Note: No calculations required? really?

I am curious whether anyone else thinks this note really means no calculations or it doesn’t?

For example, CFA 2014 question 1 part D says - no calculations required.

Question C says - show your calculations.

The same calculation for question C is needed to give the two guideline answers for question D so why would the CFAI say don’t use your calculator??

Its things like this on exam day where I would think - oh no calcs required so don’t use my calcluotr and i’d come up with some crazy answer trying not to use my calculator when low and behold i needed my calculator all along…

anyone else agree??

It doesn’t say don’t use your calculator.

It says that you don’t need to write down your calculations.

i think we’re gonna have to agree to disagree S2000.

yes. as much as it doesnt say “dont use your calculator”, i think it equally says “you dont need to calculate”.

writing down the calculations is not really the point. theres no way anyone could actually write those calculations down anyway (in the time allotted). “No calculations required” to me reads - ‘no need to calculate, find the answer in the text’.

I guess the optimistic part of this whole thing is that now I/we know that when it says “no calculations required” you might need to calculate, but you do not need to show your work. which is fine. but its ambigous if you ask me.

The odds are there is some sort of rule you can reference that is in the CFAI text.

You can also prove it by pointing to the calculation

I think it means you do not need to actually calculate the numbers, for example I answered:

  1. increase risk tolerance in order to earn a higher rate of return

  2. decrease expected standard of living in retirement thus decreasing the amount needed for retirement

Not sure how it would be graded, obviously, but that’s how I interpreted it.


your answers are good in my opinion… matches guideline answers.


If it requires a calculation but does not say “show your calculations” I always show my calculations in order to get partial credit. If it explicitly states “no calculation required” that in my opinion means they want a concept answer.

You don’t need to do calculations to answer that question, you just need to understand that they need sizeable changes in their expected return or living expenses. I don’t think that they will dock marks for not showing the numbers, at least I hope not because they did state that no calculations were required. You can see without calculating that the other options are not sizeable enough to bridge the gap between their required amount and their current portfolio.

Not remotely.

Fair enough.

If I saw the original question in full, I’d likely agree with you.

That’s one of the reasons why so many ppl are not able to finish am in time. If you try to calculate something there, you’ll never make it in the minutes given. If you just write down two bullet points, you can even make up a minute or two.

Related question. In the 2014 AM it asked for zero cost collars and such for concentrated assets. I needed to draw a graph to see what’s going on.

I assume a graph adds no value but would that harm my score? I could draw it in the non-answer areas.

would draw on non answer pages. If the graph is wrong, it may harm. Wouldn’t risk it