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Level III post-exam feelings

AM caught me a bit off guard and made me burn precious minutes, indeed it felt pretty much like ****. With respect to PM …well I ***** it.

So …. I do not expect much for AM (50ish), but I am expecting to get about 85 from the PM section. 

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Put_Option wrote:

I’m not sure what AM exam you people had, but in New York there were some insane questions and others that were plain out to get you. I fully guessed at–at least–2 and made a couple dumb errors.

Also, I won’t say the topic, but the first 2 parts of the first question in the AM was total BS. Hardly covered and should never have been an essay question.

PM, however, was a joke. I thought it was incredibly easy. 

i feel exactly the same way, wrote my exam in NY also, and reading all this post about AM being simple is just surprising to me. AM was for sure difficult. the first two parts knocked me off my game, it came out of nowhere. 

PM was the easiest exam ever,. i am hoping my pm would make up for my very horrible AM performance.

blackscholesvol wrote:

Lots  of topics that should have been tested but weren’t tested but rather some of the obscure parts of the curriculum that was already covered in previous levels….

100% this. Topics that had zero presence in the previous years (and I’m going back to 1999) to now (2016 on CFAI site) AM mocks that magically showed up on this years. 

We all know what L2 topic came up. The one that sounds like [deleted by admin]. Oh and how about [deleted by admin] questions? That was certainly covered more than the [deleted by admin] or [deleted by admin]. Definitely strong essay material. 

The exam was about what I expected from a difficulty perspective. I did not have time to complete one 6 point AM and made a handful of mistakes that I’m kicking myself for (isn’t that always the case?!). Feel like my score is likely in the 60-70 range which puts me at 50/50 to pass. Slightly disappointing given the effort I’ve put in but we’ll see how the field does. That being said I’m calling bs on properly finishing in 1 hour 40 mins. Regardless, we are all better for the experience and it feels good to have it in the books. Best of luck to all, enjoy the summer, and don’t make any silly ethics violations over something you can’t change. Cheers!

AM, finished with about 20 min to spare but don’t feel entirely confident given my highest AM mock was 64%. 

PM, Felt 90% sure on 38, 50-70% sure on 17 and punted on 5, so I bet I got high 60s low 70s on PM. I truly don’t know how to feel, a band 10 wouldn’t shock me, a band 9 maybe would. Will I do it again next year, unfortunately if I have to, I will. 

Man my prep was pretty comprehensive and I really do feel a lot of the questions stem from or are extensions from actual examples, EOC, or references from the official CFAI curriculum. Ultimately there were no questions that caught me off guard and none that really surprised me. Did fairly well in the PM I think.

However made a ****ing rookie mistake, overconfident after the first few questions in the am, got to the 4th or 5th question and struggled. I don’t know why, but I refused to leave it. When I didnt get to the desired answer, felt like I could quickly spot a clerical mistake that I made, and when I couldn’t, I reworked it from scratch. Next thing you know there’s an hour left and I have 6 questions unanswered. So here I am flipping through each of the questions, skimming cases, totally disregarding what I’m sure might have been some hidden details, looking for some low hanging fruits wherever I could. Writing became messier the more frantic I became. Skipping questions that were fully attainable, and that I was extremely confident in, because they’d require too much time and I had to pick and choose my battles.

Feel like an absolute idiot, really bad way to fail -if I do. Not because of not understanding the material - which I felt pretty proficient with, but failing because of mismanaging my time and not executing my gameplan.

What sucks is, I am usually big on strategy. I tutor Level I and I harp about time management all the time. Man I’m not going to stress out till the marks come out. But realistically, if I could’ve just skipped 1 question, I’d be confident as ****. Now I feel as if I’m on the bubble.

Whatever, 10 weeks, I’ll wait till then to see if I need to crawl into a hole and cry hysterically. Till then you can find me at the local bar!

For me, the morning was very much what I expected in terms of difficulty.  I finished the Institutes 2016 and 2015 old exams with a 78 and a 77 and about 3 minutes left at the end.  As with the old exams, two parts of questions totaling about 7 minutes left me thinking “first time I’ve seen a question on this topic”.

For the PM, it seemed considerably harder than Institute or Schweser mocks.  Mid to high 70s on Schweser and Institute PM mocks.  I had about 5 minutes to spare on the actual exam, versus 45 minutes or more on the mocks.  Two topics I had struggled with earlier were on the PM.  I think I got both, but it was a slog on those.  I was running out of energy in the last half hour.

I will never know my actual score, but as someone who does tons of stats and analysis, if the passing score is 66 or less, it feels like a 95%+ chance of passing.  No AM or PM mock was that low, and I feel that I upped my game the last few weeks.  I checked a few questions where I had doubts and think I got right answers.

For anyone who might want it, my best estimate is for a particular person scoring in the 70s on mocks, their standard deviation of scores is about 4% on a AM or PM mock, and about 3% for a full 6 hour exam.  

I am gonna be honest here. This is my 5th time taking this exam. I sped through Level 1 and Level 2 in succession and just can’t pass Level 3. I left 4 sections blank in the AM and didn’t finish a [deleted by admin] question because I just couldn’t calculate the [deleted by admin] for a problem (you know the one). PM I feel like I did well on, at least in comparison.

I have taken 3 day seminars. I have taken mock exams. I have tried multiple study providers. Everything I learn I forget when I come back to it a few weeks later. I happen to think I knew a ton of the curriculum, more than I ever have. I try to learn everything but I never can do the exact question when it comes up on the exam.

So thought, suggestions, etc would be great, but the most frustrating thing is not knowing how to do better next time.

I took 3 past AM exams (2014-2016) and the 2 CFA 2017 Mocks - scored 70% to 79% in all of them, hence I was relatively confident going in.  

I found this exam more challenging than any of those I took above.  I think I did pretty well on the AM - left 7 points out of 180 blank, but felt fairly good about the rest.  The PM - yikes.  I expect the PMs to be almost locks, but let me just say, I don’t think I’ll ever just gloss over Ethics again.  Like someone else said, I don’t get how large chunks of the curriculum are nowhere to be found - important concepts - but then you get a large % from a relatively small section.  It just doesn’t seem fair.

I was hoping to be more confident in a pass, and now I’m thinking it’ll be tight.

Also, worst feeling when you check 2 MC questions after exam that you erased and changed last minute and your original guesses were correct, sigh.

AM was similar standard as CFAI prev papers but the start was a shocker! took me a bit to recover from it. Was able to complete it just 5-7mins earlier. 

PM seemed better and hope i did well cause i had at least an hr to spare. Few new concepts that were never touched before caught me off guard here though. So much aching to ask where could i find them but i went with most strict outcomes. 

I felt the AM was very demanding, barely finished. I had to scratch out so many marks on that exam, hopefully that is normal. The last 15 minutes was so much of a scramble, hopefully they can read the answers! In general, it’s hard to know what to think given that we all grade our own answers and guess on exactly what they are looking for and how they grade it. Of the 9 timed AM exams and this one, I’d put it in the top tier in terms of demand

PM was mostly fair but more demanding than I expected. One question I probably spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out what they wanted because the answer as I saw it was not a choice. Odd but oh well. Now we play the waiting game…

All I know is that if I wsated 720 hours of study and failed I’ll be pissed off. I left feeling good but for whatever I can’t help but read this forum and it makes me less sure of myself. I just gotta stop coming here but these damn smartphones make it too easy to check in!

overall feeling - the exam was fair. many questions were either direct copy/paste or slightly modified versions of the ones in online topic tests, past exams and mocks. after doing all those you start seeing a pattern of how they throw in the curve balls - and the actual exam questions were expectedly structured in just the same way. finished AM with a couple of minutes left to only go back and recheck my answers, but did not modify anything. finished PM with about 10 minutes left, went back and changed answer to one question - after coming home and rechecking I think the initial answer was correct :) 

feeling much better this year - last year I left 2 complete sets of questions in AM unanswered and that was an outright fail.

I was doing well on the AM until I reached halfway and saw a question on a topic that I didnt pay much attention to unfortunately. Left 10 points unanswered because I just didnt know what to write.

The PM though I feel I killed it. I was done in 90 minutes so hopefully it makes up for the AM. *Fingers crossed*

10 minutes into the AM exam and I was sweating profusely. Did manage to recover though and I guess I did alright overall. But the AM was a lot tougher than what I had been expecting.

Absolutely breezed through the PM. Much easier than what I had been bracing myself for.

So overall the two sessions balanced themselves out I guess. Hoping to get home on the back of a strong PM performance.

It’s interesting to me that many people here either:

1) Thought AM was difficult, but PM was a cake walk.
2) Thought AM was (relatively) easy, while PM was difficult.

Wondering if that is a reflection of different strengths being tested in different spots or what?

Anyways, I’m firmly in the #2 crowd.  I thought the AM was about as straightforward as any from 2006-2016.  Obviously, the normal surprises and tricks – but, for the most part, it wasn’t terrible.  I finished everything with about 30 minutes to go and had time to go through and re-check some calculations, add random formulas to maybe get a few extra points, etc.  There weren’t any that I completely guessed on.  Felt like all of my answers were at least somewhat relevant for partial credit.

Basically was printing my new business cards at lunchtime and feeling confident, then the PM hit me harder than expected.  It might have been that I was expecting PM to be so easy relative to AM.  So when AM was somewhat easier, PM felt relatively harder.  Not sure… But I calculated I scored a 65% on PM if I just have a normal probability of getting my guesses right (3 total guesses so minus 0.67 points each) and my 50/50s are -0.5.

Anyways, I think I did enough to pass.  Wouldn’t be remotely surprised if I scored significantly better on the AM than the PM, though.  My guess is at least 70% on AM and 65% on PM.  According to the link below, that’s a 90% chance of passing based on reported past results.


"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." -C.S. Lewis

I felt AM was easier than any old paper (2012-2016) slightly tougher than 2011 paper, which i think was the easiest of all cfai papers I practiced (2011-2016).

PM i felt was slightly more difficult than the two cfai mocks of 2017.

In the AM i had total brain freeze on 3 questions (totalljnh to 15 poonts), in hindsight they were not difficult. But the language of the question tricked me. Apart from that another 20 marks were I am not fully confident if my answer was worth full credit.

Rest i feel good about. Finished paper on time. 

But i will say my performance was below expectations in PM and also on AM.

if i dont pass this year, i will be sad because AM was probably the easiest they gave in a while

AM was fair PM felt easy. I got stuck in one sub question on the AM and had to skip one sub question, probably losing a total of 10 points. What ever left I think I got 60% at least. I finished 1 minute before the exam was over.. zero time to review and I rushed it big time.. not sure how quick you guys can write but finishing this in 1.5 hours would be a total no go for me.. maybe my answers were too long. On the PM, I had 75% on the CFA Mocks and the real thing was much easier, less text, I presume I scored over 75%. So feel confident I passed it. We will know when we know in 10 weeks. enjoy your time off! 

Second time around here writing level III with a Band 10 in 2016.

AM - I thought was fair. The first individual question I struggled on I know that but the other two were quite easy I thought. Institutional was fair as well, nothing to much out of the ordinary. Overall, came out of the morning with a good feeling.

PM - i thought was very easy compared to the mock exams as i found those much more difficult.  There were a couple of questions (2 or 3) on topics barely focused on in the ciriculum (the topics found on page 326 in Book 3 blah blah blah).

Overall, came out with a great feeling and knowing that i did the best i could and that i definitely have a chance. Fingers crossed

i found both fair. should be a pass.

Same sentiment as Pachstar. I spent way too much time on some AM problems and then had to rush through the rest or leave blank. I really hope that I at least scored some good points on the ones that I did answer…

PM was fair. Ethics, as always, was a crapshoot, so that’s not saving me. I think I got around 60s for PM, which unfortunately is not high enough to offset AM…Looking at a band 9 or 10. Sigh…

I think I killed AM and just about survived PM, contrary to the normal expectations.

At first AM was tough given some unfamiliar topics but shuffling the questions and eliminating easy ones I realized I can solve pretty much everything. My surprise was the timing though; was constantly under budget and had to write to the very last minute. After AM had a good feeling about the way I nailed some questions “over the board” and there was nothing in PM that could surprise me.

In PM, as usual, I did 4/6 questions in each vignette in 1/2 time, went for a water break, had a chewing gum, cracked my neck, did some stretching and went back to kill the remaining 2/6 of the exam.

I was shocked that most questions were simple guesses. After countless attempts I just couldn’t get the exact answers.

Probably I did well but the way I finished the exam will keep me on my toes till the end. Talk about anchoring bias!

P.S. During the last 30 minutes of PM I realized my calculator (which I had reset to factory setting before exam) was in Chn mode while I always used AOS mode. I realized the reason I had guessed many answers was because of wrong calculator operation even though the formula and inputs were correct…

If I pass the exam the first thing I will do is smash the calculator to smithereens.


Last year I tried to go sequentially through the AM only to find myself rushing through the end, wound up Band 9. This year I switched it up and targeted all the low hanging fruit first, then longer to answer questions and then the hard ones. Seemed to work so much better time-wise and I finished up with about 5 minutes to spare on AM.

That said I gave up on the first parts of the AM first question, and left that blank. Apart from that, I was pretty comfortable in the AM. Felt that PM was harder than last year, but think I did okay in that too.

Overall I think I did a smidge better than last year, and hopefully that smidge is enough to push me from a Band 9 to a pass.

PrivateBankerBerlin wrote:

Pm felt good, just a few questions with topics never heard.

Am was a desaster. Could have needed an additional hour. Left 20% unanswered.

AM was also desaster for me, the time is just not enough…. and I was too nervous and didn`t read several questions clearly… and made really silly mistakes… by the way, i wanna confirm one question (if this is allowed) [nope - admin] what is asked there bc a friend of mine who also wrote the exam told me he is sure that question asked for [deleted by admin] but i thought it asked for [deleted by admin]…

i am not sure whether bc I was so nervous that I did not read the question clearly…. this is just one example…

PM was way better although some questions not sure…

Does anyone else find the AM portion to be a blur now? Maybe I was just cruising but for example I can’t even remember what the last item set was or the subject it covered. I know I did it, but I couldn’t tell you what it was heh.

krokodilizm wrote:

P.S. During the last 30 minutes of PM I realized my calculator (which I had reset to factory setting before exam) was in Chn mode while I always used AOS mode. I realized the reason I had guessed many answers was because of wrong calculator operation even though the formula and inputs were correct…

If I pass the exam the first thing I will do is smash the calculator to smithereens.

i was concerned about beginning and end of period cash flow settings.  I had two calculators, set one for each.  Left the one set for Begin with the cover closed.  

A few topics i’ve punted (because they appeared so unlikely to come out) actually came out, but was overall satisfied with both AM and PM.

Got a false start from the 1st AM question, took me some time to regain composure. Had 20 min to spare in the end.

First time I felt pretty good about ethics, with 67% sure answers - did not had that feeling back in L2 and also failed L2 ethics.

PM was slightly harder than i expected due to some out-of-the-blue questions, but still managed to cruise. Had 50 min to spare. Expecting low 70s in the PM.

Crossing fingers now…

AM was easier than I thought but it could just be that I rushed from the start to the end, the PM section was tough for me, also realized a couple/conceptual calculation errors once I finish the test, including changing one correct answer to a wrong choice in the last minute. I had to make about 4-5 guesses where I just have no idea how to do the calculation or have very blurry idea about the answer. Somehow I always feel a mix of having failed and regretting making stupid errors that after every level, yet passed on the first try during the first two. I have given my all during the level 3 and if I fail I won’t take it again, I hope I did alright. We will see.

I found it very tricky - both AM and PM. Nothing was plug-n-chug, I had to think long and hard for a lot of questions that in the mocks were just plug-n-chug. Not very confident overall - 50% chance at passing I’d say..

I think AM was quite lengthy. I left one sub question  on which I had no clue. I managed to write on rest of the questions. There was couple of areas on which I wasn’t comfortable that was tested. So, I am sure I did not do pretty well there. PM was a breeze. Overall, expecting ~65% in AM and ~75% in PM. As h21 said, for me as well, if I don’t pass, won’t be giving it again as I could not put in more efforts than I did this time.