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.

Many Candidates who were scheduled to sit for the March 2020 Level I or Level II exams were the first to experience the disruption created by the current situation. Given that CAIA’s paramount concern and priority is the health and well-being of our Candidates during the exam experience, we are offering these impacted Candidates the opportunity to sit for the September exam cycle, at no charge. Questions may be directed to candidate@caia.org

 

How did the global pandemic impact candidates sitting for the March 2020 exam?

During the March exam window, the global pandemic escalated, and many candidates were impacted. The majority of the Level I Candidates who wanted to test were able to sit for their exams during the first two weeks of the cycle. However, most candidates testing during the Level II window which occurred in the second half of March were affected by test site closures based on government restrictions and CDC and WHO directives. As a result, most Level II Candidates deferred their exam to the September 2020 window and will be testing at that time.

Do you anticipate an impact to the September 2020 exam window?

The September exam window is open, and we are not anticipating any disruptions at this time. 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 did in March, to mitigate the impact, reschedule exams if needed, and support you through this process. 

If a Candidate was not able to sit in March, will they be prioritized in September? How will that affect my ability to get a seat in the September exam?

All Candidates registering for the September 2020 exam will be able to schedule an exam seat, based on seat availability at the chosen center. CAIA works closely with Pearson VUE to review capacity requirements prior to each exam window and during the window an ongoing basis. We assure you that we will make every effort to monitor demand and adjust plans as needed. In addition, the CAIA team is always available to answer your questions and help you find a exam seat if you need assistance. If you are registered for an exam in September, we urge you to schedule your testing appointment as soon as you receive authorization to do so. If you have difficulty scheduling your exam, 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 September?

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 test centers:

  • Make hand sanitizer available in the waiting area and prior to entering the testing room
  • Increase our 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? 

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. These accommodations may include rescheduling of exams to another future window or refunds of exam fees, at CAIA’s full discretion.

Are exam prep providers, such as Kaplan Schweser, 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. 

I sat for the March Level I exam and am worried the pandemic might affect my ability to sit for the exam in September. What procedures are in place to mitigate disruption for the September 2020 exam cycle?

The September 2020 exam window is open for registration, and we anticipate that candidates who registered will be able to sit for their exam at that time. CAIA will continue to actively follow the COVID-19 situation closely with our exam administration partner Pearson VUE. Pearson VUE is taking aggressive, proactive steps to ensure testing resumes and is ensuring safety of Candidates through a number of mitigation steps. More information about their risk mitigation efforts and management of the COVID-19 pandemic is available on their website, here.

If I am unable to sit for the September 2020 exam due to COVID-19, will I be required to pay again to register for the March 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. These accommodations may include rescheduling of exams to another future window or refunds of exam fees, at CAIA’s full 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.

I understand that the 4th edition of the Level II curriculum will be released after the September 2020 exam cycle. Since September 2020 is my last opportunity to test using the 3rd edition curriculum, what are my options if the exam is cancelled due to the pandemic?

Our goal is always to ensure the well-being of our Candidates, first and foremost, so any decisions related to the September cycle would seek to enable individuals to test, if possible, and if not, offer other options. Those options would be communicated as they become defined.

Analogous to your question is this past cycle and CAIA Level I Candidates who were in the situation you are currently, e.g. testing for the final time on the 3rd edition curriculum who could not test because of the coronavirus. After evaluating and exhausting many alternative options, these LI Candidates are being offered the opportunity to test on the 4th edition in September 2020. We are offering additional support for this group including special webinars about the how they can best prepare and make the leap to the new curriculum, hosted by our Curriculum team, as well as the inclusion of an eBook with their registration.

It is possible that CAIA would adopt the same approach for Level II Candidates in September 2020 so that they will be best positioned to meet the needs in the industry with the most current curriculum.

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

With the September 2020 Level I exam cycle, the Alternative Investments: CAIA Level I, 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 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. 
  • Please see this PDF for more details about the Level I curriculum updates.

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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.

Test Site/Safety Concerns:

Where can I get the most up to date information from Pearson VUE regarding test center closures?

CAIA and Pearson VUE are currently scheduling Candidates for the September exam window.

Pearson VUE updates may be accessed here. If there is a change to your exam appointment Pearson VUE will contact you directly.

CAIA will communicate with you by email with any information about changes to your exam or the exam window. Please review your CAIA profile, at www.caia.org to ensure your primary email is up to date. Also, if you have unsubscribed to any CAIA email you may not be contacted with important updates. To re-subscribe please contact us at candidate@caia.org

What measures has Pearson Vue taken to ensure the safety of Candidates?

Please review Pearson VUE’s website for information about what they are doing to ensure the safety and well-being of Candidates.

If I don’t want to sit for my exam in a Pearson Vue test center, will I be able to write the exam from home?

Due to the high security requirements of CAIA exams, we are unable to administer exams at home or remotely.

Will CAIA be adding additional test dates?

CAIA has no intention to deliver exams outside of our previously published and established exam windows, which are determined years in advance with Pearson VUE. More details about our scheduled windows may be found here.