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Thread: too late?

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    too late?

    Quick poll of opinions on: is it too 'late' to get started and be prepared for the Nov. exam or would I be best advised to wait until the next exam date in January or March?

    Assume that I am starting from scratch with an engineering background and have been out of school for 3 or 4 years so need some refreshing on calc topics, etc.

    I have made the leap in my mind to pursue this as an excellent option for a career change and will go into it to succeed [as many making a career change decision, I work full time so I do not have more than 2-4 hours per weekday to devote to study]. I have heard the 100hr prep per 1 hour of test time and think I would not be meeting that suggesting study time. Are there any opinions on if a little more than 2 months is a comfortable time frame to be adequately prepared if starting from 'scratch'.

    [probable study tools will be ACTEX manual, SOA 134, and TIA online seminar]

    Thank you for any and all comments.
    Last edited by Bluethunder33; September 3rd 2008 at 10:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster jonny's Avatar
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    In my opinion, the only way you could be ready for the exam in November is if you weren't working full time, and you could devote a good amount of time each day to studying. But since you're working full time, and you need to review calculus again, and you're starting from scratch with probability theory, I think you should shoot for January at the earliest.

    For me it's taken a lot of time and work to get a confident handle to the topics, since I'm working full time as well. But if you think you can make it by November, then by all means go for it, but I wouldn't advise it.

    So those are my thoughts. Good luck in your studies. Oh, by the way, I've also studied the Actex manual, and I thought it was very good.

  3. #3
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    Thank you for your input - I think that is a very good perspective and I appreciate your advice.

    Is there a major difference in the ACTEX manuals from last year to this year's versions? Specifically in how they relate to actual test - meaning has the test change from year to year enough to make the older version of the manual obsolete?

  4. #4
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    Hey,

    what dont you like about engineering that you think you will like better as an actuary?


    I am thinking about going back to school to get a masters degree in Mechanical engineering, but I am also considering studying to become an actuary. My brother is an Actuary and doing very well

  5. #5
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    Hi Keith - thanks for your question.

    Actually, its not that I do not like engineering - received my master's in materials science and engineering at the beginning of 2006. I currently do technical sales and product development in a small company. In the almost three years I have been here, I have been assigned to be the sales manager, manage production for one of our divisions, as well as wearing many other hats within the company. This is wonderful and I love the responsibility and freedom that a small company can provide. The downside is the financial restrictions that the company has - they do everything that they can for the employees but simply can't do everything. Case in point - no pay increase in the time I have been here and have had 10x the responsibility increase. There are many non-raise things that they do and it is a wonderful place to work. Recently my wife (just married in Feb. of this year) has become pregnant with our first child. This has my head spinning toward how I can earn more - short of going in and directly saying 'show me the money' to my current employer.

    Long story short - I feel that I have the skill set and work ethic to be successful in pretty much any industry. If I can be earning double what I am earning now in 5 years or less (given test passing, etc.) - the question that I keep asking myself is 'Why shouldn't I at least consider this career change?' - It doesn't make sense to not at least consider it right?

    Note: I have a cousin who I have lived with and talked to much about this - he is an FSA for a healthcare company so that is who I have been basing my observations on. He has been very helpful and is excited about his job and loves what he does.

    Didn't mean to babble on about all of that but just trying to set up my situation a little bit so you might see where my perspective is coming from. Thanks much and I would love to know what you think.

  6. #6
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
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    There are people who studied for 6 months and failed, and those who studied for 1-2 weeks and passed. (I'm not making these up) From now til exam date, about 60days. 1-2 hours per weekday, maybe a bit more on weekends? you'll have about 100-150+ hours of study time. In my opinion, that's enough to pass if you really use your time to study. Set a track, how many topics are there? how many practice exams are there? Maybe use 1/3 time on study materials, and 2/3 on practice exams. Make it so it's comfortable for you. If you pass, GOOD! you just passed P in Nov instead of Jan, 2 months ahead! If you fail? so what... now you can pass in Jan with full confident. Nothing changed since you'll be passing P in Jan anyway if you skipped Nov. Only thing is you pay the fee twice, but if you work full-time, $200 shouldn't be a problem since it may give you 2 months of extra time to study for FM. Good luck! Try your best!

  7. #7
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    Thank you for your words of encouragement - they are much appreciated.

  8. #8
    Actuary.com - Level III Poster edwinjaxfl's Avatar
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    Talking Career Change

    I see that there are a lot of us looking for a career change. My background is more electro-mechanical but I wanted to stop being a grease monkey and went to college part time until I finally got a mathematics degree. I now work for an insurance company as an underwriter but my pay is not where I need it to be yet.

    My kids are now 15, 16, and 17 years of age and it has been very hard for me to fit in my education with as much responsibility as I have with my family.

    I'm scheduled to take the exam P/1 by the end of this month and I have been studying for six months. I don't feel ready yet because I haven't been able to put as much time into studying as I would like. I may end up taking it in November.

    I do study every day and I will keep studying every day until I take (and pass) this test.

    wooofff - I didn't I had that much to get off my chest... woofff .. thanks
    Edwin

  9. #9
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    Good Luck Edwin - sounds like we are all in a similar boat.

  10. #10
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster Mel's Avatar
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    I'm pretty much in the same spot as you. I'm a mechanical engineer (graduated with an architecture degree in 2003), out of school a while, in need of a calculus refresher, etc...

    I decided to sit for the Sept 26th P/1 exam a couple of months ago. Got study materials (Actex and Guo) at the very end of July giving me exactly 8 weeks to study. I work full time with late PM/early AM teleconferences, so only getting 1-2 hours of studying some nights and none other nights. try to get 12 hours on the weekend, but sometimes fall short due to other commitments.

    do i feel ready? not sure. i'm only about 2/3 through the syllabus (general probability and univariate distributions), but have yet to start on multivariate distributions, nor have i started timing myself on practice exams, which i'm told is the most important. i'm not worried though. if i fail, there's always the next time. the SOA does not report failed exams, so you really only stand to lose the exam fee, but you'll gain a jumpstart on studying and the experience for sitting for one.

    btw - others seem to like Actex, but I don't like it at all - i think it's terrible! the Guo manual is great, and if i pass, i will attribute it to Guo - even though i think it's meant to be a supplement rather than a sole manual.

    my exam is in a couple of weeks. i'll let you know how i did starting basically from scratch as you have to, working full time and studying in just 8 weeks.

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