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Computer Engineering major....Questions!!

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  • Computer Engineering major....Questions!!

    Hi there, my friend is major in Computer engineering yr 2 in UCLA. She wants to take the first 4 SOA exams. Do you guys think that her math blackground is good enough to handle the exam?

  • #2
    Well it would help us to know what math she has taken so far imho..If she has done the 3 semester Calculus, Probability, FM.. and so on.. then I would say she would be fine taking the exams..else she might want to consider taking those classes or trying out some of the exam preparation manual and recommended books by the Prof. here before she attempts them...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by brianritchie
      Well it would help us to know what math she has taken so far imho..If she has done the 3 semester Calculus, Probability, FM.. and so on.. then I would say she would be fine taking the exams..else she might want to consider taking those classes or trying out some of the exam preparation manual and recommended books by the Prof. here before she attempts them...
      these are the classes:

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      MATH 31A Differential Calculus (4)|MATH 1A Calculus (5)
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      MATH 31B Integration and Infinite (4)|MATH 1B Calculus (5)
      Series |
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      MATH 32A Calculus of Several (4)|MATH 1C Calculus (5)
      Variables |
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      MATH 32B Calculus of Several (4)|MATH 1D Calculus (5)
      Variables |
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      MATH 33A Linear Algebra and (4)|MATH 2B Linear Algebra (5)
      Applications |
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      MATH 33B Differential Equations (4)|MATH 2A Differential Equations (5)
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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      • #4
        I may be a lil naive but none of these includes Probability, or Financial Math at least. As far as I know, those are the essential classes that you need to know fo the first 2 papers, Course P and Course FM...please clarify that any of those classes have these in their syllabus because I really dont think they do..

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        • #5
          Originally posted by brianritchie
          I may be a lil naive but none of these includes Probability, or Financial Math at least. As far as I know, those are the essential classes that you need to know fo the first 2 papers, Course P and Course FM...please clarify that any of those classes have these in their syllabus because I really dont think they do..
          Can you tell me what sholud she take in university in order to pass the first 4 exam.

          based on what?

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          • #6
            Beside, she is an engineering... i think her math is good ...

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            • #7
              Well for the first two exams, I can say for sure that she needs Introduction to Probability and also Financial Math also known in my Uni as Compound Interest and Life Insurance. They provide the necessary knowledge needed to pass the exams. About the other two, I am sorry but I haven't seen my Prof. regading those because I am still in Freshman year and have not taken the first 2 exams yet. Yes, being in Engineering means her Math should be good but she also needs to know the essential Math required for the Actuarial exams and that they usually are not needed in Engineering because they are more statistical and are also based alot on Probability.

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              • #8
                If your friend is considering writing the first four exams, she requires a lot more than just some calculus classes. For course P, Calculus will be beneficial in helping to understand the more complex probability problems, but she will need an indepth knowledge of probability. For Course FM, she will need to know Financial mathematics such as Interest Theory. The first two exams I would say are relatively easy compared to the next two in which your friend is very underqualified since she will not encounter any of the material in her engineering program. Course M requires knowledge specific to Actuarial Mathematics aka Life Contingencies as well as knowledge pertaining to Loss Distributions and their associated models, Course C starts to go into more statistical applications and Survival analysis. For your friend to become exposed to these topics, she would need to take Actuarial specific classes, and if I recall correctly from when I was in university, engineering students won't have the prerequisites in the stats and maths to get into such classes. She will need to do outside seminars and self study to get caught up.

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                • #9
                  Have her take one, then if she passes the next, so on. Can't really just come out and say take the first four because she may never want to committ once she sees what it takes. I have met several engineers-turned-Actuaries and they have succeeded. Remember, a lot of the material can be learned thru study guides, seminars, so on, as opposed to college courses. If she has very solid math skills she could do it in my belief.

                  PS: There is also a new VEE requirement for Test 1,2, and 4. As long as she is in school she can get a head start by taking the classes that UCLA has to fulfill VEE. Otherwise she has to take extra exams/ seminars to fulfill those aside from the actual Exams 1-4.

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                  • #10
                    I'm not sure if she's gonna be writing all 4 in one sitting but I heard rumours that 2 people passed all 4 last November. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
                    Whether you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be running.

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                    • #11
                      Passing 4 exams in one sitting

                      I am not sure about the November exam, but it's definitely true that there's at least 1 person who passed all 4 exams last May. I am not kdding, just check the passing candidate's list and you will find it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ken
                        I'm not sure if she's gonna be writing all 4 in one sitting but I heard rumours that 2 people passed all 4 last November. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
                        Yep, that happened.

                        Originally posted by sundwarf
                        I am not sure about the November exam, but it's definitely true that there's at least 1 person who passed all 4 exams last May. I am not kdding, just check the passing candidate's list and you will find it.
                        And yep, that happened.

                        For the November exam, though, one of the people who had passed all 4 at once did voice his opinion. He was from China, and he was already 30 years old. He had been working as an engineer for a while (at least 5-7 years), and he wanted a change of pace. He had seen a lot of the material before, and decided to attempt Courses 1 - 4. He tried them and passed them.

                        For anyone out there thinking of taking more than one exam, let alone 4 at once - these exams are difficult. You will need to put the time and effort in. Understand that there are math/economics/finance majors out there that have difficulty passing one of these exams alone. Just a warning.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by azaremba
                          PS: There is also a new VEE requirement for Test 1,2, and 4. As long as she is in school she can get a head start by taking the classes that UCLA has to fulfill VEE. Otherwise she has to take extra exams/ seminars to fulfill those aside from the actual Exams 1-4.
                          Two things - 1, the VEE requirements are not "associated" with any exams. True, they were once a part of the old Courses 2 and 4, but not anymore. So, you will have to satisfy 3 different VEE topics (preferably in school): Economics (both macro and micro), Finance (1 or 2 semesters of corp. finance) and Applied Statistics (Regression and Time Series).

                          If your friend is genuinely interested in the actuarial profession, and is still able to take classes in school, tell her to look for classes like the following:

                          Macroeconomics (freshman/sophmore level)
                          Microeconomics (freshman/sophmore level)
                          Finance (Introductory and Intermediate corporate finance)
                          Regression (Multi-variable)
                          Time Series (ARIMA models)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AvonT
                            Can you tell me what sholud she take in university in order to pass the first 4 exam.

                            based on what?
                            To actually pass the SOA exams (and not the VEE requirements), I would recommend taking the following:

                            Exam P: Calculus-based Probability (both discrete and continuous random variables)

                            Exam FM: Interest Theory or Mathematics of Finance

                            Exam M: Life contingencies (if you have it), Loss Models, Probability Models

                            Exam C: Credibility, Survival Models

                            Actually, for Exam M and C, those are more topics than classes to cover, if your college does not offer classes directly related to the actuarial exams. For the most part, I'm not sure where UCLA stands, but if there isn't an actuarial program, then calculus-based probability, statistics and interest theory/financial mathematics are about the closest things you can get to the actuarial exams syllabi. After that, your friend is on her own - self-study, or get a few friends together and study together.

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                            • #15
                              So any chance that I sit in Exam C in November without background in exam M?

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