Standard VII (A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs

Standard VII (A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs

Members and Candidates must not engage in any conduct that compromises the reputation or integrity of CFA Institute or the CFA designation or the integrity, validity, or security of CFA Institute programs.


Participants must not engage in any conduct that undermines the integrity and reputation of the CFA Program.

Conduct covered under Standard VII(A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs includes but is not limited to:

  • Cheating on any of the CFA examinations or any other program affiliated with the CFA Institute e.g. Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM).
  • Breaking rules, regulations, and testing policies of the CFA Institute program.
  • Sharing confidential program or exam information to candidates or the public.
  • Improperly using the CFA designation to further professional or personal goals.
  • Misrepresenting information on the Professional Conduct Statement (PCS) or in the CFA Institute Continuing Education Program.

Confidential Program Information

The CFA Institute prohibits candidates from disclosing confidential information gathered during the exam session.

Examples of information that cannot be shared by candidates include but is not limited to:

  • Specific information about examination questions.
  • Broad topics and formulas that have been tested or not tested.

All aspects of the exam are considered confidential until the CFA Institute releases them publicly.

Additional CFA Program Restrictions

Violation of the CFA Program rules, regulations, and policies would constitute a violation of Standard VII(A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs. Candidates can find information regarding testing policies, calculator policy, personal belongings policy on the CFA Institute website.

Members participating as volunteers are prohibited from sharing confidential information or material gathered before or during the exam session with individuals outside the CFA development process.

Expressing an Opinion

Members and Candidates are permitted to express their opinions about the CFA Program, policies, and procedures. When expressing an opinion a Member or Candidate is prohibited from sharing exam-specific information. This would include information on what is or is not covered in the exam or exact details of exam questions.

Application 1: Writing after Exam Period End

Fiona King, a CFA Level III candidate, took a five-minute bathroom break during the morning session of the Level III exam. The proctor announces that it is time to stop writing. King attempts to make further corrections on her exam script after the proctor had called time. She ignored repeated requests from the proctor to stop writing. She finally adheres to the proctor’s instructions after making minor corrections. When asked for her reasoning behind violating exam procedures, she states that she assumed that she had more time than other candidates because she had taken a bathroom break.

Would King’s actions constitute a violation of Standard VII(A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs?

     A. Yes, because she continues to make minor corrections after the exam has ended.

     B. No, because she is only making minor corrections to her exam script.

     C. No, because she assumed she had extra time after taking a five-minute bathroom break.


The correct answer is A.

By continuing to make changes to her exam script (minor or significant) after time was called, King has violated Standard VII(A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs. Additionally, by ignoring the proctor’s instructions, she has violated the CFA Program’s rules and regulations. Candidates are permitted to take supervised bathroom breaks; however, these breaks will count against the time allocated for the exam.

Application 2: Sharing Exam Content

Douglas Wright, an Australian Level I candidate, just completed the CFA Level I examination. Immediately after the exam, he posts a series of tweets that highlight his exam experience.

He posts the following:

“The CFA Institute is a joke! The Level I exam was truly awful, the examiners expected too much. It was far too difficult. I was extremely prepared for the financial reporting and analysis section and was disappointed that there weren’t as many questions as expected. I counted 25 in total, this is far different from the 48 I expected. I was also surprised to see no derivatives questions in the afternoon session. I think I did enough to pass… ”

How has Wright most likely violated Standard VII(A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs?

      A. By expressing his opinion about the difficulty of the Level I exam.

      B. By revealing details about parts of the Candidate Book of Knowledge (CBOK) that were tested or omitted in the Level I exam.

      C. By expressing a negative opinion about the CFA Institute and examiners.


The correct answer is B.

King has violated Standard VII(A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs by sharing parts of the CBOK that were and weren’t covered in the Level I exam. King is allowed to express his opinions about the CFA Institute and it’s examiners, the difficulty of the exam, and performance without violating Standard VII(A) – Conduct as Participants in CFA Institute Programs. By revealing what was or what wasn’t tested, Wright may have inadvertently assisted other candidates in different time zones, thereby undermining the integrity of the exam.

Reading 46: Guidance for The Standards of Professional Conduct (I-VII)

LOS 46 (a) Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct by applying the Code and Standards to specific situations.

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