I found out yesterday I’m officially an associate of the Society of Actuaries (pdf). Yay, I’m an official nerd! And I’m in the top 20 of their new associates! (arranged alphabetically, minor detail) And it only took five exams, three college credits, and eight modules, over the course of five years. Actually come to think of it, it took a good chunk of grade school doing math problems to finish all these tests. And those Saturday mornings when my dad would teach me trig at home. I guess before that I needed to learn language skills and how to count, and how to move around, and how to breathe. I guess this took my entire life to do! Phew! Anyway, it’s nice to have something to show for all this work. Previously I only had my knowledge of Brownian motion to show for all this and we all know how bonkers people go for that stuff. Actually my knowledge of Brownian motion is pretty spotty. Something about drift… and brownies? Something about chocolate brownies and how they spontaneously move to my mouth? I don’t know, I may have forgotten it all. Speaking of eating chocolate brownies, my decent into nothingness has continued and I have lost over ten pounds since I started keeping track a few months ago, which is almost 10% of my body weight. I now currently weigh as much as I did in early college. I don’t have any surprising tips for any of you that want to diet. All I know is that I just started eating less and got busy with other things. Like Thursday I kinda skipped dinner (actually I drank a glass of pineapple juice from Trader Joe’s. Does that count?) to go out to get a frame for this painting I just finished for my small group’s gift exchange, which I’ll post later. My friend told me not to wear polo shirts any more because they make me look like a grandpa so I vowed to try to only wear them in private. Painting, as most creative acts go, is a very solitary endeavor and it’s a bit depressing in this regard. Occasionally, though, I’m able to get lost in it all and seeing everything come together is kinda satisfying. I think playing guitar and photography is also like that for me although it’s not really a creative for me. More like trying to learn something and getting lost in some happy place, trying to getting better at it. I haven’t quite found that happy place studying for these exams. It’s been a long, hard slog, and I have two more rather large ones on the horizon for the Fellowship title my company wants me to get. Back to the drawing board! Er, memory card board!
VashtiDecember 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm
haha…who told you to stop wearing polos?
theoDecember 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm
Raina. Would you agree? Since you are a New York Times model I trust your opinion…
kevinDecember 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm
Gratz on that associate thing!
theoDecember 4, 2012 at 8:48 am
ScottDecember 6, 2012 at 4:28 am
Wow, that’s great! I must learn your exam tips…
theoDecember 10, 2012 at 9:35 am
For me, I used ASM pretty exclusively and thoroughly, going through each chapter and doing each problem. I try to finish the study manual a month before the actual exam and then it’s just practice tests. When I get to the practice test, I usually forget most of what I learned and have to go back and relearn things (reviewing all the problems I got wrong). I have a excel spreadsheet* of things I keep forgetting and need to know and I review this after every few practice exams. After a few of these I start timing myself, keeping track of scores.
Sometimes I ask people smarter than me about things I don’t understand. And if I’m desperate, I use The Infinite Actuary (expensive) as a supplement for certain topics that are over my head.
One of the challenges for me is not getting discouraged after getting so many problems wrong. Getting problems wrong and having to do them over and over is really a natural part of the process.
* Here’s an example of my excel notes for exam C. I think I took these while going through the ASM manual. It looks somewhat Greek to me now :).