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  #11  
Old 01-24-2018, 12:53 PM
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It would actually be a useful statistic for a conversation I am about to have.

My cousin's daughter is a math major and they want to talk about becoming an actuary. Actually, I am not so sure "they" want to talk about being an actuary. I believe my cousin wants his daughter to be an actuary so he has pushed for this meeting. He has attempted to coordinate this meeting for the past 3 months and I have not heard a word from his daughter despite the fact he lives over an hour away, and she lives and goes to school a 10 minute walk from my office so we could have met for lunch or coffee at any point in the last 1.5 years she has been in school.

Having a statistic to back up "it's hard" especially if you aren't really committed to the field, might be helpful in this particular instance.
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  #12  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:11 PM
CuriousGeorge CuriousGeorge is offline
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Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
It would actually be a useful statistic for a conversation I am about to have.

My cousin's daughter is a math major and they want to talk about becoming an actuary. Actually, I am not so sure "they" want to talk about being an actuary. I believe my cousin wants his daughter to be an actuary so he has pushed for this meeting. He has attempted to coordinate this meeting for the past 3 months and I have not heard a word from his daughter despite the fact he lives over an hour away, and she lives and goes to school a 10 minute walk from my office so we could have met for lunch or coffee at any point in the last 1.5 years she has been in school.

Having a statistic to back up "it's hard" especially if you aren't really committed to the field, might be helpful in this particular instance.
The fact that it is a 6-8 year commitment goes well with that, highlighting that she would be putting in 10+ hours a week studying instead of enjoying her time outside work, for the foreseeable future. And that you have less than a 50% chance of passing each exam, even if you put in the hours studying.

Quoting a statistic that only 10% (or whatever) of people who take the first exam ever become fellows is not a useful benchmark or indication of how hard it is. It's sort of like saying that only 1% of people who take Biology 101 ever get a job as a biologist, so that is obviously an even harder career.
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  #13  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:16 PM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
It would actually be a useful statistic for a conversation I am about to have.

My cousin's daughter is a math major and they want to talk about becoming an actuary. Actually, I am not so sure "they" want to talk about being an actuary. I believe my cousin wants his daughter to be an actuary so he has pushed for this meeting. He has attempted to coordinate this meeting for the past 3 months and I have not heard a word from his daughter despite the fact he lives over an hour away, and she lives and goes to school a 10 minute walk from my office so we could have met for lunch or coffee at any point in the last 1.5 years she has been in school.

Having a statistic to back up "it's hard" especially if you aren't really committed to the field, might be helpful in this particular instance.
show him the charts (the FSA/FCAS columns) that JoeGot linked and tell them that these charts are based on those who eventually obtain their designation, i.e., the 20% (or 10%) that stick through the whole ordeal...

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  #14  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CuriousGeorge View Post
The fact that it is a 6-8 year commitment goes well with that, highlighting that she would be putting in 10+ hours a week studying instead of enjoying her time outside work, for the foreseeable future. And that you have less than a 50% chance of passing each exam, even if you put in the hours studying.

Quoting a statistic that only 10% (or whatever) of people who take the first exam ever become fellows is not a useful benchmark or indication of how hard it is. It's sort of like saying that only 1% of people who take Biology 101 ever get a job as a biologist, so that is obviously an even harder career.


The statistic op describes is only interesting to actuaries. What really counts is the longer run time commitment which becoming a fellow is more a function of. Loosely speaking becoming a fellow is less a probability of happening and more a "insert x hours". If you insert fewer than x then no fellow for you.
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  #15  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:21 PM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
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The statistic op describes is only interesting to actuaries. What really counts is the longer run time commitment which becoming a fellow is more a function of. Loosely speaking becoming a fellow is less a probability of happening and more a "insert x hours". If you insert fewer than x then no fellow for you.
x will be drastically different for different people then...

i have a friend who casually studied 7 weeks for his/her 5 hour exam and passed.

I also have a friend (extremely hard working) who attempted the same exam 5 times until he/she passed.
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  #16  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:23 PM
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x will be drastically different for different people then...

i have a friend who casually studied 7 weeks for his/her 5 hour exam and passed.

I also have a friend (extremely hard working) who attempted the same exam 5 times until he/she passed.
Yeah yeah some people are smarter than others blah blah that's why I said loosely speaking.

From a "do you want to become an actuary?" standpoint I think it's still pretty accurate.

Insert [large number of hours] to become fellow. If you're only willing to insert x - decent number then it'll take you a lot longer or you just won't achieve it.
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  #17  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:31 PM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
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Originally Posted by NormalDan View Post
Yeah yeah some people are smarter than others blah blah that's why I said loosely speaking.

From a "do you want to become an actuary?" standpoint I think it's still pretty accurate.

Insert [large number of hours] to become fellow. If you're only willing to insert x - decent number then it'll take you a lot longer or you just won't achieve it.
I think an important factor is luck (people rarely focus on this). someone could luckily squeeze through all his/her upper exams with 6s thanks to consecutive sittings that have pass rates way above the historical average.

but i think you are right, you have to "insert x hours" to be able to capitalize on those opportunities when they fall into your lap.
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  #18  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Pension.Mathematics View Post
I think an important factor is luck (people rarely focus on this). someone could luckily squeeze through all his/her upper exams with 6s thanks to consecutive sittings that have pass rates way above the historical average.

but i think you are right, you have to "insert x hours" to be able to capitalize on those opportunities when they fall into your lap.
I'll make sure to allocate more review time to luck for my upcoming exam....

Luck is averaged out with unluck so that's a wash.
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  #19  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:49 PM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
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I'll make sure to allocate more review time to luck for my upcoming exam....

Luck is averaged out with unluck so that's a wash.
i have never seen anyone do it, but in hindsight, i should have looked at the pass rate history to decide which exam i should have done first

5 (1) -> 5 (2) -> 2
5 (1) -> 2 -> 5 (2)
5(2) -> 5(1) -> 2
5(2) -> 2 -> 5(1)
2 -> 5 (1) -> 5 (2)
2 -> 5 (2) -> 5 (1)

the recommended order (first row) does not take historical pass rates into consideration at all. I am sure there is a significant chance that the first row is not always the optimal route, given the historical pass rates of all three exams and syllabus reset timings.

so in some sense, some time allocated to "time" your luck won't hurt.
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  #20  
Old 01-24-2018, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Pension.Mathematics View Post
I am sure some kind of drop-out rate analysis could be done to get a ballpark figure...
So go do it. The problem is linking the names on the pass lists from preliminary exams to subsequent progress.
A more useful statistic is how long it takes for those who do get there. And that's been done.
See also this reply:
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Originally Posted by Abnormal View Post
They do look at travel time but they don't consider what percentage of candidates actually "stick it out" to become Fellows of the relevant organization, let alone how many of them actually do it within a particular time frame.

Trying to measure from the first exam doesn't make a lot of sense either. I was a math major and when I was in grad school a number of my friends wrote the old Parts 1 and 2 because they didn't know what they were going to do after finishing their degrees and it was something to do (besides, they could write those exams cold and pass without too much difficulty). Only one of them went on to even take an actuarial job let alone become a Fellow. [I didn't write - I just applied for credit for Part 1 based on my GRE results. And didn't actually sit an exam for another 5 years.]
Back in the 20th century, cash awards were given for highest score on two preliminary exams - one on calculus and one on probability, as I recall. A lot of people took those exams for a chance at the money, with NO interest in the actuarial profession and no intention of ever taking another exam.


Quote:
but I am curious, what harm would be associated with making that information available?
. . .
why would more transparency hurt anyone?[
Not harm. Not hurt. Just not worth the effort. See my first response, above..

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If it's a low number, it would make the designation itself seem more prestigious, no?
I don't think prestige is all that important. Also see further replies:
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Originally Posted by ronaldy27 View Post
Is it very important to make career decisions based on prestige and whether the career path is difficult or not?

Even with the answer to what you're asking, you won't be able to make a good decision if those are the factors you're considering.

Choose the path that interests you. The exam process is long.

I did hear from the former president of SOA mention that only 10% who pass P, end up being an FSA IIRC.

Quote:
If both SOA and CAS provided that information, we would also be able to compare the relative difficulties of FSA and FCAS, no?
Comparison can be made by looking at travel time. But do you choose the one with shorter travel time to minimize the painful years of being a student or do you choose the supposedly "prestigious" one? IMO you are asking lots of wrong questions.



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Originally Posted by SlowMotionWalter View Post
10% sounds insanely high.
Does it really matter whether it's 10 or 20 or some other percent??

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Originally Posted by JoeGot View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
It would actually be a useful statistic for a conversation I am about to have.

My cousin's daughter is a math major and they want to talk about becoming an actuary. Actually, I am not so sure "they" want to talk about being an actuary. I believe my cousin wants his daughter to be an actuary so he has pushed for this meeting. He has attempted to coordinate this meeting for the past 3 months and I have not heard a word from his daughter despite the fact he lives over an hour away, and she lives and goes to school a 10 minute walk from my office so we could have met for lunch or coffee at any point in the last 1.5 years she has been in school.

Having a statistic to back up "it's hard" especially if you aren't really committed to the field, might be helpful in this particular instance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormalDan View Post


The statistic op describes is only interesting to actuaries. What really counts is the longer run time commitment which becoming a fellow is more a function of. Loosely speaking becoming a fellow is less a probability of happening and more a "insert x hours". If you insert fewer than x then no fellow for you.
Travel time would actually be better. There have been times when I have asked why it takes longer to become a fully qualified actuary than it does to become and MD. (I will admit that actuaries probably make more money pre-qualification.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pension.Mathematics View Post
x will be drastically different for different people then...

i have a friend who casually studied 7 weeks for his/her 5 hour exam and passed.

I also have a friend (extremely hard working) who attempted the same exam 5 times until he/she passed.
And this proves what?? The probability of making it through all the exams in x years is the result of combing people in those 2 disparate groups with ones who never meant to be actuaries, and those who gave up before the 5th try. The travel time seems a lot more informative to me.
And, btw, I did make if to FSA within 10 years. That means, ex post facto, that my probability of completing the exams within ten years was 1.00.
Oh, and my probability of doing it in 5 years was 0.00.
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Last edited by JMO; 01-24-2018 at 01:54 PM..
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