Actuarial Review Return to Main Page

Tales of Examinations

A Friend Indeed

by Rodrigo Silva

I live in Colombia and here only very few actuaries are available. Some of them had passed exams in the old exam system many years ago. Therefore, the process of preparing for the exams for me had been a lonely one. Given the syllabus changing from time to time and the new approach, I didn't find anyone in Columbia to ask questions. For all the sittings I had been the only one taking the exam. There's no way that I can miss the big clock on the exam's day—it's just a couple meters from my eyes.

The day of my last sitting was a holiday in Colombia and the building where I would take the exam would be closed that day! What to do? Should I wait another six months? I e-mailed the CAS coordinator and she told me that I should seek someone who could help me that day. I couldn't manage to contact a local actuary in time, and a few institutes that help to prepare exams like TOEFL and GRE knew something about the SOA and CAS exams but were not willing to administer the exam. My third chance was a university professor. More than one colleague of mine had been much more judicious than me and became a Ph.D. and enrolled full time at our university. But only a friend is able to sacrifice a morning for you instead of spending this precious time with his wife and children. I talked with my professor-friend and with great surprise he was supportive. I told him what I was asking for: to sit with me in a room in the morning of a day off instead of sleeping a few hours more! The process from that point was straightforward: I e-mailed the CAS coordinator and it was very easy. The day of the exam was normal one. I sat for four hours and I used all the scratch paper I could in order to answer the questions. Fortunately, all of this was not wasted time: I passed the exam and I recovered. As for my professor-friend, even his wife doesn't hate me—at least that is what he says.

Click here to write a Letter to the Editors