Has anyone come across a good resource for learning how to answer the essay questions the way CFAI graders expect?
I think the key is really to answer the questions directly and not try to show off how much you know. Most of your answers should come in bullet point form. When you are practicing, if you think you are writing too much, you probably are. Take the CFA morning exams from the past few years and answer them to the best of your abilities. Check your answers against the guideline answers the CFA provides. Often times the “correct” answer was much shorter than the long form answers I was writing. I got better at being succinct, but still providing the important details. Writing a whole page of answer to one question usually just wastes precious time. I ended up feeling comfortable after the morning session was over and ultimately passed the exam due a solid morning. Just my 2 cents. https://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprog/courseofstudy/essaylevelthree.html
passed level 3 this past June. I wrote very short bullet points to answer like BearDown15 said. just get right to the point. even if you aren’t 100% sure take your best guess and go for it, if you sort of get the right idea you will get some partial credit. dont write a ton of stuff and hope they pick out a few good points
Bullet points. DO NOT WRITE FULL SENTANCES! YOU WILL NEVER FINISH!
how many bullets would you guys say you put for the average question? 1? 2? 10?
They will tell you how many examples/reasons they are looking for. You should have the same number of bullets. Typically 3 or so. They will not grade anything beyond what they ask for. So if they ask for three examples, and you list four, and your bullets 1, 2, and 4 are correct, but 3 is wrong, you will get 2/3 right.
- Bulletpoints - Sometimes 1 bulletpoint, sometimes more. Depends on question. (For instance: They may ask for 3 reasons) - Short sentences - No need to make it look beautiful (trust me!!) - Be fast, but think twice!
@ozzy: where are you getting your information? I have it on good authority that with the essay answers the graders are fairly lenient with picking out the right answers in what you write. That is even if you have some parts of your answer incorrect but have the points that they were looking for you are more thank likely to get full credit so long as the portions that are incorrect aren’t axiomatically wrong.
I am pretty sure ozzy is correct. I think I remember seeing this on CFAI site last year.
If either of you find that on the CFA site I would greatly appreciate the link, looking myself now. Thanks.
ozzy609 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > They will not grade anything beyond what they ask > for. So if they ask for three examples, and you > list four, and your bullets 1, 2, and 4 are > correct, but 3 is wrong, you will get 2/3 right. I have talked to a grader before and that is exactly what they said.
adavydov7 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > If either of you find that on the CFA site I would > greatly appreciate the link, looking myself now. > Thanks. I think I remember it was plyon who told me this. He got it from a schweser instructor if I recall correctly. I couldn’t find it on the site.
http://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprog/overview/pdf/IntoOur5thDecade.pdf Not what you are looking for, but some interesting information.
https://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprog/resources/essaytips.html Here it is (READ THE VERY LAST LINE): Tips for Taking the Level III Essay Exams The Level III essay exam is given in the morning session and has a maximum score of 180 points. The essay exam typically has 10–15 questions, and questions may have multiple parts. The points for each question and each question part are given in the exam. The following are some general tips for Level III candidates on the essay exam: The published guideline answers on past essay exams are more complete and better written than actual exam answers that receive full credit. The published guideline answers may not reflect all alternative approaches to the question that received full or partial credit. Answers are graded only on content. They are not graded for language and style. Use short phrases and bullet points to save time, but be sure your meaning is clear. Handwriting is rarely so poor that the answer cannot be graded. Points are awarded for direct answers to a question. No points are awarded for general knowledge that is not responsive to the question. Do not spend too much time writing an answer. This is particularly tempting when you know the topic well. Formulate a direct response to the command words, and use the amount of time allotted. You should expect to encounter questions that you will not be able to answer correctly. There is a great deal of material to master and exam questions are challenging. Standard setters and the Board of Governors (at all three levels) take account of exam difficulty in setting Minimum Passing Scores. For a full description of how the MPS is established, see The CFA Program: Our 5th decade (PDF). The following are common reasons that graders give for poor candidate performance on the essay portion of the Level III: Not responsive to command word list (list, define, etc.) Answered a question they wish they had been asked instead of the question that was asked. No work shown on a calculation question and the answer is incorrect. Hedged on questions that asked for a recommendation and justification (e.g., recommended A, but justified B). Neglected to answer part of the question (especially if a several part question). Note that you can still answer part E, even if you do not know the answer to part D. Content area experts spent too much time on their area of expertise, leaving too little time for weak areas. ***Providing more items or responses than requested. If a question asks for three factors, only the first three that you list will be graded.***
Thanks all. I also found this - sample questions and answers. http://www.cfainstitute.org/cfaprog/courseofstudy/essaylevelthree.html.
When I work the mocks, my answers are usually a lot shorter than the guideline answers. I’m kind of worried that I’m not being descriptive enough.
From the link:
- The published guideline answers on past essay exams are more complete and better written than actual exam answers that receive full credit.
- The published guideline answers may not reflect all alternative approaches to the question that received full or partial credit.
Schweser Practice Exam answers are great sources to learn how to write your answer.
Look for “For the exam” section in the answer explanations.
Short and consise
are you allowed to make any cuts with your pen, when the answer is wrong, or you must erase it?
You’re allowed to cross things out.
However, remember your objective: to make it easier for the grader to award you marks than to deny you marks. If you have a ton of things written, crossed out, rewritten, recrossed out, and so on, it will be hard for the grader to decipher your train of thought and to identify what you think is the correct answer.
You should spend more time thinking about what you want to write than you spend writing it.