Last minute Exam P advice?
July 17, 2014 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Alright, so, I'm taking my first actuarial exam, Exam P, on Saturday. I've been studying for months, worked through tons of examples, taken loads of practice exams. Do any actuaries or other folks who've taken this exam have any last minute advice for me? Anything you wished you'd practiced more or memorized better?
posted by The Great Big Mulp to Education (8 answers total)
Best answer: Relax.

What have you used to study? If you haven't yet, look through the free TIA materials.

The best source is the free materials that the SOA gives out of past exams. I think its like 150 questions or something. They should be ordered in terms of difficulty. Make sure you know how to do all of them.

I wouldn't worry about the really odd stuff, like the Jacobian or the negative binomial whatever. The chances of getting those questions are slim.

Do memorize the MGFs.

Have you used Adapt?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:18 AM on July 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Take one last practice exam today, and tomorrow take OFF. Take a nap, take a walk, etc. Have a good breakfast on Saturday, make sure you pee beforehand so you don't have to take time out for a break, and relax.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 10:01 AM on July 17, 2014

Best answer: Yes, the only thing I can can think of for you to do is to go over the SOA/CAS syllabus for Exam P to see if you've forgotten anything or need to catch up on anything.

Aside from that, study today, study on Friday, and after a decent number of hours studying on Friday - no more than 2 hours at the very most - just stop. Put the pencil down, and let your brain recover, and don't worry about Saturday.
posted by Roentgen at 11:20 AM on July 17, 2014

Response by poster: I've been using the Study Manual for Exam P by Dr. Ostaszewski and the practice exams contained therein. (Someone lent me a copy a year or so ago and, while I've tried to get it back to them, they haven't responded to my calls, so ... I guess it's mine, now.) Beyond that, while I haven't specifically gone through the SOA list of 150 problems, I have been taking the SOA practice exams, which are pulled from those problems. This afternoon/evening I'll work my way through a bunch of the harder ones and check out Adapt.

And thank you for alleviating some of my fears about the more unusual distributions. I've been looking over some of the cheat-sheets people have shared in the actuarialoutpost forums and thinking like "WTF is the Weibull distribution? I've never seen this!"
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:39 AM on July 17, 2014

Just do the SOA problems from here on out. Don't waste your time on anything else.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:00 PM on July 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I passed Exam P during the May sitting, and I'll nth the advice that's already been given, especially the advice to work through all the SOA problems. Like you, I did most of my studying from the Ostaszewski manual, and I found that his later practice exams (#6 and onwards, I think) were significantly harder than the real thing.

Don't worry about the more obscure distributions, since on the off chance a question arises about one of them, you'll likely be given a density function. If you're going to do more memorizing between now and Saturday, it would be much more helpful to have the expected values, variances, and MGFs of the common distributions down cold (especially the discrete distributions, I found).

Other than that, get lots of sleep, don't study much tomorrow, and in general, try to relax. If you drink, I'm a fan of having a friend take me out for a beer or two the night before a big exam. Good luck!
posted by bassooner at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2014

Response by poster: Well, the printout I got at the end says the preliminary results indicate that I've passed, and, from what I've been able to find, the preliminary result are very, very rarely incorrect, so, hooray! Thanks for the advice and well-wishing!
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:31 PM on July 19, 2014

Hey congrats! On to FM/2!!!!

The Ostaszewski manual is great for FM/2, and I found ADAPT to be really really helpful. FM/2 is a lot easier IMO. good luck!

PS take a break, drink a beer or juice or milk or vodka, smoke a joint or light a candle. You did it!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:54 PM on July 19, 2014

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