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lalalaFW 11-18-2009 12:31 PM

Prepare Exam C in 25 days (full-time)
 
Updated on 1/14/2010
Pass my exam C with 10 :)

I was waiting for the start of my new job when preparing for this exam. So it is not like I have to go work everyday and only be able to study at night. I simply want to share some experience with those of you that do not have lots of time preparing for Exam C. It is definitely doable to get yourself ready for the test in a month if you are able to spend most of your day doing problems. I forced myself to spend about 10 to 15 hours in front of my desk. The effective study hour is about 6 to 8 hours per day.

Study Materials
ASM 7th edition (I like this study manual, and I think the manual by itself is sufficient for Exam C. My friend had the newest edition. I personally think there is no big difference between the two as far as you know which chapters to skip for the new exam. There are some materials added in the 9th edition, but those materials will have very little, if any effect on your test.)
http://www.aceyourexams.net/errata.html

Exam C table, SOA 289 problems, SOA past problems
http://www.soa.org/files/pdf/edu-2009-fall-exam-c.pdf

Calculator
TI-30XS multiview. (There is by no way BAII Plus/Professional can compare to this calculator for Exam C unless you have built up a really deep relationship with your BAII plus/professional and you simply do not want to dump your ex-lover. Make sure you know how to use table/data/stat/storage functions, it will save you lots of time in the test)
http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...d.php?t=176180

Study Schedule
Day 1-8 ASM 1st time
I tried to go through chapters as quickly as I could, but it is still very easy to spend more than 3, 4 hours in one chapter without noticing it. I took notes of the formulas while studying, but did not bother memorizing long ones like variance of Kaplan-Meier estimator, v and a for Bayes non-parametric methods, etc. I skipped everything ASM notes suggested that is probably fine to skip, and instead of focus on memorizing Baysian updated rules, such as Poison/Gamma, I tried to derive every single problem from the basic principal. My main focus while first time reading ASM is to understand the basic ideas of each chapter, but not the technical details.

Day 9 ASM practice problem 1-2 1st time
I allowed myself refer to the formulas in my own notes when doing practice problem. I remember at that time, I could not even remember simple formulas like Nelson-Aslen estimator and definition of skewnes, kurtosis. I got about 22/35 problems right with the help of my own notes.

Day 10-11 SOA 289 problems 1st time
It took me two and a half days to finish all the problem. I felt like being mentally and physically tortured by those problems, and could hardly get out of bed for hours after finishing the problems. I can hardly talk, I can hardly think, I simply felt really sick. These are LOTS of problems!
The good thing about doing these problems and understanding the solution for those I got wrong is I start to be able to memorizing the important 'rules', 'forumlas' and 'tricks'. At one point, I started to realize that all the problems are very similar. I got about 65% right for the SOA 289 problems.

Day 12-18 ASM 2nd time
I thought the since it was the second time I read the manual, I should be able to finish it in 3, 4 days, but it actually took quite a long time to go through everything the second time. I tried to truly understand every concept, and start to summarize some 'short-cuts'. I also redo the problems I did wrong while studying the manual the first time, and finished most of the problems in the end of each chapter unless there are too many(>40) problems there.

Day 19-20 ASM practice problem 3-7 1st time
This time, I did not allow myself read any notes, and got about 23/35 problems right. I spend less than three hours for each practice problem, and I had much less careless mistakes compared to SOA 289 problems. The only way for me to avoid silly mistakes is to do lots of problems, and take notes about my mistake whenever I made one.

Day 21 SOA 289 problems 2nd time
I redo the problem I got wrong the first time, and I am able to get 85% problem right. I started to be able to recall those complicated formulas.

Day 22-23 ASM practice problem 1-7 2nd time
At that point, I realized that I was ready for the test. That day was October 2nd, and I received my manual at September 10.

Day 24-25 3 new ASM practice problem + Exam C 07 May + Review
My exam is scheduled on November 7th. I did not do anything related to Exam C at all from October 2nd to a few days before the exam. I thought it might take me some efforts to pick up the things I forget, but it turned out that I can got more than 30/35 for the last four tests I did two days before the exam within 2 and a half hour. To prepare for the CBT, I scanned the three practice problem, and read those problems from the computer screen. I also restricted myself only use the pdf format table in the computer. I maximized both the practice problem and table to get used to switch back and forth between problems and formulas.

Exam Order

I took FM, P, MLC, MFE, and C in sequence. I do not think there is one way everyone should follow, but I can hardly think about anyone who is not able to pass P can pass C.

I do not think any of these prelim exams are mathematically hard, but exam MLC and C do require you to put in a significant amount of time in order to get familiar with tons of concepts and techniques. As for me, the time I spent on each exam is 0 for P, 1 week for FM, 2 weeks for MFE, 3 weeks for MLC, and 4 weeks for C with score 8 or above. I hope this helps for those who want to know how difficult exam C is compared with other exams.

Hawgdriver 11-18-2009 01:42 PM

That's intense. Good work.

I think by concentrating in the weeks immediately prior to the test this is optimal training. Giving yourself a break a few days prior to the test I think is also important. This reminds me of a study they did on Dutch cyclists who would "over-train" for two weeks prior to a big event. They wore themselves out so bad that they were in much worse shape at the end of the two weeks than before--but after a week of recovery they were able to perform at much higher levels than if they had only trained normally.

I know it's comparing physical training to mental training, but this idea appeals to my intuition.

jdcox1999 11-18-2009 01:59 PM

Wow. That's like the ironman equivalent of exam studying.

CalBear07 11-18-2009 02:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hawgdriver (Post 4037950)
That's intense. Good work.

I think by concentrating in the weeks immediately prior to the test this is optimal training. Giving yourself a break a few days prior to the test I think is also important. This reminds me of a study they did on Dutch cyclists who would "over-train" for two weeks prior to a big event. They wore themselves out so bad that they were in much worse shape at the end of the two weeks than before--but after a week of recovery they were able to perform at much higher levels than if they had only trained normally.

I know it's comparing physical training to mental training, but this idea appeals to my intuition.

I agree. I think burnout is very common in actuarial exams because people start studying way too early. You need to be peaking just as the exam date approaches. Study times do vary between individuals, but personally I have found that two months is my sweet spot.

maram1 06-02-2011 01:41 PM

note---this person is an accomplished over achiever. They have had great success following this exam. Just for the faint of heart reading this, it may work (it did for her), but understand she is above average as well!

maram1 06-02-2011 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lalalaFW (Post 4037656)
Updated on 1/14/2010
Pass my exam C with 10 :)

I was waiting for the start of my new job when preparing for this exam. So it is not like I have to go work everyday and only be able to study at night. I simply want to share some experience with those of you that do not have lots of time preparing for Exam C. It is definitely doable to get yourself ready for the test in a month if you are able to spend most of your day doing problems. I forced myself to spend about 10 to 15 hours in front of my desk. The effective study hour is about 6 to 8 hours per day.

Study Materials
ASM 7th edition (I like this study manual, and I think the manual by itself is sufficient for Exam C. My friend had the newest edition. I personally think there is no big difference between the two as far as you know which chapters to skip for the new exam. There are some materials added in the 9th edition, but those materials will have very little, if any effect on your test.)
http://www.aceyourexams.net/errata.html

Exam C table, SOA 289 problems, SOA past problems
http://www.soa.org/files/pdf/edu-2009-fall-exam-c.pdf

Calculator
TI-30XS multiview. (There is by no way BAII Plus/Professional can compare to this calculator for Exam C unless you have built up a really deep relationship with your BAII plus/professional and you simply do not want to dump your ex-lover. Make sure you know how to use table/data/stat/storage functions, it will save you lots of time in the test)
http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...d.php?t=176180

Study Schedule
Day 1-8 ASM 1st time
I tried to go through chapters as quickly as I could, but it is still very easy to spend more than 3, 4 hours in one chapter without noticing it. I took notes of the formulas while studying, but did not bother memorizing long ones like variance of Kaplan-Meier estimator, v and a for Bayes non-parametric methods, etc. I skipped everything ASM notes suggested that is probably fine to skip, and instead of focus on memorizing Baysian updated rules, such as Poison/Gamma, I tried to derive every single problem from the basic principal. My main focus while first time reading ASM is to understand the basic ideas of each chapter, but not the technical details.

Day 9 ASM practice problem 1-2 1st time
I allowed myself refer to the formulas in my own notes when doing practice problem. I remember at that time, I could not even remember simple formulas like Nelson-Aslen estimator and definition of skewnes, kurtosis. I got about 22/35 problems right with the help of my own notes.

Day 10-11 SOA 289 problems 1st time
It took me two and a half days to finish all the problem. I felt like being mentally and physically tortured by those problems, and could hardly get out of bed for hours after finishing the problems. I can hardly talk, I can hardly think, I simply felt really sick. These are LOTS of problems!
The good thing about doing these problems and understanding the solution for those I got wrong is I start to be able to memorizing the important 'rules', 'forumlas' and 'tricks'. At one point, I started to realize that all the problems are very similar. I got about 65% right for the SOA 289 problems.

Day 12-18 ASM 2nd time
I thought the since it was the second time I read the manual, I should be able to finish it in 3, 4 days, but it actually took quite a long time to go through everything the second time. I tried to truly understand every concept, and start to summarize some 'short-cuts'. I also redo the problems I did wrong while studying the manual the first time, and finished most of the problems in the end of each chapter unless there are too many(>40) problems there.

Day 19-20 ASM practice problem 3-7 1st time
This time, I did not allow myself read any notes, and got about 23/35 problems right. I spend less than three hours for each practice problem, and I had much less careless mistakes compared to SOA 289 problems. The only way for me to avoid silly mistakes is to do lots of problems, and take notes about my mistake whenever I made one.

Day 21 SOA 289 problems 2nd time
I redo the problem I got wrong the first time, and I am able to get 85% problem right. I started to be able to recall those complicated formulas.

Day 22-23 ASM practice problem 1-7 2nd time
At that point, I realized that I was ready for the test. That day was October 2nd, and I received my manual at September 10.

Day 24-25 3 new ASM practice problem + Exam C 07 May + Review
My exam is scheduled on November 7th. I did not do anything related to Exam C at all from October 2nd to a few days before the exam. I thought it might take me some efforts to pick up the things I forget, but it turned out that I can got more than 30/35 for the last four tests I did two days before the exam within 2 and a half hour. To prepare for the CBT, I scanned the three practice problem, and read those problems from the computer screen. I also restricted myself only use the pdf format table in the computer. I maximized both the practice problem and table to get used to switch back and forth between problems and formulas.

Exam Order

I took FM, P, MLC, MFE, and C in sequence. I do not think there is one way everyone should follow, but I can hardly think about anyone who is not able to pass P can pass C.

I do not think any of these prelim exams are mathematically hard, but exam MLC and C do require you to put in a significant amount of time in order to get familiar with tons of concepts and techniques. As for me, the time I spent on each exam is 0 for P, 1 week for FM, 2 weeks for MFE, 3 weeks for MLC, and 4 weeks for C with score 8 or above. I hope this helps for those who want to know how difficult exam C is compared with other exams.

this makes me ill....I mean happy for you but I am definitely the complete opposite. I think I spent this much time on 1 topic on 1 of the exams. I passed, and it wasn't always above 8. You are a high over achiever, bravo.

ker8 06-02-2011 03:23 PM

^they say that study time, but I would imagine they must have had classwork on them otherwise it's nearly impossible to pass any exam (even P) without studying.

cucubing 06-02-2011 03:53 PM

You have to be really smart to do this. I mean "REALLY SMART".

Sloop John B 06-02-2011 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ker8 (Post 5248078)
^they say that study time, but I would imagine they must have had classwork on them otherwise it's nearly impossible to pass any exam (even P) without studying.

I'd expect it to be someone who is just really gifted intellectually. The reason why instances like these are so rare in this field is that most people smart enough to pass with little/no studying have greater ambitions than actuarial.

maram1 06-02-2011 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sloop John B (Post 5248216)
I'd expect it to be someone who is just really gifted intellectually. The reason why instances like these are so rare in this field is that most people smart enough to pass with little/no studying have greater ambitions than actuarial.

I think some of those folks go to stanford, get phd...become filthy rich.


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