Many students struggle to find the right balance between going to school and studying for actuarial exams. I have been fortunate enough to manage my time so I can excel in both. Thus far, I have had great success in my exam process while at the same time excelling in school. As a junior at IUPUI, I have successfully passed four actuarial exams and I plan to take the fifth actuarial exam in June. For three of the four exams that I passed, I studied using only a manual, without taking the associated college courses offered at IUPUI. I believe that everyone can do what I do. All it takes is finding time to study and being motivated.
I buy the associated study manual and begin studying two to three months before the exam. I put aside an hour or two each day just for studying, typically in the morning before school or late at night since I am most productive during those times of the day. Working almost full time with two different jobs and going to school simultaneously, I am still able to find time for studying. It is important to stay on schedule and study little by little each day. It is okay if the material does not make a whole lot of sense at first. What’s important is to be at least familiar with the material.
As the exam date approaches, usually about three to four weeks out, I do problem after problem. This is the most important stage in my view, so I tend to increase my studying time at this point. I begin doing problems throughout the day at school whenever I get some free time. If I have five minutes to spare, I will spend those five minutes reviewing a problem. These problems add up throughout the day and I progress toward my goal much quicker. I also dedicate Saturday mornings and Sundays for studying. During the problem stage, I relearn many of the concepts. This is when I truly start putting all of the material together. One useful tool for getting many problems done and staying on task is the Coaching Actuaries Adapt program. Coaching Actuaries is online study tool that creates timed exams for a given difficulty level, so it gives you a good feel for exam conditions. The night before the exam, I try to relax and watch a movie.
I go to the exam with confidence, knowing that I studied as much as I could and I have done the best that I could to prepare for the exam. This study method has brought me great success, and I hope it brings you success as well.