A story of failure & how to overcome it

Written by Ramy Gaballa:  

I am writing this post to talk about my experience with my first SOA exam: FM. A few weeks ago in February, I took the FM exam. Around 10 days before the exam, I felt that I was completely prepared. I took 2 ASM exams, reached an earned level of 5.8 on Adapt and solved a mock exam at my university (scored 83%). In addition, I solved the SOA questions and 2005 exams and scored 80%+ on each of them. I felt that I didn’t need to continue solving many problems, but that I’d need to solve problems only on an occasional basis, so I started putting more emphasis on the formulas.

The night before the exam I felt that I was well prepared and I should abstain from solving anything in order to avoid panicking. I went to the exam center and I followed the instructions given on the computer before starting the exam. When I started, I couldn’t easily solve the first problem, which made me a bit nervous. The derivatives questions were a piece of cake and the major problem for me was with the financial mathematics part.

On my exam, there was a strong emphasis on topics such as amortization of sinking funds, and topics that are a bit marginalized in the majority of manuals. This does not mean that the upcoming exam(s) will include only these topics because some of my fellow students found different problems (some had difficult derivatives questions) in the same exam’s sitting which means that the society of actuaries probably has a large pool of questions where a generator selects 35 questions for each exam taken by every individual.

When preparing for exams, focus on the quality of time and how efficiently you study for the exam. Keep solving as many problems as possible with progressive increase of the level of difficulty, which is offered by Adapt. When using Adapt, you need to identify the topics that you are struggling on in order to get well prepared in every topic. You also need to take into account that your exam can include many questions on topics that you couldn’t master. You should target an overall earned level of at least a 7.

Exam FM is not difficult but it generally tests your deep understanding of the topics so you need to avoid getting nervous during the exam because getting nervous means that you can get confused on the basics.