Top 5 Things Innocent CFA Exam Takers Do That Violate the Rules and Invalidate Scores

Modern HourglassThe CFA® exams are just days away and we know the stress can be overwhelming. But making a small misstep on exam day could cost you. Here are a five key rules to remember for exam day. 

Follow the CFA Exam Rules

The CFA exam rules and policies are set by the CFA Institute and there are serious consequences for violations.  For example, if you don’t follow the passport policy, you may be denied entry into the exam. A rule violation could also result in a professional conduct investigation after the exam, which may result in your exam results being voided and you could be block from taking future CFA exams.

Here are five key rules you should pay particular attention to:

1. Don’t Bring the Wrong Calculator

Only two calculators are approved for the CFA exam — Texas Instruments BA II Plus and Hewlett Packard 12C. Proctors will check all of your calculators, so your back up calculator must also  be an authorized model. We offer some great calculator tips here.

2. Don’t Start on Your Exam until Instructed to Do So

You aren’t allowed to look at the exam questions until you hear, “You may now begin.” A early look at the exam questions is considered cheating, even if you don’t write on the answer sheet. Proctors will report candidates that start the exam early.

3. Don’t Write on Your Exam Ticket

Keep your ticket clean. It will be checked when you enter the exam in the morning and afternoon, and any writing on the ticket will be reported.

4. Don’t Keep Working after Time Has Expired

This is one of the most frequent — but avoidable — violations. Don’t fill in any answers and put your pencil down once you hear, “Stop writing now.” It’s guaranteed that violating this rule will result in an investigation and voiding of your exam results.

5. Don’t Bring Your Phone or Smart Watch into the Room

Leave your electronic devices at home. CFA Institute has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to any electronic devices in the exam room. However, if you leave them in the personal belongings area at the test center, CFA Institute, testing personnel, the test center and vendors are not responsible or liable if they are stolen, lost, or damaged.

A Few Bonus Tips …

Proctors are trained to monitor candidates and look for any signs of possible cheating, so be sure not to look, glance, or stretch in the direction of your neighbor’s exam. Even if your glance is unintentional, it may look like you are trying to cheat and you could be asked to leave.

Wiley CFA Exam Review also offers a number of tips to help you boost your score on exam day. You can download our free cheat sheet here.

Paul Smith, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute, offers similar advice in this video. It’s worth a watch.

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