The CFA Level I December exams are over. On Saturday, 66,000 people spent six hours of their day incarcerated in examination halls for the two sittings. In the northern hemisphere it was dark when they arrived and it was dark when they left.
No one will know whether they've passed until late January, but anecdotes are circulating in the meantime. This is what you need to know.
This Tweet, from a CFA candidate, seems to be typical of the sentiments surrounding Saturday's exams - they were easy, suspiciously so.
Candidates writing on Analyst Forum, suggest the morning exam was particularly simple,mostly because there were far fewer quantitative questions than expected. This may sound like good news - except that the CFA Institute adjusts the passing score for each exam according to the proportion of candidates who answer the questions correctly. An abnormally easy exam implies that the minimum passing score will be abnormally high.
Before you go into a CFA exam hall, check your calculator doesn't breach the regulations - especially if you've borrowed it from someone else. One candidate, writing on Analyst Forum, said he borrowed a friend's calculator and that when the invigilator turned it over, he found a 'sticky note with a bunch of corporate finance formulas.' Surprisingly, they let him go.
Another candidate described how he made a stupid error while filling in the ID boxes at the top of the paper. " I shaded one of the number in the CFA Institute ID wrongly. Instead of “1”, I shaded “0”."
When you're taking a CFA exam, you need to bring your own pencils. There were reports of people having 30+ pencils on their desk, but someone reportedly brought none. "Never in my life I saw someone face turned blue in a matter of seconds just like that," says a candidate who posted on the forum 300Hours.
Also on 300Hours, a candidate based in Los Angeles said a surprising number of test takers were wearing pyjamas. That may just be LA though.