Analyzing Level I June 2012 Performance by Topic

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During results week (first for Level I & II, then Level III) as you may know, 300 Hours created a range of online tools to help readers analyze and break down the details of their results. The second part of the analysis, as hinted, is to aggregate the results and draw out conclusions from the overall sample. 

In the past few weeks, work has been pretty manic, but squeezing some time here and there, I’ve been keeping busy analyzing the dataset, and I’m excited to be able to share the first bit of the results today!

Thanks to everyone who responded! The pass rate of the sample turned out to be much higher than the overall 38% pass rate for Level I – a whopping 72%. A reflection of the high candidate quality of 300 Hours’ readers?
Level I Candidate Sample Breakdown by Grade
For this post, we will explore performance by topic. Below is the breakdown mix of every topic category in the Level I results table for the entire sample.
This is followed by the topic-by-topic breakdown for just the failing candidates.
Finally, the topic breakdown for all passing candidates.
Clear strongest subjects. The subjects with the best performance by candidates are Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, Ethics and Financial Reporting & Analysis. So strong, in fact, that in the passing candidates’ sample, almost no candidate scored below 50% in any of those topics. These topics are relative heavyweights as well – together, these subjects comprise about 53% of the exam.

Weak areas. The pain points for candidates seem to be Derivatives, Economics and Quantitative Methods. This is especially significant in Economics and Quantitative Methods as they account for 10% and 12% of the exam respectively. Derivatives is the weakest subject, but as it accounts for 5% of the exam, the patterns observed in Economics and Quantitative Methods are more worrying.

Differences between passing and failing candidates. The drop in quality across failing candidates compared to the passing pool is fairly even, with the exception of several observations. High-weighting topics decline more than others – a solemn reminder to candidate to make sure to focus on topics with high weighting. A notable exception to this is Ethics – with 15% weighting, it is one of the best-performing topics in the failed candidates sample. The note on Ethics adjustment seems to have positively influenced performance there!

There’s still more to come. Obviously this is not the end of the analysis – just what I can get down for today. Expect more on Level I, and we still have Level II and III to come in the following weeks! Meanwhile make sure you maximize your prep by utilizing the Resources section, and vote in this week’s Weekly Poll!

Like this post? Get our analysis report for all our analytics for all levels, or view our 10 Commandments for every level!

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan


2 thoughts on “Analyzing Level I June 2012 Performance by Topic”

  1. The sample size is quite large – I was surprised by that as well. If you have a look at the Level II you’ll see that the performance drops significantly compared to Level I. I don’t have number of hours or educational background though, so that might be interesting questions to include in the next iteration of the analysis tool!

  2. It’s interesting that none of the passing candidates failed Ethics or FRA. What was the the sample size? It would be interesting to see a breakdown by number of hours studied, 3rd party provider, or educational / career background.


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