Posted by: Kaplan Schweser
Updated: October 7, 2020
To postpone the CFA® exam, you must meet specific criteria and appeal directly to CFA Institute - unless CFA Institute postpones the exam for reasons such as natural disasters, a pandemic, or a major format change. When CFA Institute postpones the exam, they provide notice to candidates and help them transfer to the new date or register again. However, when a candidate wants to take the exam at a later date, the rules are different. Let’s look at what is happening because of the novel coronavirus, and also at what can happen if you’ve registered for the exam and discover you cannot take it on that day. We’ll also provide tips that can help you avoid having to endure the process of attempting to reschedule.
Please note, CFA Institute announced on October 7 the cancellation of select test centers for the December 2020 CFA exam due to local COVID-19 regulations and requirements. To learn more about the December 2020 CFA exam cancellations, visit the following article: When to Take the Postponed CFA® Exam (2020-2021).
Because of the novel coronavirus (and its disease COVID-19), CFA Institute announced the postponement of the June 2020 exam and have moved registered candidates to move them to later sittings. Candidates registered for the June exams will be transferred to one of the next two exam administrations. Candidates can to select a preferred future date.
“We cannot overstate the profound effects that coronavirus is having on families, communities, businesses, the financial markets, and the global economy,” said Margaret Franklin, CFA, President and CEO of CFA Institute, in a statement for the press. “As the pandemic continues to intensify, with no certainty of when it will abate, we have made this decision with a heavy heart while knowing that it is in the best interest of all of our stakeholders.”
When CFA institute has not announced a postponement for all candidates, it only lets people reschedule the CFA exam in specific circumstances. They call this a deferral, and they decide whether to offer deferrals on a case-by-case basis. To be considered, you must notify CFA Institute by email that you or a member of your immediate family have a life-threatening or very serious illness, you are pregnant, there is a death in your immediate family, or you have mandatory military service on the day of the exam. CFA Institute has a self-assessment you can use to determine whether you should request a deferral.
After reviewing your case, CFA Institute will determine whether you can postpone your scheduled exam to the next sitting. On Reddit and analystforum.com, there are personal stories about deferrals that go into detail about the results of the process. If your case meets the criteria, you will be offered a qualified deferral, and your enrollment and registration status will be deferred until the next sitting. However, you will forfeit any fees you paid.
The reasoning behind this policy is that the number of paid registrations determines the number of exams to print and ship, as well as the amount of space, furniture, and equipment to reserve in the testing center. Paid registrations also determine the support services needed. In addition, CFA Institute says, a deferral creates an empty space that can’t be filled.
If you don’t qualify for a deferral and you are not able to take the exam on the scheduled date, you have the option of withdrawing from the CFA exam.
You may withdraw from the CFA exam up to five days before the exam date. Withdrawing means that you do not have to take the exam, but it stops there. If you want to take it at the next sitting, you will have to register again.
CFA Institute has two policies for withdrawals. If you withdraw from the exam within the first three days after registering, you will be issued a full refund of your registration and exam fees. If you withdraw after that, you will lose your fees, but you can register again as soon as your withdrawal is processed. You will have to pay the fees again.Note that you should not withdraw from the June 2020 exam that was postponed due to COVID-19.
If you do not withdraw by the deadline, and you then don’t sit for the exam, you will not be allowed to register for the next sitting until after CFA Institute releases all the results from the current exam. So, if you need to withdraw, go through the proper channels to ensure a place at the next sitting.
Once you withdraw, it’s final. This means that if you withdraw your registration for one sitting, you cannot re-register for the same sitting.
If you don’t want to withdraw from the exam, but you can’t take it at your assigned testing center, you can request a change.
After you receive the location of your testing center, you can change it online by using your account without forfeiting any fees. In 2020, the deadline for this is June 2. If you request a change before admission tickets are released, the change is automatic unless the testing center is full. If you request a change to a testing center that has space available after admission tickets are released, you will be notified by mail of the change.
No one can predict the future and certainly not medical and other emergencies. However, it’s best if you can avoid postponing or withdrawing from the exam if you can help it. This is especially true for Levels II and III since they are offered only once a year. Here are some tips that can help you be prepared for your scheduled exam:
Exam preparation packages offer live instruction, practice questions and more. They can help you stick to your study plan and show up on your scheduled exam day, feeling confident about your odds of passing.