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Wolfpack
February 26th 2006, 07:43 PM
I am graduating this May from NCSU with a double major in Economics and Political Science. I have been looking for what I want to do for the last couple months and have recently come across the actuarial field. Unfortunately I didn't find this field until late in my studies and have not taken related classes, I have taken Elements of Calculus (A+) and Economics and Business Statistics (A-). Now I have a few possibilities for the coming year and me trying to enter the actuarial field:

I could take FM in May; take Calc I summer and Calc II in fall, and take P in the winter. Would I be able to self study enough for P, would I have enough math background for FM to study from now till then? Would I be able to find a job without taking enough maths?

The other possibility would be to take Calc I, Accounting I and II in the summer, Calc II and Intermediate financial accounting in the fall and take FM in fall. Then take Calc III and Probability I in spring along with P in late spring of 2007.

Which would be a better plan? Thanks for the help.

Ken
February 27th 2006, 04:23 AM
I'm also an econ major. If you've taken some of the more technical econ classes, you might be prepared for exam FM, but I doubt that you have (I base this on how Econ + Poli Sci majors take the less technical classes where I am). It would be a lot of studying on your own. I don't know how fast you learn. I think there's still enough time to learn all the material in FM, if you're willing to make some sacrifices. I don't think the accounting classes would help you. If you're going to take a class, MA 105 and/or 412 might be helpful.

If your business stats class was calculus intensive, that would also be helpful. MA 416 and 421 are probably the courses that teach the material. I don't think you'd be able to find an actuarial job without an exam passed because people won't think you have enough math skills to be able to pass exams. Taking calculus I and II would probably be good for you if this is what you really want to do.

If I were in your shoes, I'd study on my own because I don't learn well in a classroom setting. Otherwise, I'd look into a different career because there's a fair amount of catching up to do. You might consider trying to get a job in underwriting and try for a move laterally after you pass an exam. If you graduate this May, will your school let you take more classes?

Wolfpack
February 27th 2006, 01:59 PM
Thanks for your response. You are correct in assuming I didn't take technical classes (I was able to finish in 4 years by covering requirements for both degrees with single classes). The reason I was taking the accounting courses was the possibility of a masters of accounting if i fail the actuary exams. My school has a continuing education program that allows you to take up to 9 hours or something per semester. I am still applying to jobs and such but if I dont get a full time offer (I am not even thinking about applying for actuary positions until i have the 2 exams because of my degree), it would give me time to take these classes and work parttime, which more than pays for living. I am kind of leaning towards the second option (going to school all next year) it would give me ample time to learn the FM-and having calc II would probably help with my math skills. Also i believe taking P at the end of my Calc III and Introduction to Probability and Distribution Theory class and maybe Long-Term Actuarial Models class will allow me to learn the basics. I too learn better on my own, and enjoy distance education classes, so maybe studying the manuals and taking these classes will allow me to catch up. I dont know if not working fulltime will be looked down on when searching for a job. Thanks again.

wat
February 27th 2006, 02:07 PM
Thanks for your response. You are correct in assuming I didn't take technical classes (I was able to finish in 4 years by covering requirements for both degrees with single classes). The reason I was taking the accounting courses was the possibility of a masters of accounting if i fail the actuary exams. My school has a continuing education program that allows you to take up to 9 hours or something per semester. I am still applying to jobs and such but if I dont get a full time offer (I am not even thinking about applying for actuary positions until i have the 2 exams because of my degree), it would give me time to take these classes and work parttime, which more than pays for living. I am kind of leaning towards the second option (going to school all next year) it would give me ample time to learn the FM-and having calc II would probably help with my math skills. Also i believe taking P at the end of my Calc III and Introduction to Probability and Distribution Theory class and maybe Long-Term Actuarial Models class will allow me to learn the basics. I too learn better on my own, and enjoy distance education classes, so maybe studying the manuals and taking these classes will allow me to catch up. I dont know if not working fulltime will be looked down on when searching for a job. Thanks again.

I can try and pitch in a few comments about studying on your own.

Since Course 1 (which is now Exam P), I've studied almost exclusively on my own for the actuarial exams - I haven't had classes geared towards actuarial exams or classes that related to the information that I was studying. The exceptions were that I'd taken introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics before I took Course 2.

Now I have 5 exams under my belt and a lot of time spent studying for these exams. If you do feel that you learn well on your own without the assistance of classes, then by all means, do so and spend the money you'd be paying for tuition on a manual or two and the required textbooks for the classes. Plus, these exams aren't very cheap - last I checked, Exam P is $175, Exam FM is ~$150, Exams M & C are $375 ($300 for full-time college students).

It's not impossible to pass actuarial exams without having the benefits of taking classes toward the exams. It puts you at a slight disadvantage, but it's up to you to overcome that advantage.

bdenyer
February 27th 2006, 03:58 PM
The way I look at your situation--though I only took exam P last Wednesday-- is that while classes are nice, it seems in reality that many people in the actuarial field rely on self-study, especially after the first couple of exams. So, in my opinion, if you want to succeed in the field, then the ability to study on your own is probably going to be important eventually, so why not give it a shot now? Keeping this in mind, I would say that if you are fairly strong in math, then you should be able to handle self study for exam P. Best of luck.