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The Fall 2020 exam sitting, being the first sitting fully administered using computer-based testing (CBT), was a challenge for candidates in many ways as they adapted to the new format of exams. It probably doesn’t surprise candidates to know that the new CBT format presented a learning opportunity for exam graders as well. In particular, while CAS members continued to grade all answers for Exams 5-9, candidate work was conveyed to graders through a new grading vendor for the first time.  Thankfully, gone are the days of pages and pages of photocopies.   Most candidate questions about CBT have centered on what is needed to show work in the new Pearson ...
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What's the CLC Reading?

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The prolonged “Stay at Home” orders have left many of us with extra time on our hands.  Reading is a great way to pass the time, to escape to another world, or to learn.  It’s also a great break from the monotony of studying for actuarial exams!    One of the great things about books is that you don’t actually have to read them!  Audiobooks, if read by decent narrators, help make books accessible to all and are easy to transport.  One of our committee members, Nate Williams, listens to audiobooks checked out from the library while he walks in the evenings.    We asked the CLC what they are reading to learn more about our committee members and get some ...
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CAS Elections Turnout

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“I don’t like Adams. Well, he’s gonna lose, that’s just defeatist.” Perhaps, like me, you recently heard these lyrics from Hamilton ’s “The Election of 1800” either from watching it on Disney+, or listening to the soundtrack in the car…or the shower. Perhaps, like me, it reminded you of today’s political defeatism where many people end up voting for someone they don’t actually want, either because they don’t think their candidate of choice could realistically win or because they just want to prevent someone they like even less from getting into office. And perhaps, like me, you thought of the importance of voting in elections. No? Well, that’s okay, too. But ...
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As a working mother of an overly energetic 2-year old, I wanted to share some QUICK tips on how to find balance during this pandemic (especially since now many of us are starting to study again!) Special emphasis on the word quick: since anyone needing to read this won’t have time to read more, and I won’t have time to write it. Before the tips, here is a brief background on why this is so important. Aside from the obvious lack of daycares and schools, this pandemic has also caused us to become isolated from our “village”. No more babysitters, no more play dates with friends, no more getting our energy out at the playground, no more weekends with Nana – it ...
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With the recent decision to move all Fall 2020 CAS exams to the computer-based testing format, the Candidate Liaison Committee (CLC) knows that candidates have a lot of questions and have heard a lot of rumors.  The CAS has provided  an overview of  CBT Exams Information as well as a FAQ and is updating both often to provide more information to candidates, but the CLC wanted to help candidates in our own style by busting some exam-related myths!    The myths below are separated into three categories: Myths about Cheating, Myths about COVID-19 Precautions, and Myths about CBT Exam Format.  Have another myth or question that’s not addressed?  Let the ...
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Back in January, I was thrilled to have finally arrived at the point in my exam process where I was registering for the CAS Course on Professionalism (COP). Not only did it mean that I would be one step closer to earning the ACAS title, but it meant I would have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with actuaries from various companies across the country. However, as we all know, the world changed significantly between January and the June COP course dates. When it was announced that Spring exams were canceled, I knew it was only a matter of time until the COP was also formally announced as canceled. While the course was inevitably canceled, I was both relieved ...
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Last week we shared our reactions to the delay of spring CAS exams.   As you have probably seen, the CAS ultimately decided to cancel the spring sitting and offer exams 7 and 9 in the fall of 2020.  This week the Candidate Liaison Committee (CLC) would like to share more on how COVID-19 changes are impacting us and how we are adapting.  As you will see in the responses, we are all impacted in different ways by COVID-19.  We are also curious how you are handing the disruption, feel free to share your tips for working from home and managing isolation in this uncertain time in the comments section.  This week's panel consists of the following committee members ...
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Since this was posted, the CAS announced plans to cancel the spring exam sitting.   Click here to view the announcement.   The CAS recently shared its decision to postpone administration of the April 2020 CAS exam sittings.  When this announcement came out, many of us were already adjusting to work from home and practicing social distancing in our communities. For those studying for CAS exams, disruption to regular work was probably already impacting study and there were likely a range of emotions upon hearing the announcement that the CAS would postpone exams.    The Candidate Liaison Committee (CLC) would like to share how we are impacted and ...
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My struggle with disability has been life-long, but I only received a diagnosis about five years ago just after I decided to start on the actuarial career path. It is extremely difficult to figure out how to take exams with new or worsening disabilities. Heck, it’s extremely difficult for most actuarial students to figure out how to take exams under normal circumstances! To give you an idea of why it took so long to get a diagnosis and why I am still struggling with accommodations, I will take you through my journey to diagnosis. Childhood I do not remember a day when my body didn’t hurt. I was an active child, participating in dance classes, ...
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If you or someone you know has a disability and is struggling to pass exams, please see the main article, Managing Disability and Actuarial Exams in the Future Fellows Newsletter . My Experience with Vestibular Migraine It started with mild motion sickness, just feeling a little bit queasy after taking the bus into the city. For the first almost 30 years of my life, I loved motion! As a kid, I selfishly monopolized the tire swing every time I went to the local playground. As a teenager, I spent every summer eagerly anticipating the Nez Perce County Fair, when I could ride the Zipper for three days straight. When I passed my first actuarial ...
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I never once had the time to answer all the questions on an upper-level, handwritten CAS Exam. Initially this bothered me, but it eventually became a non-issue as I realized it was the status quo for me and that not finishing the exam did not necessarily equate to not passing the exam. By the time I earned my FCAS, I felt that I had become pretty good at making smart choices on how to spend my limited time. The methods I’m sharing below might not collectively buy you a lot of time, but they just might buy you enough to pass. Find the pen that is right for you. You should not use pencils on the written exams (in my opinion). Pens will allow you to write ...
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I am honored to be a recipient of a 2019 CAS Trust Scholarship. I was encouraged to apply by a St. Thomas grad and Travelers employee with whom I interacted with in my internships at Travelers. I immediately gained an appreciation for the prestige of the award when I read about it on casact.org and when I saw the list of previous winners. The application process was straightforward, requiring candidates to submit an application, essay, official transcript, and two letters of recommendation. I was elated when I received an email a few short months later informing me that I had been selected as a recipient of the award. I am truly humbled to be in the company of ...
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The CAS’s Candidate Liaison Committee (CLC) has four new candidate representatives to share their voices and perspectives on the candidate experience with the CAS and to communicate news from the CAS to the candidate community. I’ve asked our new representatives to introduce themselves and share a little bit regarding their background, interests, and plans for a future Future Fellows article. On behalf of the CLC veterans, we are delighted to welcome Emma, Chandler, Holley, and Victor. Emma Casehart Hi everyone! I’m Emma Casehart, and I’m an Actuarial Assistant working for Allstate. I work in personal lines pricing on specialty products like condo, ...
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Exam season is almost upon us. Set down your calculator, take a deep breath, and check out a few tips that will help you get through this stressful time. Pre-Exam Get good sleep multiple nights before exam: We tend to think that just getting a full night of sleep the night before the exam is enough, but plenty of studies indicate multiple nights of good sleep will help much more. Working out will improve blood flow as well as ensure you get a good night’s sleep (and improve overall health!). Eat healthy foods: We’ve all been in the situation where it’s easier to just order delivery instead of worrying about cooking while you’re cramming, but ...
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Last week, the Candidate Liaison Committee (aka the CLC) did something we've never done before: we asked every CAS candidate what they think about a lot of different topics. We sent out the first annual Candidate Survey!   Quick plug: if you're actively working toward an ACAS/FCAS and you haven't taken the survey yet, it'll be available here ( https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/D5K8SGM ) until July 26. You should take it to make your voice heard, but also, you can enter to win one of five $100 AmEx gift cards at the end.   The survey is a little long (46 questions, should take around 15-20 minutes to complete), but we don't expect every annual survey ...
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Now that I’ve got your attention with my click bait title, I want to share a bit about my experience volunteering with the CAS. I’m currently the Chairperson of the Candidate Liaison Committee (CLC), but it’s been an unexpected journey to get here. In the summer of 2013 I finally finished partying to celebrate my FCAS and indicated on the CAS volunteering survey that I’d be interested in volunteering with something related to Admissions and Exams. I was contacted by the prior CLC chairperson, Dan Tevet, who told me about the opportunity to join as a volunteer. I learned that it would involve writing articles for the Future Fellows publication and providing ...
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The CAS announced last month that the NAIC had completed its assessment of the CAS’s educational materials against new minimum educational standards to define a qualified actuary, and concluded that CAS designations are assessed as NAIC Accepted Actuarial Designations for the 2019 Statement of Actuarial Opinion instructions. The SOA also announced that the NAIC completed the same process for the SOA’s FSA-General Insurance (GI) Track, and that the NAIC concluded that the SOA’s GI track is also an accepted actuarial designation, meeting NAIC standards of a qualified actuary in general insurance. We received a number of questions from candidates about ...
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Every so often, I’ll see a discussion pop up on Actuarial Outpost or Reddit about what other designations actuaries can get or other industries actuaries work in and I am always curious to see the responses. I imagine that most of the people posing these questions are younger candidates still trying to figure out their long-term career plans, or people looking to pivot into another industry later in their careers. I decided to answer this question myself and find out what other “letters” CAS members have collected since there didn’t seem to be any figures like this published anywhere. The data is gathered from the internal CAS membership database, which relies ...
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“Hit hard, run fast.” - Dr. D. P. Story The IQs were ‘birthed’ in the Spring 2017 sitting of Exam 9. We knew they were coming: they had been formally announced six months prior and three sample questions had been released to demonstrate what they would look and feel like. When the reading period started, there was no missing the IQ: Question 1, front and center, 7.5 points (of the total 60). It had been explained that IQs will differ from a typical exam question in three significant ways. An IQ will be worth more points. One IQ could be worth 10-15% of the total exam. Each IQ will require candidates to draw from multiple syllabus learning ...
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What the CLC is Reading

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You have probably realized that many members of the Candidate Liaison Committee enjoying writing, and it probably won’t be a surprise to learn that we enjoy reading too. Here are some books that we have been reading this winter. We thought you might appreciate a good recommendation or two that you could possibly sneak in alongside your actuarial exam reading and problem solving.   The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness If you’re looking for something on the lighter side after a long day of studying, this book is great! It’s about a group of friends who go to the same high school as kids who are usually at the center of YA novels – those kids ...
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