How to start studying for your first actuarial exam

Writing your first actuarial exam soon?

When you’ve never written one before, it’s a bit tricky figuring out how to get started…

Soooo…in this post, I’ll be breaking down the steps that you need to take so that you’re fully prepared by exam day!

First things first…when is exam day?

Step # 1: Decide when you’ll write your exam

To figure out when you actually CAN write your exam, Google “Exam P dates” or “Exam FM dates” for the most current schedule.

For Exam P, you can write in

  • January
  • March
  • May
  • July
  • September
  • November

For Exam FM, you can write in

  • February
  • April
  • June
  • August
  • October
  • December

Usually I recommend at LEAST 3 months of studying but that means you’ll have to study for 4-5 hours per day most likely.

4-5 months it the ideal range, depending on how much time per day you’re able to dedicate to studying.

CBT (Computer based testing) is offered in most areas but if it is not offered near you then you’ll have to do the written paper exam.

You can find out which areas offer a written paper and pencil exam here.

If your city isn’t on that list, you can make sure that there is a test center in your area by clicking “locate a test center” here.

Even though you’ve decided on your exam date, you probably don’t want to register yet!

I usually recommend that my Study Strategy Program members wait until the last week before the registration deadline to sign up.

That way, we can assess whether or not we both feel they’ll be ready for exam day.

If not, they delay it and get in an extra couple of months to study.

You should do the same thing!

Step # 2: Map out your study schedule

It usually takes about 3-4 hours per day to study if you start 4 months in advance (that’s if you’re using the ‘trial and error approach’ to studying).

Time management is one of the most important factors to get right while you’re studying!

I’ve got a sample 14 week study schedule here for Exam P and here for Exam FMYou should download that!

I know this is your first exam and trying to figure out the right way to study is tricky.  You want to pass the first time, right?!

If you’re interested, check out my Study Strategy Program where I show you step-by-step how to prepare properly. 🙂

Step # 3: Pick your study materials

If you’re writing Exam P, you’ll definitely want to refer to this post about my top Exam P study guide recommendations.

You may also want to consider a a 30 day subscription to ADAPT in your last month of studying.

ADAPT is a great resource for tons of practice questions.  Find out more about ADAPT in this post.

But it’s definitely not necessary.

Many members of my Study Strategy Program have gone on to pass without using it.

You’ll also want to get in on my Daily Exam Questions Facebook Groups for Exam P here and Exam FM here.

Step # 4: Start studying!

This is the most difficult and time consuming part!

Pace yourself and make sure you stick to the study schedule that you have set.

Don’t let life get in the way!

Choose your priorities wisely during this time so that you’re not overloaded with things to do, and then putting studying on the back burner.

Step # 5: Register for your exam

Registration usually closes about 1.5 months before the exam period.

Like I said in a previous step, I recommend you wait until close to the deadline to register.

That way, you can assess how ready you are and only register if you feel you’ll be ready!

You don’t get your money back if you decide not to write!!

You can register here for Exam P and here for Exam FM.

Note that there are TWO steps you need to take to register for CBT.

First, you’ll need to register for the exam through the SOA.

You can do that by going to “MMMM YYYY Exam X Online Registration – CBT – OPEN” on the registration page that I linked to above.

Once you’ve registered with the SOA, you will get an email a couple days later from Prometric (the company that administers the CBT exams).

You’ll pick your exam date and test center through the Prometric website.

Good luck on your exam & if you’d like me to send you tons of awesome studying tips & advice… sign up below!

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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.