For those of you currently preparing to take the CA1 exam on 24th September, our Senior Consultant Carolina Emmanuel (who completed all of the actuarial exams in July) has put together some tips based on her experiences of taking (and passing) the exam. She just posted these on our LinkedIn groupand we thought it would be useful to share them here as well:
For all those student actuaries out there who have CA1 fast approaching, I have the following tips that helped me pass first time:
TOP TIP: Know your acronyms! I finished all my revision 2 days before the exam and spent the last 2 days memorising about 60 acronyms.
Steps to answering questions:
- Step 1: when reading a question, identify the section of the Core Reading the question is testing.
- Step 2: choose the most suitable acronym for that section of the Core Reading.
- Step 3: application! Use the acronym(s) as a guide to prompt relevant points to make for the scenario at hand.
- Step 4: constantly re-read the question as you write your answer to make sure you are answering the question you have been asked and that you have indeed to identified the correct part of the Core Reading.
- Step 5: Write in the order of relevance for the question (not in the order of the acronym) to demonstrate to the examiner you recognise which points are most important and you'll probably have more to write on these points anyway.
- Step 6: Sense Check! You don't need to use every single part of the acronym if not applicable and you can also throw in other relevant points you think of, that aren't associated with the acronym.
- If you haven't already - start practising past papers! I would recommend at least the last six sessions. Sit down armed with a list of acronyms, read the question, choose the acronym and jot down your answers.
- I passed the paper in October 2009 (gosh that makes me feel old) - from memory they threw in a funky question on ransom insurance! That wasn't in the Core Reading, so it was a case of keeping my cool in the exam, identifying the most applicable part of the Core Reading and get creative with the question!
- Get a good night's sleep between Paper 1 and Paper 2.
CA1 can be daunting, especially if it is your first written exam after the CTs, but a combination of nailing exam technique and practising can make it fun (or at least doable)!
Take a look at my profile for the specialist papers I passed and I would be happy to share my top tips for any of the others.