Why can't we talk about the test?

I get the Standards and what it says… but I just don’t fully see the reasoning behind this oathe of secrecy. At the end of the day, these tests are given once a year and change EVERY year - past exams are never made available, the volume is massive and the amount of formulas to know is massive. Most of us walk away remembering a few questions here and there… so what harm does it cause to discuss the test beyond vagueries and sentiment?

I see a lot of people come on here, and the moment someone gets too close to making a specific comment on exam material, they jump all over them as if this instinct to defend the sanctity of the test is embedded in their DNA. Do you REALLY feel that way, or are you just doing it cause every one else is doing it and you don’t want to get in trouble with CFAI?

I’m not trying to cause trouble… just to better understand the incentive. I mean… I kind of do, and in a way I am playing devil’s advocate, but I was wondering if there was more to it than I can think of. I also understand that it will make it harder for CFA to produce tests in the future, but it will also force them to produce better tests.

Does this rule apply to other charters/professional credentials (i.e. CA, CAIA, FRM…)?

Just my 2 cents, but I don’t think most AF members here who may bring up the code and standards when someone posts about an exam question are looking to “defend the sanctity of the test”. I’d bet most are genuinely interested in helping other members avoid a potential sanction, assuming that whomever authored the post isn’t fully aware of the rules. You can bet that the CFAI reads these forums after an exam looking for violations that may be blatant enough to pursue. Or, it’s at least safer to assume they do. Why put in all those hours to potentially have your exam disqualified, or have it happen to one of your fellow candidates?

As far as the “why” question goes, only the Institute can answer that. I’m sure they review their policies periodically and would change it if they felt the rule was too strict or detrimental to the process in some way. In the end, they obviously feel it helps preserve the integrity of the examination process, so we just have to go with that and abide by it as candidates.


Rule #1 about fight club…don’t talk about fight club.

Same concept here.

Absolutely true JayWill.

True… guess maybe I was being too cynical…

I encourage you to e-mail CFA Institute and ask them.

It beats all of the idle speculation here.

CFAI doesn’t want candidates to discuss the test because they don’t want 3rd party providers planting dummy test takers in the exam to lift actual questions for their review material. Also, CFAI wants to minimize “question dilution” of heavily tested areas by preventing free discussion, particularly on internet forums.

Disclosure of Exam Content

Candidates must not share information about exam content with anyone, including other candidates.

In violation of the rules and regulations of the CFA Program, some candidates compiled, solicited and/or disclosed exam content via web posts, blogs, or other means after the administration of the exam. The Professional Conduct Program investigated each suspected violation. At the conclusion of the investigation, if the Professional Conduct Program determined the candidate compiled, solicited and/or disclosed exam content after the administration of the exam, the candidate was advised of the findings and recommended sanction. Each candidate was provided an opportunity to accept the Professional Conduct Program’s findings and recommended sanction or request a Hearing Panel.

From 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2013, the following sanctions were imposed for this violation, either as accepted by the candidate or imposed by a hearing panel composed of Disciplinary Review Committee members:

  • 3 Private Reprimands
  • 1 Censure
  • 1 One-Year Suspension
  • 3 Five-Year Suspensions
  • 1 Prohibition

All of these cases included a finding of a violation of the rules and regulations and therefore resulted in the voiding of the candidate’s exam results

Thanks but my original question wasn’t about what the sanctions were incase of violation, but rather the reason, or logic, behind this rule in the first place.

I have done chartered Accountancy exams and no, we can talk as much as we want, in fact, past papers are made available to us, and although I used to practice past peapers, I have never taken the real exam and felt that it exactly matched one exam I practiced before. As you are saying, exams change everyday! Specially when they are multiple choices, it is easier to change them.

But what I don’t REALLY get, is how CFAI even doesn’t allow us to menton that a certain topic came in the exam (e.g. corporate finance), like I can try to understand why they don’t want us to mention specific questions, but topics? That’s extreme and a little illogical given the fact that topics are disclosed by the CFAI itself, not only the topics but their weights in the exam! I can’t see the point.

Why don’t you e-mail them and ask them?

I can’t be bothered much! Just a wondering.