View Full Version : Help... First exam jitters!
04-03-2002, 03:19 PM
Hello everyone. I'm new to this site. I'm an attorney from Louisville who majored in math undergrad. It's been about 7 yrs or so since I've had any substantive math courses but I've always wanted to get involved in the actuary field and now I am finally taking the May exam. I'm going through the Averbach/Mehta manual and I've completed about 5 chapters on Calculus. Thus far I'm finding that I'm getting about 1/2 or less of the questions right overall. I'm fearful that I'm just going to totally screw up on the exam. There's some material that either I've forgotten or that's just not soaking in like I wish it would. Is this a normal reaction? Am I completely overreacting. Perhaps, but I need a second opinion. And maybe even some major encouragement/motivation. Thanks! JASON
04-03-2002, 03:59 PM
for me, i don't expect to master the materials immediately. as you go along, things will become clearer, especially if you manage to solve several problems. just keep on practicing and stay focused. good luck!
04-03-2002, 04:36 PM
Jason...I was in a similar position as you last year. I had last studied Calc in 1990. I recommend using the questions to find your weaknesses, then use a book like Barron's "Remembering Calculus" or "Remembering Statistics" as a guide for those sections. My experience with the Actex manuals is that they went too fast on materials that I needd a refresher on. Also note that practice questions in manuals are often more difficult than exam questions.
Like Toonces, I hadn't studied calculus for 8 years when I sat for Course 1. I found Actex incredibly frustrating.
What I finally did was cover the solution with a Post-It note. I would work one step at a time, and uncover one line at a time of the solution. If I messed up a step, I would concentrate on fixing that step, then see if I could do the rest. I built up more confidence this way, and finally got to where I could work more problems all the way through without looking. Even three days before the exam, I was still only getting half the problems right out of Actex. Believe it or not, I ended up getting an 8 on Exam 1, and I didn't have time to finish working all the problems!
You also might want to try an easier book that focuses more on the basics. Prob for Risk Management is good. That way, you'll actually learn concepts, and maybe not get as frustrated.
New at pd
04-04-2002, 07:38 AM
My take with exams is this --
Nobody cares if you get the problems right the first time -- just the last time. When working problems for the first or second time, I typically have the formulas laid out in front of me. If I don't get the problem right -- study the answer, so you can see where the mistake was, and also get a sense of which problem types and applications of specific formulas are necessary for the exam.
04-04-2002, 10:33 AM
Thanks so much for the replies. I appreciate your comments. Good luck to all on the exams!
04-04-2002, 09:42 PM
I might also suggest getting started on the Probability portion of the exams/study guide if you have not. It seems that having a good understanding of Calculus (Curves, Diff/Integrating, Series) is more important, and time efficient, than trying to relearn everything. There are certain topics that appear regularly on the exams and then always a wild card or two.
Unless you truly comprehend the Probability (maybe you do and now are focusing on the Calc) the exam may seem overwhelming. Take a look at the past exams, weigh the importance of each subject, and study accordingly. Time flies when exams near!
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