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jesusislord
04-10-2012, 04:29 PM
i wanted to set up a thread to discuss test taking strategies for upper level exams. there are a couple of things i have been thinking about, and wanted some input. also, any other ideas are strategies would be great.

1. how many minutes do you spend per point? The 2011 sitting had 79.75 pts over 4 hours. that averages to 3 minutes per point. at what point do you move on when you start spending too much time on one question?

2. how do you use the reading period? do you reorganize the questions from easiest to hardest or vice versa? tackle big pts first?

3. when do you check your answers? i was thinking about checks calculations as i go rather than waiting til the end. then use the last 15 minutes to read over short answers and lists.

4. eating/drinking during the exam? it will be a long exam so i am going to need some caffeine during the exam.

any other strategies? any feedback on these questions?

M^3
04-10-2012, 04:32 PM

Johnny Deformed
04-10-2012, 04:39 PM
You get a read through period. Identify the questions you know and will get a lot of points and answer those. Don't go over the set amount of time/points for any question. Skip the answers where you have no idea and save them to the end. Answer every question, as you will still probably get some points.

Stillgreen
04-10-2012, 05:12 PM
Some tips I've tried or given to me:
- During the reading period, sort the questions in the order you want to tackle them. You can do this on the exam booklet by folding pages or you can sort your answer sheets (they are unbinded).
- If I freeze up on the first problem, I go straight to an easy 1 pt'er to give me that writing momentum.
- Save some of the short word answers for the end. Easier to quickly jot down bullets than to do a calculation problem in the last 10 minutes.
- I don't drink anything for fear of having to go to the bathroom. I do have candy for the quick sugar.

In the end though, nothing works better than simulating the test conditions and see what works for you.

jesusislord
04-10-2012, 05:29 PM
You get a read through period. Identify the questions you know and will get a lot of points and answer those. Don't go over the set amount of time/points for any question. Skip the answers where you have no idea and save them to the end. Answer every question, as you will still probably get some points.

so what do you put for a question that you have no clue what the answer is? some random facts about the cas? talk about how much you love the exam committee?

Johnny Deformed
04-10-2012, 05:31 PM
so what do you put for a question that you have no clue what the answer is? some random facts about the cas? talk about how much you love the exam committee?

Well you must know something about it. You might only score a little bit above a zero, but that's still more than zero.

Dedicated111
04-10-2012, 08:14 PM
so what do you put for a question that you have no clue what the answer is? some random facts about the cas? talk about how much you love the exam committee?

Present Value
04-11-2012, 12:03 PM
If this is your first upper level exam try two things -
1) Get through the exam correctly
2) Forget about dedicating time to checking, caffeine, sharpening your pencil or other activities.

If at first you do have 15 minutes at the end, be scared and tremble in fear because the default is you did something wrong. Then recheck.

TRINIDON2K
04-12-2012, 01:06 PM

hahaha

TheZaha
04-12-2012, 04:31 PM
There's only one thing you need to know.

Night before the exam, eat THAI FOOD. 103% success rate.

M^3
04-12-2012, 04:41 PM
check out last year's meltdown thread for a feel of how exam day will go:

Debaser
04-12-2012, 05:56 PM
I've always just focused on understanding the material and past questions, and also practicing writing clear responses. The better I understand the stuff, the quicker I'll be able to write my responses, and also understand if a question is defective/ambiguous.

Maybe sometimes I'll check calculations on exam day, but it's not something I plan to be able to do.

jesusislord
04-12-2012, 06:05 PM
check out last year's meltdown thread for a feel of how exam day will go:

looking at this thread has me wondering about time now. i think one thing i am going to do is explore potential shortcuts. on problems where you have to do a lot of age to age factors, i may just assume the latest diagonal factor is selected and press forward (unless they specify to use all year avg).

TheWalrus
04-12-2012, 06:57 PM
Exam strategies? Here is the EC's position on the topic:

The comments below are intended to enhance guidance previously provided by the
committee in Future Fellows and other venues to help improve candidates’ success in
demonstrating mastery of the Learning Objectives on their next exams.

1. Review the Syllabus Carefully. The tests are designed to assess candidate’s
proficiency with the Learning Objectives. Be certain to understand what each
Learning Objective is and to study the aspects of the source material that support
proficiency in that direction. The Knowledge Statements provide guidance as to the
context in which the exam will attempt to assess proficiency of the related Learning
Objective. If external study manuals are used, candidates should ensure that their
study is structured around the current year’s Syllabus in case the manual is not. With
respect specifically to Exams 6US and 6C, the committee strongly encourages
candidates to ensure that their study leads them to a high level of proficiency in the
Syllabus section titled “Professional Responsibilities of the Actuary in Financial
Reporting” on each exam, though, of course, not to the exclusion of other sections.

direction given in each item, with particular attention to any adverbs used, and the
number of points assigned (see The Importance of Adverbs for more detail regarding
adverb usage on exams). Use the verbs, adverbs and each item’s point assignment to
guide you to the level of detail required to achieve full credit on each exam item.
Provide responses that are directly related to those verbs at the level of detail

This should be your strategy. There are no other strategies and no shortcuts here.

:exams:

Dedicated111
04-14-2012, 12:08 PM
looking at this thread has me wondering about time now. i think one thing i am going to do is explore potential shortcuts. on problems where you have to do a lot of age to age factors, i may just assume the latest diagonal factor is selected and press forward (unless they specify to use all year avg).

I'm going to use weighted average as much as I can for selecting age-to-age factors. Only issue is, what if there is a link ratio they want us to exclude? Catch 22, I suppose.