View Full Version : Career changer seeking study materials advice

May 21st 2005, 12:31 PM
I'm considering a career change and find actuary an interesting possiblilty. I've done some reading at a few sites including the career changer section at http://www.beanactuary.org. The approach most recommended is to take the first 1 or 2 exams to get a feel for the profession.
I'm looking for advice on what books and study materials I should get. I have taken statistics, probability and calculus classes in high school and college, but that was a number of years ago, so I'd probably be wise to get texts that start from the basics. I'd also be interested in hearing about any online courses or tutorials that people would recommend.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

January 23rd 2008, 12:32 PM
I just changed careers to being an actuary within the last year. I had the math/actuarial science background in university but didn't pursue it.

Two responses: The exams aren't the job! I passed the first exam and started studying for the second exam before interviewing. Even at the interviews, my employers didn't care about the exams as much as they wanted to see personability and critical thinking abilities. From my understanding, this is the way most companies run. The exams (preliminary exams anyway) are like a prerequisite of the job to see a commitment to the process and advanced math abilities but by no means is the material day-to-day work. It's applicable but not as much as one would think given the heavy weight everyone seems to place on the exams. More so, I barely use anything more than basic math - it's the mathematical thinking process (critical and calculated) that's really the key to the job.

Best way to get a feel for the job is to find as many actuaries as you can (preferably in person) and get a sense of their personalities and opinions to see how much you "fit that mold." That worked for me as I'm extremely pleased with my career change!

#2 - As far as exams, I took them a few years after learning the material in university so I used BPP's manual which I found to be extremely clear and spoonfed the basic material to until I dusted off the math part of my head. As well, I found they didn't have enough questions (in number and in difficulty) to really prepare. So, I supplemented with Temple wich isn't clear but has thousands of questions of all levels of difficulty. I believe ASM has that as well.

Nothing I said is set in stone - just my experience! Good luck!!

January 23rd 2008, 01:00 PM
i would recommend using two manuals (ASM and Actex is what i used for P). if you can only use one, then ASM would be best. i also would highly recommend either attending a seminar or watching a DVD of a seminar. they are very helpful.