AM: Squaring instead of circling the right answer

I know this sounds ridiculous and I’m trying to find a reason for having such a bad AM result but I remembered squaring answers instead of circling them. Is CFA as ridiculous as to fail me because I didn’t draw an oval over my choices? Would they be this severe in the respect of their command words? I, like many other students here, cannot have any valid explanation for a crappy AM session. I left leaving blank 1 full question and 1 sub question, feeling I pretty much knew all the rest. My hand writing isn’t as horrible at all and I used a blue pen. I failed with a 61% 40-60-80 average Band 10.

yes. that’s what it was. because you drew squares around your answers instead of circles, you failed. /s

you left an ENTIRE QUESTION BLANK. that’s a huge deal. you failed because you didn’t study hard enough, period. stop making excuses, start making plans.

Dude even if I lost 18 points out of 180, it still doesn’t explain how I ended up with 7 sections below 50% when I’m confident I shouldn’t have had more than 3 in total for the whole exam. I got Band 10 40/60/80 of 61% and knew this material really well.

Wait until the questions and model answers are released and you will have your answer

I can explain this. You didn’t know the material well enough.

I think most people have a false sense of confidence after reading the curriculum because let’s be honest, it’s not difficult to understand all the topics as they only go skin deep. The ability to answer the questions the way CFAI intended is another skill a candidate needs to learn.

ThatsWacc, That’s not necessarily correct, even those who know the material well may have problems articulating it in the AM session; additionally, sometimes we just have bad exams, whether it’s due to lack of sleep, nerves, etc. If the guy was band 3 or something I’d agree with you, but band 10 means he could have only been off 1-2%.

I left an entire question blank (18 points) in addition to leaving some other sub questions blank and passed. My matrix wasn’t great but good enough to pass

These go hand in hand. If you can’t articulate it, I don’t buy that you really know it. Nonetheless, the cure isn’t whining about handwriting or worrying they don’t know a squared answer from a circled one. It’s studying harder/smarter.


Hey, I don’t think CFAI is there to “make you fail” so it will sound unreasonable if they disqualify your marks due to a 'square" rather than a “circle”.

As for what you felt/experienced… maybe my experience will help you… I passed L1&L2 with relative ease where I made reasonable but not excessive efforts. When it came to L3, I was feeling confident as most of the L2 passers at the time believed that “the big monster has already been cleared”. I gave reasonable efforts to my first attempt on L3 (read all Schweser notes, did all the practcie questions after each session from the Scheweser notes, did 6 full mock exams. These were what I did for my L1 and L2 exams and I passed them so I thought I could do the same for L3. I didn’t even find out there are real past AM paper available until the day before the exam. ).

I came out the exam not feeling that I would definitely pass but I finished all the AM questions and I felt that I knew all the knowledge points except for one or two small sub-sessions, so I believed that I had a reasonable chance on clearing it. I even started filling the application for the membership but I didn’t ask for references then.

Came result day. I failed with all sections in the AM being under 50%. I was convinced that there were operational errors in delivering my final results so I submitted a retabulation. Obviously that didn’t magically change my result but as I started my new preparation I started to understand why I did so badly…

Also if you compare people that passed this year and their AM performance to those from last year… it seems that this year’s AM was harder (also aligned with how I felt)? Band 10 is so close you are probably just one multiple choice away from those that passed… carry on and good luck!

i passed with 62.5% score as per estimate

What you entered

  • Your indicated grade: Pass

You scored higher than 45% of all Level III results in our database

  • Your 40/60/80 score is: 62.6%
  • Your minimum score is: 48.9%
  • Your maximum score is: 76.1%

I’m willing to bet my left *** that squaring your answers didn’t affect anything. Almost everyone - pass or fail - had a fair amount of below 50% on the essay section. Band 10 is nothing to be ashamed of. I got band 3 last year and came back to pass. You got this in 2016.

I would bet it wasn’t squaring your choices… I don’t remember that many questions where that would make a difference anyway. A better theory is that you may have known the material but not how to answer the questions, did you take any mock exams and more importantly did you review your answers and grade yourself impartially?

Exactly how many questions really equired cricling a choice? 1 or 2? Most others just had part a, b, c etc. How exactly did the OP do on those sections?

I have heard that heding your answers can really screw it up. Were you doing any of this?