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mcgruff
June 17th 2008, 12:13 PM
Just curious...how closely do actuary exams correlate to what you actually do as an actuary? I'm wondering because, as a mechanical engineer, what I do virtually everyday is much more basic and limited in scope than the material on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (an exam one takes to become an "Engineer-in-Training") or even the Professional Engineer's exam for mechanical engineers. (I passed the FE exam a few years ago and am therefore an EIT. I would be elgible to take the PE exam in about two years supposing I don't become an actuary before that. But even though I haven't taken the PE exam, I am pretty familiar with how it is.) Is being an actuary like this? Or do the exams and your everyday work actually go together?

NoMoreExams
June 26th 2008, 05:43 PM
Just curious...how closely do actuary exams correlate to what you actually do as an actuary? I'm wondering because, as a mechanical engineer, what I do virtually everyday is much more basic and limited in scope than the material on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (an exam one takes to become an "Engineer-in-Training") or even the Professional Engineer's exam for mechanical engineers. (I passed the FE exam a few years ago and am therefore an EIT. I would be elgible to take the PE exam in about two years supposing I don't become an actuary before that. But even though I haven't taken the PE exam, I am pretty familiar with how it is.) Is being an actuary like this? Or do the exams and your everyday work actually go together?

For the prelim. exams, I wouldn't say so except for knowing the fundamentals from P and FM.

P and FM - You want to have an understanding of moments and what a distribution is as well as have a clear understanding of TVM but my boss never asks me to assume that X ~ Gamma(...), etc.

MLC and MFE - a bit more specific where you want to have an understanding of what's happening in each as well. MLC is a combination of FM and P since you are now not only discounting for the TVM but in a way probability of default as well. Tack on top of that allowing multiple states (Markov Chains and multiple decrements) and you have MLC in a nutshell. I've never taken MFE but I have seen topics on that. I'm guessing that someone who works in a finance role might appreciate that exam a bit more in their day to day role though I doubt any entry level actuaries price options.

C gets a bit closer to what some actuaries do since here we are no longer presented with a model but raw data instead and asked to come up with conclusions. So you look at your moments, you try to create a model (I heard in P&C they fit data to actual distributions, I haven't seen that but I don't work in P&C), test how close the fit is and finally figure out which weights (credibility) you want to assign to your past and most recent experience (this I do see a lot).

The latter exams are suppose to represent and help with what an actuary does more closely in his day to day workplace. I'm not sure on the CAS side but on the SOA, your final exam (8 or CSP / DP now) is a topic exam where you take the one that best represents which field you work in so hopefully the topics should look more familiar to you.

Hope this brief summary helped.

Acumen
July 15th 2008, 09:50 AM
I worked in the pensions arena for a number of years and was always bewildered by how little of the actual info I spent many hours learning actually came in useful in my day to day jobs.

NoMoreExams
July 15th 2008, 05:51 PM
I worked in the pensions arena for a number of years and was always bewildered by how little of the actual info I spent many hours learning actually came in useful in my day to day jobs.

Yeah but... come on it's pensions, you might as well do accounting :wacko:

wat
July 21st 2008, 06:38 PM
I work in life insurance, and my experience mirrors that of NoMoreExams's summary, with some deviations.

Since MLC deals with life contingencies, I've found that to be one of the most useful preliminary exams when it comes to the duties of my position. NME's assessment of the later exams is also correct - they're much more practice-specific, so they'll deal with the day-to-day work more than the preliminary exams. I have studied for the FSA-level SOA exams and can affirm that I have used virtually all the textbooks as a reference for completing a project I've worked on or to read up on a discussion with the department.