Pen or Pencil

Will you be writing the morning paper in pen or pencil? What are the pros and cons for each?

Non-erasable Pen is what i plan to use. But sometimes i have to correct my response and i’m sure that would look ugly.

My nightmare is to circle a response and then decide to change it. Any suggestion on best way to ‘uncircle’ it with :slight_smile:

Uncircling the response would definitely be ugly with a pen. But luckily, they dont use MCQ scanner for the AM, so the examiner will probably be able to distinguish your new circled response, if you clearly indicate your final response.

Good morning all,

when you are talking about non-erasable do you mean ballpoint pens? I was just wondering if these are covered by blue/black ink pens. Since it is not really ink…

Probably this has been answered several times but I was just not able to find the respective thread.

Best to all


I bought a Pilot Frixion Ball (erasable pen), it only costs €4. Better than using a regular pen and leaving a mess when removing wrong answers.

Are we permitted to leave a creative mess on paper? I mean to be visible that we were doing something hard…

Re “uncircling” – good point. Could do ticks not circles, then write all justifications, then, right before turning page, circle.

Planning to use a mechanical pencil with HB II lead inside. Not sure why everyone is leaning towards pen. I know some say its a time saver because it disciplines you to scratch out and not waste time on erasing things, but other than that…

just try 3 hours of AM in pencil and another in pen. If pencil doesn’t hurt more/use more crampy muscles to press down, then go for it. For me, dealing with wrist cramps is a distraction, and I know it hurts more with pencil.

Retaker here- I used mechanical pencil last year and it was a good choice.

Had to erase more than expected. I bought the “erasable” pens but they aren’t very good, and don’t make much of a mark on the paper.

I’ll be using mechanical again

I still haven’t decided and it’s bugging me. Something so simple shouldn’t be this complicated. Heh.

I have done all of my CFAI and Schweser AM mocks with mechanical pencil and had no wrist or cramp issues. I feel comfortable with my decision as I have tried it multiple times now. At the end of the day the choice should be a matter of candidate preference. There is no right or wrong answers here lol

I passed CFA Level III last year on first try using pen in AM. Leading up to the exam, at the beginning I used pencil but I realized that it takes longer to erase than put a line through words, so in my last couple of past AM examsI used pen and I saw my time improve. So based on my experience, I would suggest to use pen over pencil. Good luck!!

you can use pencil for morning now??? I have been away from the CFA exam for 7 years and in 2010 (last time and only time I tried Level 3) you could only use pen for morning… lots have changed! it was even 4 MC possible answers back then not 3 on the PM…

Thanks for the input. Curious, what type of pen did you use? I use gel pens at work and love writing with them but I know the Institute recommends ball point pens for whatever reason.

I used a normal blue pen

Pen or nothing!

This should be a no-brainer. Use a pencil. I’ve always laughed when people say that if you use pencil, you’d lose time because you’ll need to erase your answer while if you are using a pen you can quickly cross out the word and move on. FYI - you can also cross out the word using a pencil. It’s not written somewhere that if you use a pencil you HAVE to erase your word and then write. You can simply cross out the word with a pencil too. You won’t go to prison. LOL. And you retain the option of erasing if you need to.

Is this a serious thread?

If it is, then use a pencil (mechanical and/or classic). Bring a couple. Don’t be an idiot.

quit worrying about pen or pencil and do this: