Certified Financial Modeler examination regulations

Regulations for the conduct of the exam for the Certified Financial Modeler by the German Institute of Corporate Finance

As of August 2018 (in conjunction with the General Terms and Conditions)


(1) The title of Certified Financial Modeler is conferred by the German Institute of Corporate Finance.

(2) The prerequisite for holding this title is passing of all Certified Financial Modeler exams Module 1, Module 2, and Module 3.

(3) Persons who have passed all exams are awarded the certificate Certified Financial Modeler. Following receipt of the certificate, they are entitled to hold the title Certified Financial Modeler.

(1) The examination board of the Certified Financial Modeler program is responsible for organizing the exams and the tasks attributed to it by the present examination regulations.

(2) The designation “examination board” is used synonymously with the designation “board of examiners“.

(3) The examination board is composed of the two directors of the German Institute of Corporate Finance.

(4) The examination board is responsible for complying with the provisions of the examination regulations and makes suggestions for reforming the exam content and the exam regulations. The members of the examination board are entitled to be present during the exams.

(5) The examination board has a quorum, if all members of the examination board are present. The resolutions of the examination board are made by majority of the present directors’ votes. In case of a tie, the request is considered as rejected.

(1) The examinee is admitted to the exams provided that the three following conditions are in place:

  • a. they have received the registration confirmation by the GICF;

  • b. they have paid the fees stated under article 4 of the Certified Financial Modeler General Terms and Conditions to the German Institute of Corporate Finance;

  • c. If you opted for the path „Academic Excellence: the examinee has registered via the certified financial modeler webpage at least 3 weeks prior to the desired examination date. The examinee has given ​the following information which will be passed on to Deutsche Börse: desired examination date, surname, first name, date and place of birth, street, post code, town and country.

(2) If you opted for the path „Academic Excellence: The examinee may withdraw from the Certified Financial Modeler exam by notifying the GICF informally by email (info‎@dicf‎.‎de) that he will not participate in the exam. The cancellation must be made at least 3 weeks before the examination date for which the candidate has registered. Without timely cancellation, the examinee shall be deemed registered and the performance will be evaluated by the examination board.

(3) If you opted for the path „Academic Excellence: In case the candidate is sick and provides the examination board with a doctor's certificate, the examination board will consider the candidate as not registered and therefore the test performance will not be evaluated. If the cancellation has been done at the latest 3 weeks before the examination date, no fee needs to be paid for retaking the exam. If the cancellation has been done within 3 weeks before the examination date, the fee for a resit needs to be paid.

(1) The exam is assessed by the examination board.

(2) The exam is marked as “pass” or “fail”.

(3) The exam is assessed as follows - if you opted for the path „Academic Excellence“:

(a) Module 1: See § 5 (5) (a)

(b) Module 2: See § 5 (5) (b)

(c) Module 3: In Module 3, the Certified Financial Modeler candidate assembles his own financial model in Excel and if necessary in VBA and provides a professional documentation. The participant can propose his own topic from applied work or from his scientific activities. Participants who do not provide their own topic for a financial model are assigned a topic by the academic directors. The exam for Module 3 is passed if more than 40% of the maximum number of points are achieved. The exam is not passed if 40% or less of the maximum number of points are achieved.

(4) After having passed the Certified Financial Modeler exam, the examinee obtains the certificate for holding the title Certified Financial Modeler in German and English.

(5) A passed exam cannot be repeated.

(6) If an examinee attempts to influence the outcome of the exam by deception of by using ineligible aids, the relevant exam is graded as failed.

If you opted for the path „Academic Excellence“ the following holds true:

(7) An exam is marked “insufficient” if the examinee does not attend an exam without valid reason or withdraws from the exam without valid reason once the exam has commenced. The same applies if a written exam is not taken within the given timeframe.

(8) An examinee disturbing the smooth running of the exam can be excluded from continuing by the examiner or the supervisor. In this case, the relevant exam is graded failed.

(9) ECTS for study and continued education:

(9.1) If the participants have elected at the beginning of the certificate program Certified Financial Modeler to obtain a university certificate, the performance of the exam is assessed for every module element. After successful completion of all modules, the participants receive:

  • The certificates Certified Financial Modeler from the German Institute for Corporate Finance in German and English language

  • A university certificate of HfWU

  • A certificate supplement showing the performance and the ECTS earned

(9.2) Participants will receive a university certificate only after all three modules have been completed successfully.

(9.3) If a candidate selects individual modules, the candidate obtains a certificate of participation from the German Institute for Corporate Finance. In this case he does not receive a university certificate or a Certified Financial Modeler certificate or a certificate supplement. Thus no ECTS are earned and no performance is shown.

(9.4) The modules, respectively partial modules including the corresponding ECTS, which are earned in the context of the certificate program Certified Financial Modeler, can be presented for credit at bachelor and master programs.

(9.5) In the context of the university certificate of HfWU, the candidate can receive the following grades upon successful completion of all three modules:

1.0          A+          95 – 100 %

1.3          A             89 – 94 %

1.7          A-           83 – 88 %

2.0          B+          77 – 82 %

2.3          B             71 – 76 %

2.7          B-           65 – 70 %

3.0          C+          59 – 64 %

3.3          C             53 – 58 %

3.7          C-           47 – 52 %

4.0          D+          40 – 46 %

n.a.        F                0 – 39 %

(1) An allowed aid is a calculator which the candidate can bring. An additional calculator is provided by Deutsche Börse. Additionally Deutsche Börse provides paper and pencils. These are collected at the end of the Certified Financial Modeler exam. The questions can either be multiple choice, text completion, calculations or single choice. Every type of question is worth following points: multiple choice: 4 points (this also holds true for calculations within the scope of multiple choice); text completion: 6 points; calculations: 6 points; single choice: 2 points. In order to get 4 points for a "multiple choice question", all sub-questions contained in this question must be answered correctly. In order to earn 2 points from a multiple choice question, three out of four subquestions need to be answered correctly. If two, one or none of the subquestions have been answered correctly, then the test-taker will earn zero points from this multiple choice question. For each question, the examinee receives either the highest possible score or zero points. Under no circumstance will minus points be given.

(2) Deutsche Börse AG or the GICF designates a person to act as a supervisor during the exam. At the beginning of the exam, the participants must identify themselves to the supervisor by presenting their identity card or passport and must obey the supervisor’s instructions. The supervisor will inform the participants before the exam about the procedure, the available time limit and the admitted aids and tools.

(3) The exam requires personal presence. Deutsche Börse AG or the GICF can allow the participant to take the exam at another location upon written request.

(4) The exam takes place in German or English. The candidate can select the language prior to the beginning of the exam.

(5) During the exam, 220 exam questions (Module 1) and 120 exam questions (Module 2) based on computer software must be answered. There is no oral exam.

(a) Module 1 Exam: The Module 1 Exam includes 4 submodules, of which all should be answered. It is not possible to pick and choose which submodules are to be answered. Each submodule has 55 questions including 24 multiple choice questions, 24 single choice questions and 7 fill in the blank questions with a maximum of 186 total possible points to earn per submodule. A total of 744 points can be earned in the Module 1 Exam.

The exam is considered passed when at least 74 points have been earned in each submodule (40% of total possible points per submodule).

(b) Module 2 Exam: The Module 2 Exam includes 4 submodules, whereas only three out of four submodules should be answered. The test taker can choose not to answer one of the submodules. When registering for the exam according to §3 1) (c), the test taker must point out which 3 submodules he or she would like to answer and which submodule he or she will not answer. Should a test taker decide to answer the submodule that he or she has declared not to answer, any points earned from this submodule cannot count toward the minimum amount of points needed to pass and this submodule will be scored with zero points. Each submodule has 40 questions including 12 multiple choice questions, 0 single choice questions, 1 fill in the blank questions and 27 math problems with a total of 216 possible points to earn per submodule. A total of 648 points can be earned in the Module 2 exam.

The exam for module 2 is considered passed when at least 86 points per submodule (40% of total possible points) have been earned.

(6) All exam questions are saved in a database. In order to guarantee the comparability of the exams, the exam questions are selected at random from the database according to question type and difficulty level.

(7) The time to complete the exam is 3 hours for both Module 1 and Module 2.

(8) Per module each exam can be repeated twice. If the candidate has failed a module, the candidate will receive information from the examination board about his performance in the module and his performance in all sub-modules. A module examination is passed when all sub-modules have been passed. If a participant has achieved less than 40% of the maximum achievable points in one or more sub-module exams but has passed other sub-module exams of the same module, he only has to repeat the failed sub-module exam(s). For repeat exams of Module 1, §4 Sec. 3a), for Module 2 §4 Sec. 3b) and for Module 3, §4 Sec. 3c) hold accordingly.

(1) In Module 3, the candidate for the Certified Financial Modeler is required to develop his own financial model in Excel. The candidate can either suggest an applied topic from his applied work or a scientific topic from his own research. Participants who do not provide their own topic for a financial model are assigned a topic by the academic program directors.

(2) The maximum time to work on the topic – once the topic has been assigned – is 12 months.

(3) The topic can be requested at the earliest once Modules 1 and 2 have been passed.

(4) The complete model must be sent to the following address: info‎@dicf‎.‎de

(5) The model must cover the following topics:

a) Management Summary: minimum of 2 pages and maximum of 5 pages in Word

b) All Top-10 Financial Modeling Standards discussed in the textbook must be taken into consideration.

c) The model spans all 4 process steps “Problem definition”, “Model structure and model planning”, “Model setup” and “Quality assurance”. The fifth process step “Model presentation” is not required.

d) The model is oriented along the 19 milestones covered under the 4 process steps.

e) The recommendations for action provided as specifications of the milestones can, but must not be used in the Module 3 exam (if, for example it is recommended that all input cells should be orange, the financial modeler is of course free to select a different color).

f) The model along with the corresponding explanations contains a specific signed declaration.

The specific conditions for the Certified Financial Modeler exam if the path "Professional Excellence" was chosen are listed directly in the case study document, which is sent to the examinee after payment of the course fees. 

In general, all three "Learning controls" in Module 1 as well as Module 2 can be repeated up to two times. A module examination is passed if all partial modules are passed. In order to pass a partial module at least 75% of the points must be achieved.