Business Insider article that tells content on the finals...

Considering that discussing specifics of an exam is prohibited, will the institute try to do anything about it?

I dont see what they could do…

I didn’t see much on there that was a dire sin.

Sure, an anonymous person said that certain things were tested, and certain things weren’t. This is a violation, but what are they going to do? There’s no way to know who said it, and I’m sure Businessinsider isn’t going to tell them.

And most of what that guy said is common sense. Once you’ve taken a couple of CFA exams, you learn that most of what they ask is “big-picture” stuff. That is, they want to test to make sure that people understand the concepts underlying the principles.

Yes, they do ask some off-the-wall questions, but it’s highly unlikely that they’re going to give you 30 data points and ask you to perform a regression. They COULD, because it’s in the textbook, and you’re required to learn it. However, it’s more likely that they’ll ask you what the limitations of a regression are, or how to interpret one. In reality, calculating a regression line in Excel is very easy. However, Excel can’t interpret it for you.

Why do people like you post stuff like this? It’s a beyond-silly question.

Ugh…this is only a little less bad than the question about buying/selling euros while on vacation. That person should never work on Wall Street.

Reading the ethics part made me wonder how serious the institute is about protecting the integrity of the CFA charter. As there are many charterholders I thought of posting it here.

You can talk in a very general sense about what types of questions show up on the exam. What you can’t do is talk about a specific question in such a way that future candidates can reproduce the question. CFAI reuses questions for a while, because well worded questions take a lot more effort to produce than you think. What they don’t want is a compendium of all their questions and then people remember “oh, the answer to that one was 4.”

So if I say that when I took L1, there was a question that asked me for the difference Cash Flow from Operations on the two companies, and you had to remember to add back the LIFO reserve to get the right answer. CFAI is not going to nail my testicles to the wall, because there’s not enough detail to reproduce the question, even if you have covered what you think the key idea was. If you couldn’t talk about key ideas, it would be impossible to create practice problems and practice exams.

Incidentally, I had to laugh at item 6 on the link, because the year I took L2, we all got slammed with a ton of questions about the Treynor-Black model… I was expecting the Port Mgmt section to be pretty easy, and found myself having to make (questionably educated) guesses about the Treynor Model for half of the section. The level of detail took me (and most everyone, it seems) aback.

The point being… just because one guy said “I didn’t have to know any of X for the exam,” doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same for the next guy who takes it.

For what it’s worth, half the chartholders I know use the letters and don’t pay dues or would continue using the letters and not pay their dues if their employer did not cover it.

The smart candidate will take one thing away from all of this:

The test changes every year, and that everything the CFAI told you to learn via the LOS are fair game and testable.

I took L2 twice. I can remember few things that translated directly from one test to another. Each time I was confronted with arcane subjects that weren’t on the prior/subsequent test.

To use the “swap” example: I learned how to do it. It took me two days to make sure I knew it in my head. I’d work through the same few problems in the CFAI text until I could pump out the multi-step calculation in my sleep. That’s what it takes, so that’s what I did.

There are no shortcuts. If you want to be relatively confident of passing, you literally need to understand, and (more importantly) be able to consistently reproduce that understanding under exam conditions, every single topic. Too many people go in with a cursory understanding of concepts and formulas and pray that they’ll “get it” come exam time. Let me help you out: You won’t.