Average AM Score to Pass

I’ve been on these forums for awhile. I have seen percentages anywhere from 50% to 70% or more for what people are trying to score on the AM section. What if any of these are relevant? I know from Levels I and II the rule of thumb was that you needed to score about every 2 out of 3 with 70% just to be safe in order to achieve the Minimum Passing Score. Are there rules of thumb for Level III aside from “score as many points as possible?”

seems like a.m. is damage control while p.m. must be aced

My guess is than one needs to target 65-70% overall .

This can be achieved in different way but for most people, it implies what da_mad_tiki says : damage control (50-60%) for the am and ace the pm (80-85%)

I still say 80-85 sounds excessive for the PM, it just does not make sense. How’s gonna get a 50% in the AM session and then 85% in the PM? About the same topcis…

I think reality is 55-65 for AM and 65-75 for PM

^ makes sense to me, but again, who knows for sure…

Getting 85 in the afternoon is tough. I know my stuff well and hitting 8 out of 10 is a tough go. I’m going for 75 as the high but really just 70 and 65 in AM.

You should go for 100 AM / 100 PM – and nothing less.

In all seriousness, though, when most of you walk OUT of the exam room on test day, I’m willing to bet you’ll be thinking, “hey, AM Session was kinda tough but not that bad”. Come exam results day, trust me when I say that your AM Session score will be worse than previously thought for the vast majority – with most scoring somewhere in the 50%-60% range. That’s why you should plan to do very well in the PM Session.


I do not believe the passing score is 70% for any CFA exam - no matter which level you are referring to. %70 is probably being scored by only top 10 percent. I believe the benchmark to be quite low around 60ish. If you can do %60, this is good enough to pass the exam. definitely.

+1 AM portion last year was most painful 3 hours of my life. I killed it in the PM to pass. god speed.

Two things:

  1. 70% is going to get into into the right side of the curve and give you a for sure pass. Anything less your responses will get closely examined and compared to other candidates. Then you are moved into the right tail (pass) or left (fail). By no means do you really need to get a 70% to pass.

  2. A colleague of mine took L3 two years ago and BOMBED the essays but crushed the item sets and easily passed. So its very subjective. Just know the material. The essays aren’t looking for too much, you just need to address the situations and answer appropriately.

Always aim above 80% for PM score and 60% for AM score… My case is i scored rougly 75%-80% on PM during my review and 65%-70% on AM and passed on first attempt and i was surprised that i scored better in AM than PM in real exam.


7 Questions above 70%, 1 Question between and 2 questions below 50%


4 Questions above 70%, 2 Questions between, and 3 Questions below 50%

To give some figures for OP :

I have computed lowest and highest possible scores for both AM and PM fo the first 20 guys who posted their full results in this thread (2015 results) : http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums/cfa-level-iii-forum/91344605

My methodology is simple:

For PM , if question is worth 18 points, it means there is only one item set , hence :

<=50% imply between 0 (min) and 3(max) good answers

>50 and <=70% imply exactly 4/6

>70 imply 5/6 or 6/6

For questions worth 36 points (ethics & PM) ,2 items sets, hence

<=50% imply between 0 (min) and 6(max) good answers

>50 and <=70% imply exactly 7/12 (min) or 8/12 (max)

>70 imply between 9/12-12/12

For AM, one knows the exact number of points per questions (Qpoints), but i do not know if they use half points, so i used the following rules:

<=50% , between 0 and 0.5*Qpoints

>50 and <=70% , between 0.5 and 0.7*Qpoints

>70 , between 0.7 and Qpoints

Exemple for the first in the thread above to give his result (Unemployed) , i have the following figures:

(Here “Average” means average between Max and Min)

Min AM Max AM Average AM Min PM Max PM Average PM 31% 68% 49% 78% 97%


Then i computed the average of the scores described above for the first 20 people to give their result (excluding rluk because it is not a pass)

The averages of the 20 score are the following:

first 20 pass 40% 74% 57% 70% 88% 79% 55% 81% 68%

It means that the average difference between AM and PM scores is 22% (79% - 57% )

I know almost for sure that 68% overall ( AM +PM) was sufficient for a pass thanks to Galli’s scores (His maximum possible score according to my methodology was 68% and he still pass)

Maybe my figures are a little bit too high but not that far from reality i think (see post above for figures)

The main difference is that on PM, when you know the correct answer you have full credit. In AM , even if you know your stuff, you still might not get the full credit due to poor/insufficient explanations of your answers.

Just always go for 100. That usually works.

How did your mocks compare to your actual score? I’m surprised by the high expected difference (55 vs 80). My AM vs. PM mock scores are only about 5-10% apart. How far apart were your AM/PM scores on your L3?

Here’s an experiment for the non-believers. Look at the “Officials Results” threads from years past, where AFers posted their scores. Then tell me how you think *most* of the passers scored in AM vs PM – noting that the 40/60/80 scale doesn’t really apply to the morning like it does to multiple choice Qs.


Below is Pass from 2015. I think PM is key, dont let AM get you mentally. Just give your 100% for PM.

I really wonder, if anyone has scored a perfect (>70% in all) AM for Level3?


<=50% in Portfolio Management - Institutional <=50% in Portfolio Management - Institutional <=50% in Fixed Income Investments 51-70% in Alternative Investments 51-70% in Portfolio Management - Performance Eval.

<=50% in Portfolio Management - Risk Management 51-70% in Portfolio Management - Individual 51-70% in Portfolio Management - Individual <=50% in Portfolio Management - Asset Allocation <=50% in Economics <=50% in Portfolio Management - Indiv/Behavioral

Item Set

>70% in Economics <=50% in Equity Investments 51-70% in Ethical & Professional Standards >70% in Fixed Income Investments >70% in Portfolio Management >70% in Portfolio Management - Individual >70% in Portfolio Management - Monitor&Rebalance 51-70% in Portfolio Management - Risk Management

CFA_10, any idea what this person was scoring on the mock exams? I see that this person scored much higher in PM vs. AM, but if this was consistent with their AM vs. PM mocks, that’s one thing. If they had similar AM vs. PM mock scores, that’s a different story.

I’m scoring 67-73% in PM mocks and around 67% on my AM mocks. Seems like I’m in some trouble if the real AM test scores systematically come in meaningfully below the mock exams.

Aim for 80% in the PM and you should be fine.

That implies 55% in AM for pass, which is a difficult spread between the two in any case. Unless you’re terrible at writing.

“aim for 80%”…OK…

I’m aiming to get the best score based on my understanding of the material. I’ve taken 13 mock PM exams, avg score 67% and only four are 70 or above: 70, 73, 83, 87.

I’m basically asking people that have passed, how their mock scores compared to the actual…