CFA CFA Level 3 Timing Strategies for Constructed Response

Timing Strategies for Constructed Response

  • This topic has 2 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated Oct-18 by mitch895.
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  • Arbitrageur
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    I’ve finished almost all the Schweser and all the CFAI AM exams and have found lack of time to be my biggest issue. 
    My current plan is this:

    • Identify roughly where I should be at the 1, 2, and 2.5 hour marks based on the questions before I get going. For this reason I don’t skip around the exam.
    • However, if I come across a “self-contained” sub-question that’s challenging to answer in less than the allotted time then I write down a quick guess and move on, marking it to come back later.
    • Remind myself that sometimes I just don’t know the exact answer and wasting a minute thinking isn’t going to make the answer magically appear.
    • Don’t over-complicate the answer, especially on 3-4 point questions. I won’t get more points for writing more.

    What strategies do the rest of you practice to beat the clock in constructed response?

    Arbitrageur
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    To clarify what I mean by “self-contained” — a question within a vignette that can be answered without re-reading the entire case. If it’s a complex question and it required remembering all the little details I just read (e.g. a relative value tax question in an IPS case) then I aim to do it as quickly as possible, but don’t skip ahead.

    mitch895
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    I’m taking a very similar approach.  

    For constructed response I found there to be a fairly generic structure to the guideline answers for Return Objective, Liquidity, Time Horizon.  I have now practiced these enough that they transfer to paper very easily and quickly (the guideline answers were often less wordy than when I wrote them).

    More generally, I keep tabs of where I am up to by scribbling on the cover page any of the questions I’ve skipped & potential points (i.e, Q1, D, 3points,  Q7, E, 6 points…).  I mark an asterix beside any that are particularly difficult/slow (ie., time to answer doesn’t justify points).  

    I also keep track of approx. how many points I think I have picked up at each question.  This was I can sort of get a feel for how I’m going and whether I’m on track.

    Personally I’m not too stressed about leaving maybe 10 points worth unanswered if it means I can answer the rest of the exam well. 

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