Kick off the discussion thread. Here are the questions that I remember.
- Cost of conversion
- Indexed Annuity?
- Floaters/Swap Rate
- US Stat/US GAAP/CALM/Solvency II
- Confidence interval
- A lot of the question were based on a term product so I felt that some of the subquestions were very similar around the post-level term period.
- Q7: I think this was a trick question because it kept saying that floater’s duration was very high multiple times, but I believe it’s actually the opposite.
- Q8: This screwed me over because this is such a small piece of the study materials and it got an entire question devoted to it. I barely got by this one and don’t feel very confident on getting a lot of partial credits. Did folks with more life work experience have an easier time answering this question?
I thought the exam was quite long, and feeling 50/50 about results on Friday. This was my second attempt and I thought the exam last summer was much easier overall due to the duration, but I was less prepared at that point. Question 8 the graphs made no sense to me.
Also I’m new to this forum and it says this thread has 2 replies but I cant see them anywhere, what gives?
This is first try my FSA exam. Honestly, I can’t figure out what they need on Q8 even retake again. Let’s see the released answer! By the way, do we need to pass min score each question or leave few with complete blank is find if total out of 100 pass?
Please take note that I am just sharing my experience, and you should take it as a grain of salt. In my experience, you need to perform decently well on EACH question to pass all FSA exams (at least for Life track). That means a 6 out of 10 for each question. DO NOT leave any question (or sub-question) blank.
I was once told that if you get a 6/10 for all 10 questions, you would pass (6 x 10 = 60). However, if you get 10/10 for 5 questions and then 2/10 for the other 5 questions (which would still give you 60), you will fail. The former shows that a candidate have a decent, basic understanding of all topic. The latter demonstrates that there is a large imbalance in your understanding on different topics, and graders do not allow candidates of the latter to pass. So make sure you do not bomb a single question. Try to write something (anything, a formula even) if you have no idea how to attempt a question. DO NOT leave any question blank. Avoid getting 1, 2 or 3 out of 10. I think a 4 or 5 out of 10 for a question or two would still give you a higher chance to pass as long as you have other questions that you scored better (6 or above).
Please bear in mind that this score (6 out of 10) also depends on how well you did in comparison to other candidates. For example, if there is an easy question worth 5 points, and let’s say you made a mistake and got 3 out of 5 points (which would technically give you a 6 out of 10 score, and hence, passed that question). However, if most candidates are able to get full marks on that question, then your score will likely bumped down. So it depends on how well you did compared to others. In contrast, if there is a hard question, and if you at least write an answer with your justification (even if it is slightly wrong), then you might (emphasis on might) get a higher score if most candidates fail to answer this question. So this means DO NOT panic when you see a hard question during an exam.
So in summary:
- Perform decently well for EACH question is the way to go (at least a 6 out of 10).
- Try writing something, instead of leaving a question blank.
- Do not bomb a single question.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers!
Thank you for this excellent write-up. This is exactly what I’ve been telling other students!
Wait are you saying it’s not a total score pass mark that determines whether you pass or not? This grading system sound utterly absurd and way too subjective. They look at how you do relative to others on a question to determine whether you pass or not?
If it’s a relative thing to others in your sitting why isn’t the overall pass rate at least standardized. We likely got a near or sub 30% pass rate this sitting which is ridiculous.
The SOA is awful
What’s subjective about saying that 106 is better than 105+2*5?
The exams are to assess professional preparedness; not a college class. If the professional standard is to be proficient over most (if not all) tested topics, the 10*6 shows a better professional preparedness than the other scenario.
31% pass rate. The SOA is awful
I am curious to see the model solutions for several of the questions. I walked out of this exam positive that I had failed, so I wasn’t even stressing the results when they came out, but I ended up passing with a 6.
- My thoughts were the same as OP on Q8 - I did provide an answer in each section, but it was little more than a wild guess in most cases, with little or no supporting rationale. I more or less thought I got nuked on this entire question. And the first part of the question needing to be answered in Excel made me feel like I was missing something, since I wasn’t doing any calculations.
- For the swap rate calculation question, I was able to lay out the swap rate formula in the abstract, but I basically wasn’t able to execute anything meaningful with it.
- On the reinsurance question, am I missing something obvious, or was there no reinsurance percentage given? I arbitrarily wrote that I was assuming 50% ceded business and operated on that assumption. The whole question felt pretty light on details to work with.
- On the SOFR question, I felt like I was just kind of rambling and saying the same sort of thing over and over for each situation/instrument that needed to be converted.
- In general, I was rarely confident in any given answer. I can’t really point to a single question where I felt like I really nailed it. I didn’t actually feel a ton of time pressure; the sticking point after I had gotten through my first pass of all the questions was that I simply had way too many things remaining that I didn’t know how to do or answer.
Given all that, I really am surprised I passed, but it was also just barely, evidently. Along with the low pass rate, based on my self-assessment, I’m guessing it was also a pretty low pass mark (not that I have any context for comparison) - I think it would be generous to give me more than ~55-60%. I wouldn’t be surprised if, for me, the difference between a pass and a fail came down to a few points I got from typing the swap rate formula out, even though I didn’t actually use it successfully.