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  • #31
    Originally posted by wat
    You're kidding, right? Making judgment calls about the future of the profession because of the first two actuarial exams? Last I checked, there's a few more than 2 to get the designations.

    I've already seen you post in the upper-level exam forums, so I know you're far enough through the exam system to understand some exam discussion. Because of the perceived "easiness" of Exams P and FM, we should conclude that an FSA is the equivalent of a high school degree? Come on.

    Any insight as to how Exams M and C were? How about the modules? Hm? Anything? No. You've made a conclusion that envelops the entire examination system on a few posters about the first two exams. Also, Dr. Ostazsewski has expressed his belief that the pass mark should be above 70% in this case. Does this cheapen the entire system? No.

    So, before you start making sweeping generalizations of the new system, wait to gather a little data and then start making some conclusions. It's like offering a new group coverage and having their president and VP die within the next month with $1 million policies and concluding that you should raise the monthly premiums to $500K as experience shows.
    -Yes all SOA designations have been "cheapened".
    -I could care less how hard or easy the subsequent exams are/were. P and FM are a significant chunk of the exam process.
    -The available data I see consists of "easy", "simple" with a few "ok's". Prior to this revamped exam process such descriptives were unheard of.

    Wat, do you actually feel I am alone in my concern? Lots of feathers are being ruffled over this.

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    • #32
      My worst nightmare:

      "We've heard how easy P and FM were last offering. If you can do M or C, we'd hire you right now, but as it stands..."

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      • #33
        ''', I see the panic button got pressed somewhere along the way. Here is the way I see it (and yes I also think the tests were easier this time around).

        I think the SOA was just testing one thing and one thing only - did you study the syllabus? They tried to come up with questions to test you on as much as they could, but they only had 30 questions so obviously some material was going to be left out. But, I still think that the reason the questions were basic in nature is simply because they just want to know if you studied it ... period. If they asked a question on something you didn't study you were most likely going to get it wrong and vice versa. That's all they wanted to know. Past exam questions were famous for being tricky, but perhaps the SOA was trying to measure who can see the "trick" behind a problem. Tests are measurement tools - that's all. Maybe the SOA is just trying to measure something different this time around? Maybe they just want to know "Ok, so who studied the syllabus and who didn't". And yes, just maybe they do have full intention of passing the candidates whom they felt studied the material. I don't think this cheapens the process in any way. You still had to know the material to pass. I'll be the first to admit, the syllabus was large and I did make a conscious choice on various parts to study more in-depth where other areas I wasn't as thorough. And they got me on one of them. On exam P there was a question about something that I did not study. I'm pretty sure I got that question wrong, but that's what they're trying to measure it would seem. I too expected difficult questions in various areas which is why I studied extra hard in some areas while studying not so hard in others.

        Also, I'd place a little more faith in the SOA. I'm sure there were very good reasons why they thought an education redesign was appropriate. I don't think they do something as major as that by the seat of their pants.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by managuense
          -Yes all SOA designations have been "cheapened".
          -I could care less how hard or easy the subsequent exams are/were. P and FM are a significant chunk of the exam process.
          -The available data I see consists of "easy", "simple" with a few "ok's". Prior to this revamped exam process such descriptives were unheard of.

          Wat, do you actually feel I am alone in my concern? Lots of feathers are being ruffled over this.
          1) How? You seem to think that because a few people express than an exam is "easy" on an actuarial website, where students understand that passing any one exam will take a great deal of effort, this can be extended to the entire exam system in general, as well as the designations that are attained as a result. My example from my last post still stands.

          2) Not exactly. P and FM are a smaller part of the exam process now. FM represents only 1/4 of what it used to be, and P was cut in half. Is it as substantial as the old courses? Of course not. But you also have to deal with satisfying VEE's and what not.

          3) Not necessarily. I think the students are becoming more informed about the education system and come to the understanding of undertaking the requisite effort to pass these exams earlier. Plus, all the responses of "okay", "easy" and "simple" were from those that have visited this forum earlier and have heard the stories about exams in the past. I believe this contributed to these posters putting in a little more (or a lot more) than they would've originally.

          In addition, it's been mentioned in the past that the first exams following the conversions are a little easier than those following the conversion - a matter of the SOA adjusting to the situation. Can we say from one round of tests that the exam system is down the drain? No way. The change was implemented because it was believed to be good - the SOA saw something that they felt needed to be fixed, and this is the attempt. How about getting a little more data before you start jumping to inane conclusions?

          I don't feel that you're alone in this view, though. I've heard the arguments already. These are the students who have suffered through the pre-2000 exams system and the 2000 exam system and succeeded with tremendous effort. Congratulations for doing so. However, the SOA seems to be geared more towards the learning capabilities of the exam system. Does it make sense to have a 5-hour exam offered once annually to attain a designation? Not really. It'd be much more efficient to break it up and focus on gradual learning than accumulating a bank of information and regurgitating it onto a paper once a year.

          Also, the value of the designation is not based on effort alone. If so, I contend that being designated a construction worker has more value than being an actuary. Why? Construction workers put it more effort daily than we ever do. Don't believe me? Give it a try.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Krieger
            My worst nightmare:

            "We've heard how easy P and FM were last offering. If you can do M or C, we'd hire you right now, but as it stands..."
            Will not happen. Hiring actuaries tend to be not as knowledgable about the current exam system as the students who are taking the exams are. Of course they understand what the exams were like, but they probably don't have a lot of experience with the 2000/2005 system, unless they're in charge of the exam study program as well. Even then, though - they aren't taking the exam and aren't usually involved in discussions with the actuarial students about the level of difficulty for a particular exam, as we are doing here. So, two exams is good - period. The only reason they might have for rejecting your application is that they may already have someone else in mind with 3-4 exams and experience. Which would diminish your chances whether or not Exam P/FM were easy.

            Study programs and support for actuarial students will not change drastically just from the perception of one sitting. Companies will not suddenly award only $500 instead of $1500 for Exam P because some people said the exam was easy. If the system persists, then study programs may be evaluated and reconsidered. But that will take time - adminstrative lag.

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