember, there are thousands of emails being sent.

The 300 Hours team will all be active at the Forum, so drop by there to hang out while you wait for your results, and if you have any questions we’d be happy to answer!

Tip: Can’t wait for the email? Check directly online!

You can also check your results online from 9AM ET onwards, sometimes even earlier. However, CFA Institute’s website might experience exceptionally heavy traffic on results day so you may have technical issues logging in.

#3 – How are the CFA results presented? Do I get a breakdown?

examples of how to interpret and read the CFA results charts

With the current format, candidates get charts showing the relative positions of:

  • the Minimum Passing Score, MPS (or 70% mark depending on the score being reported)
  • the 10th and 90th percentile
  • your ‘score box’ (i.e. the range, according to CFA Institute, that you should have been capable of)
  • your score

These are all represented by charts with no displayed x or y values, which means candidates don’t get a full breakdown of their performance, just a relative sense.

We do, however, have a guide to help you interpret your results charts effectively.

You can find out more details about the new results format through the articles below.

#4 – What are the next steps if I pass or fail?

Firstly, if you passed, congratulations!

Exam registrations will open after results day so you can register yourself as a candidate for the next level then! Be sure to check out the Commandments for the next level in our Free Guides section. As for partying, I’m sure you need no pointers from us!

If you failed, don’t give up! More than 70% of readers have indicated that you would retake the exam immediately – I completely agree with this frame of mind. Failing is simply an indication that you should change your methods, or put in more effort – don’t give up on the dream! Make sure you have all the necessary tools for this time around.

#5 – If I fail, should I get a retabulation?

If you failed, you can request for your exam score to be retabulated. However, overall it’s not something we recommend you pin your passing hopes on – it costs $100 and we’ve not heard of any successes (i.e. fail to pass) with retabulation so far. 

Retabulation only confirms your scores are calculated correctly – it’s not an appeals process, nor a remarking of your paper. The fee will be refunded if your score was found to be totalled incorrectly – if the score was correctly calculated, you lose the retabulation fee.

The retabulation process goes like this:

Multiple Choice/Item Set Retabulation

A CFA Institute staff member pulls your answer sheets, verifies your name and CFA Institute ID number, and manually compares your properly marked answers to an answer key. We then confirm scores were correctly added and the total score is reflected in the CFA Institute database.

Your score is determined solely by the marks read by the scanning equipment. It is your responsibility to complete your answer sheet correctly to ensure all information is accurately recorded during grading. Failure to follow instructions may affect how the scanning machine reads and records your information. Marks made by a writing instrument other than a No. 2 or an HB pencil may not be read by the scanning equipment. Marks that do not fill an oval completely and/or are not dark enough may not be read by the scanning equipment. Random marks and poor erasures may be read as an intended answer.

Essay Retabulation

A CFA Institute staff member confirms the scores for all question parts are accurately recorded and totalled in the CFA Institute database.

Our advice is to only consider it if you were honestly super-confident about your results, and you got really unexpectedly poor results.

All the best for results day – all our fingers and toes will be crossed for all of you. Meanwhile, if you’ve got another question for us, drop it in the comments below!

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan


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