is there anybody who wrote both exams and can give a comparison in terms of difficulty? so many people here stated that for the 2011 AM part they had a much better feeling than what the actual results said- the same for me. i thought that the questions were quite fair, had a good feeling but for my result…i had about half of the questions below 50%!!
lucie, I sat for the 2010 (Band 3) and the 2011 (Band 10) exams. I thought both exams were at the same level of difficulty; however, I thought I did a lot better in 2011 than I did in 2010 for the AM session. Guess what? I was wrong. I did just as poorly in the AM session in 2011 as I did in 2010 even though I was able to answer more questions in 2011. Some of it is technical understanding (i.e., making mistakes in my calculations) and some of it is not packaging the answer in a way that allows the graders to award me point. I have said it a few times already – just wish I could be my answer sheets from the exams so that I can see what errors I made.
This year I thought I would have passed but failed in Band 10. Like Cadlag I of the view that my errors lie in the packaging of the answers and possibly in the calculations although the right process was followed. Unfortunately the examiners only look for key words and answers and if those are not there you would fail. CFA does not permit a review to point out where you went wrong. This would be useful information and most people would pay for this since it provides guidance for future preparation and peace of mind. Retabulation does not cut it since my understanding is that it just checks that the marks assigned are tabulated correctly. Just as a CFA candidate and members have a duty of care to its clients I am left to wonder whether the same does not apply to the CFA itself where candidates require clarity on their exam performance?
I think the key lies in the phrase "Points are awarded for direct answers to a question. ". To provide the correct answer you have to work backwards. Header - answer 1 Bullet point : answer Header reasons for answer 1 Bullet points: reasons. Header - answer 2 etc I think it is entirely plausible to give the correct answer but in a format which they do not like, or which their markers do not identify with (framing)… I failed, did not give bullet points, explained my answers and their rationale. I am reasonably certain, now, that my format was not appropriate to the marking system and i am doubtful that my content was worthy of the mark i got. What they need to do is to change the name of the morning section from essay (which is a misnomer and a different communication format from answer/bullet points) to written question and answer session or inverted multiple choice, which really is what it is. An essay implies that you are giving the context and reasoning behind your answer to a problem, whereas a written “question and answer” implies a direct approach. Please note the following from wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essay "Aldous Huxley, a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject. He notes that “[l]ike the novel, the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything, usually on a certain topic.” Note also -http://grammar.about.com/od/qaaboutrhetoric/f/faqwhatisessay.htm “…a literary definition of “essay” is usually a bit fussier, drawing distinctions between an “article,” which is read primarily for the information it contains, and an “essay,” in which the pleasure of reading takes precedence over the information in the text.” “Critics haven’t paid much attention to the principles of design actually employed by successful essayists. These principles are rarely formal patterns of organization (that is, the “modes of exposition” found in many composition textbooks). Instead, they might be described as patterns of thought–progressions of a mind working out an idea.” Defining the output of the exam as an essay is misleading, because the objective of the exercise is not to argue or reason or to test a wider and fuller understanding of the course (this is never the objective of CFA exams), but to test curriculum specifics in often obscure ways. A direct answer nuanced to the subtlety of the question, just as much as the multiple choice questions are configured to subtle nuance, is what is required. There is nothing difficult in any aspect of the CFA course: its heft lies in its sheer volume and detail and only by focusing arbitrarily on the minor detail can the exam prove that the candidate has fully understood (i.e. not memorised) and learned all areas of the course. In other words, the essay section, incorrectly named, is no different from the multiple choice: all you are doing is providing the answer without seeing the options. Framing an answer in the context the word essay is different from the framing of an answer in frame that is marked. In other words, CFA, change the name of the morning session from essay to a more appropriate term that will not mislead.
you three really speak out what i was thinking the whole time… what kind of institute is this which would not give the candidates the possiblity to learn from the errors or at least understand what kind of errors one has made during the exam?! should i change the way i studied or the way i wrote the exam. i have no idea. and of course, essay for the AM session is definately not the right word.
are you giving the exam a third try?
@lucie Yes, I am going to give it one more try. I am fairly confident in my review process for the afternoon session. I need to maintain that level of mastery. My main concern is with the morning session (see my post above). I decided to purchased the Schweser review course this year to help me with the morning session. There must be something that I am missing. For instance, in both 2010 and 2011, I did extremely poorly in institutional portfolio management. I read the Readings, and they make sense to me. The related questions on the morning session in 2011 were straightforward also (no frills and no gimmicks). Yet somehow, I managed to botch it up. I have a graduate degree in mathematical economics, and so I gotta believe I can learn the morning session well enough. But I guess I can’t be great at everything. At this point, I am not looking to be great – just good enough to pass