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billyzinc
08-25-2003, 04:10 PM
EXAM REDESIGN report on SOA WEBSITE!

4sigma
08-25-2003, 04:14 PM
For those not inclined to search the SOA webiste for it, you can find it here. (http://www.soa.org/eande/report_membership03.pdf)

Emily
08-25-2003, 04:21 PM
It doesn't look too different from the current system. The ASA course is the biggest difference, and it looks to be an improvement.

Dr T Non-Fan
08-25-2003, 04:31 PM
Interesting: Mr Carmody was on a working group.

This is pretty complicated. I'll have to read it first before I make any comments.

4sigma
08-25-2003, 04:37 PM
I have yet to finish reading it. It looks to me like they are shifting towards an emphasis on practical applications and what they call the "control process." (Defined in appendix B for those of you who are halfway through the document and still wondering what on earth they are talking about.)

My initial reaction is that this is good for our profession to be adding this emphasis on practical application. I have still to digest the impact in terms of the effect on people who are mid the process.

Biggest bummer so far: Page 14, where they say each FSA track will have two "Course 8's" which are each comparable in magnitude to the current Course 8.

Wigmeister General
08-25-2003, 04:42 PM
Trust me, the change will not be for your benefit.

aces219
08-25-2003, 04:42 PM
1 thing I'm not clear on based on the transition rules - if you attain ASA before then, it doesn't look like things map nicely..how does that work? This definitely gives incentive to pass Course 8 before EA.

thing
08-25-2003, 05:06 PM
aces: I imagine if you get your ASA before the transition, you keep it. Just you get a messier set of FSA requirements, perhaps.

Emily
08-25-2003, 05:09 PM
Biggest bummer so far: Page 14, where they say each FSA track will have two "Course 8's" which are each comparable in magnitude to the current Course 8.
I think the ASA courses are a little easier than the current 5 and 6. I'd rather have the ASA a little sooner and more track specific exams for FSA. That's just me.

C8
08-25-2003, 05:43 PM
I'm cautiously optimistic upon my first perusal. It's about time they considered computer-based testing and pre-set passing scores. (I'm getting this from the Prelim. Educ. section.)

I'm curious how those who have gone through PD feel about them dumping that piece. Has anyone had a meaningful experience doing their PD? I wonder because (cross my fingers) I'll be doing PD before any transition takes place.

Overall, I think they're moving in the right direction. It's nice to see that they're not afraid to say that what they have now isn't working. It makes it messy for us, but I hope it helps create more informed (i.e. better)actuaries in the future.

Macroman
08-25-2003, 06:15 PM
An excerpt from page 17 of:
http://www.soa.org/eande/report_membership03.pdf


Society of Actuaries Education Redesign

If the timeline, as outlined in the following section is followed, the final administrations of the
current exams will be as follows:
Final exams 1 - 4: November 2004
Final exam 5: November 2005 (this may be moved up to November 2004, depending on
final implementation schedule)
Final exam 6: May 2006
Final exam 8: November 2006 (this may be moved up to November 2005, depending on
final implementation schedule)
Final Course 7: Near the end of 2006
Final PD: Executed PD plans will be accepted through the end of 2006. The PD
component as it currently exists will be discontinued with the implementation of the
redesigned FSA component.
We reiterate that final mapping rules, particularly in relation to the FSA components, are
contingent on the contents of the final instructional objectives for this element.
Candidates and members may expect to see the release of final conversion rules by
the end of this calendar year.

Sorry for double-posting this, but I thought everyone ought to see it.

Old Man
08-25-2003, 06:18 PM
I thought when they made the last change (or the change prior to that...I get so confused with all of these changes) they said that we would never lose our assigned PD credits. It seems that in this new system, I will lose the PD credits that I have. I don't have Course 4 yet, so I can't complete the PD. Am I missing something?

Emily
08-25-2003, 06:20 PM
The PD credits are yours to keep. A fat lotta good they'll do ya' though.

That Goblin
08-25-2003, 07:38 PM
Your professionalism is developed. Once it develops, nobody can ever take that away from you.

ed999
08-25-2003, 08:28 PM
What about all the people who suffered through the exams since May 2000? Different colleges have different standards in the grading process. While the examination redesign does have its advantages and merits, I just don't think it's fair for so many of us who went through this painstaking process of taking the "old" exams that we are taking today.

Here is a very brief comparison:

New Exam 1 = current exam 1 minus the calculus part - 3 hours (this seems O.K.)

New Exam 2 = Current exam 2 with just Interest Theory and a little financial economics (ie: Duration and Convexity) - 2 hours. We had to read the Brealy Myers text (almost 900 pages of material) + Landsburg's Micro Econ Plus a terrible Macro study note. And our current exam 2 is FOUR hours in length.

New exam 3 = Current exam 3 with only Life Contingencies (no more simulation , loss models, and stochastic processes and Ruin Theory)
While taking some of the topics away seems like a good call, I don't possibly see why half the material has been deleted. After all some of the loss models material is useful for the Casualty actuary.

New Exam 4 = current exam 4 less the Econometrics and Time Series material. In addition they are adding a little more Survival material. But simulation and the different statistics methods (ie: MLE's) are also taken out.

I would love to hear from what others have to say about this exam redesign.

Dr T Non-Fan
08-25-2003, 09:04 PM
[cynic on]How much do schools have to pay to be accredited by the SOA? [cynic off]
(No, not our Cynic.)

OK, a little more politely: which schools will be accredited? Seems as if a lot of diverse disciplines, none of which would be found in a math department:
1. Economics (E)
2. Corporate Finance (CF)
3. Applied Statistical Models (AS)

"Once a particular course at a particular institution is accepted, it will be posted at the SOA web site, indicating that subsequent students need only submit an official transcript." -- Page 8

Since there are more than two years before this takes effect, I think someone at the SOA should be notifying schools of its new requirements, should the school choose to have accredited courses for aspiring actuaries to take. Sure, the usual suspects (those with actuarial science degrees) will get on board, but who should inform the "lesser" schools? Do I have to go to my alma mater -- whose math teachers scoff at my wasting my "math brain" -- to recommend taking action on this?

Steve White
08-25-2003, 09:05 PM
New exam 3 = Current exam 3 with only Life Contingencies (no more simulation , loss models, and stochastic processes and Ruin Theory)
While taking some of the topics away seems like a good call, I don't possibly see why half the material has been deleted. After all some of the loss models material is useful for the Casualty actuary.
I had seen none of the redesign proposal before today. I know nothing beyond what is published. I don't think the change to Course 3 is nearly as drastic as you suggest.

It is true that in the body of the report they say:Exam M - Models for Quantifying Risk – previously called life contingencies, validated by a four-hour examination.

However, in Appendix A it seems like it's much more than just life contingencies. For example, the Learning Objectives include Define and understand common models and associated symbols. Include continuous and discrete survival models plus frequency and severity models.

Understand and apply the collective and individual risk models.

Perform and apply basic simulation techniques. This includes generation of random numbers with an emphasis on the inversion method, illustrations of the use of simulation in actuarial modeling, and determination of the number of simulations needed.
They also say Stand-alone techniques, such as applied stochastic processes, do not appear in the list of learning objectives. To accomplish this new study material is needed.Who knows what that means? Maybe they are saying that the goal is to have Course M cover Probability Models in greater detail than Course 3 does, but they don't expect to have that in place in 2005. Other interpretations of the quote are also possible. (Though I didn't quote it, one immediate learning objective refers to transition matrices, which are in the Probability Models text.)

SamChevre
08-25-2003, 09:11 PM
Here are my opinions--from someone who's preparing for the current course 3.

Preliminary exams:
The educational prerequisites will be a real barrier to entry for math and engineering majors. The micro/macro/corporate finance are all second-level courses in a normal curriculum, so they are looking at 6 courses to meet those requirements. I think that an optional, 2-hour test on those three subjects combined would be a very good addition to the proposed syllabus.

ASA exams:
Look more practical and more passable than the current exams. I think they will pick up much of the material that is being dropped on exams 3 and 4.

Dr T Non-Fan
08-25-2003, 09:24 PM
The other assumed knowledge will be tougher on non-math and non-engineering majors:
1. Calc (a year or more)
2. Lin Alg (a semester -- that advanced stuff doesn't seem necessary)
3. Into Accounting (a year)
4. Business Law (a semester, and at some business schools very difficult to get into with all the business majors
5. Mathematical Statistics (a year, perhaps a semester if the shcool covers the necessary and sufficient material)

That's why schools need to be informed ASAP of the potential actuaries' need for more of these courses, and that some might have to be modified to include pertinant material.
I guess a distribution of current FSAs/ASAs alma maters would be a good start to informing the schools that they need to review their curricula.

My main concern is that this new program will exclude students due to their poor choice in schools. I know I'd be in bad shape getting a job (as if I didn't already with two exams) without taking Business Law and Corporate Finance. What do those folks have to do? Go back to school?
I know too many actuaries that fell into the actuarial field because the jobs weren't available elsewhere. These new prerequisites force people to choose the profession a lot earlier than some ASAs and FSAs did.

SamChevre
08-25-2003, 09:48 PM
The other assumed knowledge will be tougher on non-math and non-engineering majors:
1. Calc (a year or more)
2. Lin Alg (a semester -- that advanced stuff doesn't seem necessary)
3. Into Accounting (a year)
4. Business Law (a semester, and at some business schools very difficult to get into with all the business majors
5. Mathematical Statistics (a year, perhaps a semester if the school covers the necessary and sufficient material)

But all those are either assumed (1,3,4) and no validation is required, or are on the syllabus, and thus remain just like they are today--academic background makes the exams easier but everyone has to take the exams(2,5).


My main concern is that this new program will exclude students due to their poor choice in schools. I know I'd be in bad shape getting a job (as if I didn't already with two exams) without taking Business Law and Corporate Finance. What do those folks have to do? Go back to school?
I know too many actuaries that fell into the actuarial field because the jobs weren't available elsewhere. These new prerequisites force people to choose the profession a lot earlier than some ASAs and FSAs did.

Seconded; I think the academic actuaries had too much influence on the preliminary requirements, which heavily favor business schools and Actuarial Science programs, to the disadvantage of math programs and late entrants.

Tim><
08-25-2003, 10:29 PM
I haven't read this through. I don't suppose my English major would have allowed me into this field. I assume that, as I should have 1-4 by then (hopefully), my major will no longer be of consequence. Is that correct?

Sam Adams
08-26-2003, 08:15 AM
I'm with you J-Rab. I don't understand how these educational requirements affect people that are currently employed in the actuarial profession and taking exams. Actually, there's a lot about this that I don't understand.

Jen
08-26-2003, 09:16 AM
:roll: :P :P :P

Kenny
08-26-2003, 09:43 AM
How could those crooks get credited without taking some similar exams that we have been taking for years!

This philosphy is why the exam system is in the current state it's in. Too many people, for too long, who have passed prior exams don't feel it is "fair" if those coming after don't have to go through the same crap and stress they did. The goal should be to credential intelligent people who have demonstrated a specific body of knowledge, not to continue some sadistic ritual b/c you had to go through it.

I think this is a move in the right direction. Calculus and probability can be tested along with the construction and evaluation of risk models and LC.

SOA, give me a break!! Is this whole thing a joke? I am afraid actuary as a profession is going to lose its professional appeal as well as its high standard and credibility all down the drain!!

Please, the profession goes down the tubes when we don't market ourselves as a practical profession with a definable and marketable skill set. Actuaries are not respected because the exams are a long, difficult and tortuous process.

Bama Gambler
08-26-2003, 09:47 AM
Actuaries are not respected because the exams are a long, difficult and tortuous process.True, but it sure does help keep salaries up! :D

Will Durant
08-26-2003, 10:15 AM
How could those crooks get credited without taking some similar exams that we have been taking for years!

This philosphy is why the exam system is in the current state it's in. Too many people, for too long, who have passed prior exams don't feel it is "fair" if those coming after don't have to go through the same crap and stress they did. The goal should be to credential intelligent people who have demonstrated a specific body of knowledge, not to continue some sadistic ritual b/c you had to go through it.

I think this is a move in the right direction. Calculus and probability can be tested along with the construction and evaluation of risk models and LC.

SOA, give me a break!! Is this whole thing a joke? I am afraid actuary as a profession is going to lose its professional appeal as well as its high standard and credibility all down the drain!!

Please, the profession goes down the tubes when we don't market ourselves as a practical profession with a definable and marketable skill set. Actuaries are not respected because the exams are a long, difficult and tortuous process.
I don't have either of the concerns of Jen.

My concern is: Does this system make a difficult barrier to most majors other than actuarial science, in particular providing an overwhelming proble to mathematics majors?

Most math majors will have either micro or macro completed as part of their general ed requirements, but not both. Business majors are definitely covered.

Corporate Finance. No math majors will have this. Generally, business will have this, although not always.

Applied Statistics. Almost no math majors will have this, although most stat majors will. One or two courses, depending on whether or not they have had the prerequisites.

So, by my tally, we're looking at:
If you major in economics or finance - 1 course (Applied Stat)
If you major in statistics - 2 courses (econ, finance)
If you major in mathematics - 3 courses (econ, finance, Applied Stat)

James Madison
08-26-2003, 10:20 AM
Page 10 of the Education Redesign document contains the following, “The emphasis of the entire ASA course design is education, not accreditation.” Page 11 indicates that some exercises from the modules may be formally validated (i.e. graded). There will be multiple-choice exams given after the completion of modules 4 and 8. The multiple-choice exams will likely be given on demand via the Internet.

It seems to me that the SOA is moving back to the pre-1995 requirements for Associateship (i.e. 200 credits or roughly exams 1-4 under the current system). The new ASA course will require some effort but almost everyone will be able to complete it. If you pass the current SOA Part 5 prior to the transition, you will be granted ASA Modules 1 through 5 and you will be excused from the first multiple-choice exam.

Should a rational person continue to study for a difficult examination like SOA Part 5 when the new ASA course seems so easy and the transition credit granted for completion of Part 5 is so meager?

Kenny
08-26-2003, 10:54 AM
Yoda, I am not sure why you quoted me but I will answer anyway.

I assume you are refering to people who have already graduated and what will need to be completed.

I am not sure that a math major having to either take classes or an AP exam does more than level the field a little. As a non-math major I have felt that math majors had an advantage on the early exams (1-4). Even if a math major has not seen the material, the way it is presented and the underlying concepts are quite different than most things I was exposed to as an acct/finance student. Even at the graduate level. I think someone exposed to higher level math courses is able to grasp the topics easier than some who hasn't been.

As an example, I took a graduate level Math course, Mathematics of Finance, that focused on mathematical modeling of finacial instruments. We studied things like Brownian Motion, Black-Scholes, and other options pricing methods from a purely mathematical standpoint. At the time the material was way over my head, however, the majority of people who had been exposed to higher levels of math because of their math major were able to follow along. After having completed more study of math related topics I am now able to understand the text much easier. Even the graduate level Finance course I took on Derivatives Pricing, which uses the Hull book, did not really focus on the calculus.

My point is that the amount of effort required for a math major to complete an additional finance or econ course might be similar to the effort required for nonmath majors to catch up on some of the other topics. Of course, I might just be :duh:

BC
08-26-2003, 11:18 AM
I have Exams 1-8 and 40PD. It seems like if I don't get the 10PD in the next 2 years (not exactly a problem) I will lose it and have to take a 6-hour exam.

It does seem like you are losing your PD credits in this new system, unless they add up to a full exam or module or something...

J.T.
08-26-2003, 11:24 AM
The biggest problem I see is that many of us who went into college to get a math major did not go to an act sci school. I never took an eco class, business law class, or finance class in my college career. I didn't know I wanted to be an actuary until my final year in college. It would have definitely lengthened my time in college by at least another semester. I'm not sure how this affects those people who attend an actuarial school. Since none of those classes were applicable to my major, I'm not sure that I would have even known I had to take them. I didn't take 110 until 1 semester before I graduated (I just finished the class then). I think it's puts a disadvantage to those who are truely math majors.

I really don't think math majors have a distinct advantage in 1-4. Most of my upper level classes were theory based, not application based. The applied part of any subject is what is generally tested on the exams.

I'm not sure how the modules will work, but if they don't require a lot of extra time, they may be worth it. It seems to be more work than 2 exams, but maybe I'm wrong. ISTM that they are adding more things to get to ASA and FSA instead of decreasing the amount of travel time.

Thanks goodness I'm through with 1-4 and am now on the CAS side. At least I don't have to worry for 2 years while they decide how to proceed. (At least until they decide to change the CAS to keep up with SOA. :roll: )

wooHoo
08-26-2003, 11:39 AM
As someone who went to Business school and works with a bunch of math majors, there are a math majors out there (not everyone) who do not understand the basics of business or economics.

They do not know even the basic economics and business found on course 2, nor have any knowledge of how stocks and bonds work.

Someone working as an actuary should have a basic background in business law, economics, corporate finance, etc. It seems that the soa has decided these topics are best left to course work and not to an soa exam. Perhaps this will encourage more math majors to take some business courses and have a broader background.

Twisted Logic
08-26-2003, 12:49 PM
From my personal perspective, a big appeal of the past/current system is no formal educational requirements. Hence your background only matters as much as it helps you prepare for the exams. Some backgrounds can give you an edge, but life is not fair. Some people are better test-takers and the system certainly helps them.

When I was looking for a new carrier, I considered it a big plus that I can work and self-study and do not have to take any college courses. It would be much more difficult for me to make a transition if I had to go back to school and take additional courses.

Right now the report says that an alternatives to preliminary education will be examined. I hope that SOA will continue to offer exam path at least as an alternative to satisfy preliminary education.

Imagine a physics Ph.D. that contemplates becoming an actuary. In my opinion, taking college classes would be a real hardship compared with the posibility of taking an exam to satisfy the requirements.

Kenny
08-26-2003, 01:21 PM
Right now the report says that an alternatives to preliminary education will be examined. I hope that SOA will continue to offer exam path at least as an alternative to satisfy preliminary education.


I agree. I think a standard exam with a set pass mark, offered on demand, is a viable alternative that will increase travel time.

Emily
08-26-2003, 01:22 PM
Right now the report says that an alternatives to preliminary education will be examined. I hope that SOA will continue to offer exam path at least as an alternative to satisfy preliminary education.


I agree. I think a standard exam with a set pass mark, offered on demand, is a viable alternative that will increase travel time.
Decrease?

Sam Adams
08-26-2003, 01:40 PM
When I was looking for a new carrier, I considered it a big plus that I can work and self-study and do not have to take any college courses. It would be much more difficult for me to make a transition if I had to go back to school and take additional courses.I agree. Did I miss the transistion rules for the education requitrement or is that not addressed? What about a math major who has courses 1, 3, and 4 but not 2. Would they make him go back and take an econ and finance class?

Ju
08-26-2003, 01:40 PM
I'm sure glad as hell they are doing away with post-2000 system.
Having said that, it looks like I'm losing 30 pd credits in addition to 15 (or 20?) credits that I lost during 2000 conversion! Annoying, to say the least.
:swear:

Wigmeister General
08-26-2003, 02:05 PM
I seem to recall the Transition Committee asking one another how they could redesign the structure so that Jenka could lose another 20 PD credits.

Kenny
08-26-2003, 02:48 PM
Right now the report says that an alternatives to preliminary education will be examined. I hope that SOA will continue to offer exam path at least as an alternative to satisfy preliminary education.


I agree. I think a standard exam with a set pass mark, offered on demand, is a viable alternative that will increase travel time.
Decrease?

:duh:

Course 4 Escapee
08-26-2003, 03:48 PM
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SlackerActuary
08-26-2003, 04:50 PM
So what does this mean to those of us who didn't have the coursework in college and may not be done with 1-4 by November 2004? Am I going to have to go back and take the extra business courses at a college near me? Is there a section that explains what students who are mid-sequence will have to do?

Oblomov retired (student)
08-26-2003, 05:07 PM
So what does this mean to those of us who didn't have the coursework in college and may not be done with 1-4 by November 2004? Am I going to have to go back and take the extra business courses at a college near me? Is there a section that explains what students who are mid-sequence will have to do?

Page 16 summarizes the proposed(?) transitions rules.

There are 3 subjects that will be "validated". For exam 2, you'll get an exemption for Economics and for Corporate Finance, For exam 4 you'll get an exemption for Applied Statistics. So, if you don't pass 2 and 4 before November 2004 (!!!) you might have to go back to college.

I am now preparing for course 3, I can fail once for either 3 or 4, if I fail twice I need to go back to college. This sucks. Considering the commitment I made by starting the actuarial exams, the SOA should have a longer planning period than 1 year. That way, I could have taken into account the possibility of having to take university courses again. Thanks for demotivating me.

Gandalf
08-26-2003, 05:11 PM
So what does this mean to those of us who didn't have the coursework in college and may not be done with 1-4 by November 2004? Am I going to have to go back and take the extra business courses at a college near me? Is there a section that explains what students who are mid-sequence will have to do?

There is a section on transition. It proposes (maybe not final result) what current exams satisfy which requirements. In particular, it looks like if you have not passed Course 2, you will need to satisfy the validation for Economics and Finance; if you have not passed Course 4 you will need to satisfy the validation for Applied Statistics.

Each current exam among 1-4 provides credit for one new exam (2 and 4 also cover some of the validation requirements.)

Pre-requisites like Calculus and Introductory Accounting do not have to be validated (no proof is required).

Emily
08-26-2003, 05:11 PM
If you have to go back to school to take some business courses you might as well get your MBA. Then you can tell the SOA to go...

Oblomov retired (student)
08-26-2003, 05:16 PM
Does the redesign apply to P&C as well?

Oblomov retired (student)
08-26-2003, 05:29 PM
I find it ironic that one of the guiding principals:
Travel time should be reduced when compared to completing current Courses 1-4.
This should not be accomplished by shifting material later in the syllabus.
Has been solved by shifting material to BEFORE the syllabus applies. This proposal reduces travel time by setting strict entry requirements for the exams. Travel time won't be reduced, the SOA-clock just starts ticking later in the process.

Gandalf
08-26-2003, 05:37 PM
Does the redesign apply to P&C as well?

People seeking to become members of the CAS satisfy CAS exam requirements. This is an SOA proposal. Currently, exams 1,2 and 4 are joint. The CAS will have to decide to what extent it wants any revised SOA exams to be joint, and what additional requirements (coursework, exams, etc) it might require.

working girl
08-26-2003, 06:21 PM
I like how my travel time will be reduced.

I have 1-7 + 25PD, and it looks like I'll get to take TWO part 8s and lose my PD. Can't wait.

I'm hoping I can wait until towards the end, finish up the PD so it doesn't expire, (getting rid of one of the 6-hour exams), then re-pass the pricing exam I took back pre-2000.

Do you think that will make me qualified? It seems like I might end up with an FSA by doing that.

4sigma
08-26-2003, 06:26 PM
The new exam system will decrease your travel time because you now have a powerful motivation to pass Course 8 and complete your PD before the rules change.

GoSensGo
08-26-2003, 06:36 PM
Hmmm.

I bet a lot of this will change before they finalize.

Looks like they have finally heard the call for more practical and less theoretical.

Eventually we might have more people who can talk in complete sentences and a few less pocket protectors.

I wonder what the CAS will do. I suspect that they will probably want to maintain some common exams, especially at the preliminary level.

They are making the exams easier overall. But the strategy seems to be that they will keep salaries high by getting rid of people who do not have the right university courses.

Seems that it is important to get courses 2,4 before implementation is important -> otherwise back to school. Some people who finish the current 5 will probably want to skip 6 and go straight to 7. This way the mapping works, you get your ASA more quickly this way.

No doubt it will all change before too long.

Twisted Logic
08-26-2003, 06:59 PM
Maybe somebody could suggest to the SOA that the time horizon for which to plan should exceed the average travel time to the FSA. They have changed the requirements in 1995, 2000, and now are planning for 2005/2006 or so. Do they plan to change again around 2010 or 2012?

When I went to college, I did not see the graduation requirements being changed half-way through. There could have been some minor adjustments, but nothing comparable with SOA redesign.

Redesigning requirements every once a while maybe appropriate, but not every five years or so. Somebody came up with a brilliant idea of a PD, which apparantly is not good enough to stay. Those of us who will end up doing the whole PD thing (including the project) will be among few FSAs to go through it.

Maybe SOA should set up a lab training actuarial rats, so that they can test their educational requirements on them, before they subject us to it. Or maybe we are rats and our pursuit is appropriately called a rat-race.

The Drunken Actuary
08-26-2003, 09:56 PM
Or maybe we are ratsBingo.

Brutè
08-26-2003, 10:17 PM
I have to say that it seem highly inconsiderate of them to change the college education requirements for this profession for those of us already in the profession. I've never heard of such a thing before. If they really make people with one or two exams go back to school to pick up some extra econ or stats they didn't take in college, I predict a lot of people will leave the profession. I suppose that could be their goal, however....

Maximus
08-26-2003, 10:28 PM
Well, as someone once said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time" .

These exams have never been about education, but rather a way to limit the number of people with credentials. If you look at the exam statistics on the CAS website, you will see that the number of people writing course 1 has doubled from about 2,500 to 5,000 since may of 2000. The SOA has now found a way to deal with this "problem". This new proposal will reduce the number of individuals entering the system by discouraging anyone who doesn't have the right college backround. If these exams were really about education, the SOA would stop concerning themselves with the numbers and let employers worry about weeding people out. They would also eliminate poorly written material from the syllabus that is only there because the author is on the exam committee. The SOA continues to lose credibility, and it won't be long before employers begin to rely far less on the SOA credentials.

The Drunken Actuary
08-26-2003, 11:07 PM
I tend to agree. The only purpose here seems to be limiting the supply of actuaries by limiting the number of people qualified (or likely anyway) to even attempt to enter the profession. I guess they figured it's a lot easier to limit the number of exam takers than to piss off scores of fully prepared students by making the pass rates on these exams unreasonably low. The fact that the exam process gets revised every 5 years should tell you something about:
1) the relevance of the SOA
2) the relevance of actuaries
3) the relevance of exams [to actuarial work]

Travis
08-27-2003, 01:31 AM
At this moment, I'm still attending a junior college until I can transfer and get a degree, but I'm interested in becoming an actuary, and I'm actually planning on writing course 1 this November. It seems to me that where I am I don't have anything to lose from these exam changes, but my thoughts while reading about these changes follow the lines of TDA's last post.

I know that my personal outlook on the actuarial profession is steeped in naivete, which is why I have been reading this forum. However, I don't want to misinterpret possibly overstated cynicism (I'm not trying to judge anyone, I think the amount of cynicism expressed between colleagues is higher than the amount of cynicism that would be expressed from actuary to prospective actuary .. not taking into account LVBIII)

So, my question would be, is this really as retarded as it seems to me? It seems ridiculous that the exams would be overhauled twice in a decade. It seems unprofessional and driven by whim. Is this kind of behavior something I will need to tolerate as an FSA or is it just a (relatively) brief period of insanity and irrelevance that I will have to endure? (much like junior college)

Just curious, is all.

I_hate_everybody
08-27-2003, 08:39 AM
So, my question would be, is this really as retarded as it seems to me?

Is this kind of behavior something I will need to tolerate as an FSA?


To both questions, I believe the answer is yes.

Dr T Non-Fan
08-27-2003, 12:05 PM
TravisT, I recommend you take (if you haven't already) the prerequisite university courses, as well as the validation subjects. However, before you take the validated subjects, HAVE THEM VALIDATED by the SOA! If you happen to take some less than approved econ course, you'll be stuck in some to-be-determined limbo.
As for the prerequisite courses, I assume that employers will check transcripts to make sure that they have been taken. Big assumption, of course.

Wigmeister General
08-27-2003, 12:21 PM
I know that my personal outlook on the actuarial profession is steeped in naivete, which is why I have been reading this forum. However, I don't want to misinterpret possibly overstated cynicism (I'm not trying to judge anyone, I think the amount of cynicism expressed between colleagues is higher than the amount of cynicism that would be expressed from actuary to prospective actuary .. not taking into account LVBIII)

So, my question would be, is this really as retarded as it seems to me? It seems ridiculous that the exams would be overhauled twice in a decade. It seems unprofessional and driven by whim. Is this kind of behavior something I will need to tolerate as an FSA or is it just a (relatively) brief period of insanity and irrelevance that I will have to endure? (much like junior college)

Just curious, is all.


I CAN'T BELIEVE IT !!! You refer to my "higher ... amount of cynicism", which is based on the arbitrariness of the Evil Empires use of exams, and then you accuse the EEs of being unprofessional and arbitrary.

The exam process is arbitrary. They'll change the syllabus, the passing grade, the credentialling requirements (and everything else the EEW holds near and dear to its cold heart) on a whim!

That's why I tell people to change their career paths before it's too late for them. :swear: :swear: :swear: :swear: :swear: :swear: :swear:

glenn
08-27-2003, 01:00 PM
At this moment, I'm still attending a junior college until I can transfer and get a degree, but I'm interested in becoming an actuary, and I'm actually planning on writing course 1 this November. It seems to me that where I am I don't have anything to lose from these exam changes, but my thoughts while reading about these changes follow the lines of TDA's last post.

I know that my personal outlook on the actuarial profession is steeped in naivete, which is why I have been reading this forum. However, I don't want to misinterpret possibly overstated cynicism (I'm not trying to judge anyone, I think the amount of cynicism expressed between colleagues is higher than the amount of cynicism that would be expressed from actuary to prospective actuary .. not taking into account LVBIII)

So, my question would be, is this really as retarded as it seems to me? It seems ridiculous that the exams would be overhauled twice in a decade. It seems unprofessional and driven by whim. Is this kind of behavior something I will need to tolerate as an FSA or is it just a (relatively) brief period of insanity and irrelevance that I will have to endure? (much like junior college)

Just curious, is all.
Travis, don't go off on too much of a tangent over postings here. The actuarial profession is still a matter of some very tough exams with a pretty good gravy train at the end. Protests to the contrary are wrong. We can complain about issues like this individually, doesn't change the overall profession. (I also disagree with the inevitable "I could have made more money elsewhere". Wrong. The majority of actuaries, if they weren't actuaries, would make very good $40K annually C++ coders.).

glenn
08-27-2003, 01:01 PM
Vote for me for 'poster that p#ssed off the most number of people with one post" :D.

thing
08-27-2003, 01:10 PM
The majority of actuaries, if they weren't actuaries, would make very good $40K annually C++ coders.

Not so! Some would teach physics. :D

Avi
08-27-2003, 01:30 PM
The majority of actuaries, if they weren't actuaries, would make very good $40K annually C++ coders.

Not so! Some would teach physics. :D

Or other topics. :)

VernSchil
08-27-2003, 04:27 PM
The majority of actuaries, if they weren't actuaries, would make very good $40K annually C++ coders.).

40K? When I was looking down that track, most big name companies were paying around 55k right out of college and that was several years ago. While coding is a grueling job, that I would never be able to do for 8 hours/day, it does pay well. You might level off faster but I know many people making over 80K as full time C++/Java/UNIX programmers.

Travis
08-27-2003, 05:44 PM
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT !!! You refer to my "higher ... amount of cynicism", which is based on the arbitrariness of the Evil Empires use of exams, and then you accuse the EEs of being unprofessional and arbitrary.


I didn't accuse them of anything, I have an infinitesimal degree of personal involvement with them, I was just saying that to me it appears to be that way, and I just wanted to know how much cynicism I should filter out of people's posts to get a realistic view of what's going on.

I only mentioned you because you don't follow the trend of being more cynical among peers, I make no claim to knowing whatever your motives are .. but since we're on the topic, if I were to filter the cynicism out of your posts, it would be like listening to censored hardcore gangsta rap: "And .. .. so .. .. then I .. .. the .. .. .. if .. .. so don't .. .. I .. .. .."

That's not to say that I disregard everything you say, just the vitriol.

Dr T Non-Fan
08-27-2003, 06:00 PM
You've gotten that much? Maybe you're just being polite. That's a good quality. Don't lose it.

Cynic
08-27-2003, 07:18 PM
Hey, hey! Stop using "cynic" or "cynicism"! They are my TM. You'll be charged every time you use them.

bsartist
08-27-2003, 07:28 PM
Hey, hey! Stop using "cynic" or "cynicism"! They are my TM. You'll be charged every time you use them.

At least he didn't use "Fair and Balanced." :swear:

RealLife
08-28-2003, 07:28 AM
I am really concerned with the short time to transition. Didn't the SOA give three years notice for the 2000 changes?

Wigmeister General
08-28-2003, 10:26 AM
Don't worry. They'll change the proposed transition rules every month until they're satisfied you're thoroughly confused and demoralized.

Fortal
08-28-2003, 11:44 AM
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT !!! You refer to my "higher ... amount of cynicism", which is based on the arbitrariness of the Evil Empires use of exams, and then you accuse the EEs of being unprofessional and arbitrary.


I didn't accuse them of anything, I have an infinitesimal degree of personal involvement with them, I was just saying that to me it appears to be that way, and I just wanted to know how much cynicism I should filter out of people's posts to get a realistic view of what's going on.

I only mentioned you because you don't follow the trend of being more cynical among peers, I make no claim to knowing whatever your motives are .. but since we're on the topic, if I were to filter the cynicism out of your posts, it would be like listening to censored hardcore gangsta rap: "And .. .. so .. .. then I .. .. the .. .. .. if .. .. so don't .. .. I .. .. .."

That's not to say that I disregard everything you say, just the vitriol.

Wow! Travist, we'd like to hire you to hunt lbviii down wherever he goes! :notworth: :smoke: :bat: :judge:

phdmom
08-28-2003, 01:56 PM
In the past, was there a way to opt out of an exam by using credit from college classes? I ask because when I took Course 1 (May 2000) one of my professors told me I wouldn't have to take the "first" exam because I had a Master's. (Of course he didn't know about the 2000 redesign and possibly didn't know what he was talking about at all).

An option to use credit from college classes to replace an exam would be good. People like me (I went to a small liberal arts college--no finance/business classes existed and econ was more like philosophy of economics) could take the exam, and act sci majors could opt out. The exam-takers would complain that they had it harder, and so would the other folks. Status quo.

Gandalf
08-28-2003, 02:00 PM
In the past, was there a way to opt out of an exam by using credit from college classes?
No. You could opt out of the old course 100 (calculus and linear algebra) with a sufficient score on the GRE Advanced Math exam. That may not be the right name for it, but it was given by GRE and was not just the math section of the regular GRE.

Emily
08-28-2003, 03:01 PM
I think it is called the GRE Math Subject exam, usually taken by those going to graduate school in math. The SOA stopped using it with the 2000 transition, because they said it had changed to include less calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations, and more advanced math like group theory and topology.

Holy Grail
08-28-2003, 03:34 PM
What this does is encourage ASA's with unused PD credit to finish FSA before transition. Who wants to trade lost PD credits for another FSA exam?

twig93
08-28-2003, 06:45 PM
So the way I understand it is this: I currently have 1 & 2, and figure that in 3 sittings, I can be reasonably assured of passing 3 before the transition. (I said reasonably - I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there that took more than three sittings to pass.) Course 4 is another story though - there's a pretty good chance that I won't have Course 4. So I'll have to replace the old Course 4 with both a college class AND another 4 hour exam? How is that fair??? If it was a college class and a 2 hour exam (like Course 2) that would be a little different, but it's not. Am I missing something?

I honestly wouldn't mind taking a class in lieu of exam time (even if it just means a shorter exam) because I think it's far easier to pass college courses on the first try than actuarial exams. However, this just seems to be a steeper requirement to pass Course 4.

Should I skip Course 3 & focus on passing 4 before the transition??? I'm sure there are other folks out there in my situation - does this seem like a reasonable thing to do? Just curious.

That Goblin
08-28-2003, 06:51 PM
If I were you, that's what I'd do. Focus on Course 4, that is.

twig93
08-28-2003, 07:02 PM
You could opt out of the old course 100 (calculus and linear algebra) with a sufficient score on the GRE Advanced Math exam. That may not be the right name for it, but it was given by GRE and was not just the math section of the regular GRE.

I'm also not sure of the name, but when I was considering going for a PhD in math, I looked into this exam, and it is widely considered to be substantially more difficult than the old Course 100. People would only take this route if they'd already taken the GRE for another reason.

twig93
08-28-2003, 07:05 PM
I'm not really familiar with the Course 4 material at all. To what extent does it build from the Course 3 material? I've already gotten a little into the Course 3 material & am pretty lost at this point.

That Goblin
08-28-2003, 07:06 PM
It doesn't build on Course 3 at all. I'd take 3 this sitting, hopefully pass, but even if you didn't, take 4 anyway.

Brutè
08-28-2003, 07:08 PM
So the way I understand it is this: I currently have 1 & 2, and figure that in 3 sittings, I can be reasonably assured of passing 3 before the transition. (I said reasonably - I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there that took more than three sittings to pass.) Course 4 is another story though - there's a pretty good chance that I won't have Course 4. So I'll have to replace the old Course 4 with both a college class AND another 4 hour exam? How is that fair??? If it was a college class and a 2 hour exam (like Course 2) that would be a little different, but it's not. Am I missing something?

I honestly wouldn't mind taking a class in lieu of exam time (even if it just means a shorter exam) because I think it's far easier to pass college courses on the first try than actuarial exams. However, this just seems to be a steeper requirement to pass Course 4.

Should I skip Course 3 & focus on passing 4 before the transition??? I'm sure there are other folks out there in my situation - does this seem like a reasonable thing to do? Just curious.That sounds reasonable and is probably what I would do if I wsn't repeating Course 3 in November AND just spent the last two months studying for it again. In your case, if you haven't already invested a ton of time in C3 for November, I would probably skip it for now and try to pass C4.

I am very concerned about my chances of passing C3 and C4 in the next three sittings and having to take some sort of college class to get credit under the new system.

SamChevre
08-28-2003, 07:13 PM
Maybe I'm overconfident, but I'm pretty hopeful that I'll pass 3 and 4 in the next 3 sittings; even if I don't I have plenty of classes that should **** as Applied Statistics credit.

My problem is where to go from there; 5 and 6 seem to lose a lot of value with the conversion. I'm considering taking 8, but don't know if that's sensible or not.

That Goblin
08-28-2003, 07:16 PM
My plan is to just not fail anymore exams... if that's the case, I can be one of the last FSA's before the transition.

Travis
08-28-2003, 07:19 PM
... even if I don't I have plenty of classes that should **** as Applied Statistics credit.


I'm sorry .. this just amused me. (pssst.. I think you forgot an 'o')

twig93
08-28-2003, 07:27 PM
My problem is where to go from there; 5 and 6 seem to lose a lot of value with the conversion. I'm considering taking 8, but don't know if that's sensible or not.

From what I understand, Course 7 is a cakewalk, at least compared to any of the other regular exams. You might try to get that out of the way if you can.

That Goblin
08-28-2003, 07:28 PM
My problem is where to go from there; 5 and 6 seem to lose a lot of value with the conversion. I'm considering taking 8, but don't know if that's sensible or not.

From what I understand, Course 7 is a cakewalk, at least compared to any of the other regular exams. You might try to get that out of the way if you can.

My guess is that that is what everybody will think and applications to Course 7 will increase by a lot.

billyzinc
08-28-2003, 07:50 PM
My problem is where to go from there; 5 and 6 seem to lose a lot of value with the conversion. I'm considering taking 8, but don't know if that's sensible or not.

From what I understand, Course 7 is a cakewalk, at least compared to any of the other regular exams. You might try to get that out of the way if you can.

My guess is that that is what everybody will think and applications to Course 7 will increase by a lot.

That is what concerns me the most. From what I understand ASA candidates sometimes have a hard time registering for Course 7. Now with Course 7 becoming a major item for both ASA and FSA candidates, I wonder (1) whether it will be a tight bottleneck, and (2) whether they will loosen Course 7 eligibility for those with Courses 1-5, which probably won't help with (1).

tommie frazier
08-29-2003, 01:59 AM
Another angle:

Are companies going to support taking classes at universities, with time for classes/exams and/or tuition?

What about companies that are located too far from an "accredited" program?

Kenny
08-29-2003, 07:27 AM
My problem is where to go from there; 5 and 6 seem to lose a lot of value with the conversion. I'm considering taking 8, but don't know if that's sensible or not.

From what I understand, Course 7 is a cakewalk, at least compared to any of the other regular exams. You might try to get that out of the way if you can.

A candidate who intends to use Course 7 (and who does not already have conversion credit for Course 7) as part of the ASA examination requirements must satisfy all of the following requirements:
The candidate must successfully complete Courses 1-4 and
Successfully complete one of Courses 5, 6 or 8 and
Receive approval for an experience waiver** and
Successfully pass the Course 7 Pre-test.

**An experience waiver may be granted to candidates who have successfully completed Courses 1-4 and one of Courses 5, 6 or 8; and who can demonstrate that they have at least four years of responsible actuarial experience.

The other option to get into a C7 seminar is to pass 1-4 and two of 5,6 & 8.

Daisy
08-29-2003, 07:28 AM
I am an ASA - and will probably have my EA by next summer. I plan on taking Course 8 in the fall...that will leave me only Course 7 and my PD (including the project) for me to complete. However, I am trying to figure out what I will have to do in place of Course 7 and PD if I put off finishing my FSA.

Kenny
08-29-2003, 07:32 AM
From the current mapping it looks like ASA modules 6-8, second ASA exam, FSA capstone module and Exam CSP. You also have to wait 2 years to start the ASA modules and 3 years to start the FSA modules and exam. I don't think it is worth it.

Ex-parrot
08-29-2003, 09:21 AM
I am very concerned about my chances of passing C3 and C4 in the next three sittings and having to take some sort of college class to get credit under the new system.
This goes for all of you pondering the 3/4 question. Take 4. Seriously. The CAS will give you credit for these, so instead of going back to school, you have the option of changing "evil empires" as the dead composer calls them. I'm not sure if you'll get credit for passing 3 in the future since the CAS has their own exam 3.

I haven't read the paper, and I don't plan to, but from the comments posted, I'll be happy to point out where I think the SoA is going to find trouble:

1. The field of candidates is going to shrink. It's going to shrink to a bunch of geeks who always wanted to be actuaries. You lose most math/stat people, all of your physicists, english majors, history majors, anyone who attended a military academy, and probably most who have served in the military. In short, you lose anyone who isn't trained (indoctrinated) in actuarial though. You lose the people whose experience teaches them to think differently. You lose innovation.

2. The value of ASA, and eventually FSA, goes down. A ton of talented people get screwed. A ton of people who can do all the technical work of an ASA, without the letters, and attractively for their employers, without the cost of $1000 exams twice a year, plus study time. Most of those people don't leave the profession or their jobs. Maybe they get a life, have a little fun, and actually become more productive employees.

Just my $.02

Transdermal Celebration
08-29-2003, 09:47 AM
The SOA seems to have SO little confidence in the current exam system... I passed the majority of my exams (3 thru 8 ) in the current system, and now basically they're telling me the exams I took were not sufficient and need a big overhaul. Doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in me.

Cynic
08-29-2003, 01:13 PM
The SOA seems to have SO little confidence in the current exam system... I passed the majority of my exams (3 thru 8 ) in the current system, and now basically they're telling me the exams I took were not sufficient and need a big overhaul. Doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in me.

They didn't say the exams were not sufficient. On the contrary, they said, or implied, that the current exam system was too hard. All the other crap they added was just to save face.

twig93
08-29-2003, 05:58 PM
Brian brings up an excellent point. By essentially limiting the field of candidates to folks that choose the actuarial profession in high school, or at the latest, college, there will be more uniformity amongst future actuaries. Looking around my office, few of us had even heard of the actuarial profession in high school, and none of us has a degree in actuarial science.

I am concerned about losing differing perspectives and some of the creativity/ingenuity that goes along with that. Actuaries are going to become even geekier than we already are!

It is my sincere hope that the SOA comes up with some sort of viable alternative to taking college courses so that the actuarial profession remains something that you can enter as a 2nd or 3rd career.

As for the course 3 / course 4 debate, I have officially started studying for course 4 today!

That Goblin
08-29-2003, 06:02 PM
For this November?

twig93
08-29-2003, 06:49 PM
Yes - studying wasn't progressing very well for Course 3, so I figured I may as well just bag it - I'm not losing too much at this point. If it takes me two tries to pass each exam, then I'll actually end up taking the new version of Course 3 which is supposed to be less theoretical & more practical. Since I'm not a very theoretical kind of girl, I figure I may as well do it this way.

Weird thing is that after passing the new version of Course 3, I get to go back to the old version of Course 5. I'll be riding the transition wave - right on the edge of the old or new system for years to come. Maybe I'll get lucky & won't fail any exams & get my ASA under the old system - ha-ha! That'll never happen.

VernSchil
08-29-2003, 08:54 PM
I'm gonna hopefully pass Course 4 in the next 3 attempts and then stop taking exams until the new system comes out. I was dreading 5 and 6 something fierce anyway, not only because I think the material induces comas, but also since I'm not positive I even want to go down the life/pension route. This is an excellent reason to procrastinate for a bit.

two2eyes
08-29-2003, 11:26 PM
If I can finish course 1-8 on or before Nov 05 with 0 PD. Does it mean that I have to wait for implementation of the EXAM CSP after Jan 07 ?
When will be the Exam DP and Exam CSP started ?

oh my god. I don't want to wait for one whole year.

nj
08-30-2003, 12:49 AM
I just think that we should try to pass as many exams as we can under the current system, any exam counts something under the conversion rules...

Back to the annoying survival analysis now :o

That Goblin
08-30-2003, 01:42 AM
Yes - studying wasn't progressing very well for Course 3, so I figured I may as well just bag it - I'm not losing too much at this point. If it takes me two tries to pass each exam, then I'll actually end up taking the new version of Course 3 which is supposed to be less theoretical & more practical. Since I'm not a very theoretical kind of girl, I figure I may as well do it this way.

Weird thing is that after passing the new version of Course 3, I get to go back to the old version of Course 5. I'll be riding the transition wave - right on the edge of the old or new system for years to come. Maybe I'll get lucky & won't fail any exams & get my ASA under the old system - ha-ha! That'll never happen.

I don't see there being any advantage to getting your ASA under the old system, I mean, you don't get any special conversion credits if you're an ASA under the old system.

Anyway good luck on 4... its a lot of material to cram in 2 months. It looks like you're in Seattle, we'll be taking it together.

Kenny
08-30-2003, 07:50 AM
If I can finish course 1-8 on or before Nov 05 with 0 PD. Does it mean that I have to wait for implementation of the EXAM CSP after Jan 07 ?
When will be the Exam DP and Exam CSP started ?

oh my god. I don't want to wait for one whole year.

PD plans will be accepted through the end of 2006, or until the FSA component is implemented.

two2eyes
08-30-2003, 11:35 AM
But the point is , I have ZERO credit for PD in Nov05. I want to finish all the courses before starting to get my PD credits. So, the earliest date for me to get the PD is after course 8 . ie. 05 Nov. and I have only one year left bcoz all the credits will be expired in Dec 2006. But it's impossible for me to get enough credits in One year only. So, should I wait until the new system after finishing course 1-8 ? whatelse i can do ?

aces219
08-30-2003, 11:44 AM
Brian brings up an excellent point. By essentially limiting the field of candidates to folks that choose the actuarial profession in high school, or at the latest, college, there will be more uniformity amongst future actuaries. Looking around my office, few of us had even heard of the actuarial profession in high school, and none of us has a degree in actuarial science.

I am concerned about losing differing perspectives and some of the creativity/ingenuity that goes along with that. Actuaries are going to become even geekier than we already are!

It is my sincere hope that the SOA comes up with some sort of viable alternative to taking college courses so that the actuarial profession remains something that you can enter as a 2nd or 3rd career.

As for the course 3 / course 4 debate, I have officially started studying for course 4 today!

I can understand your fear about losing different perspectives, but I hardly think that people who choose to major in actuarial science are any geekier than the rest of you. In fact, I would argue that most of the pure math majors I've met are geekier than the actuarial science majors I've met. Yes, I did major in actuarial science, and I'm decidedly not a geek. Nerd maybe, but not geek.

Kenny
08-30-2003, 03:12 PM
But it's impossible for me to get enough credits in One year only. So, should I wait until the new system after finishing course 1-8 ? whatelse i can do ?

I don't know what it takes to get the PD credits. Are you sure it is impossible to get them within one year? Even if it is, they are supposed to complete the FSA exams early in 2006 so hopefully they will publish a syllabus early and you can study leisurely until the following May.

Gandalf
08-30-2003, 03:21 PM
But it's impossible for me to get enough credits in One year only. So, should I wait until the new system after finishing course 1-8 ? whatelse i can do ?

I don't know what it takes to get the PD credits. Are you sure it is impossible to get them within one year? Even if it is, they are supposed to complete the FSA exams early in 2006 so hopefully they will publish a syllabus early and you can study leisurely until the following May.

I don't know which info is right, but earlier you wrote
PD plans will be accepted through the end of 2006, or until the FSA component is implemented.If that is correct, then you presumably have additional time to complete the plan. The plan is the commitment of what you will do, not doing it.

The Drunken Actuary
08-30-2003, 07:12 PM
I can understand your fear about losing different perspectives, but I hardly think that people who choose to major in actuarial science are any geekier than the rest of you. In fact, I would argue that most of the pure math majors I've met are geekier than the actuarial science majors I've met. Yes, I did major in actuarial science, and I'm decidedly not a geek. Nerd maybe, but not geek.As a math major, I agree. Math majors were a little nerdier than actuarial science majors. I don't think actuaries are all that geeky, maybe compared to loser business "I'm not smart enough to take a real calculus class" majors, depending on how you define geek....

papa bear
09-01-2003, 12:31 PM
Any idea?

I think they will need to change the PD filing requirment for those of us with PD credits but not C1-C8. Otherwise, how can "PD will never expire through previous exam earned credit" work as they claimed back in year 2000?

Axsuetarian
09-01-2003, 02:29 PM
My plan is to just not fail anymore exams... if that's the case, I can be one of the last FSA's before the transition.

Best o' luck to ya

twig93
09-02-2003, 01:12 PM
OK, my apologies to actuarial science majors out there. I did not mean to imply that they are geekier than math or any other kind of major. What I meant was that there's going to be less diversity if it becomes harder to enter the profession. In my mind this means more people with similar backgrounds/ideas and therefore increased geekiness. Not because of the college major, but because of the lack of diversity.

Kenny
09-03-2003, 10:39 AM
But it's impossible for me to get enough credits in One year only. So, should I wait until the new system after finishing course 1-8 ? whatelse i can do ?

I don't know what it takes to get the PD credits. Are you sure it is impossible to get them within one year? Even if it is, they are supposed to complete the FSA exams early in 2006 so hopefully they will publish a syllabus early and you can study leisurely until the following May.

I don't know which info is right, but earlier you wrote
PD plans will be accepted through the end of 2006, or until the FSA component is implemented.If that is correct, then you presumably have additional time to complete the plan. The plan is the commitment of what you will do, not doing it.

Here is the exact quote
Final PD: Executed PD plans will be accepted through the end of 2006. The PD component as it currently exists will be discontinued with the implementation of the redesigned FSA component.

sapphire
09-10-2003, 08:00 PM
Hi,

I have a query regarding the Exam Redesign Report on the SOA website, any help would be highly appreciated.

Have we to show the pre-requisites mentioned i.e. Calculus, Linear Algebra, Introductory Accounting, Business Law and Mathematical Statistics by taking college courses? How do we show these pre-reqs?

Thanks.

Dr T Non-Fan
09-10-2003, 08:15 PM
sappy, the answer to your question can be found on page 8 of the report.

sapphire
09-10-2003, 09:06 PM
sappy, the answer to your question can be found on page 8 of the report.

Thanks!

Incredible Hulctuary
09-11-2003, 02:26 AM
I don't think it is safe to "assume" competency in calculus and statistics. They should leave Course 1 or bring back the 100/110. Or at a minimum, require a real calculus and statistics college class (not those "business statistics" and "business calculus").

People with real ASA/FSA potential will be competent in those areas whether you give them that exam or not, but without the "weeding out" that the 100/110 or Course 1 provides, there will be an increased number of people who get hired and struggle with the exams for a few years before leaving the profession. Calculus and statistics will still be embedded in the higher exams, so they should retain something like Course 1 to let people know up front what they're up against before employers invest time and money in them.

SamChevre
09-11-2003, 07:55 AM
I think Course 1 will still be Calc-based probability, so calculus at least will be quite thoroughly tested. And I am guessing that the theoretical statistics courses will still be on the syllabus; they just want a college class that demonstrates actual modeling work, which is supposed to be on the current syllabus but is hard to test on a timed, multiple-choice exam.

CaptainDingo
10-24-2003, 09:41 AM
If you have to go back to school to take some business courses you might as well get your MBA. Then you can tell the SOA to go...

Are you kidding me? Talk about a waste of a few years! MBA's are the future secretary's of the actuary's world!

The Drunken Actuary
10-24-2003, 10:40 AM
If you have to go back to school to take some business courses you might as well get your MBA. Then you can tell the SOA to go...

Are you kidding me? Talk about a waste of a few years! MBA's are the future secretary's of the actuary's world!Keep telling yourself that.

Wigmeister General
10-24-2003, 10:45 AM
Ditto.

The appalling arrogance of actuaries never ceases to amaze me.

Cynic
10-24-2003, 02:08 PM
The appalling arrogance of actuaries never ceases to amaze me.

And that attitude is prevalent on this forum lately. It seems like we are invaded by the EE!

neofan
11-09-2003, 07:06 PM
Totally Holly Crap!!!

I see quite some actuary majored co-workers with either a master or bachelor degree from some of the famous actuarial science schools have hard time passing 2 , 3, or 4. You name it, any exam. How could those crooks get credited without taking some similar exams that we have been taking for years! Just because they went to the stupid schools doesn't mean they know a thing!!

SOA, give me a break!! Is this whole thing a joke? I am afraid actuary as a profession is going to lose its professional appeal as well as its high standard and credibility all down the drain!!

Jen:

If you read it again, exams are still there in the preliminary phase, 4 exactly, and they'll continue to have hard time passing those so I don't think the new system is any easier.

FSAwannabe
11-12-2003, 04:32 PM
I'm glad that I read through this thread just as I was about to start studying for Course 3.
If I am getting this right there is only an upside to taking Course 4 first rather than Course 3.
Has there been any updates or change of opinions that may make me consider sticking to course 3 instead ?
Basically, I'm just looking for confirmation from somebody who actually understands the proposal.
Thanx

Gandalf
11-12-2003, 05:05 PM
The proposal on the SOA website is the best available information. It could change.

Since in your situation 3 vs 4 seems to be a close decision for you anyway, you may as let the proposal influence your decision.

For other people, it's a good idea to think about the impact of the proposal. If it would make a change in their strategy, they should also consider things like "what if it doesn't happen until 2006? What if something is implemented differently?" Uncertainty makes choices tougher.

cubedbee
11-12-2003, 05:06 PM
The only upside to taking Course 3 first, is that some of the material for Course 4 builds on Course 3. IMO, there isn't enough of this to be a stumbling block in sucessfully taking Course 4 first. I took them in order though, so you might want to hear from someone who actually did them backwards.

cactuar
11-12-2003, 07:04 PM
I took C4 before C3, and still considered this helpful for me passing C3. I got myself familiar with the loss model part and can focus more on actuarial math for C3.

However, I graduated with a statistics degree. So you should probably consider if you are stronger in statistics or actuarial math.

abacustwo
11-16-2003, 04:13 PM
It looks as though I'm going to try to create a "student-defined major" here so I can get rid of the bio, chem, and physics and try to put on some more economics and finance. Should I try and start an actuarial science major or just get my student-defined major and leave? Should I sit for the current exams, or just wait for the new and "improved" exams to come out?

Blue Skies
12-09-2003, 03:39 PM
Maybe I'm being dense, but what kind of a course description would fit "intermediate corporate finance"? Looking through the catalog, im not seeing classes for my university that fit.

Kenny
12-10-2003, 09:58 AM
Intermediate Corporate Finance (http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=%22intermediate+corporate+finance%22)

pussNboots
12-10-2003, 07:54 PM
When are they going to tell us if they are going to make the change?

Lane Meyers
12-11-2003, 09:08 AM
I recently received an email reply from the exam committee that I sent asking about the timeline for the final release of the new system. Part of their answer was as follows:

"We currently expect to introduce our suggested final conversion rules to the Board of Governors at their January meeeting and provided that we receive approval, we will then make the revised rules available to our members and candidates. Thus, please watch our web page and your email box towards late January for additional information."

So, if you were hoping to wait and decide what you would be taking next spring until after the final program is released, you are going to be cutting your study time pretty short.

new2for
12-11-2003, 09:13 AM
They better not seriously be planning on putting just one subject on courses 1 - 4, and giving credit for college classes.

I wonder how many death threats they have received .................. :bat: :burn:

Omikron
01-08-2004, 02:04 PM
On Demand: Hats off to the SOA for suggesting to supply the ASA module exams “on demand”. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully if this goes well, all exams will be “on demand” right? I’m feeling lucky . . .

PD units: Come on SOA, you said we would never lose these credits. That really sucks if you can’t find a way to credit our past achievements.

College course requirement: I really don’t see the college course requirement as a problem. Couldn’t the college course requirement be met through intensive seminars similar to exam preparation seminars? Wouldn’t it be fairly easy for any college with an “approved” course to offer an intensive seminar covering the same material in a shorter time frame? If this were the case, then the most qualified candidates would continue to be recruits with demonstrated exam performance and the course requirements would be a bonus, but not a requirement for employment.

asamd
01-08-2004, 06:42 PM
If all I need now is 8V + PD for FSA, but fail 8V. Does this mean I'm going to have to take 2 fellowship exams with the new exam system? The way I read it, I think so, but I was talking with a colleague today, and he mentioned the SOA would grandfather us. I can't imagine the Society doing something as fair as offer to grandfather.

TiderInsider
01-11-2004, 10:27 PM
I think I am in a good position for the conversion. I have a undergrad degree in Quantitative Finance (had to take Business Classes, Cal1,2,3, Lin. Algebra, and some stats) and I am now getting a Masters in Applied Statistics (will graduate May 05). I just passed course 1 this time around, and I am not going to have time to study for C2 this sitting. My question is this: do I wait until the Spring 05 sitting to take C2 or should I take it Fall 04? It seems like C2 is going to be a lot easier after the conversion. Should I sit for C3 in the Fall? Any suggestions?

oedipus rex
01-11-2004, 10:37 PM
I think I am in a good position for the conversion. I have a undergrad degree in Quantitative Finance (had to take Business Classes, Cal1,2,3, Lin. Algebra, and some stats) and I am now getting a Masters in Applied Statistics (will graduate May 05). I just passed course 1 this time around, and I am not going to have time to study for C2 this sitting. My question is this: do I wait until the Spring 05 sitting to take C2 or should I take it Fall 04? It seems like C2 is going to be a lot easier after the conversion. Should I sit for C3 in the Fall? Any suggestions?it sounds like it would be possible for you to finish 2, 3, and 4 all before the conversion. With your background, it sounds like you could pull it off.

TiderInsider
01-12-2004, 09:20 AM
I think I am in a good position for the conversion. I have a undergrad degree in Quantitative Finance (had to take Business Classes, Cal1,2,3, Lin. Algebra, and some stats) and I am now getting a Masters in Applied Statistics (will graduate May 05). I just passed course 1 this time around, and I am not going to have time to study for C2 this sitting. My question is this: do I wait until the Spring 05 sitting to take C2 or should I take it Fall 04? It seems like C2 is going to be a lot easier after the conversion. Should I sit for C3 in the Fall? Any suggestions?it sounds like it would be possible for you to finish 2, 3, and 4 all before the conversion. With your background, it sounds like you could pull it off.


I think there is a small (and I mean very small...) chance that I could pull off C2,3, and 4 before the conversion is over, but that means that I would have to sit for one exam this spring and two this fall, but my question is will this be to my benefit. Most people that have posted think the new exams will be easier. Also, I will be footing the bill for C2,3,and 4. That won't be cheap.

I am inclined to think that I should take a sitting or two off and wait for the new exams. If I try to pass 2,3,and 4 by the fall this is what my life will look like (with the SOA inflicting the pain)

:horse:

Any thoughts?

mr.c
01-12-2004, 01:06 PM
If all I need now is 8V + PD for FSA, but fail 8V. Does this mean I'm going to have to take 2 fellowship exams with the new exam system?

That's how folks at my place of employment are interpreting it. Nice, huh?

Brutè
01-12-2004, 01:17 PM
Have they ever posted the final transition rules? I thought it was supposed to be up on the SOA's website by 12/31 but I couldn't find it.

TiderInsider
01-12-2004, 01:51 PM
Is this what you are looking for?

I recently received an email reply from the exam committee that I sent asking about the timeline for the final release of the new system. Part of their answer was as follows:

"We currently expect to introduce our suggested final conversion rules to the Board of Governors at their January meeeting and provided that we receive approval, we will then make the revised rules available to our members and candidates. Thus, please watch our web page and your email box towards late January for additional information."

1695814
01-12-2004, 02:04 PM
PD units: Come on SOA, you said we would never lose these credits. That really sucks if you can’t find a way to credit our past achievements.

Ditto. :swear: (Curses thrown in for good measure.)

Brutè
01-12-2004, 02:50 PM
Is this what you are looking for?

I recently received an email reply from the exam committee that I sent asking about the timeline for the final release of the new system. Part of their answer was as follows:

"We currently expect to introduce our suggested final conversion rules to the Board of Governors at their January meeeting and provided that we receive approval, we will then make the revised rules available to our members and candidates. Thus, please watch our web page and your email box towards late January for additional information."
Yeah, I guess. The prez of the SOA spoke at our local actuarial club and he was very clear that the final transition rules would be posted BEFORE 12/31/03.

Force Majeure
01-12-2004, 03:08 PM
The prez of the SOA spoke at our local actuarial club and he was very clear that the final transition rules would be posted BEFORE 12/31/03.Yeah, Carmody was under the same impression as of Labor Day weekend (read: Nashville JAM5). We can only hope that they are behind due to a great number of complaints from actuaries and others regarding how stupid and professor-centric many of the new provisions are.

I don't mind the modules so much (though it does seem to lower the bar just a tad bit more than I was hoping), but the college prerequisite thing, as mentioned before, is simply ridiculous without some serious tweaking.

Brutè
01-12-2004, 03:30 PM
the college prerequisite thing, as mentioned before, is simply ridiculous without some serious tweaking.Yes that was my big concern. I'd like to know how that will be handled.

new2for
01-13-2004, 05:07 PM
This whole 2005 conversion is the work of a cabal within the SOA consisting of CEO's, chief actuaries, and other actuaries who's compensation is tied to their company's stock performance and are willing to BETRAY the society who has made them what they are in order to line their own pockets further.
They want students to work more and study less! They say that they can't justify all the money spent on student programs, that the industry won't support it anymore, etc.. especially when students often leave the companies who supported them. Guess what, the industry will accept it if we MAKE them accept it! Here's an additional little tid bit of common sense. Stop being cheap a_ses and treating your students, and actuaries, like chattel and they just might miracously stop leaving.
Their goal is to get them in young, and get them firmly buckled in their shackles ASAP, so they can work the hell out of them for a good 40 years....
The SOA is basically a Cartel, and what was the first thing they taught us to think in Course 2 when you think of a Cartel?
Answer: What's the enforcement mechanism?
Looks like the loyalty induced from being tortured for 8 years isn't enough for these sellouts. We need to come up with a better enforcement mechanism! I personally favor the old fashion mafia technique of the threat of death! What do you say about recruiting some hit men to take these traitors out!
This is a short sighted plan which will devalue the profession, while at the same time make the creators of this plan only richer…

Will Durant
01-14-2004, 01:58 PM
This whole 2005 conversion is the work of a cabal within the SOA consisting of CEO's, chief actuaries, and other actuaries who's compensation is tied to their company's stock performance and are willing to BETRAY the society who has made them what they are in order to line their own pockets further.
I disgree. It seems pretty clear to me that the conversion is the work of academic types, who want to make our systems more like the European (i.e., continent no UK) and Australian, where the college major is all-important, increasing their value to the profession.

C8 Guy
01-28-2004, 09:32 AM
Where the hell is the report the SOA said they would have out by the end of the year??

Modeler
01-28-2004, 09:36 AM
Where the hell is the report the SOA said they would have out by the end of the year??
Ah, but which year? :D

Sunny
01-28-2004, 10:43 AM
Where the hell is the report the SOA said they would have out by the end of the year??

It's no there, unless someone knows something I don't know. I've tried to get it this entire month, to no avail. :evil:

Summer
01-28-2004, 12:21 PM
Yes, someone asked me if the end of the year meant the end of 2004, but it doesn't. It meant the end of 2003, and it is not there (yet!).

Summer
01-28-2004, 12:26 PM
I think I am in a good position for the conversion. I have a undergrad degree in Quantitative Finance (had to take Business Classes, Cal1,2,3, Lin. Algebra, and some stats) and I am now getting a Masters in Applied Statistics (will graduate May 05). I just passed course 1 this time around, and I am not going to have time to study for C2 this sitting. My question is this: do I wait until the Spring 05 sitting to take C2 or should I take it Fall 04? It seems like C2 is going to be a lot easier after the conversion. Should I sit for C3 in the Fall? Any suggestions?it sounds like it would be possible for you to finish 2, 3, and 4 all before the conversion. With your background, it sounds like you could pull it off.


I think there is a small (and I mean very small...) chance that I could pull off C2,3, and 4 before the conversion is over, but that means that I would have to sit for one exam this spring and two this fall, but my question is will this be to my benefit. Most people that have posted think the new exams will be easier. Also, I will be footing the bill for C2,3,and 4. That won't be cheap.

I am inclined to think that I should take a sitting or two off and wait for the new exams. If I try to pass 2,3,and 4 by the fall this is what my life will look like (with the SOA inflicting the pain)

:horse:

Any thoughts?

Personal opinion? I have two suggestions:

1) if you want to write 2 exams on sitting, do it this may. COurse 2 and 3 are a week apart. in november 3 and 4 are a day apart (much harder to recoup after writing one exam)

2) write 2 in the spring and 4 in the fall. Course 3 equivalent doesn't need any school credit under the new system and is just life cons (in my opinion, will probably be easier). If you didn't do an act sci major or didnt get b in those courses, make sure that you get at least 2 and 4 before the conversion.

twig93
01-29-2004, 07:31 PM
Tider_insider: in reading your posts I get the impression that you think a lot of the college courses you've had will count for the education credits & thus you're considering taking Course 3 before the transition because that's the one exam that doesn't have the educational requirement under the new system. If I understand you correctly, consider this: the material on Course 2 which you will still be tested on under the new system (and which you are least likely to have seen in college/grad school) is Interest Theory. The Actuarial Mathematics in Course 3 builds on the Interest Theory and it would be very difficult to pass Course 3 without having a pretty good grasp of the Interest Theory on Course 2. (This would be the equivalent of trying to take a multi-variable calculus class before single variable - darn near impossible!)

If you want to wait to take Course 2 until after the transition (and if you've got the educational requirements, this is a reasonable thing to do) I'd skip ahead to Course 4. I know you've got the Applied Stats class in case you don't get it before the transition, but I don't think the post-transition exam is going to be any easier: it's still a 4 hour exam. It gives you something to do in the meantime and not having the earlier exams won't be nearly as big a problem on Course 4 than Course 3.

4sigma
01-29-2004, 08:49 PM
Where the hell is the report the SOA said they would have out by the end of the year??

I think they are waiting until they have enough runout.

C8 Guy
01-30-2004, 09:28 AM
:lolup:

campbell
01-30-2004, 03:20 PM
Shall we start making bets as to when they'll officially announce the changes? Looking at the website, I'm guessing sometime in July.

campbell
02-05-2004, 09:18 AM
I would like to think the absence of a final posting of the new EE requirements/system is because they're reworking the whole college credit thing.

At the very least, it would be nice to know (for planning for the future) if the timeline needs to be revised, because they're not ready with new exams or educational materials. Some people are already strategically considering course 3 v. course 4 (or even course 2) on the assumption that this is the last year these exams will be around, and that certain college credits will cover them for the topics they don't want to be examined on.

aces219
02-05-2004, 10:44 AM
There are quite a few people planning to sit for Course 8 instead of Course 5. Since I need to take Course 8, I hope they push back the timeline or change the transition scheme so that this Course 8 isn't just like some of the exams just before the last transition.

foghorn
02-05-2004, 11:59 AM
There are quite a few people planning to sit for Course 8 instead of Course 5. Since I need to take Course 8, I hope they push back the timeline or change the transition scheme so that this Course 8 isn't just like some of the exams just before the last transition.

It seems to me with Course 5 being offered two more times, and Course 6 and 8 being offered three more times, that foregoing 5 for 8 wouldn't be a wise decision.

SamChevre
02-05-2004, 01:24 PM
It seems to me with Course 5 being offered two more times, and Course 6 and 8 being offered three more times, that foregoing 5 for 8 wouldn't be a wise decision.

I'm considering it, because 8 will transition to an exam, but 5 will only get credit for "modules"--which might be easier than the exams.

Of course, I need to pass 3 and 4 first.

foghorn
02-05-2004, 01:33 PM
It seems to me with Course 5 being offered two more times, and Course 6 and 8 being offered three more times, that foregoing 5 for 8 wouldn't be a wise decision.

I'm considering it, because 8 will transition to an exam, but 5 will only get credit for "modules"--which might be easier than the exams.

Of course, I need to pass 3 and 4 first.

Now that makes a more sense. I was thinking people were taking course 8 in 2004 instead of course 5.

Thanks.

TiderInsider
02-05-2004, 03:09 PM
Tider_insider: in reading your posts I get the impression that you think a lot of the college courses you've had will count for the education credits & thus you're considering taking Course 3 before the transition because that's the one exam that doesn't have the educational requirement under the new system. If I understand you correctly, consider this: the material on Course 2 which you will still be tested on under the new system (and which you are least likely to have seen in college/grad school) is Interest Theory. The Actuarial Mathematics in Course 3 builds on the Interest Theory and it would be very difficult to pass Course 3 without having a pretty good grasp of the Interest Theory on Course 2. (This would be the equivalent of trying to take a multi-variable calculus class before single variable - darn near impossible!)

If you want to wait to take Course 2 until after the transition (and if you've got the educational requirements, this is a reasonable thing to do) I'd skip ahead to Course 4. I know you've got the Applied Stats class in case you don't get it before the transition, but I don't think the post-transition exam is going to be any easier: it's still a 4 hour exam. It gives you something to do in the meantime and not having the earlier exams won't be nearly as big a problem on Course 4 than Course 3.

Twig93:

I haven't been keeping up with this thread lately. Thanks for the advice.

aces219
02-05-2004, 03:20 PM
It seems to me with Course 5 being offered two more times, and Course 6 and 8 being offered three more times, that foregoing 5 for 8 wouldn't be a wise decision.

I'm considering it, because 8 will transition to an exam, but 5 will only get credit for "modules"--which might be easier than the exams.

Of course, I need to pass 3 and 4 first.

Now that makes a more sense. I was thinking people were taking course 8 in 2004 instead of course 5.

Thanks.

Actually, some of them are. This is what Carmody recommended, because it looks like 8 will map to an exam and 5 just to the modules. Of course, if you're that far along, it makes sense to really focus and try to finish. That's where I'm at.