Finger tips for Passing Actuarial Examinations
Actuarial exams are typical and passing rates varies from 15-40%. And most exam takers are working full-time, that’s why balancing the workload with study becomes hectic. I have been through the same condition, I am putting down some study tips that will be useful for readers. These are based on my personal and my colleague experiences.
As u start to appear Actuarial Exams first step is to develop a study plan well in advance and abide by that plan. Perseverance and regularity is the key in passing the exams. Prepare a Master sheet for all important formulas and notations ( Section wise) and review them on a regular basis.
Initially start solving problems chapter wise, then section wise and when the exam is approaching try picking up questions at random and try to solve them to assess whether you can identify the topic. It will give boost to concepts too. Adopt active learning as opposed to passive learning i.e. try and test different approaches to answer a problem before referring to the solution. Practice to make a quick decision to solve the problem.
- Dig out basic part–
Very known fact about actuarial exams is that just going through to pass actuarial exams doesn’t work. You need to be very clear about facts and fundas. Until you are not well aware of actuarial concepts, actuarial is ‘not reachable ‘ to you. So make yourself very much aware about each topic and try to understand each query. Keep asking questions to yourself.
Once you could dig out the basics, your later subjects will be pretty easy. In actuarial examination some CTs are basics subjects and they are fundamental for later subjects like CT1,CT7. Once you are conceptually strong you will find the easy way ahead.
- How to apply Concepts-
Important thing to note is that the actuarial exams are not testing one’s knowledge of actuarial concepts presented in the study material; but they are testing one’s ability to apply those actuarial concepts in practical situations. They test students’ abilities by numerical problems and case studies. To that extent, these exams can be classified as application exams rather than theoretical exams.
So as application based exams, you have to know how to apply the concepts to numerical problems. The best way to do this is by doing lots of practice problems. Solve problems from all available past exams or from reference textbooks. Don’t glance through the problems but actually solve them – this helps improve speed of solving problems and helps clarify concepts further.
- Look for big Goal-
It’s pretty easy for the students to remains focused only on the numerical details of the problems .They look only for the formula instead of understanding the question in exam. I am sharing an amazing method which is as follows:” When you encounter to a new concept, take a few moments to diagnosis about the logic of the concept. Think how does it co-exist with other concepts that you have learned about covered in the same or prior exams, have you faced this concept at work or heard any of your senior colleagues talk about it. Taking some time to dwell on this helps put things into perspective.
Some Aspirants take this step as futile and time wasting. Believe me learning the formula or method to solve a problem by rote is mostly sufficient – but incorporating this method into your studying helps you retain this information longer and apply it with ease in the examination. Nowadays exams are concept base so it’s must to have strong concepts.
- Give Sufficient Time-
The Actuarial exams requires time to understand concept and solve problems. The syllabus can’t be finished in just in time. Actuarial concepts can be complicated and take time to seep in. Start early and give yourself enough time so that there is no pain in learning at the last minute. Beware of learning new things in last moments. Keep handful time to revise the syllabus before the exams.
- Group Study-
Group study is boon for every student. Every student has some strong points and sharing via discussing enriches knowledge of students. Make a group workplace – discuss with your colleagues who have already taken the exam, post questions on discussion forums and blogs, take second opinions of your understanding of concepts. Make social media groups and share your knowledge.
- Feel Actuarial Within-
Feel the Actuarial within you and breathe for the exam at least 2-3 months before the exam date. Make it an integral part of your life and daily routine. Try to study least one hour a day.
Manage specific time for studies or try to utilize any free time available (be it half an hour at lunch or one hour in the morning before office) . Use this time to study. Don’t make excuses that they environment is not right or the time is not right. The less excuses you have, the more time you will have.
This way the concepts and exam material will slowly filter into your brain and over the time period of four months, things will be clear and in perspective.
Do practice a lot of past year papers to get a hang of the variety and depth of questions as sometimes questions repeats.
Last but not the least, do not get intimidated by historical passing percentages and the opinions of your peers and strive for victory.