Sign up  |  Log in

Exam day and Professional Conduct

Every year a month or so after the exam, I get a bunch of e-mails from people who have been accused of cheating on the CFA exam.  I try to help them but there is a limited amount I can do.  CFAI is very serious about enforcing the rules and if there is any question about whether you broke the rules, the process is heavily biased toward finding that you did.  In particular, here are some important rules:

1) Do not write past when the proctor calls time.  Do not finish filling in an oval, darken an existing oval, make corrections to the name sheet, or even keep reading the exam book.  When the proctor calls time, immediately drop your pencil and close your exam book.

2) Do not look around the exam room.  If you are taking a break or just need to clear your head, close your eyes and look down.  I can’t tell you how many people get busted because they let their eyes wander.  If a proctor sees you looking in the direction of someone else and they write you up, you are done.

3) Protect your own paper.  CFAI is busting innocent  (I think) people whose exams bear too much similarity to another exam in the same test center.  You definitely care if someone else is copying from you.

4) Do not do anything to your exam ticket.  If you write ‘CAPM’ on your exam ticket they will kick you out of the CFA program for 5 years.  They really will.

5) Don’t smuggle anything into the exam room.  This isn’t just exam aids but really innocuous stuff.  There’s a list, read it and follow it and leave the rest of your stuff in the car.

6) Treat the proctors respectfully.  OK, so the proctors will never be CFA Charterholders and don’t make nearly as much money as you do.  But piss off a proctor and s/he can make your studying for this exam a complete waste of time.   Treating people respectfully is a good idea anyway.

7) If there is some problem, do not ever admit to doing something wrong and then try to explain it.  If you say “Well I did look at his paper but it was only a passing glance” you might as well just pack up your stuff, go home and forget about the CFA program.  You just admitted to a violation and they will bust you for it.  Listen respectfully and then deny it if you can honorably, else say nothing.

Finally,

8) Don’t deliberately cheat like trying to hide your notecards in the bathroom or something.  That’s just disgraceful BS.  I help out nearly everyone who asks for help on these PCP things, but I have my lines where you are on your own.

Good luck everyone!   

I’m Da Church of the faithful, I’m Liao Fengyi, clergywoman mother should have to introduce you to me, I have seen you twice, in which time you are more impressed with everyone I guess in the back of the church at noon to eat noodle face!

Save over 20% on all Platinum and Gold CFA® Packages with weekly online classes, lecture videos, study guide, professional mentoring, test bank, mocks and more.

good call on not looking around the room, I probably would have done that to give my eyes a break

Bump…Don’t want any of you messing this up

I’m Da Church of the faithful, I’m Liao Fengyi, clergywoman mother should have to introduce you to me, I have seen you twice, in which time you are more impressed with everyone I guess in the back of the church at noon to eat noodle face!

thanks joey,

quick question:

Can I have money, driver’s license, NYC subway card in my pocket?

Sounds fine to me.

I’m Da Church of the faithful, I’m Liao Fengyi, clergywoman mother should have to introduce you to me, I have seen you twice, in which time you are more impressed with everyone I guess in the back of the church at noon to eat noodle face!

quick ethics question,
If I receive additional compensation from a client and notify my employer who approves of it, prior to receiving it in writing. Is this okay or does the client have to in writing send my employer the exact details?

Hi Joe
Thanks for the list of do’s n dont’s!!
One quick q , someone is going to drop me to the center, so I wont be having my car. Can I keep my lunch bag n notes (in a bag)outside the exam hall?

Heh heh, when I took L1, I was dumb and took the cell phone in the room with me, because I didn’t like the idea of leaving a valuable piece of equipment just on a table outside. Fortunately, at my center, they asked if anyone had a phone and the proctors collected the phones from everyone. There were actually a lot of us who’d decided that the room outside was not a safe place for pricey stuff.

Anyway, about half way through the afternoon session, my girlfriend calls me to ask how the exam went. Supposedly my girlfriend was smart, but apparently she didn’t know that 4:30 was before 5:00. It rang, and everyone in the room (maybe 250 people in the Javits Center) heard it. And the proctor came over to me to ask me to turn it off.

I was seriously wondering if I was going to get a violation letter. Fortunately, because I’d surrendered the phone to the proctor, nothing happened. If I’d had the phone on me (and I thought I had turned the ringer off, but apparently hadn’t), I’d have been busted for sure!

Anyway, for L2 and L3, I left the phone on the table. JDV is giving very good advice there.

And I got rid of the girlfriend (later).

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

Oh, why didnt I read your post before taking exam last Sat?
after the exam I was actually happy for a short period until I read about stories of ppl whose grades got voided because they “continued to write after time called”. probably I did this in morning section too… I thought if they did not come to me to give me a warning then it was ok. but actually they would simply write me down or flag my ticket?
so what to expect? receiving grades followed by a mail two weeks later telling me my grades should be voided?
it’s so bad.

Paulga

^ I don’t get you people, what part of “STOP WRITING” is not clear?

Also, just because they didn’t come warn you after the exam doesn’t mean you are free. You may get a letter in the mail

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

The guy next to me was flagrantly writing for a good 10-15 seconds after they called stop. I was about to warn him, but then figured that any sign of me talking, gesturing, etc might result in me getting in trouble and no way was I going to risk my own test because of him.

right when i started the test the guy next to me was looking around… almost uncomfortably.. i wanted to look up n see what he was looking at but i didnt want anything to happen… then 1 minute later he got up and handed paper in and left… then did the exact same thing for the second part…. i duno if he even tried filling bubbles in i dont think so cuz it was like one minute to two maximum he was in his seat for each… but why even show up for the second half to do the same thing, if at all…

^ because if you don’t show up for both sessions, you won’t get a failing exam score email. Perhaps his company is paying for it but he needs to show he actually sat for the exam

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

I took my exam in a convention center right next to where cruises ships come in and out. There were 2 boat horns that startled me during the exam and I looked up at the proctor each time bc I was thrown off…do you think I’m in trouble?

I think a mail is definitely… they won’t budge…
also I don’t think continuing to write is something ungraceful. Had I known their way of
flagging ppl who is suspected of violation of standards, I definitely would throw my pencil away right on hearing
the proctor saying “stop writing”.

Paulga

paulga wrote:
Oh, why didnt I read your post before taking exam last Sat?
after the exam I was actually happy for a short period until I read about stories of ppl whose grades got voided because they “continued to write after time called”. probably I did this in morning section too… I thought if they did not come to me to give me a warning then it was ok. but actually they would simply write me down or flag my ticket?
so what to expect? receiving grades followed by a mail two weeks later telling me my grades should be voided?
it’s so bad.

You can be in trouble and not know it. I’ve known people who get scolded by the proctors and people who have no clue they are in trouble until they get the letter in the mail. In any event, I suggest that you do not post any comments about how you violated CFA ethical policies on this site. If you want to talk about it, e-mail me.

I’m Da Church of the faithful, I’m Liao Fengyi, clergywoman mother should have to introduce you to me, I have seen you twice, in which time you are more impressed with everyone I guess in the back of the church at noon to eat noodle face!

Speaking of the exam day, I took level 1 in Atlanta on December 3rd. Needless to say I complied with all the rules, but what about the proctors? Two major things bugged me:

1. I brought 2 calculators to the exam, HP 12Cs, with me (I was too paranoid about the battery dying). During the morning session one of the proctors comes to my desk and grabs my spare calculator and starts to analyze it right in front of me even though the calculators had already been screened when I got in. This certainly made me lose my focus for about 2-3 minutes.

2. During the afternoon session the same routine with the calculator occurred (are you kidding me?) and to top things off, 2 hours into the exam I caught the proctors talking to each other, making me lose another 2-3 min. Are you kidding me???

I know 30 more seconds would have made a difference because I went back to a question I found hard but I knew the answer to and didn’t have enough time to finish the problem.

Any thoughts?

Did you give your feedbacks on the exam to CFAI? I think you should so that proctors are properly advised not to spoil the exams.

Yippee-ki-yay

bchad wrote:
Heh heh, when I took L1, I was dumb and took the cell phone in the room with me, because I didn’t like the idea of leaving a valuable piece of equipment just on a table outside. Fortunately, at my center, they asked if anyone had a phone and the proctors collected the phones from everyone. There were actually a lot of us who’d decided that the room outside was not a safe place for pricey stuff. Anyway, about half way through the afternoon session, my girlfriend calls me to ask how the exam went. Supposedly my girlfriend was smart, but apparently she didn’t know that 4:30 was before 5:00. It rang, and everyone in the room (maybe 250 people in the Javits Center) heard it. And the proctor came over to me to ask me to turn it off. I was seriously wondering if I was going to get a violation letter. Fortunately, because I’d surrendered the phone to the proctor, nothing happened. If I’d had the phone on me (and I thought I had turned the ringer off, but apparently hadn’t), I’d have been busted for sure! Anyway, for L2 and L3, I left the phone on the table. JDV is giving very good advice there. And I got rid of the girlfriend (later).

I rushed into the exam room last Saturday when the proctors announced the doors were closing any minute for the afternoon session..  when I was checking in, I noticed my cell phone in my possession and I apolgized and handed it to the proctor.  He said I was lucky to have found it then and not when taking the exam.  I broke out in a sweat but calmed down to normal once the exam started.

Never underestimate the power of having a thick skin.

A proctor had a 5 minute cell phone call during our exam. Everyone could hear it. I was waiting for another proctor to scold her but it never happened.

Also, it’s distracting when you’re seated on the edge and the proctors walk by you 100 times during the exam. Or when they stand right beside you. Major distraction.

The NYC test center where I was had two candidates at each desk.  At some point during the morning session, my neighbor made an awkward movement that shook and moved the desk.  She said “Sorry” out loud.  I didn’t think anything of it when it happened, but now that I’m reading this thread, I’m nervous that she might have caused suspicion on both of us!

^ same here as TinyBeluga….I hated how they had two candidates to a single plastic desk. My neighbour was furiously erasing all the time shaking the whole table.

callmenoobie wrote:

^ same here as TinyBeluga….I hated how they had two candidates to a single plastic desk. My neighbour was furiously erasing all the time shaking the whole table.

The guy next to me was frustrated the entire test and kept hitting the table with his fist and mumbling cuss words…   

Galli wrote:

callmenoobie wrote:

^ same here as TinyBeluga….I hated how they had two candidates to a single plastic desk. My neighbour was furiously erasing all the time shaking the whole table.

The guy next to me was frustrated the entire test and kept hitting the table with his fist and mumbling cuss words…   

I was seated in my seat at about 8:10am. When the exam started at 9, I was soooooooo glad that the person beside my didn’t show. I had the whole desk to myself. I was also glad that I brought earplugs because the air conditioner/vent was super loud.

JoeyDVivre wrote:

6) Treat the proctors respectfully.  OK, so the proctors will never be CFA Charterholders and don’t make nearly as much money as you do.  But piss off a proctor and s/he can make your studying for this exam a complete waste of time.   Treating people respectfully is a good idea anyway.

For some reason I thought the proctors were CFA charterholders who volunteered to spend a Saturday proctoring the exam. So instead they’re hired by a temp agency and paid minimum wage or something?

sockruhtese wrote:
For some reason I thought the proctors were CFA charterholders who volunteered to spend a Saturday proctoring the exam. So instead they’re hired by a temp agency and paid minimum wage or something?

That’s what I thought  as well until  I sat for the exam, where I heard the ‘main’ proctor speak such bad English that she wouldn’t have been able to sign up for the exam on her own, let alone pass it. 

hei.so wrote:
I was seated in my seat at about 8:10am. When the exam started at 9, I was soooooooo glad that the person beside my didn’t show. I had the whole desk to myself. I was also glad that I brought earplugs because the air conditioner/vent was super loud.

Heh, person next to me also hadn’t shown up. 

Also, everyone behaved super and the hall was perfectly quiet during both sessions. The only sound in the afternoon session was the odd stomach rumble here and there. 

After the proctor picked up the exams in my area, my neighbor started chatting about the exam- about specific questions, ie. that XXXXX one really had me stumped- I picked XXX..  the Proctor had to come over and tell him not to talk- i was afraid I’d get busted for being party to the conversation.   But then again- we both wrote the same exam- so was there any violation of a CFA rule?? 

One of the proctors in St. Louis had her cell phone go off during the afternoon session, ringer volume all the way up.  Hopefully no one got flagged for looking up to see what was going on as she scrambled out of the room to answer her phone…

I had one stupid situation, end of afternoon session, I was done and looking at how a girl two three tables ahead of me was playing with her flip flops. All of a sudden I got the chills because a proctor seated in the front row is looking right at me…and then goes back to writing something down. It was more like he was writing some report but I wondered whether I should walk up to him after the session and explain the whole situation. I did not in the end and instead rushed out of the room to be amongst the first at the bar.

So if I dont fail for the lack of knowledge I might actually fail for “cheating”. My question: would they still bother to tell me the score? 

2) Do not look around the exam room.  If you are taking a break or just need to clear your head, close your eyes and look down.  I can’t tell you how many people get busted because they let their eyes wander.  If a proctor sees you looking in the direction of someone else and they write you up, you are done.

What do you mean by you’re done ?

samradin21 wrote:

What do you mean by you’re done ?

PCP investigation coming your way. Basically “you’re done” means it’s time to say good bye to finance and go back to flipping burgers at Maccas.