11 Horror Stories About The Super-Hard Exam That Wall Streeters Will Be Taking This Saturday


The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam is this Saturday and test-takers are probably freaking out.

The CFA, which has three levels, is considered to be the most difficult test on Wall Street with fewer than 20 per cent of candidates passing all three on the first try.

The average test-taker also spends a solid five to six months preparing for the CFA.

That’s not the only reason they’d be freaking out, though.

Every test-taker hopes things go smoothly and according to plan, but we’ve heard some crazy horror stories.

We’ve included them here.  Make sure this doesn’t happen to you. 

CFA test-takers witnessed a girl get locked out of the exam room after the break session during the level 2 exam.

'Between the morning and afternoon sections of the CFA exam, there's a two hour break. The proctors always warn you to get back to the exam room like 10-15 minutes before the break ends because they start reading instructions for the next part of the exam right when the 2 hours is up.

In the room where I was writing Level 2, the entrance into the test centre was in the front of the room, and all the test takers sit facing the entrance. There were about 300 of us.

Just before the 2 hour mark (or maybe it was right at the 2-hour mark), the proctor started reading the instructions over the loudspeakers, but the doors to the entrance were still open.

Then, one girl walks through the door in mid-instruction. She was probably right on time, but late by CFA test standards.

The proctor stops reading, and tells the girl over the loud speaker: 'I'm sorry, you have to go back through the doors.' The girl stepped back, then the proctor said on the loud speaker 'Can someone close that door?'

Everyone watched as the door closed on the girl, who just had this blank stare on her face. You could feel the collective gasp in the room as what just happened weighed down on everyone.

That girl never came back into the room, and wasn't able to take the second part of the exam. Six months of studying and preparation for nothing.

I feel bad for saying this, but it was a distraction feeling pity for the poor girl.'

Source: Business Insider

A bunch of test-takers got screwed out of a little cram study session during the two hour break when hotel staff decided to throw all their backpacks in a massive pile.

'The test site was at a hotel in Midtown New York a couple years back.

Everybody brings their notes to the CFA exam in hopes of cramming during the two-hour break in the middle of the exam.

The institute doesn't allow you to bring bags into the exam room, so everybody assumes there's a bag check of some sort. But there wasn't one at this hotel so everybody left their bags outside in the hallway.

Apparently the bags were a fire hazard, so during the first part of the exam the hotel staff essentially bulldozed all the backpacks into an empty ballroom. There were hundreds and hundreds of backpacks in huge mounds in no organised fashion. It was f---ing chaos. No one could find their bag, and people were furious.'

Source: Business Insider

A CFA test-taker forgot his calculator and no one wanted to share their back up calculator.

'The CFA Institute allows you to bring two calculators in case one calculator's battery dies. In the section I was in, one guy forgot his calculator.

He was sweating, his face turned purple and it looked like he was about to cry.

And everyone else in the room was pretending they couldn't hear what was going on, even though they knew exactly how the guy felt. But at the same time, nobody wanted to risk losing another year on their CFA progress. Nobody wanted to give the guy their second calculator because everyone's thinking 'If my calculator dies and I fail, then I have to wait a year to take the test again.'

Source: Business Insider

A test-taker, who spent a month of vacation studying, couldn't take the exam because his licence just expired.

One CFA test-taker made the whole room smell like Burger King.

From Analyst Forum:

After the morning session we seemed to have access to the testing room and could just wander back in after the break. When I entered the testing room one guy is sitting at his desk EATING BURGER KING!!! The testing room smelt like his lunch??????

A test-taker sat by another guy with a penchant for drumming on his desk.

From Analyst Forum:

This year I sat next to a very talented percussionist. Every 90 seconds, his layered nervous tapping would crescendo as he ruthlessly beat the answer out of his calculator in a solo that would make a metal drummer proud. With the invigilators roaming, I couldn't express my appreciation with a look or a hushed whisper. So I grabbed the right half of the two person folding table we were sitting at, pushed the middle with my left arm, pulled with the end with my right jerking the table right out from under little drummer boy. I didn't change my expression or even stop answering questions. He jerked the table back, clearly eager to resume his interrupted concert. A half-measure in, I threw his end of the table out from under him again. After 3 encores, he got the hint.

A test-taker answered his cell phone in the middle of the test and still didn't get kicked out.

From Analyst Forum:

A mobile phone rang during the afternoon session down in the Level 1 section. The guy actually answered and told the caller he was in an exam and couldn't talk …… WTF!!! The proctor took the phone and placed it at the front of the room - did not seem to take any other action. THEN IT RANG AGAIN ABOUT 1 HOUR LATER at which point the proctor turned it off.

Two proctors talked through the afternoon session of the exam.

From Analyst Forum:

When I wrote Level I at the Javits centre, two of the proctors stood right in front of my desk (I was front row) and chatted through the afternoon session of the exam.

If X-Acto knives were allowed in the CFA exam, I would've stabbed them both to death.

A test-taker showed up at the wrong location.

A test-taker was in a fix after eating breakfast that upset his stomach.

From Analyst Forum:

Bad past experiences at Level 1: I went to a bagel shop in the morning for breakfast. I thought if I had a good breakfast, it would hold me through the morning. It was a bad idea. I had to go to the bathroom so bad in the morning session and was so far away from the bathroom. It took a good minutes and killed me on the test.

I know someone that went to a fast food restaurant for lunch during the level 1 exam since it was the only thing near the test site. Apparently it was not the most sanitary fast food restaurant in town. Needless to say, he didn't even come back for the afternoon session.

My advice….pack your own lunch, make your own breakfast and eat only things that really agree with you. You don't need to have those problems on exam day. Also don't drink too much coffee or tea or anything else for same problems noted above.

A test-taker cut his hand changing the batteries in his calculator.

From Analyst Forum:

My buddy had to change batteries during the exam. He thought he was covered since he brought his screwdriver. He said during the exam he cut his hand pretty bad when his hand slipped. Had to write his first half of his Level I with blood all over his desk.

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