(Bloomberg) -- The pass rate for the first level of the chartered financial analyst exam rose from the record low set in July.

In August, 26% of candidates passed the Level I test, up from 22% for those who sat for the exam the previous month and 25% in May, according to the CFA Institute’s website. The 10-year average pass rate is now 41%.

“We see a similar phenomenon in the lower-than-average pass rate from the August Level I administration as we did earlier this year,” Peg Jobst, managing director for credentialing at the institute, said in a statement Thursday. “As Covid-19 continues to challenge a large number of candidates on their journey through the CFA program, we continue to see the impact reflected in the lower pass rates.”

The latest results follow historically low pass rates across all levels of the CFA exam. The institute said its pass rates would improve in the future, approaching pre-Covid levels as long as pandemic pressures subside. 

Passing all three CFA exams can lead to higher salaries and better job opportunities. Candidates on average study 300 hours for each level and take four years to complete the series.

More than 16,000 candidates sat for the Level I exam in August, which was administered at 527 computer-based testing centers around the world.

Historically, the institute offered all three levels of the test on paper in June, and another chance to take the first part in December. After transitioning to computer-based testing, the institute now offers the exams more times throughout the year.

Those who took the Level II exam in August will be notified of their results on Oct. 21, while Level III test-takers will find out if they passed on Nov. 2, the CFA Institute said. 

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