Exam Study Tips

Start Early

Remember that part about studying 100 hours per hour of the exam? That takes time. However, waiting until 300 hours before the exam to start studying can lead to failure. It’s best to start studying far enough in advance so you aren’t cramming in all your study hours at the last minute. This will allow for plenty of time to …

Master the Concepts

Memorizing will only get you so far. To pass, you must fully understand the concepts that are presented on the exam.

For mathematical examinations, candidates should acquire proficiency with techniques and formulas by working on a large number of problems similar to those expected on the examinations.

Find Supplemental Resources

There is no substitution for the syllabus with learning objectives/outcomes and the associated readings for each exam, but many candidates choose to augment their study with review seminars and workshops as well as purchase supplemental resources to the syllabus.*

*None of these services are sponsored or endorsed by either society.

Multiple–Choice Examinations

A key to success in taking multiple-choice examinations is to make steady progress through the questions. Do not spend a disproportionate amount of time on a single question with which you are having trouble.

Move on and come back to it if there’s time. Chances of correctly completing the greatest number of questions are increased if each question is attempted seriously at least once. It may help to determine the proportionate number of questions to answer in the first half hour of the examination, check how much ground was actually covered in that time and adjust the pace accordingly.

When pressed for time, a good strategy is to skip questions that are expected to require more than average time and use the time to complete a larger number of more quickly answered questions. For example, if a cluster of questions with a common introduction is not readily grasped, skip the entire cluster on the first attempt. Look for questions that deal with more familiar subject matters.

When answering a question, look for the quickest way possible to arrive at the correct choice and mark it on your answer sheet. If a question is encountered for which all choices appear to be incorrect, simply move on. It later may be determined that one of the answers is correct. Also, develop shortcuts for eliminating impossible answers by checking out boundary conditions, inspecting other aspects of certain suggested solutions, or substituting numerical values.

Because there is no guessing adjustment, mark an answer choice on the answer sheet for every examination question.

How to Pass the Multiple-Choice Actuarial Exams: Studying Advice for Actuarial Students
Natalia A. Humphreys, Ph.D., FSA, MAAA

Get Support

Getting support is not so much a tip as it is a necessity. Studying for exams can be grueling. Make sure you are surrounded by your cheering section. And when you need a break, take one! It will help keep you motivated along the way.