Let's be honest: the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the testing industry in ways we can’t even imagine. Disruptive changes in the testing environment have forced almost every test administration body to make adjustments in how their exams are offered, with most moving to an online format.
Regarding the CFA Exam, the CFA Institute has also adopted a computer-based test (CBT) format for all three levels of the exam process. We'll be going through ways to prepare for this format so that you're as ready as you can be! We're also taking the help of the Prometrics CFA Online Tutorial! (thanks Prometrics!)
It’s exam day, and once you’ve settled into your testing centre and logged onto the Prometrics online platform, you'll first need to confirm that you’ll adhere to the CFA Institute Standards of Professional Conduct. Without agreeing to the terms of these terms, you cannot take the exam.
Then you'll move on to the next section (this part is the tutorial introduction).
BTW: you can access this online tutorial a few weeks before the exam date (note that you must first register for a CFA exam before you can access the tutorial).
Here, you'll learn the computer testing environment, including the features and tools it contains, before beginning the exam. This will give you an idea of the kinds of questions that will be asked. You'll have to answer questions, submit your answers, and click on the icons to access different screens.
In the next sections, we'll cover topics including using the mouse and interpreting the different parts of the screen, such as the timer at the top. This tutorial teaches you how to navigate the exam, showing you how to use the various buttons and switch between the overall time for the entire exam and the amount of time remaining in a particular section. The most important thing to take note of is the latter time display.
You’ll find other tools covered in the tutorial and exam, including the “Flag” button. This feature is also known as a bookmark, and it lets you flag a question as a reminder to yourself to come back and review your answer or save it for late, each time you click on the Flag icon, it will show you which questions have been flagged.
For Levels 1 and 2, the CFA Exam's computer-based testing format consists entirely of multiple-choice questions. You'll be given multiple-choice questions that cover all the key content covered in the book (you'll learn how to pick out the best answer choice to a question in your prep. This can help you identify the right answer faster and more accurately). Your selection will turn green to differentiate it from the other answer choices. You can change your response by clicking a different answer choice or unselect your original answer by clicking it again.
Level 3 of the CFA Exam includes exam-style questions similar to those found on Level 2 of the CFA exam, but they also include essay questions associated with a scenario. For these questions, you'll be asked to enter an explanation of your answer. You can use the spaces above the freeform text boxes as much as you need to help explain your response. Editing tools such as font size, formatting, alignment, special characters, and math equations are available to use as you see fit.
The Level 2 exam is all multiple choice, but the questions (between four and six) are related to a vignette that contains information needed to answer the questions. The vignette will be on the left side of the screen and the questions on the right side. The multiple-choice questions will have their answer choices listed below, while the essay questions will have a freeform text box.
.... And More!
Prometric’s other noteworthy interface tools include:
You can easily highlight the question text you want to study for later by clicking and dragging the mouse cursor over the relevant text. Select the “Underline” button to underline all of the highlighted text.To remove the highlight, click anywhere on the highlighted text.
Most test-takers are familiar with answering multiple-choice questions understand the importance of using the process of elimination. This process is made straightforward on the CFA Exam interface thanks to the strikeout feature, which helps you visualise your eliminated options. Right-click on an answer choice to strike it out and right-click once more to remove the strikeout. You can strike out one or all answer options, but left-clicking an answer option will select it as your response, even if you’ve previously struck it out.
The Prometrics tutorial also covers options for reviewing the exam. For example, each section of the exam will be accessible at any time during the exam. The grid icon on the bottom left corner of the screen lets you know which questions are currently open or completed. As you review a section, you can filter by "Unattempted", "Attempted", and "Flagged" questions or go directly to a question you want to check by clicking the corresponding numbered icon, eg. 1, 2, etc.
Once you've reviewed all of the questions, click on the “Finish Test” button at the top right corner to complete your review. You'll then see a prompt to confirm that you want to finish the section thanks to a “Yes, I would like to finish this test” pop-up window. Check the answers carefully because you won't be able to return to these sections once you leave a section. Once you reach this point, you'll have concluded the tutorial.
Here's a tip: if you’re unsure how to use some of the available tools at any point during the actual exam, click on the question mark (?) at the bottom left of the screen to return to the tutorial.
If you feel you’ve learned enough about the tools mentioned in the tutorial to start taking the exam, click the “Start the Test” button on the bottom right.
There you have it, folks! A how-to on preparing for the CFA Exam's online interface. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out because we're always here to help.