So did the exam experience live up to the hype?

Personally I thought the exam was a bit easier in places than I had anticipated, but harder in others. By the afternoon session my mind was turing to swiss cheese - completely forgot a few things i definitely should have known and am sure I changed some correct answers to wrong ones d’oh. But I take comfort in the fact that you can probalby get 72 questions wrong and still pass.

I sat it in London EXCEL center, and the food options after the morning sessions were terrible. Queued up for a burger for 30 mins and ended up throwing it in the bin after 1 bite. I also found it a bit sinister when a proctor appears next to you during the exam and starts going through your passport - really breaks the concentration and think its a bit unnecessary as they have already checked them before they put you in your seat.

I think there were some strange people in there as well. Do you really need 3 calculators, spare batteries and 20 pencils? A lot of empty seats, and a couple that didn’t return to the second session.I think I had the only HP12c in the whole hall.

Overall I think it was a fair exam and am glad that there were only 3 potential answers for quiestions instead of 4 when it came time to guess and feeling a lot more relaxed after a weekends contemplation and relaxation.

Onto CAIA Level 2 for March now followed by CFA Level 2 if/when I get my results.

Yeah I thought it was very fair. I thought I did well because there were some questions where they were trying to trick you and I was able to recognize the trap so to speak.

Good, you didn’t mention any specific topics on the exam. Just a reminder to L1 people, it is a violation to discuss what was on the exam. So, discuss how hard/easy you thought it was, but don’t mention any specific questions.

Agree with this. Some questions were pretty ambiguous, and required judgment. I was actually impressed with the concept intensive approach to questioning. Far better than just plugging values into formulas.

Overall, I thought the afternoon session was much more difficult than the morning. I took a lot more shots in the dark and/or tried to reason out an answer than just flat out knowing in the afternoon than I did in the morning. Felt like I held my own in AM, but PM not sure…depends on the guesses and educated guesses that I got correct. I agree with the calculators/batteries/etc etc. Why do people bring 20 pencils and loads of batteries? What are you going to do with 20 pencils? Why do you need 8 spare batteries? It was almost laughable. I brought two mechanical pencils, two erasers, earplugs and a calculator with fresh batteries in it.

Yeah. I felt the same. I though I did well on morning exam, and afternoon one threw some curve balls…I cam back home and checked couple of questions that I kind of guessed and they were wrong…bummer…little bit worried, though can’t imagine I could have made 70 or so errors…well…time will tell…but the wait is too much…

You don’t even need to bring fresh batteries if you have an HP 12c (it alerts you if there is little battery remaining with enough time to complete the exam). I took the exam in Madrid. In my case the place was extremely cold. They would sometimes turn the heater on, which made thinks worse (the heater only had “summer in hell” mode) I was sitting next to the bathroom, and the proctor standing there started whistling a few times during the exam. I tried the good old “Tsst!”, but nothing, he didn’t stop. I had to call one of the “bosses” there to ask him to tell his colleague to stop…He stopped, but for some reason he forgot a while later and started whistling again, I couldn’t believe it. Good thing I had my earplugs with me, just in case.

I had a 12C as well, though I didn’t notice anyone else with one. I finished the morning session pretty early, which made me feel both good and bad: good that I knew the material well enough to plow through it but bad because it made me worry about the afternoon session being much harder. The afternoon was harder, but not significantly moreso. I did have a few more that I had to make an educated guess on, but I still felt pretty confident about it. After doing Stalla practice questions and EOC practice, the actual exam seemed pretty straightforward. It also helps that I’m not the type to get nervous at tests, so I was pretty relaxed the whole time. There was a guy in front of me with 14 pencils (counted them) and 2 calculators. The guy next to me had breath so bad I could smell it even while leaning away, and he would furiously erase some answers. He also pressed the calculator buttons so hard the desk was shaking. This actually boosted my confidence since I know I must have been doing better :slight_smile: This wait until late Jan for test results is really going to suck.

I bet nobody’s calculator has ever died in mid exam. Just an urban myth but you do have to worry about someone who takes 3 calculators + batteries into the exam.

I think that all you people who can’t understand why people bring 20 pencils and 8 spare batteries to the exam have no future in finance. That guy who brought 20 pencils and 8 spare batteries left with 2 spare pencils, 1 spare battery and $600 from candidates who forgot pencils and spare batteries.

A girl sitting in the table in front of me tried to bring a ineligible calculator and obviously was not allowed to use it. She ended up borrowing an HP12C from the guy at the table next to me. I’m not sure what happened but she started the exam and left only 30min-1hr into the morning session and I never saw her again the rest of the day. Maybe she was really distressed about the calculator situation and didn’t know how to use the 12C so she just abandoned the test. That stinks to throw the 800-1200 bucks out the window like that. I would at least try - a lot of the questions don’t require calculation anyway. And it is a multiple choice test so you have a 33% chance regardless!

What actually surprised me the most was that several people showed up with only a drivers license. With a test that costs this much, with this much studying, offered twice a year, I’d have to think that you should be on top of what needs to happen on test day. If you can’t get everything together on this one day, maybe finance isn’t for you. The more important question is, if you are that guy who forgot the proper ID, would you tell your friends? :slight_smile: I’d probably just complain about how damn hard the exam was and how I probably didn’t pass.

I also feel that the afternoon session had a few curve-balls. Overall, the exam was pretty straightforward. Definitely easier than expected. My center had many weird people as well. About 5-10 were no shows. The guy who sat in front of me roamed the entire hall 2-3 times trying to find his seat until a proctor helped him and told him to sit the fuck down. It took 30 minutes after the 1st session before I could really get my bag and everything from the pile of luggage. Didn’t feel like rushing to go to the canteen on the other block, so, just ate the stuff I got for travel. Also, does the proctor come tell you if he/she is writing a violations report on you?

@JoeyDVivre I didn’t see anyone who had all those calculators / pencils offering them for sale - more likely they would not part with them in case they needed them. Their markowitz utility curves have them as too risk averse to take on that “additional risk” for such a “low return”.

I see many people thought the afternoon was harder than the morning session. For some reason, I was just the opposite. It was quite similar to the mock test I have to say, except there were quite a few ambiguous questions that try to trick you up. I was really surprised by this one girl who checked in, when asked for her calculator, she said she didn’t have one. Wow, I mean I know there’s not a whole lot of calculating going on, but what a time waster. Maybe just forgot the most important thing, Some peeps just don’t know what a checklist is.

Yeah I also don’t like the proctor’s going through things DURING the exam, just wastes the 2 min of time they are doing it, as I cannot focus. To add to that, they shouldn’t be allowed to get hot proctors. 3 of my proctors in my section were hot. It was mildly distracting b/c of of them would always be walking like behind my seat, or right in front of my table and stuff! And I hate how if someone needs to goto the washroom they just stand right by that persons desk. All of the people around me had to goto the washroom at some point (i don’t even know why you’d need to go if you go right before the exam…but anyhow) so these hot proctors are basically hovering right over my spot or right beside me, for the 5 min the person is in the bathroom. Just makes me a bit uncomfortable. No biggie, i’m just weird like that.

That girl who didn’t have a calculator is a Baller. I hope she passes. A classmate of mine from B school and I were talking about how you could easily pass L1 w/o a calculator if you were a stud. If you really knew your stuff you could work backwards from a lot of the answers.

One thing I found strange was being treated like I was back in the military taking a test. I’ve done the whole “sit quietly and don’t move while we do something, don’t get up for the bathroom or water without asking first, and proctors reserve the right to rifle through your things whenever they please” before but it was kind of a weird reminder of a previous life.

i thought the morning section was actually harder… i had my most trouble in the quant section and then maybe econ, i found quant particularly difficult though for some reason.

I also thought the morning session was more difficult. It could have been partly due to nerves also, because I came back from lunch with the mindset that I’m gonna keep fighting and do my best and hopefully answer enough questions right to pass - the morning jitters were long gone.