Circus music, freezing temperatures and possibly the worst CFA blunder ever

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The fallout from December’s CFA exam is always unique because it only includes Level I, meaning most are first-time test takers (or they already failed at least once). While Saturday’s session didn’t appear to include any bathroom-related disasters – as with the June exam – there were some strong reactions and interesting anecdotes, including one all-time head scratcher. Here are the highlights, according to CFA-related posts on Reddit.

Pleasant morning, rough afternoon

A significant percentage of people thought the morning session was fairly easy, only to get rolled over in the afternoon. “Went from happy that I had a good shot to looking up June’s price,” one test-taker said of the difference in difficulty. “Was told PM gonna be harder, but never expected it to be THAT HARD,” added another, comparing the feeling to taking their first-ever mock exam. While some others disagreed, the majority of people are sweating the afternoon session rather than the morning.

The circus was in town. Literally

One of the tips veteran test-takers gave us last week was to bring earplugs. That was seemingly good advice which too few happened to follow. One argument broke out in the forums over which was worse: listening to someone tap their pencil on the desk for six straight hours or the constant sound of erasing. But the winners (or losers) were Madrid test-takers, who claim that an actual circus nearby was playing music throughout the afternoon session. Another said the music could only be heard for 20 minutes, but still.

F is for fail

This one may take the cake for the most egregious mistake in recent memory. One unfortunate soul must not have read any of the exam prep materials, and his fellow test-takers were in no mood to offer any pity. The user said they only brought a pen to the exam, somehow not knowing that pencils were mandatory until the proctor was reading out the instructions. Rather than attempting to borrow a pencil from someone else, the person claimed to have used a pen for the entire morning session. Looking to the community for reassurance, he got none. Almost every reply was the same one letter response: “F.”

“This post has made me feel better about the exam today more than any other post,” one person responded. “Sorry dude, I do hope you’re able to get a manual recount but I’m happy I’m not in your shoes.” Ouch.

Some test centers were really cold

It’s December, so you’d figure most people would be prepared for cold weather, but apparently more than a few were not. “LAYER your clothes! It's seriously cold in the exam center,” wrote one user. A second added that they wore their winter coat the entire time but wish they brought a second.

Drugs, please

A few test-takers lamented the fact that they didn’t think to bring any pain pills. Stress and crouching over in uncomfortable chairs led to some headaches and back pain during the afternoon session.

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