Plagiarism, September 2020 IFOA Actuarial Exams, and Optimism

IFOA has announced online exams in September 2020 with a change in pattern in almost every exam. The introduction of open book and plagiarism has created a lot of panic between students. The purpose of this article is not to provide any further insights or tips regarding September 2020 IFOA actuarial exams but to share with you some factual knowledge around plagiarism and optimism around the exams.

Note: All the views expressed in the article are of my own and don’t represent IFOA’s views and facts around the exam. For exam-specific information, please rely on IFOA’s official website.

I have been into research, publishing and article writing for more than 2 years and been involved in over 4 research projects during my graduation. I could strongly vouch that plagiarism technology is real and can even detect a minimum of 4 same words. It can also detect if there are any minor changes or related wordings used. Check the image below as an example.

In September 2020 IFOA actuarial exams, plagiarism software will be used during the evaluation process and level of stringency is a question in everyone’s mind.

But do you really think that IFOA’s except not matching of even 4 words across hundreds of exam papers with few questions being on the meaning of the terminologies?

I don’t think so, as it is literally impossible.

In the image below, I have checked plagiarism of 2 paragraphs written by me without any reference of any online material and as you can see 10.4% plagiarism is detected.

Times are hard and it’s same for IFOA staff and decision-makers. It is very very difficult to plan, design and implement a complete change in the exam patterns while continuing several other tasks and maintaining high standards and integrity in less than a year. And doing all this during COVID-19 pandemic and while all the staff are working from home. I think, it is commendable.

I know, it would be helpful to know the exact rules for plagiarism, but even if you don’t know you don’t need to worry if your preparations are done right and you have not done unethical way, you don’t need to worry. Because:

A) Many universities and professional examinations use advanced plagiarism with open book exams and students do pass it. So, you can also do it.

B) Getting a few percentages of Plagiarism doesn’t mean that you would straightway be failed or banned. In research. all the plagiarised parts are generally carefully evaluated and checked for the reasonability before raising any concerns over it. The same can be expected from IFOA.

C) As per IFOA rules, all answer sheet are evaluated by 2 independent evaluators and based on the average score the final grade is decided.

In conclusion, if you have not copied from someone and given the exam with full integrity. You don’t need have worry about plagiarism.

I know its hard to give and clear actuarial exams during this Pandemic, but at least you can try and you may pass it too. Just don’t lose hope, believe in yourself and stay optimistic. The purpose of this article is not to give you any false hope, but to give you some factual knowledge around plagirism and encourage you to do your best and believe in yourself.

Some tips you can follow which can help you during the exam are:

  1. Keep your phone OFF and away from you, during the exam. So, that you are not tempted to ask a doubt from your friend and vice- versa.
  2. Refer to open book only when you are done with all the answers you know. Referring to your reference material might sound tempting and less time consuming but in reality, it takes time. So, do it in the end.
  3. Remember you need to score only 60+ marks to pass, so don’t be frustrated if you are unable to answer a question. Take a deep breath and sip some water, and move to the next question.
  4. Lock your room and tell your parents that you are giving an exam and strictly do not disturb you during this 3 hour period.
  5. Take a print out of the question paper, if possible. Yes, it’s allowed.

There can be hundreds of other tips, tricks, shortcuts, etc. which I can give you. But all those things won’t help you as much as your own hard work and dedication.

Be miserable or motivate yourself, whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.

Wayne Dyer

Times are hard, but you are harder. Believe in yourself and you would surely pass! All the best!

Hope you found this article helpful, share your thoughts/suggestions in the comment section below.

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About the Author

Arpit Surana

Vice President of The Actuarial Club

Comments 2

  1. These tips are extremely helpful. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Also, can I join this club from another country?

    1. Post

      Hi Faith
      Thank you for your comment and thank you for your interest. Currently, we only enrol volunteers from India. However, if you wish to contribute you can surely do it by writing an actuarial related article of around 1-2 pages and send it to me at [email protected]. And if it matches with our publishing standards, I would publish it on the website with full credits to you.

      Kindly reach out to me in case of any concerns. Once again, thank you so much for your comment.

      Arpit Surana
      VP of The Actuarial Club

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