A couple of weeks to the exam and scores for the various mock exams are coming in. Candidates are greeting their mock scores with either a sigh of relief or an, “oh crap, now what?”
I proctored the Schweser Mock Exam for the CFA Society of Iowa over the weekend. Overall, most candidates thought the mock was a little tougher than they expected. Comments coming in put the Schweser mock somewhere between the CFAI mock and the actual exam in difficulty, with the CFAI mock being the most difficult.
Schweser is reporting the average score across all candidates for the AM and PM sections of levels I and II and the PM section for the level III mock. It looks like average scores are coming in around the same level as previous years and range between 54% to 62%. This is info I’m getting from some of the candidates as of Monday, so if you’ve seen something else, please update below.
Level I: 59% (I don’t have an AM/PM breakdown for level I, anyone?)
Level II: AM 54%/PM 59%
Level III: PM 62%
Schweser doesn’t include any scores below 36% in the averages. I would be interested to see how many candidates scored below 36%, but would generally agree with not including them in the averaged scores. These may be a lot of candidates that just want to grab a copy of the mock or really haven’t seriously prepared. I would be more interested in an average of ‘serious’ candidates than all participants though it might skew the score upwards a little.
Whatever your score, I wouldn’t get too excited about it. Whether you do really well or poorly on one exam may be as much a function on ‘luck’ of the questions as your preparation. This is why you need to be taking multiple mock or practice exams before the actual exam. By completing at least 4-6 exams you can begin to build a confidence interval around how well you actually understand the material, especially on a per topic basis. Once you know how well you are scoring in each topic consistently, you can begin to focus your studying.
Though the mock may not be a perfect representation of where your score lies, in itself, it does include enough candidate scores to be a good representation of how all candidates are doing. If the averages are coming in around 55-60% and the average pass rate has been around 40%, then you can begin to see where you need to be scoring for the actual exam. This is assuming the mock is a fair representation of the actual exam (probably) and that there is not a great deal of skewness in the distribution. While we can’t know the volatility of scores, I would bet its not too much above 4% or so, if even that high.
We know that no candidate has failed with a score higher than 70%, so this is your Holy Grail. Aiming for a passing score in the low 60’s may set you up for disappointment if the actual exam is much harder than the practice tests you’ve been taking, so I would shoot for at least a 65%.
Then again, less time thinking about your score and more time studyin’ wouldn’t hurt either.
Get back to work!
Joseph Hogue, CFA