Candidates: FAQs Regarding COVID-19

We are committed to supporting our Candidates and Members by providing timely and accurate information during the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as government and WHO recommendations while working to minimize the impact on our Candidates and Membership.

For the March 2021 cycle, CAIA will offer Candidates the option to sit for their exam via online proctoring administered via Pearson VUE's OnVUE platform (OP). Details are outlined below. Currently Pearson VUE can deliver OP exams in all countries except China. If you are residing in China, please contact candidate@caia.org to understand your options.

Learn more about Online Proctoring here.

When will the OP exam window take place in March 2021? 

The Level I OP exam window will be February 27-March 5th. The Level II OP exam window will be March 13-19th.

I am currently a registered Candidate and have already scheduled my test center appointment. Will I be able to switch to the OP exam?

Yes, you may. CAIA emailed all registered Candidates on December 1st to offer the option to select the OP examIf you did not receive that email, you may be unsubscribed - please contact us for additional information.

For Candidates who registered after December 1st the opportunity to select the OP exam is offered after registration through your CAIA profile. To inform CAIA Association that you want to choose the OnVUE option please click here. You will need to login to your CAIA profile to access this form.

I am going to register for my exam this week. Will I be able to select the OP option?

Once you register for the exam, your CAIA Exam Registration Confirmation email will provide instructions to select the OP option.  

I prefer to test in a test center. If my exam is cancelled by Pearson VUE due to a site closure, will I be able to move to an OP exam? 

Yes, you will be able to select the OP exam should your physical test center appointment be cancelled, although appointment availability may be limited.

If I choose the OP exam and change my mind, can I go back to the test center option?

No. It is important to be sure of your decision as once you have chosen the OP exam you will be unable to revert back to a test center exam option. 

How did the global pandemic impact candidates during the September 2020 exam?

During the September exam window, the global pandemic continued, and some candidates were impacted. About 60% of CAIA Candidates tested in test centers. The addition of OP exam administration enabled the remaining 40% of Candidates to take the exam safely and successfully at a remote location (home or secure office). 

More information about the cycle is available here.

Do you anticipate an impact to the March 2021 exam window?

The March exam window is open. Given the ongoing pandemic, it is possible there may be disruptions, however at this time most centers remain open, some with reduced capacity. We are prepared with two options (test center and OP) for exam administration to ensure Candidates may sit for the exam if they choose. Pearson Vue has put in place new procedures at all test centers to prioritize social distancing and your safety. Should individual centers be impacted due to COVID-19, we will work closely with Pearson Vue and with the individual Candidates, as we have in previous cycles, to mitigate the impact, reschedule exams if needed, and support you through this process. 

If I am unable to schedule an exam seat for March 2021, what steps should I take? 

The future of this pandemic is unknown. We do appreciate your patience while we continue to monitor and address the situation with our exam administrator, Pearson VUE. We advise you check back to the scheduling area regularly as exam seats become available. Please review carefully any email communications to Candidates and our home page alerts as they will contain critical information to your successful exam experience.

If you have questions at anytime, please contact us at candidate@caia.org.

What social distancing and safety measures will be in place at the Pearson Vue test centers when I test in March?

Your safety is our top priority. We have been working closely with Pearson Vue to monitor the situation and follow all global and local guidelines. Pearson VUE’s website is frequently updated with the latest information and they have implemented these health and safety measures at all Pearson VUE owned test centers:

  • Make hand sanitizer available in the waiting area and prior to entering the testing room
  • Increase cleaning and disinfecting regimens in between all testing appointments
  • Provide tissues to candidates upon arrival at the test center
  • Permit candidates to wear a mask or disposable gloves if they choose
  • Remind candidates to wash their hands or utilize hand sanitizer upon arrival at the test center
  • Enforce social distancing recommendations by limiting seat capacity at Pearson VUE centers to half of normal capacity

Under what conditions will Candidates be eligible for a refund? 

CAIA’s refund policy may be found here.

In the unlikely event that our exam administrator Pearson VUE is unable to administer exams during the scheduled exam window, in total or in part, CAIA will consider various options for Candidates in order that they may test in alignment with our policies as described here. Any corrective actions or remedies due to exam day disruptions are made in CAIA’s sole discretion.

Are CAIA-approved exam prep providers still able to provide services during COVID-19 disruptions?

If you have elected to supplement your preparation with the content and/or services of a third-party prep provider, please contact them directly for more information about their offerings. CAIA’s current understanding is that authorized prep providers continue to offer prep services for CAIA exams.

CAIA authorizes exam prep providers globally, as described on our website. The CAIA curriculum and related study materials found on the Curriculum & Study Tools page are the only preparation resources endorsed by the CAIA Association®. CAIA does not endorse, promote, review, or warrant the accuracy of the courses, products, materials, and/or services offered by any third-party preparatory program provider of CAIA Association–related information, nor does it endorse any pass rates claimed by third-party preparatory program providers. 

If I am unable to sit for the March 2021 exam due to COVID-19, will I be required to pay again to register for the September 2021 exam? Will I be eligible for free webinars and eBook?

In the unlikely event that our exam administrator Pearson VUE is unable to administer exams during the scheduled exam window, in total or in part, CAIA will consider various options for Candidates in order that they may test in alignment with our policies as described here. Any corrective actions or remedies due to exam day disruptions are made in CAIA’s sole discretion.

In addition, you will not be charged for the webinar or any materials downloaded from our website. eBook access will be contingent upon availability.

What are the changes and/or differences between the 3rd and 4th editions of the curriculum?

Information about the 4th edition exam curriculum is available here.

With the September 2020 Level I exam cycle, the Alternative Investments: CAIA Level I, 3rd Edition book was revised and updated to reflect the evolution of the AI landscape. Following is a brief summary of the changes appearing in the 4th edition

  • Redesigned curriculum focus: The level I and level II curriculum have been redesigned to provide a clear distinction between the two levels. In level I, we consider each of the alternative asset classes and strategies in a standalone format focused on bottom-up analysis. Discussions regarding private equity and private debt, credit derivatives and structured products, hedge funds and managed futures, along with real estate, commodities and real assets focus on the characteristics of each specific investment. The quantitative material in level I has been redesigned to focus on single variable methods to support the studies of standalone asset classes.      
  • Updated, current content: Examples and market data have been updated. Substantially increased exposure to the rapidly growing area of private credit has been incorporated. Material on commodities, real estate assets and debt, and private equity assets are substantially new material for the level I curriculum. 

With the March 2021 Level II exam cycle, the Alternative Investments: CAIA Level II, 3rd Edition book has been revised and updated to reflect the evolution of the AI landscape. Following is a brief summary of the changes appearing in the 4th edition

  • Redesigned curriculum focus: The level I and level II curriculum have been redesigned to provide a clear distinction between the two levels. In level II, we consider the role of asset allocators at institutional investors such as pensions, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, and foundations, as well as family offices. Rather than focusing on the stand-alone characteristics of each alternative asset class and strategy, the level II curriculum focuses on top-down portfolio construction issues, such as multivariate models and methods, access, risk, and due diligence. Asset allocation and portfolio management in a multiple asset portfolio are key concepts.   
  • Updated, current content: Examples and market data have been updated. All new chapters on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) based investing have been added. In the ethics section, rather than repeating the CFA code and standards used at level I, Candidates will now consider the CFA asset manager code. Other all-new chapters include access through private structures; the risk and performance of private and listed assets; investment process and due diligence; and risk measurement, risk management, and risk systems.   

If I spent 200 hours already studying the 3rd edition, how much time will I need to allocate to this new curriculum?

The amount of time Candidates need to feel prepared for their exam varies widely. We encourage Candidates to review the new curriculum, including the textbook, and study guide to plan their studies to better understanding your level of understanding of the material.