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  • How hard are the exams?

    For anyone that has taken one of the actuarial exams, how tough are they?

  • #2
    Originally posted by number1
    For anyone that has taken one of the actuarial exams, how tough are they?
    There's a lot of students out there that really hate the examination process. "On average", some say, you're supposed to devote 100 hours of study time for every hour of test there is. For example, Exam FM is 2 hours long --> 200 hours should be spent in preparation for Exam M. You can see how this goes for exams like M/C (4 hours) and 5/6 (5 1/2 hours).

    Put it this way - you take tests along with other very capable actuarial science, math and economics majors (and others). As past exams have shown, getting 70% correct almost guarantees you passing. It's not that thousands worldwide are ignorant - it's that these exams are hard.

    I'm not telling you this to scare you away from the exams - it's more about adding levity, or being certain to how much seriousness you should devote to this exam. It's not easy, but it's doable.

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    • #3
      How hard are the exams?

      U.S. (and Canadian) actuarial examinations form the most difficult system of professional examinations that exists in the known universe. The exams are not just hard because they are hard, but they are also hard because they are unreasonable -- you can't see how your test was graded, model solutions posted are not model but so-so, tests are often not published, and there is no clearly defined pass mark. Just '''' it up and do not waste time on complaining. If you are in the top 5% in mathematics skills in the U.S. (that probably means top 25% in most coutries worldwide) and top 20% overall, when you start college (this level roughly corresponds to ACT composite of 27 and Math ACT of 30), you will make it if you work hard. You must work hard, study at least 300 hours for each exam, and give up on things that waste time. But you will get the best job there is, bar none.

      Yours,
      Krzys'
      Want to know how to pass actuarial exams? Go to: smartURL.it/pass

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by resolvent
        I know this will sound terribly cliche', but it's true:
        "it all depends". I wish not to have to repeat my response on this board to another poster in which I explain the somewhat silliness of comparing the difficulty of doing one subject in college versus another, or versus passing an actuarial exam. If someone could find my response and post it here in this thread, that would be great.

        Anyway, I am taking second semester French, now, and the French exams I am taking now -- through French in Action -- are tougher than either the FM or P exams I just took and passed this year (scores 7 and 10, respectively).
        Sure, I studied and did every problem in every workbook and online for those subjects (I used BPP for both, plus the Bean book for the P and the Theory of Interest for the FM). But, my French exams (and I'm taking it at a community college!) require much more memorization.

        But, as krzysio points out, the actuarial exams are made ARBITRARILY difficult with unreasonable constraints. The most important one was the ridiculous time constraint for the FM exam. I never raced as fast as I did in my life as I did for the FM exam.

        Nevertheless, EVEN WHILE I WAS TAKING the FM exam this May, I thought to myself: "Gee, this is an easy exam. They don't test me on all that much. Half this test is just calculating present value over and over and over again. 25 questions -- 25 unique concepts at most!"

        Without repeating the points I made in my other thread, I can tell you -- the most difficult subjects I've ever taken in my life are the graduate-level math courses. True, undergraduate courses worked me harder, by piling on more quantity. But, I always KNEW, deep in my heart, that given enough time and effort, I could pass them
        (including French).

        But, there was NEVER any guarantee I could pass or ultimately understand the abstractness of exact sequences in homology, or sheaves in algebraic geometry. To this day, I STILL never have figured out WHAT those things are for or how to apply them. That doesn't mean one CAN'T apply them. It just means I've not figured out how (nor have I been SHOWN how). In that sense, I am STILL struggling with my algebraic geometry courses 13 years later!

        To this day, first-year graduate school in mathematics at Rutgers was the most intimidating year of my life.

        Now (going for the actuarial exams) -- it's just annoying and expensive. Well, it IS exciting, too.
        You are quite right - it does depend from person to person. Some people find foreign languages much easier to learn, understand and speak than mathematics, while for others, it's quite the opposite.

        One thing is for sure - few individuals pass all the exams on the first shot. Most exam takers fail at least one exam at least one time. If you happen to fail the first exam several times but honestly feel that the field may be what you want to do in the future, then by all means - try your best and keep at it.

        You seem to be comparing apples and oranges and expect to get a meaningful comparison of the whole exercise. It is very difficult to compare graduate-level mathematics with the first two actuarial exams - especially when P and FM are covered at a sophomore/junior undergraduate level in college. I congratulate you in your success thus far through the exams, but you've got quite a long way to go. If you'd like a more comparable challenge to graduate-level work, I submit Exams DP & CSP (two Course 8 level exams on the SOA side) or Exams 8 & 9 (on the CAS side) as examples. On the SOA side, those are 6 hour written-answer exams that cover approximately 2,000 pages of reading - a large challenge for someone giving themselves 4-6 months to study for it. And on the CAS side, those are 4 hour exams that are quite difficult (don't have much experience).

        All in all, these exams, as a whole are difficult. But if at first you don't succeed ... take a break, have a few (and more) drinks, then come back and do it again.

        Comment


        • #5
          Bpp?

          Originally posted by resolvent
          ... problem in every workbook and online for those subjects (I used BPP for both, plus the Bean book ...
          What is this BPP that is referred to for studying?
          [FONT="Arial Black"][COLOR="Navy"]Waz[/COLOR][/FONT]
          [COLOR="Navy"]_________________________[/COLOR]

          [FONT="Arial Black"][COLOR="Navy"]The trick is to stay hungry.[/COLOR][/FONT]

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          • #6
            www.bpptraining.com

            Great study materials.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks!

              Thanks Trojan_Horse; I'll check it out.
              [FONT="Arial Black"][COLOR="Navy"]Waz[/COLOR][/FONT]
              [COLOR="Navy"]_________________________[/COLOR]

              [FONT="Arial Black"][COLOR="Navy"]The trick is to stay hungry.[/COLOR][/FONT]

              Comment


              • #8
                i have a bg interest in Actuarial Science..but i feel scared after readin this thread ..
                i wonder..how hard could it be..
                but anyways..im gnna take up Actuaial Science no matter what

                Comment


                • #9
                  dont be afraid

                  firstly, ask yourself this question: Is mathematics a subject i love very much. If your answer is yes , then your chances at success is as good as anybody elses'. Exams are hard but your love for mathematics will allow you to succeed. chin up , dont defeat youself before you've started.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by funmatiks View Post
                    firstly, ask yourself this question: Is mathematics a subject i love very much. If your answer is yes , then your chances at success is as good as anybody elses'. Exams are hard but your love for mathematics will allow you to succeed. chin up , dont defeat youself before you've started.
                    thanx..

                    yup..i love maths !

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      i have a bg interest in Actuarial Science..but i feel scared after readin this thread ..
                      i wonder..how hard could it be..
                      but anyways..im gnna take up Actuaial Science no matter what
                      I just took the first exam and beginning to study for the second exam. And i am as scared (if not more) than i was before i started. But that scared feeling works sort of like a motivation. And it goes away once you familirize yourself with the material. So start studying!!!!

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