I have seen the abyss, re: PCP suspected cheating

I think I have a fair working knowledge of what I can share, and not, given the confidentiality of the investigation, so I’m going to try to stick to what I learned and the process, generally.

I took L3 in June '16. Then I got “the email” in July. Without offering great detail, my case was very similar to what you can gather here: http://www.analystforum.com/forums/cfa-forums/cfa-general-discussion/91288285 (this individual got off, unlike me).

I had medical documentation to support ailments dating back several years, and only 2 proctors accused me versus 7. Unlike him, I did not have 1 proctor say that he/she felt I did nothing wrong. Nevertheless, I was served a sanction, albeit not the worst. As such, I’ll be able to take the exam again. And, oh by the way, to make matters worse (mentally anyway), I was awarded CE credits for apparently passing the exam! These were, of course, removed due to the investigation.

So here’s what I’ve learned.

  1. If you’re innocent, fight it. If not, you’re likely better off admitting at least some guilt. Remember, the “appearance” of cheating is a violation. So yes, the horror stories you read are real…and this is why. Any suspicion could get you written up. One thing I’ve learned recently is that if you have some nervous twitch, you stretch a lot, or whatever, you CAN ask a proctor to seat you away from other candidates (ie: at your own table). I will certainly ask for this the next time I sit for L3. The info regarding “appearance of cheating” is read by proctors prior to the exam. It’s sent to you multiple times leading up to the exam. And it’s on the CFAI website. In my investigation, given my medical background, I felt that the “appearance” was a misunderstanding due to my ailments. The PCP apparently didn’t care…or perhaps my delivery/defense was flawed. At this point, there’s no telling exactly.

  2. Know the Rules of Procedure for Professional Conduct. This offers the expectations along the way of an investigation. https://www.cfainstitute.org/ethics/conduct/Documents/2015_rules_of_procedure.pdf

  3. Take your time in responding. Be to the point, yet comprehensive. And supply any supporting info: 3rd party character reference, medical reports, etc. My initial reply to the suspected cheating report was far too quick and I was probably too combative with the proctors’ assessment of the situation. Granted, in that particular testing environment, there were a few glaring areas of mismanagement on the part of the proctors (and I’m far from the only one to have felt that way). The bottom line is that they’re just trying to do their job. Don’t take it personal. I f’ed up here, at least a little bit. It may not have hurt my case, but it certainly didn’t help that I gave a somewhat, emotional reply to the PCP.

  4. Feel free to ask for the similarity analysis. However, it likely doesn’t do much good. Think about it…it takes months to get the scores back for a multiple choice exam. Why? The CFAI is doing tremendous amounts of data analytics as soon as the exam ends…in my opinion. Look here for some publicly available info on what they look for: http://www.caveon.com/downloads/Messengar.pdf (CFA-related info starts on slide 20…you’re looking for slide 24 for pertinent data forensic info)

  5. Forget the fluff…for the most part. I have kids, and I studied a lot, sacrificed sleep, etc. I have no real academic awards to speak of; I’ve put a great deal of effort into this…whatever. The PCP doesn’t care. If you want to mention some personal info, character-related info, fine. But don’t swamp the PCP with this crap. They want facts, and they will stick to facts.

Good luck out there. I’ll earn the charter soon by passing Level 3…again!


I’m just going to assume, given your sarcasm towards most folks clamoring about cheating reports, that I’m in the “And some” group.

So thanks…regardless of whatever sarcasm comes from this post.

At least you’re not kicked out and at least you know you passed it already. Not many can say they passed L3 twice. But, you probably won’t want to bring this up in the future after hopefully passing it a second time. Good luck. “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” - Calvin Coolidge

So I’m preparing to take (hopefully pass again) L3 and I wanted to reread this note from last year.

Should anyone find this info helpful (God willing it doesn’t come to that) this year, still in an ongoing investigation, etc, please read. It’s worth noting that the link http://www.caveon.com/downloads/Messengar.pdf , which is in the OP, apparently no longer works. This link offers most of the same intel: https://www.slideshare.net/caveonweb/caveon-webinar-lessons-learned-at-atp-and-nces (slides 10, 11). Generally it involves a broad overview of data forensics for written and web-based exams. The bottom line is just know that your opinion in a suspected cheating matter…does not, in fact, matter. And if you get accused, you’re more than likely screwed at least a little bit.

On my part, I’ve certainly lost a whole lot of faith in the PCP (not that they care in the slightest). But at least I have another chance to pay more money to prepare and take the exam and study from 1030p-3a after my kids go to bed and work is finished

Passed L3

I was allowed to sit at my own table. Eventhough I asked prior to the exam, I wasn’t initially granted my own table. It was about 15 minutes into the essay section (morning) that 3 proctors surrounded my table, while in the middle of working a problem, and said I could move. In any case, it made me feel much better being removed from the other candidates.

What a crazy couple of years.

Congrats, Ron Mexico. Now that you’ve passed, are you ready to confess?



GFY troll