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Moving CFA exams to computer based testing?

It would be great if the CFAI could move to computerized testing. After all, it’s good enough for the CPA exams (which, unlike their CFA counterparts, are actually a license to practice). And the exams I took at Prometric were a much less unpleasant and more secure experience than spending my time with the amateur CFA proctors on their once-a-year power trip (yes, my passport has been fingered enough now, thank you). But the CFAI is basically a money-making machine and I doubt it will ultimately want to share its circa $300 million annual exam fee income with any third party.

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Received survey request from CFAI this morning and it’s all about potential revolution of Level I exam in the future, about exam delivery format, time needed for exam result release, frequency of the exam in a year etc. I chose paper delivery and exam to be arranged as most infrequent as I like the feeling of sitting in a large hall once a year with so many candidates attending a top class exam together. I prefer the traditional paper test although I can adapt well with computer-based test (did CFA mock exams online and also took my last CPA exam using computer).

However, if the delivery format were to change to computer-based and the frequency of Level I test increased to more than twice a year, I would doubt the value of the qualification like Newsuper mentioned, CFAI should just keep the frequency of the exam and control the quality of exam questions. Anyway we’ll see.

bozaigao wrote:

Received survey request from CFAI this morning and it’s all about potential revolution of Level I exam in the future, about exam delivery format, time needed for exam result release, frequency of the exam in a year etc. I chose paper delivery and exam to be arranged as most infrequent as I like the feeling of sitting in a large hall once a year with so many candidates attending a top class exam together. I prefer the traditional paper test although I can adapt well with computer-based test (did CFA mock exams online and also took my last CPA exam using computer).

However, if the delivery format were to change to computer-based and the frequency of Level I test increased to more than twice a year, I would doubt the value of the qualification like Newsuper mentioned, CFAI should just keep the frequency of the exam and control the quality of exam questions. Anyway we’ll see.

I just got the same survey. I always chose the option that said “wait 6 months between tests” regardless of the other parameters because anything less would be a sham, IMO.

Bringing back an old post, but this article should give those who want the CFA exam to be electronic something to think about:

http://www.afr.com/news/policy/education/online-exam-for-medicos-ends-in…

I’ve put the article text below:

Online exam for medicos ends in disaster and unleashes a Twitter storm

It couldn’t have happened to a harsher group of critics. Twelve hundred trainee physicians and pediatricians will have to resit a major exam after an online testing process failed halfway through.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has been inundated with complaints since the online exam collapsed on Monday.

The trainee doctors were taking the so-called RACP Divisional Written Exam in Adult Medicine, a two-part test being trialled online for the first time.

When they went to log on for the second half many found their passwords wouldn’t work.

The online contractor, Pearson Vue, declined to comment.

As a result, RACP president Catherine Yelland said the whole group would have to resit the exam, which will be done on paper next time, not online.

Among reactions on Twitter one trainee doctor said: “The flow-on effects to the trainees and hospitals is unprecedented both emotionally and financially.”

Another wrote: “Seriously poor form by one of the largest medical colleges in Australia.”

Rescheduling the exam means a delay of several months for some trainees to take up permanent jobs in hospitals.

“We’re very sorry this has happened,” a contrite Dr Yelland said. “These are students working at registrar level at hospitals. This is the exam they do before specialising.

“Some time ago, because it’s so complicated, so big and happens at exam sites simultaneously all over the country, we decided it was time to shift from paper to online. We felt we really needed to move on with available technology.

“There will be some reflection on this. Our trainees are very hard working and they’re now very upset.”

Online testing is increasingly popular for industry bodies and government agencies, and is increasingly outsourced to specialist digital testing companies. Apart from Pearson Vue, a new entrant in the online testing market, Janison, raised $10 million in public listing in December, indicating investors are behind the shift to contracted, electronic exams.
Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/policy/education/online-exam-for-medicos-ends-in-disaster-and-unleashes-a-twitter-storm-20180220-h0wdaf#ixzz57doDphom 
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bozaigao wrote:

However, if the delivery format were to change to computer-based and the frequency of Level I test increased to more than twice a year, I would doubt the value of the qualification like Newsuper mentioned, CFAI should just keep the frequency of the exam and control the quality of exam questions. Anyway we’ll see.

I know this is an old thread but I’d share my sentiments anyway.

I don’t mind if the format is changed as I don’t have to sit for the exams anymore ;-) but I would be really pissed off if CFAI decides to administer multiple tests in a year and allow candidates to take or resit the exams more frequently than it is now. They have to keep the frequency of the exam consistent e.g. as soon as a candidate finds out that s/he fails the L2 exam s/he will have to wait 10-12 months before resitting for the exam or take the L3 exam if s/he passes just like the way it is right now. If CFAI allows a candidate who fails the exam to retake again in just a couple of months I think that would drastically cheapen the designation.

Imagine you come back after lunch to write the second exam, and half the students can’t log on to the exam. So CFAI invalidates the exam and tells everyone to come back in 6 months to resit the exam. How would you feel?

I’m bumping this.  Did anyone else see the article by Bloomberg today about the CFA moving to computer based?  It was on my LinkedIn page as “CFA was mentioned”.  Read it quickly and when I went back to reread I couldn’t find it.  Can’t even find it on “The Google”.  Legit feel like I’m losing my mind.  Someone tell me they saw this too…

Found it.  Was business insider 

 https://www.businessinsider.com/cfa-exam-online-testing-2018-11?r=UK&IR=T

i was way off!  Knew it started with a B, though

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A feel a computer-based exam is a lot better given certain measures.

When I took the GMAT, there were specific locations you could go and the security was pretty tight. You had to get a fingerprint done, then a handprint, then they went through your IDs. After you put all your stuff in a designated locker, before going into the exam room, they patted your pockets and checked everything you took in the room. I just took a water bottle and two pens, but they actually tore the paper off the water bottle and opened my pens up to make sure I hadn’t hid papers inside the pen (apparently people have done that before as well). Then they made me roll up my sleeves before they finally let me in. Additionally they had cameras over each computer and each room had only 10 computers.

If CFA was to do something like that, where they partnered with only certain locations and then administered proper security, the exam would still be as secure as the paper and pen one right now.

Additionally, they could potentially make the exam run over 2 or 3 days where they have modules (like someone said above) so that topics are tested in detail. They don’t need to get rid of the current format or even the current hardness.

In fact if anything a computer-based test might actually make the CFA more rigorous. If they made it an adaptable test, then it would become even more like the GMAT where the questions adjust based on how you answered the previous one and then instead of just a pass or fail, you actually get a score. Only if you’re above a certain score are you allowed to move on to the next level. If you’re below it, you need to write it again.

This would make the exam more accessible as well. I don’t mean more people will write it, but those who do choose to write it, don’t have to fly 3 hours or drive for 6 hours to get to the nearest test center.

This could be implemented at least for Level I and maybe Level 2. I mean these tests are basically multiple choice only and so a computer-based test would be more rigorous and adaptable and really just make it that much more meaningful.

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"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." Eleanor Roosevelt

#F@©&!!! 

Nenorr wrote:

From the top of my head - 1. No “scanner didn’t read your answers correctly” BS. 2.Instant results on lvl 1 and lvl 2 (or even if they analyse MPS and so on, still way faster than 2 months). 3. More than one sitting a year. 

totally agree with this. I think a big issue for many people are the fact that if you fail L2 or L3 you have to wait a full your to try again. Lots happen in a year…or two. 

AJOU wrote:

Nenorr wrote:

From the top of my head - 1. No “scanner didn’t read your answers correctly” BS. 2.Instant results on lvl 1 and lvl 2 (or even if they analyse MPS and so on, still way faster than 2 months). 3. More than one sitting a year. 

totally agree with this. I think a big issue for many people are the fact that if you fail L2 or L3 you have to wait a full your to try again. Lots happen in a year…or two. 

I think this is something that sets this designation apart.  If you want it bad enough you need to be able to make sacrifices.  If you fail, work harder and pass it the next time.  I’m ok if they move level 1 to computer, but I think they should keep level 2 and 3 as is.  My 2 cents.

I don’t care if the exams become computer/online based but I hope they’ll keep administering the exams just once a year. Having CFA exams quarterly would definitely lessen the respect the industry has for the Charterholders. In my opinion, achieving the Charter isn’t just about the knowledge and skills; it is also about having the right character. Getting kicked in the balls, waiting for another year and retaking the exam shows tenacity, which is just as valuable as mastering the concepts. 

If you're the first out the door, that's not called panicking

I took the PRMIA (risk management) years ago and it was computer based. There was a local career school where you could go and take PRMIA and a whole lot of other exams. The room I did it in had a handful of computers in it, but I was the only person in the room, and I think the receptionist was watching me on CCTV to make sure I didn’t cheat. With PRMIA, I was able to take it any day I wanted and if I’d failed (I passed) could have gone back fairly soon and taken it again and again and again.

The main CFA exam violations are what, writing after time, which a computer makes impossible, talking to others, and sneaking in notes. PRMIA didn’t allow you to bring a calculator, it was built into the exam in one corner of the screen.

The only “advantage” I can see for computer-based testing is the flexibility with respect to date, and no doubt it will let people take L1 multiple times a year. When L1 went to twice a year, part of the argument was that L1 was going to be used as a stand-alone regulatory exam in some countries. Not sure if that has ever happened, but last I checked which was long ago it hadn’t

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Well, whatever prestige L1 had over, say, the Series will now be gone once they do this. Awesome.

If they do this for L2, that would be a pretty disrespectful move by the CFAI to anybody that has slaved over that exam.

They better up the difficulty if they do this. I’m kinda mad about it.

Anybody else with thoughts on this?

I’m okay with computer based given what I’ve just gone through with the CAIA. Not sure how this is exactly feasible given the number of test takers though. I would’ve thought there were about 1,000 candidates when I sat L1, and if a computer room has 30 PCs it would be a huge window for people to take the test.

It’s also harder as you keep switching from using a pen and calculator to work out the answer and then going back to the keyboard to punch it in. Disrupts your flow and I found that I went much slower than with a pencil and paper.

Also computer based testing would allow you to mix up the order of questions which should help reduce the level of cheating. 

I agree.

*****. All these people saying “oh these testing centers are really strict, it’s really secure….” 

Do you know how many different testing centers there are out there!!! 

I took the CAIA exams on computers (how they are administered).  The proctor looked at my ticket and my ID and told me what computer to sit at. I could have walked in there with a freggin textbook. He didn’t care. He was some 25 year old kid who sat in a room adjacent and was playing candy crush on his phone.  There were also 10 other people taking 10 different exams in the same room. Some that were open book.

Some exam centers might be by the book, but you know there will be many, many that are not.

So yeah, thanks for cheapening the charter.  Just hand them out like MBAs. This is such a terrible idea.