Passing Exam MFE in 5 steps

Written by Esther Cheng: DSC_0049

Knowing the material

The first thing you need to do is to know what you’re dealing with. Figure out how long you will need to study all the materials. It is important to start early, and allocate time for LOTS of practice problems. What I found very helpful in passing MFE, is taking the time to practice any and every question I could get my hands on.

My experience: I used the MFE study schedule from Coaching Actuaries to generate a schedule that I was comfortable with (I had about a month allocated for practice problems). Following the schedule really helped!

Memorizing formulas

This is a very important step in any of the preliminary actuarial exams. If you are struggling to find a good formula sheet for MFE (or any other exam), or compiling your own formula sheet, I highly advise you to take a look at the formula sheets from Coaching Actuaries. The materials are compiled by our very own actuaries who’ve taken and passed the exams, and who have meticulously gone through each and every line of formula making sure nothing is missing or inaccurate.

My experience: I had the formula sheet printed out, and highlighted the formulas I had trouble memorizing. Not only did it help me memorize better, but it also served well when I wanted to brush up on formulas really quick before I entered the exam.

Calculator tips

Not many people know that there are tips and tricks that you can use to make taking actuarial exams easier. I have found that these tips and tricks are absolutely vital when taking any exam, as they save time and minimize error.

My experience: When I finished my MFE exam, I had about 30-40 minutes to spare!

Actuarial Brew

With over 640 questions, Actuarial Brew does a great job of helping to familiarize you with each formula and concept, and when to use it. It gives you many sets of questions, and uses the same information in each set with different ways to ask a question that might be on the exam. Furthermore, they have very detailed solutions to every question and also teach you some calculator tricks!

My experience: I completed all the questions, and went through each and every solution to make sure that I didn’t miss any calculator tips or tricks Actuarial Brew had to offer. As some of the questions are slightly harder, it prepared me for tough questions that I might come across during the exam.


There are all sorts of fantastic perks to using Adapt. Not only do you get to practice your exam taking skills, but you also get to develop your time management skills. Adapt gets you familiarized with using the normal distribution calculator, has MFE review video solutions, a huge question bank, and much more. What I found very useful when using Adapt is that the questions that I didn’t get right before, reappear when I take another exam – which gave me a second opportunity to get it correct. Additionally, when I was confused with a particular question, all I had to do was get answers from the discussion forum. Based on my experience, all of my questions and doubts had already been asked and answered professionally by the Coaching Actuaries team in the discussion forum.

My experience: I had completed about 17 sets of exams when I got to level 8.76. I then reset the level counter to 3 and managed to achieve a level of 8.75 within 4 sets. All the exam sets were completed within the allocated time of 3 hours.