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  #31  
Old 05-14-2018, 04:59 PM
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Agreed. I spent a good amount of LFV study time researching why I shouldn’t be an actuary.

OTOH, once I become an FSA, I’ll want everyone else to endure the same degree of suffering.
That's kind of my point. The exams should test knowledge. They shouldn't be a hazing process.
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  #32  
Old 07-15-2018, 12:45 PM
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That's kind of my point. The exams should test knowledge. They shouldn't be a hazing process.
I agree with this, but I don't think its even quite accurate to describe it as a hazing process. If it was just meant to limit the amount of supply of actuaries, then I wouldn't have a huge problem with it. If the goal was to only let through the top 30% of actuarial talent, then so be it. But I don't in practice see that happening. When you have an exam like GHSPC, where candidates who felt they did very well are not passing AND candidates that felt they had to guess or didn't know the material are passing, you have a problem. The correlation between mastery of the material and passing is getting lower and that isn't a good thing.

Again I think the goal of the exam process should be to provide basic learning that is universal across the track. The more troubling thing for me as an actuary, is the high number of FSAs I come across with little to no understanding of what value an actuary should be providing and mastery of their field. I want to be proud as an actuary that my peers are examples of excellence. I can tell you from my own 11+ years in the field, I am just as likely to come across an ASA or non-actuary working in the field providing actuarial value as an FSA. When I am hiring actuaries into my team, the FSA/ASA distinction means close to nothing to me. I am getting my FSA because it is a personal challenge and I know many other hiring actuaries don't view that distinction the way I do, but having been through this exam process (and almost done) I can now see the large cracks in the process.
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  #33  
Old 07-15-2018, 01:30 PM
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I agree with this, but I don't think its even quite accurate to describe it as a hazing process. If it was just meant to limit the amount of supply of actuaries, then I wouldn't have a huge problem with it. If the goal was to only let through the top 30% of actuarial talent, then so be it. But I don't in practice see that happening. When you have an exam like GHSPC, where candidates who felt they did very well are not passing AND candidates that felt they had to guess or didn't know the material are passing, you have a problem. The correlation between mastery of the material and passing is getting lower and that isn't a good thing.
Maybe the problem isn't with the exam, but with faulty and inconsistent self-assessments.

A day or two after the exam, I could usually accurately predict whether or not I had passed.
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  #34  
Old 07-15-2018, 02:11 PM
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Maybe the problem isn't with the exam, but with faulty and inconsistent self-assessments.

A day or two after the exam, I could usually accurately predict whether or not I had passed.
So, you are saying you can accurately self-assess but the majority of candidates can’t? Don’t hurt your arm patting yourself on the back. This is what drives me nuts about our profession too. Older FSAs will do everything they can to make it seem like the process isn’t broken and convince everyone it’s somehow easier than when they went through.
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  #35  
Old 07-15-2018, 02:18 PM
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"Older FSAs"

FWIW, I am no longer an FSA. And I'm not claiming the exams are great, just sharing my personal experience.

Also, see this thread - http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...ht=Lesson+fair

People taking exams have been complaining about them for a long, long time.
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  #36  
Old 07-15-2018, 03:32 PM
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"Older FSAs"

FWIW, I am no longer an FSA. And I'm not claiming the exams are great, just sharing my personal experience.

Also, see this thread - http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...ht=Lesson+fair

People taking exams have been complaining about them for a long, long time.
That thread sums up what I hate about old actuaries. “Kids these days just don’t study hard enough!” Gues what idiots? Exams are harder today and have more competition. Actuaries aren’t just backroom calculators anymore. How about actually listening to legitimate feedback on how to improve instead of just calling criticism, “crying”?
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  #37  
Old 07-15-2018, 07:07 PM
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That thread sums up what I hate about old actuaries. “Kids these days just don’t study hard enough!” Gues what idiots? Exams are harder today and have more competition. Actuaries aren’t just backroom calculators anymore. How about actually listening to legitimate feedback on how to improve instead of just calling criticism, “crying”?
Would you like some cheese with that whine?
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This. And everything else JMO wrote.
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  #38  
Old 07-15-2018, 08:52 PM
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Would you like some cheese with that whine?
Thank goodness you are a dying breed. Pasture is that way.
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  #39  
Old 07-16-2018, 08:49 AM
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JMO, get a hobby in retirement that isn't spreading your objectively bad opinion across this board
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  #40  
Old 07-21-2018, 01:30 PM
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Maybe the problem isn't with the exam, but with faulty and inconsistent self-assessments.

A day or two after the exam, I could usually accurately predict whether or not I had passed.
It probably depends on the exam. In order to fail 50% of extremely capable test-takers, the FSA exams need to be either very difficult or else graded in a very unforgiving manner. In the latter case, you can walk out feeling good, but still fail.

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I am just as likely to come across an ASA or non-actuary working in the field providing value as an FSA.
Right. This is really the point of the thread. When I think of attributes of a stellar actuary, the FSA exams do not distinguish or provide them.


Part of the problem is that I think the aim is too low.
Quote:
I think the goal of the exam process should be to provide basic learning that is universal across the track.
Most of us already have a basic level of insurance knowledge by the time we are ASAs. With a thousand hours of studying, we definitely have a basic level of insurance knowledge.

But again, 50% of us need to fail each exam. In order to make that happen, the exam has to test something more. Since we don't have any new goal, the exam just expands in breadth: memorize this text book, memorize that text book, learn these lists, this equation, those numbers. "Grasp of basic knowledge" becomes "perfect-recall of endless trivia.". "Useful understanding" becomes a savant like obsession over exact wording.


To be clear: I'm not advocating that we make the exams easier, or that we do away with knowledge based testing.

Rather, I think we should practice basic knowledge, and then train other skills much harder.

What other skills?
Ability to read and apply regulations
Analytical writing
Presentation
Leadership
Critical thinking
Creative problem solving
Technical skills
Accounting/Finances
____Fill in the blank___



In short, I think the exams represent a massive investment of capital in something that nobody really cares about.
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