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Group & Health Core Exam Old Group & Health Design & Pricing Forum

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2015, 12:38 PM
JoeFromTX JoeFromTX is offline
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Default Best Study Material

I was wondering if those that passed wouldn't mind saying the material they used to study.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2015, 01:05 PM
klattamaniac klattamaniac is offline
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I used the MATE notecards and study manual exclusively, and old released exams (didn't use the MATE practice problems, as I didn't have enough time to go through them at the end).
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2015, 01:37 PM
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almondjoy239 almondjoy239 is offline
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Originally Posted by klattamaniac View Post
I used the MATE notecards and study manual exclusively, and old released exams (didn't use the MATE practice problems, as I didn't have enough time to go through them at the end).
Same, except I did work most of the Mate practice problems. I spent maybe 2 hours reading source material on some topics I was foggy on, which is basically nothing in the scheme of things. I thought the Mate material was plenty. I didn't do an in person seminar either, but I can't imagine those aren't helpful. Passed my first attempt on my first FSA sitting FWIW.
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  #4  
Old 07-10-2015, 01:46 PM
Cookies&Cream Cookies&Cream is offline
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I had the following method and I passed, but I will change a few things for the next exam.

- Read most of the source material (6-7 weeks), for about 20% of the readings I read the MATE outline instead
- Read MATE outline, going back to source material for more difficult concepts. I didn't add anything to the outline, which I will do for next exam.
- MATE practice problem set with open books (1st time), I got probably 1 or 2 problems out of the 30.
- MATE notecards: I tried to memorize between 20-25 notecards per day, with 2 days per week spent on reviewing notecards from the past few days. (3-4 weeks) Next exam I will spend more time on the notecards, as for me it was a backup plan in the exam if I didn't know a concept very well. It saves time in the exam & makes you more confident and less stressed if you know all the notecards!
- MATE problems: the 2nd try I got maybe half of the problems.
- I read the last 4 exams + solutions and when I came accross a math problem I was doing it. I wish I had read the past exams earlier as it really helped me understand what the SOA is looking for!
- I talked to my boyfriend about some of the concepts of the exam, even if he was bored as hell. It helped me create links between the different concepts. I HIGHLY recommend talking to a friend or family member who knows nothing about the subject.
- Week before exam I crammed everything, re-read the MATE outline and highlighted the parts that were not on the flashcards (I read the highlighted parts the morning of the exam, took ~1 hr), made sure I knew most of the flashcards.

Next exam:
- I will read some of the past exams before starting to study just to get an overview of what questions are being asked.
- I will read all source material and after each reading I will read the flashcards associated with it. Helps to know what are the important concepts in what you just read (or make your own summary - I'm lazy).
- I will start memorizing earlier in the process and memorize less every day + review what I already memorized more frequently.
- I will still go with the MATE material as I think it really helped me pass the Core exam! Seminars are not really for me, but could be useful for some people.
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2015, 02:10 PM
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newhaircut newhaircut is offline
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I did the following:

-Read MATE outline
-Read TIA outline and watched online videos
-Researched outside material for areas I was still not clear on (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.)
-Read TIA condensed summary and watched online videos
-Listened to TIA audio flash cards on commute
-Used TIA flashcards and Anki
-Used TIA, MATE and old exams as practice problems

I liked the MATE outlines and condensed summaries (lists) better. They provided more detail than TIA (but not too much) and were far less bulky. TIA had audio files were helpful but only so much. After a long day at the office, you tune it out so the returns aren't what you think they would be IMHO. The online videos were good for learning the problems but nothing you can't learn on your own (at this point in the exam process). I was very impressed with Anki - I plan to buy the MATE cards and put them into Anki myself for Adv.
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2015, 02:13 PM
DBactuary DBactuary is offline
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I passed this exam last year, but for me, I loved the mix of having the MATE and TIA materials.

MATE has really good notecards and lists.

TIA has online seminars that you can watch over and over to get overviews of the material, hone in on certain details and re-watch problem areas. They also work problems on the video, so this is huge to get an idea of how to start working the types of problems that you will see.

I thought the combo of the two was great and honestly didn't even open the textbooks. I knew my time was limited for studying, so with the lists from MATE and the problems, approach and ability to re-watch videos from TIA, that worked very well for me in a short amount of time.

Of course, this isn't the cheapest option, but then again, most of the companies will provide you with materials, so it's not always an out of pocket cost.

This strategy helped me get through both Core and Advanced on my first sitting, so I have no complaints.

Finally, Cookies&Cream makes a GREAT point about being able to summarize the material:

"- I talked to my boyfriend about some of the concepts of the exam, even if he was bored as hell. It helped me create links between the different concepts. I HIGHLY recommend talking to a friend or family member who knows nothing about the subject."

This is hugely important to not just know a ton of lists but to be able to tie things together and have an idea of the bigger picture to be able to tackle the strange questions that you will surely see on the exams.
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  #7  
Old 07-10-2015, 09:30 PM
psp-fifa-fan psp-fifa-fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBactuary View Post
I passed this exam last year, but for me, I loved the mix of having the MATE and TIA materials.

MATE has really good notecards and lists.

TIA has online seminars that you can watch over and over to get overviews of the material, hone in on certain details and re-watch problem areas. They also work problems on the video, so this is huge to get an idea of how to start working the types of problems that you will see.

I thought the combo of the two was great and honestly didn't even open the textbooks. I knew my time was limited for studying, so with the lists from MATE and the problems, approach and ability to re-watch videos from TIA, that worked very well for me in a short amount of time.

Of course, this isn't the cheapest option, but then again, most of the companies will provide you with materials, so it's not always an out of pocket cost.

This strategy helped me get through both Core and Advanced on my first sitting, so I have no complaints.

Finally, Cookies&Cream makes a GREAT point about being able to summarize the material:

"- I talked to my boyfriend about some of the concepts of the exam, even if he was bored as hell. It helped me create links between the different concepts. I HIGHLY recommend talking to a friend or family member who knows nothing about the subject."

This is hugely important to not just know a ton of lists but to be able to tie things together and have an idea of the bigger picture to be able to tackle the strange questions that you will surely see on the exams.
How many hours did you spend studying?

I used TIA for all my prelims and I loved it. But not sure how good TIA is for FSA exams.
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  #8  
Old 07-11-2015, 09:09 AM
DBactuary DBactuary is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psp-fifa-fan View Post
How many hours did you spend studying?

I used TIA for all my prelims and I loved it. But not sure how good TIA is for FSA exams.
I don't track my hours at all, so I don't know if I even have an educated guess regarding how long I studied.

For Core last year, I finished my ASA in late Feb/early March, so I believe I started studying the last week or two of February for the exam on April 30th. I would typically study after work most nights 2-4 hours (with a few nights off when I was burned out), and then I'd get 6-8 hours of studying done per day on the majority of the weekends. Of course, I wasn't always focused/productive during that study time, but at least I was forcing myself to be in front of my study materials and trying to look at them. I think I went through the TIA videos 2 full times and then more on some of the more detailed concepts, and then I did a ton of notecard review, ramping up so that I could write all of the lists in a day by the last couple of days.

For Advanced, I probably started in late August and did a similar strategy. I put in less overall hours because there were less lists to memorize, and I was also more aware of what worked and what did not for me in terms of study strategy, so I was able to skip the first week or two of trying to figure out study methods that got me off to a slow start on Core.

TIA taught me how to do the problems, gave background info, etc and MATE provided good lists. As I didn't have time to fully go through the textbooks, I figured that combo would help spread the risk that I wouldn't miss any key points, and it worked out well.

It's a rough 2.5 months that way, but it worked for me, and it can done if you are committed.
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  #9  
Old 07-12-2015, 08:59 PM
psp-fifa-fan psp-fifa-fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBactuary View Post
I don't track my hours at all, so I don't know if I even have an educated guess regarding how long I studied.

For Core last year, I finished my ASA in late Feb/early March, so I believe I started studying the last week or two of February for the exam on April 30th. I would typically study after work most nights 2-4 hours (with a few nights off when I was burned out), and then I'd get 6-8 hours of studying done per day on the majority of the weekends. Of course, I wasn't always focused/productive during that study time, but at least I was forcing myself to be in front of my study materials and trying to look at them. I think I went through the TIA videos 2 full times and then more on some of the more detailed concepts, and then I did a ton of notecard review, ramping up so that I could write all of the lists in a day by the last couple of days.

For Advanced, I probably started in late August and did a similar strategy. I put in less overall hours because there were less lists to memorize, and I was also more aware of what worked and what did not for me in terms of study strategy, so I was able to skip the first week or two of trying to figure out study methods that got me off to a slow start on Core.

TIA taught me how to do the problems, gave background info, etc and MATE provided good lists. As I didn't have time to fully go through the textbooks, I figured that combo would help spread the risk that I wouldn't miss any key points, and it worked out well.

It's a rough 2.5 months that way, but it worked for me, and it can done if you are committed.
Thanks! I think I may use both of them too.

So did you just use TIA for going over the outline and problems, and memorize the MATE notecards? Did you go over MATE's outline as well?
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2015, 10:34 AM
DBactuary DBactuary is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psp-fifa-fan View Post
Thanks! I think I may use both of them too.

So did you just use TIA for going over the outline and problems, and memorize the MATE notecards? Did you go over MATE's outline as well?
I used TIA for the outline and problems (multiple times), and then I used MATE for the notecards/lists. On Advanced, I had honed down my study method a bit, so I had a little more time, so I also read through the MATE outline quickly, but I still used the TIA as my primary source material and got the lists from MATE.

Also, TIA also has lists/notecards, so I compared the lists and brought in any that seemed rather different or ones that weren't included in MATE, in addition to adding just a couple of my own notecards for some of the formulas or lists that they did not include in the printed notecards.
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