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Old 10-31-2018, 11:36 PM
GIFADE-208 GIFADE-208 is offline
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Default Typing Instead of Writing for Higher Level Exams

I think it's time the SoA & CAS consider allowing exam takers to type their answers for FSA/FCAS exams (an option if an exam taker prefers to type). Here is why I think so:

From an exam-taker's perspective:
1)The purpose of the exam is to test your knowledge and not physical writing/writing speed/writing clarity. I agree on communicating an answer to a problem. Typing is a much convenient method of writing/communicating an answer for most, and equally consistent.
I'm sure students have failed not because they didn't know how to solve a problem or answer a question, but because they didn't write clearly enough (typically due to time constraints) for an examiner to understand what they were saying. Most candidates learn to write for the exam, and only for the exam.

2) The most familiar tool actuaries (and most professionals) use today to solve problems (be it quantitative or qualitative) is a computer. As the exam focuses on practicalizing the questions asked in the exam room, answers and delivery methods should be as practical as possible too, especially if knowledge of the material can be proved in a such a way.

3) Many other professional exams have the option to write or type. So I presume there is some proof of concept. And if there are symbols or math equations to be used, candidates could write these on a paper for submission - or provisions could be made to input those symbols and equations

There are a lot of benefits for graders and the exam committee too.
Any thoughts and feedback on this?
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:01 PM
nonactuarialactuary nonactuarialactuary is offline
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Honestly, itís a great idea that needs to happen sooner rather than later. Iím 100% confident that Iíve failed exams in the past thanks to my crappy handwriting and slow writing speed. Taking the test on a computer more closely mirrors the real world. It also enables all sorts of detailed questions impossible with pen and paper (e.g., assessing a loss development triangle with more than 3 or 4 diagonals).

The CAS actually implemented something like this for the spring 2018 sitting for exam 5. Unfortunately though, they implemented it in the dumbest way possible, and everything about that sitting was a spectacular failure to the point where computer based testing is on indefinite hiatus for now. The idea was good, but the execution was terrible. Iím hoping that theyíll bring it back at some point.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonactuarialactuary View Post
Honestly, itís a great idea that needs to happen sooner rather than later. Iím 100% confident that Iíve failed exams in the past thanks to my crappy handwriting and slow writing speed. Taking the test on a computer more closely mirrors the real world. It also enables all sorts of detailed questions impossible with pen and paper (e.g., assessing a loss development triangle with more than 3 or 4 diagonals).

The CAS actually implemented something like this for the spring 2018 sitting for exam 5. Unfortunately though, they implemented it in the dumbest way possible, and everything about that sitting was a spectacular failure to the point where computer based testing is on indefinite hiatus for now. The idea was good, but the execution was terrible. Iím hoping that theyíll bring it back at some point.
CAS could not have done a worse job (I took that sitting). Until they can get around latency issues there's no point.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:15 PM
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100% agree...should have the option to type. Nobody sits at their job all day long writing out pages of information, but many of us sit our jobs all day long typing pages of information. We would not suffer to "train our hands to write for 5 hours straight", have our hands cramp up while writing, write too slowly to pass exam, or write illegibly in an attempt to finish as quickly as possible. As you mentioned, the graders would find it easier to read things as well. There is no reason that typing should not be an option on these exams.
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:21 PM
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I LOVE THIS IDEA SO MUCH! plus it would help with illegibility when I start running out of time! and SOA people could control/search for things (not sure that's to my benefit but its to theirs)
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:29 PM
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Yep - I 100% agree with this idea - I have worked with a lot of students in preparing for exams and reviewing written answers to exams. Poor writing (and lost marks) can be an issue for many students. The CAS has actually explicitly noted this in their grading commentary.

Until that option exists, it is still crucial doing exam writing practice under time limits. I teach for the final Finance track exam (SDM), and practice is actually insanely critical for this exam.

Steve
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XP-SteveScoles
Yep - I 100% agree with this idea - I have worked with a lot of students in preparing for exams and reviewing written answers to exams. Poor writing (and lost marks) can be an issue for many students. The CAS has actually explicitly noted this in their grading commentary.

Until that option exists, it is still crucial doing exam writing practice under time limits. I teach for the final Finance track exam (SDM), and practice to write my essay is actually insanely critical for this exam.

Steve
Hi Steve,

I had this issue with my handwriting too. It was a SOA Exam LTAM at Illinois State University and I screwed up - I was too nervous and my hands didn't obey me. I asked to type my answers, but they didn't allow me to do so, cause the rules are the rules and all students are equal in their rights.
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:31 AM
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it's a bit ridiculous in 2019 that they don't already have this option.

i'm unlikely to take a fellowship exam, but glad I could type on FAP. I couldn't imagine writing all that.
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:37 PM
danielrao123 danielrao123 is offline
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I think there are several disadvantages for changing fellowship exam to CBT version.
1. Timing issue - The biggest advantage for CBT is taking exam in a given week and any time looks suitable for you. But it is almost impossible to create multiple versions of exam for these many different fellowship exams.
2. Sit available - If CBT was given, most likely will be in Prometric center. However, if only one day available for taking exam, the sit will be quite limited and someone will have to go far away for taking exam.
3. How to type answer - for verb questions, yeah, that's easy. What about numerical one? I used to have big trouble when trying to type square root or any given complicate formulas. I don't think everyone be an expert in LaTeX and even that it will cost a lot of time for typing formulas and calculation detail.
4. Cost - The supervisors and proctors are all volunteers. You just need find a room and a clock to host the exams. I am sure the CBT will be cost a lot more than the paper exam.

Those are probably the reasons why SOA & CAS did not even think to have CBT option for fellowship exams.
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