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Short-Term Actuarial Math Old Exam C Forum

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Old 02-07-2017, 03:57 PM
Pellican Pellican is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
Studying for C
College: Millsaps College Alumnus
Favorite beer: Cold
Posts: 23
Default Study Strategy

Hi all,

Looking for some input regarding my exam strategy for C. I usually hit the "I kind of understand all this crap" mark once I start doing extensive practice problems, but no previous exam had the breadth of material that C does.. so I don't want to obsess over mastering the material at the expense of getting inadequate practice exam time before I stare into the hopeless abyss that is every actuarial exam.

I gave myself a nice, fat window to study C, so I'm on Chapter 33 of ASM at moment, but I currently have more of a basic understanding of the material than an in-depth one. I am attempting to get through all material first so I can have exposure to everything before I do extensive practice work.

For those who have previously passed C -- what strategy did you find worked best for you?
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:44 AM
A-L A-L is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 53

lol I'm looking forward to reading some answers from those who have passed myself!
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Old 02-13-2017, 04:12 PM
Math fairy Math fairy is offline
Join Date: Sep 2012
College: York
Posts: 32

I passed on my third attempt. The first two attempts I didn't have enough raw hours. I used the following strategy:
1. Go through material once, ignoring, marking, or just spending less time on things I can't seem to grasp. (roughly 2 hours per chapter if its your first time)
2. Do the soa 307, rereading relevant sections on problems I got wrong or didn't feel comfortable with. Reference formulas as needed.
3. Go through book again on sections/problem types that you feel you want to understand better.
4. Start mahler/tia/etc. Thoroughly review the types of problems you have trouble with, especially if it seems like you are missing a concept that could easily be tested on the real exam. Don't stress the really difficult/obscure problems too much though.
5. At this point you have a strong grasp of the material, now try to plug your leaks and look for ways to master the material. Going through last 50 soa problems again might help here.
6. I didn't get to step 6 but you could find more practice exams and really destroy on exam day
Ultimately do what you feel will help you understand and master the syllabus. I believe layering your understanding is more effective than trying to master each concept as it comes.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:41 PM
Demo99 Demo99 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: CA
Posts: 233

Math fairy is spot on. Practice with Mahler (I would weigh this the highest) and SOA 307, as well as anything else you can find.

On the first few Mahler exams, take all the time you need to answer each question. The trick is to get yourself in an analytical mindset so that you can think about the problem from multiple angles, and come up with the solution, rather than go down the list of formulas to apply to the problem.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:25 AM
Pellican Pellican is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
Studying for C
College: Millsaps College Alumnus
Favorite beer: Cold
Posts: 23

Hey guys,

Thanks a lot for the input. I had heard about the Mahler exams, but not about the SOA 307. Usually, raw hours is a pretty good indicator of whether I'm ready as well.

Seems like a strategy of going through the material for a broad understanding of the topics is the way to go. Should have 2 months for practice problems so happy with my schedule right now.

I really appreciate you guys weighing in. Cheers!
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:37 PM
Seijai Seijai is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: NY
Studying for S
Posts: 97

I passed on my first sitting, but I spent a solid 6+ months studying. Used the ASM Manual, the SOA released problems, any released prior exams, and the free Mahler exam.

Went through the entire ASM, did all the end of section questions, or at least ones that were marked as questions from released exams (if the section had like 40 questions, I'm not going to do all of them...) Did the SOA 307 at least 5 times, keeping a sheet of all the questions I just have no idea how to do, the ones that I would've gotten right if I remember the formula, and the ones I am comfortable with. I would redo it until I can get the number of questions I don't know how to do to like 5. Also at this time, you want to start remembering formulas so you can do those problems you would've gotten correct. Learning shortcuts and prior pairs and stuff is important, but be comfortable doing things from first principals too. The shortcuts should be a time saver, not a replacement for the fundamentals. You also want to pass over the questions you felt you are comfortable with once or twice again because you will be surprised how often you forget things. You should schedule it our so you have 3-4 weeks before the exam to do straight practice exams and going over the very few topics you do not understand.
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:50 PM
Jim Bob Cooter Jim Bob Cooter is offline
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,554

Mahler practice exams
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:31 PM
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ShivamS ShivamS is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
College: Yep
Favorite beer: Sweetwater Blue
Posts: 3,592

I passed on the first try - studied for 2 months.

Here's what I did:

Go through the TIA videos as quickly as possible. The goal is to take detailed notes.

Get a 30 day ADAPT subscription - turn in a three blank exams, read the solutions, and solve them myself.

Take an open notes exam with no time limit. Review that exam and all previous ones. Repeat. Refer back to TIA videos on topics you find particularly difficult after the 6th or so exam.

You'll find that once you've done 10-15 exams, you'll no longer need your notes and will be finishing them in the time limit.

I turned in 11 exams total (attempted like 3) and didn't pass my first Level 3 exam until my 7th one.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:26 PM
Wombo Combo Wombo Combo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
College: university of maryland alumni
Posts: 135

Posted this in the June thread, but figured I'd throw it here too.

Just passed today, first try. Though I'm sure some of this will be repetitive from other posts on here, I found the amount of advice on here both encouraging and helpful.

This was my first exam while having a full time job. For those in a similar position, I'd recommend starting way in advance. I started September/October and made a very rough schedule. As time went on I became more regular and kept incrementally increasing how much I studied per day.

Generally speaking, I probably studied about 1-2 hours every day up until the last month or so before the exam. I think my plan was a chapter every two days then SOA307/practice exams for the last month and a half.

The studying becomes really manageable this way. I even took 3 different week long vacations from September-January and still managed to stay on track.

For resources, I went through ASM first and did the end of chapter questions. Then did SOA 307 to recap on all topics and remind myself of which chapters I struggled with. After that, I did 6 or 7 Mahler exams and got extremely discouraged at how poorly I was doing. After that I transitioned to Adapt for the rest of the way. I would occasionally go back to Mahler/307 just to retest myself and see that I was making progress.

The questions on the test, to me, resembled an adapt 5-6 level exam. So given how they design their exams, that puts the general question difficulty around 4-7.

Overall, I didn't really enjoy this exam because I don't think the material builds on itself in a fun way like with P, FM, and MLC. It's almost like 2 or 3 courses put together then with a bunch of random added topics. Credibility and Expected payments are interesting topics, but other than that I didn't find this test super fun.

With that in mind, I'd really recommend that even as you go through the book look back at old topics. Keep everything fresh in your mind as you study. I definitely had to go back and relearn kernels and some other stuff after finishing the book and it was not fun.

Best of luck, this test is tough, but doable.
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mahler, study strategy

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