As our clients are often confronted with the same problems or questions, we would like to addess the most important questions about the CFA ESG or GARP SCR in this blogpost. Should your question not be answered, do not hesistate to chat us!

Q: Does Reading the Summary Notes Suffice?

As candidates often study under time pressure , we are often asked if the summary notes themselves are sufficient. Candidates who are not familiar with the original CFA program need to understand the key differences between the two exams. The CFA program averages 1000 pages per level, while the ESG certificate is about 600 pages. Therefore, the overall preparation time is much lower. While the CFA program requires about 300 hours of preparation, the CFA ESG certificate requires 120-130 hours. Therefore, we recommend all candidates to read the official syllabus and additionally use our summary notes. The syllabus includes several case studies with valuable real-world examples that can help gain a better understanding of how ESG is applied in the real world. Our 240-page summary notes, on the other hand, are designed as a summary to help you categorize the various terms and keywords and more easily place them in brackets such as ESG integration or ESG analysis. This, in turn, should help you better memorize the content and reduce overall preparation time. Studies have shown that a person needs to see or read new information a few times before it is processed and stored in long-term memory, and the combination of CFA curriculum and Brainie Summary Notes will accomplish this process.

Q: Is the CFA ESG Exam Similar to the GARP SCR Exam?

We wrote a detailed blog post comparing the two exams. In short, the Sustainability and Climate Risk certificate is offered by GARP. For those unfamiliar with the provider, GARP also offers the well-known Financial Risk Manager (FRM), a certificate that focuses on risk management tools for analyzing and managing market, credit, and operational risks. As such, the GARP SCR is inherently risk-focused. It is therefore designed to help professionals understand the impact of climate change on businesses and how to manage this risk. Launched in 2020, the SCR course is ideal for professionals who want to expand their knowledge of climate risk management. The SCR exam consists of a single computer-based exam that takes three hours to complete and contains 80 multiple-choice questions. The test is designed to be easily understood by a wide audience and is not very quantitative. Although there is currently no official schedule for the release of exam results, SCR exam results are routinely released four weeks after the exams. As with the CFA Institute Certificate in ESG Investing, no professional experience or prior qualifications are required to take the SCR exam.


The CFA ESG or CFAI Certificate in ESG Investing, on the other hand, focuses a bit more broadly on ESG issues and how the financial sector can adapt to changing investor preferences. Nonetheless, a section on climate change is also included, along with a number of climate change programs. Climate change mitigation is also covered in this section. There is really not much overlap between these two topics. The CFA curriculum has a higher level and places a lot of emphasis on ESG analysis and integration. The SCR, on the other hand, focuses heavily on climate risk measurement and scenario analysis. This is to be expected, as the CFA and SCR are focused on portfolio management and risk management, respectively. In areas where there is overlap - for example, climate change, ESG market, policy, and regulation - the SCR is much more detailed.


In our experience, the GARP SCR tends to be somewhat less time consuming because the curriculum is much shorter (200 vs. 600 pages). Therefore, we estimate the preparation time to be about 80-90 hours compared to the CFA ESG at 130 hours. The CFA may be better known as the institute shares its name with the program, but the FRM enjoys a similar high profile in the financial industry. Since both certifications are slightly different, it depends on your time budget and personal preferences which one is more suitable. Ultimately, both exams focus on ESG and are awarded by highly respected institutions such as GARP and CFA Institute.

Q: What is the Passrate for the CFA ESG?

The CFA Institute does not publish an official pass rate, but we estimate that it is between 60% and 70%.

Q: Is the CFA ESG Very Quantitative?

No, only a handful of calculations are required, such as the weighted carbon emission of a portfolio. So, no prior CFA experience is required. However, we recommend that candidates acquire some basic modeling skills. For example, the most important factor for a valuation is often the discount rate, which can be adjusted depending on the risk, which in turn can influence the valuation positively or negatively.

Q: What Pre-Requirements do I need in Order To Take the CFA ESG or GARP SCR?

Like the CFA Institute Certificate in ESG Investing, no professional experience or prior qualifications are required to take the SCR exam.