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  #1  
Old 06-20-2018, 08:45 AM
InfBalance InfBalance is offline
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Default Recommended Exam Order and Best Study Tools

Hello,

I recently received my ASA! Woohoo!

I'm just starting the ILA track. I know the SOA recommends the Pricing Exam prior to the Valuation exam, but my work background is more Valuation, so I figured it would be best to do the Valuation exam first. Do you guys agree?

Also, I'm curious to learn the pros and cons of the study tools out there. Which do you recommend? My learning style is to understand the material instead of just memorizing.

Thank you very much!
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:42 AM
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Eddie Smith
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Congrats on ASA! The SOA generally recommends LP, then LFV, then LRM/ERM, and that's usually the order I recommend to people (all else equal) based on experience instructing the material. More rationale on that here.

However, I see many people take and pass LFV first each sitting, so there is really nothing wrong with taking LFV first, especially if you feel extra motivated to study valuation material based on your work experience. Ultimately, most FSA exams are passed or failed in the study process itself, so do whatever it takes to stay motivated and engaged.

Focusing on learning concepts before memorization is also a very smart strategy, especially for LFV (and even more especially for the US version) because there are many recurring underlying themes across the different valuation regimes in the US. The more you can understand the elemental aspects of a net premium reserve, etc., the less you really have to memorize. Good luck, and feel free to ask me any questions you might have!
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  #3  
Old 06-20-2018, 10:37 AM
TowersBowser TowersBowser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InfBalance View Post
Hello,

I recently received my ASA! Woohoo!

I'm just starting the ILA track. I know the SOA recommends the Pricing Exam prior to the Valuation exam, but my work background is more Valuation, so I figured it would be best to do the Valuation exam first. Do you guys agree?

Also, I'm curious to learn the pros and cons of the study tools out there. Which do you recommend? My learning style is to understand the material instead of just memorizing.

Thank you very much!
If you're doing GAAP and STAT valuation for EIAs and VAs I think you're in great shape. If you're only doing STAT for life you might be at a bigger disadvantage than you think. That said Stat/GAAP val is probably a smaller portion of this exam than you think.

Congrats on ASA
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:38 AM
g_capko g_capko is offline
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Just to chime in here...
I also would typically advise taking LP first. One the one hand, LP builds a ton of product knowledge that can be used as a foundation for LFV and LRM. Also, LFV is a massive massive exam that practically speaking, could be a harsh 'intro' into the FSA exams.

From there, I am a fan of taking LRM in between the other two big exams. I'm certainly not saying that LRM is 50% of LP/LFV... but it does offer something of a study buffer and an organic way to recharge the batteries a little as you continue moving forward.

The truth is, I've seen these exams approached in just about every order with success. Ultimately, you know your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. For example, if you have a background in valuation or US GAAP and want to get LFV out of the way first... I think that's sound logic. However, if you're looking at these 3 exams with no idea, I would probably stick to LP first and then think about the order for the remaining two once LP is out of the way. Good luck!!!
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  #5  
Old 06-20-2018, 01:54 PM
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ALivelySedative ALivelySedative is offline
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Old 06-20-2018, 08:28 PM
InfBalance InfBalance is offline
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After much consideration (and ALivelySedative's deep input ), I've decided to take the ILA Pricing exam in the Fall 2018 with TIA. From the feedback I received, it seems that Pricing followed by Valuation makes sense, while there isn't much of a benefit of taking the Valuation exam first, except to finish it off. I wish everyone the best of luck in their exams! Thank you for all of your feedback!
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Old 06-20-2018, 08:41 PM
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Eddie Smith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InfBalance View Post
After much consideration (and ALivelySedative's deep input ), I've decided to take the ILA Pricing exam in the Fall 2018 with TIA. From the feedback I received, it seems that Pricing followed by Valuation makes sense, while there isn't much of a benefit of taking the Valuation exam first, except to finish it off. I wish everyone the best of luck in their exams! Thank you for all of your feedback!
Taking LP first is a smart decision, and I look forward to helping you!

One other argument for taking LP first that I keep forgetting to mention... this is the last syllabus cycle under the name "Life Pricing" (fall 2018 / spring 2019), so if you subscribe to the theory that the syllabus could change more when they rename LP to "Product Management" in fall 2019, then it might make sense to take LP now so you have 2 cracks at it before that change.

LFV's last syllabus cycle under its current name will be spring/fall 2019, and it will be renamed to "Financial Management" in spring 2020. Therefore, there's a bit more time left for the current LFV exam.

It is impossible to know how much the syllabi might change when they rename the exams, but you can get one-to-one credit for each future exam if you pass the current version now.

I summarized these changes in a blog post a while back, and you can also go straight to the source on the SOA's site.

If anyone has any other questions related to this (as well as the 2022 deadline for finishing your FSA before the new pre-ASA requirements retroactively kick in), please don't hesitate to contact me.
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