Complete Beginner’s Guide to CFA CIPM Exam

Updated on April 22, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Complete Beginner’s Guide to CFA CIPM Exam.

It’s raining courses everywhere, and investment professionals are busy trying their best to attain certifications to improve their resumes. In this busy hobnobbing, professionals must ensure that they choose the correct course to improve their career prospects; after all, certificate programs are a great time and money investment schemes to prosper in the future. In the research sector of these programs, we give you the nuts and bolts of every exam to make sure that you nail the course correctly. Please take a look at our in-depth information on the what, how, when, why of the certificate programs to get a grip and clear understanding of the course. This article has tried to help you with the CFA institute-designed program CFA CIPM® (Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement).

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Let’s begin with the basics of basic questions.

Why is CIPM one for Investment Professionals?

  • Employers respect professionals who can drive the business through their knowledge, skills, and ethical and professional commitment. The CIPM® certificate develops technical ability and professional capacity, ensuring a great deal of prestige and profit for the employer.
  • The CFA CIPM® curriculum is designed to give professionals an edge over their competitors through the knowledge and understanding of practice-based investment performance and risk evaluation skills.
  • The course is designed and continuously updated by industry professionals and practitioners to ensure that it covers the relevant business topics and trends demanded by employers in the job market.
  • The CFA CIPM® designation lends credibility to your resume and speaks volumes of your professionalism and commitment to your client’s best interests and the firm’s success.

About the CFA CIPM Program

The CFA CIPM® program is globally recognized for its investment professionals’ performance evaluation and presentation expertise. The CIPM® certificate is an incredible way to gain perspective and a strong footing in financial markets. It guides the professionals through a set code of ethics and instills the value of pursuing excellence in the field with an unmatched passion. CIPM® certificate module provides extensive in-depth knowledge and practical skills of project management tools and techniques. The course allows professionals to be more competent, productive, and result-oriented in all the aspects of executing and handling their knowledge of both hard and soft skills. They are trained to appreciate the finer nuances of time and cost while meeting quality to plan out control risks effectively while addressing issues like communication, teamwork, motivation, and information management.

CIPM Program Completion Criteria

  • Roles: Performance analyst with an investment firm, an analyst at an accounting firm, and an investment consulting firm.
  • Exam: There are two difficult exams to be cleared for CFA. CIPM Level I exam and the CIPM® Expert exam. The CIPM® Level I examtests the candidate’s knowledge of the core concepts that lay the foundations of performance measurement, attribution, and appraisal. In contrast, the Expert exam evaluates the candidate on performance evaluation and presentation, including applying the appropriate tools and inputs in more complicated situations.
  • Exam Dates: The exams are held twice a year. One of the exam windows is in March, and the other is in September, making it possible to complete the program in one year.
  • The Deal: Don’t consider the exam a piece of cake because it isn’t. The CFA CIPM tests some crucial topics like attribution analysis of portfolios containing futures, multi-currency attribution analysis, and complex hedge fund risk ratios.
  • Eligibility: There is no specific exam requirement for the CFA CPIM course. The only prerequisite is to abide by the CIPM® Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. Aspirants can do this by signing a ‘Candidate Professional Conduct Statement’ as part of each exam registration. This is done to ensure that the high standards of the CIPM® exam are protected and the integrity of the designation is maintained.

There are almost negligible requisites to become eligible for the CIPM® exam. Still, the association maintains its quality control of the professionals by mandating requirements to attain the designation of CFA CIPM.

  • Attain the regular membership of the CIPM® association.
  • A candidate must abide by the CIPM® Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct by signing a ‘Candidate Professional Conduct Statement’ as part of each exam registration. This is done to ensure that the high standards of the CIPM® exam are protected and the integrity of the designation is maintained.
  • The candidate must successfully clear the CIPM® Level I and Level II exams.
  • A candidate is required to have a minimum of two years of professional experience in one or more positions in performance-related positions, such as:

a. Calculating, analyzing, evaluating, or presenting investment results.

b. Providing consulting, technological, legal/regulatory, or accounting services directly supporting such activities.

c. Verifying compliance with the GIPS standards.

d. Supervising people who, directly or indirectly, practice such activities set forth above.

e. Teaching any of the above activities.

  • A candidate needs to have a minimum of four years of professional experience in the investment industry that consists of:

a. Evaluating or applying financial, economic, and statistical data as part of the investment decision-making process.

b. Marketing investment management services.

c. Monitor an investment firm’s compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and standards.

d. Evaluating or recommending investment managers.

e. Teach any of the above activities.

CFA charterholders, regular members of the CFA Institute, or a member of the Associate of the Society of Investment Professionals (ASIP) are barred from the experience requirements

On average, you must prepare for around 155 hours to successfully clear each exam, which means a total of 310 hours for Level I and Level II exams.

What do you earn? A globally respected certificate that allows you to attain the designation of a CIPM®.

Why pursue CIPM?

CFA CIPM is an extremely focused course with rigorous study material that concentrates on broad topics like performance measurement, attribution, and appraisal. However, it is a specialized area with portfolio management at its core, allowing you to gain skills that show your mastery in finance by acquiring some invaluable skills in the certificate program. These skills come in handy and are valued by employers and clients, increasing the confidence in your ability to bring new investment strategies to the table with certified good results. In addition, the program is an invaluable learning experience if your job requires utilizing these skills.

Top Hiring Companies

Big names in the corporate world of investment banks, investment management and research firms, GIPS verification firms, plan sponsors, performance measurement, and software development companies hire a CIPM® designation holder.

CIPM Exam Format

CIPM® Level I ExamCIPM® Level II Exam
A total of 100 multiple choice questions needs to be attempted. The multiple-choice questions have three options to choose from.A total of 80 questions are asked. The questions have a set of 20 scenarios, followed by four multiple-choice questions. Each multiple-choice question has three answers to choose from.
A candidate is given three hours to complete the examination.A candidate is given three hours to complete the examination.

The topics covered in Level I and the Level II exam, are the same with different weightage and detailed analyses.

Key Highlights

  • Learning the formulas is a must as the exam tests the applications of these formulas in both exams.
  • Formulas are not provided at the exam center.
  • The exams are entirely computer-based.

CIPM Exam Weights

CFA CIPM Exam Weight

Exam Level I

Exam Level IPercentage
Ethics & Professionalism15%
Performance Measurement35%
Performance Presentation15%
Performance Attribution25%
Performance Appraisal10%
Manager Selection0%

Exam Level II

Exam Level IPercentage
Ethics & Professionalism15%
Performance Measurement10%
Performance Presentation10%
Performance Attribution20%
Performance Appraisal15%
Manager Selection30%

CIPM Examination Fees

The registration fee of the curriculum entails a curriculum ebook and a mock exam. The registration amount varies because the candidate is registering as a first-time applicant for which exam, Level I or Level II.

  • First time registering fee for the Level I exam or the Level II exam is $975*
  • A candidate returning to register for the Level I or the Level II exam again results in a fee of $500*

CIPM Results & Passing Rates

The results of the CIPM® exams (both the parts) are emailed to the candidates within 60 days of the exam’s closing window. Results are also made available online around the same time. Candidates are not allowed to register for the next CIPM® exam (Level I or Level II) until the release of the results.

The CIPM® exams need to be cleared with a minimum passing score (MPS) to be considered a passing candidate. The CIPM® association decides the MPS for each exam. Exam results only let the candidates know whether he has “passed” or “failed” the exam. Marks are not reported to the candidates. The score for the individual topic areas in each exam is not reflected in the results. The scores of the candidates undergo statistical analysis by the CIPM® association after completing each exam window.

The CFA institute uses the standard-setting systematic process, a rigorous method used in professional credentialing programs to decide upon the results of the examinees. The CIPM® program, however, employs the Angoff standard-setting process. It is considered to be the most reliable evaluation method for selected-response exams. The systematic process involves a panel of practitioners who come together under the leadership of professional test and measurement specialists to assess the candidates’ performance. The core teams for assessing scores are experienced practitioners in investment performance valuation and presentation. They are supremely skilled and familiar with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of the MPS. The MPS is determined after all the questions have been subjected to thorough psychometric analysis and the standard setters have concluded their evaluation.

CFA CIPM Exam Results
CIPM examSep 2018Mar 2019Sep 2019
Level I46%49%48%
Level II57%54%51%

CIPM Strategy

  • Learn to use the calculators correctly and be aware of the errors that they can throw
  • Learn the formulas because they are not provided
  • The online course provided by the association is handy material and enough to prepare for the exam. However, do not hesitate to take coaching if you feel so
  • Check out the Spaulding Group, IEB, and VBA’s prep courses, as they are extremely helpful while studying.
  • Be patient while studying as you cannot master all the concepts in a day. Some concepts are difficult and do require time and extensive reading effort.
  • Make a schedule for the study time and adhere to it as much as possible.

CIPM Scholarship Program

The CFA institute awards two types of scholarship programs for students who cannot pay the entire fee. The Scholarship Program designed for the CIPM® course is a merit or role-based opportunity offered with a reduced fee and is known as the Awareness Scholarships. There are several categories of Awareness Scholarships; however, we shall concentrate on the CIPM® scholarship.

The CIPM® scholarship program offers a reduced exam registration fee for qualified candidates. The eligibility criteria for the same are as follows. However, what needs to keep in mind is that the applicant is only required to meet one of the following requirements:

A CIPM® scholarship applicant must;

  • Be an employee working full time in an educational institution that runs a degree-granting program offering at least a bachelor’s or equivalent degree and is teaching a minimum of 6 credit hours per quarter or semester.
  • Be a full-time administrative employee of an educational institution that awards a bachelor’s or equivalent degree and teach a minimum of 3 credit hours per quarter or semester.
  • Be a full-time, qualified employee of an entity that supervises or regulates the investment management industry’s operations, standards of practice, or business conduct.
  • Be an eligible GIPS (Global Investment Performance Standards), a volunteer.
  • Be an eligible, full-time undergraduate or part-time graduate student of a CFA Program Partner or University Recognition Program participant.

The scholarship program awarded to applicants allows them to register for the CIPM® exam at a discounted rate of $300. The deadline to submit the scholarship application for September 2021 exam was July 15, 2021 and for March 2022 is from January 7, 2022.

September Exam:-

Apply for ScholarshipRegister for ExamTake the ExamExam Results Available
1 Mar – 15 July1 Apr – 31 July16 Sep – 30 SepMid-Nov

Exam Deferral Policy

The exam deferral policy of the CIPM® course states that a full refund will be granted if the candidate changes his mind regarding the exam within two business days of payment. However, the institute mentions that they don’t guarantee the return of the exam amount paid for registration due to the change in exchange rates, which are not under the institute’s control.

The consideration for registration refunds will only be entertained on a case-by-case basis on serious matters of life-threatening or very serious illnesses (candidate or immediate family)), natural disasters, and mandatory military service. The above-stated clause does not mean a guaranteed assurance of receiving a full refund by any candidate for any condition. Still, it narrows it down and gives CFA institute the power to determine which requests it should approve and deny. Candidates awarded a refund will be responsible for all the applicable new curriculum charges. Candidates are expected to initiate the refund request process to CFA Institute before the scheduled exam or within 10 U.S. business days after the exam. All refunds will be issued using the same payment method to register for the exam.

Candidates can request a rescheduling of the exam to another available time and place within the same exam window. This is permitted with a 24 hours’ notice, and the new exam appointment is sent to the candidate via mail. If a candidate misses the appointment, rescheduling is not allowed.


Certificate programs take you one step closer to the success you have been dreaming of all your life, and CIPM® is the right step in that direction. Good luck to you in your decision and preparing for the exam.

This has been a guide to the CFA CIPM Exam. Here we discuss the CFA CIPM exam, why you should pursue it, its fees, structure, passing strategies, tips, tricks, etc. You may also have a look at the following articles –

Reader Interactions


  1. Moritz Mason says

    Thank you for sharing this article it is really very informative. keep posting such specific and helpful articles.

  2. Libby Hudson says

    Informative article. I like the way you explain each and every point in detail, thanks for that. Would you like to tell me which one is better between CIPM and Claritas?

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Many thanks! Mostly CIPM deals with investment performance analysis and presentation. However, Claritas is all about broad introduction to finance. CIPM is meant for the people who are looking to be specialized in the field of finance domain, whereas Claritas suits for those people who are from non-finance background.

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