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  #151  
Old 08-25-2017, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Vorian Atreides View Post
Which exam this fall, Mr Herbert?

Are you incorporating any learnings from this book into your studying?

Is there a chapter on staying away from AO, or at least more studying and less posting?
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  #152  
Old 08-25-2017, 01:36 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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Exam S.

Long story made short: I have had higher priorities than passing Exams, especially over the last 3.5 years.

As for your last question, I suggest you get your own copy and find out. There is a website that you can provide feedback to the authors & publisher as well.
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  #153  
Old 09-02-2017, 07:13 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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Originally Posted by Marcie View Post
Are you incorporating any learnings from this book into your studying?
Overlooked this question . . .

I'm just about finished with my review; in the first part of the material (effective studying), there wasn't anything new from my own philosophy of learning. The reading has forced me to evaluate my own study process, but not anything that I feel I need to change.

In the second part of the material (efficient studying), the authors do hit on some key concepts that I've found supported by research (not any cited by the authors), and I might do some of the proposed ideas in a more explicit fashion.

But as for the jab at studying vs. posting . . . the whole book is all about how to get more out of the time you spend preparing for the Exams so that you can post more on the AO . . . or any other desired activity you'd like to pursue.
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  #154  
Old 09-02-2017, 08:18 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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Lightbulb Chapters 5 Critique

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Feynman
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.
Chapters 3 & 4 outlined the authors' ideas about effective studying and was written primarily by Mike Jennings.

Chapters 5 & 6 outlines their ideas about efficient studying and was written primarily by Roy Ju. Here, I'll provide my critique on Chapter 5 and follow up shortly with a separate post for Chapter 6.
  1. Starts by emphasizing the need to have a better measure of one's study time. While an attempt to "quantify" focused study as the product of actual hours studied and a (percentage) measure of quality, this can quickly lead many students to overestimate the quality of their focus, especially since there aren't any additional information offered up as to how one might measure (i.e., quantify) "quality of focus".

    I think the book would be better served by outlining several items that could decrease one's focus and encourage the reader to also self-assess (and seek input from close friends and family) those hidden detractors of focus.

    1. What I like: The fact that a student needs to move away from "how many hours have I studied" metric of study success to "how focused have I been with the time I allocated to studying" metric.

    2. What I didn't like: That latter "metric" isn't easily quantified, and a student shouldn't look to try and quantify it to some form of percentage as illustrated in a table (page 42). Perhaps using a general "High / Normal (minor distractions) / Low (extensive distractions)" metric will be helpful to get an assessment on the "success" of the study time.

  2. Offered two suggestions for (re-)structuring study sessions into smaller time segments with meaningful breaks between time segments. And Marcie will like this: the authors advise against using the breaks to check social media (but they come short of mentioning the Actuarial Outpost explicitly). They suggest, "walking or grabbing a snack" as these are less distracting activities.

    The author also looks to support the value of "shorter study sessions" in retaining information through two citations, but I question the value of those two citations.

    1. One supporting the idea that our "quality of focus" has a 20 minute limit; but the source refers to improving a health care team. Without direct access to the actual contents, and basing my evaluation on the table of contents, (here is a link of what I'm looking at for convenience) the reference is looking at practical issues of providing health care in a variety of contexts.

      My experience has been that attention span (ability to focus on a task at hand) in a health care setting (or any other setting where a service is provided) is going to be very different from the attention span while learning material. My critique here isn't that encouragement to structure study time into smaller segments, but that citing this source, IMO, detracts from the scientific support for their ideas.

    2. The second reference looks at ability to recall information being greatest "at the beginning" and "at the end" of a session. However, the cited reference (same caveat as above, but here is a link to the source) is looking at people being able to recall items from a list of items. That is, there is no connection (at least none that I can infer from the material available to review) to ability of a person to recall concepts studied.

      In my own research (albeit, this was done in the mid-1990's, so some of this might be now outdated), the biggest effect on one's ability to recall information is the formulation of connections of one concept to others. The more connections a given concept had to other concepts (whether or not those other concepts are related to the problem at hand), the faster the concept was recalled and the details recalled were more accurate.

      Now, I agree with the authors' suggestion with shorter and more frequent study sessions (but not too short!), but not for the cited reasons. The more frequent sessions forces the brain to make--and reinforce--those connections. The shorter sessions allow the ability to thoroughly establish connections and the frequency allows for a cognitive change in establishing new (and this is important) connections . . . with these connections facilitating rapid and accurate recall of the material studied.

      And with most, if not all, CAS Exams (especially the upper level Exams) covering a wide range of topics that have some level of connection (especially within on Exam), this seems to be very relevant process to acquire.

  3. There is also guidance to make study material portable so that as opportunities to study appear (waiting for a doctor's appointment to start, commute on public transit, etc.), you're ready to make effective use of that time.

    They also encourage to engage with the material in different ways, making use of the Feynman technique (described in Chapter 4).

Overall, the chapter is useful. However, I think more could be done in developing a more comprehensive plan that also outlines the different phases of the learning process* and the approximate time (or even length of study session) to consider allocating for each phase and encouragement that the struggle in the time spent with those latter phases of the learning process will actually help reinforce the mastery of the earlier phases.



*In a nutshell, these would generally be:
  1. Initial acquisition of knowledge
  2. Making connections to related knowledge/concepts
  3. Use of knowledge to address standard problems
  4. Making connections to broader concepts/fields of study
  5. Mastery of knowledge to use in non-standard problems
You might note that Bloom's Taxonomy can also be used as a guide for the learning process as any of the higher levels assume that knowledge has been acquired/mastered at the lower levels.
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  #155  
Old 09-03-2017, 10:29 PM
BLASTFROMTHEPAST BLASTFROMTHEPAST is offline
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Easier ways than buying a book from someone who's got questionable credentials. University prof does a free video series on how to how to learn:
https://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/~pkate...ing2learn.html

I've gone through some of the series, and it's useful, practical information. Not targetted at actuarial exams, but same thing.
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  #156  
Old 09-05-2017, 10:59 PM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLASTFROMTHEPAST View Post
Easier ways than buying a book from someone who's got questionable credentials. University prof does a free video series on how to how to learn:
https://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/~pkate...ing2learn.html

I've gone through some of the series, and it's useful, practical information. Not targetted at actuarial exams, but same thing.
The two authors' credentials aren't questionable. They are presenting a system/process that worked for them.

Nor is the information that *is* presented questionable, IMO. I am pointing out that the cited references used to "scientifically support" their process is questionable.

As for the link you present on "learning how to learn" . . . is interesting. Six hours of material. with a casual perusal of the video material, it strikes a bit like telling someone how to make a watch when asked "what time is it?".

To be sure, there is good material there for those who might want to know "why" certain processes are good, or how to effectively take someone else's process and adapt to one's own psychological makeup for learning.

The book will take someone about 2 hours to read through and another 1-2 hours to work out their own means of incorporating the material to their own learning process.

Learning the material on the syllabus is only 1/2 the battle to passing Exams. (Might even be 1/3 of the battle for some!) The remaining part of the battle is how to take actuarial Exams. And that is something that isn't going to be the same as sitting for most college exams. It's more like preparing and taking comps for a graduate degree.
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  #157  
Old 09-06-2017, 12:20 PM
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Lusus Naturae Lusus Naturae is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorian Atreides View Post
Learning the material on the syllabus is only 1/2 the battle to passing Exams. (Might even be 1/3 of the battle for some!) The remaining part of the battle is how to take actuarial Exams. And that is something that isn't going to be the same as sitting for most college exams. It's more like preparing and taking comps for a graduate degree.


Also, there's a significant disconnect between preparing for (and taking) preliminary exams and FSA / FCAS exams.
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  #158  
Old 09-06-2017, 07:30 PM
BLASTFROMTHEPAST BLASTFROMTHEPAST is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorian Atreides View Post
The two authors' credentials aren't questionable.
.
Nice deflect on the fact that these folks have 0 credentials.

The start by spamming the forum, now they have a full time book reviewer on staff. Heck, by the time you're done with this book review it's going to be longer than the book itself.

Quote:
Six hours of material. with a casual perusal of the video material, it strikes a bit like telling someone how to make a watch when asked "what time is it?".
The link I posted was by an experienced and respected university professor - someone who knows how to teach. They were backed by the university to research how people learned and prepare it in a format to be consumed by students. You dismiss that, while suggesting that 20 year olds passing actuarial exams are credentials. Yikes.

You're pretty heavily invested in this book for some reason.

Last edited by BLASTFROMTHEPAST; 09-06-2017 at 07:37 PM..
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  #159  
Old 09-06-2017, 09:00 PM
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I want to meet the ASA at age 20 who decides to become a Career ASA.
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  #160  
Old 10-19-2017, 12:13 AM
stefanos stefanos is offline
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I got a complimentary copy so here is a mini review after reading it over the past hour or so.

It can more appropriately be described as a pamphlet rather than a book. What I particularly liked about it is the emphasis on understanding vs. memorization, distilling the information to as few fundamental formulas and concepts as possible, and testing one's ability to solve a problem vs. going over the model solution (= the lazy way).

Roy and Mike are presented as living proofs that their method works. Roy Ju is arguably precocious and not your average Joe Student when it comes to mathematical ability and determination. It's like using the example of William James Sidis to convince yourself that, yes, you too can learn 8 languages before age 8. Mike Jennings is also a fairly strong student, having 3 exams by the end of his sophomore year. He fails to pass an exam in his junior year, then passes C in February and MLC in April of his senior year. His first fellowship exam (ERM) pass comes a bit over a year later. This sounds like an overall great progression to me, but hear how Mike describes it:
Quote:
After almost two years without passing an exam, I entered the most fruitful period of my exam career. In 15 months, I passed Exam C, Exam MLC, the FAP modules, the FSA modules, and Exam ERM
My point is that failing an exam or two and then catching up is normal and doesn't prove one has found the magic key that unlocks the actuarial exams. I'll use myself as an example: I have an equally long gap in my exam progress (actuarial-lookup) but I was able to recover and finish my exams, not because I developed a new radical approach to studying, but by trying a bit harder and by gaining experience with written-answer tests.

In sum, there is good practical advice in there, but the authors oversell it.
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