Student Lounge A question that will plague me until my dying days…

A question that will plague me until my dying days…

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    • MattyJ
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      When I took my Level 1 exam in London in 2011, just like everyone else I entered the exam hall and queued up to check in and get shown to my seat. As is the process, you first show your exam ticket and passport, and then have to have your calculator(s) vetted to make sure there is no funny business going on.

      As I was queuing up, this Asian guy in front of me checked in and handed his ticket over. The proctor then asked if he had a calculator to get checked. Apparently not. This guy was walking into the CFA Level 1 exam, and exam potentially filled with a multitude of hard calculations, without a calculator.

      Either he was exceptionally clever, or exceptionally stupid. But that I will never know, and it really bugs me.

      (I didn’t see him the following year though!)

    • jimmyg
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      That is pretty legend. I’ve heard of Level 3 candidates not bothering with a calculator, but that makes a bit more sense since there’s less calculation. Going into Level 1 or 2 without a calculator is suicide.

      Having said that, even if you were confident of your abilities, going in without a calculator is just not smart. Even if you were Bruce Lee you wouldn’t walk in unarmed into war, for example.

      Unless you were this guy.

    • MattyJ
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      Yeah I know, if you can take a calculator in, why on earth wouldn’t you?

      As Jack Churchill would say, “any candidate who goes into action without his BAII Plus Professional is improperly armed.”

    • tacheman
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      This reminded me of a series of “Life in Hard Mode” jokes I heard in the office a while back. Did some quick googling:

    • Zee Tan
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      This seems to happen quite often in my experience. No one I know, so I haven’t been able to discern why…

    • Sarah
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      I know a few people who are awesome in mental math and find the calculator bothersome and something that just slows them down…

    • Zee Tan
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      I know a few people who are awesome in mental math and find the calculator bothersome and something that just slows them down…

      Kind of like why the Hulk doesn’t use any guns?

    • Sophie Macon
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      It’s kinda like those people who walked out the exams 1 hour before it ends… I always wondered if they were geniuses or just giving up?!

    • Sarah
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      @Sophie I did that and I assure you I’m not a genius.

    • MattyJ
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      I was always told never leave an exam early, always stay and recheck your answers if you have time. That said, I also have a friend who leaves as soon as he finishes to avoid the risk of changing a right answer to a wrong one! I know I’ve definitely spotted mistakes though whilst going back over things.

    • Sarah
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      For me its about if I have done the exam and checked it over once. I don’t see why I should stay longer and it will probably cause me to over-think and change right answers to wrong ones.

    • Sophie Macon
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      @Sophie I did that and I assure you I’m not a genius.

      That’s excellent time management @Diya (which takes a little genius to execute right) 🙂

    • Sophie Macon
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      @MattJuniper, I’m the same that way too. I will stay on till the end and check the questions for a round (sometimes I only have time for the ones I’ve circled)!

    • Snippy
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      I remember when i first went for a few CFA lectures, some of the lecturers said that you could actually write and pass the CFA L1 exam without a calculator. I never understood or took the risk.

    • MattyJ
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      I remember when i first went for a few CFA lectures, some of the lecturers said that you could actually write and pass the CFA L1 exam without a calculator. I never understood or took the risk.

      I took courses with 7city, who told us that for level 1 you could get roughly 40% right just through common sense (I.e. even if you don’t know the exact equations, you can discount many answers just by knowing the basics like if rates go up a bond price drops)

    • Zee Tan
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      But why take the risk?

    • MattyJ
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      But why take the risk?

      Exactly my thoughts

    • Maroon5
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      LOL – don’t sweat about this, or what people are doing. Most importantly, the objective is to pass, and if you’re sure of that, you can walk out early in style.

    • Snippy
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      Yeah, i’d like to be “risk free” in this matter. 😛

    • hairyfairy
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      @MattJuniper you should stop him and just casually ask him what’s up with the lack of calculators next time!

    • MattyJ
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      @MattJuniper you should stop him and just casually ask him what’s up with the lack of calculators next time!

      I would, but he’s probably working for NASA now. Or Goldman Sachs.

    • Marc
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      @MattJuniper

      Interesting anecdote. It’s a good reminder for everyone to be prepared and not leave anything to chance.

      On a related topic, my study break vice these days has been watching “Boardwalk Empire”. I wasn’t sure if this would mean anything to a largely UK-based forum, but, if Wikipedia can be believed, it is broadcast in both the UK and Ireland on something called “Sky Atlantic”. It’s a great show and I recommend that people who have not seen it do so starting around June 2nd. Fortunately for me, I have only one more episode to watch and I will be caught up to the end of Season 3 (or what you might refer to as “Series 3”).*

      Anyway, in a show that is positively overflowing will great characters and brilliant acting performances, one character/actor manages to stand out – London’s own Jack Huston, who plays Richard Harrow. Studying for the CFA has sapped my brain of any ability to express myself creatively, so I will just say that he is awesome and every scene he is in is, well, also awesome.

      For those who are unfamiliar with this character, Mr. Harrow is a WW1 veteran who lost half his face in the war and covers his wounds with a “Phantom of the Opera”-style face plate that has been painted to replicated his former face (complete with a half-moustache). Apparently, this was the pinnacle of prosthetic medicine in the 1920s. Here’s a picture.

      To make a long story short, I’m thinking that I will go into the exam with a Richard Harrow-style face place. If a proctor questions me, I will simply say that I left the rest of my face on a field in Normandy and ask what contribution he/she made to the effort to stop the Kaiser from having his way with Western Europe. That should put an end to any further questions.

      Thoughts?

      *Anyone who reveals any “spoilers” related to the season 3 finale will be exiled from this forum, right, @zee?

    • Zee Tan
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      That would be amazing @marc! LOL

    • tacheman
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      I’m tempted to go in a full morning suit – just rent one…

    • Snippy
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      Maybe I can go wearing a jump suit? With a mask maybe.

    • fabian
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      I sense a whole different kind of challenge now on exam day…

    • Sophie Macon
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      Most-outrageously-dressed badge? Only for the brave ones. To apply, please attach accompanying photos of outfit on exam day.

    • Zee Tan
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      @sophie excellent idea!

    • microeconomist
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      I can see that happening at an exam maybe once in a blue moon. I know two functional autistics (cousins). One is an actuary (light autism) and the 2nd does theoretical work in programming/coding that I cannot even begin to describe.

      Although the 1st may not need a calculator for a cfa exam, the 2nd would most definitely not need a calculator. However, she cannot sit in a room for more than an hour at a time. Sometimes, she will use a calculator to get the process/mechanics/ocd trigger..something that she cannot explain… into her mind, but then it is there forever.

      When she was 14 and I was at uni, she showed me shortcuts on how to solve micro problems involving differential calculus –some Prof’s would even ask me about my scratchwork after exams. I had to assure them that I was no genius [like that took some convincing :)) ] and that I had a math tutor.

      Now that she is older and can articulate ideas much better, I need a wee bit o’scotch before we talk because her outlook on problems, and corresponding views on how to arrive at a solution, are just mind-blowing.

      In fact, the autism rate here in California is so high, it would not surprise me to see 1 or 2 candidates without calculators in December.

    • MockTurtle
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      Wow, @microeconomist, that’s really fascinating about your cousin. I’m so happy and proud (even though she’s not my cousin) that she has a fulfilling career.

    • microeconomist
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      @MockTurtle oops, I was a bit unclear. Both of them are cousins and family friends.

    • CFAcharterwannabe
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      well maybe he went back for it later. I did the same thing once during my ACCA financial reporting exam. U cant imagine NOT having a calculator in that exam. U have consolidation, IFRS n other things. I actually forgot to take my calculator inside the hall. I only realised that after the exam started. So i had to run back and get my calculator from my bag while everyone else had started the paper. So maybe it was something like that. Seriously exam days can be pretty weird!

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