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Old 11-23-2011, 08:59 PM
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CASualty CASualty is offline
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Cool How to pass Module 1 and everything else you might want to know . . .

I just passed OL1 yesterday (80-89%) after about two weeks of study, and thought I would post up some useful information (including my study method) that I would have appreciated knowing prior to starting the course. Everyone is different, so study using whatever method works best for you, but this is what worked for me. I’m including some estimated study hours (although I didn’t keep a log or anything), but obviously some people will be much faster/slower. I would say that my time estimates are on the conservative side. This method will also work for people studying for OL2. Enjoy!


STEP 1: Sign up for the Course
There are a few steps you have to complete to register for the course (with The Institutes) and the exam (with Prometric). There is plenty of info on this topic on the CAS website and also in the forum.


STEP 2: Order Material
I highly recommend that you purchase the print version of the material for about $100. The online modules have a lot of useless windows for the sake of making it look "cool", which results in unnecessary clicking and adds to your reading time considerably. On top of this, the website is frequently down for maintenance, which can be very annoying if you were planning to do a lot of reading that day. A third bonus is that you don't have to stare at a screen after staring at a screen all day at work. The material in the textbook is the exact same as the material in the online module. If your company doesn’t pay for the material and you don’t want to shell out the $100, the online module will serve you fine, but you’ll just have to deal with its annoying “features”. There are other materials available for order (Course Guide and Cue Cards) but these are a waste of money in my opinion – I had access to both when I wrote OL2 last sitting but I didn’t even use them.


STEP 3: Read the Text (~28 hours)
In total there are 717 pages in the textbook. The material is pretty light to read, and as a slow reader I can make it through about 25 pages an hour. That means that reading all of the material will take most people about 24-36 hours, depending on how fast they read. Set up a study schedule for a daily page count and try to stick with it. For this step I simply read the material without doing any quizzes. My preference is to save quizzes to the end because they are much more difficult when you didn't just read the material just five minutes prior. Most of the material is very dry, but some of it is interesting. If you’ve worked in P&C Insurance at all, most of the course will be common sense to you. The material was written by some OCD person in love with lists . . . EVERYTHING is boiled down a list (much like this one!), and there are even lists within lists!


STEP 4: Complete the Online Quizzes: (~20 hours)
For this step, you'll actually have to log in to The Institutes' website. As you will quickly discover, the setup of the quizzes is VERY annoying. For each of the 96 learning objectives, there is a single quiz. Most quizzes are only 3-5 questions in length, and the questions are randomly drawn from a question bank that ranges from 3 questions to 33 (although most question banks have about 8 questions). In order to encounter every question available for a given quiz, you’ll have to refresh the quiz up to 10-12 times, which is VERY frustrating and makes this process take much longer than it should. I suppose they're trying to prevent people from stealing the material and selling it to their friends or something. When I did the quizzes, I set up an Excel template and copied/pasted all of the questions in a one-question-per-line format. Copying into Excel makes completing the quizzes take much longer, but it's nice to be able to flag questions you had trouble with, score yourself to see what material you did best/worst on, and be able to QUICKLY review questions later without having to use the annoying website. For your convenience, here are the counts of the number of questions I was able to find for each of the 96 quizzes (I wish I had this when I was studying!). In total, I found 806 questions, but I’m sure I missed a few:

ASSIGNMENT 01 (63 TOTAL): 08, 09, 06, 04, 12, 03, 12, 09
ASSIGNMENT 02 (30 TOTAL): 12, 05, 07, 06
ASSIGNMENT 03 (29 TOTAL): 03, 11, 05, 10
ASSIGNMENT 04 (23 TOTAL): 09, 06, 03, 05
ASSIGNMENT 05 (52 TOTAL): 08, 07, 13, 09, 06, 09
ASSIGNMENT 06 (35 TOTAL): 06, 05, 05, 11, 08
ASSIGNMENT 07 (70 TOTAL): 06, 09, 28, 13, 14
ASSIGNMENT 08 (65 TOTAL): 11, 15, 08, 08, 04, 10, 09
ASSIGNMENT 09 (54 TOTAL): 13, 04, 03, 04, 04, 08, 09, 06, 03
ASSIGNMENT 10 (67 TOTAL): 07, 07, 06, 07, 07, 26, 07
ASSIGNMENT 11 (60 TOTAL): 12, 11, 10, 14, 13
ASSIGNMENT 12 (89 TOTAL): 33, 14, 18, 18, 06
ASSIGNMENT 13 (41 TOTAL): 06, 06, 06, 06, 04, 04, 05, 04
ASSIGNMENT 14 (28 TOTAL): 06, 06, 07, 06, 03
ASSIGNMENT 15 (27 TOTAL): 10, 08, 09
ASSIGNMENT 16 (73 TOTAL): 07, 06, 05, 06, 06, 06, 06, 06, 06, 06, 13

EDIT (2011-12-16): I've received a number of requests for the Excel version of the exam bank. Although I understand that you have paid for the course registration, I don't want to run the risk of the file being sent to anyone and everyone. I've already provided the number of unique questions in each section, which means it should be pretty quick and easy for you to create an Excel exam bank of your own (at least compared to what I had to endure).

STEP 5: Quickly Browse the End-of-Chapter Review Notes: (~7 hours)
At the end of each assignment in the module, there is a PDF file. In total, there are about 300 pages of review notes, but there isn’t much text on each page and you can breeze through it quickly. As you read these reviews, you will pick up on the concepts that you had trouble with on the quizzes and it will help reinforce the material. The Review Notes are nicely divided by Learning Objective, so that the line up with the quizzes.


STEP 6: Complete all Quiz Questions for a Second Time: (~7 hours)
Since you already copy/pasted all of the questions into Excel, you can very quickly go through all of the questions again. Assuming you can probably average a question every 30 seconds on this second pass, you can get through all of the 800 questions in about seven hours. I completed this step the day before the exam so that everything would be fresh.


STEP 7: Browse the Material you find difficult to remember: (~3 hours)
Just quickly go over the lists/topics you had difficulty remembering and probably got wrong on your second time through the quiz questions. My biggest difficulty was remembering the various construction classes, protection classes, sprinkler systems, ERM Frameworks, etc. that you have to just know and can’t reason out. You can also do the “National Sample Exam” for fun, but since you’ve seen all of the questions before in the quizzes it will probably take you less than 30 minutes to get about 96% correct. I completed this step in the morning just before my exam.


STEP 8: Exam Day
The exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions, with options (A) to (D). It is 2 hours long. In general, I thought that the exam was more difficult than the quizzes. When completing the quizzes, I could often use the process of elimination to drill down to the answer, even though I didn’t know the correct response directly. In contrast, for the majority of the more difficult questions on the actual exam, I could only eliminate two with certainty and then had to make an educated guess on the remaining two options (where both seemed to be a valid answer). At least in my case, NONE of the questions on the exam are repeated from the quizzes. Time is NOT an issue with the module exams . . . even if you really take your time, you will be done in about 60-70 minutes, leaving almost an hour to go over the questions that you marked for review. Take your time and make sure you read the questions carefully. When you are finished, your exam is instantly scored and you will find out whether you passed or failed (70% is a pass). Should you fail, you are allowed to re-write the exam in the same testing window (as early as three days later) if you so choose (which costs an additional $300).


CONCLUSION
I totaled up the number, and it’s coming to 65 hours, but I really don’t think I spent nearly that long on this. Perhaps if someone uses the same strategy they can track their hours so I can adjust the estimates.



Good luck!

Last edited by CASualty; 01-17-2012 at 11:29 AM..
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:50 PM
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FastAsATurtle FastAsATurtle is offline
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I just wanted to mention that although this is a pretty quiet board (and you probably won't get a lot of instant feedback on this), I think this is absolutely awesome and just what the board needs.

Really appreciate the work you put into it.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:27 PM
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I believe this study schedule is good for people that have never worked in the industry, but overkill for someone with 1-2 years of experience.

For those with 1+ years of experience: Read the exam material once, do the quizzes and practice exam. (~30 hours total)
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
I believe this study schedule is good for people that have never worked in the industry, but overkill for someone with 1-2 years of experience.

For those with 1+ years of experience: Read the exam material once, do the quizzes and practice exam. (~30 hours total)
I wouldn't dwell on the hours that I posted so much as the steps -- different people will go at a different pace. For people with experience, you could definitely get away with skipping the text reading and going straight to the Review Notes. Alternatively, if you read the text, I would say that reading the review notes is optional.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:30 PM
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this is incredible. Thank you! Would you, perhaps, be able to provide the excel files you have that compiled each sections' unique questions? Then, you'd pretty much be our hero of the year.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dballs33 View Post
this is incredible. Thank you! Would you, perhaps, be able to provide the excel files you have that compiled each sections' unique questions? Then, you'd pretty much be our hero of the year.
Sorry -- as much as I would like to post the question bank, I am pretty sure that it is copyrighted material.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CASualty View Post
Sorry -- as much as I would like to post the question bank, I am pretty sure that it is copyrighted material.
good call. silly of me to overthink that.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:06 PM
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Awesome article. Appreciated!
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:18 PM
asphyxia asphyxia is offline
 
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CASualty, thank you so much for this! I relied heavily on your question tally when re-taking the quizzes to make sure I saw most of the questions from the banks.

I followed almost exactly the same approach in studying for this exam, except I took the quiz questions after finishing each assignment and then went back and highlighted parts in the chapter that related to the quiz questions. (I felt that helped me to retain more information the first time round).

I probably spent about 70 hours studying, so I think your estimate of 65 hours is pretty accurate in terms of time that should be spent. My approach was:

First pass (~30 hours)
1. Read all of the assignments in the textbook (also did not bother with the online course)
2. After finishing each assignment, took the quizzes - refreshed once or twice to get different questions.
3. After taking the quizzes, went back and highlighted portions in the textbook relating to the quizzes to reinforce understanding, especially if I got certain questions wrong

Second pass (~40 hours)
1. Read all the review notes, reviewed highlighted portions of text in textbook, and reinforced review notes with notes from the text based on highlighted portions (~15 hours)
2. Took all of the quizzes, refreshed multiple times to make sure I got the majority of questions in the bank, and took notes on the answers I got wrong to make sure I understood them (~20 hours - about 1 or 1.5 hours per assignment). Usually skimmed review notes again after completing each quiz.
3. Took the practice exam, but as CASualty mentioned, this is just a static selection of quiz questions (~1 hour)
4. Reviewed notes/frameworks/lists to memorize (~4 hours)

I think the most frustrating part was taking the quizzes multiple times (at the end I was just mindlessly clicking through questions I had seen 5-6 times over until I was finally rewarded with 1 question I hadn't seen before).
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:05 PM
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asphyxia, did you pass?
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