Importance of key word

Hi guys,

Not long before we receive our results.

I am starting to feel stressed. Not because the results will be soon but because something i read on the CFA Institute website.

Basically, they were explaining the reasons why some candidates were having a dreadful score in the AM session. One of the reasons, which is the reason for my post, was the fact that some candidates were answering the questions without taking into account the key words in the question. By key words, they mean: define, explain, describe…

I am really surprised that you may be penalised because of that. When i was answering the question, i have to say i was not really bothered with the “key words”. I really hope it will not be a reason for the marker to smash me…

not a whole lot you can do at this point. if you reviewed the past AM’s really well, it shouldn’t be that big an issue

What do you mean if “i reviewed the past AM really well”?

Means if you have worked on those past exams given for free in the CFAI website, you shouldnt have trouble. Because you would have anyway understood whats wrong when you answered them - thats Iteras point.

It is what i thought, and it is quite an inappropriate answer.

I do not need this kind of paternalistic reply. In that case do not reply, both of you.

The CFA institute should also forbid arrogance!

lol, sooraj was just interpreting to you what itera meant and he explicitly stated that…

Are you serious? Don’t post if you’re only looking for some kind of acknowledgement for your complaint. Itera’s response is an honest and appropriate response. The CFA text and schweser notes most definitely emphasize looking at those key words and answering based on that, it would be your mistake for not picking up on that.

Let me see if I can sum this up.

Isaac - You know, the CFAI’s website says that we should know certain command words, like “define”, “explain”, “calculate”. But even though this has been on their website since the dawn of time, and they sent me at least three e-mails telling me to read it, I never bothered to read it until two months after the fact. Now I’m starting to get nervous that I didn’t pay attention.

Itera - Well, you’ve already taken the test. If you studied the past L3 exams, you should do fine.

Isaac - I don’t understand. Were there prior year’s exams I could have looked at?

Sooraj - Yes, there are. And if you studied them, you’d have no cause for concern.

Isaac - I do not need people to be paternalistic or arrogant or inappropriate. Never talk to me again. I don’t like hearing that I failed to follow simple instructions, or that I didn’t prepare well enough, because obviously, if I had prepared, then I wouldn’t be worried about the fact that CFAI asked me to “calculate” something.

Ramos - Isaac, you’re a dumbass.

Isaac said “….I do not need this kind of paternalistic reply. In that case do not reply…”

As a really rare occurrence, Itera’s reply was neither sarcastic nor fatherly-patronising or arrogant, which it is in most of the cases! For a change @itera gave not only a sincere but also an apposite response to your query. So, Isaacazimov, your reaction is totally misplaced, may be because you are new to AF ( it seems to be your first post). Try to understand (if you can do so coolly ) what he wants to say (note the key words!) and you will appreciate.

Nowhere did i say that the focus on key words was unacceptable or unfair.

If i fail, i will never know if it is because of key words negligence, but it is life.

I studied very hard for this exam and i do not need complete strangers to tell me “if you reviewed the past AM’s really well”…if this is what you think, keep it to yourself…

I just raised a point, i did not ask anyone to reply or to have pity for me. If you do reply, try not to judge people with that kind of inappropriate answer.

And for greenmanthing, just pathetic…

Then what do you need total strangers to tell you? You invited responses; what were you expecting?

Itera wasn’t judging you. He was pointing out a strategy to overcome your concern about key words. He never said that you didn’t follow that strategy (nor that you did: he was silent on that).

Seriously, i am shocked by how arrogant and aggressive you are (especially the cfa charterholder ones)

So…you posted something on a forum on the internet, but did not expect anyone to reply.

It’s starting to make more sense now.

(Edit) I typed the above statement prior to S2000’s post. But I have to add…

Dude, you posted on the internet, on a website devoted to studying for the CFA exam. You do know that this is a place where anybody in the world with an internet connection can read and respond, right?

Then, when somebody tries to dissuage your fears by telling you that you’re probably worried over nothing, you tell them to piss off and call them names.

Honestly, you sound like a loser. It also sounds like you made very little attempt to prepare yourself for the L3 exam. I mean, if the question says “Explain X”, and you’re worried about the term “explain”, then it makes me think that you really have a hard time understanding simple directions.

You probably don’t have what it takes (whatever “it” is) to cut it in this industry. If you fail L3, you should consider it a blessing in disguise.

Calling me a dumbass is absolutely unacceptable and you give a pathetic image of the CFA programme by behaving like a thug. I will let the CFA institute know that some of its members insult people on public forums.

^You’re certainly welcome to do that. Just don’t get confused when they tell you to “clearly describe” your complaint.

I normally don’t berate people this hard on the forums, but I make a special case for idiots like you.

Yes i was right, you are pathetic. Have fun insulting people, it looks like you are only good at that! And no need to reply cause i could not care less :slight_smile:

Seriously if you do not want strangers to tell you things then why do you ask questions to strangers

So, did you review the past AM’s really well?


The reason for the Key Words (and thier importance) is so there is no ambiguity about the question and answer.

For example:

If a question was stated: “How much money will Client X need to meet his goal in 5 years”, you can technically respond with “More then he has now” and have answered the question correctly.

Now if the question was stated “CALCULATE how much money Client X will need to meet his goal in 5 years” then there is no question (by the CFAI stated definitions of Key Words, provided on the first page of the exam) that the correct answer involves calculating the specific dollar amount, and showing your work.

Key works make sure CFAI aren’t bombarded with people protesting and saying “Well technically my answer is correct…”

All Itera meant by "if you studied a lot’, was that if you did multiple mock exams you would natually progess through the exams to answer the questions by the key words. (Assuming you looked back at why you got a question wrong. You would realize they were asking for X when you were giving Y… Y wasn’t an incorrect statement, it just that they werent asking for it).

So stop with the pink-panty meltdown. If you studied like you said you should be fine.