How to pass your first Actuarial Exam

Passing your first preliminary actuarial exam is a huge accomplishment. Here are the do’s and don’ts that got me over the hurdle. First the Don’ts.


  • Don’t approach the exam like you would study for a college course
  • Don’t study from the required textbook
  • With that, don’t study from the end of the textbook exercise problems
  • Don’t wing it thinking you know everything about math
  • Don’t rely exclusively on the SOA sample problems and memorize the solutions
  • Don’t start your studying two weeks before the exam
  • Don’t bring just one calculator during exam day


  • Do study from an Actuarial Exam study manual
  • Do plan out a study schedule for four to six months out
  • Do take time to learn the material and apply it to any odd situation
  • Do practice many problems. Practice makes perfect.
  • Do bring two calculators to the exam

For more do’s and don’ts along with more specific exam strategies, make sure you purchase the All Around course where I share those tips with my students.