Confidence is something we all work toward as we step into actuarial exams. As I prepared for my first sitting, prior to using Coaching Actuaries, I felt relatively confident. I walked into the testing center thinking I knew everything I could possibly know to ace the test. After finding out that I had not fulfilled those requirements to the standards of the Society of Actuaries, I was initially confused.
What I soon realized was that it is not as important to memorize all of the formulas, but instead to practice the concepts and apply the material. I began working on practice exams about a month prior to my second sitting. They were difficult, as well as exhausting. When I felt like I was not progressing, I was directed toward Coaching Actuaries.
By starting at a level 3, I was able to practice the basic concepts through exam problems. When I graduated up a level, I started to see more ways that the material could be manipulated into questions. As my difficulty level grew, so did my degree of confidence. As I progressed to more advanced levels, I would make more errors. This helped me question the material I had previously memorized, but it also helped me correct common mistakes I was making. I caught numerous careless errors when I was able to review my answers with Coaching Actuaries’ solutions.
Survey studies show that 90% of students who reach an Adapt level 7 pass the actual test. For Exam FM, the first exam I took after trying Adapt, I started at a level 3 and worked my way up to a level 6.8. I was nervous going into the actual exam since I had not yet reached a level 7, but I had confidence that I had completed enough practice problems to pass. And I did. I prepared sufficiently enough that, while walking out of the testing center, I felt as if I had just taken a level 4 Adapt exam.