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  #71  
Old 11-19-2018, 01:33 PM
Chuck Chuck is offline
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My 2 cents from another old FSA in JMOs generation...

The OP raises good and important questions, even if they are somewhat age old questions that we old farts can reasonably characterize as whining (as we once whined). We should continually consider what's being whined about. I also have to agree w/JMO that creating good tests is extremely difficult but there always seems to be some low hanging fruit to consider.

My first thought is to step back and consider in theory (and practically) what the purpose of the exams are. (There is overlap discussion here with the regular debates about university education vs exams.) One argument being made is that they are to provide useful knowledge and education to the exam taker. Seems reasonable and hopefully they do some of that, but of course a 2nd goal is to evaluate the qualifications of the person being tested. Hopefully, there is some overlap between those two goals when designing the exams (and arguably there are elements of the exam that do neither - eg memorizing clearly useless facts unless we think we need to test the ability to memorize and test the stubborness, fortitude, compliance, etc of the candidates to be willing to memorize useless facts). I have never needed to know about the Wigglesworth mortality table (and it's ilk) or the 7 things to look for in a heart murmur, but they are still indelibly fried into my brain some 40 years later taking up my limited data storage for some more important knowledge.

But I think that a major benefit of the exams is to generally have and demonstrate the ability to research and learn on your own (independent of any specific material). The likelihood of my exams covering what I need to know is a very small % and getting smaller with each passing year from the exams. But they can demonstrate the ability to learn what you need to learn. For example, rote memorization of the ASOPs is probably worthless. But demonstrating that you know enough about the ASOPs to know when you better find one and review it, and that you have the ability to do so, may be worthwhile (from a qualification standpoint).

All that said, I am sure the exams could be better designed to do whatever their purposes are. But lets not make impractical demands of having them make me knowledgeable about much of what we need to know. I think that this is better left to practical continuing ed (personally driven or otherwise) given that things like CFT, asset adequacy, predictive analytics, spreadsheets etc, etc were mere glimmers in the eyes of the old fart actuaries designing the exams in our day. (yes, spreadsheets - I'd have been tested regarding desktop calculators, proper use of green-bar paper, Fortran/Cobol/JCL/card punch machines, and mainframes, etc!). Your important knowledge will all too soon be obsolete as well.
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  #72  
Old 11-19-2018, 02:09 PM
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exponentialpi exponentialpi is offline
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Originally Posted by JollyRancher View Post
This is taken into account during the grading process. If the problem was worded wrong you can make up your own "story" to some extent and proceed. You get partial credit (and potentially full credit) if your answer is at minimum coherent and consistent.

And I wouldn't consider it "underhanded" to write a vague question and then take only the best answers.
I am curious to know if you are in health. That track has had some real problems over the last few years, including changing solutions after the fact.

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Originally Posted by MATE Seminars View Post
We finally have a resolution on this incorrect solution.

I submitted the initial email (see my first post above) in early February, days after the solutions came out, and then followed up 4 times. Just this week I received word that they were going to modify the solution. And just now I checked and found that they revised the solution file that is posted on the SOA website.

So I recommend downloading or printing that new file to replace the old file if you had downloaded or printed it. The solution that is now in there matches the one in my email above, but with less explanation on some of the calculations.
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  #73  
Old 11-19-2018, 02:31 PM
MathAlwaysWins MathAlwaysWins is offline
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Fair enough. I agree the exams aren't perfect, and this is all the more highlighted when you've recently found yourself on the losing end of a sitting. I still think by and large, there are plenty of opportunities to get the pass in a given sitting, despite some of the challenges in specific questions.
To be fair, my FSA exam progress has been steady and I just sat for my last exam, thank goodness. However, every single FSA sitting I’ve had there’s been the same issue with questions that have errors. I don’t need to be on the losing side of a sitting to recognize that the process needs improvement.

Last edited by MathAlwaysWins; 11-19-2018 at 02:38 PM..
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  #74  
Old 11-19-2018, 03:26 PM
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To be fair, my FSA exam progress has been steady and I just sat for my last exam, thank goodness. However, every single FSA sitting I’ve had there’s been the same issue with questions that have errors. I don’t need to be on the losing side of a sitting to recognize that the process needs improvement.
Good. Hope you pass and can move into volunteering on the exam committee and help clean it up.
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Last edited by JollyRancher; 11-19-2018 at 03:32 PM..
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  #75  
Old 11-19-2018, 03:31 PM
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I am curious to know if you are in health. That track has had some real problems over the last few years, including changing solutions after the fact.
I've seen that, but I've also seen issues with solutions to problems provided in my study materials. No one is perfect. You don't blame the refs for a bad call that cost you the game, when 9 out of 10 times there were other opportunities you blew that could have prevented so much from riding on it. At least that's my approach.
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Last edited by JollyRancher; 11-19-2018 at 03:36 PM..
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