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How to pass Actuarial Exam -I: Probability
Practice Sample Exam and Solutions, Study Notes, Exam Strategies

Foreword
Question: What is an Actuary ?
Answer: An actuary is a business professional who analyzes the risk of financial comsequences, a combination of being a math whiz and weather forecaster.

As we mentioned in the actuarial exam preparation homepage, being an actuary is probably the best profession to have. During the survey results in 2010, actuary is ranked No. 4th most satisfying profession. It has very high average annual salary overall the industry.

Sample Exam with Solutions
If you have successfully aced (not just passed with grade C or lower) the advanced level undergraduate probability class, then you can simply download the Sample exam from the official website at either SOA or CASACT. In case if you don't know where to find, click the following links to download
Sample Exam  Sample Exam Solution  Study Notes 1  Study Notes 2  Study Notes 3  Study Notes 4

Study Notes 5  Study Notes 6  Study Notes 7  Study Notes 8  Study Notes 9 
         
If you want to make good use of the sample exam, then you need to do the problems by yourself first, try to figure it out by yourself, don't read the solutions unless you really have to; otherwise, if you just simple read the solutions, then it will not help you that much. One of my students barely passed the undergrauate probability class, she just simply read the solutions, and she had to try at least 4 times to finally pass the exam.

Past Exam with Solutions
You can find quite a few past REAL exams with solutions provided on the official website: http://www.soa.org; Since the link might change over time, we also provide some copies here for convenience(copyright strictly belongs to SOA).
        Exam-I: May 2003         Exam-I: May 2003 Solutions         Exam-I: Nov 2001         Exam-I: Nov 2001 Solutions
        Exam-I: May 2001         Exam-I: May 2001 Solutions


Tricks Shortcuts Strategy to pass the exam
During the exam, most people will feel that they don't have enough time to complete all the problems, even for those advanced professional who usually teach probability class, they might not either able to finish all the questions within the very limited time.

So we need to have some tricks/shortcuts or strategies to pass the exam:

Finish the easy ones first! If you feel difficult for some problem, even for the first problem, make a mark for that problem, then quickly move onto the next problem. Never spend too much time on a single one problem(if you spend more than 5 mins. on one problem and still no clear clue, move on to next one!).

For some problem, it looks pretty straightforward at the beginning, it seems you can solve it very quickly. However, when you start working on that, you realized that it evolves a lot of calculation, "straightforward" but very time-consuming, in that case, you also need to move on the next problem if you have already spent more than 5 mins. on that. You can always come back later to finish. Those "straightforward" but very time-consuming problem is usually the exam killer. Many people messed up the exam by those single problem.

After you finish the easy ones, then check how much time you left. Say, if you only have 10 mins. and 4-7 "difficult" problem left, then the best strategy is to double check your answers on the answer sheet, make sure you didn't circle the wrong answer, also match the problem # with the # on the answer sheet. This can be usually done in 2-3 mins. You definitely don't want to mess up the exam because you didn't circle the right answer on the answer sheet, even though you have the right answer on the exam paper! They don't count!

For those 4-7 "difficult problems", unless you have enough time(more than 20 mins.), then you would choose the easiest ones to finish first! For the ones left, then you might just flip a coin to determine the answer.....

In fact, we don't even need to worry about those 2-3 problems left. If we are confident that we can get at least 85% correct on the ones that we already finished, no need to flip a coin. Or you can simply circle the same answer for the left problems, say DDDD... or EEEE... the answers that seems not that often in your answer, and you would have a bigger chance to win one correct.

If you need some actuarial study notes, or you have any questions, feel difficult for some problems, you can also email us by:click here, and we can send you a few.

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