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Hello Actuaria/ Stars
March 29th 2011, 03:33 PM
Hi guys. I just passed exam P after my first try yesterday! The last day for the march exams ^_^. I am pretty confident about all but one problem on the test and even that one I had narrowed down to two choices. Thanks to everyone on the different actuarial forums for all the useful information. Without it I don't think I would have done as well on the test as I did.

Before I passed, I was looking all over the place for people who could tell me how the available practice exams measured up in terms of how hard they were compared to the real test and how useful they were for preparing. I was able to find the info but a lot of it was out of date, or scattered and hard to piece together. Here are my thoughts for anyone who's interested. I'll try not to give anything away about what was actually on the test.

:smiloe:***update*** I got a 10 on the exam so the following is probably pretty accurate :smiloe:

1. 4 Free TIA exams
http://www.theinfiniteactuary.com/?page=joint_1p

Like most people say, these Exams were almost exactly the same difficulty as my real test. I think you could probably translate your performance on these tests directly to how well you'd probably do on the real thing. (my scores: 24-29)

2. SOA's practice 152
http://www.beanactuary.org/exams/pdf/ExamPSamplequestions.pdf
http://www.beanactuary.org/exams/pdf/ExamPSamplesolutions.pdf

The first 100 problems were slightly less tricky than the real test, since I pretty much breezed through the first 100. 100-130 was about the same level as the test. And 130-150 was slightly harder than most of the problems on the test. Overall I thought the 152 questions were probably the best preparation I had for the exam even though it was only a small part of my overall studying. It contained the foundations for everything you need for the test. If you only study one thing I suggest you study this set of problems until you can answer them in your sleep.

3. ACETEX 8 Practice Exams

I know people claim these are easier than the real test but I didn't think so at all. I actually thought these exams were slightly more difficult than the test, especially 7 and 8. Acetex 1-5 was pretty comparable to the real thing. I did very well on the first TIA exam (27/30) after only using acetex. (actex scores 19-26)


4. Guo's practice exam

This exam was more difficult than the real test. I thought this exam was really good preparation though since it covered most of what you need in a way that was challenging but not confusing. (my score 24, 28 if I didn't run out of time)

His manual was really good too. I used it to fill in the gaps for the more advanced topics that acetex didn't cover really well. Guo is great as a reference. I love how his manual has soooo many chapters so every topic has it's own chapter, so whatever you're having trouble with you can just jump to the chapter on that topic instead of having to search through your book for information on that topic that's scattered throughout the book. For example: Every distribution (normal, gamma, beta, binomial etc.) each have their own chapter and practice problems. Moment generating functions, conditional expectation, and transformations have their own chapther...etc.


5. ASM free exam #6

edit: i didn't take this exam, just looked it over on the morning of the test. I'm guessing If I had taken it I would have gotten 12-17 in the time limit. I didn't use ASM but I looked at exam #6 from their manual that they offer as a free sample. This exam was waaaaaay harder than the real thing. It's hard for me to critique this one without going into what was actually on the test. I'll just say that you don't need to feel too badly if you are struggling with asm.

Harp916
March 29th 2011, 03:53 PM
CONGRATS!

I took the exam this past weekend, and ended up not passing. But I feel my downfall was not doing a sufficient number of practice problems, I focused more on studying the theory and didnt get enough opportunity to apply that theory.

I did, however, do the four free TIA exams as well as the first 5 of the ASM practice tests.

I think I may be in the minority here, but the exam I was given was more on par with the ASM practice questions. There were roughly 12 questions that were similar to the TIA exams, which I know I did correctly. The other 18 were more on par with the ASM questions.

For the May examination I plan on using the 152 sample questions, as you suggested, as well as the 16 ASM sample exams.

What materials do you plan on utilizing in your preparation of Exam FM?

Hello Actuaria/ Stars
March 30th 2011, 05:09 PM
Thanks for the congratulations :D.

I'm sorry you didn't pass. I agree with you about doing practice problems. I gave myself a month to just do practice tests and problems, and I'm glad I did, since I now appreciate how important that was.

I've heard the first 5 asm practice exams are easier than the rest of the asm exams so that might explain your experience. The first 5 asm exams might be similar to the first 5 actex exams which I thought were similar to the real exam.

Have you tried asm #6 yet? It's supposed to be one of the harder ones. It has a lot of questions on rare exam topics that most manuals and advice say you are safe only learning the basics of. For example, it has 4-5 questions on middle order statistics, and 4 questions on the relatively rare pareto (#3,#12), weibull (#17), and beta (#19) distributions. It also had the only questions out of the probably 900 sample exams and sample questions I saw in total that included the terms "hazard rate," "posterior probability," "greatest integer function," and "covariance matrix". I did not find this practice test to be representative of the real test at all. I didn't have time to answer the questions on the asm exam properly and I mostly just read through it quickly. At first I felt bad that I didn't take that sample test properly but once I was finished taking the real test I realized I didn't need it. It would have been overkill. I was more than comfortable with all of the questions on the test with the practice problems I had done. Although being able to do the asm problems would make the real test seem a whole lot easier, it's not something I think people have to obsess about mastering.

I'm surprised you thought the tia exams were easier than the test though, I thought they were about the same level. The TIA tests were easier than I thought they would be but so was the real test, so they turned out to be about the same.

For exam FM I plan to get the asm manual since people seem to overwhelmingly find that one to be better than the acetex for fm. I'm not sure what else I'm going to do yet. I'll probably also use the free online text by Dr. Marcel B. Finan for fm that's located here: http://faculty.atu.edu/mfinan/actuaries.html.

Hello Actuaria/ Stars
March 31st 2011, 02:59 AM
That site ( http://faculty.atu.edu/mfinan/actuaries.html ) also has a free exam p text if you want some extra resources and practice problems.

trainheavy
March 31st 2011, 02:22 PM
This thread is helpful - thanks!

psp-fifa-fan
March 31st 2011, 08:36 PM
Hi guys. I just passed exam P after my first try yesterday! The last day for the march exams ^_^. I am pretty confident about all but one problem on the test and even that one I had narrowed down to two choices. Thanks to everyone on the different actuarial forums for all the useful information. Without it I don't think I would have done as well on the test as I did.

Before I passed, I was looking all over the place for people who could tell me how the available practice exams measured up in terms of how hard they were compared to the real test and how useful they were for preparing. I was able to find the info but a lot of it was out of date, or scattered and hard to piece together. Here are my thoughts for anyone who's interested. I'll try not to give anything away about what was actually on the test.

:smiloe:

1. 4 Free TIA exams

Like most people say, these Exams were almost exactly the same difficulty as my real test. I think you could probably translate your performance on these tests directly to how well you'd probably do on the real thing.

2. SOA's practice 152

The first 100 problems were slightly less tricky than the real test, since I pretty much breezed through the first 100. 100-130 was about the same level as the test. And 130-150 was slightly harder than most of the problems on the test. Overall I thought the 152 questions were probably the best preparation I had for the exam even though it was only a small part of my overall studying. It contained the foundations for everything you need for the test. If you only study one thing I suggest you study this set of problems until you can answer them in your sleep.

3. ACETEX 8 Practice Exams

I know people claim these are easier than the real test but I didn't think so at all. I actually thought these exams were slightly more difficult than the test, especially 7 and 8. Acetex 1-5 was pretty comparable to the real thing. I did very well on the first TIA exam (27/30) after only using acetex.


4. Guo's practice exam

This exam was more difficult than the real test. I thought this exam was really good preparation though since it covered most of what you need in a way that was challenging but not confusing.

His manual was really good too. I used it to fill in the gaps for the more advanced topics that acetex didn't cover really well. Guo is great as a reference. I love how his manual has soooo many chapters so every topic has it's own chapter, so whatever you're having trouble with you can just jump to the chapter on that topic instead of having to search through your book for information on that topic that's scattered throughout the book. For example: Every distribution (normal, gamma, beta, binomial etc.) each have their own chapter and practice problems. Moment generating functions, conditional expectation, and transformations have their own chapther...etc.


5. ASM free exam #6

I didn't use ASM but I looked at exam #6 from their manual that they offer as a free sample. This exam was waaaaaay harder than the real thing. It's hard for me to critique this one without going into what was actually on the test. I'll just say that you don't need to feel too badly if you are struggling with asm.
Congrats!
So overall do you think the real exam was tricky or mostly straight forward?

neatnuw
April 2nd 2011, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the congratulations :D.

I'm sorry you didn't pass. I agree with you about doing practice problems. I gave myself a month to just do practice tests and problems, and I'm glad I did, since I now appreciate how important that was.

I've heard the first 5 asm practice exams are easier than the rest of the asm exams so that might explain your experience. The first 5 asm exams might be similar to the first 5 actex exams which I thought were similar to the real exam.

Have you tried asm #6 yet? It's supposed to be one of the harder ones. It has a lot of questions on rare exam topics that most manuals and advice say you are safe only learning the basics of. For example, it has 4-5 questions on middle order statistics, and 4 questions on the relatively rare pareto (#3,#12), weibull (#17), and beta (#19) distributions. It also had the only questions out of the probably 900 sample exams and sample questions I saw in total that included the terms "hazard rate," "posterior probability," "greatest integer function," and "covariance matrix". I did not find this practice test to be representative of the real test at all. I didn't have time to answer the questions on the asm exam properly and I mostly just read through it quickly. At first I felt bad that I didn't take that sample test properly but once I was finished taking the real test I realized I didn't need it. It would have been overkill. I was more than comfortable with all of the questions on the test with the practice problems I had done. Although being able to do the asm problems would make the real test seem a whole lot easier, it's not something I think people have to obsess about mastering.

I'm surprised you thought the tia exams were easier than the test though, I thought they were about the same level. The TIA tests were easier than I thought they would be but so was the real test, so they turned out to be about the same.

For exam FM I plan to get the asm manual since people seem to overwhelmingly find that one to be better than the acetex for fm. I'm not sure what else I'm going to do yet. I'll probably also use the free online text by Dr. Marcel B. Finan for fm that's located here: http://faculty.atu.edu/mfinan/actuaries.html.

gratz dude! i'm currently using ASM for P and noticed that it goes through topics like we were master at probability. i kept hearing ppl saying ASM P/1 is too hard for the real exam and i wonder if i should give up ASM and go with a actex as well as the four free TIA practice exams (but i'll do the first five practice exams of ASM)?

Jumper
April 2nd 2011, 09:33 PM
totally agree with this.

TIA exam 1-4 are the closest to real exam.
SOA 1-100 and 100-130 are close to real exam. 131-152 u rarely c those at exam.

Therefore, to save ur time. Highly recommend
1) finish SOA 1-100 (coz they are the easy question to build up foundation)
2) 100-130 and TIA exams 1-4 (30 questions x4 = 120 questions)
If you can get 80% from TIA, passing should not be a problem.

They ask u to do the same thing but the question may confuse you when u read it.

psp-fifa-fan
April 3rd 2011, 08:46 AM
do you guys know about how many questions do i need to answer correctly in order to pass?

atb4
April 3rd 2011, 03:43 PM
It's not set in stone, but typically 19-20 correct is the threshold for passing.

Hello Actuaria/ Stars
April 3rd 2011, 11:46 PM
gratz dude! i'm currently using ASM for P and noticed that it goes through topics like we were master at probability. i kept hearing ppl saying ASM P/1 is too hard for the real exam and i wonder if i should give up ASM and go with a actex as well as the four free TIA practice exams (but i'll do the first five practice exams of ASM)?


It depends on you which you think might be better for you. There is nothing wrong with ASM, you just need to be aware of what you are getting. I would recommended that you do TIA and the SOA 152 and the first five ASM exams and focus on really mastering those. Then after you master those (the most important stuff to learn), you can work on mastering the harder, less common, stuff with the rest of ASM tests. You should still be able to pass with just ASM since they give you 20 practice exams, which is a lot of good practice, even if they ask somewhat obscure and difficult questions sometimes.

I don't really think you need to go out and spend more money on ACETEX just for the practice exams. The only exception is if you are having a hard time learning the concepts from within the ASM book, then you might want to see if ACETEX explains things in a way you understand easier. TIA would probably be great if you don't have a huge stats background as well since they walk you through everything.

Hello Actuaria/ Stars
April 3rd 2011, 11:53 PM
Usually you need 63% to pass which is around 19 problems. Add 10% of the passmark for every grade level. So I think if the passmark is 63% then 63% is a 6, and 63% +.1*63% = 63% + 6.3% = 69.3% would be a 7. I'm not 100% sure about that but I remember reading that from the SOA at one point. However there are some pilot problems on the test that don't count (we don't know how many those are), so you have to take that into consideration when figuring out how many problems 63% is.

rbliss27
April 4th 2011, 01:48 PM
I was just wondering where you can find the TIA exams that you all are talking about? Are these free or do you have to pay for them?

BeanCounter
April 4th 2011, 01:55 PM
yes, they are free. just go to TIA website and checkout the free sample exams.

rbliss27
April 4th 2011, 02:01 PM
okay, found them! thanks

Hello Actuaria/ Stars
April 4th 2011, 02:01 PM
EDIT: Replied too late, I'll just put the links in my original post

psp-fifa-fan
April 5th 2011, 01:00 AM
It depends on you which you think might be better for you. There is nothing wrong with ASM, you just need to be aware of what you are getting. I would recommended that you do TIA and the SOA 152 and the first five ASM exams and focus on really mastering those. Then after you master those (the most important stuff to learn), you can work on mastering the harder, less common, stuff with the rest of ASM tests. You should still be able to pass with just ASM since they give you 20 practice exams, which is a lot of good practice, even if they ask somewhat obscure and difficult questions sometimes.

I don't really think you need to go out and spend more money on ACETEX just for the practice exams. The only exception is if you are having a hard time learning the concepts from within the ASM book, then you might want to see if ACETEX explains things in a way you understand easier. TIA would probably be great if you don't have a huge stats background as well since they walk you through everything.

Did you need to memorize the survival function for this exam? Because some of the problems from the SOA practice can be solved using the survival function or the definition of exp. value.

atb4
April 5th 2011, 07:03 AM
Did you need to memorize the survival function for this exam? Because some of the problems from the SOA practice can be solved using the survival function or the definition of exp. value.

It's probably not going to make or break you, but I would recommend being familiar with it. It might make for getting to an answer quicker, or if time permits, double checking an answer by using an alternative method such as this one.

neatnuw
April 5th 2011, 10:57 AM
It depends on you which you think might be better for you. There is nothing wrong with ASM, you just need to be aware of what you are getting. I would recommended that you do TIA and the SOA 152 and the first five ASM exams and focus on really mastering those. Then after you master those (the most important stuff to learn), you can work on mastering the harder, less common, stuff with the rest of ASM tests. You should still be able to pass with just ASM since they give you 20 practice exams, which is a lot of good practice, even if they ask somewhat obscure and difficult questions sometimes.


I don't really think you need to go out and spend more money on ACETEX just for the practice exams. The only exception is if you are having a hard time learning the concepts from within the ASM book, then you might want to see if ACETEX explains things in a way you understand easier. TIA would probably be great if you don't have a huge stats background as well since they walk you through everything.

Thanks ! That is soooooooo helpful!

trainheavy
April 5th 2011, 11:26 AM
So would fully knowing and being comfortable with how to solve all the problems from TIA exams 1-4 and the SOA 152 be sufficient in passing the exam?

Hello Actuaria/ Stars
April 5th 2011, 02:36 PM
I think TIA 1-4 and SOA 152 would be sufficient if you had enough of a statistics background to understand the answers. I think if that was ALL you used you should make sure you memorize the stuff like the back of your hand. Otherwise you might be on the borderline for passing and it could go either way.

One thing I think was important for me though is to have a period of doing ONLY practice problems AFTER I'd learned the basics of all the concepts. If you use TIA and SOA 152 to learn the concepts you wont have anything to use afterward to test and solidify your knowledge. I used TIA/SOA after doing acetex and it's problems so when I started them I already knew most of the material and only used them to practice/perfect my knowledge.

I think it's very possible to only use TIA and SOA though, since I'd guess they would cover at least 65% of the material from any test you might get (you usually need 63% of the test to pass). You just should make sure you really understand everything to be safe, and by understand I don't mean memorize the solutions but to really understand them.

FSA_To_Be
April 6th 2011, 01:39 AM
Did you need to memorize the survival function for this exam? Because some of the problems from the SOA practice can be solved using the survival function or the definition of exp. value.

The survival function method is supposed to be really helpful. Consider the integration of x.exp(x) compared to that of exp(x). What usually tips you into using it is when they give you F(x) given that F(x)=0 for x<0, and ask about E(x), sometimes through defining F(x) piecewise.