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Post exam - how’d it go?

Yea most ppl on reddit found the AM difficult. Such a stark contrast here and it’s making feel anxious now lol. 

I found the AM paper difficult but PM was ok. Hopefully i can score well enough for the PM.

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AM : Couldn’t solve 1 problem set. Hopefully, all other questions were managable. 

PM : Around 40ish was sure of the answers. Around 10ish had to pick 1 answer out of 2 options. Rest 10ish were guessing. 

I was super prepared this time. I think, I have crushed both AM and PM. There was no a single question/subject/detail I was not aware about. The good thing is that I didn’t believe those guys who recommended to skip some sections/formulas of curriculum - I didn’t skip anything. Moreover, I derived/memorized every formula in entire curriculum and it paid off! I’m sure I have passed and I will be surprised if I’m not in top 10%. I’m not suffering from overconfidence bias - I’m just a realist. 

Hey guys,

lets just reflect the AM session;

It was certainly not the same pattern which was tested in previous 5 years or so, in terms of areas and questions being tested, I may agree on the point that if you are good in certain topics, which were tested this time 2x than its usual pattern, most of above average guys feel paper was par. However, those who were preparing based on weightages would have certainly disappointed.

Certain topics which were usually 100% associated with level 3, haven’t been tested in AM and PM, for me thats not fair, where as certain topics being tested twice of its weightage in the AM and PM.

In that way, this year AM was certainly difficult than previous years for even well prepared candidates, come on, sub parts in Q1 in AM, does not have questions within its syllabus! I agree PM was fairly okay, and last two set of questions required extensive educated guessing!

In a nutshell, a well prepared candidate would have certainly got through the AM sessions of 2017 and 2018, but would have faced difficulties in 2019, even timing.
Anyone who shares the same view kindly give your thoughts as well,

Cheers!.

“The way they structured the exam this year requires you to know the material inside out.” - That’s the statement which describes it all.

Did more ppl have over an hour left for the PM? I had time to double check almost everything…

Reading comments on Reddit and some here, i’m not sure what to think. 

Like the Belgian said earlier, everyone was looking at the ceiling or relaxing checking the exam. (In Singapore)

Hey Guys,

For me both sessions were surprising.

AM I did not finish, left two entire subquestions blank, plus another one I had no clue (21 points in all). Plus I’m sure I screwed up at least two other subquestions.

Additionally I was writing so ugly and without structure, I honestly can imagine they will not be able to read everything. There was one question where I screwed up the formula, but I realized it, so crossed the whole page out and put the right answer in the very bottom of the page.

I talked to one guy, who told he had met a grader once and they don’t really make an effort to try and read very ugly writing or very messed up calculations. Which is OK, but bad news for me. Should have written out my practice answers more.

PM I found significantly harder than I thought it would be. I had 16 questions in which I was not sure, plus ethics you can never know.

I find interesting when I read that many found PM easy. That’s a significant gap in preparation / understanding between me and them

So all-in-all I would be very surprised if I pass, but I won’t kill myself, I know I had areas not properly covered. Only I don’t know how those people who cover and know everything can do it in studying 300 hours or less. I was over 800 (same with both LII and LI - though I passed those with good margin).

GobiKrish wrote:

Hey guys,

lets just reflect the AM session;

It was certainly not the same pattern which was tested in previous 5 years or so, in terms of areas and questions being tested, I may agree on the point that if you are good in certain topics, which were tested this time 2x than its usual pattern, most of above average guys feel paper was par. However, those who were preparing based on weightages would have certainly disappointed.

Certain topics which were usually 100% associated with level 3, haven’t been tested in AM and PM, for me thats not fair, where as certain topics being tested twice of its weightage in the AM and PM.

In that way, this year AM was certainly difficult than previous years for even well prepared candidates, come on, sub parts in Q1 in AM, does not have questions within its syllabus! I agree PM was fairly okay, and last two set of questions required extensive educated guessing!

In a nutshell, a well prepared candidate would have certainly got through the AM sessions of 2017 and 2018, but would have faced difficulties in 2019, even timing.
Anyone who shares the same view kindly give your thoughts as well,

Cheers!.

Agree, 2017 and 2018 AM papers were the easiest for me. I scored myself 64% and 68% on those.

But I’m not blaming anyone, there were quite a few questions in the 2019 which I reviewed the material, only when doing my last review I somehow thought they were not important.

Same here. Took in Singapore and finished PM paper with over 30 minutes left, and that is when I’m taking my time and re-reading each ethics question 3 times and writing down most of the calculation formula and steps. Noted quite a number of traps here and there but nothing compared to the difficulty of the CFAI practice questions online. Those are the only ones I did and I felt the actual exam was comparatively easier.

But morning paper was such an ugly surprise. Hahaha. 

Content of the AM was definitely not as expected, but maintain that drilling mocks was worth it purely because it helped my time management. Got to the last question with c. 30 mins to go and although was a bit surprised actually feel that was my best response on the AM paper. Glad I didn’t get there with 2 mins to go and kick myself for wasting time on other sections which I had no chance of getting full marks on. PM was tricky in places but ok in others. Overall felt able to demonstrate what I have learnt over the last 9 months, hoping it is enough to pass!

AM was very long. I finished it after 180minutes and I skipped 2 question cuz I did not have idea on the formula to use.

PM was very short. I finished it in 2hrs. What really drove me crazy was Ethics, I really did not have idea on how to answer on 4 questions. For example one seemed to be easy but the role of the guy was tricky, the other one was relative to the number of office in a company (It is not the exact question) .. REALLY I did not know.

Also the Derivativs part put me in a strange mood. It was too easy and some time I thought there was some trick somewhere..

I can’t say which one was tougher. I always find it intriguing. That said most definitely both AM and PM were ‘different’. They did not want candidates to rely on 3rd party material and wanted to dig deep along the fringe areas. I left about 4-6 points on the table in AM. Later realised during the lunch break that at least 25-30 points I lost to ABSOLUTE SILLY MISTAKES and not applying my mind when it mattered the most  PM was fair , I believe. Finished the paper well in time and had 15 minutes to review. Changed 3 answers. Again with the last change, I realised that I had it right the first time and forced for the wrong choice. By that time th bell rang. Unable to get over it. Feels horrible as I know the margin between a pass and fail is that one silly bubble. I had previous experi nce on this. It is tight situation. Come August , let us see. Keeping fingers crossed. Having read several comments here and in Reddit, personally I believe the MPS would not cross 61. Let us see how worse or fair I have been to that mark.

back against the wall. no retreat no surrender.

Guys, after 2 years following this forum finally few comments from my side. I passed the Level I and II top 10 percentile, studied hard for both. For level III, I used the official curriculum books to make sure I’m well prepared. My estimate is I studied for around 700 hours, tons of mocks and 2 weeks off before the exam. But it was absolutely waste of my time. I was focusing more on the core topics to make sure that I pass. And It was wrong. To pass AM paper, you must know the curriculum inside out - especially when they asked such detailed questions. And you MUST understand the concept; even simple formula is tweaked in the way that you have no clue what they’re asking unless you truly understand the underlying concept. The AM part was much more quantitative than qualitative in my opinion.

PM paper was difficult than what I would normally expect - questions which I would normally expect to be in the AM section appeared in PM (for few points), tricks here and there, first two item sets were difficult. PM was not something that could save you after AM. 

I remember skipping those “not relevant formulas”- “No way they are gonna ask those” and boom. To my face! I think the exam was very difficult, and I think that the passing rate this year will be lower. Let’s see! 

Best of luck to everyone!

Seems fairly evenly split between people thinking AM was harder or PM was harder. I’m in the latter camp.

Had a 3 & 4 point AM sub-question I wasn’t sure about, but still got a ‘decent’ attempt at the answer. Left nothing blank and felt like overall I did really well on AM. Was on a high at lunch for sure.

Enter PM… Thought ethics was quite tough, especially the first vignette. Overall, had 3 pure guesses on PM, and probably 20 50/50 guesses, including the ethics sections. The vignette question structures were definitely different than previous exams. However, I thought the last 30 questions were easier than the first 30.

From this thread, doesn’t seem like many left feeling sure of both halves, which probably means a slightly lower MPS as well as very competitive scores near the MPS.

According to the statistical anecdote - those who believe that PM was harder than AM, have less chances of passing exam. In most cases the efforts are wrongly translated into “harder”. The ones who didn’t spare their efforts for PM and skipped/didn’t properly answer AM questions, tend to think that PM was harder. Your mind simply evaluated the larger portion of energy used by brain as “harder” and the the smaller portion of energy as “easier”.  

Well, seems that the exam wasn’t that easy (which was my impression too). I can stop reading comments now and try to forget it for the following 10 weeks.

Show down voted post AllanC -5 points

Felt this was the easiest exam in years. The pass mark is going to be high. Little chance I’ll pass though; didnt prep properly and was scoring 60% in the CFAI & Schweser mocks

Hey everyone
I am a re-taker and veteran at L3. I went MIA from this site as it gave me anxiety reading things on here but I thought to check in as I have not been able to get over the exam on Saturday.

First of I put in more hours this year than I have for any single thing in my life. To the point I was ready to write the exam a week earlier with full confidence of having done the work to pass. That being said exam day anxiety really got to me and my brain had blank moments which caused me lose easy points; not remembering simple formula or talking myself out of simple questions (overtaking it).

Last two years I failed by matter of 1-2 marks (Band 10). This year I focused mainly on CFAI material and think the exam was very doable if you knew the material well; both AM and PM. I did about 12-14 mock and past exams combined, all of EOC, BBs, and CFAI Online questions (twice). I averaged 80% (range of 72% to 89%) on all those and had my mocks marked by a past grader. So felt extremely confident but on the day it all comes down to performance on the exam and how others do. My performance on the day was at best subpar which has me believing I will be either border line pass or border line fail again. I really hope the former. The part where you cannot assess is how the other 35k+ candidates did; do not take AF as a good sample (Representative bias anyone); I really think AFers who are active on here are over prepared and top candidates setting the 90% of the confidence level not the average. Also it is nearly impossible to know everything in the curriculum and if you find yourself unlucky with material showing up you are not strong in then you are hooped.  I am not sure what else I could have done in terms of preparations except teach myself to better manage exam day anxiety and stress and that would be my number one advice for any L3 candidates of future, do the work and MANAGE your Exam day jitters.

About the exam, there were only two complaints I had about it

  1. How heavy some new topics were hammered and past heavy hitting material completely ignored (still within the range of topic weights they gave us though)
  2. Some obscure calculations I would have not thought would show up in a million years.

That being said both of these are my own fault for underestimating and playing the gamblers fallacy game of thinking “oh these won’t show up because” etc… other than that I think the exam was a fair representation of testing deep understanding of the material. I bet if I was given that same exam outside of actual exam condition without the need to be measure for a pass or fail I would get 15% - 20% higher in same timed conditions.
I really hope I did enough to pull through as I do not have it in me to put myself and my family through another year of this. I hope this sickening post exam feeling soon ends and I get the congratulations email in August not the one I am used to seeing last two years.

Best luck on results day everyone and go enjoy your summer, friends and family. We have all earned the free time we now have.

I agree. We put our family through a lot for a stupid exam.

back against the wall. no retreat no surrender.

N.VanCandidate wrote:

About the exam, there were only two complaints I had about it

  1. How heavy some new topics were hammered and past heavy hitting material completely ignored (still within the range of topic weights they gave us though)
  2. Some obscure calculations I would have not thought would show up in a million years.

100% agree with these points.

I found AM to be much harder than PM. AM tested some “out there” topics whereas PM was quite fair in my opinion. Felt very confident with PM, as my study focus was less on past exams and more about soaking in as much as possible from the official curriculum. However, reading about people mentioning traps here makes me nervous. Probably best to avoid online boards for the next 10 weeks :-)

retaker here. left 38 points blank in 2018. 

AM felt ok. finished with 15 seconds to spare. didnt know a 7 point calculation question, but could have gotten some partial credit since i wrote down pertinent formulas. there were some questions in the AM that were…..dare I say….. pretty straightforward?!?!

PM ethics: BRUTAL. 

PM in general was VERY TRICKY. hoping i mustered a 42+/60 somehow. there were a TON of calculation questions in PM where it was unclear whether or not to add a certain thing to the formula, and if you added it you got one answer choice, if you didnt you got another. at least 5-6 questions like those which were bankable plug and chug on mocks, but the PM threw in red herrings the mocks didnt have. 

PS i had pretty decent mock scores this year in both AM and PM per my post here a couple days before gameday. would be so deflating if i fail again… 

N.VanCandidate wrote:

About the exam, there were only two complaints I had about it

  1. How heavy some new topics were hammered and past heavy hitting material completely ignored (still within the range of topic weights they gave us though)
  2. Some obscure calculations I would have not thought would show up in a million years.

That being said both of these are my own fault for underestimating and playing the gamblers fallacy game of thinking “oh these won’t show up because” etc… other than that I think the exam was a fair representation of testing deep understanding of the material. I bet if I was given that same exam outside of actual exam condition without the need to be measure for a pass or fail I would get 15% - 20% higher in same timed conditions.

hey I remember you…we failed last year and said 2019 is the year to pass!

Gosh I dunno what to say…you are a lot more prepared than me already…I can only wish you the best of luck.

Retaker here as well.  

I was more confident in the 2018 then this year around.  

I found the AM relatively okay as I knew most of the question except for one 7 point questions.   I think the quantitative side was either you know it or you don’t based on your studying; maybe some partial points for trying but I’m more concerned about the qualitative side where you have to explain what is better in a certain scenario or recommendations.  If you don’t hit the buzz words or tie it back to the questions you may lose points.  I don’t think I tied it back as well as I could of.  It also doesn’t help that my hand writing is notorious and may work against me for the exam.  I felt I knew everything last year in the AM but was blown out of the water.

PM looked easy to begin with and a lot was qualitative but mid exams onwards it became really quantitative.   I feel they should of distributed it better cause at the end of the exam I was exhausted to even attempt all the steps for some of the questions.   I did my first round in about 2:20 mins with skipped questions and then went back one more time and ended up changing about 15 questions due to traps that I overlooked first time around.  I do think it was more challenging that last year as I did end up using the full hours.  My practice multiple mocks I average around 2:10 to write. 

Hoping for the best for all of us

N.VanCandidate wrote:

First of I put in more hours this year than I have for any single thing in my life. To the point I was ready to write the exam a week earlier with full confidence of having done the work to pass. That being said exam day anxiety really got to me and my brain had blank moments which caused me lose easy points; not remembering simple formula or talking myself out of simple questions (overtaking it).

I really hope I did enough to pull through as I do not have it in me to put myself and my family through another year of this. I hope this sickening post exam feeling soon ends and I get the congratulations email in August not the one I am used to seeing last two years.

You put to much pressure on yourself. Of course you’re gonna have anxiety. Surprised you didn;t throw up/ 

My impression is that AM was reasonable with somewhat harder/unexpected questions but luckily enough I was able to get those through random sudden realization and after I verified the formula back home, it turned out to be right. There was a +/- mistake in front of a number I made in a question that was worth 5-8 points (cannot remember anymore) but I hope they will note take too many points. My guess for AM before that mistake was about 60%, including some conservative point haircuts on certain questions. Overall conclusion on AM: a little bit harder than past few years.

As far as PM is concerned, I do not think it was brutal but it was definitely harder compared to what I expected. My guess was that I would be able to get between 70-80% (big dispersion, I am aware). Overall conclusion on PM portion of the exam: it was a little bit harder than expected.

Other comments: Portfolio Management felt really easy and if you diligently practiced those AM past exams, you could have collected a nice point reserve. Equities felt harder but this is mostly because Schweser did a really crappy job at explaining the material compared to what was tested. Also, I felt that risk management was not too bad.

Overall, it appears that consensus is that AM and PM were more difficult so we could expect that MPS to be at around 60% based on what people estimate here about last year. I feel optimistic about the outcome but I also know that I can be a victim of my optimism sometimes.

I didn’t do a single AM mock in preparation, however, I did review plenty of past AM papers and the guideline answers. Finished the AM in roughly 2 hours. From my understanding, if you are writing full sentences in the AM, you are wasting your time and the grader’s time to be honest, therefore I think there were like 4-5 times only where I wrote things out in full sentences. Never more than 3 sentences. 

Unfortunately there was an entire question that I wrote nothing for, 16 points in total and required the recall of long formulas that I just didnt bother to learn. Will probably be in the 50s for AM, since I felt good on the rest. PM, I cruised through questions 35-60, couple vignettes were brutal after ethics (which wasnt very easy either), but if I managed mid 70s on the PM which might be possible, then may have a chance.

It will be close if I do pass, probably didn’t though because of AM and I’ll be surprised if the e-mail says congratulations in August. 

I thought the AM was ‘meh’. There were some questions that were easy slam dunks, and some questions that were really tough. Had to guess on a few that I felt I should have been able to get easy. I fear I may have spent too much time not studying the right way. But for my first attempt at L3 I am proud of what I accomplished. I am quite anxious. I didn’t do BAD, but I don’t think I did AMAZING. 

The PM was in all honesty fun. 

God I cannot wait for results.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It be like that sometimes.

Burning the tree tonight.

mfedrizzi wrote:

I’m typically the guy just reading the forum and such. But here is the debrief…. 

High level… I would be shocked  if I passed. Glad I practiced the number of AM sections because my time management was on point and will be the only thing that saves me. The problem is…. the 5 questions that I was on the fence about and double checked when I got back in my car….(Such as the AM question folks are somewhat referencing) I was 0/5. So my guessing game was way off!! 

Also… Ethics is normally my strong suit but wowzer! The whole PM section crushed me

After the AM section I felt confident yet still on the fence of passing.  So after lunch… I walked in and knew I had to rock the PM section and I would have this exam in hand. Well… the PM rocked me instead and I think I will be taking level 3 again next year…. Which is of course the same month as my wedding…. WOOF!  

As a side note…. Props to 125 mph. Great attitude and posts/help. He helped lead the way on this forum and appreciated his thoughts. Cheers to you mate! 

This is literally my exact experience on the AM. Not sure about PM, so overall not terribly hopeful…

Still crazy that people saying that feeling okay on the AM is around 55%? why would that be passing…but PM section was not that easy…if people felt it was supremely easy(above 85%) i feel like they fell for the obvious traps…