My perfect score on Exam P and a failing score on my first attempt of Exam FM made me strongly believe that this golden rule also applies to actuarial exams.
Exam P was my first actuarial exam, so I was both inspired and scared by what people said about how hard that exam is. After I finished studying for the exam material, I started doing Adapt practice exams. I was almost addicted to raising my Adapt level – I completed 13 Adapt practice exams within 15 days and reached an Earned Level of 9.2. As I did more practice exams, I got much more familiar with the exam question types and I could almost predict what a question was going to ask before I even completed reading the question prompt. That familiarity greatly increased my confidence and speed of problem solving: I completed Exam P when there were 50 minutes left. And I was not surprised by the score I received six weeks later: a 10.
Then I took Exam FM at the end of my freshman year summer – not a good idea in hindsight. I went to Rome for six weeks to study aboard that summer and did not have enough time to prepare: I looked through the FM manual, but didn’t do any practice exams, thinking knowing every single FM formula would be enough. But my score of 5 proved me wrong.
When I reflected back, I realized that the study manual only allowed me to understand the materials, but not how to effectively apply them to solve problems. What I did with my Exam FM first attempt is comparable to starting to drive a car right after passing the knowledge test, but without behind-the-wheel practice.
Practice makes perfect. Sounds cliché, but is definitely a golden rule in actuarial exam preparation. To drive well, remember to practice often after getting your permit! Adapt is definitely a great coach once you’re practicing “behind-the-wheel”.