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Math Community Guide: Actuarial Resources

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What is an Actuary?

Fast Fact about Actuaries

* It may take 6-10 years to finish all of the exams
* An experienced actuary may earn from $150,000 to $250,000 per year


Actuary is one who calculates insurance risks and premiums. Actuaries compute the probability of the occurrence of various contingencies of human life, such as birth, marriage, sickness, unemployment, accidents, retirement, and death. They also evaluate the hazards of property damage or loss and the legal liability for the safety and well-being of others.

Most actuaries are employed by insurance companies. They make statistical studies to establish basic mortality and morbidity tables, develop corresponding premium rates, establish underwriting practices and procedures, determine the amounts of money required to assure payment of benefits, analyze company earnings, and counsel with the company accounting staff in organizing records and statements. In many insurance companies the actuary is a senior officer.

Some actuaries serve as consultants, and some are employed by large industrial corporations and governments to advise on insurance and pension matters.


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How to Prepare for Actuarial Exams

Credit: Courtesy of Liberty Mutual

  • Plan your time
    • Make as schedule of when you'll put in your hours AND what material you aim to cover
    • Be realistic: keep your other obligations in mind
  • Group vs. Individual study
    • Depends on personal preference
    • Group Pros: help gauge where you are; explaining to others helps your understanding; support for when you're struggling; commits you to certain hours
    • Group Cons: easy to socialize instead of study; harder to account for everyone's schedule; need to have a group as motivated as you are
  • Problems/Examples
    • Do as many as possible! Reading material only gets you so far, you want exposure to as many potential 'trick problems' as you can
  • Little Things
    • Use the same calculator when studying that you plan to use in the exam
    • Look for problems from different sources - past exam problems won't cover everything they might test this time
    • Do the problems start to finish - don't think "I know how to do that one" and skip it. Lots of exam problems look obvious until you actually start working them
    • Early on do problems to learn material, later do problems to gain speed
    • As exam time approaches, try to imitate a real exam environment and take practice tests

Actuarial Resources

Exams, Scholarships, and Job Opportunities

ACTEX/Mad River Books
Provides an extensive line of textbooks, study manuals, online courses and other study aids for all SOA, CAS and EA Exams.

Actuary Jobs with Liberty Mutual Group

Actuarial exams
A social networking site specifically made for actuaries.

CAS Links database
The Links database contains hyperlinks to Web sites of interest to actuaries. Click here for Scholarship information.

DW Simpson Global Actuarial Recruitment
Serves the Actuarial profession Worldwide in all disciplines, recruiting at all levels from Entry-Level through Fellowship, and works with clients on both retained and contingent searches.

Ezra Penland Actuarial Scholarship
Awards $500 scholarship to a full-time undergraduate student yearly around October and November.

The Infinite Actuary
Helps students prepare for actuarial exams as efficiently as possible. On-demand online seminars allow students to use at their convenience.

Liberty Mutual Insurance - Student Opportunities
Offers scholarship, awards, spring break grants, undergraduate development program, internship, and more.

Northeast Health Actuarial Jobs
Insurance, Consulting and Other Employers - Organized by region and representing Health positions open in Northeast region.

The Society of Actuaries (SOA)
An educational, research and professional organization dedicated to teaching students to become leading professionals in the measurement and management of risk.

Scholarships of the Actuarial Foundation
The Actuarial Foundation supports the future of the actuarial profession and fosters the best and brightest students through four major scholarships.

Actuarial Science Minor at BSU

This minor, drawing from both high-level mathematics courses and finance courses, is ideally suited for mathematics majors or accounting and finance majors who are interested in preparing for the actuarial science exam and in pursuing a career as an actuary or in a related area.

Required Courses

MATH 161/161E Calculus I (4 cred.)
MATH 162 Calculus II (4 cred.)
MATH 261 Calculus III (4 cred.)
ACFI 200 Fin Acctg (3 cred.)
ACFI 385 Magrl Finance (3 cred.)
ACFI 485 Capital Budgeting (3 cred.)

For further information, interested students should contact the Department of Mathematics or the Department of Accounting and Finance.


Actuarial Science Committee

Dr. Mahmoud El-Hashash

Dr. Annela Kelly

Prof. Soheyb Kouider

Dr. Kevin Rion