L3 Post Exam thoughts anyone?

Have zero idea as to how I did….lots of them were guesses. Obscure topics (AM section) that really threw me off, some of which I didn’t come across in the 90% of the CFAI online ecosystem Qs that I completed. Multiple choice Qs in AM too, which I didn’t mind because those are more time efficient. Very little “show your calculations” Qs but there were calculations so my guess is either you get the number right and get the credit or you just simply don’t. Vignettes were short, not a lot of reading and questions were to the point. PM Qs were on known topics but asked in a VERY tricky manner. (style was quite similar to the Kaplan PM Qs I did actually)

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Not great, not terrible. I have no idea if I passed.

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Retaker here. Compared to the previous time, I found the questions to be more structured, and they improved UX/UI, because now you could actually show your calculations.
PM was disaster, topics where I scored bad last time (which I focused more on this time) didn’t come up, however my weak areas were all over the place.
Though I would compensate AM with better PM score. Now I hope that I can compensate PM with AM lol

By the way, they reset my calculators, and I struggled with figuring out how to show more decimal digits.

I just came home from exam, this was my 2nd CBT attempt.
I think institute got some serious problem in which L3 is tested.
Questions does not represent and does not test the curriculum at all - Questions are very unfamiliar and not comparable to Examples or EOCs in CFA books provided by institute. I did the Example and EOCs at least 4 to 5 time. Made my summary notes and memorized formulea by re-writing at least 20-25 times over last 2-3 months + past Am papers . I did 7 full mock exam (4 MM, 2 kaplan and 1 institute). I feel everything was waste of time because most of stuff is not even tested. All you see is mix of weirdly worded questions or very very simple questions.
Emphasis on test taking skill (and not knowledge test) like time crunch is extreme, many cleverly worded to trick you and bunch of vague and irrelevant text that does not help to solve the question. Why you torturing and wasting time of exam takers with all that?
Lack of transparency - institute does not share past paper, why? if they do people will easily can gap between curriculum and test which is being conducted.
If you share past papers candidates would at least know where they are going wrong in preparation and indeed it will increase the knowledge base.
On top of that you don’t give breakdown of AM and PM score (starting CBT format) so you would never know if you failed because of AM and PM.
Overall, I genuinely think L3 exam is joke, its a complete BS and institute is playing with candidates in very very unfairly way. I won’t be surprised if candidate comes mass level and raise voice against this stupid institute.
Its a joke to be honest. Zero respect. This is my honest opinion irrespective if pass or not.


Gave mine on Tuesday. Second attempt at level 3 here with first being in 2019. The AM felt okay but I’m not gonna predict my AM score as the reality turns out to be a disaster. I sometimes don’t understand what they want from me on the AM.

PM on the other hand was slightly easier than that in 2019 but no less tricky. I feel I’m gonna be on the edge with this one. Just hoping to pass. Gotta wait till Feb unfortunately despite being a CBT.

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This was my first attempt of CFA L3 and my first CBT exam. I prepped with the original curriculum investing a good 450 hours + IFT videos, which involved ALL ~1200 CFAI Qbank questions, the blue boxes 2-3x, did 3 IFT mocks, the Boston CFA 2021 mock, the 2016-2018 CFAI mocks and felt on another planet during the exam - the AM section was nothing like the mocks (ok, obviously you can’t expect that they will like the mocks, but usually you can infer important areas - oops… sorry, not this year!). The PM section was okay’ish, but I have found a lot of medium challenging questions with additional traps to trick you.

Worst of all: time management was impossible. The only clock I had was the bloody screen timer running down, no wall clock, no wrist watch allowed and best of all: No indication for the amount of time allotted to each question, only the overall time allotted to the vignette. So, I had no idea if I should spend 3, 6 or 8 minutes on the answer… When I finally realized this it was already too late and I lost a good 20 minutes. Had to leave several question unattempted.

My estimate is I got 70-75% on PM in line with my average score in the CFAI Qbank and my hope is 50% on AM, which would be a surprise honestly.


Amen on all that you wrote and I would like to highlight that ridiculous question in the AM that had nothing to do with the way we studied for it both in curriculum or the ecosystem. For 2022 curriculum they made major changes in Fixed Income but decided to break the topic into two books. So if you just wanted to purchase a hard copy of fixed income, you would have to purchase two books. Not to mention that if you fail now you cannot even think of lower registration cost because you will not be eligible for early registration fee. I do not want to sound bitter as I have legitimate chance to pass this time, however, after Marge Franklin said that low pass rates are a result of the the so-called “stop-go way of studying due to the pandemic” (LOL) their actions do not match the issue at hand and are more focused on making candidates fail and make more money through various little tricks. Finally, I love how they say “the difficulty did not change, we want every charterholder to have some minimum quality” well, their actions did not convince me. I cruised through L1 and L2 but now am not all that convinced that I will pass even though I’ve put ridiculous amount of time into studying L3.

Also sat for my second CBT attempt. Have to agree that AM was shocking in how some questions were asked, although I assume there was more than 1 version of the test. I was supposed to write in 2020 and get the last paper-based test but had two postponements due to Covid - how I wish I could have gotten that chance after seeing what a total train-smash Lv 3 has become with the new format. I think the pass rate might be even worse compared to the last round. PM was fine for the most part, but really not confident so might as well start prepping for May…sigh.

Wth is going on, the material tested was very different. I prepped well, did every single eoc question, the practice section all of it, 4 mocks and another few hundred 3rd party questions. Wtf is CFAI doing. The way they went about the topics was very confusing. The whole exp was terrible, I was handed dry eraser board with thick markers couldn’t take my pencil and paper in, I couldn’t write sh*t down, the mouse was messed up. What a waste of time. Trying to show my damn work using tbr formula function was a disaster. They have to change this. There is deffinitly something going on, what a cash grab.


I was also handed a dry eraser board with markers that wouldn’t even write….

Re calculations I didn’t even bother with the math editor, I heard it’s a colossal waste of time. Also is it just me or were there not a lot of Qs that said “show your calculations”? I didn’t bother to show the steps for a lot of those. Just wrote my final answer because I heard you don’t get points for showing your work if they explicitly don’t ask for it. And if the number is right the grader doesn’t bother to look at the steps anymore. Im aware this wasn’t the case before, it’s more of a new CBT format testing thing.

I had a laminated sheet of paper with a whiteboard marker that was way too thick to write with so couldn’t really use it. I noted this in the survey at the end of the exam. Completely ridiculous, just hand out pen and paper.

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Can someone confirm if we need to show the steps for our calculations if the question doesn’t explicitly say “show your calculations”? If Qs say “calculate xyz” is that the same thing now as “show your calculations”?

A correct answer’s sufficient.

If we write the correct formula but mess up the calculation how much do we get for that ?


How much depends on the particular question/calculation.

For those of us who don’t pass, what’s the best way to prepare for the retake? I don’t feel like simply spending more time studying would’ve made much of a difference for me.

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I thought the exam was fair. Did I know everything tested? No, not at all. Was it challenging? Heck yea.
But I thought it was a more fair exam than the may 2021 exam.
Time on the AM is a challenge. I tried to work out the problem on my laminated sheet then type it into the answer box (with the steps worked out in case I can get partial credit). I feel that sucks up extra time on the CBT versus when it was paper based.
I do think it’s ridiculous that we probably won’t get results till the end of Jan/beginning of Feb. If I wasn’t this far along in the journey (having passed level 1&2 pre-covid) I don’t know that I’d deal with the cbt. It’s frustrating that some of the same issues (or maybe they’re issues to me but not issues from cfai’s perspective) of no table at the beginning summarizing the topic/questions, no point break down per question, and that same issue that if you type an ‘*’ to indicate multiplication it removes decimal places, italicizes font, and removes spaces.
But here we are. Too far along to quit, too frustrated to continue. Lol
Best of luck to all of us!

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I could not agree more, Jack!

I felt this about Level II yesterday. I wonder if CFA has completely changed their testing approach. Cause yes, I did see questions that I did not see at all while preparing - poorly worded questions too, and questions that were outside the curriculum. It was a very weird exam. It felt like no matter how much I studied, the exam will be outside what I should expect from the readings.