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Old 05-03-2019, 02:03 AM
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Default The Beast Returns - Battle of SDM - Fall 2019

The spring exam has wrapped up with the last students in Hawaii and they are on their 3rd beer, so it's time to get fired up about the fall sitting

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Using anything less is clearly a very poor strategic decision
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:05 PM
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FYI, the syllabus is out and it is official that the readings are the same! No real surprise, but :whew: all the same.

https://www.soa.org/globalassets/ass...dm-syllabi.pdf
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:14 PM
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Once more into the breach. Now that results are out, the study season officially begins!

For those taking it for the first time, you should know that SDM is going to feel much different than any other exam you've ever taken. It's very qualitative and conceptual, and you'll need to under the material on a very deep level - memorizing and reciting lists isn't going to cut it! My two pieces of advice for people getting started...

1) You need to understand the material deeply, such that you can apply it to a lot of esoteric situations. We won't have a ton of super straightforward questions, so we need to be able to think quick on our feet. You should understand the readings well enough to be able to explain them to a non-actuary and have them get the big picture. In fact, I actually recommend you try that! Let your spouse/boyfriend/mom/dog hear what you have to say about the reading. This both ensures that you understand it, AND it engages another part of your brain (the speech centers) which will help "lock in" the information.

2) Because the material is pretty nebulous and conceptual, with not a lot of concrete lists and formulas, you'll find that it is going to slip from your mind a bit as you go on. Because of this, you need to continuously revisit older material. Don't just plow straight through, because by the time you get to the end, you won't remember the beginning. Make sure you spend an increasing amount of time refreshing older material!


And, of course, ask questions, stay on schedule, and study hard - you can do this!
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:25 PM
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Finally time to stop lurking and get in the game...

First FSA exam, here we go.
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:29 PM
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Quick Q: any problem taking this first, before the other two exams?
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by math.math.math View Post
Quick Q: any problem taking this first, before the other two exams?
Welcome aboard the Good Ship SDM!

You will be just fine taking SDM first,, in my opinion. I've never been convinced of any significant advantage from following the SOA's recommended order. Please note that this is (arguably) the most difficult of the three FSA-level exams, but it is going about the same level of difficulty whether you take it first or last.

Just make sure you stay on schedule, study hard, and ask lots of questions (here, PAK forums, emails, etc.), and make sure you have you brain set to "qualitative" mode, and you will be just fine!

For my own brain's record - what made you decide to do SDM first?
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulP View Post
Welcome aboard the Good Ship SDM!

You will be just fine taking SDM first,, in my opinion. I've never been convinced of any significant advantage from following the SOA's recommended order. Please note that this is (arguably) the most difficult of the three FSA-level exams, but it is going about the same level of difficulty whether you take it first or last.

Just make sure you stay on schedule, study hard, and ask lots of questions (here, PAK forums, emails, etc.), and make sure you have you brain set to "qualitative" mode, and you will be just fine!

For my own brain's record - what made you decide to do SDM first?
Thanks! A coworker told me that SDM was the hardest so I want to get it out of the way first lol
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Thanks! A coworker told me that SDM was the hardest so I want to get it out of the way first lol
I'd honestly suggest tackling ERM first. The ERM exam credit can be applied to ANY FSA track so it allows you to defer the option of having to choose a track a bit.

Additionally, I know I would've struggled with some of the SDM material without having ERM and CFE behind me. There's some implicitly assumed knowledge in the readings, especially in the 'ERM Advanced Topics' SDM syllabus objective.

Just my two cents, but if you want a baptism by fire, go for it!
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:23 PM
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Thanks everyone! Not to out myself too much () but I work in the CRO's 'Strategic Decision' group, which does investments and mergers and things, so I feel like I'll be shunned if I don't start with SDM Plus, the material looks the most interesting, and I need a break from formulas tbh.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by math.math.math View Post
Thanks everyone! Not to out myself too much () but I work in the CRO's 'Strategic Decision' group, which does investments and mergers and things, so I feel like I'll be shunned if I don't start with SDM Plus, the material looks the most interesting, and I need a break from formulas tbh.
Interesting!

I think with the mergers experience, you will find some of the Strategic Management stuff quite useful and something you can relate to

Also, the organizational behavior stuff seems more relevant with the more companies and teams you have worked with as you start to see how different cultures/organizations do things

The communications stuff (Pyramid Principle) is really useful once you get into it and actually try it at work http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...d.php?t=340467

The Bias material is very useful for making objective decisions -- although can take a while to digest them all!

The Data, Models, and Decisions book is mathematical, but not really formulaic (except the important background material) and I found the textbook excellent - many examples to pick through to grab the ones you need to understand things.


I think one of the best things is when you can take an exam and directly apply it to your job. I remember studying for some material and the next day going to work and using it - that was the best! Not all material will be like that on this exam, but even some direct application can make studying a lot of fun. For SDM, it's similar as I have found I can use some of the material to explain to students why we prepare the way we do - i.e. the science works!

I think the challenge for you will be developing really good studying skills and really finding what works for you for learning for these written answer exams/questions. Feel free to reach out if you want help on that.

But it's clear you have a very good starting spot from a work stand-point and you've got the determination. I think that is a decent strategic decision to start things off.

Good luck to you on this!
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XP premium package SDM pass rate in Spring 2019 was 91.7%!

Using anything less is clearly a very poor strategic decision

Last edited by XP-SteveScoles; 07-14-2019 at 09:54 PM..
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