Month: September 2016

My first SOA Exam

Let me start with a confession:
I was supposed to write the SOA Exam FM, but when I saw that the registration was closed, I panic-registered (worried that I would waste this semester away if I don’t do anything) for Exam P instead. That left me with only 10 weeks to study.

Another confession:
I only started wholeheartedly studying for Exam P on the month of my exam! While I made it seem on the outside that I had everything under control (I secured a copy of the reviewers right away, I pulled weekend all-nighters in the company office, I subscribed to ADAPT — all true, except for the “buts”), I had actually been struggling hard. I terribly lacked the will to start (motivation problems due to reasons not worthy of being justified here).

mbps

I assume that the majority of aspiring actuaries don’t have this negative trait. I can’t study much during weekdays because I have to be in the workplace for at least 9 hrs every day, so I constantly revised my study schedule to make sure that I at least fit the minimum coverage and practice into the time I have left. And knowing my weakness (inspired by The Art of War, which I have recently reread), I formulated a battleplan:

soa-exam-strat

Fun fact: I was really hungry when I came up with this. I tend to work long hours without eating whenever I am in the zone (or just too lazy to get food)

Sure enough, this strategy worked for me. It made sure that I minimized the time I wasted trying to figure out whether a problem should be prioritized.

But it so happens that my other main weakness is being very slow at solving (owing to the fact that I didn’t practice under time pressure a lot). In the end, I didn’t have enough time to review my answers.

To be honest, I found it easy concept-wise but carrying out the perfect solution was tricky. There were numerous instances where the answer I kept getting wasn’t in the choices. Towards the end, I had to make an intelligent guess on at least 5 questions.

In the last few minutes of the exam I was already psyching myself up for the imminent failure. Fortunately, I passed! I personally believe that it was a miracle that I didn’t deserve.

20160927_183703

I do have a lot of people to thank:

  • Actuarial friends: Tristan, Aileen, Nicky & other workmates who gave me valuable exam tips (and constantly pressured me by asking about my exam progress going almost everyday). Also Chris, he got a 10 so if he says the problems are pretty easy that is quite reassuring.
  • Dr. David for providing me the perfect place to study (free electricity, unrestricted internet access, and a huge whiteboard), and the CSRC staff (especially Lei for making the effort to talk to me even if she allegedly doesn’t like it whenever I’m there, haha)
  • Moral support from non-actuarial friends Dara, Ian, James, and my family
  • My dad for taking care of the logistics so I could focus on consolidating the formulae I crammed into my head (good thing the security system in APS and prometric has been his team’s project in the past, and that’s why he knew how to get there, lol!)
  • Youtube channel jbstatistics (https://www.youtube.com/user/jbstatistics), for helping me make sense of the different distributions
  • The OP of this very helpful thread (https://www.reddit.com/r/actuary/comments/3lnf4o/some_suggestions_for_studying_exam_p/)
  • Davette Mosley, who made this calculator tip video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eLVT8x6FbY)
  • Yufeng Guo (for pointing out valuable shortcuts and the things that can be skipped, for emphasizing the need for a strategy especially since I’m the calculation-weak type)
  • The guy who made ACTEX, for making the coverage pretty easy to digest
  • The guy behind the ADAPT SOA sample exam video solutions, for backing me up on solutions that L fail to understand the first time (your voice has haunted me in my dreams several times, haha)

Now I can finally break my 10-week sober streak! B-)

… and study for my next exam.


Check out the study notes I made in case you might find them useful: https://mindgametheorist.com/exam-p-notes/