PCP investigation advice - writing after exam over

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 :frowning:

Wow that was long. I patiently await any and all advice (and roasting).

roast? hell the roasting here is nothing compared to a flat out “u darkened a circle outside the time frame, hence this is ur punishment XX” from CFAI

See the following posts:



Wow, I’m always careful, but this reminds me they are really strict! I don’t think the penalty is that great, I mean you weren’t cheating which i think would be worse. but Im not sure. Good luck either way!

What would u guys suggest as an appeal?


i came in looking for an update to ur case

i think the best way is just to admit and plead for a light slap on the wrist? anyhow CFAI has the absolute power with the CFA exams. once u plead guilty then they might just slam the rule book in ur face, void the current results and just pretty much forget about u till the next time u take the exam again

time up, hands off pencils. don’t. touch. anything.

When time got called on the last exam, my pencil literally flew out of my hands I was in such a hurry to get rid of it. Don’t mess around with this. That one bubble aint worth it.

maybe instead they should literally require everyone to put hands up in the air when time is called.

I am amazed at how many PCP investigation threads there are. These are just rules, whether you violated them due to carelessness or dishonesty almost doesn’t matter because you are presumably taking these tests to be in the investment industry and being careless or dishonest with someone elses money are both bad. If you can’t follow rules you may want to think of a different career because there are plenty of rules in this industry you cannot afford to be careless or dishonest about.

Hi Krishan,

Can you please let me know if your PCP investigation got resoloved? I think I might be getting one for the exam this past Saturday.

Hi Krishna What did you finally do with the whole investigation process. Am facing similar issue with my L3 paper. Please help

I think for any investigations, they make you sign non disclosure agreement and hence not many ever came back to the forum and tell what happened with the PCP investigation…

Thanks for your reply!


I got one for opening the booklet early, but they said there is no further investigation warranted… Just a notice saying not to do it again. Very strange as I don’t recall doing that (Was very aware of the repurcussions). It just makes me think how awful it must feel for someone to be denied access to the program for something he/she didn’t do. Do you know if they take videos in the exam room? This would resolve all these issues, but will be more expensive for the institute to implement.

I would be happy to pay an additional $100 for each test to have the room videotaped. They would even make money off of me.


Especially since there are cases when the instructions are not read out perfectly and this causes disturbance.

@Moosey: Agreed. I find it even more disturbing that violations rarely get overturned (correct me if I am wrong), and proof is based on the view of one or two people. It can be subjective. Videos solve this issue. Everyone is happier: CFA makes more money, candidates willing to pay a little more for the service, and GoPro makes $$$.