How should I study for the exam?

Before you begin studying, make sure to know why you want to become an actuary. Be aware there will be a lot of self-studying. Motivation is required!

Creating a study schedule is vital. Our recommendation is to create your schedule based on chapters, leaving the last month before the exam solely for practice/timed exams. It's good to be flexible with your study schedule.

Coaching Actuaries has created a study schedule to get you started. The schedule is available at our Coaching Actuaries website. After downloading the study schedule, enter your start date and your exam date. A study schedule will be dynamically generated for you.

Knowing what kind of learner you are is very important. If you like to see theories and problems written out, you are a visual learner. If you like to listen to solutions being explained, you are an auditory learner.

For a visual learner, consider using a study manual. For auditory learners, consider video lectures.

When using study manuals, make sure you understand the examples. Try to rework them to make sure you understand the underlying concept.

Go through each chapter and do some of the end-of-chapter problems to make sure you understand the concepts. This will help you get familiar with the types of questions and also allow you to see the formulas and concepts that can be applied to solve a problem and how you can bring them into the real world. Don’t feel obligated to solve all of the problems at the end of a section. It is important to stay on schedule.

For video, make sure to jot down notes when a new discovery is learned. The advantage to a video is that you can stop and go back if you've missed something. You can also accommodate yourself by pausing the video if you want to study at a slower pace. Also, try to rework the examples presented in the videos to make sure that you fully understand how to solve the examples. Do NOT make video watching a passive learning.

For actuarial exams, active studying is essential. Passive studying has little or no value.

Here are some active learning strategies:


Solve practice problems

Document new ideas
Write out a formula sheet

Create your own flashcards 

Take Adapt exams without your notes and with only approved calculators

Eventually, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the format of the exam so try doing practice problems with a time limit. Then review and rework the problems that you missed. It is critical that you have lots of practice solving exam type problems in exam type conditions.

You need to become familiar with the types of questions that you will be asked. Of course, you do not know the specific questions the SOA or CAS will give you until you take the actual exam. However, to maximize your preparation, make sure to solve a lot of different questions optimize your preparation.

Adapt meets this goal really well by giving you different types of questions from the question bank. Several authors contribute to the question bank. Go through the exam questions as many times as possible to the extent that you wouldn't need to memorize the formulas separately. The goal is to have them come to you naturally when you see a question. During timed exam practice, make sure that you take it as if you are taking an actual exam.

​When studying, it is also important to take breaks and relax a little. Having a plan from the beginning is key. Try using Coaching Actuaries study scheduler through Adapt to get you off to a good start!