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Old 09-13-2002, 10:03 AM
scottydog scottydog is offline
 
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Default Is this a realistic option for me?

Hi all. I'm new here. I recently graduated from the Computer Engineering and Management program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It's basically Computer Engineering with a minor in Commerce. The last 2 years of my schooling were absolutely dreadful because I hated the Engineering side of the program so much. This past summer, I worked at one of the major Canadian banks in a crappy operations role. I recently resigned because I wanted to figure out what to do with my life. I've done a lot of research into Actuarial Sciences and I think it might be my ticket. Granted, I realize it is a very difficult field to get into, but I am confident in my abilities. I have taken many courses at University that would help me in passing the first two exams, such as:
5 calculus courses, statistics for engineering, statistics for telecommunication processes, 2 corporate finance courses, basic and advanced microeconomics, introductory macroeconomics, cost accounting, and managerial accounting.

My plan is to write course 1 with very little studying in November. I also was hoping to squeeze in course 2 in November. Keep in mind that I'm not working right now so I have a lot of time to study. If I order the Averbach and Mehta Course 1 study guide, and the CSM Course 2 Basic Edition, would this be enough to pass both exams? I plan on spending almost every waking hour from now until November studying.

Also, what are my chances for landing an entry level job in Canada with only 2 exams? I know I have to pass them first, I'm just trying to see how feasible my plan is. Sorry for the long post, thank you so much for any input.
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Old 09-13-2002, 10:23 AM
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Polly Nomial Polly Nomial is offline
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It sounds like a great plan to me. I'm not familiar with those study guides, but since you have the background courses they should work. Finding an entry level position with 2 exams should be no problem at all. Best of luck to you!
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Old 09-13-2002, 10:36 AM
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SD, I don't know how smart you are, but passing parts 1 and 2 in the same sitting is a tall order, even if you plan on studying "every waking moment" until then. It's a lot of material to be able to answer questions about. But although it's hard, it's not impossible.

If you are successful in November, I agree with PN that it shouldn't be a problem for you to find a job somewhere, even if you get 1 exam.
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Old 09-13-2002, 10:51 AM
42 42 is offline
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Passing courses 1 and 2 could be difficult, but if you recently studied the material in school, you've got a good shot at passing. You also shouldn't have much trouble getting a job with two exams. It's a bit tougher with one, and very difficult with none. However, quitting your current job before finding another will definitely be a mark against you. Prospective employers are certain to ask about that, and telling them that you wanted to figure out what to do with your life won't be as well received as telling them that you decided you wanted to be an actuary and wanted to take the time off to study. Good luck!

BTW: Hamilton is my home town. I like being able to say that I came from Hamilton ... mostly because saying that I came from there means that I no longer live there! :P
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Old 09-13-2002, 11:22 AM
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It can be done: over 100 people passed 1 and 2 in May, but it will be a tough challenge. I suspect many of those had course work directly preparing them for the exams.

You've got many relevant courses, but there are two big gaps: probability in course 1 and compound interest in course 2. Each of those is a major part (40% or so) of the corresponding exam.

Here's a thread about whether someone has time to prepare for just course 1: http://www.actuary.ca/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=6535

Your background seems much stronger, but your goal is much greater. Consider Alya's post there about seeing how you would do on prior exams. Past exams are available at http://www.soa.org/eande/examinations.html

Some posters have suggested in that thread that the person should take course 1 even if they can't meet Alya's guideline on an old exams, but taking two exams for experience is a different matter. Prospective employers will look far more favorably on one exam passed than on two close misses.

Good luck, whichever you decide.
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Old 09-13-2002, 12:35 PM
scottydog scottydog is offline
 
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Thank you for the responses everybody. Okay, now I'm thinking about taking course 1 only. It seems like a tall order to me to get an entry level actuary job with only 1 exam completed. However, if I can find myself some contacts in the field, and with some eagerness on my part, I suppose it can be done. I'm going to try some of the course 1 practice exams to see how big my statistics gap is.

Six times Nine: I guess my comment was a little misleading. I didn't actually resign from my job. My post was a summer student position. It was the summer job I had all the way through my university studies. Since I didn't have any other employment lined up, I went back for one final summer so that I could pay some bills and have some fun. The bank wanted me back full-time, but I declined the offer. It's a very low-paying industry that hires cheap labour. You only need a high school diploma to work there. Full-time employees make less than $30,000 per year (before tax!). I don't think it's a knock against me that I left.
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Old 09-13-2002, 10:11 PM
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42, I didn't know you were from the stinky city! :P
Scotty, if you manage to pass 2 exams in Nov, you shouldn't have much of a problem finding a job in T.O. Make sure you mention your change in your cover letter, and that you passed both in the most recent sitting. Finding a job with only 1 exam will be tough, but not impossible Good Luck!
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Old 09-14-2002, 12:13 AM
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I think it's difficult in Canada to find a job with only one or two exams, but not impossible. Check www.beanactuary.org. The Canadian Institute of Actuaries website is www.actuaries.ca, not sure if there's any assistance there.
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Old 09-16-2002, 10:38 AM
42 42 is offline
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Scottydog, that sounds much better than if you just up and quit. But you should still be prepared to answer why you didn't have another job lined up when that one was done. (Hint: I wanted to devote all my time to studying for the exams!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxine
42, I didn't know you were from the stinky city! :P
Hey, hey, hey!!! ... Yeah, you're right. I used to call Hamilton the Pittsburgh of the north. Then I actually travelled to Pittsburgh and realized that I owed Pittsburgh an apology.
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Old 09-19-2002, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42
BTW: Hamilton is my home town. I like being able to say that I came from Hamilton ... mostly because saying that I came from there means that I no longer live there! :P
Quote:
Originally Posted by 42
How often do I wash it? I live in Seattle. What's the point?
soo... which is it? Hamilton or Seattle? (let's see you slime out of THIS one!)


scotty - you have your head screwed on exactly the right tightness. your smart, ambitious, young, and well educated. you should clear exams 1 and 2 without too much scarring. GO for it. if you get two exams in one shot and can't find work, call me.
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