Future Fellows - September 2010
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Reminders When Moving from Computer-Based Testing to Exams by Paper and Pencil
By Arlene Woodruff, FCAS, Examination Committee

Most candidates begin taking actuarial exams by computer-based testing (CBT). Currently Exams 1/P, 2/FM, and 4/C are administered by CBT. It is anticipated that Exam 3F/MFE will move to CBT in 2011.

There are a few things to remember when taking an actuarial exam that is administered by paper and pencil.

  • Read your confirmation notice so that you know where the exam will be administered. The paper and pencil exams are not administered at the Prometric testing centers. Arrive 30 minutes prior to the published exam time.
  • Bring a supply of number 2 pencils to the examination center to fill in the short answer card for Exam 3L. Pens may be used for the essay style exams (Exams 5-9).   
  • For Exam 3F/MFE, candidates must present a valid Letter of Admission that will be sent from Preliminary Actuarial Examinations/SOA.
  • For CAS Exams 3L and 5-9 ONLY: Candidates may bring a self-addressed, stamped envelope to obtain their own examination booklet. Postage for the booklets varies by weight; candidates should affix sufficient postage for a booklet weighing at least 11 ounces. Candidates who do not have a self-addressed, stamped envelope must enclose their examination booklets with the answer card/sheets in the envelope that is returned to the proctor.
  • For Exams 5-9: Candidates should submit at least one answer page for each question—even if they did not answer each question. This is important in the grading process when the graders must receive an essay page for each question from every candidate. At the top of each page, candidates should include their exam number, question number, and candidate number. Time is given prior to the exam to write this information in the boxes at the top of the essay sheets. If more than one page is used to answer a question, indicate this by writing “1 of 2” on the first page and “2 of 2” on the second as appropriate for the number of pages.

There are some similarities to the CBT administration. Candidates are reminded to bring the following to the test center:   

  • Photo ID: To be admitted into an examination center, each candidate must present a positive identification with a signature and a photograph (e.g., driver’s license, passport, etc.). If a photo ID is not available, the candidate must present two forms of identification with a signature, with at least one form containing a physical description (height, weight, hair color, eye color, etc.). Each candidate will be required to sign in at the examination center. A candidate who does not present positive identification or who refuses or is unable to provide a matching signature will not be permitted to write the examination.   
  • Authorized Calculator: Only authorized calculators will be permitted at the examination center. All unauthorized calculators brought to the exam will be confiscated for the duration of the exam. A list of approved calculators is provided in the online Syllabus of Basic Education. Use of an unauthorized calculator may result in the disqualification of the candidate’s examination.


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