fbpixel Advice for those who didn’t pass the Nov’21 Level I exam | IFT World

Advice for those who didn’t pass the Nov’21 Level I exam

Posted on 11-01-22 at 5:00 pm

If you failed the Level I exam it is natural to feel disappointed, but you must put this temporary setback behind you and move on.


Failure was never meant to be a signal to turn back, but instead, an obstacle that the stronger and wiser use to boost themselves up and attain greater heights. Your recent failure might cause you to wonder whether or not to continue with the CFA Program, and if so when to retake the exam.

Let us consider the first question: whether to continue with the CFA Program or not. For those who did not pass, the typical advice is to keep trying; however, I suggest a more thoughtful approach. Put the result on the side for a moment and ask yourself:  Did I really enjoy the subject matter? Try doing a post-audit on why you did not pass. Was it because you did not have enough time to prepare for the exam? Or did you have a very hard time understanding the concepts? Is the CFA Program aligned with your career aspirations? Carefully thinking through these questions will help you decide whether or not to continue with the program.

If you fundamentally enjoyed the material and you have an interest in investment management, then I’d recommend that you continue. Now for the next question: when to take the exam?  If you failed with a relatively high score (your scoreline was close to the minimum passing scoreline), and have time to study/practice over the next few months, then sit for the exam in the next available window. 

The first thing that you should consider is that the CFA Institute has made some changes to the 2022 curriculum, you should be aware of these changes before you decide to sit for the exam. Click here to see the changes.

If you failed badly (your scoreline was considerably below the minimum passing scoreline) and/or don’t have much time to study/practice, then I’d suggest retaking the exam later this year or maybe next year, as you would need more time to study and practice in order to pass.

If you did not enjoy studying the Level I curriculum, and you are not particularly interested in investment management, I would not recommend continuing with the CFA Program. This might come across as harsh, but in the long run, you are much better off pursuing a line of work that you enjoy and where you can make a decent living.

For whichever decision you finally go with, I wish you the best of luck.


Arif Irfanullah, CFA

Planning to retake the Level I exam? Avail IFT’s retake discount offer:

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