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  #1  
Old 01-11-2019, 11:03 AM
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https://cdn-files.soa.org/web/Webwor...sgrat58ekq.pdf

Good luck!
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2019, 11:22 AM
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Passed! It's been a rough year and a half, but I'm officially done with my FSA exams.

Thanks to Paul and Eddy with PAK; without their videos and study guides it would've been a lot harder to get through these.

Good luck to everyone else!
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:31 PM
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No such luck here. Really grating especially given that it really did seem like a straight forward exam. Based on my performance on practice exams (both self and peer graded), I'm not sure how I didn't pass. Pretty disheartening to know the syllabus changed by so much again. Not sure how to change my study habits this go around that would result in a different outcome
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by croooooooow View Post
No such luck here. Really grating especially given that it really did seem like a straight forward exam. Based on my performance on practice exams (both self and peer graded), I'm not sure how I didn't pass. Pretty disheartening to know the syllabus changed by so much again. Not sure how to change my study habits this go around that would result in a different outcome
Sorry to hear that On the plus side, the changes I think are pretty good, and largely make more sense, so I think we are working with a better syllabus now.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more and think about how to get over the hump. You can do it!
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  #5  
Old 01-11-2019, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
Passed! It's been a rough year and a half, but I'm officially done with my FSA exams.

Thanks to Paul and Eddy with PAK; without their videos and study guides it would've been a lot harder to get through these.

Good luck to everyone else!
Congrats!! It's a long, tough haul, but there is an end to it, and it is nice to get there (plus, there is an open bar at the FAC )
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2019, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by croooooooow View Post
No such luck here. Really grating especially given that it really did seem like a straight forward exam. Based on my performance on practice exams (both self and peer graded), I'm not sure how I didn't pass. Pretty disheartening to know the syllabus changed by so much again. Not sure how to change my study habits this go around that would result in a different outcome
On the syllabus change, perhaps one additional positive is that the Accounting stuff builds on what you learned in the 2018 syllabus. It takes the costing concepts and dives into them more and relates them to the bigger picture. I think some students will struggle with the new stuff if they do not have any accounting background. (OK, perhaps a poor attempt to cheer you up, but I tried!)

On your study habits, a small change could be more active learning - e.g. making up some of your own questions can really help some people .... but its also key to come back at some point and write your answers to those questions.

Finally, you want to look beyond your studying process and look at your answering process. I have seen many a student say their answering process is great only to see some significant issues that can cost them meaningful marks on this particular exam.

OK, and one more thing, when you get your exam feedback, it's always important to recognize the feedback by question is on a relative basis. You might have a bad score not because you did poorly, but rather a lot of others did really well. Also, almost every "question" has 5 or 6 parts, so looking at a relative score for a grouping of multiple questions can be a bit hard to extract what went wrong. So just be careful in how you use that.

Steve
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:39 AM
Akwasi Akwasi is offline
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Third attempt, and I got lucky this time. So glad to be done with this beast of an exam.

Goodbye SOA
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2019, 10:52 AM
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I hate to say that doesn't give me much to go off. The purpose of having peer reviews from FSAs is to hopefully get more tailored feedback about my answering style. I took 6 practice exams this past sitting with only one being a poor score. If you're willing to, I can send you all of them to get your take on what my style is lacking.

The statement regarding the SOAs feedback on each question is not encouraging. If it's an average of multiple parts coupled with curving based on others performance just means the feedback they give has no use unless I scored a 1, 2, 9,or 10.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by croooooooow View Post
I hate to say that doesn't give me much to go off. The purpose of having peer reviews from FSAs is to hopefully get more tailored feedback about my answering style. I took 6 practice exams this past sitting with only one being a poor score. If you're willing to, I can send you all of them to get your take on what my style is lacking.

The statement regarding the SOAs feedback on each question is not encouraging. If it's an average of multiple parts coupled with curving based on others performance just means the feedback they give has no use unless I scored a 1, 2, 9,or 10.
To preface, though I'm no expert, I have passed all my actuarial exams on my first attempt, so I assume my study methods and exam strategies are effective. Perhaps my insights could be useful to you.
  • How do you study for these exams?
  • How do you approach the exam questions?

Recall from How to Measure Anything that we can be calibrated with repeated exposure and feedback.
  • Did you feel like this exam went well right after you finished with it?
  • How'd it compare to those six practice exams you took where you only scored poorly on one of them?
  • How were those six practice exams scored?
  • Have you felt similarly optimistic about an exam in the past, only to fail?

Maybe you need to calibrate yourself. You might be overestimating the quality of your answers. You might be grading your practice exams in a way that isn't in-line with how the real exams are graded.

I will tell you that I've never adopted the oft-mentioned strategy of flashcards and memorization for these exams. My strategy has always been to start early, and read all the source material once through (not thinking at all about how it might come up on an exam). I let myself really get into the material, and try to incorporate it into my understanding of the world. I don't approach it from the "I have to pass an exam" vantage point, but from the "this is interesting and useful information to know" vantage point. I get excited about the knowledge. Each exam I've taken changes my perspective on the world, even if I forget a lot of the specifics after taking the exam.

After a few months of reading through the material and letting the big picture soak in, I will usually begin going through the video lectures and summaries provided by PAK. (Personally, I like to do all of my reading and video watching while going on walks around the city; oddly, I find that the information becomes linked with very specific memories of those walks, which can be helpful.) This second part serves as a refresher/reminder of the material, and allows me to dive deeper into certain parts I may have missed during the first pass.

Only in the last month prior to the exam do I start to do practice questions, and I have never taken a complete practice exam prior to the real thing. I always perform this process by first downloading the most recent 3 or 4 exams published by the SOA, and labeling each question by the relevant syllabus section/subsection.Then, I'll do a problem from a particular section and immediately after completing the question I'll read the sample solution and then reread the material where I feel I fell short. I try to answer one problem a day during the last month (which means I'm usually spending like 15 hours answering old exam questions in the last month).

Finally, I always take extra time off right before an exam. If the exam is on a Tuesday, I'll take a study day (or vacation day) the Monday and prior Friday (and possibly prior Thursday as well), so that I'll have 5 or so days immediately before the exam where I do nothing else but cram. I don't work, I eat takeout, and I ignore my friends and family. Rereading the study guide (and some source material) for one syllabus section per day seemed to work well. So, for instance, on Thursday the week before I might start with syllabus section 1, and read the PAK condensed summary for that section, do a couple practice problems, read some parts of the PAK summary (non-condensed), and reread some source materials if I find I'm still missing some understanding. Usually, during these last five days I'll read through like 500 pages of material and spend something like 50 or 60 hours focusing entirely on exam prep.

The night before the exam I obviously try to get to sleep early, and ensure that the morning of I have a healthy breakfast.

Finally, while taking the exam, I try to answer the questions not in an obvious attempt to display syllabus knowledge, per se, but as though I were being asked by a client to answer some question they have. I try to put on my thinking hat, and provide some useful insights which may or may not come directly from the source material; usually it does. The goal for me is not to show the exam graders that I know the material, but that I'm a knowledgeable, thoughtful person, who can think critically and provide answers that any person reading (even those unfamiliar with the exam or source material) would find insightful and useful.

My take is, if the exam writers want a specific answer, they should ask a specific question. If I provide an otherwise good answer that isn't what they were looking for exactly, it's their fault for not asking a precise enough question.

Just my 2 cents.
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2019, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by croooooooow View Post
I hate to say that doesn't give me much to go off. The purpose of having peer reviews from FSAs is to hopefully get more tailored feedback about my answering style. I took 6 practice exams this past sitting with only one being a poor score. If you're willing to, I can send you all of them to get your take on what my style is lacking.

The statement regarding the SOAs feedback on each question is not encouraging. If it's an average of multiple parts coupled with curving based on others performance just means the feedback they give has no use unless I scored a 1, 2, 9,or 10.
It's not quite of no use, it's more about how you use it. I have seen students say "How did I get a 5 on that exam, I know I nailed it" and then work through the question and realized that they nailed PARTS of the question, but likely mis-answered another key part of the question. It is very easy to get affected by availability bias on this exam with the questions as most questions are really 3 or 4 separate questions.

If those practice exams are SOA, you could send them my way. If they are from another company, I wouldn't want to over-step my bounds and look at their exams. You can PM me (just traveling today and can look at them next week).

Steve
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