My Path to Actuarial Exams

Written by Perla Adams: Perla Avatar

Since I was in elementary school, I knew that I wanted to become an actuary.

The first time I heard the word actuary was when I was a little girl. My Mother used to take me with her to the Teacher’s Pension Institute when she was applying for a loan or other benefits. Sometimes, during our visit, we would meet the actuary. He was a relative of my mother and a very charismatic person. I was impressed by the whispers of the secretaries, teachers and other employees when he was passing by, “There comes the actuary”, “The Dr. just arrived to the building”. He was a well-respected person; all saluted him with much reverence. All they knew was that the success of that institution rested in his calculation and wise advices. He was one of the two actuaries in my country at that time.

My mother told me that perhaps I should become an actuary when I grow up. I asked what I needed to do. She told me to study math, so I did. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Math with a minor in Economics from UNAH in 1996. During my studies, I told everybody that my intention for studying math was to become an actuary, but most people didn’t know anything about it. I knew that in order to continue my studies, I must leave the country. Life changed though because right before graduation I found a job and started working. Then I got married and had a child and became a very happy housewife. I pretty much forgot about my original career plan.

As a mom who home schools, I kept searching the internet about careers to advise my son on. One time, a window popped up with the topic “Be an Actuary” and I immediately visited the link and read all about it. I was so happy with the possibility to become an actuary while studying from home. I ordered the books to prepare for the exam , joined an internet group, and started to study. Very soon, I realized why there are not many actuaries around — it was very difficult! Not only did I realize I had forgotten most of the calculus over the years, but the complexity and quantity of content was overwhelming. I finished a chapter only to realize that I already forgot the previous one and it was very stressful. Luckily, a member of the internet group told me about Adapt. I visited the page and it was God answering my prayers. Adapt was exactly what I needed, a program that measures my advances while reviewing the important areas. I passed Exam P in the first attempt of July last year.

A few days after passing Exam P, I was so happy that I ordered the material to start studying for Exam FM. I tried a couple of times to follow the book, but the content was so confusing. I started to find any excuse to stop studying, and I didn’t want to see the book. Because I had already made the investment in this study manual, I decided to at least finish Exam FM and not continue with more exams. I was giving up. To force me to go through the materials, I subscribed to the Coaching Actuaries e-Course. I knew that my 180 days were running, so I tried to keep with the schedule. Since then, all is going smoothly and I am very confident. A few days ago (2 months ahead of my schedule), I stared derivatives. This new section of the e-Course is so dynamic, and I am able to see Coach Kester and members of the team interacting to explain to me all the facts that I need to know about the topic. It is so encouraging, and I feel that I am not alone studying by myself, but that there are real people doing their best and walking the extra mile to help me reach my goal. Now, I am not just thinking in passing the FM exam, but I want to pass it as soon as possible so I can subscribe myself in the next e-course.

I am certain that I will become an actuary, thanks to God, my supportive husband, and the Coaching Actuaries Team.