CFA Institute announced a few weeks ago that they are postponing the June 2020 CFA exams to the next two available dates: December 2020 and June 2021.
Since the announcement a lot more details have been clarified with CFA Institute and providers. We’ve updated the FAQs in this article (check the end) with the latest information on the CFA exam postponement.
How will the CFA exam postponement work?
Under the postponement, candidates will be offered to reschedule their exam to either one of the next two upcoming exam dates. This should mean December 2020 or June 2021. The exact dates will be confirmed no later than 8th May 2020 and CFA Institute will contact candidates to discuss their options.
What has the reaction been?
So my CFA exams have been postponed. What should I do now?
On our part, more tips, advice and guidance for CFA candidates will be coming in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled!
Will the curriculum stay the same for the postponed CFA exams? [Updated]
CFA Institute has since confirmed that the curriculum for the 2021 exams will follow the 2020 curriculum. This means that the postponed exam will draw from the same material, regardless of whether you’re sitting for the exam in December 2020 or any date in 2021.
So the material you’ve bought should be still 100% relevant to the deferred CFA exam.
Obviously this is good news for candidates that are undecided between December 2020 and June 2021. When asked for the reasoning behind this decision, CFA Institute responded:
We put our candidates’ interest first and decided to minimize the impact of the postponement of the June 2020 exams by freezing the curriculum for two exam cycles.
Although the 2021 curriculum topics have continued to evolve, we felt that to transition candidates who have been postponed and ensure they accurately understand changes to the curriculum places an unfair burden on them at this time.
Registered candidates already invested a great deal of time in their studies, and we do not want to disrupt their learning or add further confusion to the re-scheduling of exam dates.
Should I choose to defer to the December 2020 or June 2021 exams?
- If you sit for the December 2020 exams and pass, you can move to the next level in June 2021, so you don’t actually lose any time because of the postponement. Yes, studying for the next level in June 2021 is going to be hairy as hell, but these are different times. A postponement is a small price to pay to adapt to the coronavirus crisis going on.
- June 2021 is a looong way away. If you defer to June 2021, you run the risk of losing everything you’ve learnt so far, and pretty much having to start all over again.
- Assuming you’ve done some substantial studying for June 2020, if you postpone all the way to June 2021, you would likely have forgotten most of what you’ve studied by then and will have to restart most of your studying.
Will I need to purchase material from providers again? [Updated]
Here are specific responses to the CFA exam coronavirus postponement from our provider partners:
Kaplan Schweser (coronavirus update page here)
- Online access for candidates whose exams have been postponed will be extended.
- All live, in-person classes with start dates from March 19 through May 1, 2020 have been cancelled. All affected candidates will be notified and offered online, self study, or virtual live online classes where possible.
- Review Workshops and Mock Exams are also being rescheduled and candidates will be notified when dates are confirmed.
- Kaplan Schweser postponement offer 1: Kaplan Schweser are offering their Qbank for free to 300Hours readers. Just use code KS-QB300H at this page, and you should be able to ‘purchase’ a Qbank at any level for $0.
- Kaplan Schweser postponement offer 2: Kaplan Schweser are also offering complimentary webinars, videos, and master classes throughout the postponement period – probably a good idea to make sure you keep on top of things. There’s only one webinar on offer at the moment but more will come – you can sign up to be notified.
Fitch Learning (coronavirus update page here)
- Fitch Learning are pausing all in-person courses and webinars and will be rescheduling dates to later in the year to suit candidates’ chosen dates.
- All Fitch Learning candidates will have continued access to Fitch Learning Cognition, their online learning portal and mobile app, for as long as they need until their chosen exam date.
- Fitch Learning CFA postponement offer: Fitch Learning are hosting topic-based, complimentary webinars throughout the postponement period – covering topics from Quant, FRA to Derivatives. It’s free to attend, so do register for them.
Wiley (coronavirus update page here)
- You can get a free access extension from Wiley if your exam has been postponed. Their webpage says that you’ll have to contact their customer service team to activate this, but we’ve heard that they’ve now made this automatic (thanks Anthony!)
- They also have a free-to-view Q&A on the CFA exam postponement, which you can register for and watch here.
- Bloomberg will be extending June 2020 subscriptions at no cost until the December 2020 exam date.
Postponement offer: Bloomberg is offering a ‘COVID-19 Assistance Plan‘ until April 30, which offers their Level 1 and Level 2 product for free, with a 50% refundable deposit on their Level 3 product, which is around $350 at their Essential Tier. Sounds confusing? Here’s how it works according to Bloomberg:
- Start a 14-day free trial by April 30. Pay nothing if you cancel.
- Pay a refundable 50% deposit for a Level III plan of your choice.
- Either refer a friend or pay the remaining 50%, within 3 months.
- Complete the courses and take the Level III exam within 5 years, to receive a full refund minus credit card processing fees.
AdaptPrep (coronavirus update page here)
- If you have a currently active subscription, Adaptprep will extend it through the end of December 2020 automatically.
Can I get a refund for the June 2020 CFA exam?
CFA Institute is providing registered candidates a deferral to a future exam date. Because all candidates will be rescheduled, refunds are not being offered.
In the June 2020 Candidate Agreement, the terms laid out under “Exam Disruptions or Exam Compromise” state that:
If the normal testing process is cancelled, interrupted, delayed, mistimed, or otherwise disturbed, or if exam
content is compromised as a result of a disruptive event, CFA Institute may change the date, time,
location, or conditions of the exam or cancel the administration of the exam altogether.
If CFA Institute determines that a corrective action is necessary, CFA Institute may offer affected candidates a retest
or alternative test date at no additional fee (on a regularly scheduled test date or another date
selected by CFA Institute within the next twelve (12) months) or a refund of the exam fee.
CFA Institute will make all decisions regarding the administration of the exam and any corrective action in its sole
So while we agree with you that CFA Institute should probably offer refunds for those who want them, according to the Candidate Agreement, it’s CFA Institute’s prerogative to deny them.
If you’re serious about the CFA charter you shouldn’t really be looking at a refund anyway – if you’re looking to take the December 2020 exams it might get a little intense studying for the next June 2021 exam cycle, but otherwise you won’t be missing out a year.
How likely is it that the December 2020 CFA exam will be affected by the coronavirus too?
The latest reports on the COVID-19 pandemic is that while measures are being put in place to suppress the spread of the virus globally, we may well see a second wave after lockdown measures have been lifted. This happened with the Spanish flu in 1918 – in fact, the second wave was more deadly than the first.
If a second wave does happen, it is likely to happen during the winter season, i.e. December for the northern hemisphere.
Our advice on this front is to react and decide as if the December 2020 exam is going ahead until told otherwise. It’s way too early to get any definitive direction on this.
Latest FAQs [Updated 13 Apr 2020]
For Level 1, the 2022 curriculum and CBOK should be released in May 2021, when the first 2022 exam window is expected to open. The Level 2 and 3 curricula will be released when registration opens for the June 2022 exams, which should be around August 2021
Testable content will not change. However, during this interim period, CFA Institute will continue to evolve the learning experience and adding functionality.
Our final thoughts on the CFA exams’ postponement
For disgruntled candidates, it’s important to remember that in practical terms, it’s the coronavirus that postponed the June 2020 exams, not CFA Institute. For your safety and everyone else’s, CFA Institute is simply adapting to the disruption and offering candidates the best solution it can.
More articles, tips, advice and guidance to support our readers will be coming soon – if you have any questions just drop them in the comments below. Stay safe and stay home!