Meet the Bulgarian analyst arguing that the CFA marking scheme isn't fair

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CFA Level III marking scheme

What do you do when you fail CFA Level III three times?

Genadiy Georgiev, a financial analyst at civil construction firm Bord in Bulgaria, is a veteran of the CFA exams. Having passed level I in 2010 and level II in 2011, he thought he was on his way to passing level III and becoming a full CFA Charterholder. Four years later, this isn't the case: Georgiev has taken CFA III three times, and failed on each occasion.

Now he's taken to the internet with some very (very) lengthy diatribes arguing that the CFA's marking method is unfair. Georgiev is no closer to passing Level III, but he's certainly raising his profile in the industry.

For those not in the know, the CFA's Level III exams differ in structure to levels I and II. Whereas I is comprised of 420 multiple choice questions and II is comprised of 120 'item questions', III involves a combination of set questions and essays.

Georgiev's complaint revolves around the marks allocated to each Level III question. In an attempt to use his time efficiently, he says he deliberately left some questions unanswered after calculating that those he was answering would provide him with a score high enough to pass. However, on receiving the results to the exams Georgiev argues that it became apparent that his unanswered questions accounted for far more marks than were indicated on the paper. "This exam is an opaque black box," he says. "Nor do they give you any feedback or behave with the sort of the transparency they try to promote in the investment industry."

For its part, the CFA Institute says it's looked at Georgiev's complaint and found it to be groundless. In August, president of the CFA Insitute Paul Smith wrote to Georgiev stating, "Your recollection of your answers and/or the structure of the question sub-parts is incorrect." In September, the CFA's chief legal officer wrote to Georgiev saying it considered the case closed.

The Institute declined to comment further on the case for this article, but Georgiev is persisting with his campaign for redemption. "I am very stubborn," he says, pointing out that he didn't complain the first two times he failed. "I cannot withstand the unfairness and injustice."

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