Difference between being Partly Qualified Actuary and Qualified Actuary. Must Read.

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It is a great misconception among students that you should start studying actuarial science and you get paid very well after clearing a few paper even if you don’t complete the course. Yes, this is a great “misconception”.

People start with actuarial science and I would say only 30%-40% (or may be even less) are determined to clear 15 papers and rest feel 
“Let’s start writing exam. I have heard it’s impossible to clear 15 exams but I will get paid very well even if I clear 9-10 papers or even just CT series and stop then”. This is not true in reality. 
Let me tell you the difference between what you think and what actually happens by explaining different cases of types of students.
This is how a “non-serious fresher”, rushing the profession these days, plan

  • I hear about actuaries from my peers/seniors/family
  • I google about it and only articles that I find says it is highest paid job and you need to be good at maths.
  • I scored well in maths in 10th and 12th, let’s start doing actuaries. I have no intention to complete all 15 papers and I will get a good job soon on clearing around 4-5 papers.
  • I start preparing for CT1 non-member/ACET
  •  Pass CT1/ACET. I will clear CT2, CT7 and CT9 and pass it in first attempt as they are very easy. I will get a good job with this many papers.
  • I will pass 4-5 more exams in 3-4 years and with full CT series my salary will escalate to Rs 20-30 lakhs per annum. 
  • With experience I will get a new job in another company with even higher pay and my life is set. I will get lot of importance and huge salary in organisation as partly qualified actuary as its practically impossible to clear all 15 exam! My god, they are so tough!
What actually happens? #ReadCarefully
CASE 1 (Extremely non-serious)
·         I hear about actuaries from my peers/seniors/family
·         I google about it and only articles that I find says it is highest paid job and you need to be good at maths.
·         I scored well in maths in 10th and 12th, let’s start doing actuaries. I have no intention to complete all 15 papers and I will get a good job soon on clearing around 4-5 papers.
·         I start preparing for CT1 non-member/ACET
·         Pass CT1 in 2nd or 3rdattempt. Plan to give CT2, CT7, CT9 immediately.
·         Now I find out that these papers are not at all considered for jobs. #Tension
·         Start preparing for CT3 but then I see that few years back there was 0% result in CT3 in IAI exam. OMG, This is so tough, I am stuck! #FurtherTension
·         I Appear for CT3 multiple times, with no confidence, fail repeatedly
·         Drop Actuaries
·         Let’s Do CA/CFA/CS! #HappyEndingAtTheStartItself
CASE 2 (Intelligent but not determined enough to crack all 15 exams)
·         I hear about actuaries from my peers/seniors/family
·         I google about it and only articles that I find says it is highest paid job and you need to be good at maths.
·         I scored well in maths in 10th and 12th, let’s start doing actuaries. I have no intention to complete all 15 papers and I will get a good job soon on clearing around 4-5 papers.
·         I start preparing for CT1 non-member/ACET
·         I Pass. I take further advice and start preparation for other important subjects.
·         Appear for CT3, CT5, CT6 in net few attempts.
·         Start looking for a job. Get one. Wow! My salary is 35K p.m. and I am just 22 years now! Life is awesome! My hard work paid off! #HappiestSoFar
·         Start preparing for CT4. Gets demotivated, gives CT9 instead. Again start CT4 but then drop the plan to clear CT2 and CT7 first. By now salary is 50K p.m.
·         Start CT4 again, still not able to grasp. Have a look at CT8, find it even more terrible. #TooBadToStart
·         Now I feel a stage in my life has come where I am settled. I will get promotions based on my experience. I try but I am not able to cope up with exams due to time, determination, patience and confidence and seriousness constrains. #FeelingSafeAsOfNow

   This is the case with majority candidates. What happens with these candidates after this?
          Company/Boss is pressurizing to pass more exams and at the same time giving more work.
          No great salary hikes now as before.
          No promotions as some junior cleared full CT and he is now pushed ahead of me. (You should know that in corporate life, Degrees and recognitions are most important factors.)
          Demotivation seeps in.
          Feels Stuck. No Satisfaction. Lot of pressure.  #HopeIwasDeterminedFromStart #LetMeSitForExamAgainAndTry
CASE 3 (Intelligent and Determined to Do it)
·         I hear about actuaries from my peers/seniors/family
·         I google about it and only articles that I find says it is highest paid job and you need to be good at maths.
·         I scored well in maths in 10th and 12th. But let me research further. I find out its really difficult but my love for maths is infinite. I AM CONFIDENT THAT I WILL DO IT!
·         I Appears for ACET/CT1
·         Pass CT1. Takes Further guidance. Pass CT3, CT5, CT6. #Quick
·         Get a job within 4-5 months of good search.
·         Hardly anytime now with me along with my job but I am still very determined to DO IT anyhow given all the constraints.
·         I give up my weekends, evenings. #WorkingHard
·         I Clear CT Series in next 2 years.
·         Start CA1. Clears it. #Wow
·         Gets promotions and naturally I am placed on higher ranks then my colleagues who has 5 years more experience but hardly any papers. #BoostToDetermination
·         Picks up few ST papers. Clears it. #On7thSky
·         Clears SA series too. #Wow #ICanDoIt
·         By now I am 13-14 exams done and my age is around 30. Ohh God! The Journey was really long and now it’s just a matter of 1-2 more papers. My monthly salary is multiple lakhs by now but I am still craving for “Actuary” tag as still I am not getting that importance and happiness and of course salary that an Actuary begs. The one I had imagined before writing the first exam!
·         I push it hard. Clears all 15 exam in next few years.

·         Ah, I am an Actuary and suddenly everyone is looking at me with a very humble attitude, respect, grace etc. No one debates me, no one counters me as they feel no one can be more intelligent than me. And yes, it’s a common topic during lunch time of my juniors to discuss my salary and I love to keep it a secret. Haha. I am loving it!

What happens with you further?
Some Actuaries love India a lot and love to be here whatsoever and some get an offer letter from US or similar destination and fly immediately. I need not explain further how your life will be then. All this at the age of 30-32 or sometime even less if you start by the age of 20-21. Encouraging and rewarding enough but YOU NEED TO BE DETERMINED TO COMPLETE THE COURSE AND NOT LEAVE IT MIDWAY!

I hope you understood well how life turns around and plays with those students who enter the profession thinking its not important to clear all 15 papers and life will still be set. Yes, you might be earning well without completing all 15 but then comes a loop and career is stuck. There is a huge and amazing turn around in your life when you move on from 14th paper to 15th paper. It’s the 15th exam that matters the most.
In very simple words,
Candidate with 15 papers = ACTUARY
Candidate with less then 15 papers = NOT AN ACTUARY
It’s very easy to enter this profession but very challenging to get through. There is no escape in between! If you enter, make sure you survive till the end!
Thank You for reading.
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