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  #21  
Old 10-02-2002, 03:34 PM
The Limey The Limey is offline
 
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Default Bravo

I failed to point out in my earlier post that I, too, was a liberal arts major (philosophy) who had my calculus in high school. I did, however, take math classes in college, though these were strictly of the "Pure Math" variety with no application to actuarial exams. I took the old 100 and 110 3 years after graduating from college and 10 years after having calculus in high school. I needed much review and, in the case of statistics, self-study to get through those courses.

I experienced my share of nay-sayers, but my record on exams has been better than average, with only one to go. It's all well and good to pontificate about how someone has a 90 or 95% chance of failing at an endeavor that they wish to undertake, but hard work and dedication make such speculative oddsmaking meaningless.
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  #22  
Old 10-02-2002, 04:05 PM
Alya Alya is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan
May 2002 exam passing percentages for exams 1 and 2 were 43.1% and 37.2%

Everyone: please post your estimate of Asok's chances of passing Exam 1.

I'll start: 5%.
This is based on what I know that Asok needs to know but currently doesn't know.
After Asok takes one and a half years of calculus and statistics, I'd say about 10%.
after 1.5 years of classes: 70%
(unlike most people taking these classes he will have clear idea why he needs it, and what exact parts of it he needs the most, so his chances should be above avg, not below)
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  #23  
Old 10-02-2002, 04:10 PM
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Incredible Hulctuary Incredible Hulctuary is offline
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Default Re: Bravo

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Limey
I experienced my share of nay-sayers, but my record on exams has been better than average, with only one to go. It's all well and good to pontificate about how someone has a 90 or 95% chance of failing at an endeavor that they wish to undertake, but hard work and dedication make such speculative oddsmaking meaningless.
None of us are saying it is impossible. It isn't. But you are one of the less than 10-15% of Philosophy majors who could have done that. Remember even math and act. sci. graduates have a 60% failure rate. So a 90%-95% failure probability for a liberal arts major who has no calculus or statistics isn't an unreasonable estimate of the odds.

Even for me, as a CS graduate two years out of college at the time, who only took two weeks of study, without any time off from work, an 80% failure probability would not have been an unreasonable estimate.
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  #24  
Old 10-02-2002, 04:24 PM
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Rather than trying to assign an individual probability for Asok, it would be more meaningful to say that of the set of people in a similar situation as Asok's, over 90% will fail. The individual probability of failure will be anywhere from 0% to 100% depending on other personal factors which cannot be evaluated on a message board.
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  #25  
Old 10-02-2002, 04:33 PM
The Limey The Limey is offline
 
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Default Bravo!

Bravo, techguy! Well said. I was on my way to writing some such similar, though no doubt less well worded, sentiment myself.

My only quibble is with your claim that only 10-15% of my fellow philosophy majors (not psych, in my case) could succeed at actuarial exams. I would stack the mental brainpower of my fellow philosophy students against that of my fellow actuarial coworkers any day of the week. Whether that holds for other liberal arts majors, or whether perhaps I happened to be surrounded by an unusually bright group of philosophy students I am in no position to say.
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  #26  
Old 10-02-2002, 05:08 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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Wow, between 0% and 100%. You really narrowed that down, eh?

Remember folks, we're not talking brain power and hard work and learning ability: we're talking actuarial exams.

5%-10% is the line. You psych majors, with your antidotal (sic) (saw this in a presentation yesterday) evidence, if you have a higher number to offer, please do. I'll be taking your degrees into account when I weight the scores, of course.
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  #27  
Old 10-02-2002, 05:26 PM
kooky cookie kooky cookie is offline
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Do y'all think that those who hire entry level actuarial people are looking for:
A) candidates who can pass exams, with the assumption that these people can quickly pick up Excel, Access, SAS, etc
B) candidates who know Excel, Access, SAS, with the assumption that they can pass exams
C) candidates who know E, A, S and who have passed exams, with the belief that possession of one skill set is not predictive of success in the other
D) another option of your choice

Clearly, the candidate who knows E, A, S AND has demonstrated that they can pass exams (at least the first one(s)) would be the preferred candidate. But what if you don't have any candidates like that? Would they prefer someone with exams and no E,A,S knowledge over someone w/o exams and E,A,S knowledge?
Of course, Excel, etc skills are very important in doing one's job, and keeping your job is a somewhat different matter than getting hired, and an entry level job search is a different ball game than the job search for an experienced actuary.
My limited experience says that demonstrated ability to pass exams is the key to getting an entry level job. (But I could certainly be mistaken!) This is an interesting topic; I'd like to hear others' viewpoints.
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  #28  
Old 10-02-2002, 05:37 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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In order: C, A, B.

Excel, Access, SAS, etc., should be easily learned by someone smart enough to pass exams. There are exceptions, of course.
The big issue is finding time to teach these languages and software in the specific actuarial environment.
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  #29  
Old 10-02-2002, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Bravo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Limey
My only quibble is with your claim that only 10-15% of my fellow philosophy majors (not psych, in my case) could succeed at actuarial exams. I would stack the mental brainpower of my fellow philosophy students against that of my fellow actuarial coworkers any day of the week.
Brainpower is one thing, but actually learning the material after being out of school for years and after not doing any calculus in college and not having anyone to teach it to you in a structured setting is not a trivial accomplishment. Only a minority of any set of graduates in any major could have done that. Give yourself some credit.

I wouldn't doubt that more than 15% of philosphy majors would be successful at actuarial exams if they were taught the relevant math in college. Philosophy graduates have an aptitude for structured and logical thinking that would enable them to excel in other fields such as math or programming. But given the task of self-learning that much math and statistics after being out of school for so long, most people (and that goes for almost any type of graduate including engineering, CS, or philosophy) who are employed in another field would give up even before attempting the first exam (as I probably would have done myself, if I didn't already know most of the material from college). And most of those who actually continue until they take the exam would fail it, just as most recent math graduates fail it.
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  #30  
Old 10-02-2002, 06:15 PM
glenn
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Well, I'll offer an exception to the rule. I believe I was around 30 when I wrote my first exam, and passed. Clearly I hadn't seen calculus in quite a while. I passed the next exam first try as well, with no background in probability or stats at all. And this was as a result of a career change decision.

{And now look at me. I'm the freakin' webmaster (with no time to study).}

While your background is stacked against you, individually the drive for a new career can easily give you the impetus to pass the exams. The exams are extremely difficult, but not impossible.

From another perspective, the first couple of exams are written by a lot of young students with not much more background, and who aren't yet serious about the industry. So the 65% who don't pass the earlier exams aren't quite as tough a crowd to beat as the 65% on courses 3 and 4.
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