PDA

View Full Version : jam study manual - course apm - not as good as i expected


not_yet_fsa
03-09-2007, 05:44 PM
I think Carmody did a good job outlining the material for the study manual.

However, I think he did a LOUSY job in creating practice problems. His past manuals have been much better in this regard.

There are basically no practice problems throughout the study guide. Only for the Options, Futures, and other Derivatives does he even suggest problems from the book.

Also, the "practice problems" section in volume 4 are pretty much a copied from past exams and only 4 problems of his own. I don't think the selection from past exams was good either.

I think he had to rush the manual to get it out to us in a reasonable time. The practice problems suffered because of it.

It would be nice if he would create some sort of practice problem supplement and post it to his website.

Anyone else agree?

rekrap
03-09-2007, 07:19 PM
He probably adapted his C6 guide, and used the few problems from there that were still applicable (plus the past 8V problems). No one is quite sure what to expect on this exam, but he should have more problems, I agree.

I imagine he is providing additional problems at his seminar, for those who are attending this weekend, so you can email him mike 'at' studyjam.com (mailto:mike@studyjam.com) and ask if he will release those to those who purchased his manual.

aas
03-10-2007, 03:15 PM
I think its a difficult situation all the way around. The first question you have to ask is - did the soa release problems to help prepare for these exams?Did the soa give any word on what is going to be on this test - more list type questions or more quantitative type questions?Did the soa release a practice test?Did the soa mention to use course 8v exams as preparation for this exam?Did the soa mention if there was going to be a case study on the exam?

Then we look at the manuals. Richard Goldfarb and Mike Carmody are among a select group of excellent teachers for actuarial exams. Nick from Actex is another brilliant mind. Regarding Mike, it was understood that along with his manual, you really should take the seminar. That was the case for Course 5 and Course 6. That is the setting where he hammers away at problems. His manuals are more concerned with breaking down the material so the students can focus their studies over a 3 month time frame. TO prove my point, what was the first thing Mike put out on his video lecture samples? - him solving problems. Also, many people argue that made up problems are a waste of time -unless you are getting questions from someone who has a history of providing questions to the soa. Stick to released exams, text exercises, and examples given in the text.

The material is too challenging for most to read the textbooks or the manuals and then walk right in and pass the exam. Even if exercises are in there with solutions, in many cases you still need guidance as to why the problems were solved the way they were. By the way, forget about manuals for a second, where are all the text exercises with solutions in the source materials?We get text books with little exercises done - but are expected to know that for the exam?The problems Mike used - he probably used for good reason - as they were safe bets based on soa history.

Richard teaches a CAS exam that has much of the same material as this exam. He taught course 8v and he may have done a manual for this new exam as well. I believe he was criticized as well by soa students regarding problems and he correctly went on record to shoot those criticisms down. In fact, in the 8v seminar, many in the class were freaking out. They wanted quality time to go over exam questions. So, Richard says right - lets do it. He pulled the exams and went thru them like they were nothing and for every problem he did - he would refer to a similar problem of his own. He did this without preparing anything as he wasnt planning on doing it. Again, my point is that this material is too difficult to receive a manual and then walk away after looking at it after a few months with the attitude that you will pass the exam based on relying on it alone. Its only 1 piece of the puzzle. Most students are going to need multiple sources to get this material down, even if the teachers had many months lead time to prepare these manuals.

My attitude is...thanx for the manual,Mike. Ill use it and it will sort a lot of stuff out for me. It will put some structure into my studies. But you want to know what?There are other things im going to look at as well.


Folks, good luck with your studies

campbell
03-11-2007, 07:12 AM
Doesn't Goldfarb (in his free sample) put down what questions from former 8Vs are still in the syllabus? I would start there. FWIW, there is a great deal of continuity on the exam committees, and the people doing APM in general are people who have made previous 8Vs. Look at previous 8Vs to get an idea of what you're up against. I expect the questions will be of that level of difficulty and detail.

In an exam as large as this, I wouldn't concentrate so much on doing questions, because they can ask anything. And "anything" covers a lot of ground. Looking at old 8V questions is going to help you more with getting the idea of the types of questions to look at, how to structure your answers (I put something on this in the larger CSP forum), and strategy. That is useful, but generating a bunch of questions isn't necessarily going to help you be adequately prepared for this exam.

My own advice is to question yourself as you learn and review material. Ask the big questions: who, what, when, where, why, how. Why and how are going to be the biggest, but they all pertain: why do companies invest in hedge funds? Why (and how) is the no arbitrage rule not exactly correct? Who are the entities offering MBSs? What are the assumptions behind Black-Scholes? How do you adjust for changes in those assumptions? How does this particular reading pertain to the case study?

When it comes to numerical problems, yes, it helps to have some practice. Luckily, the heaviest numerical stuff comes from Hull, which has exercises you can do (and a solutions manual to go with).

I like the JAM manual because it pulls out the important points, the stuff I absolutely must know and understand. It condenses the answers to the big questions, and I'm still going to have to think about this stuff on my own. It also helps for review, because I can look at a list and say to myself: "I don't really understand this list item, so let me go back and read that again."

not_yet_fsa
03-11-2007, 03:44 PM
ok, i also have the actex guide because my company allows us to buy 2 study guides per exam. this guy needs to work on readability. its very difficult going through his sections.

the jam totally beats the actex in my opinion...in all regards.

however, in my opinion, nobody can defend the lack of problems in the jam study guide...PERIOD.

i don't feel deprived because i have bought the infinite actuary online seminar and i do plan on attending jam seminar in chicago. so, i agree with rekrap when he said that the problems are more heavily covered in the seminar. i'm looking forward to that.

please don't try to defend the lack of problems and numerical examples in the study guide. to me, he shouldn't have had a practice problems section if it was going to be that lousy.

onceandforall
03-11-2007, 09:59 PM
ok, i also have the actex guide because my company allows us to buy 2 study guides per exam. this guy needs to work on readability. its very difficult going through his sections.

the jam totally beats the actex in my opinion...in all regards.

however, in my opinion, nobody can defend the lack of problems in the jam study guide...PERIOD.

i don't feel deprived because i have bought the infinite actuary online seminar and i do plan on attending jam seminar in chicago. so, i agree with rekrap when he said that the problems are more heavily covered in the seminar. i'm looking forward to that.

please don't try to defend the lack of problems and numerical examples in the study guide. to me, he shouldn't have had a practice problems section if it was going to be that lousy.

I think people are giving suggestions as how to make up for the deficiency on your own instead of trying to defend anything. After all, for an exam like 8V, you can not mostly rely on the study notes/seminar. Maybe for course 5 & 6, you can pass by only reading/memorizing the study note but for 8V, no way.

drintam
03-13-2007, 08:36 AM
Although I agree that there is plenty of room for improvement in the jam manual, I appreciate what Mike has done for us. I obviously underestimate the danger of taking a "brand new" written exam. SOA can really throw in anything and call it a fair game since there is no prior pattern to follow. Note that even course 8 does not convert to CSP one-for-one. No one is saying APM will be following the pattern of course 8 investment. (Anyone in the knows please enlighten us.) Anyone who read BPP's practice exam for FAP1 and over-studied last summer knows what I mean. We will know the full impact of Mike's manual after May 11.

rekrap
03-30-2007, 12:38 PM
I'm posting this here with my comments, since there is supposedly a dearth of information comparing the manuals:

Most people only have one manual (JAM, Goldfarb, Actex, etc), because that's either all their company will support or they can individually afford.
Some still don't use any manuals, and summarize the texts themselves.

As far as calculation questions specifically, I know JAM (APM) and Goldfarb (8V) both have examples and problems (whether text ones suggested like JAM, or sample problems like Goldfarb or Actex Problem Supplement and/ or Computational Review (8V and 6)) when it comes to the most of the major computation topics, but they don't necessarily go in depth on all of them, perhaps making the implication that certain calculations are more testable than others. For example, JAM doesn't cover static replication in Ch 22 (tested last year in 8V) at all, nor does Carmody suggest any problems from Hull to work. Had you put as much emphasis on this section/problem as he implies in his manual, you would have done poorly on this question (unless he covered it in his seminar with more detail, which I do not know if he did).

But there are only so many ways to skin a cat, so none of the manuals has pages of similar practice problems to hone your skill... by this point, you should either 1) get it by working the one or two problems (maybe even twice) or 2) be able to synthesize your own examples (sure, you won't know the "right" answer, but the goal is methodology and presentation, as who knows the "right" answers to real life questions?).

I can't compare all of the APM manuals side by side, but I will say Goldfarb offered more problems at the end of each section (in 8V, I don't know that APM is any different) which JAM does not; and Actex offered an entire Problem Supplement (for 8V, which I understand has been incorporated into the Actex APM manual, there is not a "supplement").

You know what type of material you need at this point, and hopefully this tells you what is (or is not available), or at least sparks more discussion.

Laurelinda
12-11-2007, 08:00 PM
:bump:

I was thinking of not ordering the solutions manuals and workbooks that accompany some of the texts, given that I never used them for the prelims and it felt like a waste of money.

Seeing the discussion of how few practice problems show up in the study manuals, I'm wondering, will I be kicking myself if I try to work through textbook exercises without the solutions in front of me?

AggieAct02
12-12-2007, 10:06 AM
I would get it for the Options, Futures and Derivatives textbook but there aren't a lot of problems in some of the other texts.

Laurelinda
12-12-2007, 05:34 PM
Thanks! :tup:

remilard
12-12-2007, 05:42 PM
Carmody has solutions for suggested exercises in Jam. They are often more detailed than the solution in the solution guide but sometime the guide is clearer (or at least makes things clearer if you don't follow Carmody's solution).

I never used a solution guide (or a text really) for preliminary exams but I did use the solution guide some (not extensively) for FET.

Laurelinda
12-12-2007, 05:44 PM
Carmody has solutions for suggested exercises in Jam. They are often more detailed than the solution in the solution guide but sometime the guide is clearer (or at least makes things clearer if you don't follow Carmody's solution).

Mmm...so in other words, if I get JAM I may not need the manuals, unless I look through extra exercises...