Which CFA Exam Prep Provider has the Best Pass Guarantee?

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Which CFA Exam Prep Provider has the Best Pass Guarantee?

By Zee

We all know that prepping for the CFA exams, while more affordable than pursuing an MBA, are still quite expensive. While we have an Offers section to help readers save on CFA exam materials, nothing can take up more of your time and money than failing your CFA exam.

To help with that, and to stand behind their products, CFA exam materials providers can offer ‘pass guarantees’.

A pass guarantee can go by a variety of names depending on the provider, but what it usually means is that if you fail your exam, the provider will provide either a refund, free materials for your next attempt, or a discount. But which provider offers the best pass guarantee for you?

​To find out, we’ve gone through the pass guarantees of some of the leading CFA exam materials providers. We’ve compared the guarantees by guarantee type, what’s included, and any additional terms and conditions to show how well they stack up against each other. We’ll also share a few tips that you should be bearing in mind when evaluating pass guarantees to get the best value for your own CFA exam prep.


4 key tips when choosing CFA exam pass guarantees

  1. Always understand the specific terms and conditions. Guarantees might come with ‘completion conditions’ (study and achievement milestones that you have to meet as you prepare for the exam), require you to register for the guarantee beforehand, or require that you claim your guarantee within a certain period. Know what you need to do to keep your guarantee valid.
  2. Check if the guarantee will apply, even when you think it doesn’t. If you do fail but don’t meet some conditions for the guarantee to be valid, it’s always worth checking if your provider will honour the guarantee anyway. A lot of the terms are meant to weed out abusers, so as long as you’re honestly studying to retake the exam, it’s worth it to just ask!
  3. Don’t choose a provider purely because of the guarantee. The most important part of a materials provider is that it is an effective tool to help you pass, not that it has great features if you fail.
  4. Guarantees may have limited use if you want to switch providers. Most guarantees provide free renewals, which is fine as long as you’re happy to stay with the same provider. But if you’re likely to switch providers if you fail, a pass guarantee might not be as helpful.

Compare CFA exam provider pass guarantees

The table below shows a summary of the pass guarantees offered by some of the leading CFA exam providers.
Provider
Kaplan Schweser
Fitch Learning*
Wiley
Bloomberg Exam Prep
Guarantee Type
Free renewal or 50% discount
Free renewal for online course, 50% discount for classroom courses
Free renewal
Full refund or free renewal
Completion conditions
50% online questions completed for free renewal
None
None
95% completion and other terms apply for full refund
Unlimited retakes?
Yes
Yes
Yes
One retake only
Deferrals allowed?
Up to one year
No
Yes
No
Print materials included?
Yes
No
No
*Fitch Learning also offers a 100% refund ‘No Pass No Pay’ guarantee, but as it only applies to Level I candidates using Fitch Learning for the first time, we’ve not included that in the comparison table. You can find out more about No Pass No Pay from our detailed review of the Fitch Learning pass guarantee.

Kaplan Schweser's CFA PassProtection: All You Need to Know

…We know that things don’t always go to plan and candidates sometimes need to retake a level so we try to help by heavily discounting or providing free materials, depending on how much of the product was utilized. Over the years we have modified the requirements of the program based on feedback from our customers, and will continue to do so as we see candidate needs evolve.

​At the end of the day, we want candidates to have a great experience with Kaplan Schweser and to pass the CFA exam, whether or not it’s their first try.

– Derek Burkett, CFA, FRM, CAIA, Vice President of Advanced Designations, Kaplan Schweser

​Kaplan Schweser’s PassProtection 
Free materials if you meet completion requirements, 50% discount otherwise

What is Kaplan Schweser’s PassProtection?

  • PassProtection guarantees that as long as you’ve proven you’ve studied for the exam with the package you bought and failed, you’ll be provided with free materials if you choose to retry.
  • There are two tiers to PassProtection:
    • Free materials for your next exam sitting if you’ve answered at least 50% of your available online questions and failed – these must be entered online via Schweser’s platform.
    • 50% discount on your materials for your next exam sitting otherwise.

What purchases does Kaplan Schweser’s PassProtection cover?

Additional details about Kaplan Schweser’s PassProtection

  • Includes print books. If your original purchase includes print books, this guarantee also includes free print books for your retake, but shipping costs, customs fees, duties and/or taxes will not be covered.
  • Unlimited retakes. As long as you meet the policy requirements, you can receive the PassProtection benefit with no limit on the number of retakes.
  • Deferring for one year or more is not allowed. PassProtection is intended to be a one year policy to help candidates that were not successful get over the hurdle for the next season. However, if you have special circumstances that need a deferral, it might be worth getting in touch and see if they can make an exception for your case.
  • No discount stacking. As you might expect, if you’re using the 50% discount, PassProtection cannot be combined with any other offer, discount or promotion.

How to claim Kaplan Schweser’s Pass Protection

  • Order materials for your retake by telephone. To claim or see if you qualify for the PassProtection discount, call Student Support at 877.311.9770 (U.S.) or +1 608.779.8327 (Int’l). You must call and request the discount at the time your order is placed – online orders will not be eligible.
  • Proof requirements: 
    • CFA Program exam results showing you’ve not passed.
    • Proof of enrolment at the same level for the exam.
    • For course completion verification, your questions have to be entered into the online platform – written answers will not be counted.

Our thoughts on Kaplan Schweser’s PassProtection

We think it is a great guarantee from one of the industry’s big hitters – as long as you keep trying properly, the guarantee should always ensure you have the materials you need.

​Including print materials in the guarantee is a really nice touch from Kaplan Schweser, and a rarity among providers as it comes at an additional cost to them.

There is a 50% practice question completion requirement, but we think that’s totally reasonable – practice is key to passing, and if you’ve not achieved 50% completion you simply didn’t prepare hard enough. Just be mindful that you have to enter your practice questions into Kaplan Schweser’s online platform.


​Fitch Learning's CFA Pass Guarantee - All You Need to Know

​Fitch Learning’s Pass Guarantee
Free renewals or 50% off, with additional No Pass No Pay for first-timers

What is Fitch Learning’s Pass Guarantee?

  • Pass Guarantee: Free online learning course, and 50% off full tuition course for retake
    • Free online learning retake: The Pass Guarantee offers access to Fitch Learning’s online learning portal free of charge until you pass, with unlimited retakes, if taken on the next consecutive exam sitting.
    • 50% off classroom course retake: If you’ve taken their full, in-person classroom course, Fitch Learning also offers 50% off Fitch Learning’s fees for your next attempt. 50% off may not sound as generous a guarantee compared to others, but remember that it costs a provider a lot more to provide in-person training, compared to, say, a fully-online course.
  • There is also a ‘No Pass No Pay’ guarantee for first-time Fitch Learning  Level I candidates (conditions apply). You can get a 100% refund under that guarantee, which is a strong commitment from Fitch Learning, considering that they are offering classroom training as well as online courses. There are quite a few conditions though, specifically:
    • First-time Fitch Learning  Level I candidates only.
    • ​Classroom learners must attend 90% of the classroom sessions.
    • Virtual learners must watch 60% of the recordings available at reading level and complete all of the Knowledge Checks.
    • Complete all 18 Study Session Tests online and achieve at least 70%. Study Session tests can be repeated until 70% or above is achieved.
    • Achieve a minimum score of 70% in the Invigilated Final Mock Exam, or a minimum score of 70% in the Online Final Mock Exam. For these exams, first attempt scores will be final for all exams, no repeat exam scores will be considered.
    • The Invigilated Mock Exam must be sat at your relevant test centre under exam conditions.

Additional details about Fitch Learning’s Pass Guarantee

  • Unlimited retakes. Even if you fail again you still qualify for another 50% discount and a free online renewal.
  • No deferrals. The guarantee is only valid for courses prepping for the next immediate exam cycle.
  • No completion requirements. Unlike No Pass No Pay, Fitch Learning’s Pass Guarantee does not require you to meet any completion or score targets.
  • Print materials not covered. ​The discount does not apply to the cost of study texts or materials if needed

What purchases do Fitch Learning’s guarantees cover?

How to claim Fitch Learning’s guarantees

  • To claim your guarantee, email Fitch Learning (clientservices@fitchlearning.com) with your relevant details and proof to get your guarantee activated.
  • To qualify for No Pass No Pay, you’ll have to register for it beforehand here.

Our thoughts on Fitch Learning’s guarantees

Their Pass Guarantee is good. Free online materials with unlimited retakes, deferrals allowed and no course completion is as simple and generous as it gets, and candidates should have peace of mind that they won’t need to shell out for another set of materials if they need to retake. Printed materials aren’t included in the guarantee, but not many providers stretch to that.

The No Pass No Pay guarantee offers a 100% refund, but remember it is only available for Level I, first-time Fitch Learning buyers, and strict completion and achievement conditions apply.


​​Wiley's CFA Pass Guarantee - All You Need to Know

​​Wiley’s Pass Guarantee
Pay once and get free repeats until you pass

What is Wiley’s Pass Guarantee?

  • The latest Wiley materials until you pass. Wiley’s pass guarantee means that with your purchase, you will continue to get the latest Wiley materials until you pass your CFA exam. This means that all course repeats, online content updates, and software upgrades are free until you pass your exam.​

What purchases does Wiley’s Pass Guarantee cover?

Additional details about Wiley’s Pass Guarantee

  • Unlimited retakes. As mentioned, with the Pass Guarantee you can get unlimited course renewals until you pass.
  • No completion requirements. Wiley’s Pass Guarantee does not require you to meet any completion or score targets.
  • Deferrals allowed. Candidates sometimes have to leave study and need to pick it up again in another exam window; Wiley’s Pass Guarantee allows you to do that and not have to worry about re-purchasing materials.
  • Does not include print books. Wiley’s guarantee only covers online course content updates.

How to redeem Wiley’s Pass Guarantee

  • The only proof you need is that you’re an existing course customer. To redeem, simply contact customer service so they can locate you on the system and update your access to the new course materials.

Our thoughts on Wiley’s Pass Guarantee

It’s good. As guarantees go, it doesn’t get simpler or more generous than “free updated materials until you pass”.  Wiley has always given great discounts, and it’s clear that their Pass Guarantee reflects that policy.

Although it doesn’t include print materials, it is understandable because the guarantee is valid for as many retakes as you need, has no completion requirements, and can be deferred for as long as you like.


Bloomberg CFA Exam Prep's Pass Insurance - All You Need to Know

Bloomberg Exam Prep’s Pass Insurance
Full refund or free renewal if you do not pass

What is Bloomberg’s Pass Insurance?

Bloomberg’s Pass Insurance consists of a two tiers – a full refund, or a free account renewal.

  • Full Refund: Bloomberg Exam Prep offers a full refund if you do not pass. To be eligible for a refund you’ll have to earnestly prepare using the Bloomberg course. Specifically, these conditions must be met:
    • Start using Bloomberg’s prep materials no less than 10 weeks before your exam (exceptions are sometimes approved).
    • Reach at least 95% progress through the course, by the day before your exam date, as stated by their course dashboard
    • Take all of Bloomberg’s simulation exams available to your package.
  • Free Account Renewal: If you failed but did not meet the conditions for a full refund, don’t panic – you still qualify for a free account renewal. Terms for the free renewal:
    • The account renewal can’t be used for more than one extension. This means that if you fail again under your free account renewal, you don’t get any more free materials or refunds.
    • Must be used for the next immediate exam cycle.

What purchases does Bloomberg’s Pass Insurance cover?

  • Bloomberg Exam Prep offers Pass Insurance on all their products.

Additional details about Bloomberg’s Pass Insurance

  • One retake allowed. This means that if you fail again under your free account renewal, you don’t get any more free materials or refunds.
  • No deferrals allowed. You must use the Pass Insurance for the next immediate exam cycle.

How to claim Bloomberg’s Pass Insurance

  • To submit a claim, send your official exam results by email to support@bloombergprep.com. You may additionally be required to answer a short online survey conducted by Bloomberg.
  • Claim within a month of results. You must make a Pass Insurance claim within 30 days after your CFA exam results are published.

Our thoughts on Bloomberg’s Pass Insurance

The full refund is a great guarantee, but it does come with a comprehensive set of completion conditions. However, the free renewal tier does not have any completion conditions, so you’ll always have that as a safety net. Do note that only one retake is allowed and no deferrals can be done, and you’ll need to make a claim 30 days after results day.


Which CFA exam provider has the best pass guarantee?

There is no single ‘best pass guarantee’ that will apply to all candidates. This isn’t a cop-out, honest! The terms of each pass guarantee vary a lot, so you do have to choose which is best for you. This is why we wrote this article, comparing leading providers’ guarantee types and terms – to help you make an informed choice that is best for your needs.

Candidate preferences can differ a lot. One candidate might prioritise choosing another provider and prefer a 100% refund, whereas another candidate might want a simple guarantee with no completion conditions. The best pass guarantee for you is the one that you’re most likely to benefit from given your study style and circumstances.

As we mentioned at the start of the article, it’s not a good idea to base your provider choice solely on pass guarantees. You should always choose your provider based on the quality of the materials and whether the study platform suits your study style. To find out more about choosing the best provider for you:

Which provider do you think offers the best pass guarantee for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Which CFA Exam Prep Provider has the Best Pass Guarantee?”

  1. Do you know how easy or difficult it is to actually claim these guarantees? You mention that most of the ways to redeem is manually through email etc. Do providers just grant them or is there a lot additional terms (like real insurance, haha)?

    Reply
    • When we were candidates, pass guarantees weren’t as much of a thing, so I don’t have any personal experience with that. Having said that, we have yet to receive any write-ins that complain about difficulties redeeming pass guarantees, so I’m guessing there shouldn’t be much of an issue with redemption. Terms and conditions are usually put in place to reduce abuse, so as long as you’re a genuine claimant I don’t think you should have an issue.

      Reply

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