Actuarial Outpost
 
Go Back   Actuarial Outpost > Actuarial Discussion Forum > General Actuarial
FlashChat Actuarial Discussion Preliminary Exams CAS/SOA Exams Cyberchat Around the World Suggestions


General Actuarial Non-Specific Actuarial Topics - Before posting a thread, please browse over our other sections to see if there is a better fit, such as Careers - Employment, Actuarial Science Universities Forum or any of our other 100+ forums.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #11  
Old 05-03-2018, 01:39 PM
BruteForce's Avatar
BruteForce BruteForce is offline
Member
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Studying for More Money
Favorite beer: Wurzel Bier
Posts: 11,104
Default

The prelims are a barrier to entry. Every well paid career has some sort of barrier to entry. It's what helps keep the supply down.
__________________
ASA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Actuary321 View Post
I would really hate to bring Pokémon to a gun fight.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-03-2018, 01:59 PM
pragmatist pragmatist is offline
Member
CAS Non-Actuary
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 171
Default

Much of OP's criticism (helpful authors, abundant study material, etc.) seems to be a suggestion that prelims should be more of a black box. An approach of that sort will only make the "qualification" process quite arbitrary and needlessly frustrating. And that won't improve the profession whatsoever.

Employers in the actuarial field surely know what the prelims entail. And since the vast majority of candidates pursue these exams while they are gaining actuarial experience, they are immune to (or able to dispel) whatever false impression the prelims might convey. Therefore, I doubt that anyone gets "false expectations" from the prelims.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pension.Mathematics View Post
[list=1]
Hard work is immediately rewarded. It is easier to keep going when you get immediate feedback: "I chose B, the correct answer is C, therefore, I need to remember formula XYZ"
But the candidate still needs to understand when he needs formula XYZ and the reason for it, like everywhere else.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-03-2018, 02:09 PM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
Member
SOA
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Studying for Done with exams.
Posts: 1,288
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pragmatist View Post
Therefore, I doubt that anyone gets "false expectations" from the prelims.
ask any sane person that has failed any exam 5+ times in a row, if he would choose the same career path had he known beforehand.

THAT, is the false expectation i was focusing on. i.e., people simply cannot afford to give up when they reach the FSA level exams, but those exams are different from what they were expecting when they entered the field.

do lawyers, doctors, accountants and analysts (CFA) have to go through two stages of drastically different exams? i doubt it (I could be wrong).

I am less concerned about employers, but I noticed a pattern in hiring: companies are staying away from ESL folks with 4~5 prelims, they now realize that native English speakers with only 2~3 exams will likely end up getting their FSA sooner!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elinor Dashwood View Post
And that is taken into account when setting the pass mark, so it doesn't seem like a big problem to me.
this is a good point, I stand corrected.

Last edited by Pension.Mathematics; 05-03-2018 at 02:42 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-03-2018, 02:35 PM
Doctor Who's Avatar
Doctor Who Doctor Who is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 22,943
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruteForce View Post
Wait, we're only the 11th best profession now? I need to go find a new career.
Yeah, the list must have been compiled by statisticians!

(who were rated #1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruteForce View Post
The prelims are a barrier to entry. Every well paid career has some sort of barrier to entry. It's what helps keep the supply down.
The entry level supply has been too high as of late though. Also, Canada keeps trying to get credit for the prelims via university classes every few years.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-03-2018, 02:51 PM
Elinor Dashwood's Avatar
Elinor Dashwood Elinor Dashwood is offline
Member
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,428
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalf View Post
Almost no one would say that should be the purpose of the preliminary exams. Some would say that it would be desirable if they did, as a byproduct.
This.

Quote:
Originally Posted by royevans View Post
I wouldn't say the exams are preparation to do well at your job... they help you understand the fundamentals. If you have poor communication or don't understand your work, you probably wont progress very quickly anyway.

Just like all credential exams, its just a way to set a benchmark for what people should know.
And this.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-03-2018, 03:08 PM
pragmatist pragmatist is offline
Member
CAS Non-Actuary
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 171
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pension.Mathematics View Post
ask any sane person that has failed any exam 5+ times in a row, if he would choose the same career path had he known beforehand.

THAT, is the false expectation i was focusing on. i.e., people simply cannot afford to give up when they reach the FSA level exams, but those exams are different from what they were expecting when they entered the field.

do lawyers, doctors, accountants and analysts (CFA) have to go through two stages of drastically different exams? i doubt it (I could be wrong).
Now I see what you are saying. I think the true solution entails enhancing the reliability of FSA exams and study materials. In your initial post you certainly point out that old exams are limited and with poorly written solutions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pension.Mathematics View Post
I am less concerned about employers, but I noticed a pattern in hiring: companies are staying away from ESL folks with 4~5 prelims, they now realize that native English speakers with only 2~3 exams will likely end up getting their FSA sooner!
Do you identify specific reasons behind that pattern? I can only hypothesize that this is traceable to matters of visa sponsorship (high correlation between being ESL and needing visa sponsorship?) rather than to communication issues.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 05-03-2018, 03:09 PM
Elinor Dashwood's Avatar
Elinor Dashwood Elinor Dashwood is offline
Member
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,428
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pension.Mathematics View Post
ask any sane person that has failed any exam 5+ times in a row, if he would choose the same career path had he known beforehand.

THAT, is the false expectation i was focusing on. i.e., people simply cannot afford to give up when they reach the FSA level exams, but those exams are different from what they were expecting when they entered the field.

do lawyers, doctors, accountants and analysts (CFA) have to go through two stages of drastically different exams? i doubt it (I could be wrong).
So your chief complaint is that success on the preliminary exams does not guarantee success on the FSA exams?

I think there's some similarity between Exam MLC and an FSA exam these days, although how much depends on the track as some tracks are more math intensive than others. But MLC does force someone to gain familiarity with written-answer exams.

As for other professions: I don't think any other profession has an examination system that's at all comparable to actuarial exams. But certainly for people on other paths, the rules are constantly changing.

Medical school: extremely competitive to get in, then they totally hold your hand once you're there (the saying is that it's harder to get out of medical school than it is to get in... meaning that the school REALLY does not want you to drop out / flunk out and stop paying tuition because they can't fill your slot with someone else. So they work really closely with you to make sure that you are successful once you're there.) Then it's very competitive to get into certain residency programs and grueling once you're in. And from what I understand the three different sections of the medical boards are quite different.


Quote:
I am less concerned about employers, but I noticed a pattern in hiring: companies are staying away from ESL folks with 4~5 prelims, they now realize that native English speakers with only 2~3 exams will likely end up getting their FSA sooner!
Native English speakers are always going to have an advantage in almost any profession because they are better at communicating in the English language. They've had more practice! I don't know that you're ever going to get around that. If anything, the difficulty of the exams gives an edge to non-native speakers in that at least on the preliminary exams they are on a level playing field.

In other fields without exams, hiring is much more subjective and it's even harder on non-native speakers to demonstrate the value they add through the language barrier.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 05-03-2018, 03:10 PM
Doctor Who's Avatar
Doctor Who Doctor Who is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 22,943
Default

Back in the old, old, days, the first actuarial exam was English.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 05-03-2018, 03:12 PM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
Member
SOA
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Studying for Done with exams.
Posts: 1,288
Default

@Elinor Dashwood you raised some good points that I did not consider before. I will give this some more thought.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 05-03-2018, 03:13 PM
JMO's Avatar
JMO JMO is offline
Carol Marler
Non-Actuary
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Back home again in Indiana
Studying for Nothing actuarial.
Posts: 37,421
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Who View Post
Back in the old, old, days, the first actuarial exam was English.
Yes it was. But that was before my time. I started in the old days when calculus was first, the probability and statistics.
__________________
Carol Marler, "Just My Opinion"

Pluto is no longer a planet and I am no longer an actuary. Please take my opinions as non-actuarial.


My latest favorite quotes, updated Apr 5, 2018.

Spoiler:
I should keep these four permanently.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rekrap View Post
JMO is right
Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
I agree with JMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
And def agree w/ JMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MG View Post
This. And everything else JMO wrote.
And this all purpose permanent quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
Yup, it is always someone else's fault.
MORE:
All purpose response for careers forum:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorNo View Post
Depends upon the employer and the situation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sredni Vashtar View Post
I feel like ERM is 90% buzzwords, and that the underlying agenda is to make sure at least one of your Corporate Officers is not dumb.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
*PLEASE NOTE: Posts are not checked for accuracy, and do not
represent the views of the Actuarial Outpost or its sponsors.
Page generated in 0.60210 seconds with 9 queries