# Best Resources for Answering Essay "CFA Way"

Has anyone come across a good resource for learning how to answer the essay questions the way CFAI graders expect?

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.

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.

http://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/exams/Pages/index.aspx

• 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.

Look for “For the exam” section in the answer explanations.

Short and consise

Hi,

are you allowed to make any cuts with your pen, when the answer is wrong, or you must erase it?

Howdy.

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.