What about Exams?
The following information is provided by the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana has one of the largest accredited actuarial programs in the country. To view information on their actuarial program, please click here.
What about exams?
Progression as an actuary is measured by the passage of actuarial exams. The exams are offered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. The initial exams are all multiple choice. The exams are pass or fail, with no grades or scores given to anyone other than the individual who took the exam. The exams are significantly more difficult than classroom exams, and a minimum of four weeks of studying should go into preparing for an actuarial exam. The Actuarial Science Club recommends the usage of Actex Study Manuals, which are available for all exams which you would take as an undergrad and can be purchased at T.I.S., I.U.B., or directly at 1-800-AT-ACTEX. Typically, T.I.S. is the cheapest route.
The importance of passing exams cannot be overstated. It is very difficult to obtain a summer internship position without an exam, and it is difficult to obtain a full-time position without two exams. The first exams that you should take include:
Course 1 Exam: Exam material includes calculus (the entire sequence) and probability (ideally, Math 308). In addition, the calculus and probability questions on Exam # 1 are asked within an insurance and risk management context. There is a short study note on the Exam # 1 syllabus which introduces exam-takers to the basic concepts and terminology of insurance and risk management. Fin 260 might also be helpful here. Keep in mind that we offer review sessions for Exam # 1 which meet on Tuesday evenings each semester.
Course 2 Exam: Exam material includes interest theory (Math 210), finance (at the level of Fin 321), and economics (both micro and macro). It is difficult to say which specific courses are most relevant for the economics material -- perhaps Econ 300 and 301, but any exposure to micro and macro would be helpful, prior to self-study. Again, we offer review sessions for Exam # 2 that meet on Monday evenings each semester.
Course 3 Exam: Material on Exam # 3 is covered in Math 371, Math 376, perhaps half of Math 378, and some of Math 372 (Actuarial Theory II).
Course 4 Exam: Material related to Exam # 4 is covered in some of Math 372, some of Math 378, Math 369 (Methods of Applied Statistics), and Math 377 (Survival Analysis).