“Make the most of your time, because the days are evil”
This Biblical proverb is important because many students fail due to time – either running out of time on the exam or running out of time studying before the exam. “The days are evil” – our lives are full of distractions that want to pull us away from anything good or productive. Without intentional efforts, it’s very easy to waste a day.
There are two areas where you need to “make the most of your time”:
1. Study Time
You need a schedule and a plan. Don’t get discouraged! Keep moving ahead. We’ll deal with that more in this post.
2. Exam Time
You need a disciplined and practiced plan to get through the exam. It is very important, because distractions during that short window can cost you the exam. We will discuss this more in our next post.
Time Management for Study Time
Create a schedule and stick to it. To make the schedule easier to stick to, factor in wiggle room (in case something urgent comes up) and time for fun. Maybe schedule a day off from time to time. The study schedule on our site is a good place to start. You can find it on your dashboard:
Here is an excerpt from our eBook, Passing Actuarial Exams, by Coach K and Ben Kester:
What makes a good schedule?
- Doable but challenging. Balance is key.
- Adapts to you. Are you busy at work in May? Is this a repeat sitting? Be realistic.
- Specific. Read Chapter 8. Go through 15 practice problems on Chapter 5. Listen to the online seminar for Chapters 28 and 29.
- Starts with the big picture and drills down. How often do you review the entire material? For multiple-choice tests, I usually review everything twice. First is to learn the concepts, with the formulas in front of me. Second is to learn and apply the formulas by solving problems. Find your effective strategy.
- Includes flex days. You won’t always be on top of your game. Budget for breaks. Enjoy guilt free “planned breaks”. Include at least one day per week. Include extra detail the last month before the exam.
A good schedule is executed. With a documented schedule and planned breaks, then focus on studying efficient and smart.
Just because you have a study schedule doesn’t mean you have to study the topics in sequence. Figure out what the most important topics are and study those first. If you fall behind and have to rush at the end, at least you’re not doing that at the expense of the most important topics. There’s an exception to the rule though. Topics that are building blocks for more advanced topics have to be studied first.