On BattleDay

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Items to Bring to the Exam

A calm well-rested brain stuffed full of answers:   :-)
  • arrive at least 30 minutes early so you don't get stressed
Tools of the Trade:
  • Two CAS-approved solar-powered calculators. (The battery can't die, plus you'll have one in reserve.)
  • A highlighter.
  • Several pens.
An Essential Time Management Tool:
  • An analog watch.
==> Set the watch to 11:45 when the 15-minute reading period starts.
==> Then, according to your watch, the exam starts at 12:00 and ends at 4:00.
==> It will be easy to glance at your watch to know how much time is left.
Are you who you say you are?
  • photo ID with a signature
  • sheet with your candidate number on it
In case you get the munchies...
  • water
  • yummy snacks that don't make noise when you open them
If you want the exam questions mailed back to you:
  • large self-addressed manila envelope
==> On the day before the exam, fill your manila envelope with 40 sheets of paper.
==> Take it to the post office, have them weigh it and put proper postage on it. (That way, you know you will have enough postage.)
==> On exam day, take the empty manila envelope to the exam.
==> When the exam is over, put the questions in your manila envelope and give it to a proctor.

The Reading Period

  • You will have a 15-minute reading period before the official start of the exam:
==> You may not write anything during this time.
==> You may fold the corners of pages if you wish.
  • Alice the Actuary says:
==> Tear off the sheet that has the point-values for all the questions. Keep this sheet handy for the duration of the exam.
==> Do not try to skim all of the questions during the reading period. There is no point in doing this.
==> On the point-value sheet, find the highest point value question. (This is usually a calculation question.)
==> Spend the entire reading period thinking through this high point-value question. That way, when the exam starts, you won't need to spend time figuring out what to do.

Time Management During the Exam

  • Note: The better prepared you are, the more time pressure you'll be under because you'll be able to answer most (or all) of the questions. (If you are NOT well-prepared, then there will be less time pressure because there will be many questions you'll just have to skip.)
==> If you get stuck, don't linger. Take your best guess and move on.
==> You probably won't have time for review.
==> Cross out mistakes - don't erase. it is faster.

Exam Organization

  • You first need to understand how this exam is usually organized:
First one-third of exam short-answer questions
Middle one-third of exam calculation questions
Final one-third of exam short-answer questions
  • Also, the exam topics tend to appear in similar order. It's all quite predictable.

The First 5 minutes

  • On the sheet with the point-value of the questions, use a highlighter to divide your time into four 1-hr parts. ClickTime Mgmt for an example. (This will be time well spent.)
    • If the exam has 70 points then do this roughly as follows:
      • Section 1: 20 points
      • Section 2: 15 points (contains lots of calculation problems and these take longer to do.)
      • Section 3: 15 points (contains a few more calculation problems but some short-answer too.)
      • Section 4: 20 points
  • Use your calculator to do this, then draw horizontal lines with your highlighter to mark the point-value sheet as indicated.
  • You have roughly 3.5 minutes to spend on each point on the exam but
    • The calculation problems take relatively longer, maybe 6-7 minutes per point.
    • The short-answer questions are generally quicker.

Begin Writing your Answers

  • Hour 1:
    • Start with Section 2. That's where most of the calculation problems usually are.
      • The calculation problems are harder so you should do these when your brain is fresh.
      • Keep an eye on your watch and aim to finish Section 2 within the first hour.
      • If you get to a problem that you can't do, don't linger. Quickly write down anything you think might be relevant and move on. You can almost always take an educated guess and get partial credit, even if it's just 0.25 points.
    • As you complete problems:
      • Check them off on the point-value sheet.
      • If you want to come back to a question later, circle it. But note that you won't have much time at the end for review.
  • Hour 2:
    • Move on to Section 3. There are usually a few more calculation problems in Section 3.
  • Hour 3:
    • Move on to Section 4.
    • These will mostly be short-answer questions. Your brain may be getting tired at this point, but these short-answer questions are easier because they're mainly memorization.
    • If you are properly prepared for the exam, then Section 4 should be easier than Sections 2 & 3.
  • Hour 4:
    • Go back to Section 1. You're in the home stretch, and this will be mostly short-answer. If you're prepared, it shouldn't be too hard.
    • But before starting, skim the questions in this section.
      • If there are questions at the end of this section that you know how to do, make sure you get to them!
      • The worst thing is running out of time and not answering a question you know!

Exam is Over

  • GO HOME & CHILL!!!!