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  #11  
Old 07-15-2019, 12:39 AM
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Thanks all! The work starts now...
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  #12  
Old 07-15-2019, 11:21 AM
BobSaccamano BobSaccamano is offline
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Count me in, coming over from CFEFD. So this is the hardest of the 3? If it's less pure memorization then I'm OK with that, I'd rather be tested on concepts than lists anyway. Just need to make sure I interpret the questions the way the SOA wants.
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  #13  
Old 07-15-2019, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by BobSaccamano View Post
Count me in, coming over from CFEFD. So this is the hardest of the 3? If it's less pure memorization then I'm OK with that, I'd rather be tested on concepts than lists anyway. Just need to make sure I interpret the questions the way the SOA wants.
Welcome aboard! It is the hardest in that it is the most unlike any other exam you'll probably take as an actuary. It is very qualitative, very conceptual, and has less black-and-white questions. What is really going to make or break your paper is how well you do explaining and justifying your recommendations, and how well you tie the case study questions into the material.

The material itself is not that difficult or technical - which is sort of a double-edge sword, because it is easier to understand, but there aren't "key formulas" to memorize as often.

I'm not sure if you have taken ERM yet, but that exam lies sort of halfway between CFE and SDM. Or, if you've taken just CFE so far, imagine that exam, but with the majority of the calculation-type questions taken out and replaced by questions asking for recommendations.
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  #14  
Old 07-15-2019, 06:35 PM
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Hey y'all, quick question, and with all due respect, I'm hoping I get thoughts just from non-instructors as it is getting a bit advertisement heavy in here (yes, Steve, I've read your threads ).

Could I get some thoughts on the two study companies, and which of their packages to use? Anybody do both or mix and match? I'm used to TIA basically from jump, so it's a whole new world since I don't think they have anything for this track.

And please, just non-instructor input, if we could. I promise I have read all of PAK/XP's posts.
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  #15  
Old 07-15-2019, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by math.math.math View Post
Hey y'all, quick question, and with all due respect, I'm hoping I get thoughts just from non-instructors as it is getting a bit advertisement heavy in here (yes, Steve, I've read your threads ).

Could I get some thoughts on the two study companies, and which of their packages to use? Anybody do both or mix and match? I'm used to TIA basically from jump, so it's a whole new world since I don't think they have anything for this track.

And please, just non-instructor input, if we could. I promise I have read all of PAK/XP's posts.
I used both. I think they both have their strengths, but I would recommend XP given this is your first FSA exam. I think they do a better job prepping you for what to expect with the exam and not just learning the material. I didn't take enough advantage of the individual attention offered, but that is a bonus as well.

In general, I think both PAK and XP offer really good review of the material but the extra's with XP make it more valuable. If you take it seriously, you won't be surprised by anything on the exam and you should know what the exam writers/graders are looking for for each question.
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  #16  
Old 07-15-2019, 10:12 PM
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Thanks y'all! I got some nice DMs, which I appreciate. It's a 50/50 split, with everyone saying good things about both. Nice to have quality to choose from, but it makes this strategic decision a tough one

My boss gave me permission to go ham, so I think I'll do both and pick from a bit of each.

Oh, I am excited. FSA level, can you believe it, we're almost done! Ah! What do we do in a life with no exams? My brain can't even wrap around it.
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  #17  
Old 07-16-2019, 01:19 AM
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Glad you got some feedback and I think that is a good strategic decision.

I also want to apologize upfront for all the advertising.

I just want to add one thing so students understand completely what's going on: XP has about 20% to 25% of the market for SDM (about 80 to 90 students write SDM each sitting), and growing each year.

Clearly PAK is the incumbent and has very large market share on this exam. So even if the XP premium package has twice the pass rate as the incumbent (e.g. 90% versus 45%), the incumbent can still have numerically the same number of people as XP who say they passed using their service … which might dilute the perception of what XP can offer.

Again, I apologize on all the advertising, but you can imagine my excitement today when I learned 91% of our XP premium pkg./online seminar students passed in Spring (86% pass rate over the last 3 sittings). So I obviously have a very strong desire to have more people take part in that success … and the tools we have spent hundreds of hours developing specifically for SDM.

And I do truly believe that if every SDM student signed with XP for the Fall sitting, we could achieve an overall pass rate the likes of which have never been seen before for this exam. I hope that this is reasonably honorable to take on the incumbent (at quite a reasonable price - if you compare!!)

I would propose a truce and appreciate if the incumbent did not crowd out our advertising. In return, I will not engage in any more of my wild advertising this sitting. Which will let us all now focus solely on getting the most students to pass SDM in the fall.

Final word to Paul and/or Eddy if they would like.

Thanks,
Steve

P.S. our premium package includes the full online seminar (XP cost to you is $950)- so be sure to compare prices to PAK 's premium online seminar (PAK cost to you is $1950) (PAK's normal premium package does NOT include the online seminar nor the full set of practice exams- so don't get fooled!)

So the undisputable facts are: XP has a higher pass rate at less than half the price as PAK!
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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; 07-17-2019 at 12:19 AM.. Reason: reflecting proper price comparison
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  #18  
Old 07-16-2019, 01:51 AM
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Thanks for the throw over, Steve! I'm not of a salesman, to be honest - we try to only have one or two threads per forum (Study Manual + Seminar), but I apologize if it feels like we are crowding you out. Not my intention! I'll be brief here, then we can get to studying.

I'll start by saying something that may be a bit controversial: I think XP does a really good job. I also think PAK does a really good job (edge to PAK, but that's just my opinion ). Luckily, students have a lot of good options from instructors that care and want what is best for their students, and some healthy competition helps literally everyone. So, you guys are in good hands no matter what!

I would recommend you take a look at our samples, talk to your coworkers, and choose what "speaks" to you. I'd even recommend PM'ing the instructors to chat directly - we're both nice, talkative guys, with cool and sexy "Fargo" accents which everyone loves. You can't go wrong! (Eddy, sorry for the weak pitch, haha)

As for pass rates, our long-term trend for students that use the Online Seminar/Premium Package is about 75% over the ~6 years that we've been doing this. It has ups and downs, but has been steady around there for a while. We actually batted 1.000 over our first two sittings, with obviously small numbers as we (and the track itself) was just getting starting, but then we reverted to the mean (like a good old Vasicek Model).

So, yeah! The Finance Track is great, and I'm glad we're all here together, that's my final word Let's do this!
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PAK Study Manual Packages/Seminars for CFE/SDM/ERM Fall 2019

SDM: Sample
CFE: Sample
ERM: Sample

Last edited by PaulP; 07-16-2019 at 02:02 AM..
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  #19  
Old 07-16-2019, 04:36 AM
jamesdurden jamesdurden is offline
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Hi math.math.math -

Like you, I used the same study program (TIA) from my first exam and was very happy with the service. FSA exams brought a new challenge and a revisited the service offerings.

For SDM, I sat twice and used two study services. I can say, without hesitation, that Steve at XP provides a level of service and care unlike anything I have experienced. We had several detailed discussions on his feedback on my practice exams, helping me to refine my approach, style of writing, and the way I read and understand questions. It is this level of service that I am certain took me across the finish line to pass my final actuarial exam.

Although I am not a Bama fan (quite the opposite), his analogy of "The Process" is spot on and my trust in it has me study free.

Thanks Steve and I wish you the best on this beast of an exam, math.math.math!


Quote:
Originally Posted by math.math.math View Post
Hey y'all, quick question, and with all due respect, I'm hoping I get thoughts just from non-instructors as it is getting a bit advertisement heavy in here (yes, Steve, I've read your threads ).

Could I get some thoughts on the two study companies, and which of their packages to use? Anybody do both or mix and match? I'm used to TIA basically from jump, so it's a whole new world since I don't think they have anything for this track.

And please, just non-instructor input, if we could. I promise I have read all of PAK/XP's posts.
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  #20  
Old 07-16-2019, 09:39 AM
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Thanks y'all, I appreciate the input!
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