CFA Latest CFA Level 2 Discussions How long are those vignettes?

How long are those vignettes?

  • This topic has 25 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated Sep-17 by vincentt.
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    • vincentt
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      Just wondering how long are those vignette in the exams? I’ve read around and it was saying that it could range from 1/2 to 2 pages, but what would the average length be in the exam?

      Also, are level III vignette based as well (apart from the subjective bit)?

    • Zee Tan
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      @vincentt they tend to be at least a page long, maybe 1.5 pages. I doubt there will be half-pages – they need to ask 6 questions based on the text.

      Basically they do take quite some time to read, so make sure you’re well-practiced at skimming and have an approach to vignettes that you know works for you.

    • Reena
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      Level III is vignette based too – the afternoon paper only. As you said @vincentt, the morning paper is essay (subjective)

    • vincentt
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      @zee @reena thanks, based on ur experience how much stuff in the 1.5-2 pages long vignette are useful to the 6 questions? Also, are the questions in sequence as in from one paragraph to the other ?

      Sorry for the silly Q, I haven’t started doing any practice exams, just been doing questions and not much vignette yet.

    • Zee Tan
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      @vincentt there are no silly questions.

      The ‘useful stuff’ as you say, really varies. The CFA Institute is devious in that sense. You’ll have to read the full vignette quickly to understand what the situation is about, and underline important aspects that may come into play in later questions.

      For example, a vignette may open with ‘Champions Inc is a sports manufacturer with headquarters in Shanghai’ and goes on to talk about accounting in Germany. If you didn’t bother with the opening and went straight into the ‘meat’ of the vignette, some questions may use the point that it’s a foreign company with a local subsidiary to trick you out.

      Conclusion: There may be irrelevant sections in a vignette, but unfortunately you can’t spot them at face value – you’ll have to practice reading through the entire vignette quickly!

      On sequencing – in general the questions tend to be in sequence, or build on one another, i.e. Question 6 may be a follow on to Question 5.

    • vincentt
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      thanks @zee for the info, guess i’ll find out more when I start the actual practice questions.

    • Zee Tan
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      I’d be curious to get your initial thoughts after you’ve had a go @vincentt!

    • Sophie Macon
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      Don’t worry @vincentt, once you try the practice papers you will know. Just need to make sure you manage your time and test yourself within that time limit for best result.

    • vincentt
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      @zee will update you on that, i would probably be looking at that end of this month if not first thing in may.


      @sophie
      would u say this is more time intensive than level 1?

    • Sophie Macon
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      Well it’s hard to say. Technically we have less questions (but more to read). With the skimming technique, I find that I have more time (than Level 1).

      What may help you ‘read quicker’ is to skim the 6 questions first, before reading the vignette to search/highlight the relevant phrases for answers. That way there is more of a purpose and focus of searching for answers when reading. I found that this significantly reduced the back-and-forth checking between vignette and questions – time saver, for me at least.

      Keep us posted on how things are progressing then @vincentt. I admire your determination and hard work to learn something completely new (finance) to go for the sector/role you want (I know that’s hard), so we’re all here for you!

    • Zee Tan
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      @vincentt based on my experience, it’s safe to say that you would find it at least about as time consuming as Level 1. Although it has only half the questions, the vignettes and deeper questions slow you down. The questions are deeper because they can link 6 questions together now (as opposed to Level 1 where every question has to be independent of each other).

    • vincentt
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      @sophie @zee thank you both for the prompt reply! It’s greatly appreciated πŸ˜€

    • Zee Tan
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      No problem @vincentt!

    • Sarah
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      Simply read the complete item set, underline the important points (where there is possibility of trap), then, attempt each question one by one. This strategy is ideal for guys who have a good reading comprehension capability and can read at a faster rate. A CFA item set would have around 400-500 words and on an average two Exhibits with some data. A guy with a good reading speed can finish the reading part in 3-4 minutes and comprehend that as well. Now, each question can be given 2 minutes. Attacking and solving the topics in which you are comfortable in the beginning is a good way to execute this strategy. If you can solve 5 item sets in 60-75 minutes, there is nothing like that. This strategy can lead to pa panic button at the end of the exam. So, it is very important to write the details about the question when you plan to skip any. For example, you plan to skip a question on calculation of percentage of active portfolio in an optimal portfolio in Portfolio Management, then you can write in the exam that for solving that question, you would need to read this paragraph only or this Exhibit so that when you come back later, you don’t end up wasting a good amount of time in solving that question.

      Read this on http://konvexity.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/how-to-attempt-item-sets-in-cfa-exams/ and it reminded me of this question.

    • vincentt
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      @diya thank for the tips, i’ll take a look at the website you mentioned!

    • fabian
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      I did one vignette the other day, and including tables the text was 2.5 pages long. Does the exam contain vignettes as extensive as that?

    • Sophie Macon
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      @Fabian, yup that’s not impossible. But fret not, the fonts are slightly bigger than ‘usual’, with generous spacing, and usually includes tables etc. Or just a long-winded story πŸ˜‰ Try @diya’s suggestion, or the skim reading technique mentioned above.

    • fabian
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      I wanted to start a discussion on this and found this again instead πŸ™‚

      I timed myself the other day per vignette – I’m averaging a whopping 20 minutes per vignette. That means I’ll be done with 10 vignettes in 200 mins = way over time. It’s even worse for FRA questions – I panic for about 15 minutes then just give up completely. I’m getting pretty depressed to be honest. Anyone feeling the same?

      I’m currently reading through the question, underlining areas that I think are important, then diving into the questions. I’m beginning to think that trying to improve my time using this approach will be very incremental and I need a new strategy to get through a vignette. Thoughts?

    • Sarah
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      @fabian I think it is normal to feel depressed at this stage of the game. We are all slowly starting to do the practice exam and realizing that we don’t know as much as we though we knew…

      I don’t think 200 mins is too bad since you still have 6 weeks to shave off 2 min her vignettes but also if you are spending as much time as you are panicking shaving off 20 min overall shouldn’t be that hard after our erratic emotions are under control.

      Are there particular sections that are taking up a lot of time? Averages are misleading – if there are particular section that you are scoring low on (and taking lots of time on probably) re-read that section you might just be simply spending too much time thinking…

    • christine
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      I agree with @diya – 20 mins is OK at this stage, and I think the timing would also vary by topic. The item set format takes a bit of getting used to, but I promise you’ll adjust quickly as long as you keep at it.

      Keep on practicing and don’t worry about timing for a while – the time pressure at this stage might be additionally causing you to panic as well. Check your timing again after about 2 weeks of practice – I think you’ll be surprised πŸ™‚

    • Alex_Dolson
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      With regards to underlining important information, are different colored pens allowed when marking in the test booklet or are only pencils approved?

    • vincentt
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      @Alex_Dolsonβ€Œ only pencils, if not mistaken they prohibit you from taking anything other than pencils in.

    • Alex_Dolson
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      With regards to underlining important information, are different colored pens allowed when marking in the test booklet or are only pencils approved?

    • Alex_Dolson
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      Thanks Vincent.

    • hairyfairy
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      @Alex_Dolsonβ€Œ You can bring pens in I think, just not use them on the answering papers.

    • vincentt
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      @hairyfairy I remember the guy sitting next to me got told off when he brought pens in (level 2).

      http://www.cfainstitute.org/about/governance/policies/Pages/personal_belongings_policy.aspx

      Apparently, it’s allowed for level 3.

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