Quote:
Originally Posted by NormalDan
I wouldn't hold out hope for an exam with lots of direct, clear problems.

if you are struggling with the word problems, maybe take a few extra seconds to make some notes about what the problem is asking. I don't remember FM questions being particularly misleading, but sometimes the final result they were asking for requires going through a series of moderately complex calculations, or they will simplify a part of a question and essentially make it a trivial step of the problem. In both of these cases you might completely overlook the correct answer.
For example, let's say there's a hypothetical topic where the most common questions you get asked are to calculate A, B, or C. Calculating any one of these isn't that "hard", but it is time consuming because the formulas are long. A takes 3 minutes to calculate, B takes about 2 minutes, and C takes a little under 2 minutes, and unless you are given a value for one of them, you have to calculate them in order A>B>C because the formulas depend on each other.
However, those sneaky SOA exam question writers know that out of 30 questions in the SOA sample related to this topic, you were asked to calculate A 22 times, B 7 times, and C only once. So they assume you've basically been training yourself to find A or B. They also know that the one time you were asked to calculate C, you had to do it the long way. So what they do is they set up the question (and the possible answers) in such a way as to distract you from the correct path to the solution.
So when you read the question, you are given enough info to calculate A and B, but for C they have done all of the rest of the work for you and have given you a value that you can multiply by B to get C.
You see that the question wants you to calculate C, but your mind also registers that you really just need to find the value for B and multiply that times the number they've given you, and of course, since your brain is in stressedoutexam mode, now in your mind the goal is to calculate B.
And here's where the sneakiness comes in from the question writers. They know that at this point a lot of people are going to be thinking "I just need B so I can plug it in and multiply it. Just need B."
So what do they do? They put the value of B in the list of multiple choice answers. So after you get done with 3 minutes of calculating A and another 2 minutes of calculating B, you glance up at the screen and think "Yay, what I calculated matches answer choice D", and you select D and move on to the next problem.
But wait, there's more! Not content with just being a little bit sneaky, they decide to also put the value of A as an answer choice, just in case someone looks up at the answers a little too soon in the process.
Oh, and those other two numbers listed as possible answers are the two most common wrong answers for this type of question caused by missing a negative sign or multiplying instead of dividing in a formula.
So your choices for answers consist of 1 right answer, and 4 numbers that you are highly likely to see if you either made a simple mistake or got misdirected by their tricksy problem structure.