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Corporate Finance and ERM (CFE) Track Old Exam DP - Design and Pricing

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Old 10-08-2009, 06:36 AM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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Default Advice on written exam: study and strategy

The following items may be helpful in the run up to the SOA fall written exams:

First, an article I wrote on how to answer the written questions, so as to maximize your results [and not annoy the graders]:

http://soa.org/library/newsletters/t...-campbell.aspx

Second, attached, some study advice for the last weeks before the exam, and exam day strategy itself. I wrote it for my AFE seminar, but it's so general, it works for any of the written exams.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:58 PM
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Thanks for the list, that is very helpful.

Let's say they have a question about Medicare general enrollment period (which is Jan-March) and I'm not quite sure what it is. I put down you can enroll at any time in the year.

You mentioned the grading is additive, so they can only add points. Does this mean I would not lose or gain any additional points in the above example? Is it worth it to write down something that I'm not 100% sure on, as long as it doesn't contradict something I've said? Thanks!
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fogertyfan View Post
Thanks for the list, that is very helpful.

Let's say they have a question about Medicare general enrollment period (which is Jan-March) and I'm not quite sure what it is. I put down you can enroll at any time in the year.

You mentioned the grading is additive, so they can only add points. Does this mean I would not lose or gain any additional points in the above example? Is it worth it to write down something that I'm not 100% sure on, as long as it doesn't contradict something I've said? Thanks!
Yes. It is better to write something than nothing, unless you contradict yourself. You might pick up some points. You can't get points from stuff the graders don't see.

If no contradictions, the worst that will happen is you've just wasted a little bit of time. [if you're not sure, don't waste too much time trying to think it through... remember stick to the time budget of 3 minutes per exam point]
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:10 PM
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Does this apply to lists as well? Say they're looking for 5 "issues" and I write something like 10 items -- they'll look at all of them still?
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:13 PM
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Does this apply to lists as well? Say they're looking for 5 "issues" and I write something like 10 items -- they'll look at all of them still?
Yes, they look at everything you write. [especially looking for the aforesaid contradictions]. But you will get credit for at most 5 correct answers in the example you mention.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:33 PM
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Yes, they look at everything you write. [especially looking for the aforesaid contradictions]. But you will get credit for at most 5 correct answers in the example you mention.
Thanks, that helps a lot! I'm sitting here getting confused as to what is a "principle" and what is an "issue" and what is a "consideration", and knowing I can just plow through all of them in a pinch is comforting.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:35 PM
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Thanks, that helps a lot! I'm sitting here getting confused as to what is a "principle" and what is an "issue" and what is a "consideration", and knowing I can just plow through all of them in a pinch is comforting.
Yeah, if you've got the time, just write it all down. It will not hurt you.

That said, make sure you don't spend to much time on any given sub-part of a question. 3 minutes per exam point. On a first pass, do not allow yourself to go over this.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:45 PM
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Right. I'll have to remember to bring in a watch.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:46 PM
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Yes, you should. Time management is even more crucial on the written exams than the prelims, I think.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:14 PM
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That's a good point. Time management has never been an issue for me (when I've failed it's been because I simply didn't know how to do enough of the problems, never ran out of time), but with all the writing, I'm worried that (provided I can answer enough questions) it will be this time.
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