Which Study Manual is Right for You?

by | May 6, 2017 | Exams, Pre-ASA |

If you’re just writing your first actuarial exam, it can be difficult to know which study manual you should use.  I’m here to help you figure it out!  I’m not going to tell you exactly which one to use, I’m just going to let you know the process that you should go to in order to pick the one that is right for you.

Check Out Your Options

Firstly, you’ll want to see all the options.  The actuarialbookstore.com is my favorite place to get study manuals because it is highly trusted and offers almost all products that are available.  You won’t be missing out on any options if you shop at the Actuarial Bookstore.

Next search in the product offerings for your specific exam.  There are likely going to be study manuals, online seminars, flashcards and practice exams, among other things.

Determine Your Learning Preference

Before you can decide on what study material to use, you have to decide whether or not you’d prefer to learn by watching videos or if you learn better by just reading a study manual.  This varies by person and is just a personal choice.  If you are the type of person that learns better by watching videos then you will want to look at the online seminars (they often include an electronic study manual too).  If you would prefer just to read, then check out the study manuals.

Note that the online seminars are usually quite a bit more expensive but you are (typically) getting both a study manual AND the videos so there is additional value.

Whichever option you choose, there will be a lengthy list of 6+ providers.  Deciding on which of them to use is the tough part.

View Samples

I’d recommend viewing the samples that are provided for each.  The samples give a really good indication of what you can expect to find in the whole product. If a certain company doesn’t provide any samples then I’d advise you not to purchase their product because it is too unpredictable.  You don’t know if the product will be a good fit for you.

While looking at each sample, take note of the ones that you like the style of.  Look at the page layout, the clarity of the explanations, and if you’re watching a sample video make sure that it’s easy to understand and you like the instructor’s teaching style.

For each provider, also read the descriptions provided by the Actuarial Bookstore to see exactly what is included in your package.

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Research

Once you’ve determined your top 2 or 3 options, you should do some research on the study manuals/seminars to see what other students think about them.  You don’t want to use a manual that others don’t have good reviews about.   You can do this by doing a quick search in Google, something like “NAME OF STUDY MANUAL exam P review actuarial outpost“.  A search like that will lead you directly to conversations that have happened on the actuarial outpost regarding the study manual or seminar.

If all checks out and it seems like others have used and liked the study manual or seminar that you selected, then that’s great because you’ve found your manual.

On the other hand, if others haven’t found it very useful then try your second and third options.

Personally, I’d recommend you go with a study manual or seminar and an ADAPT subscription.  I don’t think you need flashcards or separate practice exams (most study manuals and seminars include practice exams, plus ADAPT will be sufficient for other practice questions).

Let me know which study manual you’re considering in the comments and I’ll let you know what I’ve heard others say about it!

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