Are you someone who love taking exams? As an actuarial student, that is what you will be doing in the first few years 200-300. You have to try to take and pass the first five preliminary tests to become an actuary. And these five tests require a lot of self-discipline and determination.

I believe that determination and persistence are the key factors in helping someone to become a successful actuary in the future. I never understood the importance of these until I experienced it myself. I started taking my first actuarial exam, Exam FM/2 in 2010. Back then I believed that doing as many exam problems as possible would help me pass this exam. I spent a huge amount of time studying for this exam. I completed the whole ASM and Actex manual for this exam and I felt like I could pass it when I walked into the exam center.

Unfortunately, I failed the exam in my first sitting. I was devastated. I kept asking why and how is this possible? I was angry and sad at the same time as it was actually the first time that failed an exam. Everyone thought that I would pass the exam since I studied so hard for it. It was a really tough time for me as I felt really down and depressed. However, I realized that wallowing in your own self despair is not going to get you anywhere. I have to move on and learn from this mistake. I learnt that doing as many questions as you can before the exam is not really an effective way to pass the exam. I then decided to focus instead on the chapters that I was not very strong at as I skipped through a few of the chapters that were deemed not so important for the exam previously.

So I went registered and sat for the exam again for the second time. And guess what? I failed it again. I was shocked. I couldn’t understand what went wrong. I studied much harder than most students in my first sitting, finished all the questions in the ASM and Actex manual, followed a strict study schedule and I even focused on the chapters that I was weak at previously for my second sitting but I still failed the exam again. I was obviously sad but it also made me even more determined to pass this exam. I was determined to not make failure stop me. I registered for the exam again the next day after I received my result and started analyzing what went wrong with the previous exam.