For those writing FPSC certification exams, third time’s potentially not a charm.

That’s because exam results indicate a higher pass rate for those who write the exams for the first time.

For the latest round of exams, the overall pass rate for FPSC Level 1 was 73%, says the FPSC in a release. Of 473 participants writing the exam, 368 were first-timers with a higher pass rate—78%—while 105 were re-attempting the exam, with a pass rate of only 55%.

Pass rates for the CFP exam were even starker.

The overall pass rate for the latest CFP exam was 63%. Of 461 candidates writing the exam, 343 were first-timers with a pass rate of 71%, and 118 were re-attempting the exam, with a 37% pass rate.

These results are similar to the last round’s, and the same discrepancy between first-timers and repeat test-takers can be found in other professions, such as law (as shown on page 15 of this document of U.S. bar exam results).

While there are likely myriad nuanced reasons for the discrepancy between test-takers, JD Advising, a bar exam tutor in the U.S., says in a web post that second-timers, in particular, shouldn’t be overly concerned. That’s because second-timers are more likely to pass than those who are repeating after more attempts. For all repeaters, potential success can be gauged based on previous scores and study methods, it says.

In an email to Advisor.ca, the FPSC noted that its exams are difficult, as is obtaining the FPSC designation. “It is not unusual for the pass rates to be lower for those who have already failed at least once before,” it said. “Not everyone will be capable of meeting the standards required of our certificants.”

More about FPSC exams

Level 1 is the first exam on the path to CFP certification and a requirement for FPSC Level 1 certification. The latest sitting for the exam took place on May 31 at locations across Canada. The exam is four hours long and consists of multiple-choice questions.

The CFP exam is the final exam on the path to CFP certification. The latest sitting was on June 1 country-wide. The exam is six hours long and consists of both multiple-choice and constructed-response questions.

The next sitting of the FPSC Level 1 exam will take place Nov. 29; the next CFP exam, on Nov. 30.

There are about 16,500 CFPs across Canada, and more than 175,000 CFPs in 26 territories around the world, says the FPSC release.

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