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  #51  
Old 12-18-2009, 10:10 AM
gaddy gaddy is offline
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Chowdah - you are not asking this in a thread, so I don't know how much you'll value other opinions, but having taken a couple CPCUs thus far, I will repeat what my few actuary colleagues have said. You can study your butt off and feel very confident with the material on an actuarial exam, and your success at the exam is still questionable. However, you can give mediocre effort, FAR less by comparison to an actuarial exam, and feel quite shaky about your mastery of the material, and you're more than likely going to pass a CPCU. CPCU exams are structured such that if you give an effort, you'll pass. And by effort, they do not mean 300 hours. For the two I've taken, I've studied for 4 and 6 weeks, probably a max of 60 and 80 hours, respectively. I left both feeling as though I probably passed, and sure enough did.

All that said, I am not as eager as some to attain the designation in tandem with my FCAS. The FCAS is far more important to me, so I will be concentrating on it for the duration. Afterwards, I will more than likely tinker with a CPCU every 6 months, more-so to get a trip out of it than anything else. Bottom line, as you have already passed several actuary exams, you have nothing to worry about. With a quarter to half the effort, you could not fail a CPCU.
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  #52  
Old 12-18-2009, 10:58 AM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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If you're employed, be sure to discuss it with your supervisor . . . it doesn't look good if you're struggling with your Exams but passing CPCU exams.

If you're still looking for employment and have completed the prelims (which I'm assuming is the case in this thread), I would have to say that working on CPCU exams might be a better use of time/money than necessarily working on the upper levels. It can also open additional doors to employment (get your foot in through underwriting and/or claims).
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  #53  
Old 12-18-2009, 11:09 PM
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G. Stolyarov II G. Stolyarov II is offline
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Post Section 34 of Free Study Guide for Exam 5

Greetings.

A new section of The Actuary’s Free Study Guide for Exam 5 is now available:

Section 34 – Application of the Parallelogram Method Adjusting Historical Premium to Current Rate Levels: http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...age=true&cat=3

You can find the index of all sections of the study guide to date at the following page: http://progressofliberty.today.com/5-study-guide/

Questions are always welcome. Also, if you find errors in any of the problems, feel free to offer a correction.

Sincerely,
G. Stolyarov II
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  #54  
Old 12-18-2009, 11:26 PM
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G. Stolyarov II G. Stolyarov II is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smilehoe View Post
OMG. I have been doubling exams since P, and although the effort is not too extensive, I believe it's more than the average study time poured in. Seeing the pace of you and several others' progress in this outpost was just humbling.

Sorry for the digression, but I just had to express this awe. Good luck in your endeavor, I'm gonna support your site.
Thank you for your kind comments! My best wishes to you in your exam progress.

Sincerely,
G. Stolyarov II
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  #55  
Old 12-18-2009, 11:51 PM
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G. Stolyarov II G. Stolyarov II is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clam Chowdah View Post
GSII,

I don't want to hijack your Exam 5 thread for too long and swerve into a discussion on the underwriting examinations, but there are some questions to which I was hoping you could provide answers.
Could you share with us the number of study hours CPCU 510 occupied, the study guides/textbooks/online seminars/CD-ROMs you used and your plans for future CPCU exam sittings?

Edit (a few more questions): Do you have a projection for your travel time to membership with the AICPCU in the face of upper-level CAS exams? Would you suggest sitting for the CPCU exams in tandem with the CAS exams for the "average" actuarial student who passed all of the prelims? Which of the two tracks do you intend on taking and is the decision affected by the kind of P&C work you perform?

In regards to the pure effort invested(and by that I mean "difficulty without consideration of the quantity of study hours") where would you place 510 among the prelims? This is a thorny and ill-defined question, I know. In weightlifting, you could think of a man who lifted 25 Lbs. as working half as "hard" as one who did the same workout as someone who used a 50 Lb. weight. Certainly there are other metrics such as VO2 MAX, quantity of heat released per kilogram of body weight, etc. Physical exertions are easily quantified but there is no extension to the realm of studying. I guess I'm just asking you to make your best value judgment here.
Clam Chowdah,

It took me about five weeks to prepare for the CPCU exam. I used the AICPCU’s official Course Guide from its package of required study materials, which I ordered off of its website. This package also gave me free access to the SMART practice exams, which one can generate from a bank of review questions and which I took toward the end of my preparation. I found the SMART exams to closely resemble the actual exam.

I studied for the CPCU exam from November 7 to December 14 for an average of about 2 hours per day – somewhere in the neighborhood of 76 hours (not that I consider hours studied to be a reliable or interpersonally comparable measure of extent of preparation). There are 15 units in the CPCU 510 syllabus. For each unit, I read the relevant materials one day and then did all of the practice questions in the course guide the next. Thereafter, I spent several days making sections for my study guide, covering material that overlaps with Exam 5. My last week was spent on the SMART practice exams.

I agree with gaddy about the significantly smaller study time required for the CPCU exams. The syllabus for each exam is tighter, and even though the breadth of material may be comparable, the students’ expectations can be much better established in advance, since the structure of the course guide, practice exams, and actual exams is quite straightforward and reasonable in terms of what can be anticipated. I think each CPCU exam can be compared with a college course in a structure where one gets to take one course at a time. (Some colleges and universities have tried this.) This is quite unlike some actuarial exams, where there is little consistency from one exam to the next.

I would say that CPCU exams can be pursued alongside actuarial exams in the same manner as college courses. While in college, I passed my first four exams (P, FM, MFE, and 3L) while having a full course load each semester in three majors. My current approach feels somewhat more relaxed, as there are some economies of scope gained by combining CPCU and actuarial exam preparation. Moreover, CPCU exams are extremely relevant to my job duties, which require familiarity with insurance policy provisions and the legal environment of insurance, along with aspects of ratemaking that are the focus of the actuarial exams.

Sincerely,
G. Stolyarov II
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  #56  
Old 12-19-2009, 09:34 PM
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G. Stolyarov II G. Stolyarov II is offline
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Post Section 35 of Free Study Guide for Exam 5

Greetings.

A new section of The Actuary’s Free Study Guide for Exam 5 is now available:

Section 35 – Policy-Year Calculations Using the Parallelogram Method http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...age=true&cat=3

You can find the index of all sections of the study guide to date at the following page: http://progressofliberty.today.com/5-study-guide/

Questions are always welcome. Also, if you find errors in any of the problems, feel free to offer a correction.

Sincerely,
G. Stolyarov II
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  #57  
Old 12-20-2009, 12:45 AM
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why are you becoming an actuary? you are too good for this profession.
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  #58  
Old 12-20-2009, 02:05 AM
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G. Stolyarov II G. Stolyarov II is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gosuruss View Post
why are you becoming an actuary? you are too good for this profession.
First, one must eat.

Besides, I enjoy my present work environment and hope to remain there for the foreseeable future. When choosing an occupation, I think it is important to consider the particular job more so than a Platonic ideal concept of what “an actuary” ought to be like. I am, above all, an individual who happens to be doing actuarial work – and insurance research work – and insurance policy analysis work – and study guide preparation work on the side. I could be doing other work if circumstances (any my supervisors) require, but I do know well that degrees and certifications open many doors, so I will pursue a particular exam path – especially an inexpensive and interesting one – as far as I can go along it.

Actuarial work pays well, it is clean, it does not require lifting large masses, dealing with disrupted organic matter, suing people, playing the stock market, or incurring large debts on initial capital for a business. On the other hand, it requires technical skills that not everyone can master and at which I may have a comparative or even absolute advantage over many. Most favorably of all, however, it does not necessitate additional years spent in post-undergraduate formal institutions which cost absurd amounts of money. With undergraduate degrees in economics, mathematics, and German, I could either live near the poverty line until my mid-twenties by going to graduate school – and there relying on the vicissitudes of academic hierarchies and hoping that my doctoral advisor would not delay processing my dissertation by months or even years – or I could make an income higher than 85%-90% of Americans will ever make, right out of college. Not a hard choice, I would contend.

Even now, I can live with no debt, a savings rate of circa 50% of my income, and the ability to support my wife’s efforts to establish herself as a freelance artist – all this in the midst of a job market that is dismal by historical standards. If I continue to establish myself in this career, I might eventually have the kind of money needed to seriously shape cultural and intellectual trends, considering that even ten thousand dollars spent wisely and in a targeted fashion can have some significant impact in such areas. My disposition – any my most preferred activity – is that of a gentleman-philosopher with a desire to actually implement his ideas. Alas, I was not born into wealth, and so I must earn it so that I can lead the life I desire. I wish to do this without risking my existing assets – hence my choice of a high-salaried occupation rather than a speculative one.

And if the actuarial profession ever dramatically declines in its prospects, or becomes obsolete, I will do something else. Although I prefer some kinds of work over others, I do not see any manner of legal and ethical employment as being beneath me. Ultimately, I believe that the purpose of working is to earn the resources needed to live the kind of life one wants to live outside of work. As such, I am not a careerist and am not set on finding “my passion” through paid employment. Paid employment is a means, not an end. Enjoying it is a nice bonus, of course, but life – family, property, health, intellectual activity – always comes first.

Sincerely,
G. Stolyarov II
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  #59  
Old 12-20-2009, 01:10 PM
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Freudian Slip Freudian Slip is offline
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Chowda:

I took INS 22, INS 23, CPCU 510 and CPCU 520 in just over a one month period while studying for exam 5 in Spring of 2007. I studied 110 hours and passed them all. I now have credit for five CPCU exams and the first seven CAS exams, and would compare getting your CPCU designation by taking all 8 exams in one day as equivalent to passing one upper level CAS exam.
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  #60  
Old 12-20-2009, 06:45 PM
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G. Stolyarov II G. Stolyarov II is offline
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Post Section 36 of Free Study Guide for Exam 5

Greetings.

A new section of The Actuary’s Free Study Guide for Exam 5 is now available:

Section 36 – Calculations Using the Parallelogram Method When Some Rate Changes Are Applied to Already Written Insurance Policies: http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...age=true&cat=3

You can find the index of all sections of the study guide to date at the following page: http://progressofliberty.today.com/5-study-guide/

Questions are always welcome. Also, if you find errors in any of the problems, feel free to offer a correction.

Sincerely,
G. Stolyarov II
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