Sign up  |  Log in

This year vs previous years

I hear repeated sentiment of certain differences in the type this years was worded, structure and its difficulty level. 

I for one did not attempt previous years mocks in continuity i.e. did not attempt an entire mock from head to bottom. I would do topical subject matter attempts ranging back to 2008. 

I did not get the opportunity to have a broad overlook at how the mocks compare to the 2018 exam as a whole. 

So was it really distinguishable? this years vs previous 10 years worth?

Save 10% on Premium Packages when you order by October 18!

I did all mocks until 2009 (and had a brief overlook at 2008). The main differences were wording and question. The wording this year was much more complicated but the biggest thing is that in previous year they asked always the same general questions with small different vignette/situations. Was really like, you need to know how an IPS is done and financial planning. It seems that now details are more important than before.

Last but not least, the answer were less straightforward and required more time than what they allocated.

I thought this year’s am was more straightforward than previous years but maybe I got lucky and they asked what I knew. No idea on pm because it was my first attempt but it seemed comparable to what I remember from level 2 in terms of trickiness.( but l2 is conceptually harder)

I think what made this year challenging was that many of the more staple AM questions seen year after year in previous exams just weren’t there, and, the ones that were had been worded/presented differently….. so that + general exam stressors  + time crunch = impression that exam was particularly challenging compared to previous years, IMO. 

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." -Viktor Frankl

Unquestionably last year was easier then this year. I wish I had taken last year’s exam. 2018 AM felt like a different ball game. Some of the basic IPS and Institutional Q’s blackMamba alludes to above were thrown with such ferocious curve balls, I felt like I had been on the end of a Kane ChokeSlam. 

.....woof

rexthedog wrote:

Unquestionably last year was easier then this year. I wish I had taken last year’s exam. 2018 AM felt like a different ball game. Some of the basic IPS and Institutional Q’s blackMamba alludes to above were thrown with such ferocious curve balls, I felt like I had been on the end of a Kane ChokeSlam. 

agree 100%

If you use Schweser you would feel that way.

Black8Mamba23 wrote:

I think what made this year challenging was that many of the more staple AM questions seen year after year in previous exams just weren’t there, and, the ones that were had been worded/presented differently….. so that + general exam stressors  + time crunch = impression that exam was particularly challenging compared to previous years, IMO. 

I like your quote in the signature 

Is the from man’s search for meaning? 

I did 2010-2017 AM mocks and the 2018 AM questions definitely weren’t “off-the-shelf” like previous years.

Who would feel that way? I used Schweser and thought a.m. was fairly straightforward.

financialstudent wrote:

I like your quote in the signature 

Is the from man’s search for meaning? 

Yep, good eye!

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." -Viktor Frankl

I used his technique extensively while studying for level 3…

I practiced every old CFAI IPS required return AM calculation from the last 10 years twice, plus the Schweser versions, and with the system I had been taught was sure nothing could phase me.  I was wrong.  I don’t blame my preparation or technique however, as I’ve reflected on it I blame exam stress and time management.  Put another way, I think if given the same question to work on casually at home, I could likely easily solve it.

Definitely fell for the notion that CFAI would ask the questions basically like they always had been in the past and I would cruise through them.  This was a poor assumption.

Kevin Durant wrote:

I don’t blame my preparation or technique however, as I’ve reflected on it I blame exam stress and time management.  Put another way, I think if given the same question to work on casually at home, I could likely easily solve it.

Big time!

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." -Viktor Frankl

The CFAI is expert at testing the same concept in many different ways. It’s about testing your understanding of those concepts not your ability to memorize a specific way to answer a specific question. 

Yes and this in 6minutes, 3 (at least) to read and 3 to understand and calculate…? This kind of exams which such time constraints and wording are just to lower the pass rate, not test the knowledge.

Candidcam wrote:

Who would feel that way? I used Schweser and thought a.m. was fairly straightforward.

Agreed

Totally Agree!

I have practiced last 10 years’ worth of AM, this year is the most difficult one 

Ten year average passing rate is 52% with really low dispersion year over year. So I imagine CFAI would tune the MPS in case of a very low average score this year (due to newer format, possibly more time constraint).

Red_Phox wrote:

Candidcam wrote:

Who would feel that way? I used Schweser and thought a.m. was fairly straightforward.

Agreed

I think the material was straightforward, but the way the questions were asked was a lot trickier than any of the mock I saw, and the time constraint also felt different as well. AM mocks I was finishing 15-30mins before the allocated time. Actual exam I was writing up until the last second…

bazz

Kevin Durant wrote:

Put another way, I think if given the same question to work on casually at home, I could likely easily solve it.

this is exactly how I felt. You can practice for the time crunch and writing fast, but not the combination of the time crunch and being stressed while doing it. A lot easier in sweatpants at home. 

Don't forget to carry the one.

True, there were many curveballs in respect of the unusual structure of the questions (especially when compared to the past papers from 2007 - 2016), but I felt it was do-able. Last year felt waay harder, maybe because I was so underprepared in terms of getting used to the format of the AM exam. Fingers-crossed I should be third-time lucky!

Thiru Cumaran wrote:

True, there were many curveballs in respect of the unusual structure of the questions (especially when compared to the past papers from 2007 - 2016), but I felt it was do-able. Last year felt waay harder, maybe because I was so underprepared in terms of getting used to the format of the AM exam. Fingers-crossed I should be third-time lucky!

Oh man, that’s dedication right there. Best of luck! 

bazz

bazz wrote:

Thiru Cumaran wrote:

True, there were many curveballs in respect of the unusual structure of the questions (especially when compared to the past papers from 2007 - 2016), but I felt it was do-able. Last year felt waay harder, maybe because I was so underprepared in terms of getting used to the format of the AM exam. Fingers-crossed I should be third-time lucky!

Oh man, that’s dedication right there. Best of luck! 

Thanks mate, hopefully I don’t have to dedicate any more leave days for CFA studies/exams!

Well I feel all the questions were doable.  If I have an extra hour, I’m pretty sure I can get most if not all of them.  The problem with the AM exam is that there is no time to think (at least for me).  You either get it on the spot or move on to the next question.  But then you have already spent 1-2 minute reading and maybe 30 second to evaluate whether to spend more time or move on.  If you have time to come back to the problem, you may have a different perspective.

I agree that 2017 was easier than other exams.  I scored 64% on that one when I consistently scored about 50% every exams from 2011-2016.  To be fair, the fixed income section in all previous exams were not very relevant anymore.  Also, 2017 was my last practiced exam, and it was the most prepared exam for me.

I took all exams (timed) back to 2013 and reviewed 2012 and 2011. The gist of what was tested was similar throughout the 2017-2011 exams (as well as Saturday’s test) but the delivery and the level of difficulty was much greater in total. Core concepts barely covered while focusing on secondary and tertiary level concepts. It was as though a completely different team had written the questions/assembled the test. 

I had written both actual exams and I felt this year’s AM and PM both quite straightforward ‘as compared to’ 2017 even though I think I’m on borderline. I didn’t prepare much for this year just revised concepts, formulas and only did half of TT once so I believe my perception of difficulty level isn’t impaired.

The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.

Kevin Durant wrote:

I practiced every old CFAI IPS required return AM calculation from the last 10 years twice, plus the Schweser versions, and with the system I had been taught was sure nothing could phase me.  I was wrong.  I don’t blame my preparation or technique however, as I’ve reflected on it I blame exam stress and time management.  Put another way, I think if given the same question to work on casually at home, I could likely easily solve it.

Definitely fell for the notion that CFAI would ask the questions basically like they always had been in the past and I would cruise through them.  This was a poor assumption.

They are performing stress testing, in a way.

given the general consensus that the exam may have been written by a “new team” and the wording and structure a bit different than the last 10yrs could possibly be suggestive of a lower mps for this year or moderate adjustments made by CFAI? 

Margin_Call wrote:

given the general consensus that the exam may have been written by a “new team” and the wording and structure a bit different than the last 10yrs could possibly be suggestive of a lower mps for this year or moderate adjustments made by CFAI? 

ive seen some say this year’s was easier than others and some say harder so i’d be surprised if there was any adjustment. Personally I thought a.m. was more straightforward than in the past. First time for me on level 3 so I don’t know re pm but don’t think it was harder than me perception of what would be typical based on practice tests.

I did only AM past exam until 2013 and all the Kaplan and feel this year was more easy. Only 2 or 3 subquestions very difficult and strange but others were more easy. Finished 2min before the deadline.