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Thread: Passing exams quickly

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    Passing exams quickly

    Dear all

    If potential employers ask me what my plan for passing exams is, how would they feel if I said I would pass them quickly? That is, I truly believe I can pass one every sitting (maybe 3F and 3L at the same time even) and never fail because my level of mathematical maturity is going to be quite a bit higher than your average actuary, as I am a PhD student in math and getting a PhD minor in statistics. I assume this would be thought of as positive but I have heard that a person with a large number of exams and no work experience is actually a negative. So, I just want to be sure before I answer such an interview question.

    By the way, I have credit for 1/P and 2/FM.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Posting Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActSciMan View Post
    Dear all

    If potential employers ask me what my plan for passing exams is, how would they feel if I said I would pass them quickly? That is, I truly believe I can pass one every sitting (maybe 3F and 3L at the same time even) and never fail because my level of mathematical maturity is going to be quite a bit higher than your average actuary, as I am a PhD student in math and getting a PhD minor in statistics. I assume this would be thought of as positive but I have heard that a person with a large number of exams and no work experience is actually a negative. So, I just want to be sure before I answer such an interview question.

    By the way, I have credit for 1/P and 2/FM.

    Thanks
    For an intern, I would say a good number is 2-3 (you can get an internship with 1 exam or even 0 but it's a lot harder). For full time, I would say 3-5 is a good number to aim for.

    This doesn't mean if you have less, I won't hire you or if you have more I won't hire you. That will depend on your interviewing style and if you know Excel/Access/SQL/SAS/etc.

    Having interviewed a number of candidates in the past 2 weeks I can tell you 100% that exams will get your resume in my hands. Your interviewing skills/style will get you an offer.

  3. #3
    Actuary.com - Level III Poster
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    You'll have a leg up on the exams, but don't get overconfident. A friend of mine, also a math Ph. D., failed FM a while ago because he wasn't prepared for the questions on derivatives (of the financial kind). You've gotten past FM, but they do get harder. I am taking C on Friday and had to put more effort into it than into the previous exams.

    I think that's important on the interview, too. Moving quickly is fine, but it's also important to work thoroughly and make sure you're prepared. After all, the way you prepare for exams might be an indicator of how you'll work on the job, and you don't want to communicate to the employer that you intend to blaze through it.

  4. #4
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    Quote Originally Posted by pepper2000 View Post
    You'll have a leg up on the exams, but don't get overconfident. A friend of mine, also a math Ph. D., failed FM a while ago because he wasn't prepared for the questions on derivatives (of the financial kind). You've gotten past FM, but they do get harder. I am taking C on Friday and had to put more effort into it than into the previous exams.

    I think that's important on the interview, too. Moving quickly is fine, but it's also important to work thoroughly and make sure you're prepared. After all, the way you prepare for exams might be an indicator of how you'll work on the job, and you don't want to communicate to the employer that you intend to blaze through it.
    Thanks for the reply. That makes some sense. I will keep this in mind.

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