Taking CFA exams is like doing a miner’s job. Digging deeper every day till you find the precious resource. Probably you would have passed CFA levels 1 and 2, but may find it a bit challenging to get to CFA level 3 as it is highly complex, comprising constructive essay-type questions. So let’s try and explore some exciting strategies that will help you get the most out of the constructive section of the CFA level 3 exam.
Constructive part needs careful reading ability as the questions are more tricky. Understand the questions and don’t be haste into answering vignette questions abruptly. Taking time to read questions will help you categorize relevant information from the vignette from not-so-important content.
You may have rushed to the exam center or hall after struggling on the road with rush hour traffic or waking up later on the exam day, but this cannot be repeated in answering the vignette questions as you may tend to miss important information that appears like a footnote beneath the table. The magic bullet you need here to learn is ‘slow down.
Answer what is asked
There is no chance that you would be awarded extra points for answering questions that are not asked, hence do not waste your time. Time management is extremely important in answering vignette questions, so answer the question exactly asked. For instance, if you are asked to answer two questions, write only two! Don’t try a brain dump, dumping everything that you know about the question asked.
To excel in the vignette questions section, you need a strong command of the English language. Language plays a key role in vignette questions as it is set by the exam committee and they expect responses in tune with their thoughts put inside the questions. Our baseline advice is that you get familiarized with command language and vocabulary used by the CFA Institute so that your responses may carry weight and value in the eye of the examiner.
It is more common that candidates to struggle with the level 3 CFA exam, especially in managing time. The best advice is not to spend too much time on one question or part of the question. Read the timing instructions carefully so that you may dedicate an adequate amount of time set for each question. Time also helps you to answer the questions in more concise and creative ways. Even if you go wrong in some sense, but your thought process and work are aligned with the answer, the examiner will recognize where you made it and grade you accordingly.
Is the key for your examiner to credit you with good marks. Do not try to bring contradictory assumptions into play while making positive thoughts, this might lead to false hopes.
Use Bullet Marks
CFA Level 3 is not English literature that requires answers in lengthy and descriptive but crisp and engaged. Try to answer the questions in bullet points and let your content be to the point with phrases. This can earn you credits. Always note that the final answer that you write needs to be highlighted in bold as it will help your examiner to spot the answer quickly or he may miss it out and that will pull down your score.
Don’t erase your work
When you find a problem at the beginning of solving a math problem, never try to delete the work altogether! Just mark the portion where you went wrong to the examiner so that you can earn partial grading. And never try to avoid easy answers and assume that difficult questions will earn you credits, believe me, that’s a big mistake. It doesn’t matter if your examiner thinks that you can crack easy ones that you are confident about!
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