Tips to Qualifying for the 2019-20 MTF Challenge

Tips to Qualifying for the 2019-20 MTF Challenge

Qualifying for the 2019-20 Modeling the Future Challenge Project Phase is a feat in itself. Not ever student will have the opportunity to compete for the MTF trophy to be recognized as leading actuarial champions. Qualifying takes unique skills in statistics, probability, logic, critical thinking, and mathematical reasoning. All students that meet the requirements to qualify will be recognized with an official certificate from The Actuarial Foundation and their team will be connected with an actuary mentor to provide additional guidance in developing their research project.

So, how do you qualify for this year’s MTF Challenge? Unlike previous years, you only need to submit 1 qualifying scenario response. Earning 60% or more of the available points means you pass and qualify for the project phase. If you earn less than 60% of the points, it doesn’t mean you’re out, it just means you have to study some of the information more and can try again on the 2nd or 3rd scenario. Teams have three chances to qualify, and evaluations are done on a rolling basis, so getting the first scenario in early will help you have time to try again if needed.

Here are some additional tips to think about when starting to work on your qualifying scenario responses:

  1. Start Early and Submit Early – don’t wait until the day of the deadline (December 6th) to get your first scenario response in. Submitting your first scenario early helps in two ways: (1) if you pass, you’ll qualify early and have more time to work on your projects, and (2) if you don’t pass, you’ll have plenty of time to review the feedback and get in a 2nd or 3rd scenario response to qualify.
  2. Review basic statistics & Probability – the first hurdle on all of the scenarios is to demonstrate that you understand some of the fundamentals of statistics and probability. These are the foundations upon which you will build your research projects.
  3. Take time to think logically – much of the qualifying scenarios is about critical thinking and reasoning. Don’t rush through your answers here. Make sure to think about them and make sure they are logical. Try to reason it out in your head why you are answering the way you are. Does it make sense?
  4. Double check the data – sometimes teams will get the wrong answer because they use the wrong part of the data set, or they miss specific rows in their spreadsheet. Make sure to double check the data you’re using to answer each question.
  5. Explain your answers – our evaluation team is going to do as best we can to give you points for any question where you do the right work. However, we need to see what that work is, or have an explanation of how you got to your answer in order to give you those points. If you simply put a number down and it’s a little bit off what we have because of rounding errors, or some small mistake in the data, we won’t be able to give you the points unless you have a description of what you did to get to the number. A little explanation will go a long way in qualifying!
  6. Use the Examples – don’t forget about the examples on the MTF Challenge resources page. Take a look at both the Basic Training Scenarios and the Example Qualifying Scenarios to get some idea of the kinds of questions and answers that are expected.

Good luck to all the teams as you explore the qualifying scenarios!