Student Liaison Committee Responds

CAS candidates may submit inquiries to the Student Liaison Committee who presents the questions to the appropriate person or committee. Below are some responses to candidate requests.

Q:Why can't the CAS preprint candidate and question numbers for essay questions?

A:The following response is provided by Beth E. Fitzgerald, General Officer, CAS Examination Committee.

A few candidates have asked the CAS why the answer sheets supplied for CAS Exams 5-9 cannot be preprinted with the candidate's number and each of the essay question numbers. Currently, most candidates are handed an exam package at the examination center with their candidate number preprinted on a label affixed to the examination envelope. The question numbers for the essay questions are known when the exam is printed. For these reasons, the Examination Committee discussed the feasibility of creating preprinted answer sheets.

Alas, it is all in the timing. Most exam applications are submitted within two weeks of the registration deadline. Candidate numbers for these individuals are assigned approximately five weeks prior to the examination date. Exam packages need to be sent to the printer eight weeks prior to the examination date. Thus, it is not possible to preprint candidate numbers.

The exams themselves are finalized eight weeks prior to the examination date and immediately sent to the printer to ensure that the exams are mailed on time to each examination center. The CAS investigated the feasibility of preprinting the question numbers on the answer sheets. Unfortunately, the printer would need to know the question numbers about 10 weeks prior to the examination date to maintain the current timetable for printing materials for the exam packages. Since the exams are not final yet, neither are the question numbers. The Examination Committee decided not to preprint the question numbers since changes to the question numbers in the finalization of an exam do happen and could result in erroneous answer sheets being supplied in the examination package.

The Examination Committee and the Student Liaison Committee encourage candidates to provide feedback on the admissions process. While changes may not be implemented, the Examination Committee does give serious consideration to all input received.

Q:Why have fees increased over the past few years?

A:A few significant factors have affected exam fees over the past several years. Starting in fiscal year 1998-99, the CAS began reimbursing the travel expenses for Fellows attending exam grading sessions. Prior to this, the volunteer or the volunteer's company paid the travel expenses. Later, the Board approved reimbursement for travel expenses for the Syllabus Committee, as well.

The education and examination structure that was implemented in 2000 also affected the exam fees. Immediately prior to 2000, the CAS administered five full exams and five partitioned exams; the partitioned exams were administered twice annually. There were a significant number of SoA candidates who took CAS exams for SoA credit, especially CAS Part 4B. With fewer exams being offered and a subgroup of candidates no longer taking CAS exams, revenue from CAS administered exams decreased significantly.

In December 2000, the CAS contracted with the Chauncey Group International of Princeton, New Jersey, to work with the Syllabus Committee to refine the learning objectives for each exam and with the Examination Committee to critique the examinations and to provide item writing training to its members.

Fees also reflect a share of the administrative costs at the CAS Office—the staff members who support the committee work, coordinate the logistics of administering the examinations, and communicate with candidates (Future Fellows and The Actuarial Review), as well as related Web site services for candidates.