Actuarial Exams – Part 3 (Sharing my old write up)

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Exam Day

After the above exercise you have all the excuses to go and write the exam with full confidence. Don’t be stressed or panic as this will only make you do mistakes. Sit in the exam hall relaxed; as soon as you get the paper spend some time reading the questions. While reading, underline the important parts of the problems. This gives you a good idea of what is contained in the exam, what is your comfort level with problems and which are the ones you know best. This will help you intelligently tackle the exam by doing the problems you know best first. Mark the questions that you are confident about. Divide the total time available for the examination as follows: Keep aside 10 minutes for final review and another 10 minutes for emergency reworking of problems. Divide the rest of time on the basis of marks allotted for the question. Remember that 1 mark is equal to maximum 1.8 minutes of exam time.  Don’t waste lot of time in doing one problem. Do those questions first that you have already ticked. Try and maintain accuracy in the answers and avoid silly mistakes in anxiety of completing the paper in time. 3 hours is good enough, trust me. All you have to do is time management which you can learn only by doing lot of practice before exam.
Before you finalize an answer to a long numerical problem, take a few seconds to think about the reasonability of the answer. This method has helped me identify silly mistakes in my problem working several times. Start incorporating this method into your working while doing the practice problems; so by the time you reach the point of taking the actual exam, you’ve tuned yourself into judging the reasonability of answers as a natural reflex. If the type of examination is one in which partial credit is given for part working of the problem, make sure you quickly write out the formulae for the problem first- even if your numerical working is wrong, at least some points are guaranteed for the formulae that you put down. Don’t panic! Stay cool! You are prone to making more mistakes in a state of anxiety. Invariably students that generally pass the exams are those who go into the exam with a cool, collected and positive attitude.
Show the examiners what you know the best. Don’t show them what you don’t know. This will give examiner positive vibe about the candidate. Don’t write unnecessary point and stick to the topic while answering your question. That’s it. Hand over your paper, go home and relax for 2–3 weeks. Your brain deserves it. After the relax period is over start again with your exercise of selecting the next paper as I am sure if you follow the above exercise you will surely succeed in the exam.

Please be realistic

The exams are difficult and accept that they are. Also be thankful that they are difficult to pass and that is why a qualified actuary gets the deserved respect and recognition. Keep a positive attitude. Know that it is a time commitment and be prepared to commit that amount of time, energy and grey cells to the cause. The sense of satisfaction, achievement and fulfilment on passing an exam as tough as the actuarial exams is immense. Nothing in life comes for free and neither does the pass mark in an actuarial examination.

That’s it. This is all I wanted to share.

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