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  #1  
Old 10-18-2005, 03:45 AM
MrWoot MrWoot is offline
 
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Default What Makes the Actuary Tests Hard?

Hello I'm a sophomore at college pursuing a General Curriculum degree. Recently I've been interested in pursuing an Actuary Science degree. Two concerns are:

What makes the Actuary tests hard?
(Do these tests require heavily on intelligence or can an average-intelligent person pass these tests with hard work?)

Do you enjoy working as an Actuary?
(Job Satisfaction)

Thank you for reading my post.

- MrWoot
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2005, 03:49 AM
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You might consider looking at prior exams at www.soa.org. The answers to the problems are difficult to get, but you could probably pass these tests with below average intelligence if it's your lucky day since the first 4 exams are multiple choice.

Oh yeah, and you're welcome.
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Old 10-18-2005, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrWoot
Hello I'm a sophomore at college pursuing a General Curriculum degree. Recently I've been interested in pursuing an Actuary Science degree. Two concerns are:

What makes the Actuary tests hard?
(Do these tests require heavily on intelligence or can an average-intelligent person pass these tests with hard work?)

Do you enjoy working as an Actuary?
(Job Satisfaction)

Thank you for reading my post.

- MrWoot
The actuarial exams are difficult because of several things - the material is somewhat difficult to understand and comprehend, the exams are long (our shortest is 2 hours, our longest is 6 1/2), and you're taking the exam with many other bright exam-takers.

If you're interested in taking the exams, the only way to know if it's for you is to study for one and take one. Make sure you've taken a couple courses in calculus and a class in calculus-based probability.

As for my work - I'm not an actuary yet (you need to pass about 6 of these exams before you can call yourself an "actuary"), but I enjoy what I do. It's a comfortable job.
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Old 10-18-2005, 04:39 AM
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Not only is the material hard to understand and harder to memorize, but the problems are difficult enough that you would normally be given 8-12 minutes for that type of question in a regular college exam, while on the actuarial exam you only have 3-5 minutes per question. You have little or no time to derive stuff that you didn't study or don't remember... you have to know it hardcore before you walk into the exam.
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Old 10-18-2005, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrWoot
Hello I'm a sophomore at college pursuing a General Curriculum degree. Recently I've been interested in pursuing an Actuary Science degree. Two concerns are:

What makes the Actuary tests hard?
<snip>
- MrWoot
Quote:
Originally Posted by wat?
The actuarial exams ...
Actuaries are getting more tolerant? It has dropped to the second reply to correct the actuary/actuarial point.
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2005, 08:33 AM
DW Simpson DW Simpson is offline
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How hard is the first actuarial exam? How much shall I study?
http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...ad.php?t=55939

How long does it take to get through the exams? In other words, what's the "travel time"?
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...e%3Aactuary.ca

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...ialoutpost.com

If I've never taken an actuarial exam, what are some basics I should know about the actuarial exam path?
http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...ad.php?t=61524
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Old 10-18-2005, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Incredible Hulctuary
Not only is the material hard to understand and harder to memorize, but the problems are difficult enough that you would normally be given 8-12 minutes for that type of question in a regular college exam, while on the actuarial exam you only have 3-5 minutes per question. You have little or no time to derive stuff that you didn't study or don't remember... you have to know it hardcore before you walk into the exam.
and for the most part you have to have the motivation to self study for long periods of time. there are no teachers (1 week at a seminar isn't enough), no homework, no intermediate assignments. just you, the test, and a 50% chance of failing...
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Old 10-18-2005, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by persephone_ashes
and for the most part you have to have the motivation to self study for long periods of time. there are no teachers (1 week at a seminar isn't enough), no homework, no intermediate assignments. just you, the test, and a 50% chance of failing...
so that's why i passed exams in school and only 1 exam outside of school.
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Old 10-18-2005, 09:23 AM
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Why are the actuarial exams so difficult? Several reasons:

1. You need to be self-motivated. You don't have a professor pointing you to the correct material, correcting your errors and keeping you working at a proper pace. It's all up to you.

2. Once you get past the earliest exams, the study materials are often not textbooks. They are usually papers that were either written for students or for general actuarial journals. The quality and comprehensibility of these materials varies widely.

3. Once you get past the earliest exams, the concepts you are studying are generally quite unfamiliar to you, unless they happen to touch on something you are doing in your current job.

4. The passing grades are set such that you usually have to be in the top 30% to 40% of those taking the exam in order to pass. The population of people taking exams is highly talented. Your competition is much stiffer than it was in your college career.

5. The exams tend to be long. You not only have to understand the material, you also need to be comfortable enough with the material to be able to work with speed.

Does it take brilliance or can hard work alone achieve your goals? Well, brilliance helps, but perserverance helps more. If you have enough aptitude to have achieved a math/statistics/actuarial science degree with a reasonably high GPA, you can probably make it through the actuarial exams, IF you are willing to put in sufficient hours and effort. However, the hours and effort required are well beyond what you needed in college for most people. Think very carefully about whether you are willing and able to make this sustained effort. If you are, you CAN do this. Not everyone will find the tradeoffs worthwhile.

Last edited by Maine-iac; 10-18-2005 at 09:25 AM..
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2005, 09:58 AM
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First 4 Exams: 70% Talent, 30% Effort
Last 5 Exams: 20% Talent, 80% Effort

Some people have both Talent and Effort and zip right through the exams. Some have neither effort nor talent and wash out. Most of us are somewhere in between and struggle our way through with varying degrees of success.

It's not uncommon to find smart people who breeze through the first four exams and then have more difficulty on the upper level exams. These people are usually very smart and aren't accustomed to having to study extremely long and hard, especially when it comes to non-mathematical material.

Conversely, is is also common to find people who struggled through the first four exams and then handle the last five without too much difficulty. They might not be super smart, but they're smart enough, and their work ethic and attention to detail helps them manage the more volumous and detail oriented material on the upper exams.

I'm a CAS guy. Might be a different story in life/health.
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