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Thread: need help to pass p1 exam

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Newbie Poster
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Question need help to pass p1 exam

    Hello Candidates

    I am preparing P1 exam for one year

    I took three times already for p1 exam

    However i could not pass it the highest grade was 3

    I studied with actex textbook and i solved every question and
    Try to understand it

    I dont know anymore what i have to do more to pass this exam

    Can you guys some tips to study correctly and efficiently?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Level III Poster
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    New York
    Studying has got to become your second job. I loved the ACTEX manual but some people prefer ASM (I hated asm for P!)

    You really gotta work out as many problems as possible I think. Means all of ACTEX, Dr O's free problems here, SOA, and anything else you can get your hands on. Practice exams as well. These are key! Recreate a test environment and take practice tests every day up until your exam. Do not cheat. Then, analyze your score. Where are you failing? Reading comprehension? Forgetting formulas? Sloppy calculus perhaps? Falling for the usual traps that the Soa/Cas deploy?

    For me I had to learn to have fun with the material. I hope that helps! But to be honest a score of 3 means you are doing something wrong. Analyze your study habits and improve them. You need to at least double your score to pass. Best of luck!!

  3. #3
    Actuary.com - Newbie Poster
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    hello there

    I really appreciate your comments

    Here is thing. i took another exam a few days ago

    i got failed again. i memorized and solved all of questions. and i think it was enough to take exam but i failed

    do you think i have to change a material or something else?

    I feld exam was not really hard but i failed

    I really have no idea at all

  4. #4
    You spam? I ban! Irish Blues's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Don't memorize the questions. Learn how to work the problems from basic principles; that way no matter what the numbers are or how the problem is phrased, you'll know what you need to do to find the correct answer.
    "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.

  5. #5
    Actuary.com - Level III Poster
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    New York
    Memorization will not get you far on P as compared to FM. You really need to understand the concepts better it seems.

    How are you fairing on the practice questions and practice tests in the ACTEX manual? Are you looking at the answers before you solve them? If so.... STOP THAT! Don't cheat yourself in your studies because you're only cheating yourself come test day. I say go over the material once again and this time REALLY understand the concepts and do all problems again.

    But perhaps the ACTEX manual doesn't go over the material the best way for you. If so, I guess you can consider another book by another author (although it's just the same material again presented differently)

  6. #6
    Actuary.com - Newbie Poster
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Hi Joonfoever!
    I am sorry to hear you have tried 3 (or 4) times to pass the P1 exam.

    Here is my advise:
    Try the TIA online seminar.

    Here my reasons:
    I first started to study for this exam last summer (july 2011) with the ACTEX manual, I wasnīt doing good, but I decided to take the exam in Nov. 2011, of course I didnīt pass. Asking your same question in forums, I discovered the TIA course. I am taking the exam again in July 2012 and I am already feeling I can do it!!

    I didnīt do good with the book mainly because I finished my BA in Economics in 2007, and I studied probability back in 2002 when I was in second year. In addition to that, and more important, English is my second language, and I am not as good as I would like to be at it; it is VERY, some times extremely hard for me to understand questions (there are questions that donīt make any sense even with a translation to Spanish). With TIA I have been able to understand all the material, I am actually answering questions correctly, and having the feeling that I might be enjoying the beach a lot after July the 17th! Although I am still having a hard time with the Possion distribution, and I recall it is heavly tested in the exam! I remember I encountered 5 Poisson questions in November !!!

    Students get 50%.
    I hope this helps, and please let me know if you find it useful.

  7. #7
    Actuary.com - Newbie Poster
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    Jul 2011
    Started studying in Feb for the March exam, failed of course (knew i would after not touching math stuff for 4+ yrs, but thought to go for a hail mary), but I got a prelim pass on the May one, and I noticed some common themes between two exams.

    And here we go, apologize for the wall of text incoming.

    You really need a solid basic calculus background. Derivatives, integrals (especially substitution integration and integrations involving e) are going to be needed just about every other question. Partial differentiation is useful for joint functions, transformations, and some moment generating functions.

    A solid understanding of set theory, conditional function, and the various functions such as poisson, exponential, binomial, and uniform functions.

    Joint function, covariance, transformation of functions is another one that are tested frequently. Joint function will especially test you on setting the proper range for the integrations.

    I only used the ACTEX manua to study, so if you are using that, chapters 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are the vital ones you really have to have a solid understanding of. The end of chapter questions also do a good job of giving you an idea of how questions can revolve around these concepts, and how simply memorizing formulas won't help you in some problems.

    I didn't have the time to do any of the practice exams due to working 50+ hours every week, but I didn't think they were necessary as long as I solved and understood all of the end of chapter questions. I did flip through exam 1 quickly to just "set up" the steps needed to solve them as a quick check to make sure I understood the concepts.

    I found studying for P became increasingly easier as I understood the formulas rather than just memorizing them. I got to the point where I didn't have to memorizing too many formulas, as I could just re-derive most of them as needed from base formulas.

    Here's kind of a mini-guideline that I used for myself with the ACTEX manual

    Section 1
    -get the integration and functions down.

    -be sure to completely understand joint functions, how to set range for them, and how the range will change depending on if you integrate dx or dy first. This gives you a huge head start when you get to joint random variables.

    Section 2
    -be able to do set questions quickly without ever drawing a venn diagram, for this, understanding of DeMorgan's law and how to move around parenthesis is crucial.

    -Know how independency (aka mutually exclusive) affects set calculations, this will generally apply to everything else as well.

    -know that all the formulas in this section can apply in all circumstances. For example, the AUBUC formula will work just as good when it's AUB'UC'. Knowing the general form A = intersection of A and B + intersection of A and B' is crucial to be able to do set theory questions quickly. Note that A can be simply P(A), or it could be something more complex like A = (CUD').

    Section 3
    -combination and permutation, basic stuff

    Section 4

    -know that integrate a random variable over the entire range limit will result in an answer of 1 for continuous random variables. This is crucial on questions where they tell you a variable is proportional to given function, so you need to solve for the proportion constant first.

    -know how to find percentiles (covered in either this or section 5 iirc), how to find the median and the mode.

    -know how to calculate conditional variable, and how the range will change for the new conditional variable.

    -understand the order statistic. iirc it was covered in either this or section 5.

    Section 5 (both concrete and continuous)
    -know the basic formula for expectation, variance, and moment generating function, and how they are related. Examples are that given a moment generating function Mx(t), be able to find the E[x], Var[x], and P(X=x) from it. Know how to calculate the above for conditional variables as well.

    -Know how to "expand" E[aX+b] and Var[aX+b], and their applications. As well as finding expectation of conditional random variables.

    -I never had to use Jensen's Inequality, but Chebshev's Inequality can be useful.

    Section 6 (concrete)
    -focus on understanding the uniform, binomial, and poisson. The Px, E[X], Var[X], and Mx(t). These will be tested in some form or other.

    -geometric, negative binomial are lower priority, but you should know them as well.

    -you can safely ignore multinomial and hypernomial as far as passing exam P is concerned, but I still advice you to understand them afterwards.

    Section 7 (continuous)
    -same deal as 6, focus on uniform, normal, and exponential. The f(x), E[X], Var[X], Mx(t), and F(x) when applicable (uniform and exponential). These will be tested in some form or other. Know normal distribution inside and out, and how integer correction works and the difference between the correction of [a,b] vs (a,b).

    -gamma function is low priority, but I suggest knowing it since exponential is derived from it, and exponential is tested alot.

    Section 8 (concrete and continuous)
    -same deal, know the joint functions and how the limits work. If you followed through on section 1, this will be much easier. Draw the graph when needed.

    -Learn to recognize when the two marginal functions are independent. This will make life alot easier as f(x,y) = fx(x) fy(y). Know how to go from F(x,y) to f(x,y) to fx(x) to fy(y) and anywhere in between. One especially helpful thing to know is that for finding fx(a), you can either find fx(x), then plug in a, or you can integrate f(a,y). Sometimes one method is easier, and sometimes you kind of are forced to use one method since the other one would be nearly impossible to do.

    -know that if the function is uniform, you just got handed free lunch as you can just use the area of the enclosed space to calculate probability.

    -Covariance, how to calculate them, how to expand them, etc. Know how to expand Var[aX+bY] now that covariance is covered.

    Section 9
    -know how to transform functions, and the basic function operations thereof (expectation, variance, moment generating function, etc). Understanding how the formula is derived will make this section much easier to do.

    -Given U = aX + bY, know that you can find E[U] and Var[U] by finding E[aX + bY] and Var[aX + bY], which is a call back from earlier sections. Know that you can also find Cov[U,V] by expanding the Cov in terms of X and Y (this was covered in section 8 indirectly)

    -completely understand convolution. This is a very helpful concept to know.

    -know the order statistic equation. If you understood order statistic from earlier, much of the equation becomes intuitive.

    -know how to estimate the probability of a large number of independent random variables using normal distribution.

    Section 10
    -know the equations for loss random variable, and how deductibles and limits affect the integration range.

    The above list doesn't cover everything that the ACTEX manual has in it, but I believe mastery of those above concepts is enough to pass the exam. GL.

    One thing I can suggest tho, is to try out one of the ACTEX practice exams under testing conditions. Don't look in the answer key until you finished all of them. See which ones you did wrong, find out what went wrong, and focus on the concepts for the corresponding section.

    Coming from my first fail, I realized that I was very weak on set theory (had to draw 50 bajillion venn diagrams to solve a question, which is extremely time consuming and easy to mess up), didn't understand joint function as well as I had though (especially how to freely convert between cdf and pdf forms and how to set up the integration boundaries), and completely didn't understand transformation of variables and instances where something like U=aX+bY and in extension, where U and V given X and Y are concerned, so I focused on tackling those for my 2nd attempt (specifically section 2, 8, 9 on ACTEX), and ended up with a prelim pass on the May exam.

  8. #8
    Author, Instuctor and Seminar Provider krzysio's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Illinois, USA
    Want to know how to pass actuarial exams? Go to: smartURL.it/pass

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