Folks who took the CBT FSA Exams, can you provide some comments around the exams?

  1. Was the overall difficulty and # of questions on-par with the prior exams?
  2. Did you feel that the written answer questions require a longer answer? Or did you just write more because of the differences between writing vs typing?
  3. Did you feel that the calculation answers were more robust because of Excel? Meaning, did the provided data have more information that what was generally provided in the prior exams?

Responses now to this question should only address the exams given Monday and Tuesday. Don’t discuss the Wednesday exams until 6 AM NY time on Thursday.

Sure - I took Exam QFI-QF so there’s a couple caveats with that:

  1. I don’t want to be too specific yet until the SOA decides how they’re going to handle Monday’s mess (I’ve heard conflicting things).
  2. It was a hybrid of CBT-handwritten because it is computationally intensive at times.
  3. I haven’t checked exams for other tracks, but I would imagine those exams can have much longer written answer questions, whereas for my exam (for the 2019/early 2020 versions publicly released) I don’t recall seeing a part that could be typed worth more than 2 points. I’d guess that’s not the case for something like ILA but don’t know.

With that said:
Difficulty and test length / questions was same as before - I think the key note is the test didn’t change even though the 30-minute reading period was removed. Which is a major change to me.

Given the caveats I listed above, for me I didn’t really put longer answers writing vs typing, but if there was a longer essay-type one, maybe? I’m a fast typer so what I can put in 3 minutes/point typed is more than written. I viewed it mostly as bonus time to put to the things I was slower on.

I took LPM so here is my opinion:

  1. Difficulty very similar to prior exams. It took me about 3 hrs to do the first 60 points (aka “old morning session”) and the 2 hrs to do the last portion (aka “old afternoon session”)
  2. I wrote more because of the typing and the way I write. It was easier for me to make edits compared to writing. Plus my handwriting is chicken scratch.
  3. I was kinda expecting hundreds of rows of data. This was not the case. It was very similar to the level of data provided in prior exams.

Like what Poly said, it sucks losing some of the read through time. Also, there’s no break since it just 5 hr & 15 min straight. In the old setting, you get a hr or so between morning and afternoon session, where you can snack, use the restroom, cram some more studying, etc.

Overall, I like the CBT setting more because I prefer typing over writing for written answers.