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Please help me pick study materials and a test date!

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  • Please help me pick study materials and a test date!

    I've decided that I'm interested in the actuarial profession a while ago and signed up for the program here at CU. Now it's the summer after I've taken a junior level probability (APPM 3570) course and I'm trying to decide when to take the test. There are two options:
    • July 20-31, 2011
      • In the middle of summer, allowing me to solely devote time to studying for it
      • A little less than two months away, not giving me too much time to study for it
      • Registration has to be completed by tomorrow, so I'm feeling a little rushed since I haven't even bought the study mats yet.
    • Sept. 15-26, 2011
      • Gives a much longer period of time to study
      • Farther away from the completion of my prob. course
      • Test would be after my classes have started and a lot of my time is spent studying for them.

    As for the study materials, so far I've gathered that I should definitely look at all the free exams, but I am willing to buy a manual and am not sure between Guo and ASM and ACTEX as so far it seems those are the best ones.

    Also, how much time do you guys recommend studying? (months, hours per day, theory/practice, etc.)

    Thanks for the help!

  • #2
    How did you do in your course? Did it cover all topics that you can expect on the exam? If your answer is Excellent and all of it, you can probably take it sooner rather than later while it's fresh in your mind. (and if it doesn't go as you expect you can always take again at the later time you also considered)

    I would recommend Actex and IMO to stay far away from ASM. Guo is very very good too (excellent problems and good shortcuts)

    hope that helps!


    • #3
      If you don't have materials at this point, don't rush trying to cram it in over the next 7 weeks. Get your stuff together, study like crazy this summer, and then just stay fresh on everything once school starts; unless you think you're going to lose everything over the final 4 weeks leading up to the exam, the studying and prep work you do early on will carry you through. If you're taking a math class where you're using the information you learned in APPM 3570, you'll be fine as those concepts will simply get reinforced during the semester.

      Yes, you could try to pound it in this summer - but, do you have the exam fee to lose and then re-pay if you have to take a 2nd shot at it? If not, play it safe and get it one-and-done.
      "You better get to living, because dying's a pain in the ***." - Frank Sinatra - where I talk about the Blues and the NHL.


      • #4
        I just passed my test in May and I put in a little over 300 hours into study for it (usually i hear people say around 300 is needed). I had a probability class this spring which i found to be not that helpful compared to my Actex study manual. Though I think my best studying had to be doing and redoing practice exams and the released SOA questions (I recommend when redoing problems to try to solve the problem before looking at the answers).

        Just like trsspidey said it depends on how well your course is tied with exam p and then how well you did in that course. I'd say if it was, and you have your summer open enough to be able to put in 3 to 4 hours a day into studying, then you would have a reasonable chance to pass this test in July.


        • #5
          Thanks guys! Though I got an A- in my probability class and a lot of it ties into the p exam, I think I'm going to go ahead and wait until September. Now, between Guo and Actex, which one would you pick?? I think I can really only afford one right now...


          • #6
            I would say Actex first and then Guo if you have the spare cash later. Actex manual has 12 practice exams in it so that should be enough for ya. Guo only has 1 in it I believe (I have an old guo book so I'm not sure if this is changed now). Guo also focuses on sections that are very rarely going to pop up on the P exam (but still technically could!) I'm looking at you weibull, pareto, logarithmic distributions!!!! Actex doesn't "waste" your time with that stuff.

            But I really did like the PE exam and the shortcuts that guo highlights. Also consider getting pre owned! A few of us here would be willing to part with our texts for a fair price. I'll double check how old my guo manual is if you are interested! (keeping actex for sure tho )


            • #7
              What's wrong with ASM?