Monday, July 02, 2007

Actuarial, schmactuarial...

My latest professional development endeavor swirls around actuarial exams. These are really nasty exams given by really snotty, arrogant individuals who all think these exams are MUCH easier than the ones they had to suffer through. I have seen complaints that *gasp* today's candidates actually get to use financial calculators and aren't required to use slide rules. yeah...

Three years ago, I planned to sit for preliminary exam 2, Financial Mathematics. Lovely stuff about interest rates, IRR, put, call and assorted other financial gobbledygook. Lo and behold, I turned up pregnant and could not stop barfing long enough to study anything non-porcelain related. History has repeated itself to a certain extent. I am currently doing in-depth porcelain studies, but I will study for and maybe pass this exam come November. I will I will I will!

My new nearly-favorite website is this one: Actuarial Outpost Exam 2/FM - Financial Mathematics. For real entertainment, check it out on July 13 when the latest exam results will have been posted. I can guarantee weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Meanwhile, I'm visiting it because some of the individuals who hock study guides post practice questions (and their solutions!) for free.

I'm also visiting that site so that I can start feeling really badly about my chances of passing...
Degree in math? nope
High gpa in college? nope
Obscenely high SAT? apparently 1420 doesn't cut it (680 math, 740 verbal way back in the dark ages)
Degree in finance? nope
Any kind of advanced math? Does 1st semester calculus 17 years ago count? nope
No life, no family, no kids, no major morning sickness to distract me? nope

So far, I've logged in somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 hours' study time and can successfully work 5 sample problems pulled from previous exams. This sounds impressive until you realize the problem bank is somewhere around 300 problems. So it looks like I can work 1 2/3% of the problems. I need somewhere around 300 hours in order to stand a reasonable chance of passing. This is going to be verrrrrrry interesting.

I ordered a study guide last week and received e-mail confirmation that they are shipping my order. New definition for an optimist: Spending $130 on study materials for Mrs. W. to sit for an actuarial exam.

This weekend's topic: Simple and compound interest, present value and future value
Tonight I will be looking at discount rates... Fun!


aimee / greeblemonkey said...

That all scares me to DEATH. Math/finances is NOT a strong point.

I am cheering for ya, babe.

Anonymous said...

You go girl! Yay to having kids and studying.
I just popped out one after my B.Sc (Hons) in molecular biology and now I want a change of career after working for a whole 18 months.
So I think i'll try to study to be an actuary too...