Cheating on the CFA Exam

It does not happen frequently but it does happen. Some candidates decide to take a chance when doing their CFA exam. It often happens in a moment of panic and I’m sure that some candidates get away with it, but it can turn out to be a terrible decision as well. I’m far from a specialist in this matter (as you can imagine, I did not try any of these methods on my exams) but here a few things that some have attempted:

Cheating from a neighbor: Usually, desks are not that far apart so it can be tempting for some to take a sneak peak on their neighbor’s sheet
Taking notes to the exam: Some try to write things on their material or on, their calculator for example
Taking notes to the bathroom: Some candidates apparently get some material in a way that they can access in the middle of their exam
etc : My imagination is not that great when it comes to cheating but I can only imagine

Bottom Line: It’s Not Worth It

Honestly, I don’t get why anyone would try it. In most cases, you might get a couple of answers that you could have gotten anyway (even if by pure luck). So what are the odds that those couple of questions will be the difference between passing and failing? Slim to none. And anyway, if you are that desperate, I would bet on you failing the exam.

What Happens When You Get Caught?

I’ve only seen one person get caught while doing my exams and it’s gotta to be a terrible feeling. Why? First, one of the many exam prompters catches the cheating candidate. That person will generally have at least someone else verify the claim and they then ask the candidate to leave. The prompters will then fill a written report about the incident and send it over to the CFA Institute.

What Happens Next?

Following the report, a consequence will be decided. In the best case, you’ve just missed one year and can retake the exam the following year. The worst case scenario however is that in many cases the candidates will actually be banned for life from the CFA program and membership.

Honestly, it seems crazy to even consider or try cheating on the exam but I would love to hear any thoughts about it.


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