HKSI Hong Kong Securities and Futures Examination Difficulty and Passing Rate

June 1, 2021


HKSI Hong Kong Securities and Futures Examination Difficulty and Passing Rate


Hello everyone, let’s talk about the difficulty level of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Examination today. Many students are asking about the difficulty level of the exam itself. The answer varies and depends on many factors. Some people say that the exam is easy? Because they have studied the manual, and then they are able to source some ready-made regulatory materials to read, some even say that they have passed by simply reading the manual arbitrarily; In truth this saying may not be accurate for all exam takers.


On the contrary, some people think that the exam is difficult since they are still unable to pass the exam after multiple attempts. In some extreme cases, candidates have taken the exam more than 10 times without passing. 


So how difficult is the exam? Everyone should be prepared for having to take the exam(s) and at least have an overall understanding of the exam. I think it is reasonable for exam takers to have opposing stands on the difficulty level of the exam. Why? In fact, 80% of people who say that the exam is difficult are indeed partaking the exam without doing any revisions; they do not have a comprehensive system while conducting their revision, in other words, some exam takers may have a certain foundational knowledge or work experience, these people may be more careless when it comes to taking the exam, as they tend to have the perception that the knowledge required for the exam are basic and that they already know most of the things. In fact, if a candidate goes into the exam without any preparation, I can say that there is a 90% chance you can’t pass it. In individual cases, your foundation may be particularly good, and you may be a local Hong Kong person with experience in the industry; this gives you an advantage in partaking in the exam. Yet, if you are a Mainlander, it is more difficult for you to pass the exam. Why? Although the exam shares some basic knowledge with those you can obtain in the securities industry in Mainland China, there are some differences in laws, regulations, practices and sayings, wordings, written language expressions and even structure of sentences between Hong Kong market and Mainland China market.  


Compared with the previous years, the exam is getting more and more challenging. Of course, its difficulty will be adjusted every month, because HKSI holds exams monthly and weekly, hence the difficulty level will be adjusted accordingly. Generally speaking, if you take this exam without any preparation, you will definitely not be able to pass it. Furthermore, if you have certain foundation knowledge, you should not underestimate the exam. You should keep in mind a unique feature of the HKSI exam: this is a Hong Kong based exam.There are differences between Hong Kong exams and Mainland China exams.


In addition, some people said that the exam is simple. I think it’s mainly because their strength is in learning things; with that said, the HKSI exam actually focuses on the practical application of the day to day operations of securities dealings. If you can understand the content in the study manual, the overall exam will not be difficult, because the passing score is 70%, right? To put it in simpler terms, the saying that the exam is difficult and easy are both reasonably correct. So what exactly is the pass rate of the exam?


In fact, you can check the exam pass rate by going to the official website. It has an average pass rate of about 50% to 55%. It is the pass rate of every session counting in every candidate. If you calculate the pass rate this way, as the exam does not limit the number of times you can take the exam, there may be many exam takers who have taken the exam twice or more. Therefore, I think the actual pass rate is lower than its published pass rate. Generally speaking, I believe that the pass rate of the exam will be approximately about 50% or lower. In regards to exam pass rate adjustments, HKSI tends to adjust the exam passing rates by modifying the difficulty of the exam, based on the previous months’ exam pass rate – if the pass rate of the previous month is relatively low, HKSI will simplify the exam in hopes to bump up the past rate. 


How can we help?

2CExam provides HKSI LE, IIQE, EAQE and SQE related exam preparation materials. We sell mock question banks for IIQE Papers 1, 2, 3, 5 and MPFE in Chinese and English; and bibles for IIQE Papers 1, 2, 3, MPFE in Chinese. We also offer 1 on 1 tutorial services. Besides, we have also made free tutorial videos for IIQE Papers 1, 2, 3 and MPFE and posted on public channels such as Youtube/ Bilibili/ Tencent/ Iqiyi. 2CExam has been an exam training expert for years. Should you need any help please visit or contact us through:

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