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  • Which Study Manual(s)?

    Just curious as to which ones people are using.

    I've got several: ACTEX, ARCH, Batten, Broverman, Mahler and the texts/solution manuals.

    I'm using most of them, but I may be persuaded to part with one or two of them. (Not the ACTEX or ARCH, though - those apply to Exam M, while the other ones are from 2004 and prior.)

  • #2
    I speak only knowing of the former-Exam-2, but I really liked BPP's study guide. It didn't give me the headache that the ACTEX guide did.
    ``Give me but one solid place to stand, and I will move the Earth.'' ~ Archimedes

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Monty Carlow
      I speak only knowing of the former-Exam-2, but I really liked BPP's study guide. It didn't give me the headache that the ACTEX guide did.
      For 2, BPP was good because it gave a good explanation of the economics and finance material. But, for 3 --> M, I didn't think BPP was sufficient. I tried their sample chapter, but it wasn't what I was looking for. I appreciate the other manuals for their extensive question banks.

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      • #4
        I thought BPP also has a large question bank?

        BPP seems good but for me its really hard to get, its also very expensive.

        I m gonna use ARCH this time since it seems they specialize in just exam M (must be their competitive advantage!).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MCBUDDHA
          I thought BPP also has a large question bank?

          BPP seems good but for me its really hard to get, its also very expensive.

          I m gonna use ARCH this time since it seems they specialize in just exam M (must be their competitive advantage!).
          It's definitely expensive. What is it, $400 for the Exam M BPP? That's a bit much.

          The reason why I didn't like BPP all that much for the Exam M is because they tend to oversimplify things a little. I felt like that there was a little too much hand-waving at the life contingencies material than I was comfortable with. Plus, the problems did not seem on the order of ACTEX/ARCH. I guarantee you will have good practice if you work through all the ARCH/ACTEX materials. It's a pretty good set of mind exercises. Doing all those problems sets you up for the "BTDT" feeling ("Been There, Done That" - thanks, Dr. Ostaszewski), which is a good thing to have on the day of the exam.
          Last edited by wat; March 21 2005, 08:03 PM.

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          • #6
            Exam M Life Contingencies

            Well, I pride myself in my notes for the Life Contingencies portion of exam M that New England Actuarial Seminars sell:
            http://www.neas-seminars.com
            I do not think anyone else out there points out these items that have been absolutely crucial on the exams 3 since 2000:
            - "David Ricardo" formulas,
            - Recursive formulas for reserves and asset shares and their simplification when net amount at risk is constant,
            - "Poohsticks" formulas (nearly all problems on multiple lives are Poosticks problems),
            - De Moivre's implication for life insurance (and resulting "David Ricardo" identities for life annuities).
            These topics are made artificially hard in many texts, and I would suggest you consider my ideas for making them smooth and easy. And if you came to my seminar (unfortunately finished), I would have shown you how you can simplify multiple decrements by counting people as they die from various causes (again, this is a topic made too hard in all SOA published solutions).

            Yours,
            Krzys'
            Want to know how to pass actuarial exams? Go to: smartURL.it/pass

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            • #7
              Originally posted by krzysio
              And if you came to my seminar (unfortunately finished), I would have shown you how you can simplify multiple decrements by counting people as they die from various causes (again, this is a topic made too hard in all SOA published solutions).

              Yours,
              Krzys'
              Don't worry - I'm sure I'll see you at one this fall.
              "You better get to living, because dying's a pain in the ***." - Frank Sinatra

              http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blogger_ar...blogger_id=174 - where I talk about the Blues and the NHL.

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              • #8
                New ASM

                Personally, I am going with the new ASM. I have started the first two chapters and it rocks.

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                • #9
                  So for those who never learned the exam M materials which study manual(s) would you recommend?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sundwarf
                    So for those who never learned the exam M materials which study manual(s) would you recommend?
                    I'm guessing ASM might be pretty good (from a few people's initial reports and advertising and everything).

                    Arch is a good "teaching" manual. It is fairly easy to pick up the ideas and concepts with the manual.

                    I took Exam M without ever having taking an class in life contingencies/loss models before. I used Arch & Actex, with Actex being my primary manual. It was difficult, but after doing all those problems, the concepts stuck with me.

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                    • #11
                      Has anyone used the textbooks for this exam? I've just started working through Actuarial Mathematics by Bowers et al. and am wondering how beneficial other people thought the different text books, Loss Models by Klugman and Intro to probability Models by Sheldon Ross, were. Or do most people just end up using study manuals as alternatives?
                      Whether you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be running.

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                      • #12
                        I think you could easily do the loss models questions by just going over the Klugman book and doing a few examples from past exams.

                        Actuarial Mathematics (AM) is encyclopedic. If you use it, I would seriously advise using a manual in addition to it. You could learn all the life contingencies material from AM, but to do well on the exam it would be wise to have a guide that will at least: summarize the material, lay out relationships you would not be aware of otherwise, give you questions to test your understanding and give you confidence with the material at a level of the exam, and finally to inspire you to continue working hard.

                        I sat for the May exam using just the recommeded texts. Don't do it.

                        I will be sitting for the November exam using mainly the Batten book which builds on AM and only covers the life contingencies material.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ken
                          Has anyone used the textbooks for this exam? I've just started working through Actuarial Mathematics by Bowers et al. and am wondering how beneficial other people thought the different text books, Loss Models by Klugman and Intro to probability Models by Sheldon Ross, were. Or do most people just end up using study manuals as alternatives?

                          Originally posted by aced
                          I think you could easily do the loss models questions by just going over the Klugman book and doing a few examples from past exams.

                          Actuarial Mathematics (AM) is encyclopedic. If you use it, I would seriously advise using a manual in addition to it. You could learn all the life contingencies material from AM, but to do well on the exam it would be wise to have a guide that will at least: summarize the material, lay out relationships you would not be aware of otherwise, give you questions to test your understanding and give you confidence with the material at a level of the exam, and finally to inspire you to continue working hard.

                          I sat for the May exam using just the recommeded texts. Don't do it.

                          I will be sitting for the November exam using mainly the Batten book which builds on AM and only covers the life contingencies material.
                          I kinda agree with aced. I personally liked using the texts first to read through and get a general idea of the syllabus. I thought the texts were enough to study from for all areas other than the Life Contingencies, but I still used manuals, so I can't say for sure I could've done as well with only the texts. Definitely for the Stochastic models (Daniel's Note) and the Poisson Processes (Probability Models book), the texts are enough.

                          The biggest benefit of the texts to me were reference. It wasn't really that I learned the information first from the texts. I referred to Actuarial Mathematics a few times for completeness when I tried to figure out certain concepts. It helped with the understanding, as opposed to just memorizing a brief outline of the material through the study manuals. That being said, good luck studying.

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                          • #14
                            Ramanathan

                            Taking Ramanathan's class right now. '''' it is hard!
                            I have a feeling it will pay off. I love his 2-3 line answers to each of May's Exam M problems. Something poetic about extreme brevity...

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