Vishal Bhatia

Application of High School Maths and Careers in the Domain of Actuarial Sciences

 This article discusses the importance of doing Maths in Classes 11 and 12 and how it can help with in a career in Actuarial Sciences – Actuaries is a growing field in India and globally. It is basically the application of Maths and Statistics we learn in Classes 11 & 12 to the domain of insurance practices, risk management and finance.

Why Maths is important in Classes 11+12?

A lot of students get disenchanted with Maths in Class 10 itself. So much so that they discontinue it in Classes 11 and 12. Instead they opt for softer subjects in Humanities or if they are doing medicine they don’t opt for it at all. Please understand that while for a doctor Maths is not necessary but for Commerce and Economics students it is necessary to have Maths. In fact, Delhi University Colleges do not accept students who did not have Maths in Class 12 Board exams.

 Tips for doing well in Maths in 12th Boards 

  1. Regular practice is a must.
  2. Do NCERT Class 11 and 12 books – especially to clear concepts. NCERT books are very concisely written and explain most concepts very well. Try to finish off the NCERT books at the earliest – typically these books have 14/15 chapters for both Classes. It should not take more than a month to finish off the Class 11 book.
  3. RD Sharma is a must – It is a very detailed book and will ensure that you are well prepared for 12th Boards.
  4. YouTube Videos – there are several videos on YouTube which explain the concepts very well.
  5. SL Loney for Trigonometry and Hall and Knight for Algebra are excellent books for these 2 topics.
  6. Focus specifically on Differential Calculus and then Definite and Indefinite Integration – RD Sharma is undoubtedly excellent for both areas.

 Areas of Classes 11 and 12 Maths which need to be studied well 

  1. Arithmetic and Geometric Progressions.
  2. Binomial Theorem and its application to expansion of Binomials.
  3. Quadratic Equations using the formula and completing the square.
  4. Permutations and Combinations.
  5. Matrix Algebra.
  6. Calculus – Differential and Integral.
  7. Probability and Probability Distributions.
  8. Measures of Central Tendency in Statistics.
  9. Standard Deviation, Variance, Covariance, Skewness and Kurtosis.
  10. Correlation and Regression in Statistics.

FAQ on a Career in Actuarial Sciences 

What is Actuarial Science? 

Actuarial Science is a professional qualification, which helps build careers with Firms engaged in Actuarial practice – Typically it is used in insurance firms globally to price pension plans, Life Insurance Plans, Health Insurance Plans, etc. By qualifying for Actuaries exams one can also find a very satisfying and stable career in Risk Management in Banks and with Consulting firms.

Who conducts the exams in India? 

There are two globally recognised and well accepted institutes which conduct written exams for Actuarial Sciences – one is the USA based Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the other is the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, UK (IFOA).

The Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI) is more of an offshoot of the IFOA, UK and conducts exams, which are very similar.

I would recommend that one write all exams from the IFOA, UK as it has global acceptance and visibility – even in nations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa.

Actuarial Common Entrance Test of Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI)? 

This is an MCQ type exam conducted by the IAI and one can take the exams after Class 12 only.

The main test areas are Class 12 Maths and more specifically Calculus, Progressions, Permutation and Combinations, Statistics of Class 12 and a little higher level. 

The ACET is a prerequisite before one can become a student member of the IAI, which entitles the student to take the main core exams. 

The UK based IFOA has no such exams. 

Website Links? 

http://www.actuariesindia.org/index.aspx 

https://www.actuaries.org.uk 

https://www.soa.org/asia/  

Exams – tabular listing of previous pattern and the new pattern 

Under the Old pattern the exams were conducted under the following series 

CT series        Core Technical Series (CT 1-8 and an online CT-9 exam)

CA series        Core Application Series (Exams CA 1, 2 & 3)

Completion of CA and CT series gave one a title of Associate – a total of 12 exams in all

ST series         Specialist Technical Series

SA Series        Specialist Application Series

Under the ST and SA series a total of 3 exams need to be passed which then leads to the title of Fellow of the Actuaries Institute

I am providing in this Table a detail on the CT series exams which is what one needs to qualify soon after Class 12 

CT Series Paper No Exam Title Comments
1 Financial Mathematics The IFOA UK offers this exam to first time exam papers – the paper assumes you have a good knowledge of the basics of Maths and Statistics needed to become an Actuary

You may skip ACET exam and revise the ACTED study material and then take CT 1 from IFOA UK

2 Finance and Financial Reporting A relatively easy and non mathematical exam and more of a filler exam – it deals with how Financial Statements are prepared – you may study parts of this exam under B Com
3 Probability and Mathematical Statistics This is the main exam under Statistics and also acts as an input exam for CT 6 and CT 4
4 Models This exam is around 40 percent of CT 5+CT6
5 General Insurance, Life and Health Contingencies A very detailed exam with a detailed syllabus – this is taken after doing CT 1 – since the concepts of financial maths are dealt with here

 

This exam deals with Life Insurance concepts

6 Statistical Methods This deals with General Insurance concepts and needs CT 3 to be done prior to attempting it
7 Business Economics More like a typical Micro Economics exam in College – actually more of a filler exam with low or no real life application
8 Financial Economics Deals more with Derivatives Financial products – has real life application too in case you wish to get into the investments side in an insurance firm

Personally I would advise to stay away from Investments

9 Business Awareness Online Module This is an Online exam and actually does not any Maths in it – once you are done with the CT 1-8 exams, attempt the ACET exam of IAI to secure student membership and attempt CT 9 from India – it’s a whole lot cheaper to write this exam from India rather than the UK IFOA body

Recently some of these CT series exams have been clubbed – such as CT 1+5 and then CT 4+6. Please refer to IFOA, UK and IAI’s websites to check the latest updates.

Coaching Centres in India

Lately due to the increased awareness of the field of Actuarial Sciences, a lot of coaching centres have mushroomed in Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata. Most offer coaching classes on all 7 days of the week (the weekend classes are jam-packed). Some coaching classes have taken their classes online in the form of Online Videos.

Typically the fees per exams are in the range of Rs. 10 000 to 15 000.

Most coaching centres offer 40 hours of teaching per subject. In addition, a student needs to indulge in self study of around 150 hours per subject. This is very easily manageable with consistent 2 hours of studying every day. 

Exam Fees

Please refer to the respective websites for the latest fees. While the fees for the Indian Institute are cheaper, the pass percentages for Actuarial exams conducted by IAI are often in single digits. Hence, it is highly recommended that one attempt all the exams from the IFOA, UK. 

Should I learn Advanced Excel, R & Python ?

Yes – these additional skill sets will assist you a lot when you look for a job.

R is an open ware Statistical programming language which is extremely easy to pick up. Its coding is relatively very easy.

Job Prospects

Typical starting salaries after having done 3 exams are in the ball park of Rs. 3 to 4 lakhs per annum.

Salaries go up by an average of Rs. 10000/month / exam passed. Also note that salaries are higher in Singapore and Hong Kong.

 A fully qualified Fellow of Actuaries can expect to earn upwards of Rs. 1.5 crores in Singapore.  

Job Stability

As per an assessment of Jobs by industry and functions. Actuaries is a very stable job. No one in the last 35 years has been thrown out of the job. Also, the working hours are a very sane 9-5 and with a 5 day work week.

CFA v/s Actuarial Science

CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst and is an American qualification. which is possible to do only after graduation. I will write about the CFA qualification in another article.

The CFA as also Actuaries have a lot of common areas.

Final Word

Do have Maths as your subject in Class 11 and 12. It will help you in Actuarial Sciences as also while pursuing a BCom or a BA Economics apart from of course BTech degrees.

 

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