As CBT format of exam rolling out in 2021, I am puzzled at how it works. If I understand it correctly, to register for each exam session, one can choose from a window of exam writing dates. Does it mean the questions would be different on any date?
If yes, how is it possible for CFAI to ensure fairness in the outcome? - because the population of that exam dates would be dramatically smaller compared against that of the old days when candidates sit in the exam on the same date (sort of) worldwide.
If no, then it leads to concern that questions are more than not likely to be leaked to some extent (not in broad daylight public of course). Again not fair for those who put in great amount of work in the exam prep and wrote the exam honestly.
I know… it is what it is. It’s just this skeptistic thought playing in my head for a while. And I haven’t seen solid discussion on this topic. Coming from the dinosaur age of paper-based exams, I have been quite layback in pursuit of Level 3; the first two exams were taken 3 years apart. Not doubt I regret about not having done it sooner, that’s on me. But I couldn’t help thinking whether it is worth it after all.
Assuming CFAI administers the exam similar to actuarial exams, there should be a large pool of exam questions, and each candidate is given a random sample, adjusted to make sure it more or less covers the entire syllabus. If the pool is large enough, the chances of two candidates sharing the same question is very low.
I’m not saying that this is the case, but If CFAI wanted to, they could partition the pool of exam questions to ensure that each day the candidates receive a random sample from a different subset of the total available exam questions in the system. For example, candidates taking the exam on day 1 receive a random sample from questions in partition_1, while those taking on day 2 receive a random sample from partition_2, where none of the partitions shares the same exam question.
Seems to me that the odds of cheating is actually lower now. Before, there was always the risk of someone looking over their shoulder and reading another candidate’s answer for the same question. From what I recall, some people here were permanently banned from the CFA program because of this. Cheating in such a manner is no longer possible via CBT. The odds that the guy sitting next to you is also taking the CFA exam and has the same question as you is astronomically low. (even in the off-chance that was the case, there are still precautions in place to ensure cheating is impossible in CBT)