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  #21  
Old 07-30-2018, 06:43 PM
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Here is great advice from a student that passed SDM on their first try - I think it highlights part of the extra effort required for the differences of SDM vs. other finance exams.
"The other advice I would give students is to be extremely selfish with your time. I wasnít shy about saying no to family events, birthdays, holiday celebrations, etc. from the very beginning of January (instead of just the last six weeks before the exam) Ė I didnít let anyone guilt me into anything this study season!

Even more than other exams, I made sure that I really capitalized on my free time and that the few non-work/studying things I did do were very rejuvenating for me. I think I needed every minute of study time I was able to squeeze out of my schedule for this exam!"
This person was selfish with their time during exams, but very unselfish with their helpful advice on managing what needs to be done for the SDM exam!

Steve
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  #22  
Old 07-31-2018, 08:11 AM
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Sorry for the delay. I had to dig up my study material to confirm what practice exams I had taken.

I spent the last 5 days before the exam simulating the test day.

Day 1 - Review of everything (material, case study, etc.)
Day 2 - XP PE #5 @ library, same drive time, start time, time restrictions, breakfast/lunch/dinner/hydration/sleep etc. as test day
Day 3 - Review of everything
Day 4 - XP PE #6 @ library, same drive time, start time, time restrictions, breakfast/lunch/dinner/hydration/sleep etc. as test day
Day 5 - Review of everything
Day 6 - Exam Day


The practice exams were helpful in practicing written questions. But I'd recommend using past SOA exams in those final few days to get the full flavor of SDM.


Pros

The practice exams did a fair job of covering the syllabus and requiring connections to the case study.

Questions would utilized the tree structure in a similar fashion to SOA exams.


Cons

I think formatting the questions on the page in a similar fashion to the real exam would help make it feel more like a real exam.

Proper SOA verbs were missing at the start of questions.
I was disappointed that I couldn't fully/consistently practice writing my answer to the appropriate verb. The SOA's guide to Written Exams has several pages on the importance of verbs that I studied extensively for this sitting.

The amount of questions are more than I would anticipate for SDM and forced me to rush answering questions, instead of spending time putting together my thoughts. My experience with SDM is that you're forced to balance thinking time with writing time, but that would've been tough to do for the amount of questions in these practice exams.

There were more question-specific things that I can't recall without going through and retaking the practice exams. Vaguely, I believe that those miscellaneous issues involved case study references, point allocation, model solution's being inaccurate/incomplete/insufficient for point allocation, and phrasing of questions.


Summary

I could not finish an entire AM or PM portion of either #5 or #6, typically only working through 70% of the exam. The sections that I skipped were ones that I felt provided little value in simulating a SOA exam (see Cons).

Understandably, there's only so much time that can be put into creating a practice exams while balancing work and other study manual/seminar responsibilities. The real exam takes a team of FSAs many hours to put together, so expecting a SOA caliber level exam from an online vendor is not fair.

These practice exams were helpful in writing out answers. But I recommend doing past SOA exams if you're looking to do a full-simulation of the test day.



Quote:
Originally Posted by XP-SteveScoles View Post
Congrats on passing AllDayNumberCruncher!

Thanks for the feedback. One question is did you feel the final two XP practice exams this last sitting (#5 and #6) simulate the tree-like structure of exams and importantly help you really flesh out some errors in your exam writing or weaknesses in your understanding of the material.

I've really worked on those two last practice exams this last sitting to produce what students will experience in the actual exam (and I'm constantly working on pushing the limits of that more as I am doing for the upcoming sitting). And it's important I get those right because this is actually an area that can dramatically improve pass probabilities.

(The first 4 practice exams test the application of the concepts and are intended to progress in difficulty towards the final two practice exams.)
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  #23  
Old 07-31-2018, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllDayNumberCruncher View Post
Sorry for the delay. I had to dig up my study material to confirm what practice exams I had taken.
...
Absolutely beautiful feedback!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I incredibly appreciate the time you put into your response. (as well as the other valuable comments you have made to me over the last two sittings)

Some of those things you mentioned have already been built into what I'm now recommending to students and there are some things that I will improve on further this sitting with your feedback.

Your hard work and diligence has paid off and good luck with the rest of your life!

Steve
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  #24  
Old 08-06-2018, 10:41 PM
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The Spring 2018 Exam Solutions have been posted!!

https://www.soa.org/Education/Exam-R...oice-exam.aspx

Students often underestimate what a GREAT resource these are. These are our windows into the mind of the graders - look through that window! Here are some things to think about...
  1. What are some common criticism you see?
  2. What does a good answer look like?
  3. How would your answer have compared?

You will see common critiques that students don't support their arguments (particularly with regards to Recommend and Critique) questions.

And of course, talk about these questions! Send emails, talk on the forums; the more you can talk and think about these questions, the more you will understand.

I will update everyone with thoughts I have as I go through these
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  #25  
Old 08-07-2018, 04:44 PM
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One critical thing that all SDM students should recognize is the fundamental equation:
SDM ≠ (CFE or ERM)
For a very basic example, I see a lot of new students coming to XP for SDM and a common refrain I hear is "on the second time I wrote SDM, I spent more time on the case study" ... not spending time and, more importantly, the right efforts on the case is a basic error SDM students simply cannot make!

Another common refrain is "I got CFE and ERM, Yeah baby, one more and I'm done!" If you are saying this, stop and look at the fundamental equation!

There is a lot of wisdom on these pages at the Outpost over the last couple of sittings - take time to digest it all and build it into a plan that will be successful for SDM.

This is something I spend a lot of time on -- highlighting exactly what you need to do to be on the right track from the start of your studying for SDM. If you would like feedback on your specific plan, let me know. A very good process is needed to get this beast!

Let's do this!

Steve
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  #26  
Old 08-10-2018, 02:57 PM
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Happy Friday everyone!

Here is an interesting article on the potential liquidity risk to Turkish corporations from the recent dramatic declines in the Turkish Lira currency.
https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-lira/t...k-lira-tumbles
"The ministry’s assessment contradicts warnings by ratings agencies and the International Monetary Fund concerning the foreign exchange-denominated debts of Turkish corporates. Turkish firms are exposed to more than $220 billion of unhedged foreign currency loans, according to central bank data, and several large corporations, including energy companies, have already applied to banks to restructure more than $20 billion."
Question: Is this asset-side liquidity risk or liability-side liquidity risk? (there is a bit of a trick to the answer.)

(as usual feel free to message me your answer for feedback if you prefer!)

Steve
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  #27  
Old 08-24-2018, 12:59 PM
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Default Cognitive Biases

Happy Friday students,
Here is a really interesting article on cognitive biases, which are covered in the Undoing Project, Nudge, and Organizational Behavior texts.

How many syllabus concepts can you recognize in this article?
"Optimism bias leads us to consistently underestimate the costs and the duration of basically every project we undertake. Availability bias makes us think that, say, traveling by plane is more dangerous than traveling by car."
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...e-bias/565775/

Steve
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