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Irish Blues
March 22nd 2006, 02:59 PM
Frequently someone says, “I’m in (insert field name here) and I want to be an actuary. I got a degree in (insert degree program here) and I want to know if it’s possible to get into the actuarial field. How do I get started?” So I wrote this to try and address some of the commonly-asked questions I see here. As the list of commonly asked questions grows, I'll add to this list.

1. "I’m currently working in computer science, accounting, biology, ceiling tile counting, …."
It doesn’t matter what field you’re in now. You must understand what an actuary does before you ever think about the switch and be committed to staying in the field once you get in. (Roughly 70% of those who start down the actuarial career path drop out before earning the FSA or FCAS designation - employers want you to be one of those 30% who make it!) The best place to get most questions answered (besides here!) is www.beanactuary.com – it’s a great site with information targeted at people like you aren’t in the actuarial profession but are thinking about it.

2. "How do I get started?"
Assuming you don’t have previous experience as an actuary, pass an exam. Even better, pass two exams. Your chances of getting started are greatly enhanced if you’ve taken and passed an exam – it shows you’re not just giving lip service about being an actuary, you’re actually taking steps toward getting into the field. To learn more about the exams, go to www.beanactuary.com and click on "Actuarial Exams".

In addition, apply early and apply often. Every job you don't apply for is one you're guaranteed not to get. Insurance companies and consulting firms are almost always looking for new actuaries - go to their web site and submit your application. Use a recruiter. Talk to someone you know who's already in the field. The more things you do to land a job, the better your chances are of getting one.

If you can get an internship somewhere, that's fantastic - but it's not something that will make or break your chances of getting into the field. (I didn't have an internship and someone hired me; if I got hired, there's hope for everyone else.)

3. "What courses should I take?"
While the exact list is subjective and will vary from person to person, here’s a good starting list:
-- Calculus (through Calculus III)
-- Linear algebra (if you’re majoring in math, you’ll have to have this anyway)
-- An calculus-based introductory class in probability and statistics
-- An advanced class in probability and statistics (regression, time series, analysis of variance are great topics to cover)
-- Economics (micro and macro – this should be 2 separate classes)
-- Interest theory (if your college offers this class)
-- Finance
-- At least 1 computer science class, preferably 2 classes (emphasis on programming – it doesn’t matter what language)
-- Public speaking (perhaps the most overlooked class on everyone’s list)
-- At least one technical writing class (I’m not talking English 101 or English 102)

4. "Where is a good college to go for actuarial science?"
In the big picture, where you go to college and get your degree isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you graduated with a degree and passed exams. I graduated from SIU-Carbondale (which has no actuarial science program) and found a job in the actuarial field. Many actuaries got degrees in fields other than actuarial science (the most common is math, but I know people who are actuaries who got their degree in computer science, history, English, and even physics) so if you’re in college going for a chemistry degree and then realize you want to be an actuary, don’t think that your degree will lock you out of the profession.

However, for those who want to go to a university with a degree program in actuarial science, this list of colleges and universities (http://www.soa.org/ccm/content/exams-education-jobs/academic-relations/actuarial-college-listings/undergraduate-advanced/) covers at least the first 2 exams plus some material on the 3rd and 4th exam; if you're going to college to get an actuarial science degree, that would be the list to start with. I won't (and don't) give recommendations for any specific school, IMO go to the one nearest you unless you've got a great reason to go halfway across the country to a different school.

5. "Should I go into life, health, pension or P&C?"
If you don't have a preference for one, don't worry about it - get into the field first. If you *do* have a preference, then that's the one you should try to work to eventually. I don't know that there's a "good" choice or a "bad" choice - I'm in P&C and I wouldn't go into another line if I could help it, while there are others who would fight going into P&C down to their last breath.

6. "I'm getting a degree in ...."
To a point, it doesn't matter what you get your degree in (see #4 above). It's more helpful if it's in math, economics, or business, but if it's in computer science it's not a problem. Even if it's zoology, it's not the end of the world ... it'll just be a little tougher since your degree likely didn't cover topics you'll see on the actuarial exams.

7. "Should I get a master's degree?"
Pay in this field isn't based on education. It's based on passing exams and doing well on the job. If you want to get a master's, then get it - but it's not necessary (or in many cases, more helpful) when finding a job.

8. "I think I'm too old to start, ...."
Grandma Moses took up painting in her 70s, and there's always a story about someone 80+ or 90+ going back to college and getting a degree. Why should it be any different here? If someone wanted to get into computer science at the age of 45, which would be more important - the person's age, or the person's knowledge and ability?

If you know this is what you want to do, forget about how old you are. Make the committment and make it happen.

9. "I have (x) exams, can I get a job in this field?"
If you have 0 exams, the answer is quite likely "no". The more exams you have passed, the better your chances are of getting hired (to a point). It's open to debate whether one can have too many exams - some will say, "the more exams you pass, the less time an employer has to spend paying you to study" but if you've got letters [ASA, ACAS, FSA, FCAS] after your name it implies you have the experience to back up the exams you've passed; if you don't, you're certainly not going to get paid what your credential says you should be paid. Employers may be leery of hiring someone with 6+ exams, especially if the candidate expects to be paid like a 6-exam student and/or doesn't want to be working under someone with more exams but less experience. I know people who will not consider candidates with more than about 4 exams passed; I know others who've said they know people that prefer candidates who have more exams passed to less. In the end, the phrase "it only takes 1 to say yes" is certainly accurate - the question is at what point more exams and no experience becomes a hindrance.

Ideally you should probably have 2-4 exams completed. If you have solid grades (above 3.5 GPA overall and in your major), you can likely attract interviews with just 1 exam passed. However, a lot of people have 1 exam complete - you want to make exam progress to show that you're committed to getting through the exams and getting the FSA/FCAS designation, and you want to make progress to set yourself apart from everyone else. HOWEVER, simply passing exams does not stamp your ticket to a job. See the threads here on interviewing - if you can't interview well, you will not get your foot in the door.

10. "When should I start applying for a job?"
See point #2. If you're in college, start early your senior year just like you would if you were applying for any other job after college.

11. "I took (insert exam here) and only got a 6 - I was hoping for a higher score. Can I retake the exam?"
NO. Page 9 of the 2006 SOA Catalog states very clearly: [i]"A candidate may not write an examination for a course for which the candidate already has credit." This has been a rule for many years now ... don't expect it to change.

12. "What is the requirement for getting an ASA/FSA/ACAS/FCAS designation"
ASA: "Effective January 1, 2006, candidates may also earn the Associateship designation by completing the following requirements:
i. All candidates must complete Exams P, FM, M and C, collectively known as the preliminary education component. (Credit earned from a passing score on previous administrations of former SOA Courses 1–4 will be converted appropriately.)
ii. All candidates shall satisfy Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) for three subjects: economics, corporate finance and applied statistics. (VEE credit earned from a passing score on Course 2 and/or 4 will be converted appropriately.)
iii. All candidates must complete the Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) Modules 1–8 and the two associated exams, FAP Exam #1 and #2.
iv. All candidates must also complete the Associateship Professionalism Course (APC). Candidates must also have an approved Application for Admission as an Associate on file, as described above."

FSA: "Associates must complete all remaining educational requirements including the PD Requirement. The FAC is required of all candidates for Fellowship, and candidates may not attend the FAC until they have completed the Preliminary Education examinations and Courses 5-8 and the PD requirement."

ACAS: "Candidates for Associateship in the Casualty Actuarial Society must fulfill the examination requirements by successful completion of, or credit for, Exams 1-7, and have credit by Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) for the required topics of economics, corporate finance, and applied statistical methods. Exam 7 is nation specific, covering U.S.- or Canadian-specific material, and passage of either of the two examinations fulfills the completion requirements. Candidates must complete the CAS Course on Professionalism prior to admission to the CAS."

FCAS: "In addition to fulfilling all the requirements of Associateship, successful completion of, or credit for, all nine examinations is required to fulfill the examination requirements for Fellowship and to be designated as a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS)."

13. OMG, I FAILED AN EXAM - IS IT THE END OF THE WORLD? WILL EMPLOYERS KNOW? (answered from the viewpoint of students who aren't in the field yet)
A. Failing an exam is not the end of the world. On average, more people are going to fail an exam than pass, and the number of people who get through all of the exams and never fail once is really small. Chief actuaries have failed exams. It happens, they realize it. Now ... if this is your 3rd or more shot at one of the preliminary exams (especially the first two) and you still haven't passed, it may not be a good sign of things to come b/c the exams don't get any easier. If you get to this point, it may be time to (A) evaluate how you're approaching the exam, (B) change study methods, or (C) realize that maybe you're not cut out for the actuarial field - and there's no shame in that; a lot of people get into the field, start through the exams, and drop out before finishing the exam process.

B. No, employers will not know how many times you've failed an exam (or exams total) - the SOA and CAS do not track total sittings, they track which exams you pass. However, if a prospective employer asks, you should be truthful about your success rate - because if your transcript from the SOA or CAS shows it's been 3 years between exam passes, they're going to get suspicious if you say, "Well no - I didn't fail an exam" or "Well, I took it once and failed but passed the 2nd time" without a really good reason why you would have only sat once in between.

jilan
March 22nd 2006, 05:30 PM
I'm new here, and you answered most of my questions, I just want to ask you one thing my major is Economies, and I took statistics, Forecasting, and Calculus I as Electives, And also I'm 36 Yrs old , do you think I can pass the exams without going through the other courses, if I self studied the rest.

wat
March 22nd 2006, 05:34 PM
I'm new here, and you answered most of my questions, I just want to ask you one thing my major is Economies, and I took statistics, Forecasting, and Calculus I as Electives, And also I'm 36 Yrs old , do you think I can pass the exams without going through the other courses, if I self studied the rest.

You can always self-study. You'll have to overcome the disadvantage of not having classes on the subject, etc.

As anecdotal evidence, the only exam I had a class pertaining to the informatoin for was Course 1 (now Exam P). I did take a couple economics courses prior to taking Course 2 (the predecessor of Exam FM), but other than that, I've self-studied for the actuarial exams. Now, I finished 5 exams and am studying for my 6th one.

It's doable - you just have to have that drive to do it.

jilan
March 22nd 2006, 06:02 PM
Thanks , For your motivation.

FSA
March 22nd 2006, 09:50 PM
Made sticky. Thanks, Irish Blues!

aarmitch
April 12th 2006, 10:33 PM
Thanks for all the info to kick off this thread. What would you suggest for someone already out of college without a strong background in university math (2 sem. calc)? Would going back to school to get a degree in math be worthwhile, or just working through the suggested classes at a community college? I noticed that U of Texas has a program to get a masters in math for those of us with liberal arts bachelors degrees. I'm just not sure about which approach would be the best and which would be overkill. Thanks in advance for any input.

Irish Blues
April 20th 2006, 07:22 AM
The thread has been updated with a couple more questions (and answers).

aarmitch - if you're going to go back and get a degree, get the bachelor's in math. Take note of the classes mentioned, and work on getting those completed. My comment on a master's should still apply.

Or, assuming you've got a bachelor's degree you could do the self-study thing and save yourself $6,000 a year (or so).

dizzydevil
April 28th 2006, 02:40 PM
if u get a bacholer for Statistics will it be helpful for ur studies in Acturial Science?

and honestly, are the exams REALLY that hard? and does it get worse as the exams go by until u become a fellow?

wat
April 28th 2006, 02:51 PM
if u get a bacholer for Statistics will it be helpful for ur studies in Acturial Science?

Probably, in the sense that you'll have more exposure to the statistical techniques and definitions that we use throughout the exams and our jobs.


and honestly, are the exams REALLY that hard?

Yes. But there's only one way to find out.


and does it get worse as the exams go by until u become a fellow?

Worse? If you mean more time-consuming, then that's a fair assumption. The material becomes more specialized and more vast the higher up you go.

Ken
April 28th 2006, 06:05 PM
Yes. But there's only one way to find out.


That's coming from the guy that's never failed.

Irish Blues
April 28th 2006, 06:58 PM
That's coming from the guy that's never failed.
If I pass in about 2 weeks, that'll make 2 of us.

wat
April 28th 2006, 07:38 PM
If I pass in about 2 weeks, that'll make 2 of us.

Don't worry - you've still got the 5 upper-level CAS exams to have a chance at failing. ;)

... where's that evil-smiley face when you need it?

wat
April 28th 2006, 07:42 PM
That's coming from the guy that's never failed.

I just know that this is the hardest I've ever had to study for exams in my life. High school and college exams simply don't compare.

In short, the difficulty of studying for actuarial exams is not so much the material (which is somewhat complicated, don't get me wrong), but more the amount of material you have to retain for each exam. They say that for the upper-level SOA exams, you can expect each exam to cover approximately 1,500 - 2,500 pages of reading. After taking Course 5 and studying for Course 6, I'm more than willing to believe them.

Plus, the preliminary exams are like having one large cumulative exam that consists of about 3 or 4 of your college classes - the information you need to retain is just amazing.

dizzydevil
May 2nd 2006, 03:29 PM
1 500 to 2 000 pieces of paper of information????????????
Are u that serious :(

wat
May 2nd 2006, 04:07 PM
1 500 to 2 000 pieces of paper of information????????????
Are u that serious :(

Yes. But Courses 5, 6, 7 & 8 won't be around anymore. They are being replaced by modules (which have a significant amount of reading to do) and 2 upper-level exams (which will probably have a lot of reading to do as well).

The hard part, to me, about actuarial exams, is that it's a lot of information to retain just for one exam. Take the old Course 2, for instance. That 4-hour exam covered interest theory, microeconomics, macroeconomics and corporate finance. That's like 4 classes all rolled up into one.

Ken
May 2nd 2006, 08:15 PM
OMG, are there more than 4 exams?! :eek:

PhillyP
May 3rd 2006, 10:39 AM
Maybe you can add a section on starting age. I recall many people asking whether or not they should bother with the profession if they are over 40 for example.

charu
May 8th 2006, 02:15 PM
hello,
Is this too hard ? Do you really need to have a concept clarity for each subject?
and if i clear only 2-3 exams in 100 series, do u get a job after that? if yes, then of what salary?

Ken
May 8th 2006, 02:50 PM
Isn't 100 series the exam system before year 2000? For salaries, www.dwsimpson.com/salary

binky_4me
May 9th 2006, 10:21 AM
:D i just wanted everyone who posts to know that reading everyone's concerns and questions has helped me tremendously in studying for exam p/1 next tuesday. i have been studying like a mad woman since january because i didn't want any excuse for not passing. i've been counting down to exam day for what seems like forever! i've been studying from the Broverman study manual, which a co-worker recommended, and working thru all the examples from the soa website (the 123 problems). i recently joined the forum, but i've been reading from it for a few months now, and it's great! just knowing that there are others out there that feel like i do and are doing as well as i am on the practice problems just makes me feel more and more confident that i'll pass. i just feel in my heart that this is the profession for me, and i guess i'm just waiting on the exam for confirmation. thanks again to everyone, especially higher level posters like ken, wat, irish blues, to name a few. everybody's comments and replies are read and are really helping others in case you didn't know! :) thanks again! good luck to all of us taking exams next week, and hopefully we'll all have great news in 6 weeks!!

audrey
May 10th 2006, 10:09 AM
SOA changed the syllabus for exam M recently. Before they splitted it into two exams, they also made some changes to Exam M for November sitting.
Now, here's my question.....
Are they still changing the exam for Nov exam?
If yes, what's the difference..
Please help... I am totally lost..

Trojan_Horse
May 10th 2006, 12:00 PM
http://www.soa.org/ccm/cms-service/stream/asset?asset_id=18613070&g11n.enc=UTF-8

The above link describes the changes for this Fall.

audrey
May 11th 2006, 12:28 PM
Thanks.. the summary of changes really help.



http://www.soa.org/ccm/cms-service/stream/asset?asset_id=18613070&g11n.enc=UTF-8

The above link describes the changes for this Fall.

Sphinx
June 13th 2006, 10:21 PM
''', am I ever grateful I found this site and this thread in particular. I just found out what an actuary was 2 months ago, and I'm already going back to college in two months because I feel it is a perfect career match for me.

It's a bit daunting though, I left college 3 years ago and I'm going back with almost all my basics done, so I'm launching straight into my majors.

I'm most interested in Life/Annuities and P&C...but Finance above all. I know I'll need to work up to the Finance field.

But I have a question...I decided on a BBA in Finance and a BS in Economics with minors in Computer Science and Math. It's going to take me 4 years but I'm hoping to complete 2 or 3 exams before I graduate. My question is, would getting a minor in those fields help me? The only reason I'm getting minors in Math and CS is because I was already taking those classes and only had to add 2 CS classes and 2 Math, so I figured why not. But if those won't even make a dent on being hired, I would rather save the money on those classes since their relevance to the actuary profession is almost nill. Should you even put minors on a resume?

Also, I took two Calc classes 4 years ago, when I was fresh out of high school, my first year in college, and although I doubt I can remember all (or even part) of what I learned, I don't want to re-take those classes. What do you guys think? Should I retake them...are they THAT important if I'm taking so many other math classes like Diff Eqtns and Prob and Stat classes? I can add Vector Calc (which I haven't taken) to my second year, but I'll have already taken 4 or 5 math classes by then...would it be helpful?

Irish Blues
June 14th 2006, 11:59 AM
Since you're close enough, get the minors. You never know when the info in those classes will be useful - better to learn and not need it than to not learn and need it later on. They're not irrelevant to the field (which is why I suggest taking classes in each).

Should you put minors on a resume? That's a question for a recruiter or someone in Career Services at your university ... I'm thinking "yes", but ask someone who reviews/critiques resumes for a living.

Your Stat classes will very likely be calculus-based, so if nothing else find a good refresher manual for calculus and make sure you've got it down. Your DiffEq class will assuredly use calculus, so you should make sure you understand the material before you sit in on that first class. Short answer: yes, calculus is that important. (Vector Calculus? Is that like Matrix Theory? You'll have to give more details on what the class is.)

set_erricson
June 24th 2006, 09:42 AM
hello
Im Talha from Pakistan
i want u to give me sum information abt Actuarial Sciences
i want to start this
but i dont know frm where to start
how to register..?
wht shud i do first...?
how many exams are there..?
how to do preparation for the exams..?
means i want u to tell me right from the beginning please
reply soon

elcerrito
July 15th 2006, 05:41 PM
HI EVERYONE, I HOPE SOME OF YOU THAT ARE ALREADY IN THE JOB, CAN TELLME ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS AND WRITING SKILLS. I KNOW, NOT ONLY IN THIS JOB CARE ABOUT THIS, BUT THIS IS ONE OF THE MORE DEMANDING JOBS OF THOSE SKILLS. WHEN THEY ASK FOR GOOD COMUNICATIONS SKILLS AND WRIITNG, WHAT THEY REALLY ARE TRAYING TO SAY. I AM A IMMIGRANT THAT HAS BEING HERE ONLY FOR VERY SHORT TIME IN THE US. I JUST FINDOUT ABOUT THIS CARREAR AND I AM VERY INTERESTING. hOW CAN I KNOW IF I HAVE THOSE SKILLS???????

Irish Blues
July 15th 2006, 08:22 PM
HI EVERYONE, I HOPE SOME OF YOU THAT ARE ALREADY IN THE JOB, CAN TELLME ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS AND WRITING SKILLS. I KNOW, NOT ONLY IN THIS JOB CARE ABOUT THIS, BUT THIS IS ONE OF THE MORE DEMANDING JOBS OF THOSE SKILLS. WHEN THEY ASK FOR GOOD COMUNICATIONS SKILLS AND WRIITNG, WHAT THEY REALLY ARE TRAYING TO SAY. I AM A IMMIGRANT THAT HAS BEING HERE ONLY FOR VERY SHORT TIME IN THE US. I JUST FINDOUT ABOUT THIS CARREAR AND I AM VERY INTERESTING. hOW CAN I KNOW IF I HAVE THOSE SKILLS???????
1. Turn your CAPS lock off. Typing in all CAPS is considered screaming, and is frowned on by just about anyone who reads on the Internet.
2. When they say "good communication skills and writing", they mean "good communication skills and writing"; if you can't say something in a way that's easily understood by others or if others can't understand what you're saying, that's a bad thing.
3. English 101. If your writing looks like something a 1st-grader would write, you're not going to get into this field regardless of how smart you may be.

Ken
July 16th 2006, 03:52 AM
HI EVERYONE, I HOPE SOME OF YOU THAT ARE ALREADY IN THE JOB, CAN TELLME ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS AND WRITING SKILLS. I KNOW, NOT ONLY IN THIS JOB CARE ABOUT THIS, BUT THIS IS ONE OF THE MORE DEMANDING JOBS OF THOSE SKILLS. WHEN THEY ASK FOR GOOD COMUNICATIONS SKILLS AND WRIITNG, WHAT THEY REALLY ARE TRAYING TO SAY. I AM A IMMIGRANT THAT HAS BEING HERE ONLY FOR VERY SHORT TIME IN THE US. I JUST FINDOUT ABOUT THIS CARREAR AND I AM VERY INTERESTING. hOW CAN I KNOW IF I HAVE THOSE SKILLS???????

My virgin eyes!!! :eek:

Irish Blues
July 20th 2006, 08:50 AM
Now updated since there's been a slew of "Can I get a job if I have x exams?" posts. Also updated to answer the often-asked question, "When should I start applying?"

arrow
August 13th 2006, 07:40 PM
Thanks Irish - that's really helpful and unselfish

Cheers

bhutaninitin
August 24th 2006, 03:09 AM
Hi irish blues,

Thanks for answering in such a motivating manner. I had put a new thread with a question on "recognition"., would appreciate your reply on this.

Thanks
bhuts

Alvin Soh Phak Ming
August 25th 2006, 02:15 AM
I am still a student in a college, just a foundation student, who is taking actuarial study in the degree program next year. I have some questions that need your advices and opinion;

(1) Is actuarial science about mathematic in all? That means, does being strong in mathematic guarantees me to get passed in the professional paper easily?

(2) Let say, if I am not able to pass the exam even though I have put in much effort. What can I work as except an actuary?

Thanks

Jessica Chung
October 7th 2006, 03:13 AM
I have a question. What is public speaking? I mean what do you basically learn while taking that course?

Irish Blues
October 7th 2006, 07:21 AM
I have a question. What is public speaking? I mean what do you basically learn while taking that course?
Just like it sounds. You learn how to speak in front of others - not so much about writing, but how to present something you want to say, how to cope with the fears that you may have, how to incorporate slides/drawings/etc. into your speech. You learn how to give a presentation that keeps your audience interested the entire time instead of nodding off 3 minutes in, and so forth.

As good as many think they might be at it, they'll be surprised how much they learn by taking a class.

Thomas H
October 7th 2006, 09:57 AM
I have a question. What is public speaking? I mean what do you basically learn while taking that course?

If you are interested in improving your public speaking skills then you should check out Toastmasters: http: http://www.toastmasters.org/

It is an excellent organization. I've seen it help a lot of people, myself included.

Irish Blues
October 12th 2006, 11:51 AM
Since it keeps coming up, I've added #11 on whether a candidate can retake an exam he/she has passed. (The answer is no.)

Irish Blues
October 16th 2006, 08:42 AM
Now added #12, the commonly asked "What are the requirements to become an ASA/FSA/ACAS/FCAS ?"

mightyhousefly
January 25th 2007, 02:45 PM
Hello all. I'm new here, and first I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who so willingly gives help to everyone here. This looks like a great place to come for advice. That said, I was just wondering what you would recommend for studying for the exams. Is it worthwhile to take some sort of prep course, or should I just go out and buy some books and start reading? Also, seeing as it is rated as one of the top jobs in the nation, are actuaries in demand, or is the field flooded with applicants wanting to take advantage of the high salaries? Thanks for your help.

Jessica Chung
March 15th 2007, 11:29 PM
:QuestionMark: I have a question actually. I m now taking my A-Levels in Singapore n they don't have computer science course here. So, I was thinking can i still take the course when i m in uni or is it too late for dat? Is the programming part really compulsory or will it really help dat much? Thanks in advance

Irish Blues
March 19th 2007, 09:09 AM
I'll answer a couple of questions that have gone unanswered lately:
Hello all. I'm new here, and first I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who so willingly gives help to everyone here. This looks like a great place to come for advice. That said, I was just wondering what you would recommend for studying for the exams. Is it worthwhile to take some sort of prep course, or should I just go out and buy some books and start reading? Also, seeing as it is rated as one of the top jobs in the nation, are actuaries in demand, or is the field flooded with applicants wanting to take advantage of the high salaries? Thanks for your help.
See the various forums for the prelim exams and see what others have been suggesting for exam prep. AFA demand for actuaries: yes, they are in demand. The catch is, you can't just show up and say, "Hi - I think I'd like to be an actuary, but I'm not really sure ... can I try this out for a while and see if I like it or not?" There's a pool of people who think they want to be actuaries, but once they get into the exams they realize "this isn't for me" and the pool gets whittled down pretty quickly after 3-4 exams.


:QuestionMark: I have a question actually. I m now taking my A-Levels in Singapore n they don't have computer science course here. So, I was thinking can i still take the course when i m in uni or is it too late for dat? Is the programming part really compulsory or will it really help dat much? Thanks in advance
Computer programming is probably an optional class in college; however, being able to understand programming concepts will be helpful b/c you'll likely be asked to re-write someone else's stuff once, and if you can't read VBA code and see what's going on it may be impossible to do. That said, you don't need to know VBA specifically coming in; it not hard to pick up, and if you get the logic behind one programming language, most of the rest translate similarly - it's just a matter of picking up the syntax from there.

summer_lee
March 29th 2007, 06:46 AM
i am considering to go to a uni in US ,UK or Australia to pursue an actuarial science degree but dunno where should i choose. It seems like there are many career opportunities in US but its is easier and faster to get the professional qualification in UK and Australia since students are exempted for the 2 parts out of 3 parts of the professional exams once graduated and scored appproximately 65% in each papers and it takes 3 years to get a degree rather than 4 years in the states.Its like a 2-in -1 offer, degree+qualification together. so any advise?

Irish Blues
May 9th 2007, 09:48 PM
I've added #13 - the ever-popular question, "OMG, I FAILED - AM I '''''ED?"

summer - I can't add anything at the moment; when I have free time (aside from getting ready to move, finishing off work so I can leave, prepping a presentation for someone and updating some spreadsheets I've sworn to maintain for someone, and re-introducing myself to my family ... when I have free time aside from all of that) I'll do some research on the whole "U.S. vs. U.K./Australia/Everywhere Else" question and try to post an answer or two for a couple of the most popular questions relating to that area.

cariss2709
May 18th 2007, 12:24 AM
So this is my first post, and kind of long but I figured Iíd add what I know also since extra info canít hurt.

There are basically 2 major actuarial organizations- the SOA (society of Actuaries) and CAS (casualty actuarial society). From what I gather, CAS is geared towards P&C (property and casualty) and SOA is toward everything else ( pensions, health, etc.) and is a lot larger.

Here are some helpful sites- www.beanactuary.org (combined info from both the SOA and CAS) www.soa.org (official site for SOA) and www.casact.org (official site for CAS). I personally prefer to get my study guides from actex (www.actexmadriver.com) but they also have study guides from others on the site as well.

Getting more than one study guide prepares you for other aspects of the material as well since they sometimes have different approaches to the way they teach and some might cover other parts more in depth than others, etc. I just got one since its cheaper that way and after going through the study guide 3 times (about 300 pages of material for the Exam P I just took) I felt pretty well prepared.

So back to the exams, there are Exams P (Probability) , FM (Financial Mathematics), M (Actuarial Models), C (Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models). Since it gets progressively harder (and more expensive) itís a good idea to study for and take Exam P first, but you can take them in any order. P, FM and C are jointly sponsored by both SOA and CAS so youíll see SOA/CAS on the test. After the first four, it gets more specialized and youíd like to take the tests geared towards the field you decide to enter (P&C, health, retirementÖ). And basically a 6 (60%) is passing. Oh, and on most of the tests guessing doesnít hurt, so guess away.

Now this is just my personal experience with the exam. I just took Exam P this Tuesday (and passed- woo-hoo!!) so Iím really happy and decided to just share some of the stuff I know since Iím a crazy googler and info gatherer. This is a computer based exam, I took it at a prometrics center and in addition to showing your id, getting video and audio recorded, you also have to get fingerprinted for filing. Iím guessing theyíre taking all sorts of precautions to make sure you donít cheat. Since its computerized youíll now know immediately afterwards whether or not you passed. I couldnít stop smiling once I saw the ďCongratulations!Ē. In fact, I kept the printout so I can look at it every now and then. =).

So Iím a career changer and I figure Iíll have to pass 2 exams before Iíve got a sure shot at an entry level analyst position. Surprisingly, I just applied for some entry level positions afterwards and I just had a phone interview today. Iím not sure how well I did, but Iím '''''''' my fingers. Also Iím prepping to study for Exam FM once the new guide comes out (since they just added some more material for the exam- u can find on the soa.org site the new study guide). I hope they decide to make it computerized also so I wouldnít have to wait the 6 weeks to get my results. Anyways, long post, but hopefully itíll add some insight.

wat
May 18th 2007, 03:50 PM
Good post, cariss! I'll add a few details/corrections to just one paragraph in there:


So back to the exams, there are Exams P (Probability) , FM (Financial Mathematics), M (Actuarial Models), C (Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models). Since it gets progressively harder (and more expensive) itís a good idea to study for and take Exam P first, but you can take them in any order. P, FM and C are jointly sponsored by both SOA and CAS so youíll see SOA/CAS on the test. After the first four, it gets more specialized and youíd like to take the tests geared towards the field you decide to enter (P&C, health, retirementÖ). And basically a 6 (60%) is passing. Oh, and on most of the tests guessing doesnít hurt, so guess away.

- M was recently split into two exams: MLC (Life Contingencies) and MFE (Financial Economics)
- 60% does not necessarily constitute a "6". It usually comes close, but it depends on the exam.

tc2000
June 6th 2007, 08:33 AM
Hi Blues,
I just want to say thank you so much for your post on the steps you
need to take on becoming an actuaries. I'm current a senior majoring in
Mathematic. I just found out about actuaries career a few weeks ago. I
want to switch over to actuaries major, but it would take me other 2
years to finish the degree. Should I stick with Mathematic and finish
this year; While study for Test P? Since passing the test is so
important.
Do you have any suggestion?

JMO Fan
June 6th 2007, 10:19 AM
If you pass the exam, a math degree will generally be considered just as valid for background education as actuarial science. Focus on the exam. If you have trouble with it, then you can decide whether actuarial classes or self-study will help more.

Of course, the advantage of self-study is total focus. But actuarial classes might help more if you find you struggle with some of the concepts. Getting an actuarial internship based upon your math degree might be just as helpful.

Bouchet
July 24th 2007, 08:35 AM
To anyone that can help,

I need some advice. First an honest assesment which will hopefully garner the most helpful guidance.

I am 30 yrs. old and have been managing a group of family businesses (due to family illnesses) for the past 8 yrs. My major was in Psych (useless except I did have to take 2 semesters of statistics which were my favorite courses ), minor in business management w/ a very mediocre GPA. My lackluster educational background is due completely to lack of effort not a lack of ability. Always had high test scores (SAT's etc...) I am interested in the actuarial field but have a few questions.

I have looked into grad school and have found a local Univ. which offered a "Graduate Certificate" in Actuarial Science that prepares you for the first few exams. Does this sound like a worthwhile use of 10k? Would it be better to go for a MBA (lots more $)? Would my resume be enough to get an entry level job as is w/ 2 exams passed? What are my prospects in the actuarial field?

Any advice anyone could give me would be greatly appreciated. Sorry this is so long. Thanks for those still reading!

MNMAN@!
August 3rd 2007, 11:24 AM
Hello everyone,
First of all, thanks to all the veterans who have been posting such valuable information about the actuarial career. I am considering this career because I have always been good at math, and I especially enjoy searching for trends within the population and attempting to determine how those trends will affect future events. However, I am more conceptual than detail-oriented. I enjoy wrestling with concepts and attempt to explain them to others. I love taking research and presenting it to others, but I don't necessarily enjoy the research process. Sooo my question to you (you meaning veteran actuaries) is, based on what you know about me, do you think I would enjoy this career?

bluecreek
August 12th 2007, 01:43 PM
Irish Blues -- Thanks for taking the time & effort to compile all this information! I'm yet another career changer (Engineer) suspecting that Actuarial Science is a good fit. Your writeup is *exactly* what I was looking for! :coolman:

Irish Blues
August 13th 2007, 08:45 AM
I have looked into grad school and have found a local Univ. which offered a "Graduate Certificate" in Actuarial Science that prepares you for the first few exams. Does this sound like a worthwhile use of 10k? Would it be better to go for a MBA (lots more $)? Would my resume be enough to get an entry level job as is w/ 2 exams passed? What are my prospects in the actuarial field?
1. For about $400-600 per exam, you can get the textbooks needed and a study guide and study on your own ... which, if you're as motivated as you say, should mean learning the necessary material wouldn't be a huge problem. For $10K, you're still not going to sit for 3 exams in 1 sitting and probably not 2 in 1 ... and I doubt the "graduate certificate" registers much with employers. They will be impressed if you can show you're got self-motivation, and passing the exams on your own will certainly show that.

2. I can't comment personally on the MBA route ... an MBA isn't going to translate into "congrats, you've been given credit for x exams!" Personally, I think an MBA is getting overvalued due to the fact that there are a lot of people either getting one or trying to get one. On the other hand, through November 2006 there were fewer than 3,000 people with the FCAS designation and 4,361 who were either an FCAS or an ACAS ... and 253 of those are retired.


Hello everyone,
First of all, thanks to all the veterans who have been posting such valuable information about the actuarial career. I am considering this career because I have always been good at math, and I especially enjoy searching for trends within the population and attempting to determine how those trends will affect future events. However, I am more conceptual than detail-oriented. I enjoy wrestling with concepts and attempt to explain them to others. I love taking research and presenting it to others, but I don't necessarily enjoy the research process. Sooo my question to you (you meaning veteran actuaries) is, based on what you know about me, do you think I would enjoy this career?
Tell you what ... I've got a set of hockey data I'm trying to wrestle with. I know the contracts players have signed coming into the NHL for the last 3-4 years, who they signed with, and where they were drafted ... and I want to see if I can predict what guys drafted in the 2007 Entry Draft who haven't signed yet will probably sign for given who they were drafted by and what others drafted around them [both this year and in prior years] signed for ... and then carry those results forward to do the same when guys get drafted in 2008.

Sound interesting? If it does, then maybe the actuarial career is cut out for you.

Irish Blues
September 6th 2007, 09:45 AM
14. Do I have to take the exams in order, starting with 1 and then going to 2, and so on?
-- Nope. You could start out by taking the 4th exam (exam C) first, if you wanted - but generally the 2nd exam builds on concepts from the 1st, the 3rd builds on the 2nd, and so forth and so on. If any of the exams are interchangable, FM and P are probably the best bets - either of those could be taken first. And no ... for the most part, employers don't care what order you take the exams in.

dpshah
October 14th 2007, 03:39 PM
I am newest member of the forum. I want to know about how one can study actuary science. How and whom I should contact first, can anybody suggest?

JMO Fan
October 15th 2007, 09:26 AM
I am newest member of the forum. I want to know about how one can study actuary science. How and whom I should contact first, can anybody suggest? Have you passed calculus? Are you in college? Are you willing to move?

anajm
December 10th 2007, 03:15 PM
can someone recommend a good manual for FM exam.

Irish Blues
December 10th 2007, 05:25 PM
can someone recommend a good manual for FM exam.
Try asking in the "Exam FM" forum.

sammielee90
January 6th 2008, 09:54 PM
Hey guys!

I'm a newbie at this site. I'm currently pursuing an Actuarial Science degree, only in my second semester. I'm considering taking the P/1 exam soon or the FM exam. Can someone explain to me the differences between these two. Do we only need to take one or both, cause some sources say one but others say two. However, in terms of college courses, I've only completed Calc I. Would this be sufficient enough for me to take the exam? Do advice. Also, where can I get the best materials for self-study to sit for the exam? Thanks very much in advance for any input. :)

Samantha.

alekhine4149
January 23rd 2008, 03:02 PM
Hi everyone, first post! I'm a 31 year old looking for a career change. I majored in math during college but never used it afterwards. I'm now considering actuarial work. I'll be around time to time to ask newbie questions; I sincerely apologize if I ask something that's been answered elsewhere and I haven't found it.

Q: I applied and paid for the May 2008 P/1 exam a few days ago and received an e-mail saying my number will not be immediately activated. Once I receive this e-mail, I'll be able to schedule my exam. My question is: does anyone know roughly how long I should expect to wait for this confirmation e-mail? Days, weeks or months? Thanks.

I look forward to getting to know everyone. :)

dmbfan41
January 23rd 2008, 04:03 PM
Hi everyone, first post! I'm a 31 year old looking for a career change. I majored in math during college but never used it afterwards. I'm now considering actuarial work. I'll be around time to time to ask newbie questions; I sincerely apologize if I ask something that's been answered elsewhere and I haven't found it.

Q: I applied and paid for the May 2008 P/1 exam a few days ago and received an e-mail saying my number will not be immediately activated. Once I receive this e-mail, I'll be able to schedule my exam. My question is: does anyone know roughly how long I should expect to wait for this confirmation e-mail? Days, weeks or months? Thanks.
I look forward to getting to know everyone. :)

from what i remember, it was usually a few weeks after i registered (at a minimum of abt 2 weeks). good luck on the exam!

alekhine4149
January 23rd 2008, 09:47 PM
Thanks dmbfan41! I was just curious because I'd ideally like to sign up for the FM/2 as well and get them both out of the way this May. Of course, now that I review the P/1, I realize that I might want to be careful how much I take on. :Bohoo:

Irish Blues
January 29th 2008, 02:24 PM
I'm sure some of the following items are already mentioned here, but after talking to a recruiter this weekend, I'm going to mention them again because they're incredibly relevant. The first two points are absolutely critical, because many people take themselves out of consideration because they can't do either one.

If you want to land a job in this field,

Learn how to write properly. If you can't spell words, capitalize, and use punctuation properly or use good grammar, your chances of getting noticed in a good way are really small; this recruiter says more and more entry-level candidates can't do these basic things, and that virtually guarantees they're not going to land jobs regardless of exam success.

Learn how to communicate effectively. This is another glaring weakness of entry-level candidates this recruiter is seeing - many of them either ramble on in e-mails and/or letters, or change thoughts in mid-sentence so that it's hard to understand what the person is saying. The ability to speak and be understood clearly is also critical. Companies aren't going to spend half an hour trying to decipher your cover letter or resume; if your message doesn't come through loud and clear in an easy-to-understand manner [see above], they're not going to bother reading it and they'll dump it in the trash and move on to the next person.
-- This point also applies to oral communications, an area that many people overloook and that I frequently hammer away at when someone asks, "what can I do to help myself?"

Don't expect someone else to do your job-hunting for you. If you use a recruiter, consider them another tool for helping you find a job. They're not guaranteed to find you a job, and it does not mean "quit looking yourself." It also doesn't mean that you should call and ask, "so have you found me a job yet?" as this recruiter has been asked multiple times - and in almost every instance, the person asking hasn't done anything to find one themselves. Part of looking for a job is taking the initiative to try and land one; if you leave it to someone else to look and quit trying yourself, chances are you're going to miss a lot of opportunities through your own laziness.

Have a plan once you get in. This sounds somewhat trivial, but many people have a goal of "I want to get into the actuarial field" and if asked, "and what do you want to accomplish after you're in?" respond with ....... nothing. Know what this field is about, know what the challenges are, and know what the exptectations are from the people asking you questions - and be ready to dispel any concerns someone might have. If you can lay out how you're going to get through exams and give an idea of what you want to accomplish once you're in the door and impress upon someone else that you've got the drive to make it happen, you'll set yourself apart from the rest of the field. If you come across as, "well I heard this was a great job, I figure I'll give it a try and hopefully the exams aren't too hard, ......" you'll never get a call back asking you if you want the job.

kolade
February 5th 2008, 05:53 AM
Hello Guys,
this is a day i feel elevated to come to terms with myself.I need to ascertain if i am truly meant to pursue a career in Actuarial science or not.In a bit,Let me know what you think.I am a graduate of Actuarial science from Nigeria,Africa.I have always wanted to be a actuary especially when i learned about the substantial use of mathematics and statistics to solve real-life situation problems.But after i Graduated from the course,i went through the course schedule and i confirmed that I covered the courses but my institution was not recognised to qualify for exemptions.Now i need to start looking to enrol as a new student.Thinking about the cost effect,i am considering dropping the career.I tried to liase with the institute but i was told such grants could not be admitted.Now,tell me,If you were to be in my shoes,with the exact love for the profession you have in you,do you think you still stand a chance.
mailseank@insurer.com

haipham2007
February 5th 2008, 01:41 PM
Hi All:

My son is interested in Actuarial field. He passed the P1 test last August with score 8. Is it considered good or average. What's happen if you pass the test with score only 6 ?

Thank you

Hai

makros5
February 5th 2008, 02:34 PM
I think it only matters if you pass it or not. But it is always better to goal for higher than 6, so that we will end up atleast with 6 (pass).


Hi All:

My son is interested in Actuarial field. He passed the P1 test last August with score 8. Is it considered good or average. What's happen if you pass the test with score only 6 ?

Thank you

Hai

afagan13
March 4th 2008, 11:39 AM
The last calc class I took was calc 3 in Summer '04, but I did take Diff Eq Summer of '05.

Is there anyone who started studying after not having seen calc in 4 years (like me)?

How many hours did you study before passing? and did you go back and re-learn calc first before reading exam manuals?

MLD
March 5th 2008, 08:44 AM
The last calc class I took was calc 3 in Summer '04, but I did take Diff Eq Summer of '05.

Is there anyone who started studying after not having seen calc in 4 years (like me)?

How many hours did you study before passing? and did you go back and re-learn calc first before reading exam manuals?

I probably had about as much calculus as you. I started studying for P in February of '07. The last math course I took was prolly in '96 (though I did use calculus up until my graduation in '98). I didn't have to re-learn calc, I did brush up on some things like derivatives and integrals of sin, cos, tan, etc. as well as basic differential equations. The calculus you use in these courses really isn't that difficult. If you have a half-decent memory and did half-decent in your calc courses you should do fine. It will probably come back to you once you start working w/ it again.

Mac
March 7th 2008, 07:46 AM
I'm a 17 year old from Canada. I'm still in high school, but graduating this year. I enjoy math, but I'm not a genius, I do get stump on some problems. I'm an average student who gets average marks - I'm not an over-achiever. I will probably enjoy finance, accounting or actuarial because they all require some sort of math. I don't find business boring and I know I'm not going to go crazy if things get really repetitive. I find doing hard things motivate me (one of the reasons why I'm leaning towards actuary). Then again. . .I do get stress out easily. . .

Anyway, I plan to get my Honours Applied Mathematics Specialization:
http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/calendar/year2007/sec_566.htm

I've never met a real actuary. So, I registered in this forum and hope you guys can answer some questions I have in mind. . .


How many actuarial exams should I take while in university (in a 4 year program)?
How long are the exams (on average, how long does it take to write the exams) and are you timed?
Do the manuals you buy really helpful to pass your exams? Or do you still need your university notes in stats, calc, etc. to prepare for the exam?
Is it more competitive to be an actuary than a chartered accountant?
Is it worth studying your butt's off to be an actuary? And why?
Once you pass all the 9 exams and you have approximately 1 to 5 years experience, can you start earning $100 000s?
Is it true that you'll become an anti-social once you start studying for the exams and start working as an actuary?
What's the job prospect for this career in Canada?
Will you get fired from the firm you're working with if you made the company lose so much money by accident (like from predicting something incorrectly)?
How stressful will you be when preparing for the exams and working as an actuary?
Do you have any words of wisdom to share? :smiloe:

Jessica Chung
March 8th 2008, 10:19 PM
I have another question. I've almost the same reasons as Mac's for my decision to pursue a career in actuarial science. However, I go blank when I see this question; what do you want to accomplish after you're in? I'm currently in high school, graduating soon. I have been trying to find out what actuaries do but so far i've only come up with "they calculate risks and set premiums for insurance". Can someone pls explain to me what do actuaries actually do? As in a very detailed explanation. I've been blur for quite a few years now and would really appreciate it if someone could show me the light. =P

Holle
April 28th 2008, 05:41 PM
Thank you for this website and all of the information you have prvided. It is becoming VERY helpful already!

Irish Blues
April 28th 2008, 07:08 PM
Even though I'm probably 7 weeks late, let's see what I can answer:

* I'm not in Canada, and I'm on the CAS track ... so take a few of the answers with a grain of salt. Answers in bold/


I'm a 17 year old from Canada. I'm still in high school, but graduating this year. I enjoy math, but I'm not a genius, I do get stump on some problems. I'm an average student who gets average marks - I'm not an over-achiever. I will probably enjoy finance, accounting or actuarial because they all require some sort of math. I don't find business boring and I know I'm not going to go crazy if things get really repetitive. I find doing hard things motivate me (one of the reasons why I'm leaning towards actuary). Then again. . .I do get stress out easily. . .

Anyway, I plan to get my Honours Applied Mathematics Specialization:
http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/calendar/year2007/sec_566.htm

I've never met a real actuary. So, I registered in this forum and hope you guys can answer some questions I have in mind. . .


How many actuarial exams should I take while in university (in a 4 year program)? In Canada, the market is more competitive; figure at least 4 exams.
How long are the exams (on average, how long does it take to write the exams) and are you timed? Preliminary exams are 3-4 hours, upper-level exams are 4 hours on the CAS side. Yes, you're absolutely timed.
Do the manuals you buy really helpful to pass your exams? Or do you still need your university notes in stats, calc, etc. to prepare for the exam? You'll be using study manuals - material on the upper-level exams isn't touched by college classes [with rare exceptions].
Is it more competitive to be an actuary than a chartered accountant? Don't know ... I'm not a chartered accountant.
Is it worth studying your butt's off to be an actuary? And why? Absolutely - but the true answer to this depends on why you're getting into the field in the first place. That reason largely answers this question.
Once you pass all the 9 exams and you have approximately 1 to 5 years experience, can you start earning $100 000s? Yep. If you pass all 9 exams and have 5 years of experience and are not making $100K, there's an employer out there who will. If you pass all 9 exams and have fewer than 3 years of experience, don't expect to make $100K - you simply don't have enough experience to validate your exams.
Is it true that you'll become an anti-social once you start studying for the exams and start working as an actuary? I don't know that I'd call it anti-social, but you probably won't be going out most nights while you're studying ... and probably not at all in the couple of weeks before the exam. Much of this depends on who you're working around and how well you get along with them.
What's the job prospect for this career in Canada? I'd imagine it's similar to the U.S. - but you'd want to ask someone in Canada for clarification.
Will you get fired from the firm you're working with if you made the company lose so much money by accident (like from predicting something incorrectly)? As a student? Nope - your work will be reviewed by a Fellow, it should never happen. As a Fellow? Hopefully, you'll know enough to avoid that - if it's simply bad luck, '''' happens ... but if you flat out '''''ed up and cost the company millions of dollars, I doubt it gets just swept under the rug.
How stressful will you be when preparing for the exams and working as an actuary? Leading up to the exams? Stress is a give. On the job? It honestly depends - most days are fine, but certain areas have certain projects scattered across the year and when time is tight or deadlines imposed [and especially when you get an, "I GOTTA HAVE THIS TOMORROW!" request] it can be stressful.]
Do you have any words of wisdom to share? :smiloe: [b]I think I covered much of it way up above - know why you want in, be able to communicate it, and be able to show that you will get through the exams ... and then do it once you get the chance.

chrisf
June 9th 2008, 03:00 PM
thank you for this site... I am learning by the second.

frankvj99
June 16th 2008, 09:34 PM
Thank you for all the information on this site. It's been really helpful. I have a question many may find pretty dumb: does anyone worry about oursourcing actuarial work? They outsource everything now, for example, computer programming. It seems that these mathematical analyses can be done by people anywhere and emailed back. Am I wrong?

thumper110
June 22nd 2008, 10:17 PM
Hey guys! So this thread already helped me so much, I decided to join the site. But I need some advice. My boyfriend is in the Army, and he's thinking about going to college and then going back as an officer. As an officer, he'd be moving every 5 years or so. So my question is, is there any way I could get a job at a company and work from home, so that no matter where I move I can still work there? Or if I'm moving every 5 years, do you think I can continue to find jobs? Or should I tell him it's a no-go?

Also, I'm in college right now as a math major, about to be in my junior year. I am taking Microeconomics this upcoming semester. In the future, I also plan to take Marketing and Macroeconomics. I read that you should take Finance as well, so I was going to take Business Finance, and I have to take Business Statistics and Accounting to take that. So, should I take Business Statistics (which says "understanding of statistical thinking and data analysis technique for decision-making purposes."), and take Probability and Statistics, which says it covers probability theory? Or just one? I already took one semester of Statistics.

I appreciate any advice you can give me. Does this sound like enough to prepare me to be an actuary, along with my other math classes? Are there any that aren't necessary? Thanks so much!

Peter123
June 27th 2008, 07:30 AM
Hey guys! So this thread already helped me so much, I decided to join the site. But I need some advice. My boyfriend is in the Army, and he's thinking about going to college and then going back as an officer. As an officer, he'd be moving every 5 years or so. So my question is, is there any way I could get a job at a company and work from home, so that no matter where I move I can still work there? Or if I'm moving every 5 years, do you think I can continue to find jobs? Or should I tell him it's a no-go?

Also, I'm in college right now as a math major, about to be in my junior year. I am taking Microeconomics this upcoming semester. In the future, I also plan to take Marketing and Macroeconomics. I read that you should take Finance as well, so I was going to take Business Finance, and I have to take Business Statistics and Accounting to take that. So, should I take Business Statistics (which says "understanding of statistical thinking and data analysis technique for decision-making purposes."), and take Probability and Statistics, which says it covers probability theory? Or just one? I already took one semester of Statistics.

I appreciate any advice you can give me. Does this sound like enough to prepare me to be an actuary, along with my other math classes? Are there any that aren't necessary? Thanks so much!

Business finance will help in exam FM, but it will be more calculator oriented. Problems will typically have one variable to solve for (easy). In FM you might have more than one variable so you cannot just use the calculator. In short, you should take a theroy of interest course which teaches you more formula based calculation.
Business statistics is the same way. We call it Quantitative Analysis in Business at our university. I barely learned anything in the course that I can use in exam P. If you can you should skip this and go for Probability and Statistics. I am guessing it will be more theory related.
Regarding your first question, I haven't heard of any work-at-home actuarial jobs. I cannot say more because I am not working in the field yet.

G

rocky34
July 12th 2008, 09:32 AM
I am biotechnologist interested to be an actuary. Please give me some good suggestions regarding my future.........:rolleye:
______________________________
rocky
Addiction Recovery Georgia (http://www.addictionrecovery.net/georgia)

bilinsk3
July 12th 2008, 09:32 PM
Hi everyone!

I'm a third year University of Toronto student, majoring in Stats and Eco. I will be writing my P exam at the end of July, and I'm pretty nervous about it. I took the stats courses that prepare you for the P exam, and I'm fairly confident with the practice questions from soa.org. I'm wondering if anyone could recommend any other places where I could find extra problems to solve in view of the exams.


Thanks in advance
And good look to everyone thats writing exams.

amasaga
July 14th 2008, 07:03 AM
I am seeking advise in my particular situation. I am an hotel professional with a BA (HONS) Degree and wish to change my career to an Actuary because I like Math (not that I was very good at it but I have strong can do attitute). I am working in the hotel industry for the last 7 years and now getting bored of the industry and looking for a new challange i.e. Actaury. I have few questions to clear up my doubts and help me making up my mind to go for Actuary.

1. It is feasible to change from Hotel Profession to an Actuary??
2. I am 25, is it a good age to start as an Actuary?
3. As an fresher, shall I pass 1 or 2 Exams and then search for a job to avoid any fall in Salary? or start to look for a job right away, pass exams together whilst working and have an average salary?
4. What can I expect my salary to be as an complete fresher without passing any exams and with passed 2 exams? does it make any difference.
5. Is an Internship neccessary or just look for a job with 2 pass exams??
what are the pros and cons of taking Internship?
6. How long would it take me settle in the Industry and have decent salary package?
7. Do I have to attend university or can I study for Actuary exmas from home? Do I require tuition?
8. I want an face to face conversation possibly with an Actuary or an student to discuss pros and cons of being an Actuary in detail, What is the best way to do so ???

Kindly someone answer these questions to help me moving up.

Many Thanks !!!

B411et
July 14th 2008, 09:08 AM
I am seeking advise in my particular situation. I am an hotel professional with a BA (HONS) Degree and wish to change my career to an Actuary because I like Math (not that I was very good at it but I have strong can do attitute). I am working in the hotel industry for the last 7 years and now getting bored of the industry and looking for a new challange i.e. Actaury. I have few questions to clear up my doubts and help me making up my mind to go for Actuary.

Hi amasaga-

Honestly, you don't need to be a "rocket scientist" to become an actuary. I believe the key ingredient to be a successful actuary is this "can do" attitude and a lot of dedication. You'll find from reading these posts that the exams require a lot of practice rather than approaching the exams in a theoretical sense. Like you, I'm definitely not the best math student in my college, but I'm am probably the most determined. I put my career goals before everything else.

If you truly want to become an actuary, not solely for the money, but for the challenges it brings, then go for it! Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it. What do they know?! They probably don't know you well or know about the actuarial profession.

It seems to be more common these days of people changing their careers. We work and live longer and get bored. I passed my first exam at age 21, and so at 25, you wouldn't be "behind" in any sense. What is a couple of years these days? It's very hard to find an actuarial job w/o passing an exam. If your calculus and probablility is good- take Exam P. Otherwise take Exam FM. Remember, these exams take a lot of studying time above all else. So maybe you'll need to cut down your hours at your current job.

I'm not exactly sure about starting salaries. There are salary tables on this site. I've heard that for recent college grads w/ 1-2 exams, they will start around $45,000, BUT I am probably wrong. Internships help individuals realize if this career is for them or not. It is also a great way to get your foot in the door and possibly work there permanently. At the very least, you'll build your network as you work with credentialed actuaries during the internship. However, interns don't get paid well. I'm only getting $13.60, but I believe most interns make somewhere like $17-$20/hour. Although, since you are a career changer, try to pass 2 exams as soon as you can.

I don't know the answer to #6, but I think it depends on you and your employer. As for #7, I think anyone can self-study for the exams as long as you know the mathematics. If you never took college-level calculus, then it probably would be a good idea to take some courses.

As for meeting an actuary, you could ask nearby firms employing actuaries. (Not an interview, but more of like a mentoring thing.) I'm sure there's a lot of people who are willing to talk about their career paths, etc.

Hope this helps! And I wish you the best! Your determination will pay off in the end!

Sar
July 24th 2008, 06:14 AM
This is so helpful! Thanx!

Acumen
August 5th 2008, 05:56 AM
Great article Irish Blues. I wish I had this kind of info available to me when I was starting my actuarial career research.

kreamysaverz
August 5th 2008, 07:44 PM
hey all! your information is so helpful!! i still have a few questions though..

so i'm an incoming sophomore from a private liberal arts college (Scripps college) and i've taken a leave of absence for a year. it's an expensive school, so I'm going to community college for a year and hopefully transferring to UCI or UCLA (I live in Irvine so I'd save a lot of money by living at home). I think UCLA has an actuarial science program, but I'm wondering if I could still graduate from UCI with a degree in math and become an actuary? they probably don't have classes that cover how to pass the first two tests though :( I could still go back to Scripps, but I don't know if it's worth it... I could save a lot of money by going to UCI, but I wonder if Scripps would be a better choice in helping me become an actuary. eep!!! advice please?

Chirag5554
September 9th 2008, 09:01 AM
My name is Chirag, i am from india. I am going to complete my B.E in Info Technology, well i am thinking of giving CAS examinations and would like to know that after passing 2 exams will i be able to get job in US along with VISA sponsorship.

JMO Fan
September 12th 2008, 02:27 PM
I think these short videos are an interesting intro to actuarial work: http://www.imageoftheactuary.org/Home/ActuariesinAction/ActuariesinActionVideoSeries/tabid/246/Default.aspx

suszen
September 28th 2008, 05:43 AM
Good to visit this wabsite and having very nice information. I need to know more information about this topic.

==============
suszen

Job Positions (http://jobs.gov-auctions.org)

G-Squared
September 29th 2008, 04:45 PM
I am a career changer at age 40 who recently passed exam P/1.

I worked in a completely different business (as a radio and television sportscaster and media/public relations director) for 15 years until the sacrifices I had to make to do the job I loved no longer added up to the rewards I was receiving. At first, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a new career, but I took an aptitude test and it suggested a career in insurance & financial services. I ended up being "sold" on a career as first an insurance agent and later as an assistant district manager for a major multi-lines carrier. After four years in this business, I took a long look in the mirror about six months ago and realized I was the proverbial square peg in the round hole. After some soul searching, I remembered how a passing acquaintance had suggested "actuary" when I first considered changing careers, but how I had never pursued it because I got caught up in the sales side of the business. I looked more into becoming an actuary and it became obvious after visiting beanactuary.org that the first thing I needed to do was pass an exam.

So now I have passed the P/1 exam! In my other business experiences, when interviewing with potential employers I've always had the most success when I could demonstrate that I could actually do the work they were hiring me to do. I guess what I am asking is...

What specifically are the types of tasks an entry-level actuary performs on a day-to-day basis? Maybe someone could post a diary of a typical day or week....

Second, is there any additional knowledge or skills I need to acquire, such as using certain kinds of software. I am Microsoft Office proficient and usually am a very fast learner when it comes to using new software...but what kinds of software might I at least need to be familiar with so that I can demonstrate to employers that I can do the work day-to-day?

Sorry for the long post, but I think it helps drive better answers if you understand the questions in context. Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

apaq
October 10th 2008, 12:30 PM
Thank you Irish Blues!

arps
October 19th 2008, 02:09 AM
hi
thanks for the valuable info thru your thread..I've completed grad in commerce and presently pursuing law and shall be done with it by spring 2010..haven't cleared any of the xams..n have 2 xams lined up next month.what I wanna ask is that by the time i'm over wid law how many xams I must have completed..(I'll start applying for jobs from nov next year)
Arps

tjbev1
December 9th 2008, 11:05 PM
Thanks! This has been very helpful! I took and passed Exam1/P on my first attempt and passed, and although that was very exciting, my score of 7 was a little bit of a let down compared to what I had hoped. I realize you cannot re-take an exam, but how much does the score matter to employers, or is passing the main thing? For others reading Irish Blues' post, I can say I am a 32 year old math teacher, but my degree is actually in Education, but my math background is solid. I, like many of you, have not been in a classroom (as a student at least!) for many years, so my advice from my point of view is study study study and practice practice practice! I filled about 5 spiral notebooks of practice problems and self taught using the entire "Probability for Risk Management" text. I've spoken to a recruiter and she emphasized the importance of getting that 2nd exam done, just as others on this site have said.

vividox
December 10th 2008, 10:35 AM
Thanks! This has been very helpful! I took and passed Exam1/P on my first attempt and passed, and although that was very exciting, my score of 7 was a little bit of a let down compared to what I had hoped. I realize you cannot re-take an exam, but how much does the score matter to employers, or is passing the main thing? For others reading Irish Blues' post, I can say I am a 32 year old math teacher, but my degree is actually in Education, but my math background is solid. I, like many of you, have not been in a classroom (as a student at least!) for many years, so my advice from my point of view is study study study and practice practice practice! I filled about 5 spiral notebooks of practice problems and self taught using the entire "Probability for Risk Management" text. I've spoken to a recruiter and she emphasized the importance of getting that 2nd exam done, just as others on this site have said.

The score on your exam DOES. NOT. MATTER. A prospective employer does not care whether you got a 6 or a 10, only that you passed the exam and got credit for it.

kellic
December 10th 2008, 10:13 PM
I'm a new member, but I've been reading posts from other members for about a year. My question is regarding Calculus on Exam P. I'm studying to take my first exam next year and I've never had Calculus. I have a BA degree in Business, but took very little Math (although I did take Mathematical Stats and Business Stats). Does one really need up to Calculus III to pass Exam P or is Probability more of a focus. Thanks.

NoMoreExams
December 10th 2008, 10:54 PM
I'm a new member, but I've been reading posts from other members for about a year. My question is regarding Calculus on Exam P. I'm studying to take my first exam next year and I've never had Calculus. I have a BA degree in Business, but took very little Math (although I did take Mathematical Stats and Business Stats). Does one really need up to Calculus III to pass Exam P or is Probability more of a focus. Thanks.

Calculus is not explicitly tested like it used to be. No one will ask you if a sequence converges. You will be expected to do things like evaluate covariance which will require you to do double integrals if you can do that without taking Calculus 3, good for you. Calculus 3 usually covers a lot more than what is required for P i.e. vector calculus which is roughly a third of regular Calc. 3 courses. Usually Business (insert Calculus or Stats) courses are not sufficient since the focus of Business math courses is not to teach you math but to teach you the few pieces here and there of the math necessary for future business courses. The only exception I can think of is schools like CMU where they teach you topology for econ. courses though probably at grad. level.

orneryoutfit
December 11th 2008, 01:05 PM
Thank you for posting this information. I am a 40 year old blue collar worker. I am in college right now and have a long way to go but I don't care. I have been part of the "working poor" for a number of years (as a single mom) and am going to make up for that once I learn what I need to learn. I love this site. I lurk alot but will try to post more.



Have a great day,

Anita :smiloe:

Jessica Chung
December 11th 2008, 01:15 PM
''' you're amazing!!! All the best to you!! You can do it!!! Cheerss!!!

NoMoreExams
December 11th 2008, 02:34 PM
Thank you for posting this information. I am a 40 year old blue collar worker. I am in college right now and have a long way to go but I don't care. I have been part of the "working poor" for a number of years (as a single mom) and am going to make up for that once I learn what I need to learn. I love this site. I lurk alot but will try to post more.



Have a great day,

Anita :smiloe:

That might actually give you more of an advantage than a person who comes from a program that's catered to passing exams. If you can show that you can pass exams on your own while being a single mom and basically studying on your own completely, that shows a lot of dedication. I would suggest brushing up on interview questions as well. Best of luck to you.

tami411
February 14th 2009, 07:50 AM
hello, can please anyone explain tell me about the ASA FSA ACAS and FCAS? i not very clear to search what about it .. i am new in actuary and i want to study for it..

NoMoreExams
February 14th 2009, 12:58 PM
hello, can please anyone explain tell me about the ASA FSA ACAS and FCAS? i not very clear to search what about it .. i am new in actuary and i want to study for it..

You are talking about 2 societies - SOA (soa.org) and CAS (casact.org). There's 2 "levels" of designation for each - associate and fellow.

ASA = Asssociate of SOA
FSA = Fellow of SOA

ACAS = Associate of CAS
FCAS = Fellow of CAS

If you want to know more about each society, go to the links I provided and do a little research.

tami411
February 15th 2009, 07:28 AM
thanks a lot for your answer. ^^

Qing
March 6th 2009, 02:10 PM
Very useful information.
Thanks for the post.
I didnt know point number 11 exists!

NoMoreExams
March 6th 2009, 06:05 PM
Very useful information.
Thanks for the post.
I didnt know point number 11 exists!

You mean

11. "I took (insert exam here) and only got a 6 - I was hoping for a higher score. Can I retake the exam?"
NO. Page 9 of the 2006 SOA Catalog states very clearly: "A candidate may not write an examination for a course for which the candidate already has credit." This has been a rule for many years now ... don't expect it to change.

Of course they have to have that, otherwise every person that writes manuals would take the exam, and use those questiosn in his/hers future study manuals even for exams that are not released!

aaronmatula
March 19th 2009, 06:13 PM
Hello, I have worked as a computer consultant for several years, got my masters degree in Finance and Accounting as well as a Bachelors degree in Math from U.C. Berkeley and now have been a Financial Analyst Consultant for several years now too. I am 48 years old and am looking to segue into the Actuary field. How difficult will it be to enter even if I were to pass the first 2 exams? Also how are starting salaries? Are we looking at above or below $50k?

calculusdork
March 19th 2009, 08:32 PM
Hello, I have worked as a computer consultant for several years, got my masters degree in Finance and Accounting as well as a Bachelors degree in Math from U.C. Berkeley and now have been a Financial Analyst Consultant for several years now too. I am 48 years old and am looking to segue into the Actuary field. How difficult will it be to enter even if I were to pass the first 2 exams? Also how are starting salaries? Are we looking at above or below $50k?

Check out this link: http://www.dwsimpson.com/salary.html

socalkitti
April 20th 2009, 03:06 PM
Hello -

One more Newbie for the board, thank you all for your wonderful posts. I am 26 looking for my first real career, and I think this might be it. I have had some well paying great jobs, but there has always been something missing, mainly opportunity growth, and mental stimulation, which i hope to find in an actuary career. :smiloe: I wish I would have known more about this in college, but alas, never too late to start!

Question: I am planning to study up and relearn all that is forgotten and take the Exam 1/p and the FM before looking for a job to make sure I can hack it, however, I would love to know if there is anything else I can do to help myself out? Associations, Computer programming classes, exam-prep courses?

I work about 60 hours a week now, so I know it will be tough, but if there is anyone out there willing to be a quasi-mentor to a newbie, i would greatly appreciate advice from someone who really knows the field.

Also, i just purchased the ASM study guide for Exam P.. Anyone used this one? I guess i'll look on another post for that. Thanks all:laugh:

dmbfan41
April 20th 2009, 03:30 PM
Hello -

One more Newbie for the board, thank you all for your wonderful posts. I am 26 looking for my first real career, and I think this might be it. I have had some well paying great jobs, but there has always been something missing, mainly opportunity growth, and mental stimulation, which i hope to find in an actuary career. :smiloe: I wish I would have known more about this in college, but alas, never too late to start!

Question: I am planning to study up and relearn all that is forgotten and take the Exam 1/p and the FM before looking for a job to make sure I can hack it, however, I would love to know if there is anything else I can do to help myself out? Associations, Computer programming classes, exam-prep courses?

I work about 60 hours a week now, so I know it will be tough, but if there is anyone out there willing to be a quasi-mentor to a newbie, i would greatly appreciate advice from someone who really knows the field.

Also, i just purchased the ASM study guide for Exam P.. Anyone used this one? I guess i'll look on another post for that. Thanks all:laugh:

the ASM manual for P is a good choice. in my opinion, it's all you'll need to pass the exam.

as for what you can do to help yourself out: try to become familiar with excel, work on having great interviewing skills, try to see if you have any college courses that could count for VEEs, and just try to become familiar with the actuarial profession.

socalkitti
April 21st 2009, 08:07 AM
Thank you for your reply :) I'll stick to knowing the ASM study guide as best as I can and hopefully that will do it!

You mentioned VEE credits, and I have seen that before, do you know where I can look up more about that? Is there a time limit on when you have to have taken the classes or do you have "continuing education" requirements every year or two while in the profession aside from the exams? Also, I have seen all the different areas, Casualty, Healthcare, etc. and the different paths accordingly )ASA, FSA, CERA, etc.
How do you choose which one you'd like to try for, or can you start working and then decide a few years down the line which one you would rather pursue since the first 4 exams are all the same?

Thanks again!!! :smiloe:

billzhang1425
July 27th 2009, 09:01 PM
You can always self-study. You'll have to overcome the disadvantage of not having classes on the subject, etc.

As anecdotal evidence, the only exam I had a class pertaining to the informatoin for was Course 1 (now Exam P). I did take a couple economics courses prior to taking Course 2 (the predecessor of Exam FM), but other than that, I've self-studied for the actuarial exams. Now, I finished 5 exams and am studying for my 6th one.

It's doable - you just have to have that drive to do it.


hi man,

I am new to the actuarial exam, would you mind tell me more about the names of all exams I have to cover to pass all and what subjects are targeting each of these exams?

Thanks
Bill

NoMoreExams
July 28th 2009, 10:07 AM
Begin your search on www.soa.org, www.casact.org, www.beanactuary.com

windingroad
September 11th 2009, 05:45 AM
Thanks for creating such an informative thread!

mandersonjr
September 11th 2009, 04:43 PM
Also, if you are new to this type of math or do not have a strong math background, I would recommend taking an online seminar instead of the paper manuals. From experience, some of the material you will get, but then some lingo you wont understand, so to speed up the learning process I would recommend an online seminar. I have used both, and I will admit having the study manual as a back up does help.:wink:

Al Bundy
September 16th 2009, 12:41 PM
where does linear algebra come into play on the exams?
I want to sell back my text book from the course i took last year...do you really think i'll need to go back and reference it in the future..or will any study guide i purchase take care of all that.

NoMoreExams
September 16th 2009, 01:09 PM
where does linear algebra come into play on the exams?
I want to sell back my text book from the course i took last year...do you really think i'll need to go back and reference it in the future..or will any study guide i purchase take care of all that.

It comes up in linear regression which is on VEE and maybe some CAS 3L topics. Some problems on MFE could be solved using matrices basic rref and then on 4/C with regards to information matrix.

Rossluo
September 23rd 2009, 07:51 AM
Thank you for your suggestions, now i have a clear full picture of the actuarial exam.

garryp
September 26th 2009, 02:39 PM
Hi,

First of all thanks a lot for creating such an informative thread. I went through almost every post of this thread but could not find any question similar to the question I have, so, I am posting my question here:

Will it be good to switch from Software Engineer to an Actuarial Science career?
I am a software engineer having 3 yrs of experience. I work in Insurance domain and my technology is mainframes.

When I looked into my long term development I found that as a software engineer I can only reach up to a certain limits but as an actuary I can achieve any height.

Also, I have learned that in Actuarial field learning curve continues and you grow with time but in software industry after a certain time everything is stagnant.

After knowing these many things I still want to know if it will be good to switch from software industry to Actuarial fields? Also, could someone please validate my assumptions and add few more points (advantage of Actuarial career over Software Professionals).

Thanks,

newbie101
October 16th 2009, 12:14 AM
So a lot of the responses are geared towards those that are not currently college students or those with some idea of what their doing.

While this thread and many of the links here have been most helpful, I was wondering if it is too late for me to to consider an actuarial career.

I am a physics major(completed) who has become disillusioned with academia and the prospect of going to graduate school. Part of this is due to my college experience, which has revolved around a severe sports injury and the resulting time commitment of physical therapy and various local jobs to pay my medical bills.

As a result my gpa is a 2.7, and that isn't going to change no matter how good I think my excuse is.

I have taken calculus, dif eq. and matrix algebra(a 300 lvl course, not a full blown linear algebra one)

I feel my physics background has given me a solid foundation in the following areas: linear algebra (particularly with Hilbert spaces), vector calculus, probability theory, group theory, and some pde.

I also took introductory micro and macro economics along with a course on monetary theory as electives to fulfill my gen eds.

The problem is I only have 3 semesters left and don't want to go further into debt by adding an extra year. I plan on adding a math major with emphasis on probability and taking 2-3 finance classes, but I don't foresee myself having time to pass more than exam P, or having any internship experience when I enter the job market.

I am willing to spend the time applying to many, many companies, but if my lack of exams coupled with my inexperience renders me unemployable, I would appreciate that knowledge now so that I can focus my efforts in another field of business.

Kenneth
October 16th 2009, 01:11 AM
So a lot of the responses are geared towards those that are not currently college students or those with some idea of what their doing.

While this thread and many of the links here have been most helpful, I was wondering if it is too late for me to to consider an actuarial career.

I am a physics major(completed) ... my gpa is a 2.7...

I have taken ...
I feel my physics background has given me a solid foundation ...

...I plan on adding a math major with emphasis on probability and taking 2-3 finance classes, but I don't foresee myself having time to pass more than exam P, or having any internship experience when I enter the job market...



If you want to be an actuary, you must pass the exams. There's no way around this. You could have a PhD in underwater basket weaving, but you'd still need to pass the exams.

If you don't want to put the time, money and effort into passing exams, then you can't be an actuary. This isn't something that you can argue or discuss or reason around.

Go back and read the first post in the thread.

newbie101
October 16th 2009, 01:41 AM
I'm not trying to get out of passing exams. I know with hard work and time I can pass a probability exam. I fully intend to continue studying for the other exams after that. However, I really doubt I will have the time to pass more than one exam before I graduate.

Am I employable with only 1 exam? With my personal debt I cannot afford to spend time after graduation studying for 2 or 3 more exams while unemployed.

Y2A
October 16th 2009, 04:12 AM
Am I employable with only 1 exam? With my personal debt I cannot afford to spend time after graduation studying for 2 or 3 more exams while unemployed.

With a 2.7 GPA and 1 exam it is very unlikely you'll be able to get an entry-level position in this market. Also take into account that you currently have no exams and are just assuming you'll be able to pass P before you graduate. You can't assume anything you just have to go out and take the exam i.e., don't say you are going to do it just do it. Regardless if you are serious about pursuing the field you should take an exam ASAP. The sooner you have an exam down the sooner you can begin sending resumes. Let me just tell you that there are apparently a flood of people out there with 1 exam (usually FM) and that the new industry standard seems to be 2 exams.

newbie101
October 16th 2009, 05:56 PM
That's good to know. I've signed up to get exam P out of the way in January, but I think I'll have to wait until after graduation/getting a non actuarial job before taking the others. Unfortunate, but my priorities right now are graduating, getting any job that will start paying off my debt, and only then a job I really want to work at for the rest of my career.

Once again, thanks for the insight.

JS1
October 16th 2009, 10:23 PM
The actuarial field is saturated. With your GPA and number of exams, the chances of landing an entry-level actuarial job are ZERO. Stop wasting time and money. You have enough education to do something else.

Al Bundy
October 17th 2009, 02:01 AM
i doubt anyone will ask for your gpa and if theydo ..lie..
they can't check..unless they are geico..those people are insane!..or just round up to a 3
btw..i took a job as an inventory clerk after 9-11 making 25k coming out of college with a business programming degree...we can't always get what we want with our degree..but w/ experience we can keep getting better and better jobs.
you'll have to find time to study outside of your full time job. just take a job at an insurance company or with the state for the time being and wait for that position you want to open up.

Y2A
October 17th 2009, 05:57 AM
i doubt anyone will ask for your gpa and if theydo ..lie..
they can't check..unless they are geico..those people are insane!..or just round up to a 3
btw..i took a job as an inventory clerk after 9-11 making 25k coming out of college with a business programming degree...we can't always get what we want with our degree..but w/ experience we can keep getting better and better jobs.
you'll have to find time to study outside of your full time job. just take a job at an insurance company or with the state for the time being and wait for that position you want to open up.

This person hasn't even passed an exam yet.

haipham2007
October 17th 2009, 08:24 AM
The actuarial field is saturated. With your GPA and number of exams, the chances of landing an entry-level actuarial job are ZERO. Stop wasting time and money. You have enough education to do something else.

It is a very tough market now. My son will graduate in December with GPA > 3.8 in Math and he already passed 2 1/2 exams, 2 internship in the summer and one summer job related to finance/accounting but so far no job offer.

Kenneth
October 17th 2009, 11:14 PM
i doubt anyone will ask for your gpa and if theydo ..lie..
they can't check..unless they are geico..those people are insane!..or just round up to a 3
btw..i took a job as an inventory clerk after 9-11 making 25k coming out of college with a business programming degree...we can't always get what we want with our degree..but w/ experience we can keep getting better and better jobs.
you'll have to find time to study outside of your full time job. just take a job at an insurance company or with the state for the time being and wait for that position you want to open up.

Lying about your credentials is fraud. Don't do it. Really.

NoMoreExams
October 17th 2009, 11:32 PM
Lying about your credentials is fraud. Don't do it. Really.

Very accurate. If an employer finds out you lied about anything, GPA, exams passed, credentials, etc. etc. you are pretty much '''''ed. This is a a small world, and a lot of actuaries know someone that knows someone that went to school with them. You will be shooting yourself in the foot as well kicking yourself in the proverbial crotch.

sysy923
October 26th 2009, 02:21 PM
Thank you Irish,
I lost my job for a year and I got an interview change to be an entry level acturial assistant for an life insurance and the only requirement is to pass the exam P. I only have two months to prepare and need to really pick up meth which is 15 years ago. However, I am study very hard and your words is very encouraging. I have been working for Financial analyst for long time, since job market is so bad and I decide to take a chance to get second profession. Anyway, no pain no gain. Thanks again.

Mr.Fri
November 16th 2009, 03:07 PM
I'm still a college student and it's my junior here.
I'm study in Acturial Science(It's very lucky that my college has this major).
I just wondering that how many exams totally up there?
Can you list them? I have no idea that which exam should I go take first, second, third, ect...

NoMoreExams
November 16th 2009, 03:20 PM
I'm still a college student and it's my junior here.
I'm study in Acturial Science(It's very lucky that my college has this major).
I just wondering that how many exams totally up there?
Can you list them? I have no idea that which exam should I go take first, second, third, ect...

Have you checked out www.soa.org or www.casact.org or beanactuary.org?

parulk
December 20th 2009, 10:21 AM
Hi,

i hav 2.5 yrs of exp n IT field. but this field doesn't interest me nymore.
thinking of giving actuarial exams next yr onwards.
I have few doubts:
1). only by passing exams and having no exp in actuarial related field, what are the job prospects?
2). am planning to be in IT for one more yr. after that i will switch. will it be too late??

Sunless
December 22nd 2009, 05:01 PM
Hi, I've pored over this thread for career advice. I've mentioned elsewhere on this site that I am a college graduate that studied engineering and have the P exam under my belt. I very much want to get into the actuarial field but it seems that it is extremely difficult to get an entry level job anywhere with my qualifications. To better my chances as well as open up more career options I am wondering if I should take the cfa level 1 exam as well as exam FM this year. Considerig my lack of any background in fiance or economics, would a cfa exam drastically improve my chances of being hired whether in the actuarial field or financial field in general?

In addition in case I cannot find a job I want to hedge out that risk by going to graduate school and hope that the market for actuaries will be better when I graduate. I heard form here that actuarial degrees are not very useful, so to open up more career options and make my resume more appealing (plus pad my lousy undergrad gpa) I am thinking of getting a masters in statistics or financial mathematics. Are these good choices for me? Also, does employers care a lot about which school I get my degree from?

haipham2007
December 23rd 2009, 08:04 AM
Hi, I've pored over this thread for career advice. I've mentioned elsewhere on this site that I am a college graduate that studied engineering and have the P exam under my belt. I very much want to get into the actuarial field but it seems that it is extremely difficult to get an entry level job anywhere with my qualifications. To better my chances as well as open up more career options I am wondering if I should take the cfa level 1 exam as well as exam FM this year. Considerig my lack of any background in fiance or economics, would a cfa exam drastically improve my chances of being hired whether in the actuarial field or financial field in general?

In addition in case I cannot find a job I want to hedge out that risk by going to graduate school and hope that the market for actuaries will be better when I graduate. I heard form here that actuarial degrees are not very useful, so to open up more career options and make my resume more appealing (plus pad my lousy undergrad gpa) I am thinking of getting a masters in statistics or financial mathematics. Are these good choices for me? Also, does employers care a lot about which school I get my degree from?

Sunless,

If you can get Master program for Financial Math, it would be very good for you since I was told a lot of financial companies are looking for people in this field. Only the problem is not many school offers this program.

Sunless
December 24th 2009, 06:06 PM
thanks, I'll look into schools that provide this major.

tomlerner
January 2nd 2010, 11:34 AM
Hello,

I am in my early 50s and would complete the initial 2 exams and be employable at around 55 years old. Does this make sense to do? Please be honest - would I be able to find a position.

Thank you,

Tom

tomlerner
January 2nd 2010, 11:43 AM
Hello,

My apologies for duplicating this reply - I put it in the wrong place initially.

I am in my early 50s and would complete the initial 2 exams and be employable at around 55 years old. Does this make sense to do? Please be honest - would I be able to find a position.

Thank you,

Tom

NoMoreExams
January 2nd 2010, 01:36 PM
http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actuarial_discussion_forum/showthread.php?t=182825

nubie
January 3rd 2010, 02:47 AM
thanks for the info, irish! found it very helpful. however, there's one thing that isn't quite clear to me..regarding this VEE credit. you said you can get it through course 2 and 4; exactly which courses are you referring to? Are these free courses, on-the-job courses,...? and further, is it possible to CLEP out of these required courses?

NoMoreExams
January 3rd 2010, 02:52 AM
thanks for the info, irish! found it very helpful. however, there's one thing that isn't quite clear to me..regarding this VEE credit. you said you can get it through course 2 and 4; exactly which courses are you referring to? Are these free courses, on-the-job courses,...? and further, is it possible to CLEP out of these required courses?

The OLD course 2 and course 4 covered what has been transitioned to VEE.

finites
January 16th 2010, 06:53 PM
Hi, I've just recently joined this forum, and I'm a high school student interested in being an actuary. I live in Canada. I have several questions.

1. When can you first start writing actuary exams? Where do you write them? For the first exam, how advanced is the math that you need? (Calculus? First year University math?)

2. How do you prepare for them? Do you have to take actuary courses in order to write the exams, or can you just study at home?

3. How long does it usually take for one to prepare for an Actuary exam before writing it to get a good chance of pasisng?

sambhavahuja
January 29th 2010, 11:55 AM
Hi,
I am from India, passed out from college in 2009 and currently working as a consultant. I have been planning to become an actuary. Just had a couple of questions to ask.

1. From what I understand, there are a number of exams for becoming an actuary. For eg. I can go for SOA or CSA or Canadian Institute of Actuaries and then there is an exam conducted by the Institute of Actuaries in India. Now there seems to be a difference in the exams conducted, their requirements, and their syllabus.

Can someone please guide me on which one should i go for?

What i know is that Prometric conducts the exams for SOA and CSA all over the world. IA has its own examination here which is affiliated with the Institute of Actuaries(UK).

Which one would be a better option to go for?

2. I have done my graduation in Engineering field, so what should i do about the VEE thing if i go for SOA/CSA?


Thanks in advance,
Sambhav

Akilah
March 18th 2010, 01:57 PM
So can you just sit these exams on your own
or is there some council u must join or what???

Akilah
March 18th 2010, 02:08 PM
so can you just sit exams and become an actuary or is there some council u have to join or what not...

NoMoreExams
March 18th 2010, 02:31 PM
so can you just sit exams and become an actuary or is there some council u have to join or what not...

Sit for exams, when you get the necessary exams, you can apply to become an Associate of the societies and then a Fellow.

Akilah
March 18th 2010, 02:55 PM
ok so where do i sit these exams???

NoMoreExams
March 18th 2010, 04:19 PM
www.beanactuary.org
www.soa.org
www.casact.org

Start your research there

Akilah
March 19th 2010, 07:25 AM
will do thanks for your assistance and any problems i'll let you know

Michael_Adams
March 24th 2010, 12:43 PM
4. "Where is a good college to go for actuarial science?"
In the big picture, where you go to college and get your degree isnít nearly as important as the fact that you graduated with a degree and passed exams.

I know you don't give out specific school recommendations, but I was hoping you could give me a little bit of insight so that i can make the best choice for the long run. I'm currently deciding between University of California Santa Barbara (which as you know has a fantastic preparatory program for the first four actuarial exams), University of California Los Angeles, and University of California Berkeley (which both have fantastic reputations). As I know that UCSB will better prepare me for the first four actuarial exams and ultimately the career itself, I feel that the implications of attending UCLA or UCB would help me to get job offerings initially, and would probably help me in achieving my goal of either a managerial position, or starting my own firm. At the moment I have applied to each schools' respective Actuarial Program or Statistics Program, and I plan to double major also in Business. Any insight on the importance of the quality of program as opposed to the reputation of the school, with respect to my career plan would be so helpful. Thanks

parmeetsingh
May 5th 2010, 03:36 PM
Hi Friends,

I am very new to the acturial world and i live in India.

I want to enroll for some SOA exam, like probability for financial mathematics.

however when i try to enroll for the exam via prometric site, it asks for the Eligibility ID :,


kindly assist how to get this eligibility Id, do i need to apply for this eligibility id seperatly..

thanks n regards,
Parmeet Singh

Texas Auto Insurance
May 9th 2010, 03:17 PM
I'm new here, and you answered most of my questions, I just want to ask you one thing my major is Economies, and I took statistics, Forecasting, and Calculus I as Electives, And also I'm 36 Yrs old , do you think I can pass the exams without going through the other courses, if I self studied the rest.

I am 37 and I graduated in 2004. I had the same exact question. I guess alot depends on how much you want it. It is disadvantageous for me because I do better in a classroom environment, but to each its own.

aman_taneja
July 6th 2010, 12:04 AM
Hi Friends,

I am very new to the acturial world and i live in India.

I want to enroll for some SOA exam, like probability for financial mathematics.

however when i try to enroll for the exam via prometric site, it asks for the Eligibility ID :,


kindly assist how to get this eligibility Id, do i need to apply for this eligibility id seperatly..

thanks n regards,
Parmeet Singh


I also belong to India. I don't know whether I eligible to give the actuarial exams under SOA (uk) or I'll have to give it under Institute of Actuaries of india. If allowed for UK, what would be the procedure to be followed(prometric or smthg) and what would be the cost for the test(is it more than that in india) and is it(UK one) more valued in India??
Also I want to know, whether an MBA degree would help building my Resume ,by far, along with the actuarial exams or not??

Chirag5554
July 7th 2010, 10:41 AM
I also belong to India. I don't know whether I eligible to give the actuarial exams under SOA (uk) or I'll have to give it under Institute of Actuaries of india. If allowed for UK, what would be the procedure to be followed(prometric or smthg) and what would be the cost for the test(is it more than that in india) and is it(UK one) more valued in India??
Also I want to know, whether an MBA degree would help building my Resume ,by far, along with the actuarial exams or not??


Hi there ,this is chirag here, i am currently pursuing Actuarial Exams with SOA. i have just cleared 1 paper(Exam P).

I think i can answer some queries here,

firstly for SOA, you have to register for the Exam from SOA/CAS Site after paying the fees and then you will get the eligibility id using which you can register for exam.

Secondly as far as US and UK Exams are concerned these are really very expensive and unlike indian exams you will be hit by a time when you would have to wait till fees amount has been accumulated, leaving scope of try and error. Also one should know that you can be an "Appointed Actuary" and practice as it only if you are fellow of indian society.(law)

Eligibility for UK exams for indian students is same as per the Indian Actuarial Society so if you r not eligible to sit for indian exam u cannot for UK(rule).

Hope have been able to clear some of the air.

aman_taneja
July 7th 2010, 11:32 PM
Hi there ,this is chirag here, i am currently pursuing Actuarial Exams with SOA. i have just cleared 1 paper(Exam P).

I think i can answer some queries here,

firstly for SOA, you have to register for the Exam from SOA/CAS Site after paying the fees and then you will get the eligibility id using which you can register for exam.

Secondly as far as US and UK Exams are concerned these are really very expensive and unlike indian exams you will be hit by a time when you would have to wait till fees amount has been accumulated, leaving scope of try and error. Also one should know that you can be an "Appointed Actuary" and practice as it only if you are fellow of indian society.(law)

Eligibility for UK exams for indian students is same as per the Indian Actuarial Society so if you r not eligible to sit for indian exam u cannot for UK(rule).

Hope have been able to clear some of the air.





thanx a lot for the info........ But I hope it's not the case that Indian exams are far less valued than the UK exams!!!
Also, if you could mail me the material,if not the full then whatever you wish to send so that I get a good idea of what the level of exams is and would I be able to prepare all on my own!!! My email-id is " aman.taneja.2008@gmail.com ". Hope to hear from you soon.

TCB
July 22nd 2010, 09:44 AM
Great advice, Irish Blues. Here is my question for you. I decided to pursue actuary after completing a master's in math. I never took a probability course. I self-studied and made only a 6 on Exam P. How does my situation look to a potential employer? Thank you for any opinion.

JMO Fan
July 22nd 2010, 11:02 AM
Several of my actuarial employers considered a '6' to be the 'perfect' score. I agree - it means you balance your study hours with work. Good job!

Passing matters. Score usually doesn't, unless you bring it up. SoA/CAS will never report your score to someone else.

TCB
July 22nd 2010, 02:04 PM
JMO Fan, thank you for your response. Very encouraging.

Ebon
July 30th 2010, 11:10 AM
Hi everybody...
I am from Pakistan. I have a B in Alevel maths...and i am currently awaiting the result of chem and phy...
I want to be an actuary, since they are an elite class...

I want to know a couple of thing...
1.University of Karachi and Iobm both offer BS in actuarial Sciences....are the any usefull?
2.Do I get exemptions from SOA if i do the course?
3.What are my routes to enter the profession??

THank you!

want2beFCAS
August 3rd 2010, 05:51 AM
I was hoping for some advice since I do not know anyone in the field.

I wasted the opportunity I had while I was in college after high school not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I did however get good grades in Calc I and II, Microeconomics, and Corporate Finance. I have always loved math and especially probabilities, forecasting, decision tree analysis.

Anyways I want to be an actuary. I was wondering if I took and passed exams P and FM through self-study if any employers would consider hiring me even though I do not have a degree? Or should i at least be back in school in progress towards a degree before even thinking about applying for an internship or student position with 2 exams under my belt? Should I be on my last semester or year of coursework for a bachelors degree?

I am almost 29 and I am just super anxious to get any sort of work in the field asap. My hope is that it is possible to obtain some sort of position after passing two exams and then work towards completing my bachelors degree part time. Has anyone ever heard of someone becoming an actuary WITHOUT a degree? Is that even a possibility?

Thanks!

Hella
September 9th 2010, 06:26 PM
Hi, I'm 19 and entering my 2nd year as an Economics student. I've been looking into becoming an actuary and from what I've read it seems I won't be able to enter the field until at least two exams (P and FM) and some experience. My questions are: at this rate with me entering my 2nd year, how many exams would it be realistic/doable for me to pass by the time I graduate? The only resources (assuming a bit of college calculus and statistics, and whatever classes I take to get my BA in Econ) that I'll need to be able to pass are ASMs and practice exams, right?

Michael_Adams
September 10th 2010, 12:16 AM
I'm starting my actuarial education (as a third year transfer) into an actuarial science program, and my counselor has planned for me to pass 2-3 exams by the time I get my B.S., as I will be taking 3 exam-corresponding courses. There are self-study "courses" online, the best one I have found for FM/2 is a PDF of a 650 page textbook which includes lecture and sample problems. If you are sure that you would like to become an actuary you should look into switching majors / transferring into a good school as the preparatory classes will be helpful. As I understand, if you're not in the major its all about how much you study at home. realistically you could probably pass 2-3 if you work hard (and you're smart). Another thing to think about is transitioning from college to career... which would be much easier if you're in the major. At UCSB for example, representatives come from all over the country and the majority of the students are offered a job.

Michael_Adams
September 10th 2010, 12:17 AM
Also- don't say hella

Irish Blues
September 15th 2010, 12:02 AM
I haven't added this as a point [and I may not], but given a handful of posts I think it's important enough to mention.

If [when] you're lucky enough to get called for an interview, you'll have questions you want to ask. [If you don't, you should - not asking questions to the prospective employer is a MAJOR red flag.] When asking questions, it's important to ask the right question to get the answer you want. Ask "what's it like to work here" and you'll get generic, canned responses. Ask "what's the best thing about working here, and what's something you'd change about working here" and you'll get drastically different [and much more informative] answers. You want to make sure you ask the right questions to help you get as much information as possible to make the right choices.

It's also important to ask questions the right way; be respectful and choose words wisely when you ask. Don't just blurt out "tell me about the student program" - ask nicely. Don't ask "is the building located in a bad neighborhood?" Ask "what's the area like around the building?" and then "are there a lot of things to do in the neighborhood after work hours?" You'll get a more complete picture of the area and come across as being interested, instead of sounding like someone who's looking for an excuse not to work there.

This can really be applied to everything you end up doing if [when] you finally get hired - you'll have to ask others for information, and it's important that you can ask the right questions to get the information you're looking for. Others may have the information you want, but not know it if you don't ask in a way they can understand; if you can clearly articulate your questions, you'll get much better answers [and the entire process will take much less time] than if you just go off the top of your head and hope everyone else knows what you mean.