The feedback from many Level III candidates is that the item sets were more difficult. In reality, comparing the difficulty of item sets and essays is problematic because they cover different topic areas of the curriculum. In June 2005, the average scores on the essays and item sets were identical.
Myth: “New readings are not tested in the CFA exam during the first year they are in the curriculum. They will be tested in the second year, and you should skip new readings in your studying.”
This is absolutely not true. New readings are as likely to be tested the year they are first added to the curriculum as existing readings.
The Board of Governors sets the minimum passing score for the “just qualified candidate,” a score for someone judged to be just qualified to become a practicing investment professional. Candidates are judged against the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected in the profession, not CFA Institute finances. The passing rate is the percentage of candidates whose score is equal to or above the minimum passing score.
Myths: “If you don’t know the answer, pick C.” “If you don’t know the answer, never pick the longest answer.” “Never pick the shortest answer.” “Never pick an answer that includes words like ‘never’ or ‘always.’”
Don’t waste your time with these games. There are several well-known behavioral idiosyncrasies of exam writers and exam takers. The CFA exam writers are well educated on these and they are written out of the exam. Tricks will not help you pass the exam. Just give your honest, best answer to every question.
Myth: “CFA Institute writes the exam questions based on what is, or is not, in the notes prepared by review course providers.”
The exam development process begins long before any review course has published its notes. Question writers begin drafting exam questions several months before any review course materials are published. At no time during the development process do question writers or CFA Institute staff consult review course materials.
Myth: “There is the right way, the wrong way, and the CFA way.”
Although this is a cute saying, it's not helpful. The assigned curriculum is academically and professionally sound. (We receive e-mails from candidates on any instance where the curriculum is not tight.) The exam is designed to be sound. The “correct answer” and the “CFA answer” should be the same.
Myth: “The key to passing the exam is to get the most points on Financial Statement Analysis. You should skip Derivatives because everyone misses those anyway.”
Statistical analysis of exam results shows that all topics are contributing proportionately to success on the exam. If you decide to skip some of the study sessions, you may be making a mistake. Studying twice as hard on your favorite topics and skipping your least-favorite topics will probably lower your total score. Try to study all topic areas assigned for the exam.