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) - For the small percentage of students who managed to scrape through Level I and Level II of the arduous Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam, it is celebrations all around.

Results are out Tuesday and 39% of those who took the first level test passed, according to CFA Institute. That is up from the 36% pass rate in December 2010. 43% passed the Level II exam. The results for Level III will be available in August.

The CFA program, unlike the MBA, is focused on investment knowledge and has increasingly become a mark of distinction for investment professionals. It is often seen as career booster for Wall Street executives.

It takes four years on an average to get a CFA charter, according to the CFA Institute.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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