This is more or less a running summary of things to do so I know where I stand; it can also serve as an aid for anyone interested.

Lessons from 2011 [though this could apply to any upper-level CAS exam]:

1. Write. Write some more. Keep writing. Eventually, you will either hit the key words the CAS is looking for, or you'll so completely describe what's going on that if they fail to award full points, you have proof that the grading process is solely focused on "say exactly what we want" more than "show us what you know."

2. Work problems. Keep working problems, until you know them forwards and backwards. This means building examples in Excel, and generating as many random problems as you possibly can in as many different ways as you can possibly imagine. This is the only acceptable substitute for learning the numerical-based problems, because past exam questions only go so far.

3. If you only think you know it, you don't know it. You have to know the concept and how it applies before you can hit the "OK, I know it" mark that is necessary for the exam.

4. Don't assume that because there's a problem with given information that the CAS knows what it's doing or that it was accurately written. This sounds silly, but repeatedly [including at least once and arguably twice on the '11 exam] there are examples where the CAS clearly didn't check to see "did the data we gave really make any sense?" If there's a mistake, document it and explain why and state assumptions from there - and then be ready to write an appeal to explain why someone '''''ed up.

5. Did I say "write a ton?" Seriously, fill up the page if necessary; leave nothing to chance, because the CAS has shown it can't be trusted when it says "we look for reasons to give credit, not reasons to take it away."