Author Archive

Practice exams, and other updates

November 24th, 2007

We’ve added a 4th practice exam (see part E).  Unfortunately problems 9 and 10 were wrong in the original version.  We are working on putting up corrected versions, but the correct answers are .11 for #9 and .036 for #10.

The SOA has also increased the number of sample problems in the 2008 syllabus: see for the updated syllabus and links.  There are 3 new problems, and we are also adding copies of them with solutions in Part E.


More discrete problems

September 16th, 2007

I’ve added a collection of general problems on discrete probability from some old Course 110 exams (Course 110 was the probability exam two syllabus changes ago). These problems won’t go up on the main page until I am done with the solutions, and I often find some minor typos when working on the solutions, but here is a draft if you want to work on them now: Discrete Problems. For many of these problems, I have a copy of the solutions and not the original exam, so the questions are my attempt to reconstruct the original problem.


Recommended schedules

September 13th, 2007

I’ve made a recommended study schedule, as well as a shortened version that is a couple weeks shorter, and also written some general tips about using the seminar. These will be up on the main webpage shortly, but in the mean time, here are the the files for both the Condensed Schedule and the Standard Schedule, as well as an FAQ.


Update schedule

August 29th, 2007

Now that the first sitting of the exam has come and gone, it is time to start getting ready for the November exam.  The bulk of the content of the seminar is remaining the same, but I will be adding more practice problems and exams, and going into more detail on a couple of topics.  In order to let you know what the changes are, I will be making roughly weekly blog updates with what is new.  I will mostly be adding stuff on weekends, and so I am going to try to make the blog updates on Sundays.

This coming weekend (Labor Day weekend), I am going to add a revised schedule for the November exam, plus some general tips for how to get the most out of the seminar.  You should always feel free to e-mail me with questions–the more interactive you make the seminar, the more you will get out of it.


Question 124 on SOA “123″

August 14th, 2007

The set of old exam problems formerly known as the SOA 123 now has 124 problems (although question 124 was only added on some copies of it, one of which is )  It seems a little curious that they would add exactly one extra question, so I recommend making sure that you know how to do this one.

I have recently increased the number of review lessons, and have included a solution to the new sample problem in lesson E.1.5.  I’ve also added alternate solutions to questions 14 and 21 of Practice Exam #2.


Reordering some lessons

June 19th, 2007

I have switched the order of sections C.3 and C.4. There are a couple of reasons for this: First, the distributions in what is becoming C.3 (the uniform, exponential, and gamma) are heavily tested on the exam and I want to move up this important section; Second, some of the material in the new C.3 is useful in the problems for the new C.4, while the opposite isn’t true. In addition, I am adding a subsection on the uniform distribution to the new C.3. These changes went through late last night (6/20).  I’ve checked most of the videos to make sure that they are in the right place, but if you find something out of order let me know.


Questions, errata, and all that

June 13th, 2007

As you have probably noticed, there are a lot of advantages of on online video seminar compared to a traditional classroom. At the same time, there are also a lot of disadvantages. In a classroom, I can see your reactions and use that to find out when people are confused. I can’t do that online, so you need to be more aggressive about asking me questions. In a classroom you can also benefit from other people’s questions, but it is harder to do that online when you can’t hear each others questions. One way that I am trying to overcome that problem is to update the files in response to your questions. For example, I added some alternate solutions to A.4 # 4 in response to a question about the problem.

I am also correcting mistakes as people point them out to me. This means that if you find a mistake in a .pdf file, then I probably don’t yet know about it. Please let me know about these mistakes as you find them even if they seem minor to you so that I can fix them. The most important corrections will be included in the errata page.

As a final note, don’t forget that the solutions to the problems are available on our alternate sites tiavideos1 and tiavideos2.


Important websites for you to know about

June 13th, 2007

The SOA and CAS have created, which has a lot of basic information about the exam that you should know about.  In particular, it includes the exam rules.  You should also know about this study note that was written for the exam.  The study note is the only part of the syllabus that is labeled as “required” reading, as all of the text books on the syllabus are only recommended, so I think it is important that you read it.  The exam writers always ask some questions that are on material in this study note that are not found in most of the other readings (such as the coefficient of variation).  I will try to point these out during the lessons, but it is still worth looking at the source.


Calculus problems

June 1st, 2007

Practice problems and solutions are up for the one dimensional calculus problems, as well as the subsection about geometric series and the exponential series.  The practice problems for Parts C and D are often relatively calculus heavy, so there will be plenty more chances for you to use calculus. Still, it is fairly easy for me to make more calculus problems, so if you want more, let me know.

Finally, I recommend that everyone look at the lesson on integration by parts regardless of whether or not you are comfortable with the technique. Integrals like x^2 e^{-3x} come up a lot on the exam, and there are some tricks for computing that integral that you might not have seen before.

Calculus, Problems

What is thy name?

June 1st, 2007

A few of you have been overly formal when sending me questions and addressed me as either Mr. or Dr. Revelle. This makes me feel old, so despite my thinning hair I would rather be called either Dave or David.