Not to be confused with pass rates, GARP does not release FRM minimum passing score information to candidates.
We understand GARP’s reasons for doing this, as FRM candidates should aim to acquire the necessary knowledge as a competent finance professional, rather than aiming for a specific score to beat since an exam’s difficulty can vary.
That said, we think knowing a range of passing score can be a useful reference point for FRM candidates to gauge their performance when doing practice questions.
In this article, we attempt to estimate the FRM minimum passing scores for the recent computer-based exams. More importantly, we explain why FRM passing scores are tricky to estimate (with some examples), and our estimate should be treated as such – a rough guide to help your FRM study preparation.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
- What is the FRM results format like?
- 3 factors why FRM passing scores are difficult to estimate
- A numerical example
- FRM minimum passing score: Our estimates
- Got your FRM exam results? Send us your results details for research!
What is the FRM results format like?
Your FRM exam results are released only with a pass or fail grade, just like this example screenshot below for a Part 1 candidate:
Additionally, quartile data is provided as a guide to show your topic mastery relative to your peers taking the same exam. This can be useful information if you failed your exam, so you can concentrate your efforts on improving weaker topics if you decide to retake.
Here’s an example of a quartile data information found in the results PDF for a Part 2 topic (Market Risk Measurement and Management):
3 factors why FRM passing scores are difficult to estimate
Quartiles only show your topic’s strength relative to other candidates
In the FRM results letter, candidates receive the following quartile information for each topic:
|Topic mastery||Results percentile||Usually summarized as|
|Excellent||76th – 100th percentile||1|
|Good||51st – 100th percentile||2|
|Fair||26th – 50th percentile||3|
|Poor||0 – 25th percentile||4|
For example, it may be common to hear FRM candidates’ declaring their Part 1 results as “1, 2, 3, 1”, which simply translates to the following results:
- Foundations of Risk Management = Excellent
- Quantitative Analysis = Good
- Financial Markets & Products = Fair
- Valuation & Risk Models = Excellent
Note that quartiles simply breaks up a data set into 4 parts. This just shows your relative strength of the topic compared to other candidates taking the same exam. They cannot be used to make comparisons to other candidates’ overall score, as we can see in an example later, further below.
There is a wide range of scores in a quartile
Having a wide range of 25% in each quartile makes it hard for comparison, since obtaining 76% and 100% both belong in the same quartile. That’s a huge score difference for a topic, let alone 4-6 topics for the overall score for FRM candidates.
Topic weights matter, too
In addition to the limitations of the quartile statistic – and this may sound obvious – scoring well for higher weighted topics would have a greater positive impact on your overall score, and vice versa.
Here’s a quick recap of the latest topic weights for FRM Part 1 and Part 2:
|FRM Part 1 Topics||Topic Weight|
|Foundations of Risk Management (FRM)||20%|
|Quantitative Analysis (QA)||20%|
|Financial Markets & Products (FMP)||30%|
|Valuation & Risk Models (VRM)||30%|
|FRM Part 2 Topics||Topic Weight|
|Market Risk Measurement & Management (MR)||20%|
|Credit Risk Measurement & Management (CR) ||20%|
|Operation Risk & Resiliency (ORR)||20%|
|Liquidity and Treasury Risk Measurement and Management (LTR)||15%|
|Risk Management and Investment Management (IM)||15%|
|Current Issues in Financial Markets (CI)||10%|
Let’s go through an example in the next section to see how all these 3 factors work when it comes to estimating an FRM minimum passing score.
A numerical example
Given the 3 factors discussed above, this means that there are many candidates that may have very similar quartiles, yet with some passing and some not, since their actual overall scores can vary widely.
As mentioned earlier, quartile data cannot be used to make comparison with other candidates’ overall score.
Let’s look at a simple example with Part 1 results to better clarify this:
Assuming an FRM Part 1 passing score of 55%, the example above shows that:
- Even though Candidates A and B have similar quartile scores across 4 topics (3,3,2,2 and 2,2,3,3), the topic weight and wide range within a quartile affects the final overall score. Candidate A’s individual topic results are stronger within its quartiles, whereas Candidate B’s results are at the bottom range of each quartile it scored in.
- That said, even though Candidate B and C have the same quartile results for each topic, the wide range of 25% within a quartile results in a wide margin in the overall score, in this extreme example comparing Candidate B and C.
FRM minimum passing score: Our estimates
Based on our limited FRM dataset at this stage, we are currently focusing on the recent Part 1 computer-based exams’ passing score estimates.
IMPORTANT: Just like our CFA passing score estimates, our FRM minimum passing score (MPS) estimates are just that – a best estimate of the passing score. Your individual MPS may also vary depending on exam version taken.
Based on our FRM results survey (see next section), here are the latest FRM Part 1 passing score estimates for computer based exams:
- Part 1 May 2021 = 52%
- Part 1 July 2021 = 50%
That said, aiming for a score of 70% and above in practice exams is a good position to be in, since passing scores can vary by exam as they get recalibrated.
Got your FRM exam results? Send us your results details for research!
In order to help all FRM candidates better, we would like to collect results data from our FRM readers who recently completed their exams, especially if you know your computer-based exam score.
All you need to do is complete and submit this form below, and you will be notified once we have completed our FRM passing score analysis – thanks!
Thanks for sharing your FRM results with us for research, we will continuously update this article as more data comes in!
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