AuthorTopic: How they grade the exams..
@2017-12-18 11:17:27
So in response to a couple of posts, this is (mostly) the way that your exams are graded:

Your exams are marked by computer with numerous quality checks and then you are given a numerical score that is simply the number you got right out of 240. You will never, ever see that number and CFAI would do everything short of contempt of court to stop you from seeing it. The only thing you really care about is pass/fail, anyway.

The pass/fail mark is set by a group of people called standard setters. These are charterholders who have graded for many years and are part of the in-grader clique (you probably don't want to be there). These people get together and decide what a "minimally competent" candidate should know by looking at a variety of tests and much secret discussion. In the end, they decide on some number that shouldn't depend on a passing rate, just a passing score.

Then there's this thing about "if you're borderline, they weigh ethics more". I've heard this is true from some people who ought to know but I've never seen it on anything official. As the number of candidates increases, I believe it less and less. Anyway, I don't really know about that part.

Next month you will get a score report like that posted all over this forum that gives you score ranges. People try to estimate their scores using this 40/60/80 rule which means nothing except that if you line up people on 40/60/80 it corresponds reasonably well with pass/fail. In past years, it seems that people <60 on 40/60/80 almost always fail, > 70 almost always pass (maybe always), and in between is grey with a 40/60/80 passing score somewhere around 63-65 is usually about the boundary. However, since this should have no bearing on setting this year's passing mark this is sort of irrelevant (except that the passing score this time will be the same because it always is).
@2019-03-22 17:22:10
I know this is just a forum, but be careful of over-analysis. Just learn the material well enough to get 70%, and you will pass!

All this stuff about "you've got to pass ethics/fsa" or "If you spin round 15 times before handing in your paper, they'll let you skip straight to level 3, but only if you've written the secret code" reminds me of my favourite ever psychology paper (pigeon superstition paper for those of you who have seen it before):

The CFAI let us know as much as they want us to know, everything else is speculation. They won't let us know our actual marks because you might end up "Super CFA" (>90%), which isn't what they (or people with <90%!) want. In addition, if they published actual marks, then many borderline candidates would challenge the result.

Therefore they give you the 3 ranges of marks, which (it seems) by design doesn't provide enough information to derive marks, apart from through rough approximations like the 40/60/80 rule - which is too imprecise to be useful in borderline cases, even with chaps with PhDs in Stats on the board ;)

CFA Discussion Topic: How they grade the exams..

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You have a wonderful website and definitely should take some credit for your members' outstanding grades.
Colin Sampaleanu

Colin Sampaleanu