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  • Getting Started

    Hello. I am new to everything here, so I have a few questions.

    I have been what you would call an Information Analyst for the past five years (after a sordid government job after college). Currently, I am responsible for analyzing business, engineering and system processes in the steel industry, and designing solutions to technical and business issues - as well as project management duties. Due to staffing, the end result is usually me programming some new application for the company to solve the issue.

    Years ago, when I worked for the government, one of my co-workers left to go into the actuarial field - and that was all that I heard of it. Changing careers to the system/business analyst, I found myself enjoying greatly the technical and business aspects of the job.

    Somewhere in the last couple of months, I stumbled onto a website which job searching that mentioned actuaries, and upon further examination and heavy reading, I decided that this career would be a great segue/change given my background.

    So, that leads to my questions - I have a good calculus background from college, and I just re-learned about 2 levels of calculus in the last couple of months - and I am about to embark on probability (a topic which has always fascinated me). I need to learn the subject from the ground up, but I learn things very quickly. Are there any recommendations on the order in which I should learn things - and what I need to learn? I would actually like to take the test in the fall, if I can get ready that fast.

    Also, how do these tests compare to other industry exams? I have taken many programming certification exams and found them quite easy. I get the feeling that is not the case here!

    Thanks!
    Chris...

  • #2
    Ckokotay,

    I am in the same boat as you. I've been out of school for 4 1/2 years and just relearned calculus on my own. There are great study books at:
    http://www.actexmadriver.com/

    I would recommend getting the ACTEX calculus review, just incase you missed a couple things. It starts veering you toward the probablility side as you go.

    They also have books for exam 1 that are soley probablility. After that, I would hit a study manual just for exam 1/P.

    If you think you could get close to ready and you have $175 to blow, take the exam in May just to see. I'm taking the Feb one, even though I may not be fully ready by that time, I want to see how I stack up.

    Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Exams are not easy

      Originally posted by ckokotay
      So, that leads to my questions - I have a good calculus background from college, and I just re-learned about 2 levels of calculus in the last couple of months - and I am about to embark on probability (a topic which has always fascinated me). I need to learn the subject from the ground up, but I learn things very quickly. Are there any recommendations on the order in which I should learn things - and what I need to learn? I would actually like to take the test in the fall, if I can get ready that fast. Also, how do these tests compare to other industry exams? I have taken many programming certification exams and found them quite easy. I get the feeling that is not the case here!
      Thanks!
      Chris...
      Dear Chris:

      Actuarial examinations are the most difficult professional examinations. There is no doubt about that. In addition to each individual exam being very hard, the whole long series of them ahead of you makes it quite a challenge. On the other hand, if you enjoy mathematics and its business applications, this is a perfect profession. Perfect. You get paid the kind of money that doctors and lawyers, but you do not have to be on call and work nights, do not have to work with blood, and do not have to go see your clients in jail.

      I am the author of the ASM manual for exam P, which you can review at www.studymanuals.com and purchase at www.actexmadriver.com, and I hope my manual gives you a good idea on what is needed to pass that exam. I post free practice problems at this web site for the first three exams, and these practice problems should give you a very real idea on what is expected of you. Note that the author of the Actex manual for exam P, Sam Broverman, also posts practice problems on this forum, and so does David Han, and you really have quite a lot of free information available on what is expected of you. Take advantage of that.

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

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Chris

        I bought a text "Probability: The science of uncertainty" and found it very frustrating, and felt at sea. I then did some review and found Krzys' book and bought it. I started going through it over my skiing holiday and have found it very easy to follow, with plenty of examples.

        Having gone through the first of four topics I would highly recommend it.

        To me the key is practice, practice, practice though. I work in education at the moment and say to my students that practice exams can make up to 25% difference...in the actuarial exams that I have looked at I could see that figure being a great deal higher.

        Miles
        Proper prior planning prevents poor performance!

        Comment


        • #5
          ''', thank you for all the great advice. IT just did not turn out to be for me - I love programming and engineering, math, and everything else - but you have to literally sell your soul to the devil (read: 'the man'), if you ever want to make a decent salary. And, that is disappointing because it could be a very influential profession. Anyway, when I am done with the calc review, I would like to move into the probability and grab the bull by the proverbial horns and run with it - this sounds like a great profession! I will check out those books that are mentioned, and go that route.

          Thanks, and I look forward to spending more time in these forums learning about everything I need to know.

          Thanks!
          Chris...

          Comment


          • #6
            career change

            This is my first time posting on here.

            I have been teaching high school math for 14 years. For long reasons I won't go into, this is my last year in education. An actuary who spoke to my AP classes a few years ago, suggested I consider becoming an actuary. Oddly, it's one of those things I wish I had known about while I was in college.

            I have taught AP Statistics for several years and AP Calculus 1 year and advanced algebra for 14 years.

            My problem is, I have not seen or used any calculus based probability (though some of it is elementary) or linear algebra since I was in college (15 years ago).

            Does anyone have any recommendation of review materials for the P exam? Also, where can I find out what is on the subsequent exams. I remember the actuary told us there was one that was mostly statistics.

            Any help or suggestions anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by urban
              ...
              Does anyone have any recommendation of review materials for the P exam? Also, where can I find out what is on the subsequent exams. I remember the actuary told us there was one that was mostly statistics.

              Any help or suggestions anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.
              Exams:
              http://www.soa.org/ccm/content/?categoryID=214009

              Review books:
              http://www.actexmadriver.com/

              I would suggest as well to research the forums. You will find many useful links and a lot of information. Even many exam-style problems.

              Comment


              • #8
                Urban,

                Since you are used to Calculus and Algebra, I recommend ACTEX Study Guide for Exam 1/P. I am over half way through it, and its working great. Its not too fast, but still moves you along and gives a ton of examples. It assumes prior calc knowledge and eases you into probability very nicely. Much smoother than other books, which start of nice and then LEAP into probability at light speed.

                Plus, it has a couple practice exams.

                Its good stuff. Good luck. Wish me luck in 4 weeks!

                Comment

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