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Thread: How much does it matter

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    Question How much does it matter

    Hello,
    Your discussion forum has been really helpful to me and answered all of my questions except for one and I'm hoping that someone can help with that. My question is how much does actually going into an actuary science program help compared to math at a school that doesn't offer an actuary science major. It must be helpful to major in actuary science or schools wouldn't offer that major, right? How much easier would it be to pass the exams? I know most of you say that it doesn't matter what you go to school for, but I am oping for a little more direction than that. Ideally I would like to hear from people who have majored in actuary science and to what degree it helped them, and also people that have majored in other areas and how much of what they have learned has been self-taught. Any responses would be helpful and I would like to thank you ahead of time.
    Jon

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Level VI Poster
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonDG
    Hello,
    Your discussion forum has been really helpful to me and answered all of my questions except for one and I'm hoping that someone can help with that. My question is how much does actually going into an actuary science program help compared to math at a school that doesn't offer an actuary science major. It must be helpful to major in actuary science or schools wouldn't offer that major, right? How much easier would it be to pass the exams? I know most of you say that it doesn't matter what you go to school for, but I am oping for a little more direction than that. Ideally I would like to hear from people who have majored in actuary science and to what degree it helped them, and also people that have majored in other areas and how much of what they have learned has been self-taught. Any responses would be helpful and I would like to thank you ahead of time.
    Jon
    I can only offer what I know, but it may be hard to compare the two.

    I majored in mathematics at the local 4-year university and did not take very many classes related to actuarial exams. I only took a calculus-based probability course, a microeconomics course and a macroeconomics course.

    So far, I've done most of the exams on a self-study basis, and for the most part, I've had decent sucess through the exams. A lot of it is having the will to commit yourself to studying and really focusing on the material.

  3. #3
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    I am in pretty much the same boat as wat when it comes to what I took. I majored in math at my local university and, outside of calc-based probability and calculus, not much applied directly to the first few exams. I also took a course in Financial Derivatives which I believe will help me with exam M when I get to that level.

    I wrote P in February and am 99% confident of a pass and am currently studying for FM in May and am making great progress. I really had no background for FM (outside of a few Econ courses that already taught me a few things like dividend discount model for stock prices), but I am learning 95% of the material on my own and not having any difficulty. I am sure you can do the same if you have a math major, so long as you're willing to put in the work.

    One thing I think worth mentioning is that if you DO major in actuarial science, you had better be confident you want to enter this field. This is just an assumption on my part, but I'm pretty sure a degree like the pigeonholes you into this field, whereas a math major will give you more options.

  4. #4
    You spam? I ban! Irish Blues's Avatar
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    I'll agree with the idea that a degree in actuarial science can pigeonhole you. If you're confident you want to go into this field, then a degree in actuarial science does two things: (1) you're better prepared for the lower-level exams, (2) you have a better idea of what to expect going in than Joe Schmoe who got his degree in some other field.

    Greg1983 - if that Financial Derivatives class covered life contingencies, then you'll be in at least decent shape. If it didn't touch life contingencies, be prepared to make Actuarial Mathematics you new best friend when you take M.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irish Blues
    Greg1983 - if that Financial Derivatives class covered life contingencies, then you'll be in at least decent shape. If it didn't touch life contingencies, be prepared to make Actuarial Mathematics you new best friend when you take M.
    Haha yeah it didn't. I fully expect to have to put in a lot of work, but I'll have 6 months after FM to worry about it. Come to think of it, my course covered stuff that will be added AFTER I write in November when they add all the financial economics. I learned options pricing, Black-Scholes, hedging; all that stuff.

    Ah well it'll come in handy somewhere down the road i'm sure! Maybe when I write C in May 07? (Fingers crossed that I pass FM and M first of course.)

  6. #6
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    Question

    Thanks for the responses, I really appriciate it. What are your thoughts on maybe majoring in economics or finance and minoring in math? Do you think that would help me through the exams more than majoring in math and minoring in economics or finace? I'm kind of stressing out about this because I'm about to end my second year of college at a school that that only offers two actuarial science seminars, I want to persue be an actuary, I don't really want to switch schools, and I don't want to make the exam process any harder on myself than it alreay is. Again, I would really appriciate your comments- this forum is really the only place I can get answers to my questions from people that have gone through or are going through the same thing. Thanks.

  7. #7
    You spam? I ban! Irish Blues's Avatar
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    See my thread stuck at the top of this forum which answers the question, "Which degree should I get?"

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