View Full Version : Education and Qualification 2005
10-16-2002, 10:34 AM
Any guesses on what the conversion will be?
Since they want to make ASA half way to FSA, it seems maybe 1-4 and 6 may transition into a ASA (I say 6 because they seem to want the investment stuff for ASA).
10-16-2002, 10:47 AM
No telling at this stage. They will announce it with a couple of years to spare though - my guess is sometime next year if they want a 2005 conversion.
It is hard to see giving away the ASA without course 5. Back in the mid-1990's when they raised the bar to include the material on 5 and 6, the whole point was that they didn't like people saying that they were actuaries without course 5.
But then again, like you say, they are kind of "into" the investment stuff and getting that in early.
Sometimes the society does a give-away when they convert. Sometimes they get vicious. (Example, in the mid-1990's when they raised the bar for ASA. I know someone who almost got caught for lack of a 1 hour exam.)
It wouldn't surprise me for this next conversion to require 1-7 for the ASA - and then end up requiring another 4 exams after that to get FSA.
I would hope that they would just make 5 and 6 smaller, and then add another FSA exam. It's pretty ridiculous the way it is now. 5 and 6 are the real roadblocks to becoming an FSA. Many people pass 8 first (because the material relates to what they do, not because it's easier). People would pass 7 first if they could. What's the point of allowing members as associates if all the associates become fellows automatically?
My apologies to those of you struggling with Course 8 right now.
I think the pre-2000 system was a LOT better. Instead of having a single huge exam, and knowing that if you failed you had wasted a year, you had several little exams, and if you failed half of them you still made progress. You could plan appropriately also - if the material in the exams you were taking was easy for you, you could overload; if it was hard for you, or you were too busy at work to get all the study time you would need, you could cut one. I believe the SOA did this to reduce average travel time and in an attempt to make Fellowship more difficult to achieve (more comparable to the Casualty Exams, in which the lower level exams were in pieces but the upper level exams were big), but it increases the variance for an individual significantly, even if it reduces the "collective" variance (everyone has to stay on the same schedule, like it or not). Also, while the SOA is not an avowedly sexist organization, I heard that even they admitted that "this would reduce travel time for everyone but female actuaries with children". I understand that in the mid-80s the actuarial exams are much as they are now; why the SOA took such a giant step backwards in 2000 is a mystery, especially since exams 5 & 8 are currently designed less to attract talented intelligent mathematicians than they are to attract savants with photographic memories. I know that had I realized that memorizing, regurgitating, and purging lists was going to be such a big part of my life I would never have entered this profession in the first place, and I certainly would not recommend it to any of my former gifted math students. As it is, I am on 8V and have little hope of passing on the first attempt unless there is a decent emphasis on problem-solving instead of regurgitation. I chose 8V because the other 8s looked even more memory-intensive, not because it has anything to do with what I am actually working on. I will hope to pass on the second attempt. At this point, I have too much invested to start over in another profession, and once exams are over, I think I will enjoy my work.
I took the 100 level exams in the early-to-mid 90s, earning my ASA in graduate school, and then worked for a Casualty company for a few years before starting at a life/health company in the spring of 2000.
10-16-2002, 01:03 PM
I thought the SOA had stated that they may exclude at least the difficult portions of Course 6 to become an ASA because some actuarial professions don't necessarily deal with investments (like health insurance). If this is truly their intention, then I think we could all argue that most of the material on all the exams aren't really related specifically to what an individual deals with at work. I never thought that was the entire point of the exams anyway, even if that's what they claim.
I agree with BC about Course 8: Which course 8 is best for you depends (or should depend) strongly on whether you are a good math-problem person or a good regurgitation person. I hate to say that my exam, 8M, is regurgitation, because I actually do understand most of the stuff, but the fact is, put a Managed Care expert who has a poor memory into that exam room, and he will fail big time. Kongstvedt himself could probably manage a 6, but only because he's literally studied managed care for his whole lifetime.
I happened to choose 8M because I liked the material, whereas the 8I, 8G and 8V stuff didn't appeal to me. But, make 8M all math questions and 8V all regurgitation, and I might go for 8V instead. It's that fickle.
10-17-2002, 10:39 AM
Anybody have an opinion on what happens to these career ASAs out there who currently only have credit for 1-4? Seems like there is a potential for having a number of different "types" of ASA. Anf for those who wouldn't mind picking up their FSA someday, I'm sure they are hoping that they are able to avoid taking an exam or two through some sort of conversion system quirk in their favor.
There will always be a number of different types of ASAs. It depends on when you became a member. The SOA will never kick someone out of the Society simply because the requirements to get in have changed. The same is true for fellows. I'm not saying it's fair, but to do otherwise would be pretty strange.
That's not really your question though. Career ASAs will have their exam credits converted to the new system, just like they've done in the past. A career ASA with credit for 4 exams would be treated the same as someone who is not an ASA and has credit for 4 exams, except the career ASA will still be an ASA.
10-17-2002, 08:47 PM
Mayreeh writes: Sometimes the society does a give-away when they convert. Sometimes they get vicious. (Example, in the mid-1990's when they raised the bar for ASA. I know someone who almost got caught for lack of a 1 hour exam.)
I missed the 1995 ASA by 10 credits -- on which I got a 5. You can't come closer than that.
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