Checking Out The Actuarial Research Conference

Written by Tong Teh: 2014-07-15-19.53.17

Dave Kester (Coach K), Jon Poppe, and I attended the 49th Actuarial Research Conference (ARC) at the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB) from July 13th – July 16th.

Some highlights from the ARC include:

  • Great place. UCSB undoubtedly has one of the most beautiful campuses in the US. It is located in Santa Barbara, which is a gorgeous piece of paradise along the central coast of California. It is a great place that is all about lifestyle from the restaurants to the architecture to the amazing culture to the weather. We stayed in one of the dormitories located by the lagoon. We were so close to the ocean that we fell asleep to the mesmerizing sound of waves crashing onto the beach!
  • Great People. There was a group of great people at the ARC, consisting of college professors, students, and actuaries from different continents of the world. I was finally able to meet in person some people whose name I had heard or seen before. We had a great time connecting with people.
  • Booth. We were given a booth for Coaching Actuaries at the conference. We had a great time talking with the ARC participants who stopped by our booth. It was a pleasant surprise to be approached by one of our earliest Adapt users, Kyle Nobbie, who started using Adapt in 2010. Kyle passed all the preliminary exams on his first attempt and is now an FSA!
  • Presentations. There were a lot of presentations given by actuaries, college professors, and post-grad students. The presentations were very informative. Besides attending the presentations, Dave and I also gave a presentation on how well Adapt predicts exam success, where we shared our research findings primarily on the relationship between Adapt’s Earned Level and exam success.
  • Education updates. Here are the latest and greatest education updates from the SOA and CAS:

o   SOA: Stuart Klugman provided updates on exam MLC, particularly on the written-answer exam that was administered for the first time in April, candidate relations, and curriculum review. For the Spring 2014 Exam MLC, candidates had to score at least 12/20 on the multiple-choice exam in order for the written-answer exam to be graded. To prepare for the written-answer exam, Klugman recommended candidates to (i) read the guides to the written-answer answers, (ii) pay attention to the point values as they indicate the amount of time that to spend and the amount of detail to provide, and (iii) use model solutions as more than an indication of how to work the problem.

o   CAS: The chair of the exam committee from the CAS, Steven D. Armstrong, provided updates on the CAS education. The CAS plans to increase the scope and breadth of statistics on the syllabus and decrease the amount of less relevant material. New statistics exams (tentatively named S1, S2, and S3) will be offered. The CAS aims to have the new statistics exams ready by 2015 for S1, 2016 for S2, and 2017 for S3.

It was a truly fun experience attending the ARC. I look forward to attending next year’s ARC, which will be held in Toronto.