Nearing BattleDay

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Your BRQ-Score

Everyone feels stressed as the BattleDay approaches. The purpose of the BRQ is to relieve stress by providing an objective measure of how well you know the material. In the future, we'll be able to provide a statistical correlation between BRQ and probability of passing, but we currently don't have enough data. This statistic will become more credible as more people use the system. See BattleActs Analytics.

Here's something that also might be helpful:

  • Often, people will use the BattleCards intensively at first and get their BRQ up to 40-50%. Then they'll stop using the BattleCards for a little while to do a practice exam, or focus on their notes. What happens, however, is your BRQ goes down for each day you don't do the BattleCards. So someone with a BRQ of 50% might drop to 20% after two weeks. Luckily, you can get your BRQ back up quickly. The system knows how many times you've done a particular BattleCard and the more times you've done it, the more slowly your BRQ will do down, and the faster it will come back up. The theory is that once you've learned something well, you don't have to review it as often. And it's all built into the BRQ scoring algorithm.

The Leaderboard in the main part of the BattleActs site at least lets you see how you compare to everyone else. (You can appear anonymously if you wish)

Last-Minute Things To Do

BattleHack #1 - Top Questions

  • In the main part of the BattleActs site on the BattlePlan page, review BattleHack #1 - Top Questions. Remember, exam questions are repetitive.
  • Start with the highest frequency questions and work your way down in the time you have left.
  • You can be almost certain that some of these will show up on your exam.

BattleHack #2 - Previous Exams

  • In the main part of the BattleActs site on the BattlePlan page, review BattleHack #2 - Prior Exams. This will show BRQ sub-scores by exam.
  • The most recent exam has not been (fully) uploaded to the BattleCard database, so you can use this exam for practice once you're nearing the end of your studying. (In the future, based on feedback, I'll leave out the most recent exam entirely. )
  • But before that, try to get your BRQ sub-score up to at least 5.0 or 6.0 on the last couple of exams available in the BattleCards. (Note that some of the lower-importance topics are asked roughly on every second exam. In other words, lower-importance topics that were asked on a particular exam would likely NOT appear on the subsequent exam.)
  • If you still have time, continue working backwards through prior exams, it's better to thoroughly understand a smaller number of topics than have a superficial understanding of many topics.

BattleHacks #3 & #4

  • Obviously you should check your scores here, as the Legal Cases (BattleHack #3), and the Calculation Problems (#4) are very important.

Custom Battles

  • This is Level 3 in the BattlePlan, and you can very likely pass the exam without ever using this section. But if you have the inclination, it can be helpful because it lets you filter the BattleCards in finer detail. For example, you can select only BattleCards that you got wrong. Or you can flag BattleCards with aqua or orange colour codes so that you can easily return to them. If you play around on the Custom Battles page you'll get the idea.

New Readings

Recall the new readings for Fall.2018 and their tentative rank:

[49]   CIA.Models
[50]   ICBC.Affordable
[51]   IFA.Solvency2
[52]   Marshall.Benefits

This probably doesn't represent their true rank, but we won't know for sure until after a few more exam cycles. My predictions is the CIA.Models is the most important. And the other three can be covered very quickly using the wiki and BattleQuizzes. Easy points!

Alice the Actuary Makes Predictions for the (2018.Fall) Exam

Predictions for the 2018.Fall are embedded in the BattleActs Practice Exam. That's your main source. Alice and I analyzed past exams and selected the all highest probability questions. And be sure to learn CIA.Models thoroughly. Now, the practice exam can't cover every potential topic, so here are a few more predictions and anti-predictions.

Predictions (Things that are more likely to appear on the 2018.Fall exam)
(1) CIA.Taxes
  • definition of asset for future income taxes
  • calculate the effect of discounting the asset for future income taxes
  • The main MCT question on the past several exams has been to calculate the interest rate risk margin. It's a good question because it involves MfADs, duration calculations for both claim and premium liabilities, and the calculation of DPAE/PDR. But that can't go on forever. Sooner or later, they've got to come up with a different type of MCT question. I'm not sure what it will be, but I included a fairly comprehensive MCT question on the BattleActs Practice Exam (#13) just to make sure you have an overall understanding of the MCT calculation.
  • Also remember that sometimes they like to combine MCT and DCAT. And the following problem is a good example of where equity is used as a proxy for MCT capital available. In other words, if you don't have the exact value for capital available, you may be able to use balance sheet equity as a rough approximation.
E (2015.Fall #20)
  • Another problem that uses equity as a proxy for capital available is:
E (2015.Fall #21)
(3) Webel1.TRIA, Webel2.TRIA
  • If you like to study in the hallway outside the exam room, give your Webel notes a quick read! You might pick up a point or two here. Not a big topic but it has not been asked since 2015.Fall. I just feel like it might be due.
Anti-predictions (Things that are less likely to appear on the 2018.Fall exam)
  • This paper normally follows the pattern of appearing on every second exam. Not always, but there are 4 new papers for this Fall, and something has to make way for this new material. I think they'll give FSCO.PPA a skip this time.
  • When this paper was added to the syllabus, it appeared on 3 consecutive exams (2015.Fall, 2016.Spring, 2016.Fall) then was absent until 2018.Spring. I think they will bag it for 2018.Fall. Not that you should ignore it completely, but if you're looking for something to review while you're waiting for the exam to start, I'd pick Webel instead!
Final Words
The exams are very predictable because they all follow a similar format, and many questions are repeated from year to year. Be sure to review the following articles and make sure you have a good time management strategy before you go into the exam.

And one final reminder to do the BattleActs Practice Exam.

Slay the beast!

Alice the Actuary Makes Predictions for the (2018.Spring) Exam

Alice assumes you followed the BattlePlan and already covered the top 24 papers thoroughly. What she's doing here is making predictions among the papers that appear less often, namely those from rank 25 to 65.
  1. One exception among the top 24 is FSCO.PPA, which is ranked at #21. Coverage of this material on the exam has been spotty - it's only appeared on 4 of the last 10 exams, but when it does, it's worth a lot (2.75 pts on average). It last appeared on (2016.Fall #2abcd & #4b). Alice predicted it would come up again on on the last sitting, but it didn't. Will we see it this April? Chances are good!
  2. On the next row in the BattleBriefings table, we have Feldblum's paper on Rating Agencies Feld.RtAgs, ranked at #28. This has popped up only 3 times in the past 10 exams, but like FSCO.PPA, when it does, it counts for a lot (2.50 pts on average). See (2016.Fall #23) for the most recent question on rating agencies. Feldblum is an excellent writer so there's no excuse to miss a question on this topic. Alice crunched the numbers and chances are good for seeing good ol' Feldblum this Spring!
  3. Alice's prediction for the previous sitting that there would be a question on terrorism, ranked at #31/32, from either Webel1.TRIA or Webel2.TRIA didn't come true. (So sad.) But Alice isn't a quitter, and she's putting it in her bracket again this time around! Aside from the fact that terrorism used to be tested heavily but has been notably absent recently, Webel2.TRIA was a new paper last year but has not yet been asked. Why would they add a paper to the syllabus then never ask a question on it??!! It must come up sooner or later, right? RIGHT???
So, those are Alice's top predictions for (2018.Spring). The last few things she wanted me to pass along are some things you can do while you're waiting in the hallway before they let you into the exam room. (Alice thinks it's mostly a waste of time to still be looking at your notes 5 minutes before the exam, but if you really want to, here a few final things to cram into your brain. Her words, not mine!)
  • From FSCO.UBI: Memorize @TASS. That's the hint for the following question:
    • Identify considerations for handling data in a usage-based insurance program:
@T: at Termination - ensure: [ no further data is captured, transferred, analyzed ] after UBIP or policy termination
A: Accuracy - ensure: [ compliance with UBIP discount, data errors fixed, customer disputes resolved, customer hasn't tampered with data ]
S: Security - ensure: data [ capture, transfer, analysis ] is done in secure environment
S: Storage - ensure: data [ deleted, anonymized ] when there is no longer a clear business need (Exs: opt-out, doesn't renew, data not relevant for discount)
  • From CIA.Taxes:
    • The formula for the effect of discounting the asset for future income taxes is:
discounting effect = ( RR - 95% x min[RR, APV] ) x TaxRate x (1 - PVfctr)
  • RR = Reported Reserve = net claim liability carried in A/R
  • APV = net discounted estimate with PfADs
  • PVfctr = present value factor
  • The formula for the PVfctr is:
PVfctr = ( PV + PfAD(int) ) / ( net undiscounted estimate )
  • From AAA.Asbestos:
    • Why is asbestos litigation expensive & inefficient:
      • EXPENSIVE: high discovery costs (plantiffs need medical certification), high legal fees (because asbestos actions are adversarial)
      • INEFFICIENT: legal fees account for a large portion of the settlement (lawyers get their beamers, plaintiffs get a bottle of aspirin)
Alice has 1 final bit of advice she wants me to pass on to you: slay the beast  :-)

Alice the Actuary Makes Predictions for the (2017.Fall) Exam

  • Based on an analysis of patterns in past exams, Alice has identified these readings as having a high probability of appearing on the (2017.Fall) exam: