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  #11  
Old 06-29-2018, 05:50 PM
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XP-SteveScoles XP-SteveScoles is offline
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Default Is social media feeding confirmation bias?

The Undoing Project on the syllabus is pretty key for SDM as it is under two different Learning Objectives. One crucial bias covered in the book is confirmation bias (also an important part of the Case Study and BJA's Lucky 7 program analysis).

Interesting short piece about confirmation bias and social media

https://techaeris.com/2018/06/20/soc...-feeding-bias/

Is social media feeding confirmation bias?
"Confirmation bias is our psychological tendency to cherry-pick information, news, beliefs, and historical instances that confirm our long-held beliefs and validate our narrow, emotional narratives, all while ignoring or devaluing evidence that contradicts us. Itís a dangerous flaw in the human psyche that has led to our current political divide and been bolstered by social media and search engine optimization."

Have another great weekend!

Steve
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  #12  
Old 07-12-2018, 12:18 PM
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Students are starting to think about the exam more now that results will be out tomorrow, and I got a similar question from two students today, which means that probably more have the same question out there. It's one I get a lot: What are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of the source material?

There are two suggestions I give for this.
  1. Internalize the material. What I mean by that is that, more so than any other exam, SDM is all about understanding concepts, rather than using formulas and techniques. It is not enough just to memorize lists and phrases. You need to know how the information is relevant, when it can be applied, and what it means on a deep level.

    And there is a good test for this! Can you explain this reading, in your own words, to a non-actuary? I make sure I can do this for every single reading. Trying to put it into your own words helps make sure you understand the concepts, and not have not merely memorized them. Every reading, even the most complex, can be broken down into understandable concepts. This also helps you retain the information better! To engage even more parts of your brain, write your own-word summary down on paper.

    So take some time after each reading to reflect on what you've read and think about what it means. This method of thinking about the material (conceptual, in easy-to-understand terminology) is explicitly how we built the Online Seminar.

  2. Review the material often. Many students will just rifle through the material as fast as they can, but then find that, after the first read-through, they did not retain very much. There is simply too much in this syllabus to keep it in your mind for that long!

    To combat this, make sure you revisit the material often. The PAK Suggested Schedule builds in time each week to review prior material, so use those days! Go back, refresh your memory, read the summary you wrote down (see #1), and keep your brain used to recalling this information. The fresher you keep this information, the less you'll feel like you are starting from scratch on your second read-through!

And, of course, ask LOTS of questions, whether via email or on the forums. Discussion is a great way to make sure you understand what is going on.
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PAK Study Manual Packages/Seminars for CFE/SDM/ERM Fall 2018

SDM: Sample
CFE: Sample
ERM: Sample
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  #13  
Old 07-13-2018, 08:17 PM
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Lot of people starting to think about hitting the books!
  • If you are retaking this exam, the first and most important thing is to keep your head up. These exam are hard and brutal. They take a toll. But you can do it! And the end of this is totally worth it. The only true way to fail is to stop trying. Hit the books, focus on what you can improve on, and ask for help. We are here to help!

  • If you are coming off a success, don't get cocky! The time now is to focus on what went well, and what you can improve on. You want to build off that momentum and finish as soon as possible. Hit the books even harder this time, and study smarter.

  • If you are new to the FSA exams, my advice to you is to reach out to students and instructors on the forum who have been through this before. The FSA exams are nothing like the preliminary exams. Listen to the vets who have been through this before, they will be a good source to help you get over the hump.

As with most things in life, more communication is better! Whether it is here, over email, anywhere actuaries hang out, asking and answering questions is a great way to learn and get information to stick.

You can do this!
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PAK Study Manual Packages/Seminars for CFE/SDM/ERM Fall 2018

SDM: Sample
CFE: Sample
ERM: Sample
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  #14  
Old 07-15-2018, 01:37 PM
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Exam season is official upon us now!

One thing I like to recommend that EVERYONE do early on in the process is go check out the SOA's Guide to Written Exams. There is a nice overview there, as well as some decent videos that will give you some pointers on how to think about the exam.

Along those lines, I'm pleased to announce that this year, in addition to the Online Seminars usual videos discussing tips for the the exam, I will be doing a deeper dive into what the SOA is looking for in their questions, what are some common mistakes, and how to maximize your points. I will put this out in a month or so, once students start working on our many Mock Exams. Stay tuned!

Good luck as everyone gets going! Stay focused, work hard, and study smart. You can do this!
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PAK Study Manual Packages/Seminars for CFE/SDM/ERM Fall 2018

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  #15  
Old 07-15-2018, 09:52 PM
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Honestly, I too used to think talking about common mistakes in great detail was enough with students to correct their mistakes, but working very closely with SDM students, it became abundantly clear that was barely a first step. But I found two things that worked much better:

First, building practice exams that fully simulate the real SDM thing (which is not easy to do!) was one thing that seemed to really help. That is, questions that will truly make you make the mistakes you will otherwise make on the real exam - so you can actually see the specific mistakes you are making

Secondly, giving detailed video feedback on both assignments and true simulation exams has been a game-changer for some.

In fact, the Nudge book on this very exam highlights how timely feedback is needed for good learning. Yet for many the only real feedback they will get is a not completely useful transcript 2+ months after they write the exam!!!

And what makes it even worse, as stated in this forum by others, is SDM is different from the other Finance exams, so the behaviors already reinforced from earlier passes are not fully what you need for SDM.

These are really serious issues getting in the way of many students getting through SDM (as also raised by students on the forum this sitting and last).

Steve
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  #16  
Old 07-16-2018, 08:49 AM
jamesdurden jamesdurden is offline
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Failed Spring sitting with a 5. Best place to start I suppose.

Anyone have a sense of when feedback is typically posted? Curious to see if I had any big misses.
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  #17  
Old 07-17-2018, 10:04 AM
jamesdurden jamesdurden is offline
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Emailed the SOA and performance breakdown will be posted Friday 7/20.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdurden View Post
Failed Spring sitting with a 5. Best place to start I suppose.

Anyone have a sense of when feedback is typically posted? Curious to see if I had any big misses.
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  #18  
Old 07-19-2018, 10:31 AM
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I used both PAK & XP for my 2nd and 3rd attempt. Both companies provide great service. The PAK manual provides a more complete overview of the source material, but the XP manual adds in additional explanations to accompany the source material. What the PAK manual lacks in the manual is made up on their forums, Paul and other students are terrific in answering questions.

An area that both companies could improve on, IMO, is the practice questions/exams. Neither do a great job of using SOA verbs and/or building questions in a tree structure like what we see on the exam. They feel more like flashcard exercises than something that we see on the exam that requires higher cognitive explanations. Creating SOA caliber practice problems is a big ask, but I think that's an area that would help a lot of folks on this exam.
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  #19  
Old 07-19-2018, 12:36 PM
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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.)

And many students did respond quite positively as far as simulating the SOA exam relative what else was available.

(I also messaged you.)

Thanks,
Steve
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Last edited by XP-SteveScoles; 07-19-2018 at 01:14 PM..
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  #20  
Old 07-20-2018, 11:55 AM
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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.)

And many students did respond quite positively as far as simulating the SOA exam relative what else was available.

(I also messaged you.)

Thanks,
Steve
I want to echo what Steve said; exams 5 & 6 kicked my butt and really drove home that I needed to spend more time on Organizational Behavior in the last few weeks based on his feedback from those exams.
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