Freakish occurrences from the CFA Level I exam on Saturday

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CFA Level I December exam

Strange news for the CFA exam halls

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.

1. Everyone said it was too easy

This Tweet, from a CFA candidate, seems to be typical of the sentiments surrounding Saturday's exams - they were easy, suspiciously so.

CFA easy

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.

2. Someone had a nightmare with their calculator 

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.

3. Someone made a stupid mistake with their exam paper 

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”."

4. Someone forgot their pencils  

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. 

5. People were wearing pyjamas

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.

6. Someone didn't hand their paper in properly

Worse, a frantic, sleep-deprived candidate on Reddit says she completed the exam one minute before the end and, "just zoned out and looked ahead." She didn't close the exam paper and didn't even notice
whether the proctor picked up her questions sheet and admission ticket.
Suddenly, however, she noticed that everyone else's answer sheet had been collected and that hers was still on the desk - still open. She called the proctor over and asked her to pick up her paper, but then she couldn't find the exam admission ticket - which had either been lost or collected already. Now she's fearful that she's violated the ethics and standards of the exam and can't relax even though the exams are over. Nightmare.

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