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actuaryshmactuary
01-22-2011, 11:28 AM
For those of you who have taken upper level exams before, could you share your study methods? It's my first upper level exam and I'm trying to come up with the most efficient study method. I know not everyone studies the same way, but it would be helpful to see what other people are doing.

What is your general approach to tackling the material? In what order do you do things - read papers, take notes, read study manuals, watch videos (if using TIA), make notecards, etc.

Thanks.

Vorian Atreides
01-22-2011, 12:31 PM
How did you study for your upper level college courses for your major? Look for the same thing in a study manual/seminar.



Personally, I like to read all of the source material and then work through a study manual that has a lot of Exam-level problems.

With the Exam restructuring, a study manual will be invaluable since it'll already identify past Exam problems that are relevant to the new syllabus (especially given that new Exam 5 is the merging of material from old Exams 5 & 6).

actuaryshmactuary
01-23-2011, 04:36 PM
How did you study for your upper level college courses for your major? Look for the same thing in a study manual/seminar.


I didn't really have any method in college. That was a long time ago, and I am much more focused and motivated now.

I was just looking to see what kinds of things others are doing since this is a very different type of exam than the lower exams.

Bobby
01-23-2011, 08:57 PM
Preparing For Your First-Upper Level Exam (http://www.casact.org/newsletter/index.cfm?fa=viewart&id=5566)

Words, Words, Words: Tips on preparing for and taking the upper-level exams (http://www.casact.org/newsletter/index.cfm?fa=viewart&id=5999)

Vorian Atreides
01-24-2011, 12:35 AM
My advice: purchase a study guide and read what they have to say.

All10 and TIA have study guide recommendations that can be very useful.

Personally, I try to read the source material at least once completely through, then focus on the study guide (making sure to reconcile that back to the source material).

DO NOT rely on answers to past Exam questions as demonstrating the "proper" answer according to the syllabus. That is, if the Sample Answers differ from what's in the syllabus, learn what's in the syllabus. Just note how the Exam answer differs and gain confidence that making a similar "mistake" will not cost you a significant amount of points on your sitting.

Hubert Cumberdale
01-24-2011, 01:05 PM
Work practice exams like crazy in the last few weeks, and take at least a couple practice exams under test conditions. This is key to ensuring you get through the whole exam in 4 hrs, and will help you develop a strategy for taking the exam.

Getting through the material 2 or 3 times, while saving a few weeks for practice problems is not easy though; you need to make a study plan and stick to it. Also, don't try to understand everything on the first pass, or it will take you way too long to get through it all. You're probably going to forget most or it anyway. Just try to get the "big picture" first time through.

Vorian Atreides
01-24-2011, 01:22 PM
Note that "practice Exam under Exam conditions" isn't just about getting stuff from the gray matter out yer hand/pen and on the paper but also strategy approaching the Exam.

The biggest skill set here is problem recognition and assessing

Time to complete such a problem.
Your comfort level in the knowledge required to complete that particular problem. Note that the upper Exams are just as much an exercise in maximizing partial credit as it is in completing as many problems as you can.
There is also the aspect of "personal habits". More specifically, what will it take to be mentally alert and active for three/four hours? What biological impediments will keep you from devoting the full time to working out Exam problems?

As an example, having a (large) cup of strong coffee and some light snacks work for me. But having that cup of coffee might necessitate a bathroom break to relieve myself (I don't focus too well when I have a full bladder). I should take this into consideration as I map out my Exam strategy and Exam preparation.

I have found that an effective preparation Exercise is to practice Exam-conditions for just 2 hours and target getting at least 60% (if 4 hr Exam) to 75% (if 3 hr Exam) of the points completed in that time.

SOAPhobic
01-24-2011, 01:39 PM
The biggest skill set here is problem recognition and assessing
[LIST=1]
Time to complete such a problem.
Your comfort level in the knowledge required to complete that particular problem.

I have found that an effective preparation Exercise is to practice Exam-conditions for just 2 hours and target getting at least 60% (if 4 hr Exam) to 75% (if 3 hr Exam) of the points completed in that time.

How has that worked out for you?

SOAPhobic
01-24-2011, 01:49 PM
For those of you who have taken upper level exams before, could you share your study methods? It's my first upper level exam and I'm trying to come up with the most efficient study method. I know not everyone studies the same way, but it would be helpful to see what other people are doing.

What is your general approach to tackling the material? In what order do you do things - read papers, take notes, read study manuals, watch videos (if using TIA), make notecards, etc.

Thanks.

1 Read paper
2 Watch video
3 Practice computation problems
4 Repeat 2 and 3 until you can do problems in your sleep
5 Make notecards and write essay answers to your own notecards. If you can't answer your own notecard with 2 sentences, then learn writing skills.

Sssuperdave
01-24-2011, 06:26 PM
Here's my method for upper level exams:

First Pass (you could probably call this passes 1-4 or so, but I do one paper at a time):

Read Paper
Read Study Manual
Go through paper/study manual again taking notes on anything I think is testable
Do a bunch of past exam problems and other exam problems
Make notecards of everything I think is testable (including general formulas for anything calculation based) and prioritize every notecard (high, medium, low)


Second Pass:

Memorize notecards created on first pass, starting with high priority, moving to medium and low if time
Do a bunch of practice problems


In the 1-2 weeks before the exam, sprinkle in some practice tests along with madly reviewing notecards.

I've had three passes and one failuare (score=5) so far using this strategy.

bermi
01-25-2011, 02:45 PM
Here's my method for upper level exams:

First Pass (you could probably call this passes 1-4 or so, but I do one paper at a time):

Read Paper
Read Study Manual
Go through paper/study manual again taking notes on anything I think is testable
Do a bunch of past exam problems and other exam problems
Make notecards of everything I think is testable (including general formulas for anything calculation based) and prioritize every notecard (high, medium, low)


Second Pass:

Memorize notecards created on first pass, starting with high priority, moving to medium and low if time
Do a bunch of practice problems


In the 1-2 weeks before the exam, sprinkle in some practice tests along with madly reviewing notecards.

I've had three passes and one failuare (score=5) so far using this strategy.

THANKS Ssuperdave!! AWESOME.

DrActuary
03-04-2011, 12:36 AM
Hi Sssuperdave,

Thanks for sharing the study technique!

Read Paper (done - except for all the ASOPs + Feldblum)

Read Study Manual Is this just going through the study manual or doing all problems at the end of the chapters?, started on this - I usually do all the problems at the end of the chapters except say last 3 exams, some of the chapters have like 40+ problems making it difficult to stick to a schedule. I was hoping to get all the TIA material in a month's time, looks like it is going to take longer than that especially on a snail trail!

Need to do the last three - started with the notecards along with step 2 above, it is difficult to focus all at one go

JasonScandopolous
03-04-2011, 11:52 AM
main recommendations:

1) Do practice problems after a paper (or section of a paper). It works better to read something, make sure you actually understand it (pratice problems acomplish this)... then, months/weeks later, review everything again before the exam via doing different practice problems. This double dose of "learn, wait, see if you really learned it" works great.
2) Be prepared for list-type questions, and study these hard the days before the exam. E.g. "name three reasons why you'd use AY data instead of PY data". Thinking of these right before the exam, even if you know the material very well otherwise, will dramatically improve speed in answering such questions on the exam.