My own experience on GARP SCR exam (with study tips)

Let me share my experience on how I passed the ESG exams and obtained the popular ESG certificates - GARP SCR



3/1/20233 min read

My personal GARP SCR exam experience

I enjoyed the cheapest option of exam fee as a certified FRM applying during the early bird period, which was only USD 525 (a whopping >40% difference from its standard rate at USD750!)

Everything was fine except that you can only take the exam in-person. But, the exam timeslots are abundant, unlike the CESGA and SASB FSA.

The exam is held in Pearson VUE testing sites, so you may be able to pick the one that is close to your homeplace. For me, the exam venue is just 10 minutes from my home, so it’s very convenient.

After you pay and register for the exam, you may immediately schedule the date and time to sit for your Exam. The GARP provides a textbook (about 180 pages), a practice exam book and a candidate guide which list out the required readings (about 10 PDFs with 30–40 pages for each). It’s important to note that you will have to study both the textbook and required readings in order to pass the exam.

The textbook is only in e-book format and not available for download except you pay extra money to order a hard copy.

The GARP will provide the links of required readings, so you can read them online, or save them in pdf format to read offline.

Is the syllabus useful to a finance job?

GARP SCR is best suitable for risk manager, credit analyst, auditor or regulator as the exam emphasises climate risk management, such as how to measure and model climate risks and conduct scenario analysis, and more importantly, how climate risks transmit into more traditional risk categories (e.g. operational risk, credit risk and liquidity risk).

The exam also introduces the concept of sustainability (e.g. UN SDGs), sustainable and green finance instruments and products (e.g. green bonds and social bonds) and the difference across various international policy frameworks. This part somewhat overlaps with the CFA ESG exam.

How difficult is the SCR exam?

The exam format was 80 MCQs in 3 hours.

Objectively, SCR has the lowest passing rate at 51% among its peers. In my opinion, the main reason is that the study materials are formed by readings or papers from various institutions, leading to rough transitions between chapters. Candidates may find this hard to follow. In addition, SCR covers the details of different policy frameworks, which are not easy to memorise all of them. Yet, it’s not that difficult if you have studied both the textbooks and required readings.

The GARP officially recommends 100 to 130 study hours. For a candidate without ESG background, I think ~90 hours could be sufficient. With a little prior ESG knowledge from my academic background and career, I spent around 70 hours and passed in one take.

My advice — How to prepare for SCR Exam?
  1. The textbook provided by GARP gives an overview of the key concepts while the required readings provide further information on these topics. Candidates who work full-time usually will not have enough time to read the study materials twice. In particular, the required readings come from different institutions, and frankly speaking, they are not easy-to-read. Therefore, you may have to consolidate the study materials yourself and make notes for revision, like the above example for the CFA ESG exam.

  2. Despite some after-chapter tests (only about 10 questions for each chapter) and a practice exam book provided, the questions’ content coverage in real exam are broader than these. It won’t work if you only study the textbook but not the required readings.

When will I get my result and certification?

Different from CFA ESG exam, you’ll only know the result around 2 weeks after taking the exam. Similar to FRM, quartiles by each topic are provided.

At the same time, you will receive an exam result letter and an electronic certificate showing your completion of the SCR exam.