Are you trying to figure out which study materials are “the best” for your upcoming Exam P?  I completely understand how tricky and overwhelming it can feel.  There are so many options all with different pros and cons.  Where do you even start?

This post will tell you the 7 of the most important things you need to consider when choosing your study materials for Exam P. I’m sure you’ve already thought about some of them, but you may have not realized the importance of some of the others.

You can check out different study materials and see samples of most of them at the Actuarial Bookstore.


Not all study materials are created equal.

When you’re deciding on which study materials to use for Exam P you’ll want to make sure that you use one that goes into a sufficient amount of detail.  Exam P requires that you have a deep understanding of the mathematical concepts behind the problems.  You’d have a hard time passing the exam just by memorizing everything at the surface level.  Having a deep understanding of the mathematical concepts ensures that you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to a variety of different types of questions.


There’s a fairly wide range of prices on the different Exam P study materials.  This is likely one of the first things that you thought about when comparing different study materials, especially when you’re on a budget.

Everyone has a different budget. I don’t recommend trying to pass the exam with free study materials only.  You may need to sacrifice some other things during your exam prep period in order to be able to afford the study support that will give you the best chance of passing.

Trust  me, the sacrifices you make will be well worth it when the better study materials help you to pass your exam earlier.  Some authors offer a pass guarantee that will extend your access for a certain number of months if you don’t pass.  In the Study Strategy Program, we actually pay for your next exam registration fee if you don’t pass using our coaching service.

Higher price doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a better choice.  What works for some may not work as well for others.

Online seminars tend to be more expensive than study manuals, but keep in mind that you’re typically getting an electronic seminar AND a manual when you purchase so there is additional value.

CONSIDERATION 3: Your Learning Style

How you learn best should be one of the top considerations when it comes to choosing your study material.  Some study materials are better for people that prefer to read rather than watch videos.  Some materials will put more emphasis on actually doing questions rather than just showing you how to do them.  Whether you learn best by reading, watching or doing, there are lots of study materials to fit your individual preferences.

Note: You should make sure that you get study materials that have lots of practice questions so that you can actually do a lot of questions even if “doing” isn’t your best learning style.  Getting in lots of practice is one of the most important steps in studying for Exam P (check out how much time is allocated to this in my 12 week study schedule) and just watching other people do questions in a video or in a study manual won’t prepare you well enough for the exam.

CONSIDERATION 4: Author’s Teaching Style

Each author has a different style of teaching and this comes through in the different study materials.  If your budget allows, you may even consider purchasing two different study manuals in order to have two different perspectives.  This is not necessary though.  You could just supplement your purchased study materials with free ones.

You should view samples of the author’s study materials to see if the teaching style resonates with you.  Make sure that you find the author’s explanations to be clear and that the author used lots of visual aids if that’s something that helps you.  Also make sure that the page layout is well organized and easy on the eyes since you’ll be reading it a lot!

CONSIDERATION 5: Author Responsiveness

If you have a question about a topic in the Exam P study materials that you purchase, you’ll want an author that is willing to answer your questions and will do it within a reasonable time frame.

To get a feel for the responsiveness of the author you could email the author and ask a question about their product (ask something meaningful that you’re actually wondering) and see how long it takes to get an answer.  If you don’t get one you’ll definitely want to take that into consideration when you’re making your final choice.

CONSIDERATION 6: Practice Exams Included

You need to do lots and lots of practice questions while you’re studying for Exam P.  There are tons of questions free online (I have a “Daily Exam P Practice Questions” FB group) but the more variety of questions you have available to you, the better.  Ensure that the study materials that you’re considering will give you lots of practice questions and ideally even some practice exams.

CONSIDERATION 7: Student Reviews

For the popular Exam P study materials you should be able to find reviews online by students that have already used the product.  You may be surprised by what you find (or don’t find).  Don’t assume that all study materials are good! An author doesn’t need to meet any special requirements in order to create and sell exam study materials.  Each of them has their advantages and disadvantages.  See what other students are staying about the study materials that you are considering.

TAKE ACTION: Take this list of considerations away and whichever study materials you are considering purchasing, make sure that you’re thinking about all these aspects.

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Get all my best tips on how to become a TOP actuarial candidate so that you can get your actuarial dream job.

Just add your email below.