1. How many exams should I take before I graduate?
Employers usually like to see candidates who have passed at least 2 exams upon graduation. Most commonly, students will have passed the Society of Actuaries' Exam P and Exam FM.
2. How do students prepare to take and pass actuarial examinations?
There are a variety of study manuals and online resources that help students pass actuarial exams. In addition, OSU offers the following courses that are related to the listed Society of Actuaries exams:
- Math 4530 or Stat 4201 and Stat 4202 to prepare students for Exam P
- Math 3618 for Exam FM
- Math 5630 and Math 5631 for Exam LTAM
- Math 5632 for Exam IFM
- Math 5633 and Math 5634 for Exam STAM
3. When should I start taking exams? Which exam should I take first?
It is recommended that you start taking the exams as soon as possible. Students often sign up for the exams after taking the corresponding courses. Either Exam P or Exam FM can be taken first. The other exams build off the material covered on these two exams (although technically the exams can be taken in any order).
4. What is a VEE? What courses meet VEE requirements?
Validation by Education Experience (VEE) topics are subjects that one must prove competency in, either by taking a college course or by other means, in order to become a credentialed actuary. The following website outlines the courses offered at OSU that fulfill the VEE requirements: https://math.osu.edu/undergrad/current-majors/requirements/actuarial#VEE
5. What is the difference between the SOA and CAS tracks? When do I have to choose a track?
The Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) both offer credentials to actuaries in the U.S. The SOA offers credentials for life, health, retirement, enterprise risk management, investment, and general insurance actuaries. The CAS offers credentials for general insurance/property & casualty actuaries.
Exams P, FM, and IFM count for both societies. Usually, people choose a track based on the type of company they are employed with upon graduation.
6. I have extra room in my schedule, what classes should I take?
It is advised students complete the VEE requirements while still in college. Both a Statistics and an Economics minor include these VEE courses. Additionally, programming courses complement the actuarial science major very well. Besides those, take whatever courses interest you the most! People with interests other than actuarial science are very attractive to employers.
7. What are upcoming exam changes that I should be aware of?
Starting the summer of 2017, financial derivatives will be removed from Exam FM, while interest rate swaps and determinants of interest rates will be added. On Exam IFM stochastic calculus will be removed, and financial derivatives will have a heavier focus. For more information, please visit the following link: https://www.soa.org/Education/Exam-Req/2016-exam-fm-mfe-summer-change.aspx
Starting July 1st 2018, ASA requirements are changing, as well. For more information regarding changes, please visit the following link: https://www.soa.org/Education/General-Info/2016-transition-rules-asa-candidated.aspx
8. Where else can I find information about the actuarial profession?
Beanactuary.org – Site created by SOA and CAS to provide information on the actuarial profession
SOA.org – The official Society of Actuaries website
Casact.org – The official Casualty Actuarial Society website
9. What are some useful study tips often utilized by students taking actuarial exams?
Start early! Actuarial exams tend to cover a wide range of topics in fair depth. Thus, starting early and studying regularly are essential to your success.
On average, 100 hours of study time are recommended per hour of exam; i.e., Exam P is 3 hours long, so a student should spend 300 hours preparing for this exam.
Practice! Practice! Practice! Doing practice problems not only tests your understanding of the material but also gives you an indication of how the exam questions might be structured.
10. Do you have any questions for us?
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