I just started studying for June 2021 Exam PA this weekend. I have not gotten very far in the ASM manual yet but I was wondering about the data exploration portions. The manual uses R to do the data exploration but I was wondering if we could use Excel itself? You can do a lot of exploration just using a pivot table. Are we required, or highly encouraged, to only use R or is it a matter of just finishing the tasks by any means necessary?
A lot of people get stumped on the ggplot formatting when first starting out. Fortunately, the SOA gives you template code to create all of the graphs that are needed. You can use Excel for inspecting the data, but just not with a pivot table. In R, just use write.csv(data, “data.csv”) to create a copy and then open it in Excel.
You can find save yourself time by only learning the R necessary for this exam. In Chapter 5 of our Spring 2021 Study Guide, there is an explanation.
Thanks Sam. Does anyone know if you will be allowed Pencil/Pen, paper, and calculator? In the instructions it sounds like any of the authorized calculators can be used but was not sure if that’s just a generic statement and does not apply to Exam PA. I did not see anything about getting scratch paper. I could just use word or excel to keep notes but I like to scribble as I go along and wondering if I should break this habit now.
In all previous sittings, the Prometric staff have provided candidates with a printed project statement and so you can plan to use a pencil to underline sections or take notes. There’s no algebra required so scratch paper is not needed. Excel can be used as a calculator. You can gain an advantage by building up your typing speed to 70 words per minute so that you’ll be able to write 20+ pages in your report. Many people run out time before being able to write everything that they plan to.