Studying while interning is quite an adventure. It does a great job of preparing you for the real world of studying while working. Over the summer, I had very little motivation to study after a day of working, driving an hour and a half, and working out. I tried my best regardless to make sure that I studied the MLC manual a little bit each day, and I finished it at the end of August. The only problem was that I glazed through some of the chapters for the sake of completing them, and I could have used a little more time focusing on the topics.
I finished the manual and was ready to start taking practice exams at the end of August. My fall semester was unique because I was doing another internship full-time at a company close to school (a 5 minute commute is always nice). While everyone went back to class and had the free time associated with that, I was working 40 hours a week and had to continue studying for MLC. Going into the semester I thought, this will be great. I have a 5 minute commute, and I going into the fun part of studying I enjoy, practice exams. Well, about a week into the fall semester, I knew that the semester would be a little different than expected.
Yes, I did have more time to study. A 5 minute commute beats a 45 minute commute any day, but with the start of the school year came longer practices as well as extracurricular activities which I continued my participation in. In order for me to properly prepare for the exam, I had to buckle down and develop habits that would greatly increase my chances of success on the exam.
Listed below are the tips I have for studying while interning that I found helped me be successful.
- Study right before or right after work, whichever works best for you. I might be the only crazy actuary in the world who enjoyed studying before work, but getting up early and getting in an hour to an hour and a half of studying before I started work did wonders for my day. It made each day go by more smoothly without 3 hours of studying looming over my head after work.
- Study somewhere that is not your apartment/dorm/house. A nearby TV and couch calling your name is always hard to fend off. Go to the library, go to a coffee shop, go somewhere at work you can study, just don’t go home right away if you can. Put yourself in the best situation to succeed and don’t tempt yourself. Getting home at 6:30 or 7 after working and studying all day is not much fun, and it may not even be possible based on family needs and other situations. However, it is a very relaxing feeling getting home and knowing you completed all of the studying and now can ACTUALLY relax.
- Talk to your supervisor about the exam. No, I am not telling you to shirk work responsibilities, but be honest with your supervisor. Let them know well in advance of the test date as well as what you are trying to accomplish. Your supervisor has had successes in taking exams (or some kind of certification testing) before, and they have great advice to share with you.
- Find others to study with. Sometimes I hate this because I prefer to study by myself. However, it helps you so much and it gives you a break and fresh perspective.
- Plan weekend study time early in the day when you know you will be free. Studying in the morning on Saturday or Sunday is not exciting at all. However, it goes in the same logic as above. If you are able to study early and get it over with, then you can truly relax.
- Still relax and enjoy your life deliberately at least once a week. I run Division 1 cross country and track and field, and this tip comes from that. As much as I run, as hard as I work out, it is IMPERATIVE that I take one day very very very easy or off each week to save my muscles and joints. Your brain is a muscle, treat it like one and let it rest and recover once a week.
These are just a few tips I have for studying that have helped me succeed. The most important tip I can give you is to do what works best for you. Often, that is hard to find, so these are a few tips to try out that I know have worked for me.
Good luck and study hard!