Naturally, I did not take the advice given to me about the SOA/CAS P/1 examination seriously. Although I valued the advice about studying hard and focusing, I am a heavy procrastinator which left me unprepared for my first sitting on the 24th of May this year. My first sitting was an intriguing experience – I felt as if I would get lucky and magically pass the exam. After all, I never managed to fail a major exam before. I was in denial about the difficulty of P/1 and didn’t acknowledge the work needed to pass, so it came as no surprise that I failed. I believed that I might have been relatively close to passing because the exam did not feel as difficult as some of my practice attemps from Probability for Risk Management (Actex) and Coaching Actuaries’ Adapt. Despite the disappointment, I still intended to attempt P/1 again, so the July examination rested heavily on my mind.
Once more I began to procrastinate, as I did not feel the sense of urgency in preparing for P/1. Fortunately, I was back home in Jamaica which did not offer computer based testing, so I decided not to resit the exam in July. Later that month I received my score for my attempt in May. My score was a one! I wasn’t even close to passing, my attempt was mediocre! By that time the one had definitely reinforced the difficulty of the task at hand. If the exams were actually easy – everyone would probably become an actuary! I needed to take my head out of the clouds and glue my eyes to my study material and work harder than ever before. My journey this past summer had surely been arduous, especially since I had a forty hour per week summer job and was reunited with friends I had not seen for months. I also struggled with old habits and distractions that kept creeping back ever so frequently. However, I knew what I had to do to pass.
Fast forwarding to the 24th of September when I shook off the nerves and resat for P/1. Somehow, despite all of my struggles staying focused, I managed to see that congratulations on my screen by the end of the exam. My efforts were good enough. I must say the feeling is truly rewarding; I could not have pulled off passing without the aid of the Coaching Actuaries site whether it was the Adapt product or their blogs which gave me inspiration. Moreover, I definitely could not have pasted without the waves of encouragement I received from family and friends.
In perspective, the SOA/CAS exams are not surmounted solely with intellect – but rather by our ability keep focused and persevere through trying hours of study and practice.