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Not Mike
01-12-2003, 11:31 PM
Well, I know it's a 1/10,000 chance, but I'm wondering if anyone has done it before and what the process is like...

As expected (when I couldn't find my number), I got a 5... once I get the breakdown, if I can find a question or two that I thought I did well on, but actually did poorly on, I plan on challenging my score. Right now I can't bear to think about trying to study for this again (but I will if I have to)...

I hate 5's.....

LastExamTaker
01-13-2003, 11:39 AM
Not Mike,

I challenged once when I took course 120. There were three people at my work who were taking 120,130, and 135. We each chose one exam to really concentrate on, one to take lightly, and one to blow off. I concentrated on 135, took 120 lightly, and didn't open the book for 130. My grades?

120 0
130 3
135 10

The person who really concentrated on 120 also got a zero on that exam. The person who blew off 120 AND PUT HIS HEAD DOWN DURING THE EXAM AND TOOK A NAP got a 7 on 120. (We all took the exam in the same room so I know he actually did the napping thing).

Needless to say, the other zero receipant and I were annoyed and we challenged. We had to do it in writing. A few weeks later, we got letters from the SOA saying that our grades were correct. Never did understand how someone who studied could get a zero and someone who napped could get a 7.

I have known and heard of other people who challenged. One person told me they were told the society was too busy to regrade his paper. Everyone else had the same experience I did.

I'm sorry you didn't pass. I am in the same boat. I just failed course 8 for the 2nd time. If I had to decide right now, I would say that I'm not taking it again, but I know deep down that I probably will.

Not Mike
01-13-2003, 12:50 PM
LET,
Thanks for the info...

I assume that it won't work out, but you know what, it's worth a shot at this point.... I'm sitting just a few points from never having to take another exam, so I'm giving it all I have....

I'd love to just be able to pick up the material and start studying again, but I'm not ready for that....

chica
01-14-2003, 11:03 AM
Not Mike - I think 120 was a MC exam, so maybe their record is different for essay exams. I don't know anyone who has challenged an essay exam, but it can't really hurt. They do regrade all 5s and 6s before they post results, so maybe you had a 6 which was switched to a 5. Maybe a different grader would grade it different. Who knows. Since you probably won't start studying for a while anyway, there is no harm in waiting for them to regrade it. Good luck.

Not Mike
01-14-2003, 02:12 PM
Not Mike - I think 120 was a MC exam, so maybe their record is different for essay exams. I don't know anyone who has challenged an essay exam, but it can't really hurt. They do regrade all 5s and 6s before they post results, so maybe you had a 6 which was switched to a 5. Maybe a different grader would grade it different. Who knows. Since you probably won't start studying for a while anyway, there is no harm in waiting for them to regrade it. Good luck.

I'm not even going to bother unless I feel I have a "worthwhile" question... in reality, there's no sense in getting my hopes up just to fail again.... but you never know, I may actually see something on my breakdown that surprises me...

Dr T Non-Fan
01-14-2003, 03:07 PM
What is your challenge?
That two graders for each exam question couldn't grade your paper correctly?
Or is that the exam was poorly written?

If you're a 5, each question of your test was already regraded.

Not Mike
01-14-2003, 03:21 PM
What is your challenge?
That two graders for each exam question couldn't grade your paper correctly?
Or is that the exam was poorly written?

If you're a 5, each question of your test was already regraded.

Well, let's see... I don't have a challenge yet, because I haven't been able to review my breakdown or exam, but I can think of a couple of things:

o A misplaced/overlooked answer sheet
o Graders grade from an outline... it is conceivably possible that someone answered a question differently from the outline, but still correctly...

I've been a grader for exams (not SOA, obviously) in the past where someone has "provided" the right answer for me. If that's the case, I don't care about the question or interpretations of the question, I only care about whether the student have the "model answer" on his/her paper.

I may look at my breakdown and think that everything falls the way that I expected, in which case I won't waste my time.... but like chica said, maybe I was a 6 that turned into a 5 and could turn back into a 6.... but, you know what, this could be my last exam, and if there is any chance that I don't have to study for an exam for 4 months, I'm taking that chance....

Dr T Non-Fan
01-14-2003, 03:30 PM
1. Misplaced? And where might it be now?
2. The graders of actuarial questions write their own outlines. Again, two graders for each question. And they check their outlines with each other. When there is a difference, it is decided right then how to compromise. When a candidate writes something that is correct and should be on the grader's outline, the grader "corrects" his own outline.

However, you appear to be going through with it, so good luck.

no
01-14-2003, 03:32 PM
I was in a similar situation. I got a 5 for Part 6 (May 2000), but when I saw their solution for one question I was really surprised. I still
remember the question "Describe the mechanics of a cashflow matching"
After that I know ``mechanics = everything" according to SOA.

I did not know at that time I could challenge, or ask to regrade it.
I know CAS has a written policy about apeals, I still do not know how you could do that with SOA.

Whatever you do good luck!

Not Mike
01-14-2003, 03:49 PM
1. Misplaced? And where might it be now?
2. The graders of actuarial questions write their own outlines. Again, two graders for each question. And they check their outlines with each other. When there is a difference, it is decided right then how to compromise. When a candidate writes something that is correct and should be on the grader's outline, the grader "corrects" his own outline.

However, you appear to be going through with it, so good luck.

1) Who knows.... but if I get a 1 on an 8 point question that I thought I answered well, I'm going to ask about it.
2) Hmm, didn't know about the differing outlines... thought that each grader was provided an outline, my mistake... still, different people can interpret the same question in a different manner like
After that I know ``mechanics = everything" according to SOA.
Who knows... I looked at my Course 5 breakdown two years ago and realized that I couldn't disagree with it.... that could very well happen again... but I had dreams of no more exams this time, so I'll be looking hard....

Phil
01-14-2003, 06:58 PM
When there is a difference, it is decided right then how to compromise

This is the only place where I believe randomness might creep into the system. I don't mean to imply that a result should be challenged:

Consider a student who seems to have expressed the correct ideas, but used very strange wording or expressed them obliquely. It appears that the student might (or might not) understand the material from his answer.

If one grader gives the student the benefit of the doubt, and the other grader feels the opposite, the graders will probably compromise, and the student will receive not a 10, not a 0, but a 5 for the question.

If both graders are lenient ones, the student will receive a 10. If both graders for this question are harsh sticklers, the student will receive a 0.

This is where randomness enters a subjectively-graded exam. You never know if the graders for the question you answered obliquely are the flexible or the inflexible type. Scramble the graders for the 20 questions, and some scores may change from pass to fail and vice versa.

One can argue that if you only write an answer good enough to satisfy 63% of the graders in the world, then you should receive a score of 10 from 63% of graders and 0 from 37% of graders, giving you an expected score of 6.3 points in the question in the long run, which matches your answer quality exactly. However, in the discrete world this result rarely feels good. This is what I believe a lot of the perceived unfairness comes from.

Four graders per question would improve the situation, but come on.

I do wonder if the SOA has a specific policy regarding exactness by which the student's answer must match the outline. Are the answers graded for understanding or for wording? How much can graders use their judgment and how much are they bound by policy?

Nevertheless, I don't see how this limited resource system can be challenged.

Dr T Non-Fan
01-14-2003, 07:16 PM
Makes more sense to simply make the questions easier to grade.

Minerva
01-14-2003, 07:20 PM
If one grader gives the student the benefit of the doubt, and the other grader feels the opposite, the graders will probably compromise, and the student will receive not a 10, not a 0, but a 5 for the question.

If both graders are lenient ones, the student will receive a 10. If both graders for this question are harsh sticklers, the student will receive a 0.



I've discussed the grading process at length with several graders, one of whom I've known for a million years and trust implicitly. According to protocol, there is a small tolerance for the grading point differential between the two graders on each question. If the two graders' scores are within the tolerance, they use some combination of the two scores. If the scores from the two graders are outside the tolerance, they both review, and then meet to resolve the difference. Apparently, most of the time when there is a significant difference, it's because one grader missed something or misunderstood the candidate, and the result is to the benefit of the candidate. My friend hasn't told any stories of signficant differences that weren't resolved easily, so I'm not sure what would happen next, but somehow I doubt that "compromise=average" would occur.

Also, remember that not only are all questions of candidates in the 4-7 range graded by two people, but borderline candidates will receive at least one more review.

:soap:

It's an imperfect process because it's implemented by people, but they are generally people of goodwill, trying to be as objective as possible. OK - off soapbox.

actuari
01-14-2003, 07:27 PM
After failing last year with a 5 I sent a carefully written letter to SOA asking to regrade my paper; I thought I had some arguments based on what I wrote during the exam and each question individual score. The almost immediate answer said that since I got a 5 my paper was already graded twice, therefore, they will not re-grade it.
I know how you feel, I was sure I knew and understood the material last time. This time I studied like crazy and passed. After a complete review (I also had to learn some new things they added) I focused more on how different topics are linked and how it could be applied. Also tried to make more of my own questions. It just does not come easy, at least to me.
The best of luck.

getoffmynz
01-14-2003, 09:27 PM
Not Mike, I definitely sympathize with you (not that this helps any). I never "challenged" but I inquired about my score when I got a 3 on an exam I thought I did well on. I too, got a pretty immediate response that "borderline exams are regraded, yada yada yada." It's tough when you can't look at your exam and analyze what you actually did on that stressful marathon of an exam. I really can't ever remember what I did on an exam after the fact. Even the next day. And looking at the questions and comparing it to a breakdown ten weeks later is tough.

Last year I got my breakdown and compared it to the questions. Some I agreed with, some I did not. But I tried to be objective. Once I got the new study notes the next year, I looked at the model answers. I realized that I didn't use the case study as much as I should have. I didn't put down the obvious answers. I realized that I probably rushed through the questions and missed some key issues. I realized that I was in such a rush to get answers down, that my exam may have been a bit incoherent. I recall as I was writing the exam that I thought my handwriting was atrocious. I did all this critical analysis while I studied again and I didn't make the same mistakes again. I referred to the case study and often. I wrote legibly, to a fault. I answered every single question as thoroughly as possible... So I passed 8I this time. I haven't gotten my score yet, and frankly I don't care what it is. My point is that as much as it really sucks when you fail, there is usually some validity to it. I agree it may get fuzzy, though. But can you imagine if the SoA gets into a habit of reversing failing grades?

Another unfortunate phenomenon is that when you fail people don't give you as much credibility. How many challenges do you think the SoA has to address each sitting? Does anyone know?

That being said, I think you SHOULD challenge. What the heck. Let us know what happens.

BTW, I found the article, Fellowship exams from a grader's point of view, to be insightful. If you haven't already, you should read it.

I hope I haven't sounded harsh because I certainly don't mean to be. I was right where you are last year. I can tell you that, after passing, last year's 3 is light years away. I feel like I know the material even more and I am better for it. I know it's hard to imagine right now.

Hang in there. You'll get it next time.

Not Mike
01-14-2003, 11:01 PM
getoffmynz,

Not harsh at all... I know exactly what you mean and agree 100% with this statement:

My point is that as much as it really sucks when you fail, there is usually some validity to it.

I figured that I was on the bubble.... in regards to the above statement, I can say with CERTAINTY that the difference between someone who gets a 5 and someone who gets a 6, comes down to luck... I'd be no smarter if I was lucky enough to get one more list that I knew... I got a 5 on C5 the first time around and didn't learn jack... the second time, I learned like crazy and got an 8 and "knew" I passed when I walked out of there....

Course 8 is a different animal... the pure volume of the material makes it a lot more difficult to "guarantee" a pass, if you know what I mean.... I learned a ton, and don't think that I'd "learn" much more on another sitting (although I may try to make a study guide to make some cash if I challenge and fail)... I'm going to really go through the breakdown tonight and tomorrow to look for "surprises" and won't challenge if it's fruitless....

Thanks for the advice, I may just pick up those books in February if things don't work out....

Abducens
01-15-2003, 09:54 AM
When there is a difference, it is decided right then how to compromise

This is the only place where I believe randomness might creep into the system. I don't mean to imply that a result should be challenged:

Consider a student who seems to have expressed the correct ideas, but used very strange wording or expressed them obliquely. It appears that the student might (or might not) understand the material from his answer.

If one grader gives the student the benefit of the doubt, and the other grader feels the opposite, the graders will probably compromise, and the student will receive not a 10, not a 0, but a 5 for the question.

If both graders are lenient ones, the student will receive a 10. If both graders for this question are harsh sticklers, the student will receive a 0.

This is where randomness enters a subjectively-graded exam. You never know if the graders for the question you answered obliquely are the flexible or the inflexible type. Scramble the graders for the 20 questions, and some scores may change from pass to fail and vice versa.

One can argue that if you only write an answer good enough to satisfy 63% of the graders in the world, then you should receive a score of 10 from 63% of graders and 0 from 37% of graders, giving you an expected score of 6.3 points in the question in the long run, which matches your answer quality exactly. However, in the discrete world this result rarely feels good. This is what I believe a lot of the perceived unfairness comes from.

Four graders per question would improve the situation, but come on.

I do wonder if the SOA has a specific policy regarding exactness by which the student's answer must match the outline. Are the answers graded for understanding or for wording? How much can graders use their judgment and how much are they bound by policy?

Nevertheless, I don't see how this limited resource system can be challenged.

The solution is the same as its always been, doof, whether it's multiple choice or written answer: Study well enough and write your answers clearly enough to eliminate luck as a factor in whether you pass or not. If you're depending on luck, you'll deserve to fail as often as you do. That someone would suggest that luck plays a significant factor in C8 is nothing short of retarded and is surely self-serving.

It's not just random chance that you're answering questions obliquely - that's something the candidate controls. How about when you take 8 this fall, think about whether you need to write your answers more clearly instead of saying "duh, I hope this is clear enough for the grader."

I'm not surprised that you're still harping on luck being a big factor given your exam history, though. Oh yeah, I remember you from the pre-RF days. :shake:

Minerva
01-15-2003, 11:58 AM
Course 8 is a different animal... the pure volume of the material makes it a lot more difficult to "guarantee" a pass, if you know what I mean.... I learned a ton, and don't think that I'd "learn" much more on another sitting (although I may try to make a study guide to make some cash if I challenge and fail)... I'm going to really go through the breakdown tonight and tomorrow to look for "surprises" and won't challenge if it's fruitless....



I agree that the volume makes passing more problematic, but you will be surprised how much more you can learn, or maybe just organize/synthesize more effectively. So - give it another shot - GOOD LUCK!