CFA CFA Level 3 My exam day experience

My exam day experience

  • This topic has 26 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated May-17 by Zee Tan.
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    • MattyJ
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      So, the day came and went. How did it go? Here’s my experience/observations/predictions:

      This was the first time I had taken the exam whilst not living in London. As many of you know, I travelled back from Guernsey a week before the exam and spent the time at my parents revising hard. I was doing about 12 hours a day of revision, which towards the end was catching up with me. I know people say not to cram just before the test, but I have always revised right up until the final whistle (and even this time I’m glad I did that).

      I travelled up to London on the Friday afternoon, which was a nightmare in itself because the coach took an hour longer than it should have done. I then had to get across from Victoria to the Excel Centre with a bag full of books on a Friday evening in London. Great. When you want to get somewhere quickly, people always seem to be getting in your way. I’m pretty sure they are always getting in your way, but you notice it more when you’re in a hurry.

      I arrived at the hotel around 9, planning to spend a couple of hours reading whilst getting some room service in for dinner. It was a brilliant plan, except the Ibis Hotel didn’t do room service. I was told I could go and order from the restaurant and take it back to my room though. So down I headed, only to find an empty restaurant with not even a waitress in sight. So I ditched that plan and went across the road to the Nisa Local, where I managed to get an interesting combination of some salt & vinegar crisps, some Jacobs crackers, some babybel cheese and a banana (gotta have your 5-a-day!).

      As was always going to happen, I didn’t sleep very well the night before. In fact, even using the word ‘sleep’ to describe what I went through is probably being a bit colourful with the truth. For several hours I drifted in and out of a light daze, and when I was dozing all I was dreaming about was the exam itself. Horrible. So on E-day, the single day I had been working up to for several months, I felt like a zombie who had just been on a 36-hour bender.

      Ok, so on to the exam. I had gone through multiple mock exams before the day, and generally done ok. I was actually looking forward to the AM paper as the previous papers hadn’t been too bad, and didn’t require as much detail as I had expected prior to doing them. Unfortunately, the one thing I omitted to do was a mock paper under exam conditions and within 3 hours. this was a mistake. It turns out 3 hours is actually quite short. I was trying to write full answers whilst keeping things neat, and this meant I struggled badly on time. I was only about half way through the paper with an hour to go. It was at this point I remembered @Sophie’s article on how she felt in Level 3 with no time left to do 3 questions. I took some deep breaths, and waited for that moment of calming down and clarity. Unfortunately it never came. I therefore progressed on through the paper trying to scoop as many points as I could. The problem was, I had no time to actually read any of the text. I had to go straight to Part A, go with my first thoughts with a brief reference to the Vignette, and get something down that made some sense. I got through the paper but I don’t think it bodes well.

      The afternoon session was a bit better, although I do know I made some mistakes and there was some other bits I just didn’t know.

      Overall, I’m not confident I have passed. If I do, it will be a miracle, but having scrapped through Level 2 I just cannot see my luck continuing. A lot of other candidates felt the same time pressure in the morning paper so this may help my cause, but I doubt it. Time will undoubtedly tell.

      It would be good to see how other Level 3 candidates felt it went?

    • shermme
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      The same for part A… gotta try again next year!

    • Sophie Macon
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      That is exactly how I felt @MattyJ, and how I rushed through the remaining bits. As long as you filled it up with something sensible, there’s a chance for some points. On the bright side, you had more time left than me for the remaining questions!

    • MattyJ
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      The problem with running out of time was that I was so aware that I was running out of time I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing and think straight, which made it even worse.

      Like you say, there is always a chance, but not a vey big one!

    • AjFinance
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      @MattyJ I had a similar experience. I was left with around 5 questions for the last 1 hour. I tried not to think about it too much, but under exam conditions and with the proctor announcing less than 1 hour to go, the pressure gets to you.

      I remembered Sophie’s exam day experience as well. In the end I couldn’t complete the entire paper, ended up skipping a few questions where I felt the “Required Answer – No of minutes” ratio wasn’t reasonable to take a chance.

      Afternoon session was only a bit better, but I felt like time was running out in both the sessions. At times, 5 minute intervals felt like 2 minutes. There were quite a few dodgy questions in the afternoon session. I might have guessed some to just fill in the ovals.

      Thinking of it, I don’t really fancy my chances come August. I just wished I should’ve put in more effort, but maybe thats how you feel in hindsight. As far as the E-Day experiences of other candidates, I’m sure there might be quite a few who would have aced it, so I wouldn’t really bother thinking of it. Not to think about the results till August is the only way one can approach it after a not-so-great exam day experience. Goodluck to all for Judgement day!

    • AjFinance
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      Even with all these time constraints, I could see a few people leaving 30 mins earlier in the afternoon session.

    • Sophie Macon
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      In the end I couldn’t complete the entire paper, ended up skipping a few questions where I felt the “Required Answer – No of minutes” ratio wasn’t reasonable to take a chance.

      You’ve done the best you can here, and it’s the right strategy. Don’t worry – I didn’t finish it either and still scraped through!

      [-O< [-O< [-O<

    • AjFinance
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      In the end I couldn’t complete the entire paper, ended up skipping a few questions where I felt the “Required Answer – No of minutes” ratio wasn’t reasonable to take a chance.

      You’ve done the best you can here, and it’s the right strategy. Don’t worry – I didn’t finish it either and still scraped through!

      [-O< [-O< [-O<

      I hope its enough ๐Ÿ™‚

    • sankrutimehta
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      I could soo relate to you @AjFinance…my attempt was no different from yours.. and as per my exam day conversation with others most students had a similar issues…some rays of bright light to lead me till August…
      On a seperate note: anyone feeling the so called CFA gap!!?? 8-X 8->

    • Sophie Macon
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      On a seperate note: anyone feeling the so called CFA gap!!?? 8-X 8->

      :)) indeed – you feel lost with all the weekends, weeknights back – what do you do? That said, without the CFA Gap syndrome, @zee @christine and I probably wouldn’t be here!

    • clwcain
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      Even with all these time constraints, I could see a few people leaving 30 mins earlier in the afternoon session.

      I freaked out classmates in law school when I got up and left the room early. They assumed, due to my classroom performance, that I “aced” the exams. Fact was, I was lost…so I doodled in my blue book until a half an hour before the exam ended and then handed it in.

      It was great for psychological warfare…but my grade for that subject reflected my submission.

      On a different exam, I was last submitted…and highest score, according to my professor, that he’d seen in the preceding 10 years. And that was one I was really down about because I was the last to submit my blue book.

      So, speaking from personal experience, although in an admittedly different realm, don’t let the “early exits” concern you. Some of them may have simply been throwing in the towel after giving it a good effort.

    • AjFinance
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      Even with all these time constraints, I could see a few people leaving 30 mins earlier in the afternoon session.

      Some of them may have simply been throwing in the towel after giving it a good effort.


      @clwcain
      I thought the same thing once the exam got over.

    • sankrutimehta
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      @Sophie: I think past 3 years of CFA studies have made me sooo used to being on my toes that I actually enrolled myself to Mandarin language classes beginning 9th June ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    • AjFinance
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      I could soo relate to you @AjFinance…my attempt was no different from yours.. and as per my exam day conversation with others most students had a similar issues…some rays of bright light to lead me till August…
      On a seperate note: anyone feeling the so called CFA gap!!?? 8-X 8->

      Its back to Job Hunting for me ๐Ÿ™‚

    • sankrutimehta
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      @AjFinance: thats what I intend to begin soon along with some hobby classes to keep busy ๐Ÿ˜€ May be ballroom dancing ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Sophie Macon
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      Wow @sankrutimehta, that’s amazing! Many of the talented 300HC people here speak multiple languages too, impressive ๐Ÿ™‚

    • sankrutimehta
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      @Sophie: Anyone who can teach me Mandarin??

    • AjFinance
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      @sankrutimehta you’re already employed, aren’t you?

    • AjFinance
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      @sankrutimehta Maybe you can learn spanish as well if you like dancing, its an integral part of latin culture ๐Ÿ™‚

    • sankrutimehta
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      @AjFinance: Yes I am..and looking to get through research and financial modelling…Next stop would be spanish then ;)..have learnt a bit basic ballroom dancing though :p

    • Sophie Macon
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      woohoo sounds like loads of fun activities @sankrutimehta! I’m quite a klutz at ballroom but its fun

    • AjFinance
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      @AjFinance: Yes I am..and looking to get through research and financial modelling…Next stop would be spanish then ;)..have learnt a bit basic ballroom dancing though :p

      ยกBuenas Suerte!

      :-bd

    • sankrutimehta
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      @Sophie: muchas gracias

    • homsi
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      I actually have a different experience than most. I did fairly good in the morning session but stumbled in the afternoon session. I was always good on time mgmt and had no issues there.

      But what i am having difficulties now is adjusting back to a normal life. I feel so lost. I felt lost in the other levels but i guess i put extra work and pressure on myself for level 3 and i feel useless as i am not studying or aimless if that makes sense

    • Sophie Macon
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      :)) @homsi – we all do have the CFA withdrawal symptom, there are lots of suggestions on how to fill the void here.

    • adossa3
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      Yep, mine was a horrid experience. Running short of time in AM, as made sure i did Retail and inst. properly, but then lacked time to do other 50% of the AM paper. Then panicked, tried to calm down, wd succeed in reducing tension, only to realise that i was not being able to read cases properly, was jumping to qs, to write what i cd. Pm session was not as easy , at least to me, as people around me, found it, people discussing after the exam, said that 2012 last yr was easier, and the year before that was even easier, both AM and PM. I shall have to do again next year. What shd i do ? i studied so hard, last 2 months, but the last 3 days, before exam was a bad cae of nerves. When shd one start doing the past papers – a good 30 days before. my mistake, i tried doing them on May 10 and realised i had not revised enough to do them, cd do 50% of the papers only. My mistake, and now looking back, did not have the time mgt practice, even though i knew the material. Feel awful, shfd be ready to do papers by 1st of May, as you need time to learn what you dont know. Feel lost as well, and aimless.

    • Zee Tan
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      @adossa3 – don’t despair just yet. Focus on having a proper rest before exam results day!

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