What to expect from Exam S – Part II

BaronC

In the last blog, we walked through the exam format differences between Exam S and other preliminary multiple-choice exams. So what does Exam S test on?

What are the pre-requisites for Exam S?

According to the CAS, the only pre-requisites for Exam S are P/1 and FM/2.

http://www.casact.org/admissions/syllabus/index.cfm?fa=exam_rules

Certain Exam S topics overlap with Exam’s so you may have advantage on those (more details below).

Exam LC + Exam ST + VEE Stats material = Exam S? Not quite.

Candidates treated the relationship between the new Exam S and the old requirement as a simple 1+1=2 equation. But in reality, Exam S includes the most material from Exam ST, only a small portion of LC in equivalent principle and basic Markov chains, as well as a chunk of new topics that have not been tested in exams recently. GLM and time series materials were usually covered in VEE Statistics. Advanced Markov chains topics and system reliability concepts are offered for the very first time.

I noticed a few topics that seem identical to the ones in Exam C. Is that true?

True. If you have prepared for Exam C before, you can cruise through Exam S topics on MLE, Bayesian prior, hypothesis testing and Bayesian estimation. Exam S questions are more predictable than Exam C ones: similar in format, less in computation, and more in width instead of depth.

How did Exam S test your knowledge on GLM topics?

The CAS tested on your understanding of materials, not necessary calculations. You are unlikely to calculate R^2, SSE, F-value, deviance, likelihood values or go through all matrices with your TI-30 and pencil in the exam; be prepared to know what these values mean towards model selection. Are they higher the better? What does a negative value of any of these means? What are the confidence intervals of estimators provided?

Time series seems like a lot of material for just 10%. Should I skip it?

Please don’t. Time series is a simple topic to understand to score quick points. The required textbook is such a pleasure to read that you can go through the materials during lunch breaks or when you are stuck on other topics.