More than half of UVU Woodbury School of Business students pass Chartered Financial Analyst exam

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 |

Written by: Patricia Monsoor | 801-863-5483 | 

More than half of UVU Woodbury School of Business students pass Chartered Financial Analyst exam

55 percent of UVU Woodbury School of Business students who sat for the Level I of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I exam passed. The Wall Street Journal dubs the exam the hardest test in the world, seeing less than one-fifth of entrants passing on their first attempt.

The three-level exam (Levels I, II and III, which must be passed in order) is administered in 174 countries around the world. The exam content, learning focus, and question format increase in complexity with each level.

An example showing the increase in complexity is the ethical and professional standards curriculum content. This content is similar for each exam level; however, candidates are asked different types of questions:

  • Level I tests knowledge of the ethical and professional standards
  • Level II tests how those standards are applied to situations analysts face
  • Level III tests how those standards are applied in a portfolio management and compliance context.

In general:

  • Level I exams consist of basic knowledge and comprehension questions focused on investment tools; some questions will require analysis.
  • Level II exams emphasize more complex analysis, along with a focus on valuing assets.
  • Level III exams require synthesis of all the concepts and analytical methods in a variety of applications for effective portfolio management and wealth planning.

A record 59,627 financial professionals sat for the exam, a 14 percent increase from a year earlier, the Charlottesville, Virginia-based CFA Institute reported in a statement The test was administered in 104 test centers in 72 cities globally, the CFA reported. Known as the “gold standard” for finance professionals, passing the exam swings open career doors to anyone hoping to build a career in investment management.

Woodbury professional in residence Cary Wasden coached and tutored the business students in preparation for the exam that covered approximately 3,234 pages of curriculum.

“These kids put in 350-400 hours of studying,” said Wasden. “It is just a nasty exam and you can’t ‘game’ it — you have to master the material.”

Meeting every night and Saturday mornings for several months, Wasden credits the students’ work ethic and teamwork for their success. Over the past three years, Wasden has been developing his own study aids for the exam that are designed around how the brain naturally learns which are employed in the review sessions.

“This is engaged learning at its best,” said Wasden. “These students did all the work. They were dedicated, consistent, and determined. My role is to keep them engaged on the field of play.”

In line with Woodbury’s student core theme of business students being “professionals in progress,” Woodbury School of Business Dean Norman Wright said, “I cannot think of a better example of hard work trumping initial advantages.”

For a look at the historical pass rates of the CFA exam dating back to 1963, visit

For more information on the Woodbury School of Business, visit

Fourth region (Section 1)