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Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the question below to expand it and see the answer.

General

Do you help with exams other than P and FM?

Yes we do! We have helped past members with Exam IFM as well. However there are some things to note:

  • We do not have a Math Q&A Forum for Exams other than P and FM
  • You must start studying at least 18 weeks before the start of the exam window to qualify for the pass guarantee
  • The pass guarantee will be $350 instead of $250 for Exam IFM

We have also helped a few members with Exam STAM, LTAM and PA in the past, but we do not have as much experience as we do for the first 3 exams. There is also no Math Q&A Forum for these exams as well as no pass guarantee.

Do you help with IFoA/CAS/other exams too?

No, we do not provide support for IFoA exams or CAS exams beyond the first 3.

Is Brea available for a quick phone call?

No, unfortunately Brea does not have the capacity for personal phone calls at this time. If you have any questions not found on this FAQ page, please send us an email at support@etchedactuarial.com and our team will be happy to assist!

I emailed support and never received a response! When should I expect a reply?

We try our best to respond to emails within 24 hours, but there may be days where we’re overwhelmed with emails or need to double check with another department based on the inquiry. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours, feel free to reply back or send us another email!

What do I get in the Study Strategy Program that is different from other programs?

In the Study Strategy Program you get the accountability and guidance needed to prepare for the exams. We do two weekly check-ins and performance tracking to make sure that you’re on track and making the best use of your time at every stage.

You’ll get a personalized schedule that’s updated as you go to ensure you’re focusing on the most important task for you each day. You’ll also get answers to all your math questions (big or small) within 24 hours.

Additionally, you’ll get a $250 Pass Guarantee Bonus if you sign up in time, remain an active and paying member, and stay within 7 days of your schedule.

When should I join the Study Strategy Program?

This depends on how much time you can dedicate to studying each day. If you can spend 3 hours a day for exam preparation, we suggest joining at least 14 weeks before the exam window opens. This will also allow you to qualify for the pass guarantee -see pass guarantee section for more information.

If you need more flexibility or want to study less hours each day, it would be a good idea to start earlier.

What level of math do I need for the exams?

For Exam P, you will need to know concepts taught in Calculus III (this is typically a 2nd or 3rd year course in university). Here are some free resources you can use to brush up your calculus or learn calculus before starting. 

For Exam FM, there is not a heavy reliance on advanced calculus like Exam P. However, you should still have a good fundamental understanding of algebra and Calculus I.

How much time do I have to study each day?

For Exam P and FM, we estimate around 3 hours a day if you start preparing at least 14 weeks before the exam window opens.

For Exam IFM, we estimate around 3 hours a day if you start preparing at least 18 weeks before the exam window opens.

Discounts/Promotions

Are there discounts for students/international members?

Unfortunately no, we don’t have special discounts at this time. Most of our members are students or international members and we don’t have the capacity to give discounts to every member!

Is there a free trial?

There is no free trial. But if you sign up and don’t feel satisfied with the program, we offer a money-back guarantee within 14 days.

Billing/Cancellation

What is the cancellation policy? Can I still get a refund after the trial period?

To cancel or pause your membership, please fill out the cancellation request form here. We do not offer a refund after the 14 day period.

You can find our cancellation and refund policy here.

How do I change my payment information?

You can change your payment information here.

Can I pause my membership?

You will only be able to pause your membership if you have a 6-month membership, and you can do so by filling out the cancellation request form here.

Please note, however, that the Study Strategy Program is ending this year so be sure to use your membership before then!

SSP vs AAC

What's the difference between the Study Strategy Program and the Actuary Accelerator Community?

The Study Strategy Program is focused on helping you prepare for actuarial exams. In the program, we design a study strategy based on your situation and preference, and we will be closely monitoring your progress to make any necessary adjustments along the way. You’ll get two weekly accountability check-ins from the team and performance tracking from the team to identify gaps in your learning and adjust your plan based on these factors.

We also offer the pass guarantee in the Study Strategy Program if you join 14 weeks (for Exams P and FM) before the exam windows open for your intended exam period, and don’t fall more than 7 days behind schedule during your study period. We help members with P, FM and IFM in this program, but it’ll only be available up to the end of this year (we will be accepting members only until August 27, 2021). More details about the program can be found on this page

On the other hand, the Actuary Accelerator Community helps you build the skills and portfolio to prepare for an actuarial career. There are lots of resources like Excel and VBA training, a Python course and insurance tutorials to help you gain technical skills and knowledge. Additionally, there are courses to help build your resume and expand your network for job applications.

There are lots of other resources, and we are constantly adding new things to help members feel more confident in transitioning into a full time actuarial position. This is a community for aspiring actuaries where we host challenges, encourage each other and have fun!  Learn more about the AAC here

Should I sign up for both the SSP and AAC at the same time?

You can absolutely sign up for both if you have sufficient time to utilize the resources! 

Can I be in the AAC Warrior Group as well as the SSP?

You can be in both the Study Strategy Program and the AAC Warrior Group, but it’s definitely not necessary! In the Warrior Group you’ll be using resources available in the AAC, whereas the Study Strategy Program will be based on the study material you choose – they do not directly correlate with each other so you might need to jump around a bit if you’re doing both programs at the same time. 

Unlike the Study Strategy Program, the Warrior Group is a set cohort with a standardized start date. If you want to be in the next Warrior Group (January Exam P), sign up for the waitlist here.

Study Material

Are study materials included in the Study Strategy Program?

No, study materials are not included. We encourage members to choose their own study materials because this is a personalized strategy that works best when you choose a resource that best suits your learning style.

Which study materials do you recommend?

You can find our recommended study materials here: 

We strongly recommend taking a look at the sample video(s)/text(s) to see if it’s right for you!

Is _____ edition of the manual okay?

If possible, we always recommend getting the most recent editions.  But specifically there have been changes to the Exam FM curriculum in 2017 and 2019, respectively, so please make sure the publishing date of your manual is after the changes.

I have two study materials, can I be assigned both sections in my daily goals?

Unfortunately not. The order and sections are split differently depending on the study material, so there is no clear link between two manuals. We suggest using one as your primary manual (we’ll use this to create your study strategy), and use your secondary one as reference for topics that you want more clarification on.

I have already taken a university course on the topic, do I still need to purchase study materials?

Yes, we strongly recommend purchasing a manual even if you’ve already taken courses on the topics. University or college courses may not cover the topics in enough detail or skip important topics that could possibly show up on the exam. By using a manual designed for the exams, you can ensure that you’re covering all testable material and learning them in the context that they’re tested in.

Pass Guarantee

How does the pass guarantee work?

If you satisfy all the requirements to qualify for the pass guarantee, and you are not successful on exam day, the $250 exam registration fee ($350 for Exam IFM) for your next attempt will be 100% covered. The only requirements are:

  • You start studying 14 weeks in before the first day of the exam window (18 weeks for Exam IFM)
  • You don’t fall more than 7 days behind schedule.
  • You remain a member until your exam date.
  • You take your exam on the day you register for it.

 

Can I study for two exams at the same time and get the pass guarantee for both?

No, you will not qualify for the pass guarantee if you’re studying for two exams at the same time. We do not recommend studying for more than one exam at a time. It’s better to be 100% prepared for one exam than 50% prepared for each of the two exams you’re studying for! 

I missed the pass guarantee deadline! Do I qualify for the pass guarantee if I choose an exam date at the end of the exam window? It’s still 14 weeks of studying!

No, we have a strict pass guarantee deadline. This is because we cannot guarantee that you’ll be able to register for a date at the end of the exam window. We also recommend registering closer to the registration deadline, so that we can evaluate your performance and discuss expectations with you beforehand.

Can I move my exam to the next sitting? Will I still qualify for the pass guarantee?

Yes, you can! We understand that sometimes life gets in the way, so we can definitely help you readjust and slow down the pace if needed. You’ll qualify for the pass guarantee if you still meet all the requirements. You can confirm with us by sending us an email! 

Will I have to remain a member of the Study Strategy Program until my exam date to qualify for the pass guarantee?

Yes, you do have to remain a member until your exam to qualify for the pass guarantee.

I failed my exam! Do I have to continue in the Study Strategy Program in order to redeem my pass guarantee?

No, you do not have to continue in the program. Just forward your registration confirmation email to us when you register for your next sitting, and we’ll reimburse you the $250 ($350 for Exam IFM).

How do I redeem my pass guarantee?

You can redeem your pass guarantee by forwarding your registration confirmation email to us when you register for your next sitting, and we’ll reimburse you the $250 ($350 for Exam IFM).

Structure of the SSP

Is this an online course? Will there be live tutoring/studying sessions?

This is not an online course, and there will not be live sessions. All the tasks can be completed on your own time. We’ll be checking in with you twice a week to make sure that you’re still on track and make adjustments to your schedule based on your progress and performance.

How do check-ins work? Can I opt out of them?

Check-ins occur every Monday and Thursday. Our team will look at your daily goals and tracking tab of your study strategy workbook to evaluate your progress and performance. We’ll make suggestions and touch base with you if we see that you’re falling behind or not meeting target goals.

You can opt out of them, but we will not be able to offer the pass guarantee if you do so.

Is there a formula sheet?

You won’t get a formula sheet on the exam, Learn more about that in this post.

However for your own preparation, you can download formula sheets from Coaching Actuaries here.

Personalized Workbook

Is my Daily Goals schedule final?

No, the Study Strategy Program is supposed to be personalized for you so we can definitely make changes depending on your circumstances. Just email us if you have any schedule adjustment requests and we will try our best to accommodate them! 

How do I use the sub-section difficulty tracking tab?

As you go through each section, use the dropdown menu to record the difficulty of the section. This will only be used for your personal reference, so that you know which sections to focus on for review days.

My schedule says to do 5 questions at the end of each section. Do I just pick any 5 random questions in my manual? What if I have Coaching Actuaries?

Yes, pick 5 random questions at the end of each section. If you have Coaching Actuaries, just follow through and complete the questions that are included in each subsection.

I would like to do more practice questions, can I do all of them instead of choosing 5 randomly?

You don’t have to do more questions at this time. Don’t worry about not getting enough practice, because we’ll be doing A LOT of practice problems in the next phase of your study strategy!

What do I do on review days?

On review days you can choose to do what you think will be the most helpful for you. You can review sections that you found the most difficult based on your difficulty tracking tab, reattempt problems you got wrong or anything that will be beneficial for you.

Question Blocks

Where can I have the question and solution for the question blocks?

You can find the questions and solutions in your “Important Links” tab under the links SOA online questions and SOA online solutions.

What happens if I perform under expectations for my question blocks?

We will assign detailed solutions for you based on your performance on the question blocks. Whenever we assign detailed solutions, we will send you an email to notify you.

Should I time myself for the question blocks? How long should it take me to get through each question block?

You do not have to time yourself for the question blocks! You will have ample amount of chances to learn how to pace yourself once you start taking practice exams.

There’s no right or wrong answer for how much time you should take to get through each question block.

 

How come not every question in the QBs has a video solution?

Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Business School only filmed video solutions for some of the SOA online questions. We have linked all of the ones available to us. 

If you have a question regarding any of the written detailed solutions, you can also post it on our Q&A forum!

 

Detailed Solutions

Where do I send the detailed solutions?

Please send the detailed solutions to our email at support@etchedactuarial.com. Make sure to let us know which question blocks you’re completing the detailed solutions for.

How detailed should I be?

Pretend that you’re explaining the problem to a friend that’s not preparing for the exam. Provide as much detail as they would need to understand the solution.

What is the point of writing detailed solutions?

Writing detailed solutions is a great way for you to review your wrongs and make sure that you fully understand the solutions before moving forward. Like Einstein said,  “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Plus, you can go over these detailed solutions whenever you have time to review!

 

Should I type my solutions or write them?

Do what works best for you! Just make sure that the solutions are detailed and legible.

Practice Exams/Resources

How do I get the TIA practice exams? Will they be sent to me?

You can get the TIA practice exams by going to their website. There is a link in your the ‘Important Links’ tab of your study strategy or use the links below: 

Click the green [Free Sample Exam] button and that’ll take you to sign up for an account to get access.

Where can I find the FINAN exams?

Go to the ‘Important Links’ tab of your study strategy, there should be a link called Finan Free Study Manual.

How do I get the free GOAL trial?

There is a link in the ‘Important Links’ tab of your study strategy called GOAL – Free 2 day trial. Add the item to your cart, and fill in all the required information to proceed. Please note that GOAL has since changed their free trial to 24 hours only.

The SOA online practice exam doesn’t save past exams, how do I review my wrongs?

Take screenshots of the questions to save them for review.

What’s the point of these SOA exams? I already did these problems in the question blocks

We know that you have completed these problems in the question block stage of your studies however, these SOA exams are timed. This is a great way for you to learn how to pace yourself without the added pressure of attempting new practice problems that you’ve never seen before. 

Also, you went over so many SOA problems in the question blocks so chances are, you won’t even remember how to solve some of these problems!

Are the SOA questions from past exams?

Yes, they are taken from past exams.

I’m not doing well on my practice exams, should I be worried?

That depends on how much time you have left until exam day! If you’re worried about your performance, email us! we will evaluate your progress and lay out a plan for you to hopefully get over these hurdles and score even higher on your upcoming practice exams.

ADAPT

Do I have to purchase ADAPT? Is it worth it?

We absolutely think that ADAPT is worth it! ADAPT is a great way for you to gain exposure to a different variety of questions. It’s also a great tool for gauging how well you’ll perform on exam date. We have found that members who consistently score 80%+ on Level 6 exams by exam date have a great chance at passing.

It’s completely fine if you decide not to get ADAPT as well. We understand that not everyone might be able to afford it. We can continue to use other sources but may have to start repeating some exams you’ve already done. We just want you to know that ADAPT would provide additional practice problems for your last month since you will probably be running low on new questions as your exam day gets closer.

When should I get ADAPT?

We recommend purchasing ADAPT at least 30 days before your exam date.

What level should I be at on ADAPT?

The real exam will be around a Level 4-5. We aim to “over-prepare” our members by having them consistently score above 80% on Level 6 exams by exam day.

I’m struggling to get passed Level _____ on ADAPT, what can I do to improve?

Email us and we will schedule a few review days for you to go over any topics you might be struggling with! During the review days, we recommend fully reviewing the topic as well as taking a 5-10 question quiz on each topic.

What ADAPT level is the real exam?

The real exam will be between Level 4-5.

Exam Registration

When should I register for my exam?

The week before your exam registration deadline, Brea will send you a registration advice email. In the email she will detail how much time she recommend you to study every day until the day of your exam.

If you find her recommendation feasible, then you can go ahead and register for her exam! If not, then we can adjust your schedule to aim for the next exam sitting instead. We recommend waiting for this registration email from Brea before registering for your exam. 

How do I register for my exam?

Register your exam on the SOA website. For more detailed instructions, see the video in the ‘Important Links’ tab of your study strategy titled How to register for your exam.

Where do I go to register for my exam?

On the SOA website here.

I’ve registered for my exam but there are no seats available through Prometric! What should I do?

Keep checking! We recommend scheduling time to check for appointments at different intervals throughout the day. Just be persistent and keep refreshing the page! Appointments will start to pop up as people cancel their exams.

If your exam month is nearing and you still can’t find a seat then we suggest that you give SOA a call. 

Can I change my exam date after I’ve already registered?

You can change your exam date for free if it’s within the same exam window. 

SOA does charge a small fee to change your exam to another exam window or to cancel your current exam date. However, they have been really lenient due to the pandemic so we recommend you call or email them to ask if they can waive the fee. 

 

Can I take the exam at home?

No, exams MUST be done at an approved testing center.

Math Help

I have trouble understanding a specific topic, where can I get help?

You can post your questions in the Math Q&A Forum for extra help on specific topics.

Can you help me with this math question?

Please post your questions in the Math Q&A Forum so our math experts can help you further!

I understand the concepts and solutions when I’m reviewing them, but I can’t seem to do the questions correctly. What should I do?

These questions are not meant to be easy and it’s perfectly okay to get some questions wrong! The key is to make sure that you FULLY understand the solutions before moving on. We recommend coming back on a different day, with a fresh pair of eyes, and attempting these same questions again. 

 

Do you offer one-on-one tutoring?

We do not offer one-on-one tutoring as a part of the Study Strategy Program, but we can refer you to one of our amazing tutors if you’re interested in additional help. 

The 1 hour tutoring session costs $40 and will take place over Zoom. Please email us if you’re interested and we will help get you in contact with our tutors!

How do I use the Q&A forum?

Navigate to the Q&A Forum and choose the source of your question. Click the blue “Ask a question” button, and fill in the inputs. 

To prevent redundancy, do a quick search through the Forum before posting your question to see if it’s already been asked. And to help our math experts help you better, try to explain what you’ve already tried and what part of the solution doesn’t make sense to you. 

Discontinuation

Why is the Study Strategy Program being discontinued?

Our member base for the Study Strategy Program has grown exponentially over the past few years. Unfortunately, we no longer have the capacity to support the number of members in the Study Strategy Program.

Moving forward, we will focus on providing value for aspiring actuaries in the Actuary Accelerator Community. We know that we will be able to help even more aspiring actuaries through the Actuary Accelerator Community.

Can the Study Strategy Program help me with an exam I’m taking in 2022?

Yes, we can help you start preparing for an exam that you’re taking in 2022. But we will only be able to support you until the end of December 2021 (and you must sign up and join the program before August 27, 2021).

Will you be offering a similar program in the future?

We currently do not have plans to offer a program like the SSP in the future. However, we will be providing less personalized exam help through the AAC Warrior Groups.

Is the Actuary Accelerator Community ending as well?

The AAC will not be ending! We are actually planning to expand the AAC moving forward, and we’ll continue to add new resources to help aspiring actuaries!

If you have any other questions about the program, I’d be happy to answer them.  Just ask your question here and I’ll get back to you soon via email.