How do Actuaries Study?

Written by Laura Bass: 0b53e31

A good university course and a study manual were enough to get me through Exam FM/2. Material for Exam P/1 did not come as naturally so I tried Adapt and fell in love. Now, SOA’s Spring 2014 MLC sitting has come and gone. While candidates await their final score I am beginning my journey towards passing Exam MLC/3LC this Fall.

It is never too early to start. Five months seems far off but it also means I have plenty of time to identify my weak areas and master as many concepts as possible. I also know I’ll have a solid month or two to work through as many practice questions as I can find. Here is my plan:


Of course, the most popular manual is ASM – check any poll on the issue – so I got myself a copy of the 13th edition. Should I have held out for the 14th edition coming out at the end of May? Maybe. The improved written exam questions could prove helpful. However, I am already through the first four (out of sixty-eight) sections of the manual and I am feeling my confidence grow every day! I trust the 13th edition, the written answer question that SOA has released, and that those on Adapt will be enough practice.


After using Adapt to pass exam P/1 last March I fell in love with the interface, the question bank, the quizzes, the adaptability, etc. I bet anyone who has used Adapt knows what I am talking about and would agree whole-heartedly. It is a great way to study! Thus far, I have been taking the appropriate quizzes to supplement my ASM manual.

Other Tips

In addition to my manual and abundant use of Adapt, I plan to follow the advice that others have shared. Many people have heard of the BTDT (Been There, Done That) Rule and I definitely think ASM + Adapt will fulfill this ideal. There is also plenty of advice on more general preparation tips like taking a day off every week, having regular sleep schedule so you aren’t tired on exam day, being persistent, and not falling behind. This is all great advice that I plan on heeding. I have also heard studying with friends, flash cards, study sheets and other manuals come in handy.

By the time October comes around I expect to have thoroughly used my copy of the ASM manual and be burning through practice exams on Adapt like nobody’s business. Here’s to hoping for a passing score! 🙂

For those who sat for MLC this Spring, how did you study? Do you think it worked well for you? For those who will be sitting for the exam this Fall, how do you plan to study? In general, I think ACTEX plus Adapt works well for P/1 and ASM plus Adapt works well for the other exams. Does this sound right? Or does another study method work better for you?

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