I do not believe my 'did not pass' result.. Could it be a mistake?

Could it be a mistake in the marking process? I am struggling to believe that I did not pass this exam… I did approximately 8 to 10 mock exams and was consistently scoring over 70%. My PM papers were consistently around the 72 to 75% range. I would say the AM around the 60 to 70% range.

I walked out of the exam feeling pretty good about how it went.

On results day, I was excited to see how well I did and ‘I did not pass’. I can not get my head around it. The PM was around 60%. I was expecting above 80%.

What makes me even more suspicious is that not one of the topic areas are over 70%, how is this possible after so many practice exams and a good exam day experience. Even taking in to account the tricks and traps, there are not that many to take every area below 70%… i scored around 50% on all of them…

I am finding it really hard to accept the result… I think you have a pretty good feeling when you come out of an exam about if you probably failed , or if you are borderline, or if you did really well… I felt I did REALLY Well and will struggle with this for a while… Is it possible that a marking mistake could have been made with my paper?

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To be fair, the two times I have walked out “confident” out of the CFA exam I have failed. The times that I have passed I was rather suspicious our dubious on the outcome… maybe because I had grasped the actual difficulty of the exam and how difficult it was to choose between those last two options on the PM exam. The times I failed maybe I did not see the trap and circled with confidence as I would completely miss the trick / trap.

But if $100 rest your mind, you might as well do the retab, get closure on this matter and if you indeed did not pass, smash it next year.

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You are not alone! I have exactly same feeling and my essay score was good but the PM part I scored below 10%. I really dont see how this is possible… I felt great after the exam! I saw the tricks and felt that I crushed it. I just can’t accept this failure and also feel there was a mistake. I sent it for a retabulation but everyone is saying that they never change your score anyway… i dont know what to think of this whole ordeal



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My head is spinning about the whole thing… It really does not make sense to me.

I remember spotting a number of trick questions and felt I was really alert and felt so confident… I do not feel like I trust the result, it feels like they have given me someone elses result.

If you got to level 3 I would absolutely take the exam again. You just need to reevaluate your study methods. Read the CFA material and use LevelUp. It’s not about the number of hours you study but the hours you do study need to be effective. Garbage in garbage out.

BJ Tolia (L2 President for Schweser) coined a beautiful term back at L2 called ‘Happy Failing Syndrome’

It stuck with me ever since.

Happy Failing Syndrome is the tendency for CFA candidates to see questions on the exam that look easy, start blindly computing the answers (going through the mechanics) and seeing their answer there - circling it and moving on. He said this was one of the most common ways for the Institute to separate candidates out - ensuring that those answers that you think are right are not, because of some small misnomer line in the passage that clearly must mean it is the other answer.

That is the only rationale explanation I can give you for your PM performance if you really did feel that good coming out.

As for the AM, I realize now just how crucial key words are in your answers. You only come to learn these by doing all the past papers from CFA and learning and synthesisng their answers.

For example, if there is a question about an insurance firm and it asks if interest rates go up, did you actually write the term distintermediation risk? If you didnt, and just explained around that concept on what you feel is right then you have missed the whole point of that question and the LOS it was testing.

AM is completely and utterly about hitting the key words.

That is the only rationale way I can infer your exam again only if you really felt it did go well.

Next year, take extra care to ensure you are directly applying your answer to the LOS the question is testing. It sounds like elementary advice but I can assure you its harder to do this then you think.

Best of luck next year! Rooting for you.

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#me too. I don’t think I crushed it but after taking level 2 I am good at item sets. I figured I was in the 65-70% range but may score was in the bottom 10%. I can’t believe it. We’re there that many traps? There were many many questions I was sure I got correct. I am perplexed!

There are a TON of questions that seemingly have two plausible answers if you missed something in the item set. If enough of those got you it’s totally plausible for you to be so far from your expectations.

Actually, in that case, the person would not have missed the who point of the question or the LOS. They would in fact have understood it very well, but just not used the correct buzzword to get maximum points from the grader. Which is why people who understand the exam process say that it’s equally about understanding the material as it is about giving CFAI what they want. So if you really did learn the material and failed, try again next year and focus on that second part as much as the first.

The other thing to mention is that 80% of people think they are above average drivers, so to see a number of people say they think they did well, but in fact find out they failed, should not be too surprising, even if it is unfortunate and not easy to deal with.

perhaps ‘whole point’ was a bit strong, I was on a roll with my writing - you are right. I was more trying to get at the fact if you’re not hitting the key term they are looking for you, you are already starting the question on a bad footing and having to work extra hard to find descriptive passages to make up the points in another way./

Thanks for clarifying. The point you are making is certainly a good one.

Third time taker. Some of you guys know me on here. One of the OG vets in the L3 game (not by choice obviously) but yeah, it wasn’t a good feeling walking out of that test center for AM. I left about 15/16 points completely blank because I just thought they were common sinkholes and traps that I probably knew how to do but I didn’t because there were other ‘low hanging fruit’ that I could maximze on.

And for PM, yeah, there were tricks. I’d say for every 6 questions, a solid 2/6 were there to fool you. A lot of the guys to my right and left finished with like an hour left — not sure how that was possible because I worked until the last 5 minute mark for PM.

Both of the previous times I walked out feeling ‘pretty good’ to ‘very good’ and I fell flat on my face when results came out.

Did you guys review your work? I find it necessary to go back and look at every answer with a fresh set of eyes. I finished the PM in 90 minutes, went to the bathroom, stretched, then came back in and basically took the exam again. Found 2-4 questions where my first instinct was wrong and changed them.

I changed 3-4 from correct to incorrect which now haunt me as that would have been the difference in marginal pass vs marginal fail but then again one can drive himself crazy thinking about it… as time is passing I am coming to terms with fact that I failed by the smallest of margins but will use this to try and achieve over 90% not just pass… biggest mistake was wanting to just pass and falling just short…“like they say aim for the moon and if you miss you may hit a star”

Ah man, I’m sorry dude. You’ve got the right attitude which is half the battle. Take the next couple months to decompress and start grinding in November/December. One thing that helped me this year (failed band 9 in 2017) was making a daily schedule and trying my best to stick to it. It helps create a sense of urgency when you begin to fall behind. I’m rooting for you!

i gotta root for this dude all year haha he rooted for me :slight_smile:

yep, felt the way you did last year on my 2nd attempt and thought I had nailed it then flunked with Band 10. Then this year I did so many mocks like 15+ and redid them until my answers were like the guideline answers. That’s how much you have to practice. Then in the PM, I did it in 1.5 hrs and realised that quite a few of the questions I and bet many other 1st timers would fall for the trap answers simply because they did not read the key words in what it was asking for and instead rushing to answer the multi-choice with what similar mock questions they’ve done in the past.

So once to get to that stage, you’ll kill the exam next year.

good advice, thanks… I will definitely try and redo and repractice mocks this time round.