Study Tips


How do you prepare for the exam?
Do you make your own notes? Create summaries? How do you memorize lists and concepts?

Feel free to post examples


I mostly read the source materials and made notes on each reading. After that, I went back through and organized the content by learning objective, then by topic (i.e. grouping all the VaR readings together, all of the credit risk readings together, etc.) - then I organized and compiled my flashcards and took it from there. I thought that was the best way to tie up loose ends and bring the material from different readings together into a cohesive “blob” of information. The Cohesive Blobs would be a good band name.


My strategy was similar to davidwpg. One time through the source reading to take notes, then organizing the notes by learning objective/topic.

The FSA exams emphasize concepts over detailed memorization, so it’s important to tie things back to the syllabus and make connections between readings.

I outlined my note-taking method and template here if you’re interested:


I would go see The Cohesive Blobs :slight_smile:

Agreed with what has been said above, particularly about how concepts are king. Memorization alone won’t cut it, even if you could memorize every letter of every reading.

After each reading, I think about how I would explain it to someone who is not an actuary. That should be the test of if you understand it well - can you put it into your own words well enough that someone else can understand it? Then, you should go ahead and verbalize it to engage another part of your brain. My dogs know ALL ABOUT risk management! With this higher-level concept based approach, it gets easier to see the connections between the readings.


Completely agree - this was one of my favorite methods for FSA exams. Love the idea of teaching to your dog!


Here is an article on spaced active recall:

A powerful way to improve learning and memory

(Back when I was still writing exams, I called it “accumulating review” - continually (each week or two), doing a short active recall of key concepts that I had already read about really built my memorization for exams. It was night and day for me when I switched to this method.

Later in life, I got a degree in psychology/sport psych and used this method to study effectively -> 2 profs later asked me not to study as well as I was having too big of an impact on the grades curve – some further proof that this method really works!)

My favorite line in the conclusions of this article is “retrieval is a learning event”.