Reply To: CAS Leadership and the Failure of 2020 Exams

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Maximally Qualified

I don’t like that the CAS is opening this up for potential cheating, along with various other decisions they appear to have made about exams going forward, but think about this like an actuary, please. To successfully cheat you’d need the intersection of a few things, and for anyone else’s cheating to affect you, the person of integrity concerned about cheating, a few more things:

1) someone taking the same exam you are – not too hard to find in a big shop or across companies, hard to find in a small shop

2) one of these people has to be someone that you really trust – ok, most people have at least one of these, but I think this intersection is actually smaller than what you’d think, because even in a big shop actuarial department you don’t forge a tight bond with the person working in the next building over in a completely different actuarial function; this sort of forces the majority of people into the “small shop” assumption from (1)

3) this person has to be willing to help you cheat – again, not as common

4) no paper trail, sharing of secret info can’t be done electronically – not a huge hurdle but a slight one that I think weighs a bit more this sitting, as you won’t get offhand comments in the office that you’d get if everyone were hanging around in person and chatting over lunch as we were pre-pandemic

now, even if someone were to sail through those 4 barriers to cheating – and we are talking about a small number of people at this point, for it to affect you:

5) the first sitter has to remember questions in great enough detail to help – i’d expect mixed results on this one

6) the second sitter has to go in there on exam day and execute

7) this has to happen frequently and effectively enough to change the CAS’s concept of how a minimally qualified candidate (or whatever terminology they’re using these days) performs on that exam – this is such an inexact science in the first place as evidenced by pass rates swinging 20% year over year in some instances

Now, is this type of cheating going to have anything but the slightest of chances of exerting enough force to cause you to fail an exam you would have otherwise passed at any point in your travel?

If you are morally outraged and it makes you angry that someone could pass an exam like this, good. Doesn’t change your outlook on travel time, though.