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-   -   How do you guys manage exams and work? (http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actuarial_discussion_forum/showthread.php?t=326759)

IacceptTheTerms 09-26-2017 04:38 PM

How do you guys manage exams and work?
 
After being job hunting for a few months, I finally managed to land an entry level job but unfortunately it does not give me study time or get salary increase when passing exams. This is the first time I'll be managing work and studying for exams. Trying to shoot for C in february, already started a little bit. Do you guys have any tips on how you manage this? What are your study habits that worked best for you?

Thanks:wink:

Ito's Phlegm 09-26-2017 04:50 PM

Is this actuarial work?

I've never encountered an actuarial employer that didn't provide some sort of study program or support. Given, I've read about these sorts of situations on this forum, but the general consensus is that these sorts of employers are of poor quality and the solution is to find a new job.

redearedslider 09-26-2017 04:52 PM

Treat your work week like it's 50 hours long instead of 40 and commit those 10 hours to studying like you would commit to showing up to work on time (maybe a bad example for actuaries).

IacceptTheTerms 09-26-2017 04:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ito's Phlegm (Post 9106357)
Is this actuarial work?

I've never encountered an actuarial employer that didn't provide some sort of study program or support. Given, I've read about these sorts of situations on this forum, but the general consensus is that these sorts of employers are of poor quality and the solution is to find a new job.

Actually it's a good employer but unfortunately, the position I'm in does not support exams (except maybe refunding exam fees if you pass exam). I actually took this position because I need some experience and I can always apply internally to better jobs.

NerdAlert 09-26-2017 05:03 PM

There isn't going to be an answer that doesn't involve a major sacrifice. For me, the answer was to study from 10:00 - 2:00 (or some variation of this) every night after my kids were asleep. Before I had kids, I spent every night from 6 to 9 or 10 doing practice problems the two months before exams. And my company did provide study time.

Abelian Grape 09-26-2017 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redearedslider (Post 9106359)
Treat your work week like it's 50 hours long instead of 40 and commit those 10 hours to studying like you would commit to showing up to work on time (maybe a bad example for actuaries).

this

redearedslider 09-26-2017 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ito's Phlegm (Post 9106357)
Is this actuarial work?

I've never encountered an actuarial employer that didn't provide some sort of study program or support. Given, I've read about these sorts of situations on this forum, but the general consensus is that these sorts of employers are of poor quality and the solution is to find a new job.

Sounds like one of them non exam track pensions analyst positions.

ARodOmaha 09-26-2017 05:25 PM

My previous employer was a small actuarial consulting agency. They gave me a whopping 8 hours to study, which was plenty of time to prepare for an actuarial exam.

Personally, I study 30 minutes every morning. Go to work, go to the gym, then study 1-2 hours every night. I take a practice exam every Saturday morning, spending about 8 hours total on the weekends. It's paid off the last three exams in a row.

Derek @ TIA 09-27-2017 11:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ito's Phlegm (Post 9106357)
Is this actuarial work?

I've never encountered an actuarial employer that didn't provide some sort of study program or support. Given, I've read about these sorts of situations on this forum, but the general consensus is that these sorts of employers are of poor quality and the solution is to find a new job.

I actually have heard of some of the larger/well respected companies that will hire as a sort of "Actuarial Analyst" role where you do the same work as the actuarial students, but you just don't have the study program support. You may be reimbursed for exam fees (if you pass), but you often have to pass an exam or two on your own before they let you into the program. If it's difficult to get in the door at a place you want to work as a part of the student program, I know people that have done this, and it has worked out very well.

About the studying, I think there are two key things here. 1. Knowing yourself and your study habits. 2. Making a schedule and sticking to it.

1. You have to know if you're better in the mornings, afternoons or nights and plan your schedule around it. If you're good in the mornings, wake up and allocate 1-2 hrs before work to study every day and make sure you stick to it. If you're better at night, put aside some time after work (before you go home, take a break, etc) and just treat it like work time. Put in that 1-2 hrs, and then be done with it and resume your life afterwards. As the exam gets closer, you need to be putting in more and more time, but the idea is the same.

Treat this studying like a job and truly put in the time. That's what will help you pass, and that's what will move you forward in the process. You're not getting the exam hours and raises in the student program, but this is still part of your job if you want to be a qualified actuary, so treat it that way.

2. Make a schedule that is realistic and stick to it. You need to make sure you get through the material (a few times) before the exam. Write out a calendar (or spreadsheet) and map out all of the readings and sample problems that you need to finish by a certain date. It doesn't have to be perfect, but this keeps you moving, and it ensures that you get through enough material before the exam date. Also, don't be afraid to re-do the schedule (many times), so it's always relevant. Otherwise, it's too easy to feel like you "studied" for two hours, but if you didn't get through certain materials, got distracted, etc, that doesn't really count, and you'll get behind. Write out what you need to get through (maybe a certain number of problems or certain chapters) and stick to that. If will happen that things get in the way, but you need to follow this schedule and adjust it as necessary.

Westley 09-28-2017 12:16 AM

Some good advice already, and I'll add two more ideas:

Find any extra minutes you can: For example, if you take the train in, no more newspaper on the morning train, that's for solving problems. If there's something you're really struggling to memorize, put it on a notecard, and set that somewhere that you'll see it when you have a few extra minutes available to really really focus - obviously I mean put it next to the toilet. One or two simple tricks like that will let you squeeze in a couple extra hours a week - can add up to a lot.

Extreme sacrifice in the last few weeks before the exam: Know how long you can really focus without a break. For me, it was about 10 days. If I tried to go 2 weeks or more without hitting the gym or hanging with friends, I really started to lose focus and my productivity dropped. But I could do it for 10 days. So, 10 days before the exam, everything was canceled (may require buy-in from SO or others). Exam only for that ten days. Real trick is knowing how long you can maintain this for.



BTW, I passed my first 2 and last 2 exams without support. Sucks. Pass 1-2 more and then switch jobs; even better, see if there's internal transfers to positions that provide support - with two more exams and even average performance, you should qualify.


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