SA1 sadness

Discussion in 'SA1' started by Geraldine, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. almost_there

    almost_there Can't stop posting

    Yes there are idiots like that in the profession who want to pull up the drawbridge as they are invested in the idea they are 'special'. They're not.
    Sweetactuarialprincess and Maxit like this.
  2. Infinity

    Infinity Ton up Member

    They are special. They can pass exams first time. A vital quality that is required in the workplace. This is why everyone has a black hole in their pension. People like this who are unable to think outside the realms of the ACTED ring binders
  3. Lewin

    Lewin Ton up Member

    Don't give up my friend.
    You passed ST1 which I personally thought is actually more difficult than SA1.Remember others will find the exam difficult too.most importantly, don't leave any questions unanswered, given that majority pass with around 60 - 62 marks.
  4. Infinity

    Infinity Ton up Member

    I did SA3 6 times. I passed but since the IFOA changed the exam system so I couldn’t finish the rest of the exams. I have been advised by several people (who might all be the same person) to give up. 82% of women leave the institute after 7 years. Perhaps it is a good idea to quit and not ruin the rest of your life. The claims of wild salaries and a 9 to 5 job are not true anyway.
  5. Sweetactuarialprincess

    Sweetactuarialprincess Very Active Member

    Interesting to note that the third marker was an average of the 2 other markers.
  6. Maxit

    Maxit Very Active Member

    Although it was an exact average on every question that was third marked, overall it came out to an average of the first two markers. Yes it was annoying not going to lie. It's my final one, I've come this far so not going to give up trying though.. Just need to keep pushing on. Hoping this sitting was my last one.
  7. Sweetactuarialprincess

    Sweetactuarialprincess Very Active Member

    This has happened to many people that have had their script marked by a 3rd marker.. It is a bit of a coincidence.
  8. Geraldine

    Geraldine Very Active Member

    Thank you Lewin! This time I managed to answer everything. The extra 15 minutes of writing time helped a lot for that purpose. However, I did find this exam harder than the previous one!

    I was kind of sad that after all the new material that was added for the new syllabus, they didn't really test us on it. Examiners seem to seriously love SII. Oh well - at least I have a really organised set of notes and summaries for summaries for summaries for next time, if need be! It would just be a matter of getting the right questions!
  9. Lewin

    Lewin Ton up Member

    What 15 extra minutes? Exam is now 3hrs 30 minutes?
  10. Calm

    Calm Ton up Member

    No it counts the writing time only. Reading time isn't included in the exam length. Went from 3h writing + 15min reading to 3h15min writing + 0min reading (except CP1 paper 2 which is 2h30min writing + 45min reading).
  11. Geraldine

    Geraldine Very Active Member

    Goodness gracious, I made it! I was in such disbelief I think I sobbed into my pillow for a whole minute in my bedroom before sharing the news with anyone. What a crazy journey! I'm so relieved it's over finally.

    Thanks to everyone who's made life easier in these forums! When I started taking the exams, I was the only actuarial employee in a small, new company and it was a long, rough road ultimately but scouring these forums helped so much!

    I just want to wish everyone who's on their journey, the best of luck!
    pjlee01, Sarah Byrne and Aladinsane like this.
  12. Viki2010

    Viki2010 Senior Member

    Geraldine, my sympathy goes to you. You are not alone...The aftermath of going through the exams is not brilliant. Was it worth this amount of your time and life, sacrificing precious years, weekends, holidays....what did you gain and what did you loose? If I could go back in time, I would have chosen a different direction in life.
  13. Viki2010

    Viki2010 Senior Member

    Infinity, this topic deserves its own section on the forum.
  14. Viki2010

    Viki2010 Senior Member

    One of my biggest concerns about the exam system is the irregular marking procedures. I've seen huge discrepancies especially in CP2 and CP3 marking practices. It makes it unfair to people to spend precious life attempting more exam sittings (sometimes additional years of exam stress) and additional fees on exams which are sometimes passed due to a fluke of being marked more accurately.
  15. Geraldine

    Geraldine Very Active Member

    Thanks Viki! I personally agree with your sentiment - knowing what I know, if I could go back in time, I would choose another path.

    What did I gain? I suppose it helped to open certain doors - I went from a severely underpaid graduate statistician to a much less underpaid actuarial employee who was just starting the exams. As I passed more exams it opened the door to job opportunities abroad, and this meant earning in stronger currencies. This helped a lot because I'm actually from Zimbabwe, and like literally millions of others, I'm depended upon to financially support family who are still in the country (which is in one giant mess and continuously in this unfathomable economic meltdown)

    What did I lose? You summed it up quite well. Given my particular circumstances, it didn't help to have studies dominate my life for such a long period - to a point where you miss out on so much time with family. Family members get ill, they pass on, you don't get that time back. You wonder whether you could have provided in a similar manner doing something else which would have also afforded you more time to be present in their lives. So really, for me, I felt caught between a rock a hard place. It was tough but it's over.
    Terran85 likes this.
  16. Viki2010

    Viki2010 Senior Member

    Congrats on your achievement!
  17. CappyLG

    CappyLG Made first post

    Hi lads. I thought I might as well check out the forum for any pointers and I saw this thread. I've done 14 papers between Apr 2010 and Apr 2014 and I've been stuck on one paper (SA1) from Sep 2014 :eek:. I've done 2 mock exams, one exam counselling and fell short of the pass mark by 4 marks 4 times, including the Sep 2019 exam session. I reckon the pass rate for the Sep 2019 exam was 34.3%. It appears very few guys opt for SA1 as a qualification route and hence the low pass rate. Nonetheless, from the several SA1 exam attempts I've done (10!) it is evident that the examiners are looking for something in particular in the SA level exams. By virtue of passing the prior 14 exams one should be technically competent so I suppose SA exams are testing something quite different other than pure technical competence. In retrospect, the papers appear to be relatively straight forward so the catch in passing ought to be in demonstrating that thing examiners are after (Which I hope I can find out) within 3 hours 15 minutes. One comment that has stuck in my mind from the mock exam marker's comments and exam counselling is 'Don't generate many points from a narrow range of points (i.e. demonstrate breadth in answers) and state the obvious'. I suppose stating the obvious in my past exam attempts might have as well been enough to close the gap in the 4 marks I badly needed. I think what might be useful for anyone struggling through the SA level exam is to understand the exam technique that is required for this level of exam otherwise it's like shooting in the dark. For those who have aced it especially after multiple attempts, I think it would be useful to document on the forum what worked for you. There should be that one thing you did differently either before the exam or in the exam or both. I hope the April 2020 exam session will be my last. I'm keen to give back to the profession after I qualify and help other students through their qualification route, through mentorship and financial support. That's the least I could do. Happy holidays.
    Aladinsane likes this.
  18. Sarah Byrne

    Sarah Byrne ActEd Tutor Staff Member

    Hi CappyLG

    The feedback you've received sounds spot on - breadth is still important, particularly when you have a question worth a lot of marks. The other common issues students have is making enough points. If you only write enough for 10 marks and the question is worth 20 marks, even if everything you write is on the markscheme you will only score 10 marks or 50%. It's really important to write enough for every question. I would still assume 1/2 mark per idea as for earlier subjects. This may not be an issue for you but may help close the gap.

    Planning answers is also really important in the SA level exams - brainstorm your ideas to help with that generation of a broad range of points. This can also help you spot a good structure for your answer. Structure will help make sure you make a range of ideas rather than getting stuck down a single route, and also reduce the risk of you making the same point more than once. Make sure each point is different and not just a re-wording of the same idea (which will only score once).

    Make sure you practice some full timed papers before the exam too - so you are confident you can write enough in the time given for the exam. Sit down for the full 3hrs 15mins and spend the appropriate time on each question so you feel what it's like to really stretch your answers as much as possible.

    I hope this helps. As I said above, it may not all apply but hopefully it's a few more ideas that might help give you those extra few marks.

    Best wishes
    CappyLG likes this.
  19. Agoodoot

    Agoodoot Made first post

    Hi CappyLG,

    I was fortunate to pass SA1 on my second attempt and would be happy to share the changes on my study approach and exam technique between my first and second attempts.

    • when doing past papers, I made sure each dot point was distinct and "just enough" to earn the 0.5 mark. That is, state the key word, add in a few words to briefly describe/explain it and then move on to the next point e.g. there is mispricing risk as premiums charged may be insufficient. As noted from the marking guidelines, each dot point is usually 1-2 lines long, so I made sure my points were short and straight to the point. If I had to explain something in detail, I tried to break it up into separate dot points for each idea to maximise the number of 0.5 marks I would get.
    • for longer style questions (e.g. worth 8 or more marks), I viewed the question from all perspectives and angles to generate a wide variety of ideas. I found the product cycle mentioned in the introductory chapter very useful. E.g. for a question asking you to describe the factors to consider for a new product/change in product design, I generated points from the perspectives of claims management, underwriting, pricing, risk management, marketing, distribution, valuations, capital, product design, experience monitoring etc. Making 2-3 different points under these sub headings will help with giving breadth in your answers
    • as always, the SA subjects are about deep understanding of the subject material. Given there are usually 2-4 questions in the paper, it is important to understand the key concepts from each topic and tailor your points to the scenario in the question. There are also common topics they like to ask in the exams, e.g. Solvency II technical provisions and SCR, PMI products etc. so make sure you fully understand the key ideas and concepts on these areas.
    Through the above changes in my exam preparation approach, I was able to improve my result by 12 marks. Hope the above helps and best of luck in your final exam!

    pjlee01, CappyLG, Admin and 1 other person like this.
  20. CappyLG

    CappyLG Made first post

    Quite solid pointers Agoodoot, thank you. Indeed, the balance is in making sure each point counts and there's breadth of points in the answer. I'm hopeful that the exam will go well.
  21. mossie

    mossie Active Member

    Curious if you both managed to pass your last one?

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