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  #1  
Old 06-22-2009, 02:54 PM
Caucasian Invasion Caucasian Invasion is offline
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Default FA writing style

There has been much discussion on AO about what type of writing style the SOA graders prefer when grading the FA. I would like to invite those who have passed the FA to indicate what type of writing style they used.

I wrote the memos such that the grader would not need to refer to the prompt for the specific question asked. Each memo had a short executive summary and transition into each topic; however, I know that some people submit the FA memos with each task explicitly written out (i.e. Task 3(B)(2), Task 4(A)(2), etc.).

With the exception of my table of contents and title of each memo, my submission never mentions a task explicitly. I wrote the memos such that they may be the actual memos sent to employees of a company.

If you passed the FA please comment on the following if you don't mind:
1. Many words vs. Few words
2. Formal vs. Informal
3. Use Task identifier vs. DON'T use Task identifier (i.e. Task 4(A)(2))
4. Appendix vs. NO Appendix
5. Graphs vs. NO Graphs
6. Level of detail/supporting information
7. Any other suggestions for those who have yet to pass about writing style


With regard to Task 3B - How did you explain that Plus premiums are calculated on an annual basis but paid monthly? Uniform distribution of deaths, then use formula from M to calculate monthly premium OR Just divide by 12.

With regard to Task 6 - How did you decide to incorporate the new and highly credible data when updating rating factors? Did you apply more weight to the experience data or the prior assumptions?

Thanks for taking the time to answer.
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2009, 05:53 PM
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1. As few as possible. My report was roughly 7300 words, appendixes included (with weird counting of numbers as words). Under 30 pages. I don't want a long job of editing and graders don't want to read too much.

2. Task specific but my writing is pretty much the same either way.

3. Where appropriate. Some tasks didn't make sense to identify that way.

4. Appendices are a must. I put them at the end of the task.

5. Graphs are a no no... it says not to include them; you might be failed for not following instructions.

6. As little as possible to prove the point. Superfluous information is precisely that.

7. Be terse. Added detail that doesn't answer the question is distracting and a waste of time.


With regards to 3B - I initial had a paragraph explaining that I would divide by 12, but the final calculation should not be exactly 12 and will depend on the assumption you use for the distribution of deaths. Ultimately I removed that entirely and just mentioned that one was annual and the other monthly and this should be noted. You don't need to go too indepth with each detail.

Task 6 - I'd have to look up exactly what I did. I may have said to completely ignore the old data as it is worthless. The trend assumption is the key to that question, but again I don't remember exactly what I did.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:50 PM
Caucasian Invasion Caucasian Invasion is offline
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ElDucky,
I failed and my report had approximately 5,500 words in. Possibly too short.

I agree with everything you said. In fact, my paper used all of what you mentioned above. So, I'm not sure where I went wrong.

What kind of information did you include in your appendices? Assumptions and plan provisions? Additional calculation detail?
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:31 PM
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Appendicies were used for details of calculations or extra data that would clutter the report. Question 2 for instance had 3 appendicies. The others had 0 -2.

Mine it well organised and it's easy to see the points I am making. I'm sure the grader has a list of points you are supposed to address and this way they should be able to easily find the answer. It's possible you missed an important point or two, or it was hard to follow. I don't know exactly since I didn't see it.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:11 AM
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I passed with just under 6,000 words and I used no appendicies. I don't think word count necessarily matters, nor do appendicies. Just as long as you sufficiently answer the question. Each of my responses was written as a memo as if I was writing it to a colleague, not specifically mentioning the task number or repeating the questions verbatim.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:46 AM
ladeedah ladeedah is offline
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I passed with 9,840 words, 30 pages. I felt I could have written a little less but didn't want to cut it back just to cut it back. Only write what you can back up. There's nothing wrong with saying something should be considered down the road if you think it's important but not necessary to completing the task (like the monthly premium - UDD versus dividing by 12 issue).

I only used appendices for the Tasks 3 and 4. Mostly, I think organization so the grader can easily find your major points is key. I used a lot of bullets and other formatting to highlight certain things. I did not mention "Task 1" etc. directly in my writeups.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:02 AM
cheeza33 cheeza33 is offline
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"5. Graphs are a no no... it says not to include them; you might be failed for not following instructions."


I interpreted the instruction on graphs a bit differently....I read their instruction more as a suggestion to keep the file size down rather than an absolute no-no. Thoughts?
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:02 PM
ladeedah ladeedah is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeza33 View Post
"5. Graphs are a no no... it says not to include them; you might be failed for not following instructions."


I interpreted the instruction on graphs a bit differently....I read their instruction more as a suggestion to keep the file size down rather than an absolute no-no. Thoughts?
That was my thought as well - that they just didn't want you to copy the graphs in wrong and blow up the file size, but I ended up not including any just to be safe.
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2009, 12:35 PM
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I will reread it but I thought images and graphs were not to be included.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:31 PM
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I threw in a small graph pertaining to the rating factors and referred to it when justifying my selection of factors. I think it helped.
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