CFA CFA Level 3 Pen or Pencil?

Pen or Pencil?

  • This topic has 26 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated Apr-17 by Zee Tan.
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    • AjFinance
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      Are you guys planning to use a pen or a pencil for the essay section?

    • Sophie Macon
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      I used pen. Not because I was confident! I was afraid the instructor couldn’t read or it got smeared etc as I’m left handed and only ball pen helps keep things tidy. 🙂

    • Sarah
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      but @AjFinance writing with a pen is effortless. The ballpoint just guilds across the page. For university exams you have to write with pen if you want a chance to contest a point so I tend to plan with pencil and write with pen. Since I can write with pen faster, especially if it is well balanced.

    • Zee Tan
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      I’m just paranoid.

    • AjFinance
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      @Sophie I’m just worried about writing something and then realising its wrong. Especially, the questions with templates.

      @Diya I know, its just that I’m concerned about writing down something wrong.

    • AjFinance
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      @Zee Did you use any special type of pencil? German made? 😛

    • Sarah
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      @AjFinance my fountain pens are Germany made but they are too precious for exam purposes! And I wouldn’t be surprised if CFAI had a policy against purple ink.

    • AjFinance
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      @Diya Might be. But its always worth checking with them.

    • Sarah
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    • Zee Tan
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      @Zee Did you use any special type of pencil? German made? 😛

      Eberhard Faber. So ya German.

    • fabian
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      Wait. You can use a pen? That’s a good tip @AJFinance! I’ll probably go pen (if/when I finally reach that day…)

    • AjFinance
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      @Fabian In fact, a pen is recommended. But CFAI also accept pencils. You will soon reach that stage 🙂

    • Sarah
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      I wonder why they recommended one instrument over the other.

    • AjFinance
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      @Diya No idea. Thats what I’ve heard across a few forums. 8->

    • Zee Tan
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      @fabian, @ajfinance, @diya – pens are recommended because pencil marks will fade and smudge if the papers are stacked and shuffled over time. Which is what happens when they group and transport papers for marking.

    • sankrutimehta
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      Pen..not cus i am confident but i am practising to think before i write an answer rather than just jotting down what comes to my mind

    • padniaki
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      Pen for morning, pencil for afternoon.

      Let’s change course: what pens are you guys going to be using? I’ve found some cheap bics that I really like, but I wouldn’t mind spending a little on a lucky “exam day” pen, haha.

    • AjFinance
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      @padniaki I would also like to know whats the pencil strategy my fellow pencil users have 😛 Like carrying a bunch of pencils so you won’t have to keep sharpening often 😀 @Marc?

    • Zee Tan
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      @padniaki I would also like to know whats the pencil strategy my fellow pencil users have 😛 Like carrying a bunch of pencils so you won’t have to keep sharpening often 😀 @Marc?

      I did that. I still have my pencils in my drawer – never use them in any other case!

    • AjFinance
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      @Zee I usually do that as well. How many did you take with you?

    • sankrutimehta
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      @padniaki: M also buying a couple of cheap ones..they are light and so are easier to write quickly..though m thinking of using pencil to choose the correct option types questions and pen to justify those responses.

    • padniaki
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      Are you kidding @AjFinance? Mechanical pencils, 100%.

    • Zee Tan
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      @Zee I usually do that as well. How many did you take with you?


      @AJfinance
      I usually take quite a few (about 5-7), but I bring about 3 sharpened ones into the actual exam hall. Plus a sharpener.

    • adossa3
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      Recommended pen as scared answers may fade out

    • Marc
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      @AJfinance,

      Sorry, I thought I mentioned this before.

      @ padniaki is 100% right. I will be going with mechanical pencils. I used standard pencils for Levels 1 and 2, primarily because in North America (I don’t know what it’s like in Europe), we get it beaten into our heads from about age 5 that for multiple choice exams YOU MUST USE STANDARD #2 PENCILS, NO EXCEPTIONS, NO EXCUSES. So I never thought to do anything different. In fact, when I sat Level 2 in London, I noticed that the yellow pencils that are ubiquitous in North America are not so ubiquitous in the UK – so I had to make a special request at Ryman’s because I was worried that somehow the proctors would frown upon my black and red pencils (which, by the way, I still have today – despite having moved 6 times in 5 years). However, I checked with CFAI and you are allowed to use mechanical pencils.

      Actually, this brings up another point. When we lived in London, my wife worked for a very prestigious law firm by the name of Slaughter and May (note: NEVER write it “Slaughter & May” or they will come after you). Anyway, Slaughter’s had the BEST mechanical pencils with their logo emblazoned on them. I will be bringing a couple of those with me on the 1st as well as a couple that have been commandeered from my current employer. I quite like those ones as well, despite the fact that they are not emblazoned with my firm’s logo.

    • Zee Tan
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      My £2.50 to buy my stack of wooden pencils went to waste then… Didn’t know you could use mechanical pencils 😀

    • Zee Tan
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      How awesome is this?!

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