Spring 2008 Basic Education Catalog

General Information


Disciplinary Action

Candidates must not give or receive assistance of any kind during the examination. Any cheating, any attempt to cheat, assisting others to cheat, or participating therein, or engaging in such improper conduct as listed below is a serious violation and will generally result in the SOA disqualifying the candidate's paper, and such other disciplinary action as may be deemed appropriate. Disqualifying an exam means that the exam will not be graded. Candidates have agreed in their applications for examination to be bound by the rules and regulations governing the examinations.


Examples of improper conduct:

  1. Gaining access to examination questions before the examination
  2. Using an unauthorized calculator or other mechanical aid that is not permitted
  3. Looking in the examination book before the instruction to begin is given
  4. Marking or otherwise writing on the examination book or answer sheet before the instruction to begin  is given
  5. Making any changes, additions, deletions, or otherwise marking, erasing or writing on the examination book or answer sheet after the time for the examination has expired
  6. Having access to or consulting notes or books during the examination
  7. Looking at or copying from another candidate's paper
  8. Enabling another candidate to copy from one's paper
  9. Talking or otherwise communicating with another candidate during the examination
  10. Disturbing other candidates during the examination
  11. Consulting other persons outside the examination room during the examination
  12. Copying questions, answers, or answer choices onto paper or into a calculator to take from the examination room
  13. Taking an examination book from the examination room
  14. Taking an examination for another candidate
  15. Arranging to have another person take an examination for the candidate
  16. Threatening or physically or verbally abusing a supervisor or proctor responsible for curbing or reporting improper conduct
  17. Disclosing the contents of an examination to any other person
  18. Presenting false information on an examination application
  19. Failing to remain in the examination room for a minimum of two hours, the duration of the exam, or a 30 minute minimum for the afternoon portion of an examination that has distinct morning and afternoon segments
  20. Accessing or using a communication device (PDA, cell phone, etc.) during the exam or while at the exam site.
  21. Failing to follow other examination instructions

The E&E Committee of the SOA will pursue any evidence that a candidate has cheated or failed to follow examination rules, either in letter or spirit. Any irregularity or suspected violation will be investigated. When a violation is confirmed, disciplinary actions may include, but are not limited to, disqualification of the candidate's examination paper and a prohibition against writing SOA examinations for a specified period. The SOA rules and regulations concerning examination administration, including disciplinary action, are comprised of the information in this section, as well as the information in the Instructions to Candidates mailed with the Tickets of Admission, the information on the covers of examination booklets, and the material read by the supervisors during each examination administration.  All candidates, on their applications for examinations, are required to read and sign the following statement:

“I have read the rules and regulations concerning the examination(s) for which I am applying, and agree to be bound by them.  I also agree that the results of any examination(s) which I take, and any action taken as a result of my conduct (such as an irregularity, violation or cheating, and any hearings thereon) may, at the sole discretion of the SOA, be disclosed to any other bona fide actuarial organization that has a legitimate interest in such results and/or action.”

The SOA may, at its sole discretion, disclose to any other bona fide actuarial organization having a legitimate interest, information on the identity of any candidates determined to have committed a serious examination violation (those for which the penalty is greater than the simple disqualification/nullification of the examination), and the specific penalties imposed on those candidates.

Where an actuarial organization with which the SOA has a direct working relationship invokes a penalty against a candidate for an examination–related violation on an examination for which the SOA is not a joint sponsor or administrator, the SOA will invoke the same penalty on the candidate with respect to writing any SOA examinations.

Candidates will have the right to appeal the SOA's application of the disciplinary decision of another actuarial organization. Where a candidate makes such an appeal, the SOA will request the transfer of the appropriate disciplinary case files, including all direct evidence, from the other organization to the SOA for disposition of the appeal under the general provisions of the SOA disciplinary process.

If a candidate appeals an SOA examination-related disciplinary penalty to another actuarial organization invoking the same penalty based on the reciprocal agreement, the SOA will provide the relevant disciplinary case files upon receipt of formal written request from the organization, subject to the applicable SOA policies and procedures (and respecting the legitimate protection of the SOA attorney/client privileged communication). The candidate will be required to acknowledge that the appeal requires the exchange of the confidential information between the SOA and the other organization, and must provide written authorization for the release of the information to the other organization.

These standards may seem stricter than those to which candidates are accustomed in other examination environments. The SOA maintains these strict standards because the examinations are such a significant part of a candidate's career. Therefore, equitable administration of the examinations and enforcement of the highest standards of conduct cannot be emphasized too strongly. The conduct of the majority of candidates for the SOA examinations is of the highest quality.

Candidates who desire a copy of the full procedures followed in disciplinary cases should send a written request to the Ombudsperson at the SOA office address.