Before you start studying for actuarial examinations you need to familiarize yourself with the following:Fundamental Rule for Passing Actuarial Examinations|
You should greet every problem you see when you are taking the exam with these words: “Been there, done that.”I will refer to this Fundamental Rule as the BTDT Rule. If you do not follow the BTDT Rule,neither this manual, nor any book, nor any tutorial, will be of much use to you. And I do want tohelp you, so I must beg you to follow the BTDT Rule. Allow me now to explain its meaning.If you are surprised by any problem on the exam, you are likely to miss that problem. Yet thedifference between a 5 and a 6 is one problem. This “surprise” problem has great marginal value.There is simply not enough time to think on the exam. Thinking is always the last resort on an actuarial exam. You may not have seen this very problem before, but you must have seen a problem like it before. If you have not, you are not prepared. If you have not thoroughly studied all topics covered on the exam you are taking, you must have subconsciously wished to spend more time studying … a half a year’s, or even a year’s worth, more. But, clearly, the biggest reward for passing an actuarial examination is not having to take it again. By spending extra hours, days, or even weeks, studying and memorizing all topics covered on the exam, you are saving yourself possibly as much as a year’s worth of your life. Getting a return of one year on an investment of one day is better than anything you will ever make on Wall Street, or even lotteries (unearned wealth is destructive, thus objects called “lottery winnings” are smaller than they appear). Please study thoroughly, without skipping any topic or any kind of a problem. To paraphrase my favorite quote from Ayn Rand: for zat, you will be very grateful to yourself.
I had once seen Harrison Ford being asked what he answers to people who tell him: “May the Force be with you!”? He said: “Force Yourself!” That’s what you need to do. You have much more will than you assume, so go make yourself study.
Bloomington, Illinois, September 2004