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Old 08-21-2019, 05:36 PM
Gettin Lucky In Kentucky Gettin Lucky In Kentucky is offline
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Louisville Ky
Studying for Specialty
College: Eastern Kentucky University Graduate
Posts: 32

Hey, New FSA exam taker here. Any tips for a first time sitter? Im not really sure what to expect or how to manage my study time effectively.

Last edited by Gettin Lucky In Kentucky; 08-22-2019 at 12:10 PM..
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Old 08-31-2019, 04:05 PM
Andromeda21 Andromeda21 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 47

Could anyone share the MATE flashcard 93 with me? I lost the physical card
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Old 08-31-2019, 04:17 PM
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Pucha Pucha is online now
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 164

Originally Posted by BigBlackBen View Post
Yes I am having trouble motivating myself. I have been struggling with exams on and off for nearly a decade at this point (I passed my first exam in Summer of 2010). I never thought I would make it this far, especially after my ASA because I was content being a career ASA and I stopped taking exams for two years.

I am really jealous of the people who passed CSP and/or DP back before Core and Adv in 2013, they never had to deal with this 2 hour Specialty exam.

I hate the SOA with a fiery passion for needlessly extending my FSA travel time to try and peddle their useless CERA certification. I will never attend an SOA annual meeting or make any sort of financial contribution to them (please help me think of a way to get out of paying my dues and exam fees).

Everyone in my office has either passed Specialty on their first or third try. Everyone who saved Spec for last passed on their first try and everyone who took Spec first failed twice before finally passing it, however those who took Spec first have been unable to pass Core.

This last 2 hour exam is like a little mosquito buzzing around my room at night. Once I smash it under my palm I will be able to sleep in peace and without fear of being stung in the middle of the night by this bothersome pest, but I am too lazy to turn on the light and hunt down the mosquito. I guess the mosquito can have a little sip of my blood, I am too sleepy to care. Besides, I have a lot of blood to spare, what's a little drop to me?

I cannot wait to be done with the exam process. I have come too far not to leave with my FSA designation.
I feel your pain! I also passed my first exam in 2010 (February!) and had a period of "quitting exams forever" haha. I can't believe I'm back, but here I am, fully committed. Because of work I can only take Specialty once a year - I do NOT want to be back here NEXT YEAR at this time, too. Last year I got a 5. I need to pass this thing this fall. I love the imagery of specialty as this pesky mosquito in my bedroom. I often sit down to study and find myself fantasizing about what it will be like to finally squash it.

For the first-time takers, my advice is to cover the material as many times as possible between now and exam day. Have a plan and do a little bit every day - Oct 29 is coming up quicker than you think.
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:06 PM
LumberJacktuary LumberJacktuary is offline
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 3
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:46 PM
ncrifa1 ncrifa1 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Philly
Studying for GH Specialty
College: LSU - '14
Favorite beer: Well's Banana Bread
Posts: 167

I agree with the motivation bit. I like to break it down as X hours for the rest of my life.

The ERM principles (2 sources with slightly different lists), phases, transition, ASOP 46, and S&P related materials is redundant and very boring. It feels like learning about the actuarial control cycle.

Compared to Core and Advanced, how much time are you guys preparing? Looks like I'll be around 65%, granted the LO1 and some topics are repeat from past exams.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:02 PM
PoisedGiraffe PoisedGiraffe is offline
Join Date: Sep 2017
College: University of Wisconsin - Madison
Favorite beer: New Glarus Moon Man
Posts: 71

That looks to be pretty close to what I'll end up getting. It's giving me some anxiety, since I've seen some data from TIA that suggests most people study almost the same amoutn of hours for Specialty as Core and Advanced.

Trying to reassure myself that the repeat objective from advanced can help bring that study time down

Along the same vein - with shorter exams and topics, are folks spending more time going through the material more? Or just going through problems more times?

Originally Posted by ncrifa1 View Post

Compared to Core and Advanced, how much time are you guys preparing? Looks like I'll be around 65%, granted the LO1 and some topics are repeat from past exams.
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:31 AM
BigBlackBen BigBlackBen is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 241

I don't really keep track of study time, but I am guessing I will hit close to 300 study hours for this exam (whereas I hit about 350 hours, maybe even 400 hours for Core and Adv). The only reason I won't his as many hours is because I am going on a 2 week honeymoon a couple weeks before the exam, I may have shot myself in the foot with a nail gun.

I feel like there aren't too many math based questions they can ask, just UM/DM calcs, some risk transfer/adjustment scores, and RBC score calcs. I will focus on the MATE notecards and once I am done memorizing those I will try to read the MATE study manual like 3/4 times a week or something until the exam
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:52 PM
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trondogss trondogss is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Master Control Program
Studying for GH Specialty
Posts: 8,730

My first exam was like in 2005 or 2006...all I have left is specialty, P&R module, and DMAC.
P FM MFE MLC Modules 1-8 IA FA C ASA GH Core GH Advanced GH FSA Modules 3/3 DMAC GH Specialty
Originally Posted by Vomik View Post
You successfully played "just the tip?" Ive always ended up losing
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:03 PM
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Terror Reid Terror Reid is online now
Join Date: Sep 2019
Studying for GH design and PRICING
College: School of Hard Knocks
Posts: 315

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Old 10-02-2019, 01:52 PM
MSPActuary MSPActuary is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
College: Alumni
Posts: 122

I just finished my first full pass through of all the material (reading Detailed Outlines, watching videos, working a few problems). I haven't tracked my time closely, but it feels like I've only spent about 30% of effort compared to Core/Advanced....but I'm hoping this last month will be close to comparable amounts of effort.

I think my goals are:
1) memorize close to every TIA note card (I'm thinking this should be semi easy / I'll have more % of material memorized compared to prior exams since roughly 30% is repeat stuff that I "know" already. Plus the sheer volume seems so much lower compared to Core/Adv.)

2) Go through all TIA practice problems 1 additional time, plus MATE study problems (just ordered those yesterday). I haven't been able to do that for Core/Advanced, but there was SO much more material that I think it should be doable this go-around. Seems like there's a shortage of Practice Problems for Specialty...

3) Minimum 2-3 read-through of TIA condensed outlines. Maybe re-watch a few videos on sections that haven't stuck.

4) Try to do about 4-5 Practice Exams. Maybe more? Typically I got through about 4 for Core/Advanced, but those took so much longer - so I'm hoping I can maybe add one or two more than "normal". (Side note -- Typically, I use prior exams...but will that even be doable since the syllabus changed so much?? Will have to figure that out soon.....)
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