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FAQ Exam Learning Objectives definitions

Thread starter #1
All, I hope that someone can shed some light on the following issue that has me slightly confused. After reading a number of the LO ,not just for QA but the other Part 1 topics as well, I see terms like 1. Describe 2. Define, 3. Explain, 4, Characterise, 5. Interpret, 6. Construct and 7. Estimate...Is there to the best of someone's knowledge a rule of thumb whereby it is safe to assume that when reading a LO, that should it be prefaced with one of the above expressions that it is safe to assume that calculations of some sort will need to be performed for the exam? Thanks
 

Nicole Seaman

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#2
All, I hope that someone can shed some light on the following issue that has me slightly confused. After reading a number of the LO ,not just for QA but the other Part 1 topics as well, I see terms like 1. Describe 2. Define, 3. Explain, 4, Characterise, 5. Interpret, 6. Construct and 7. Estimate...Is there to the best of someone's knowledge a rule of thumb whereby it is safe to assume that when reading a LO, that should it be prefaced with one of the above expressions that it is safe to assume that calculations of some sort will need to be performed for the exam? Thanks
Hello @Eustice_Langham

From what I've seen @David Harper CFA FRM stated in the past in the forum (I need to find the threads) generally when there is a calculation that is going to need to be performed, the LO will say, "Calculate" or "Compute". "Define", "Explain", "Characterize" and "Interpret" are generally asking you to make sure you know the definition of something and that you understand the concept in-depth rather than performing a calculation. Although, there are some LOs that start off with Define and then ask you to Estimate or Calculate. I'm sure others may be able to help further, but I wanted to provide a general answer for you.
 

David Harper CFA FRM

David Harper CFA FRM
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#3
I agree @Nicole Seaman From my perspective there is a set of qualitative (aka, conceptual) verbs like "describe", "explain" and even "define" which are, from a practical perspective, more or less similar and do not suggest calculations (or maybe I should say, do not necessarily suggest calculations)

But we do pay attention to "calculate" or "compute" verbs because they do signify calculations. In fact, over the years, this has been a key distinction in our feedback (i.e., the difference between calculate/compute and some other verb): we've given GARP input that, in many cases, subsequently has successfully "softened" the language of an LO from a calculate/compute verb to a conceptual verb when we observed that calculations are unrealistic (or only remotely testable). A theme in our input has been to frankly reduce the number of calculate/computes, especially when the refer to highly tedious LOs.

BTW, the other verb that is interesting is "apply." It can also actually imply a calculation. For example, in QA-1 the last LO is: Explain and apply Bayes’ rule.
 
Thread starter #4
Thankyou to both for your feedback, certainly the LO are extensive and if there was some clarification it would indeed help with the revision and areas on which to focus. The term apply is one that I missed. Thanks
 
#5
I agree @Nicole Seaman From my perspective there is a set of qualitative (aka, conceptual) verbs like "describe", "explain" and even "define" which are, from a practical perspective, more or less similar and do not suggest calculations (or maybe I should say, do not necessarily suggest calculations)

But we do pay attention to "calculate" or "compute" verbs because they do signify calculations. In fact, over the years, this has been a key distinction in our feedback (i.e., the difference between calculate/compute and some other verb): we've given GARP input that, in many cases, subsequently has successfully "softened" the language of an LO from a calculate/compute verb to a conceptual verb when we observed that calculations are unrealistic (or only remotely testable). A theme in our input has been to frankly reduce the number of calculate/computes, especially when the refer to highly tedious LOs.

BTW, the other verb that is interesting is "apply." It can also actually imply a calculation. For example, in QA-1 the last LO is: Explain and apply Bayes’ rule.
@David Harper CFA FRM Not to read into this too deeply, but do you think there is any distinction between "calculate" or "compute", or has GARP used these two verbs interchangeably? I wondered if there was differentiation between the degree of how much we have to calculate something.
 
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