Case Study review Spring 2012

April 2nd, 2012

The case study review for Spring 2012 is up, but I’ve been notified that there’s a problem with the Windows Media format for the second of the two videos – something went awry in processing for the site. The Flash video is definitely fine, and the Quicktime one should also be okay (given that that’s the version I upload, and the other files are generated from it).

I will be reuploading and retesting all the file formats this evening. But if you’re fine with QT or Flash, use those instead in the meantime.

Mary Pat Uncategorized

Quick Review Cards and reviewing for the exam

March 14th, 2012

You may have seen that I had re-uploaded the Quick Review Cards in the Review section. The content on the cards has not changed from earlier — there was an issue with formatting that I fixed.

But let me take this moment to explain the use of the cards — these by no means cover all possible list questions, topics, etc. What I was trying to do with these cards is help focus your review — these can help point out which readings you may need to go back to an re-review.

As we get closer to the exam, you should be spending less and less time on the topics you know well, and more time on the areas where you are weak.

I know it’s not fun to focus where you’re having difficulty, but too often I’ve seen failing exam scores come back due to highly uneven syllabus coverage. If you know something very well, you do not need to be spending your limited review time on it. I think these cards are a good way to highlight the holes in your coverage.

Mary Pat Uncategorized

Erratum: FE-C180-11, Part 2

March 13th, 2012

I received the following email:

I have a question about some of your notation for your copula example for Part 2 of the FE-C180-11 study note starting at time 11:44 on the video:

In the video you have F ( X=0 , Y=1 ) = C ( FX-1(0) , FY-1(1) ) = C ( .9 , .99 )

Would this be more appropriate if written as: F ( X=0 , Y=1 ) = F (FX-1 (.9) , FY-1 (.99) ) = C ( .9 , .99 )
Or possibly: F( X=0 , Y=1 ) = C ( FX (0) , FY (1) ) = C ( .9 , .99) [The inverses have been removed from this line].

(sorry, I can’t get the math notation better in the blog).

This is correct in that my notation was wrong in doing the copula example.

It should have been the bottom formula:

F( X=0 , Y=1 ) = C ( FX (0) , FY (1) ) = C ( .9 , .99)

Mary Pat Uncategorized

Winter Wonderland! (And Power Outage)

October 31st, 2011

I’m sitting at my local mall typing this post. The sloppy snowfall we had on Saturday knocked out all the power in my neighborhood, and specifically internet connections. It may be quite a while before my house is back online

The best way to contact me now is still via email (, and I will answer ASAP. But ASAP may be slower than usual. I’m probably not going to be able to answer emails in the wee hours of the morning (as I usually do), so please send emails as soon as you have questions.

To flag your emails, please type “TIA AFE:” at the beginning of the subject header, so I can see them right away.

Best wishes on the exam!

Mary Pat Uncategorized

Last Days Before the Exam

October 24th, 2011

Just a couple more weeks until Fall 2011 sitting of AFE. I want to point out the items in the Review section of the course:

  • Exam strategy — general strategy for approaching the exam on exam day itself
  • Video problem session — I go over one specific exam problem that a lot of people had trouble with – and talk about strategies of approaching specific problems. Making the exam strategy video more particular
  • Case study review — make sure you know what’s in the case study before exam day! Exam day should NOT be the first time you’re reading the case study
  • Old exam guide — a lot of the readings have changed over the years, so it’s not a good idea to look at these problems verbatim (and definitely not the solutions). I tried to make as close as possible a connection to new readings on the syllabus that cover old topics. Don’t focus too much on this, as some new topics, like EVT and catastrophe risk, are completely missed. (and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an EVT and/or cat risk question on this sitting)
  • Spreadsheet examples — these illustrate three specific readings, if you want to get a feel of how the math works. Obviously, these go beyond what you can do on exam day, but some of the concepts like EVT and Copulas can be difficult if you don’t have a concrete examples to look at.
  • Review cards — these are quick cards covering each reading for a quick review of the topics on the exam. You can use this to help you gauge where you’re strong and where you’re weak with respect to recall. If you are very strong on a topic, don’t spend much time in review on it. Use this time to try to shore up where you’re weak.

The best way to contact me is my gmail address:

Best wishes on the exam!

Mary Pat Uncategorized

Fall 2011 Errata

August 22nd, 2011

I will update this post as errors are found.

I made an error in my original notes for the Extreme Value Theory reading in Section 2/3. I have reuploaded the Section 2/3 notes, and the downloads for that reading (which includes the spreadsheet). The video will continue to show the error for now.

I am aware that the videos for the FSA text chapters 2-4 say “BACKGROUND”, which is not the case in the current syllabus. I am prioritizing producing videos for the new readings, and will revisit those chapters afterwards.

Mary Pat Uncategorized

Section 2/3 Schedule and Changes

August 8th, 2011

I have been running behind with getting some of the longer videos produced, so rather than force them to be put up in the current order, some of the smaller, later videos will be going up first.

There will be a second video for study note FE-C177-11 — the sections 1-3 are background, and the rest of the note is testable.

All of the videos for section 2 and 3 will be up by the end of this week.

Mary Pat Uncategorized

Audio adjustments on new videos

July 25th, 2011

I’m re-uploading the new videos from Section 1, due to overly low audio levels.

The content hasn’t changed — so if you see the icon that there’s a new video there (and you had watched it before just fine), then don’t worry about it.

If you are having trouble with the videos – the audio cuts out part of the way through, or the audio level is too high or low, or any issue – please email me ASAP: – so that I can repair the videos.


Mary Pat Uncategorized

Online study group

July 21st, 2011

Thought I’d point out this to my students — one of the members of the Actuarial Outpost is starting a google group for studying for AFE for Fall 2011.

This group is for anybody – so people there will not necessarily be students of my online seminar. If you have a question specifically about my seminar, it’s best to email me at

To join the google group, you’re going to need to have an AO login, and then send a private message to carsonch with your email address so you can be invited to the group.

Mary Pat Uncategorized

New videos and notes

July 16th, 2011

Sorry about the delays, everyone. I had to fix some computer issues (operational risk!), but it seems to be on track now.

The first few new videos are up, and I should be back on schedule by Monday, July 18 (so section 1 should be finished by then).

In addition to the new videos, with each lecture I have a PDF file for the notes that go with the lecture (that’s the green down arrow next to the lesson). When a section is complete, I will be making a single PDF that has all the notes in it, for your convenience.

If you run into any trouble, please email me at

Happy studying!

Mary Pat Uncategorized