Guessing in the exam (proper strategy)

Let’s say you are in the last 10 minutes of the exam and you have several questions you have no idea (can’t eliminate the choices either)

Is the best guesing strategy just to pick one letter across these questions? For example, just pick B across and hopefully you get a couple of them or just randomly pick letters (A, B, C).


Thanks for the laugh, bud. Needed one after a long day of hammering away at this stuff.

Lol when I was a kid I used to hear c of course the cfa has not told me what their favorite letter is

If you have to guess, do NOT choose C. The CFAI has already caught on

B is the new C

I always guess the same letter. I think the probability of at least one of the questions that you’re guessing on having the letter that you’re running with (all B’s, for example) as the answer has got to be greater than the probability of randomly selecting the right answer. Too bad I’m so pitiful at quant, otherwise, I would know.

(That said, I once took a test where the correct answer was the same letter for 10 questions straight = mind f*)

I think there have been some pretty good research papers written about this. The asymptotic efficiency of your guesses need to be such that you only guess when you know you don’t know with 100% certainty, thereby making some element of the question known, which eliminates the guess work…totally kidding, and I’m not sure if that even makes sense wink

But really, how often is it that you genuinely can’t eliminate even one answer choice? I think the chance of this situation occurring is pretty slim, but if you find yourself in it, it won’t matter much. If you’ve been doing well without needing to guess [much], these questions won’t break your score if you give them your best shot. Contrarily, if you’ve been guessing a lot, why would these guesses be any different than your strategy for the last 85% of the exam (if anything, this “good” strategy should be used always)?

DKM! lol

I would probably do the same. Choose one letter continuously…under the following condition:

If the coefficient of choice A has a unit root, but B does not I would find another strategy.

If the coefficient of C does not have a unit root, but B does I would still hustle for another strategy

However! if the coefficient of A, B and C have a unit root and they’re all cointegrated then i’m definitely going with choosing one letter all the way…

What am I even saying…!!! smh

Real BSDs just leave them blank…

this is why the exam is so hard. I think the best strategy to to pick the answer which seems most wrong or out of place.

e.g. what is the sharpe ratio of combining these two assets…

a) 1.2

b) 1.4

c) 8

CFAI will most likely make c) the correct answer.


My point was that in any exam I’ve ever taken, it hasn’t been often where I truly can’t eliminate one choice. I don’t think that’s what makes the exam “hard”. I think the breadth of the material at Level I could be daunting to someone with no [formal] background in business. So far, Level II material seems to be much deeper than it is broad. When you look at the broad or deep curriculum in these levels it is easy to see how people can fall behind or be underprepared for an exam when they have other aspects of their life to keep up with such as family, work, health, etc. The balance [assuming you have a good study technique] is what makes it hard, in my opinion.

Also, I would love to see the research that the real exam questions [more than 50% of the time] have the “odd” answer as the correct choice (I don’t buy it)…

the research is - 40% of people pass. pass mark is ~60%. mutiple choice of 3 questions.

i.e. you only need to _know_ 40% of the right answers, then you can simply put C) for the remaining 60% of questions and pass. if we assume everyone can get 40% right, then that means you are being tricked into picking a wrong answer when you are doubtful.

Respectfully, I don’t see [much] logic in this rationale (too many unknowns and assumptions that you’re making). I think if it were as simple as you say, many more people would pass. Your argument still doesn’t validate that the “odd” answer is the correct one, more often than not.

if you take the opposite view, then the two incorrect answers are just random and have no relation to the question being asked? - can’t be the case.

there will be one ‘recognition’ answer ( sharpe ratio is probably 1.2 given the numbers in the question look mostly normal). and the other one to trap you when you punch some numbers quickly into the calculator.

1.1 vs 1.2 might be to trap you for missing the risk-free rate. 8 is obviously negative correlation somewhere.

however if you know this, then answering the question gets a lot easier, so you shouldn’t need to guess.

(yes cfai website is down, so I’ll be going back to blueboxes now).

let me rephrase my point a little…

if I read the question and attempt to answer it without reviewing the options, then I probably have a 65% chance of getting it right.

If I read the question and then attempt to reason why each option is correct. then from those reasons choose the best option, then probably the score is 80%.

if I read the question, look at the answers and then choose the best one (i.e. the ‘recognition’ answer) then let’s say the chance is around 50%.

i.e. (to me that means) choosing the ‘recognition’ answer will work against you, so picking the obscure choice if you genuinely not confident in answering is the better choice. probably a better interpretation is that there is a degree of ‘tell’ in the answer choices.

ya’ll are spending way too much analyzing this. spend it on studying!

Tell me about it!!

I remember when I had to guess. I would say the hail mary and do the sign of the cross. I had to do it about 120 times but it paid off