Future Fellows - December 2011
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Taking a New Look at Exam Length

The CAS Examination Committee considers various factors in estimating how long it should take the average candidate to complete each exam. As one part of this process, the committee has used subject matter experts in a consulting role to review completed drafts of each exam. These experts also provide comments on content, length, and difficulty. While this insight remains a valuable part of the review process, the committee is experimenting with a new dimension in the review process—namely, including colleagues who have recent experience with the exam environment. The committee expects this addition to further improve its understanding of overall content, length, and difficulty of exams.

The Examination Committee now asks new Fellows to be its consultants. Selected consultants take an exam under timed conditions before the exam is administered, in order to help committee officers better estimate the exam’s length and to verify the clarity and readability of each test item.

Although the consultant may use study resources for this assignment, the consultant is not provided with model solutions. The consultant completes the exam within the relevant timeframe (e.g., four hours) and writes out each answer. The committee officers use both the time the consultant took to complete the exam and the completeness of the responses as data points in the determination of exam length.

These new consultants are recruited for this special review from new Fellows who were top performers on recent exams. So if you do an exceptional job on your next exam, you could be asked to be a special consultant to the Examination Committee!


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