Integrative Questions

Sample Integrative Questions

As originally announced in the December 2016 issue of Future Fellows, the CAS is gradually moving towards an integrative testing framework for Fellowship exams. Integrative Questions (IQs) require candidates to understand multiple facets of the syllabus material and concepts in addressing complex business problems in a single exam question.

IQs were first introduced in Spring 2017 on Exam 9, and were included on Exams 7, 8, and 9 in subsequent sittings. The CAS has received and considered candidate feedback on IQs following each sitting.

Candidates will continue to see IQs on Fellowship exams, but for the 2019 sitting rather than increase the number from 2018 there will be no more than two IQs on each of Exams 7, 8 and 9. Though we do not intend to announce the number of IQs on each exam going forward, candidates can expect that IQs will encompass a larger percentage of the Fellowship exams over time.

To assist candidates with preparing to answer IQs, sample IQs and responses were previously released for Exam 7,  Exam 8 and Exam 9. In addition, IQs used on Exams 7, 8, and 9 in prior sittings are available in the Examiner’s Reports through Fall 2019.

As you will note from the samples, IQs differ from a typical exam question in three significant ways.

  1. Each IQ requires candidates to draw from multiple syllabus learning objectives in order to answer the question.
  2. As a result, an IQ is generally worth more points.
  3. IQs generally test at a higher average Bloom’s Taxonomy level than a standard exam question.

As IQs are added to the exams, there would be a decrease in the number of exam questions overall, as IQs generally take longer to complete than standard questions. There will be no change to the normal grading process, as described in the Syllabus, for IQs.

General questions or feedback about IQs can be submitted to the Candidate Liaison Committee via our online contact form and selecting Candidates as the topic.


Download Sample IQs

Sample IQs are available as a study aide for candidates to help prepare for the exam.

Exam 7 Sample IQs

Exam 8 Sample IQs

Exam 9 Sample IQs

 

Questions About IQs

How is an IQ different than a typical exam question?

An IQ will differ from a typical exam question in three significant ways. First, it will be worth a lot more points. To put it another way, each IQ could be worth around 10% to 15% of the total exam. Second, each IQ will require the candidate to draw from multiple syllabus learning objectives in order to answer the question (hence the word “integrative”). Finally, IQs will naturally test at a higher average Bloom’s level than a standard exam question.

Which exams will be affected?

Exam 9 will feature one IQ on the Spring 2017 exam, worth about 10% to 15% of the exam. Similarly, Exam 8 will feature one IQ on the Fall 2017 exam and Exam 7 will feature one IQ on the Spring 2018 exam. The number of IQs that will appear on these exams will gradually increase over time.

We are still considering whether to extend this approach to Exams 5, 6US and 6C. However, candidates already have some experience with IQs to a limited extent, in the sense that Exam 5 often features a full rate indication item that blends testing of reserving and ratemaking concepts.

Please note that there will be fewer exam questions overall to account for the presence of IQs in order to avoid any increase in the time length of the exam.

Will you be releasing sample IQs?

Yes. Exam 9 will be releasing a few sample IQs in January as a study aide for candidates to help prepare for the exam. Similar to Exam 9, Exams 7 and 8 will also release sample IQs at the appropriate time.

Just to confirm, does this have anything to do with integrals or integration?

Thankfully, no.

How else should candidates prepare for IQs?

We understand that candidates will have to adjust somewhat in getting used to this new type of question and that the point values might be daunting. For example, candidates will need to consider the time spent on IQs vs. other exam questions, which will be different than in the past. However, we do not expect these questions to necessarily be more difficult for prepared candidates. In fact, we believe IQs will benefit candidates by reducing the complexity of the exams overall, as the number of distinct scenarios, assumptions and datasets that candidates face will be reduced.

Part of the mission of the Candidate Liaison Committee is to foster two-way communication between candidates and the CAS leadership. If you have any question about IQs, or any concerns that you would like to share with the Exam and Syllabus Committee, please send us a note via our Contact us form and we will do our best to address it.

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