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Where to Start?

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  • Where to Start?

    I graduated from college in 2004 with a degree in business management and a minor in economics (also had enough credits for a degree in HR, but school will not grant both HR and management degrees due to overlap in cirriculum). I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with my degree and ended up with a job in the pension industry. I have been a pension administrator for a little over a year now, and I really like what I do. I am well on my way to being a QKA (ASPPA designation) after only 13 months in the field. I am very interested in becoming an actuary and continuing to work with pensions on a higher level. However, I do not feel that my math education was very strong in college, with my highest level being business statistics. I would like to be ready to take the P exam by the last testing session this year (Sept. I believe?). My financial math skills are pretty strong, but I feel that I am lacking in the probability and statistics area and am probably not as profficient with calculus as I should be. I would appreciate and advice on where I should begin in order to ready myself for an exam by September.

    Thank you in advance.

  • #2

    I think you should start with some good study materials. There are a number of exam P resources out there. Look around on this board and find a few that people say are useful. You can also download the study notes from the SOA site. This will give you exam-specific material.

    Then, get a hold of a used probability & stats book and calculus book to use as reference. You're not going to need all the material in them, but I found myself looking back to past material to understand some concepts for the exam.

    Then, map out a study plan from now until September. Many people start with an estimate of 100 hours of study per exam hour, but since you feel you're making up a little ground, start with 150/exam hour (better to study too much the first time than to have to cover the material twice). Make a study plan and stick to it.


    • #3
      This actually deserves a good discussion:

      Many people in the actuarial field think that the one area you don't want to go into is pension. The entry-level salaries are probably higher because there's so few people going into that area, but long-term it doesn't look good. A guy I know from back home who's a pension actuary for nearly 30 years admitted that if he was starting out now, he wouldn't go into the pension field; he thinks the only upside for that area will be in consulting as people look for more secure ways to maintain their wealth so it will last through retirement and seek advice on the implications of various choices.

      Someone else who's been in the field for a little while will have to step in and explain their view of the field from a first-person POV.
      "You better get to living, because dying's a pain in the ***." - Frank Sinatra - where I talk about the Blues and the NHL.