This past december I wrote the CFA Level I exam, and this past June sat for the CFA Level II exam. Soon after the exam I received CFAI PCP mail which stated that I was being investigated for misconduct during the exam. Since then, I have seen the analyst forums online, and I saw that there are active members –who seem to be willing to provide helpful advice to those who seem to have landed in this situation due to carelessness, and not dishonesty.
At the end of the morning session, when the proctor announced to put our pencils down – I immediately placed my pencil on the desk. However, as the proctor was collecting the exams I was looking over the bubbles in the exam answer sheets, my name, cfa institute number, etc on the answer package, and without realizing the error – I darkened an already marked spot on the answer sheet (it must have looked light in comparison to the other spots). A proctor was nearby (actually probably right next to me) when I did this – and I did not realize the mistake I was making. She gestured me to put the pencil down, and immediately I placed the pencil on the desk.
She did not tell me at the exam, but later she filed a violation against me under – violation for “writing after the exam is over” category. In the violation report, she described the scenario exactly (besides the subjective viewpoint) as I described above, and also noting that: I did not change any answers, but darkened an already marked spot on the answer sheet.
However - I forgot to mention in my initial response that, at that particular exam session, the proctors actually forgot to give instructions for filling out the exam answer sheet at the beginning of the exam for Level I and II exam writers (e.g. writing in your name, filling in the bubbles for the ID, signing, etc.). Clearly this was a bit of a mishap, and some candidates like myself were quite confused and was awaiting those instructions; while others started the exam. At the end of the exam, I was (and I assume others were as well) looking over to make sure that my name, etc. was marked in properly. This is when the violation in question occurred. It was really a misjudgement - and I cannot even recall whether I filled in an answer, or one of those bubbles related to the CFA ID, etc. The proctor never warned me of the violation, and I really did not make any note of it. I was horrified when I got that mail.
By the way, even at the end of the exam, they did not give out those instructions – although they admitted to the error (I believe this formal apology occurred was after the incident).
I am thinking its best I follow up and provide the information I stated above. I studied quite hard for the exam, and I felt I did quite well – and I did not rush near the end or anything of that sort. I am also thinking of reiterating to the CFAI that I truly believe –although my actions were in error, and my view is biased– my error is not likely to give me an advantage over other exam writers. I say this because, as noted by the proctor, I did not take any extra time to either mark in, change, or erase an answer. Realistically speaking, darkening an already marked answer on the exam card is highly unlikely to produce any additional benefit, besides for the psyche of the exam writer. I do agree it is an error however.
What do you guys think? By the way - I really hope me seeking advice on this matter does not violate some CFA standard