CMFAS Exam Study Strategies And Background of the CMFAS & SCI Exam

CMFAS Exam Study Strategies And Background of the CMFAS & SCI Exam

What is the CMFAS exam?

The CMFAS (Capital Markets and Financial Advisory Services) is an examination structure that consists of many modules that are administered by IBF (Institute of Banking and Finance) and SCI (Singapore College of Insurance).  Under the FAA (Financial Advisers Act) of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, you need some sort of licensing to become a financial adviser. The CMFAS certification allows you to work as a financial representative in Singapore.

How and where can I register for the exam?

You can register for the exam online on the IBF portal. You must create an account to register and gain access to their services. It is recommended that you register for the exam at least a month in advance. This will give you enough time to prepare. For modules administered by SCI, you can register on the SCI portal.

How can I get access to the study guide?

Once you have registered for the exam successfully, you will be granted access to it. You will be authorized to use the study guide till the day of your exam, after that your authorization will be revoked.

Do I self-study or is external training required to pass the exam?

You can prepare for the exam by yourself. If you find it difficult to self-study, you can get training from external institutions as well. These institutions are not affiliated with IBF and their training costs vary.

How difficult is the CMFAS exam?

The difficulty depends on your preparation. The questions are tricky, and some require the memorization of important facts and figures. The questions are designed in such a way that a candidate who does not read the question carefully, picks the incorrect answer. You should be well prepared for the exam, especially if you are taking the M6 as it is the toughest among all modules.

What kind of questions are asked in the CMFAS exam?

In the CMFAS and all other exams conducted by the IBC, there are three kinds of questions:

  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Multiple Response Questions
  • Case Study Questions

Multiple Choice Questions have one correct answer. Multiple Response Questions have multiple correct answers, and to score a point you have to select all the correct answers. Case study questions are usually asked in Module 6 and 6A. These questions have a case study and 2-3 MCQ or MRQ relevant to the scenario.  Most of the questions are application-based. These questions will test your knowledge in real-life situations.

Can I pass the exam by reading the study guide only?

The study guide contains references for topics that will be evaluated in the exam. External reading is required from online sources. You can also practice by taking mock exams online, these practice tests will make you fully prepared for the actual exam.

Are marks deducted for selecting the wrong answer?

No, marks will not be deducted for selecting the wrong answer. Do not leave any question you don’t know the answer to.

What is the course outline of the CMFAS exam?

The course content for all modules is different. Module 1B covers financial crimes, market conduct, and CPFIS while module 1A has an additional topic of the trading infrastructure. Module 3 covers rules for fund management. Module 4A and 4B cover rules for advising on corporate finance. Module 6 and 6A cover investments, risks, REIT, foreign exchange, CFDs, and ETFs. Module 10 covers financing, pricing, and investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts.

The CMFAS exam has many modules. These are:

How do I know which module is relevant to my domain?

There are many modules in the CMFAS exam, you don’t have to take all the modules. Only take exam that are required for a career you intend to pursue. Please refer to this latest article on the new RES modules >>

In what sequence should I study?

If you have enough time, it’s smart to start learning from chapter one. If you don’t have enough time, we recommend you use the official study guide and practice questions. This will make you well prepared even if you don’t have enough time to study.

How much time do I spend studying for the exam?

The recommended time to prepare for the CMFAS exam is 50-80 hours. Based on your experience and expertise, these hours can differ.

What are the tips and tricks for acing the exam?

Follow these tips and tricks and ace the CMFAS exam on your first try:

  • Read about finance and accounting from external sources as well. Many websites provide access to rich financial resources and articles.
  • The exam contains questions that require mathematical calculation. For this, you will have to memorize some formulas as well.
  • Look out for the appropriate option.
  • Give yourself enough time to prepare for the exam. To pass the exam, you need to process and absorb everything you have studied. People who attempt the exam without preparation are more likely to fail.
  • You will encounter different types of questions; it is important to know how to answer each question.
  • During the exam, don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
  • Consider failing as a learning experience. Remember, failure is nothing but a delayed success!

Can I share my study guide with other people?

No, you cannot share, copy, or even discuss the contents of the study guide with others. CMFAS study guides are the property of IBF and SCI and distributing them to other people is strongly discouraged.

How much does the exam cost?

Please refer to this article for the latest CMFAS exam registration fee

Will I be able to know the exam results?

Yes, the exam is electronic and once you submit your exam, your transcript will be displayed instantly. Apart from the grade, your transcript will also display a detailed analysis of your performance where you will be able to tell the chapters where you did not perform well. 

Can I reschedule my exam?

Yes, for USD 75 (excluding GST), you can reschedule your exam. You must reschedule one working day before (by noon) your exam. You can only change the exam date; changing the module is not allowed.

What are the CMFAS exam policies?

The IBF and SCI have developed various policies to uphold the standards, these include:

  • Candidates are not permitted to disclose any information about the test to anyone.
  • Sharing the study guide with anyone else is strictly prohibited
  • Candidates who are found cheating will have to face severe consequences.

Who is exempt from taking the CACS exam?

There are no exemptions for CACS paper 1. Individuals who have cleared CFA do not have to take CACS paper 2.

What are the alternatives to the CMFAS certification?

There are many alternatives like CFP (Certified Financial Planner), AFC (Associate Financial Consultant), and CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter). These certifications are recognized internationally. The CMFAS is necessary if you want to pursue your career as a financial expert in Singapore

What are the minimum requirements for becoming a financial adviser?

You need to fulfill these requirements before you enroll for the CMFAS exam:

  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • You must have the GCE ‘A’ Level Certificate or a diploma awarded by an accredited institution in Singapore
  • You must pass the M5, M9A of the CMFAS modules first.

The M5, M9, and M9A modules cover the rules and regulations of financial advisory and policies regarding investment and life insurance.


If you want to pursue a career as a financial adviser in Singapore, it is mandatory for you to get the CMFAS certification. The CMFAS exam is quite tricky and requires a lot of effort but all the effort is worth it once you get the certification.

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Dario Ford

Dario is the Senior Customer Success Manager at CMFASExam

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