As I put my calculator cases, wallet, and phone into my locker, I wonder, should I review more? I cannot, since I do not have any study materials, so I enter my station with my 7.52 earned level on Adapt. I read a humorous news story earlier that day, which made me less nervous. When I answered questions, I thought, “I don’t remember the questions being this easy to read the first time I took the FM exam.” I even noticed when they were trying to trick me! When I finished answering the questions, I have six questions marked, and even those I have a little idea on. Eventually, I click end. While answering the survey, I am nervous about the results. Then I see “Congratulations! A preliminary analysis of your test results shows you were successful in achieving the passing score established by the SOA.” I withhold my shouts, as this is a quiet place, but I post it on Facebook.
Although studying for the exams takes a lot of time, it’s not an impossible task to pass the FM exam. I think putting in 30 problems a day was worth it. Some of you may think I’m crazy for saying this, but I am being honest. I don’t think the 735 pages of the free manual does the FM exam justice, at least not for someone new to the exams. The exams require more than memorized facts, they need you to have creativity. They also require self-awareness in deciding on what topics to study. Adapt helped me get disciplined with timed tests and forbidding me from looking at the answers. It feels awesome to solve a question without any help.
I also don’t think that three months is enough time to study. It took me one year and three months to pass exam FM, but that could be sped up knowing some better study habits. I won’t sign up for my next test until I earn a level 5.5 in Adapt. And I haven’t figured out why they give us 26 pages of scratch paper. (Maybe necessary for future exams?)
I am not going to get too cocky about where that takes me, though. I believe that I still need more relevant job experience, and I have heard that companies say things to you because they don’t want to talk to you, and I don’t want to make excuses. But I have a job at Equifax doing data entry that is supposed to lead to promotions. I also intend to join the Iowa Actuaries Club and volunteer through the Society of Actuaries to show new people my potential. Participating in the actuary groups on Linkedin and blogging are some ways I have contributed to actuaries.