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Thread: "thinking is the last..." true/false?

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
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    "thinking is the last..." true/false?

    I read this somewhere in one of the study guides, forgive me for forgetting which one. But it said something along the lines of "thinking is the last thing you want to do on the exam" how true is this statement?

    When I read that I feel like the test is more instinct/memory based then a test on math, however many people say that just knowing the soa123 backwards and fowards isn't enough so seems somewhat contradictory...

    What are your opinons on that quote?

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Level VI Poster jthias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greeneggs View Post
    I read this somewhere in one of the study guides, forgive me for forgetting which one. But it said something along the lines of "thinking is the last thing you want to do on the exam" how true is this statement?

    When I read that I feel like the test is more instinct/memory based then a test on math, however many people say that just knowing the soa123 backwards and fowards isn't enough so seems somewhat contradictory...

    What are your opinons on that quote?
    It's very true...these problems are difficult..When you see a problem, you should know how to do it in the first two minutes or so...trust me, you'll need all the extra time towards the end of the exam for those unsolved problems left over.
    Last edited by jthias; August 19th 2007 at 09:23 PM.

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    ok so if i studied correctly I should have seen most problems at some point in time?

    Oh and i was wondering if(never bothered to read up on actually taking the test) you are allowed to skip questions and go back? i've seen computer tests that don't allow you to go back so i'm just checking.

    thanks.

  4. #4
    Actuary.com - Level VI Poster jthias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greeneggs View Post
    I read this somewhere in one of the study guides, forgive me for forgetting which one. But it said something along the lines of "thinking is the last thing you want to do on the exam" how true is this statement?....
    I'm sorry...I didn't make myself clear ...I was only agreeing with the first part of your post. As for the second part, that wasn't enough for me. I know how to do all the problems in the SOA 123 w/o the solutions manual, and still I have a difficult time with the exam. You might see 1 or 2 very familiar problems from review material you have gone over. The rest you just have to know the concepts very well, and how to apply the right ones to solve the problem in a short amount of time; the faster you can solve it, the better provided you don't make mistakes in the process.

    As for your other question, there is a review feature on the exam that provides a list an of incomplete and completed problems. From there you can click on a link to take you back to any problem on the exam (If I remember correctly).
    Last edited by jthias; August 19th 2007 at 10:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Actuary.com - Level III Poster MathForMarines's Avatar
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    I believe the quote is from Krzys' Ostaszewski's manual, and it is very true. When you see a problem on exam day, you should be able to put it immediately into a certain category of problems which you know how to solve in general. Actuarial exams are designed to be very hard in a number of ways, and neither just knowing the mathematical concepts or being able to solve the SOA 123 will be enough. The exams are managable though, as long as you do not underestimate them. I have been lucky enough to have been a student under Dr. Ostaszewski for the past few years, and he has trained us along the lines of that quote, and it has paid off for me and many others in the program.

    I think of it like this. When that major league slugger steps up to the plate and sees a baseball leave the pitcher's hand at 90 mph, does he stop to think whether he should swing or not, or does he just know what to do instantly? That is what it takes to be sucessful on these exams.

    Quote Originally Posted by greeneggs View Post
    I read this somewhere in one of the study guides, forgive me for forgetting which one. But it said something along the lines of "thinking is the last thing you want to do on the exam" how true is this statement?

    When I read that I feel like the test is more instinct/memory based then a test on math, however many people say that just knowing the soa123 backwards and fowards isn't enough so seems somewhat contradictory...

    What are your opinons on that quote?

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    Quote Originally Posted by greeneggs View Post
    I read this somewhere in one of the study guides, forgive me for forgetting which one. But it said something along the lines of "thinking is the last thing you want to do on the exam" how true is this statement?

    When I read that I feel like the test is more instinct/memory based then a test on math, however many people say that just knowing the soa123 backwards and fowards isn't enough so seems somewhat contradictory...

    What are your opinons on that quote?
    Honestly, my first reaction to that quote was "this sounds like someone who wants to sell more study guides after people fail the first time."

    If you are truly prepared, you shouldn't be _surprised_ by anything on the test. But of course you're going to think, be it doing the integration by parts, or drawing regions of integration, or remembering the various pdf's, etc. The time constraints are nowhere near short enough that you can't carefully consider each question, decide if you want to put off a problem until later, check your answer using another method -- all of the techniques that can get you another right answer or two when the day's over.

    Good luck to everyone, but seriously -- thinking isn't a bad thing.

  7. #7
    Actuary.com - Level VI Poster Ken's Avatar
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    I disagree. I knew how to do everything from first principles. Doing lots of problems lets you know how to apply your knowledge.
    Whether you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be running.

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