December Exam Administration FAQ
What are the requirements for securing a testing venue for CFA program examinations?
In advance of every exam administration, the Exam Administration & Security team executes the logistical requirements for hosting the exam. At a high-level, to administer each paper-based exam we need to:
- Contract with a venue(s) that will accommodate all registered candidates
- Schedule testing personnel who will supervise and monitor the administration
- Ensure we can securely ship exam materials to and from the venue
- Obtain the relevant local government approvals and authorizations
Without any one of these requirements, we are not able to administer the exam.
How has the global pandemic affected your ability to secure venues?
The global pandemic has created significant challenges to meeting each of these requirements. In response to the pandemic:
- We need to secure twice or three times the space within each venue to accommodate social distancing requirements;
- venues are reticent to execute contracts in uncertain times for fear they will breach a contract or have to exercise a force majeure condition;
- proctors are unwilling to commit to long periods of time in confined spaces with hundreds of people; and
- local governments are introducing regulations restricting the number of people who can gather for indoor events
The EA&S team has been working diligently over the last months to overcome these challenges. In some cities however, we have not been able to do so. By far, the biggest challenge to our ability to administer has been pandemic restrictions. This is the reason for closures in 48 of the 61 impacted cities we closed in October 2020. The 13 remaining cities were closed due to lack of venue availability combined with lack of willing testing personnel (proctors.)
If a candidates test center is closed, why can’t he or she move to a move to a new test center?
While we would very much like to accommodate candidates in this situation, there are three important reasons for this:
- First and foremost, we do not want to encourage candidates to travel during this time. Their health and safety needs to stay one first priority.
- Second, due to the social distancing requirements we need to meet, most remaining test center are filled to capacity. There are very few seats available.
- And finally, we know additional closures may be coming. There is a good chance candidates will move into test centers that will ultimately close. We don’t want to make a bad situation even worse.
Why are some test centers closed but others in the same city or country, perhaps in cities with even stricter restrictions, are still open?
It’s important to recognize that every city presents its own unique set of circumstances. The number of registered candidates varies, the venues available to us vary, and the restrictions themselves vary. Some allow for absolutely no exceptions. Some create exceptions for educational events. Some create exceptions for testing. And others offer the opportunity for us to apply for an exception. Where there are opportunities for us to seek approval, we are doing so. We want to do all we can to test in as many places as possible.
Should we expect additional closure?
We have no plans to announce additional closures. HOWEVER, every day local governments are updating their pandemic restrictions in response to their experience of the coronavirus. We are following these local regulations closely and responding as they are made public. Candidates have access to this information too. They can see what’s happening in their local communities, just like we can. As things get more difficult for local residents, they get more difficult for exam operations. When additional closures are identified, we will be announced as soon as possible.
What can I do if my test center is closed?
If your test center has been closed, you will receive a direct communication from CFA Institute which will explain your options. Every impacted candidate will be withdrawn from the December administration and able to register at no cost for one of the available windows in 2021. Additionally, candidates who have been twice impacted by the pandemic (meaning their registrations were deferred in both June and December 2020) will be able to request a refund of their registration and enrollment fees. We are standing up the functionality which will allow for refund requests now. Candidates will be able to request a refund of their fees beginning in December and we will communicate directly with all eligible candidates when this functionality is available.
Any other questions may be directed to the CFA Institute Global Contact Center at email@example.com