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How China CFA Applicants Keep Beating Finance’s Hardest Exam

  • China prep schools say they have pass rates far above the norm
  • Students there say exams aren’t as tough as college entrance
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For three grueling years, Ranger Yu tipped out of bed almost every day at 6 a.m. and studied until midnight to prepare for China’s infamous college entrance test, known as the Gaokao. After that, he said, the trio of exams to become a Chartered Financial Analyst were relatively pleasant.

The Shanghai native used his old prep skills to study on his commute, after work and on weekends and breezed through all three levels of the English-only program on his first try, adding the letters CFA to his resume as a health-care analyst at a medical research group.