The CFA is the most brutal exam in the world of finance - here's what the questions look like

Business Insider | Apr 19, 2018, 01.13PM IST

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  • More than 100,000 people a year take the exam to earn the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification.
  • It is notoriously difficult - fewer than 50% of people pass the first level.
  • Below are seven questions from recent sample papers to give a flavour of the test.

Every year thousands of young people embark on one of the most mentally grueling experiences of their lives by taking the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams.

The CFA has three levels and is a qualification designed to ensure people working in certain parts of the financial industry have all the right knowledge to do so, and is notoriously tough.

Pass rates most years are around 40-50%, and most people study for more than 300 hours before taking the test.

More than 100,000 people around the world take the test in more than 100 countries every year, and becoming a CFA charter holder is a huge leg up for anyone hoping to build a career in investment management.

But what does the test actually involve? Business Insider got hold of a recent practice test from the CFA Institute - the body which administers the exam - to see just how difficult it really is.

We've picked out a handful of questions taken from the CFA Level One, which is, in theory at least, the easiest exam.

The full exam is six hours long and consists of 240 multiple choice questions.

"For many students, parts of the CFA Program exams that commonly cause the most trouble are those covering Fixed Income and Derivatives," Alex King, a director for examination development at the CFA Institute told Business Insider.

Check them out, along with the correct answers and explanations from the CFA Institute, below:

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