View Full Version : Abbreviations for Written Answer Exams
10-26-2001, 11:42 AM
Any comments on the advisability of using abbreviations for written answer questions for Course 5?
Examples that come to mind are:
"ins co" for insurance company
"p.h." for policy holder
"liab's" for liabilities
"DGL" for Dependent Group Life
"SIB" for Survivor Income Benefit
"AL" for Accrued Liability
Due to time constraints during exams, I would hope the exam grading would be pretty liberal as far as "interpreting" abbreviations.
Anybody have any insight that they would care to share?
Do the people who grade a question on a specific topic practice in the area? For instance, would a pension question typically be graded by a pension actuary?
10-26-2001, 12:10 PM
If there is an abbreviation I'm going to be using a lot in an essay question, I define it the first time I use it. That way my rear is covered and I still save time since I only have to write it out once.
If it's a one timer, it depends on the familiarity of the term. If it's one like UL I just use the abbreviation, but if you used DGL, since I'm not in group I would have no idea you were talking about Dependant Group Life.
I always go with the better safe than sorry routine.
10-26-2001, 12:58 PM
I think E'ee and E'er for employee/er are also acceptable. But I'm gonna define them the first time just to be safe.
10-26-2001, 03:50 PM
I'd agree with Han Solo, with the following amplification - if the text / study note uses an abbreviation (like UL or INBR) you can probably use it with impunity.
I've also been told that for some of the formulae, you can use your own notation as long as you define it (instead of remembering all of A&D's multisyllabic variables).
Last weekend before 5 and 8 - HIT THOSE BOOKS!
10-26-2001, 04:47 PM
When answering numerical questions, I abbreviated all variables and used them in defining the formulas. Worked every time.
10-27-2001, 11:50 PM
I think that people worrying about abbreviations and such are a bit paranoid. Like they're going to mark you for spelling mistakes or something.
10-29-2001, 04:04 PM
No, spelling mistakes are not counted but neatness does give you additional marks
10-29-2001, 05:07 PM
I don't think neatness gives you additional marks, and they SAY that messiness doesn't count against you.
BUT, put yourself in the graders' shoes (no, they aren't really sadistic fiends - some of them are really nice people) it's simply harder to find pointworthy items on an extremely messy paper.
Therefore, although my handwriting is chicken scratch at best (I was the despair of my elementary teachers), I do try to leave white space and make things as clear as possible.
I've graded exams. Neat/messy doesn't really matter unless it's so messy that the grader can't read it or understand it.
I taught Math for many years before I became an actuary. I would ask my students: When I am grading your paper do you want me to feel frustrated with you because you have been unorganized and sloppy? Give me all the reason in the world to give you as many points as possible.
Graders are supposed to ignore things like neatness, but you're right - graders are human too, and can become frustrated with a messy paper, which may lead to them not trying as hard to understand a messy paper.
10-30-2001, 12:27 PM
When I taught math, I sometimes failed to find answers on messy and disorganized papers. Of course I gave credit for missed answers that the students pointed out to me when I returned the papers. On SOA exams there is no such opportunity.
10-30-2001, 12:49 PM
My point exactly. Therefore, my recommendation even for the terminally sloppy is to leave white space and identify your answer(s) clearly. (Even arrows and circles are better than a pointworthy note luking in a morass of BS.)
11-01-2001, 04:13 PM
How about FU,SOA! I'm sure the graders will figure that out!
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