Failed every mock I ever took - Result: 90th Percentile

Firstly, commiserations to those who failed - must be terrible.

I just wanted to get a few things off my chest which might help other people.

To outline my Level 2 journey, I started in February studying only with Schweiser - going through, doing the questions. By May I had realised I had a problem - 59% in exam condition mocks.

I posted my worries here:

In total I did 3 mocks (AM+PM). I usually scored mid 60s. I never passed (>70%) any mock.

I tried to come back using Mark Meldrum’s materials (highly recommended)

I crammed and crammed, by the end I felt physically ill as I had worked so hard. Still I couldn’t pass a mock. These were the schweiser / CFA mocks.

Needless to day, going in I was somewhat downbeat on my chances. I get my result back a couple of days ago. Approximately 90th Percentile - ie the top 10% of takers on the planet… In some ways this is a good thing - it beats failing hands down. BUT to me it indicates a pretty high likelihood that the mocks are mis- calibrated vs the actual exam, particularly as pretty much the same thing happened when I did level 1, 10 years ago.

This massively and pointlessly increased my stress level, and several tens if not hundreds of hours prep and associated stress was, to some degree not remotely necessary. I know there are statistical outliers and that in some ways its better to have people going in over prepared rather than under. The level of over preparation given by the Schweiser / CFA mocks was exessive.

Not sure if I will do Level 3, I am somewhat put off by the whole experience, it was far harder than I thought it would be and of much less relevance for my investing. There are far better ways to grow my capability than the CFA.

Other people’s thoughts / experiences are appreciated - did you find the mocks went in the same way relative to the exam as I did ?

What a wonderful thing to say to the crowd from your high horse.

But I’ve got a huntch you’ll know what it feels like if you ever have the b@lls to sit for LIII.


It’s been well documented that mock exam vignettes from study providers tend to be difficult for them to write and to frame fair unambiguous questions. So generally, mock exams tend to be more difficult to achieve passing scores. However, your taking the mock exams provided valuable practice and forced you to go back and revise subjects and calculations that you found you performed poorly on. In other words, they worked and added value.

Congrats on passing Level II. You’ve gotten this far so I think you should definitely finish it off. So you over studied and stressed yourself. Good. It’s infinitely better than receiving the “we sincerely regret to inform you …” email.

For Level III, much of your practice will be on actual past year’s AM written papers, so they will be a better representation of what you will actually face on exam day. The AM material is less complex for most candidates, but it can be more cognitive and open ended in nature, so you absolutely MUST practice writing past AM papers under timed conditions, then score yourself fairly.

Level III is no joke. You have to put in the work. But I found it to be the most reflective of real world investment themes (that could be because I work in portfolio management), so I found it to be the most enjoyable learning experience of all the exam levels.

Best of luck whichever way you decide to go.

Yeah I had the same experience. I was also in the 90th percentile but I struggled a shitload with Schweser mocks and had huge amounts of stress because of it. I found the mocks to be very misleading and confusing to the point that completing them with open book would have been a challenge and I had zero chance of doing them in the pace of 3min/question.

On the other hand, I thought the CFA mocks were legit but were more difficult than the actual exam. But I think they were a really good way to prepare for the exam.

Honestly, it could be that you just had the perfect storm of questions that you just happen to know better than others. For instance, the questions you saw on mocks and got right appeared more often on the real exam than the ones you did not get right.

Additionally you only took 3 mocks which could probably reinforce what I am saying. My advice to anyone reading this post would be DO NOT ignore mock exams or think they only marginally add to your performance.

Very smart people are competing against you so really do all you possibly can.


Yeah, so my dad owns this dealership right…

Wasn’t suggesting to downplay mocks, but from my experience, if you are scoring in the 60s you are probably OK.

I have to this day never scored higher than 63 on a mock.

Oh okay, my bad. Yeah that’s probably true. I’d say 65 minimum though. Some people say they passed with high 50s or mid 50s and I just don’t understand how tbh. Maybe some luck thrown in there? idk.

Yes post should probably be - if you are getting in 60s in mocks no need to stress.

^ this. I would also add that I found Level 3 to be the most fun of the three levels. The AM problems are cool, and I genuinely enjoyed sitting down to solve them (although let’s see if I still feel that way on August 28). So if you’re upset because of the experience you had studying for Level 2, just keep in mind the experience studying for Level 3 is, at least in my opinion, quite different.

Yea since one-off anecdotal experiences likely apply to everyone…

If you are scoring in the 60s on the mocks, you are most likely TOAST on the actual test. That’s a matter of fact.

Since you passed the exam, you are merely one of the individuals that didn’t fit in the “most likely” tag.

I was scoring 85+ in mocks (level 1) and I scored above 90th percentile in every topic on the actual test, so what’s the fuss about? train hard pass easy you’re doing it exactly right.

you shouldn’t feel confident if you’re in the 60s for level 2 mocks. CFAI will expose you on the exam. This isn’t Level 1- the exam was no joke. I was hitting consistent high 70s and thought i failed

this is true. I was scoring mid-high 60s on mocks for level 2 - could not for the life of me break above 70. In no way did I feel even close to confident. Failed the exam.

Possible it is down to just luck of the draw then rather than the mocks being miscalibrated.

I also scored between 68%-72% on last 3 Schweser mocks and yet failed the exam with something like 64%.So I don’t think mocks are harder or easier it just comes to performance and little bit of luck on the exam day.

Must be a hell of a lot down to luck given the margin vs what I expected.

I did read a guy who apparently was getting in the 90s in the mock then failed - makes me think - could they get the papers mixed up ?!?

Not sure they can change their minds now though…