Misbehavior Charges During Dec-07 CFA Level - 1 Exam

Hello, I have been following this forum pretty frequenty but this is my first post. I am writing regarding a letter I got from CFA institute. I appeared for Dec-07 level-1 exam. During the exam I was severely sick and uncomfortable throughout the morning and afternoon sessions. Some of the proctors found me nervous during afternoon sessions and started giving a closer look. I wasn’t aware of all this. Now I got this letter about misbehavior during examination room. There are two proctors who have filed complains about this. A. One of the proctors who closely noticed me for last 2 minutes has mentioned, 1. He was nervous in last 15 minutes so I [proctor] was asked to observe him. 2. His body was shifted towards left. 3. Distance between nearby candidated was several feet. 4. He never looked at anyone’s sheet. After completition-call, as required, he did put his pencil down but after a few seconds he picked it up again. He made one-more mark or attempted to complete one incomplete mark. Then one proctor asked him to put his pencil down. B. Other proctor who noticed me in last 10 minutes has reported some mis-judged or wrong comments. He mentioned, 1. He did turn his head and had shifted body. 2. Distance between nearby candidate was 2 feet. 3. He looked at next candidate’s sheet twice for 1-2 seconds. 4. I [proctor] asked him to put his pencil down - twice. After completition, as required, he put down his pencil but after a few seconds he picked it up again and made marks on his answer sheet. 5. He was looking around the room + at proctors. Now CFA inst. has asked to give my response regarding these charges. I have my medical report with me. I had wisdom tooth problem which was in pretty bad shape during the exam causing me severe pain in ear and headache. I took pain killers before each exam. Due to acute pain, at times, I was rotating my neck to relax myself. Also without changing seating arrangements, I slightly twisted my body towards left keeping my right elbow rested on the table. It was more like a natural posture but I didn’t realize that it could be a questionable posture to write CFA. I never looked at anyone’s sheet, infact I hardly had time to finish what I knew. I am guessing when I rotated my neck, it gave second proctor a wrong impression. But I am not sure why second proctor has worded so strongly agianst me. Even if he saw me relaxing my neck and judged it as an attempt to chect then, to me, it sounds inappropriate to suspect someone for cheating for a period of 1-2 second when the difference between two candidate was several feet (~3-3.5 feet) and the answer sheet is nothing but a cluster of 480 really small dots. I know its very subjective… but to me its a shame. Besides it, as the second proctor claimed that he asked me twice to stop writing, is absolutely wrong. One of my name’s alphabat’s circle was slightly incomplete so unconsciously I raised my pencil to fill it up, but I was stopped instantly [Thats is because I was so closely monitored]. Thats it. There wasn’t any second time when he came to me to stop writing… I do understand it was a mistake but not to cheat or gain additional benefit… I am not sure how seriously CFA treats such complaints? If anyone has any idea then please let me know. I don’t know if I should just send them my statement along with medical letters or should also aggressively criticize second proctors charges. After all this hard work, I am really disappointed so all suggestions will be welcomed. Thank you so much.

Ouch. CFAI takes these things quite seriously. The looking at someone’s paper thing is easily handled the way you described. You turned your head in weird ways and were uncomfortable because of a wisdom tooth problem. That’s going to be fine. Now the writing after the proctors said “pencils down” or even picking up the pencil was a bad move. Your explanation above is slightly convincing but pencils down really does mean just that and they might draw the line. Your case isn’t convincing enough that they would do more than invalidate your test results (most likely) and they might just give you a written reprimand (who cares?). I think you have a decent start on a letter above. It’s an important letter so do it carefully.

They have nothing on you. Just respond in a tactful, professional manner. But at the end of the day, they can’t do anything to you based on conflicting proctor’s reports. Damn them!

Oh yes they can…

ge_s - Sorry to hear about all of this. If you truly did not cheat, I wish you the best of luck getting it resolved. It would really suck to put in all that work and not just feel horrible on the day of the exam, but also have proctor complaints submitted as well. I agree with the above statements. Write your letter and include your doctors report, but make sure to keep it emotion free. Good luck!

On an unrelated note, how did you manage to think through the test while doped up on painkillers?!

was this sent by mail or email?

Thank you everyone (JoeyDVivre, BosyBillups, BosyBillups, njblain, apcarlso, LongOnCFA ). I will keep emotions out of it. It just hurts when you look back for all those evenings and late nights hard work after full time job. I am trying my best to state everything from my side with support of medical reports, but I am still not sure if I should write/criticize about those wrong allegations made by second proctor. Actually in the morning session, everything was fine on the answer sheet but on the question booklet, instead of writing my enrollment number I had written my name. I realized it only when I got my question booklet for afternoon session, but I didn’t panic and opted to concentrate on my exam. Neverthless, I was conscious about it. Thats why in afternoon session, I re-checked my personal information on the question booklet and answer sheet. I found one slightly incomplete circle in my name and unconsciously attempted to complete it. That was it. I am going to write it in my explaination and I hope they check my question booklet from the morning session. njblain - As you said you have come across similar situation before and you guided one of your students so could you please send me your email address so that I can get some guidance from you? Thank you very much. Please keep sending your comments… thank you so much.

I forgot to answer LongOnCFA - It came through mail.

Wow that stinks. No offense, but 1-2 seconds is not looking; it’s more like glancing. That’s natural when you’re under pressure–you just pay attention to all your surroundings. I mean, come on people, do you remember how students used to cheat on tests in grade school? The amount of time someone has to stare at your answer sheet to compare their answers is a lot longer than 1-2 seconds. I think it would be pretty obvious to spot a cheater that does that. I think you can state your case and win on principles. Looks like those proctors were just hypersensitive jerks. Thank God people like them don’t run homeland security.

I’d respond in a factual manner, providing reports, and a full account of what actually happened. Then use a bit sincerity to close it up, such as: “I wholeheartly understand you investigating midconduct claims in an exam setting. However, to be completely honest, this whole situation is very troubling to me. I’ve studied day and night for this exam, especially ethics, and to be accused of trying to cheat is blatantly unfounded and untrue. This is a giant misunderstanding. When I decided to be a CFA candidate, I swore that I would uphold the ethics a CFA chartholder is expected. I have not waivered on that commitment, nor will I ever. Please let me know if you need any further information, and I appreciate your time and understanding in this matter. I promise you that I have not breached the code of ethics in any way. Very Truly Yours, Ge_S”

Make sure you sign your letter -> John Doe, CFA I

TJR Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Make sure you sign your letter -> John Doe, CFA I OMG, I almost spit out hot chocolate after reading that. Too funny!

I heard these types of things happen but I thought the person who told me was kidding. I guess the best way to take the test is to keep looking at the exam paper for 3hrs straight.

Thanks everyone !!