if its any consolation, it took me and probably many other a fail in level 3 to really understand the format of the level 3 exam. Last year when I wrote level 3 for the the first time, I was pretty confused by the process and missed a few templates during the morning portion of the exam. This time around, I already knew what to look for.
I guess what we could do is talk about the format of the exam for level 3 leading up to the exam so others won’t have to suffer the same fate.
people are really getting worked up for what could be nothing. Format didnt bother me..I took too much time on the first few questions which rushed me. most alarmning to me was stuff that I thought I knew cold, I actually didnt. now that sucks.
Yes, they break out the results. You will receive a result for each morning question (>70, between 50 and 70, and <50) and a result for each afternoon category. Score are separate, so if there was economic questions in the morning and afternoon, you will receive a result for each (it will not be a combined result).
I think a separate answer book would be helpful (think blue book in college). Additionally I think they should have a dedicated section for each question, as opposed to a lined area where you label which question you are answering. My answer sheets were a mess because I had to cross out a variety of answers because I was using a pen. I think this may make it hard to follow. You would think it would make their lives a lot easier to since they would have a uniform answer book instead of hunting through lined paper for a given question.
I think I labeled the questions but I was in such a rush after getting tripped up on Q1A that I don’t know. I certainly didn’t have time to go back and look.
Long story short it’s a terrible format but you have to play by their rules…
For such a group of supposedly intelligent people, they should be able to put out an exam that doesn’t create such confusion. Just put the god damn answer lines underneath the question, how hard is that?
Builders, I bet my score on the aggregate is higher than your score even given my missing almost all the morning section. Its all good though, we can both sit through it next year and I’ll be sure to answer all your questions when you get confused.
The “not knowing what is a real answer” argument is the only one that has clout. I know it would be subjective to an extent, but like i said, if you see that EVERY answer is clearly written out, yet nothing is on the answer page, then how much subjectivity is required to determine intent? Fact of the matter is, either apply rules on a consistent basis, or don’t apply them. If you put instructions on a test, make them all apply, or none. This is the only “fair” way.
I am fighting this as much as I am because I put so much time and effort in, probably twice as much as other levels, just so I wouldn’t have to do it again. So, what do I have to lose?
And Programmer, while I’m glad it’s not just me that has made this mistake, or similar mistakes, passing or failing should never ever ever come down to format. If more than 2% of candidates fail because of formatting issues, they need re-consider their exam construction process.
I agree the exam format does take some getting used to.
Template/format/pages etc. what struck me as particularly noticeable was the page numbering on the exams AM sessions provided. There were a whole bunch of missing pages. Then I did read the CFA website - and realized that they provided the “lined pages” for answering questions.
As regards Templates vs. rewriting the whole thing on ruled pages - distinction is
a. who did not use the template is wasting time, recreating the template.
b. it is still being written out on a separate page.
In any case - I am not trying to put anything against you here. I know you were very well prepared, and do deserve the pass - and this is something beyond our control.
As regards your other question - they do breakout the AM and PM sessions grades.
CPK, totally understand and your points are valid, but again, not to be a broken record, but..
a.) the website is not required reading, so if your going to present an exam as a “copy” of last years, make it a copy, I don’t care how many fkng trees get killed.
b.) whether the template takes time to recreate in the lined pages is irrelevant, and the fact that it’s re-written on a separate page is also irrelevant. The instructions say “use the template”. I have yet to hear a decent rebuttal on how this rule can be bent but the others cannot. If the paper says “use the template”, you should not be pardoned for not using the fkng template, period. I was VERY careful to look for those stupid templates because I had practiced their prior morning exams and gotten use to them popping out of nowhere.
The whole POS format needs to be re-done, but as it stands, my argument is that you cannot apply rules partially, and whatever the website says is irrelevant because it isn’t required reading. That would be like saying that because the official online GIPS has something that they tested that wasn’t in the curriculum GIPS, it’s fair.
I don’t think there would be a grey area for them here in grading my paper for two reasons:
i) I answered damn near every question the same way, and left the lines blank, so who would write out an answer to leave the “real” answer blank, on multiple questions.
ii) I contacted them immediately when I found out of my mistake, so it’s not like I got a failing score and was like “hey, can you guys check to see if some of my “scratch” was more correct than my answer, and, uhhhh…. gimme credit?
I feel ya markC. During the exam I kept forgetting to write I. I would write A. then continue with my answer, then realize I forgot the whole I. II. III. and would have to go back and recorrect. When I took the mock exams, I practiced using looseleaf paper but during the exam, I can see how it could be easy to get side tracked because you’re just trying to answer the question as fast as you can. I wish you the best. I hope this doesn’t result in a failing grade for you.
mark - I am sure you are not the only one who has done this over the years. I am sure the CFAI will give you credit where due and just see what happens. I know you are worked up, but I would not let this overtake your life. You studied for 6 months for this exam and now you are going to spend another 3 months stressing about the results. Not worth it. You have done everything you can to rectify the situation (called, wrote, emailed, whatever). Let it go, learn from it, and come back better the next time (if there is a next time). You may have passed and all this worrying is for nothing.
One reason they say to write in the designated areas is because when the graders grade your exam, the pages with the answers may be removed from the booklet. If an answer template is on the front of a page and the next question is on the back of the page and the graders decide to separate out those questions, the grader getting the template side will also get the question side with your answers and your answers won’t make it to the appropriate grader.
I can’t say if they will try to rectify this. All the exams are graded in the same location during the same time frame so the graders may make the extra effort to get your answers to the appropriate person.
I think we only need to label ABC or 123 in lined pages.no need to label 1-A,since lined pages clearly show which question they belong to(they show this is for question X).Only when you write on extra pages need you list question number. I personally do not like the test format at all . Even though I did very well in AM and PM , I am still not 100 percent sure whether pass it,it is ridiculous.
To someone who made mistakes in exam, I support you argue with cfai since the test format is so weird and we need to concentrate on test contents but not the format. Hope you all the best.
> Builders, I bet my score on the aggregate is
> higher than your score even given my missing
> almost all the morning section. Its all good
> though, we can both sit through it next year and
> I’ll be sure to answer all your questions when you
> get confused.
my arrogant and callous response wasnt directed at you CFAIL, it was directed at goodman.
see, who said making friends is hard!
Feel for you boys, I’d be sick to my stomach if that was me. Mark, I also saw you contribute quite a lot to the board over the years, so I hope it works out.
I can resist anything but temptation ~ Oscar Wilde
A number of employers give written tests as part of the interview process.
For those of you that hire and fire, how tolerant would you be if the job candidate didn’t follow directions on your test? And how would you respond if the candidate tried to defend themself(“But sir/ma’am, the test you gave me was not clear. This is not fair”) rather than just saying, “I messed up and I will work to pay more attention to detail, even under pressure?”
My experience tells me the latter response might get you a spot in the next interview pool. The former, your application ends up in the bin.
You did the right thing by notifying the issue to CFA Institute. My thinking is each question will be evaluated by different people while grading and I am sure at least one of them will spot the problem and notify the CFA staff. I feel if you had put in your answers fully methodically for the grader to make sense and not treat it as a scratch work they will consider your case sympathetically. As you said the exam is about skills and not format and hope they consider this favourably. I would suggest you could follow up with them. Let us hope and pray this works out well for you.
> JP_RL_CFA Wrote:
> > CFA does state that points will be given to
> > clear/concise answers. I am assuming if you
> > not label your answer and it’s difficult for
> > to interpret, you will probably receive points,
> > just not full credit.
> One thing that’s started to worry me a lot is that
> I didn’t circle/box in the final answer - my
> responses show calculations and the bottom line is
> the obvious numeric answer. I did the work on the
> lined pages and labeled the sections, but the
> final answer doesn’t leap out on the page.
I don’t see this being an issue. If you labeled each section as 1,2,3 or a,b,c that is what was asked of you. Directions never stated to circle or box in your answer. If you show your work and the answer is in a logical place, it will be graded.
> 1.) Whether or not it has been clarified on this
> forum, the fact is the test booklet itself does
> not say pencil is optional, it says blue or black
> ink. I even had a pencil with me but the proctor
> told me I MUST use pen, so in order to not risk
> it, I did so.
> 2.) Whats your rebuttal to them grading your
> answer if you did not use the template? The test
> instructions clearly state you must use templates,
> yet they will grade them even if you don’t. They
> did read aloud, I misunderstood when they were
> describing the check boxes and thought they meant
> that you marked the page if you were going to use
> it, so I thought it was extra room. When you are
> nervous and sleep deprived you make silly
> I get it, I misunderstood and did not read
> directions clearly enough. I fkd up. Should I
> fail because of this regardless of how I actually
> performed? Put yourself in my shoes before you
> The ONLY valid argument I can see on their behalf
> aside from just being hard-nosed is the point you
> bring up about not knowing the “real” answer.
> However, if a logical person were to look at my
> paper and see that about 80% of questions that did
> not direct you to a template were answered
> completely on the question page (one or two were
> just too wordy to fit), and then left blank on the
> lined page, I think it would be pretty clear what
> my intent was. Why would somebody provide
> detailed “scratch” answers, and then nothing in
> the answer section?
i think the CFAI has to be careful about precedents they set though. What if on a multiple choice question, i calculate everything correctly but fill in the wrong bubble, and the correct answer is clearly shown on my question book?
what if i fail to use #2 pencil on L1 or L2?
what if i skip a multiple choice question, and that causes me to fill-in all the wrong answers on my answer sheet?
There’s tons of painful mistakes people can make in the exam setting. They have to be very careful.
In any event my heart goes out to you, cant imagine how frustrated you must be.
Unfortunately the institute is a stickler for the rules.
***Incoming wall of text***
I’m done with this for now, getting so frustrated at some of these replies. You guys are missing the point. Whether or not you want to get on a soapbox and feed me bullsh!t about the “rules are the rules”, the fact is that they are bending other “format related” rules - rules that are requirements per test instructions, on an arbitrary basis. It just so happens my mistake is not acceptable. What message does this send?
Are some of you even reading my posts, or skimming the top paragraph? The rules are being applied in an inconsistent manner, and I’ve yet to hear a decent reason as to how that is acceptable. It is painfully clear what my intent was, as the questions are clearly answered and the lined pages are not used, so who would do that, who would fill out detailed answers all over the paper and then leave the actual answer blank, every time. Any logical person will be able to tell it was an obvious error.
Bubbling the wrong answer because you skipped one is not comparable, because intent cannot be determined, it would be unfortunate, and similar in a way, but nobody would be able to determine intent…. that is the key, intent. My scenario doesn’t require subjectivity to interpret, it’s not favoritism, it’s not undoing precedent, it’s not setting bad precedent, it’s very clear what the intent was. The graders have to stare at these tests all day anyhow, I am fairly sure they can figure out what is an obvious oversight versus what is not. If I was more in the “gray area” that some of you are placing me in, I would understand this a little more, and would argue a little less.
And Smileygladhands, I’m not calling you out here just wanted to reply because you bring up good points
As far as putting the “answer” in the book on a multiple choice test, and then bubbling the wrong one, this is also different, because I did not answer in two places. Again, intent is determinable in my scenario. Plus, lets be real, I don’t think a scantron is unfamiliar to anybody, and it would be ludicrous for someone to tell me with a straight face that a scantron oriented test is just as decipherable as that jigsaw puzzle I just took.
Ghilbi, thank you for another thoughtless quick dismissal, haven’t seen you on the boards before, hows it going? This is a test that we prepare for, where we are given copies of what is falsely represented as “copy of prior year’s exam”, where we are suppose to be prepared for content, not an unfamiliar format that was not the same as the “actual copys” we were given to prepare with. I went through 1 and 2 without a fail, because I was ready for the content. I was ready for it in 3 too, but yes, I made a mistake related to the format. Again, in case you didn’t read my earlier posts, let me reiterate: I am fully aware I messed up. However, I do not feel that failing me based on this is fair given the mitigating circumstances I have mentioned. I put 6-9 months into this exam and busted my ass, and anybody with a pulse can tell what I was trying to do, why fail me? Just so certain of you can feel better about the MPS which is no longer peer based anyhow, so you can gloat a little more about how great you are at following directions? Job interviews are suppose to be spontaneous, an exam FORMAT is not, for Christ sakes.
The fact is, the test was poorly formatted, I have heard it from tons of people that did NOT mess up, so stop telling me about how I’m making a big deal out of nothing.
> Unfortunately the institute is a stickler for the
No, Bob, they are a stickler for being able to design, interpret, and change the rules as they so please.
What message would they send by failing me IF they were able to reasonably determine without considerable doubt that my screw up was an honest mistake, which they can. Lets speak hypothetically here Bob, lets say it’s very clear to the grader and the institute what my intent was, then what message does failing me send? “Oh look, we failed a guy who was adequately prepared so we can show the world that writing in between the lines is more important than learning the content, WE ARE THE LAW!”
“Oh, whats that? You didn’t use the templates? Oh that’s cool”
I really think that they do their best to locate answers, and that they will definitely grade urs.. I think the only situation where they not grade answers written on question pages is when u write on both question and answer pages… But since u only used question pages, they would know that these are your final answers..
This is what I think… Remember that they are humans… Don’t listen to some of the weird paranoid posters…. Once you get your results, you will know if they graded your answers, as am results will show your performance on every question…
mark, sit tight man, I’m pulling for you, and I have to think the CFAI has some amount of common sense and compassion.
> I really think that they do their best to locate
> answers, and that they will definitely grade urs..
> I think the only situation where they not grade
> answers written on question pages is when u write
> on both question and answer pages… But since u
> only used question pages, they would know that
> these are your final answers..
> This is what I think… Remember that they are
> humans… Don’t listen to some of the weird
> paranoid posters…. Once you get your results,
> you will know if they graded your answers, as am
> results will show your performance on every
this. and with that Im logging off until August. Hollar back at your boy.
mark, how can I get in touch with you? There are some options I’m weighing and I think you’d be interested.
Leniency and Compassion is something that we can HOPE for, not DEMAND for.
Its upto CFA now, just let it go. Your intent was clear as you had nothing written on the lined sheets and everything on the questions side, so it should be clear where your answers are located. Your case would have to be handled as an exception and assuming each question is graded by a separate grader, all 9 graders will have to be instructed on how to handle your case..thats the complexity of it so you can understand why CFA might have some ground rules that they cannot break and some others that they can show some flexibility.
Hear your pain Mark, so lets hope CFA organization shows the heart to handle your case right.
It might be time to think about what you are trying to reach with your posts here…
With the first few posts your message was clear: you studied hard and feel fucked that they might not grade your exam. I can understand you are frustrated with this.
Maybe your exam will be graded, maybe not. You will not know till the results are released.
Till that time you can frustrate yourself more by posting replies here, or you can just relax and focus on something that has an upside potential (no matter if you “win” a discussion here on AF, CFAI will not take that into consideration).
I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and whatever the outcome, make sure it will make you a better person.
> I’m done with this for now, getting so frustrated
> at some of these replies. You guys are missing
> the point. Whether or not you want to get on a
> soapbox and feed me bullsh!t about the “rules are
> the rules”, the fact is that they are bending
> other “format related” rules - rules that are
> requirements per test instructions, on an
> arbitrary basis. It just so happens my mistake is
> not acceptable. What message does this send?
I’m getting your point, but it’s not clear to me what you want to accomplish. Just convince others that rules are being applied inconsistently? Discuss what the best format and grading method for the L3 exam is? Send a petition to CFAI?
> mark, how can I get in touch with you? There are
> some options I’m weighing and I think you’d be
Bucky - firstname.lastname@example.org
As for you guys asking what my point is, or what I’m driving at…. I suppose nothing really, I just feel the need to defend myself even though this board has no say in the process. I have never been good at just taking defeat and laying down, I always fight back, it’s my nature.
Maybe it’s that I feel if I can convince a forum of fellow candidates who go through the same process and probably have similar goals/circumstances, then I can convince the institute.
Anyhow, if the worst happens, then at least I’ll finally do what my dad told me all those years “read the directions first!” …. hahaha.
I posted a question on this forum just prior to the Exam asking for some clarity on the layout of the AM Exam and not one person said a word. I wish someone had said something, if I had to take it over again I think I’d build every mock into a booklet to get used to turning pages back and forth 100 times.
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