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CAIA Level 1: Curriculum, Exam Format and Pass Rate


The CAIA exam is offered in a two-tier system. This means that you have to take and pass CAIA Level 1 exam before moving on. Let’s talk a look at the curriculum, exam format and historical pass rate.

CAIA Level 1 Curriculum

Candidates are expected to know about major asset classes in alternative investment, the difference from traditional products, and benefits of an active asset allocation.

The curriculum is divided into the following topics:

  • Professional Standards and Ethics
  • Private Equity
  • Real Assets
  • Commodities
  • Hedge Funds and Managed Futures
  • Structured Products
  • Asset Allocation and Portfolio Management
  • Risk and Risk Management
  • Manager Selection, Due Diligence, and Regulation

The graph below shows the relative weighting of each topic. Ethics, introduction to alternative investment, hedge funds and risk / portfolio management are more heavily weighted in Level 1.

caia level 1 curriculum breakdown

The curriculum is updated annually to reflect the latest industry and research developments.

Check out details on Level 1 curriculum here >>

Exam Format

The CAIA Level 2 exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions. We have a page on CAIA exam structure with more information on the question types and run-down on exam day.

CAIA Level 1 Pass Rate

caia exam pass rate 2015 level 1

The pass rate was 66% in 2015. To learn about the implications from the historical trend, please see my analysis here.

CAIA Level 1 Study Time

The CAIA Association recommends that candidates devote 200 or more hours of study to preparation for this section. The candidates I know study for a lot less, but they have been working in the private equity or hedge fund industry.

Next Reading: CAIA Level 2 Overview >>