Arizona State University’s GIS Chapter Hosts CAS Case Competition with Brigham Young University!

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Reprinted with permission from Arizona State University (ASU). Written by Kinsey Turk, a sophomore and CAS Student Ambassador at ASU. Original version available online.

The Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) hosted its 4th Annual Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) Case Study Competition on March 18. Unlike past events where ASU teams competed against only one another, this year ASU’s two teams competed against special guests from Brigham Young University (BYU). The BYU faculty and two student teams made the 10-hour trip down to Tempe to participate in the exciting case study and network with students and faculty from ASU.

The focus of the CAS Case Study was to utilize Microsoft Excel to present information to a panel of judges about a commercial property book of business in catastrophe-prone areas. Some of the challenges included cleaning spotty data, creating a dynamic underwriting report, and finding creative and clear ways to present vast amounts of data. Each of the four teams had a unique and fresh take on the data and provided fantastic graphics. After all of the talented groups presented, the panel of judges deliberated and chose the winning team: BYU’s team consisting of Brandon Allen, Jason Colgrove, Courtney Jolley, Abby Walker, and Cason Wight. Along with the prestige of winning, the team was awarded $2,500, generously provided jointly by the ASU School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and the CAS.

Aside from the amazing work each of the students contributed to their presentations, the night was an excellent opportunity for fellow actuarial science students and faculty to mingle while building connections across state lines. Interacting with outside universities is a rare and gratifying experience for all involved and made the CAS Case Study an absolute success. GIS @ ASU would like to thank the panel of judges for taking the time to volunteer and BYU for journeying out to Arizona to participate in the competition. GIS @ ASU is looking forward to having a potential rematch in the coming year and to further connect with students in the actuarial science field in the Southwest.

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2019 IABA Scholarship and Boot Camp Application Deadline March 31

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The International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA) has recently launched its Scholarship and Boot Camp applications!

The application deadline for both programs is March 31, 2019.

IABA Scholarship

The IABA Scholarship Program provides scholarships at the undergraduate and graduate level for black students who are interested in pursuing actuarial careers.

In 2018, IABA awarded $114,000 to 36 students.  The scholarship award (ranging from $3,000 – 5,000) also includes a trip to IABA’s Annual Meeting and a stipend for passing exams during the award period.  Many scholarships also come with an internship or entry-level offer from some of the industry’s leading employers.

Eligibility info:

Application info:

IABA Boot Camp

The IABA Actuarial Boot Camp is the premier program for transitioning black actuarial students to the actuarial industry. The majority of our past attendees report that the Boot Camp was instrumental in confirming their interest in the career and helping them through the interview process. In many cases, they were introduced to their employer through their Boot Camp participation.  Visit the website for more information (

Eligibility & application info:

If you have any questions, please contact IABA’s Executive Director, Kate Weaver, at

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Register to Attend an Upcoming CAS Student Program

The CAS hosts a one-day student program at each of its five large annual conferences throughout the year, and members of Student Central are invited to participate at no cost! Registration is open for upcoming events in  New Orleans, Bermuda and Austin.

Attendees will have an opportunity to:

  • Network with practicing actuaries
  • Learn more about the property and casualty industry
  • Attend conference sessions on the latest industry hot topics
  • Participate in student-specific sessions offering career guidance

Attendees can expect to gain an enhanced knowledge of the CAS and the property and casualty actuarial profession, and an expanded list of contacts.

Please contact CAS University Engagement Manager, Tamar Gertner at if you are interested in attending an upcoming program. Each program offers a limited number of spaces.

Details for upcoming programs are outlined below.

Spring Meeting Student Program
May 21, 2019
New Orleans, LA

Reinsurance Seminar Student Program
June 3, 2019

Casualty Loss Reserve Seminar (CLRS) Student Program
September 17, 2019
Austin, TX

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Study Techniques – The Practice Exam

An important step in successfully preparing for an actuarial exam is taking practice exams. Before trying that first practice exam, it is important that you are fully prepared. You want to understand the material and have worked many practice problems. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your practice exams.

First, you want to take these in exam-like conditions – no interruptions, no distractions.  It is important to take practice exams seriously. If you feel a little nervous before you start, that is good.  You will most likely feel this way on exam day, and this helps you better prepare for when your actual exam day comes.


During your exam, write down your calculations.  You will use this when grading your performance. Also, write down the time it takes to complete each problem.  A good method for this is to start a new sheet of paper for each problem with the number at top and the time remaining when you start the problem.  If you skip and go back, just keep track of the time again after you go back. After you finish, calculate the time that it took to do each problem.

For each problem you miss, identify the reason, such as not understanding the problem or topic or maybe you just made a simple calculation error.  Make sure that you also identify the problems that you got correct even though your method does not match the method in the solutions. You need to make sure your solution is a correct method.  Finally, note the topic of any problems where you spent more time than you should have.

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At this point you will have identified common mistakes you made and some specific topics in the course that you need to work on.  Review these sections. Work more problems. You need to become better prepared so that you can answer more questions, work problems quicker, and not make silly mistakes.  Depending on how you do on the first practice exam, you could need as much as a week to get ready for the next one. That’s okay – we are trying to avoid spending several extra months retaking the exam.

By the time you have completed this process a few times, you will be ready to take the real thing with confidence.  I often hear of candidates taking 15 or 20 practice exams as part of their final stage preparation for the preliminary exams.  Many times, these candidates are taking multiple practice exams each day. Unfortunately, for most candidates this is not the best way to use that time.  This method has two important drawbacks – spending too much time working problems in your areas of strength, and not enough time working problems in your area of weakness.  Plus, the time that should be spent focusing on knocking out your weaknesses gets wasted as you make the same mistakes over and over on subsequent practice exams. Your study time is too precious to waste any of it taking practice exam after practice exam without using them properly to improve your readiness for exam day.

Understanding the important role that practice exams play in exam preparation, CAS Student Central partnered with The Infinite Actuary to provide members with access to practice exams for Exams P and FM.  This benefit underscores the CAS’s continued commitment towards helping Student Central members make the successful transition from classroom to career.

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The Infinite Actuary grants members of CAS Student Central exclusive access to two additional free sample exams on P and FM, beyond those already offered for free on The Infinite Actuary website.  Each problem on these full length sample exams offers a video solution to ensure that students have a strong understanding of the material.  This exclusive access is usually only available to students through the purchase of an Online Seminar through The Infinite Actuary. Our instructors take great care in evaluating the material and choosing a distribution of topics and level of difficulty that is close to what a student will actually see on exam day.  Taking the practice exam on our software that closely resembles the CBT exam allows the student to work on timing and strategy.

So make the most of your time.  Prepare yourself to be successful and pass your exam.

Ken Fikes, FCAS
President, The Infinite Actuary

About the Infinite Actuary

In 2007, The Infinite Actuary became the first company to offer online actuarial exam prep products. Since then, the company has helped tens of thousands of actuarial students taking preliminary and upper-level exams. The Infinite Actuary works with highly qualified actuarial exam instructors to deliver a top-quality experience to customers. Online products are available throughout the year and can be viewed on a computer or using our iOS or Android apps.

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