Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hitting the books

I got some academic advising from UWGB yesterday. After being passed from person to person on the phone, I ended up speaking with Greg Davis, whom I recognized from my years at UWGB oh so long ago. He was one of my favorite professors there, in fact. Good lecturer, obviously enjoyed what he was doing, approachable. Apparently he's in charge of helping people like me figure out what classes they're supposed to be taking.

So we talked about me taking courses to prepare for the actuarial exams. The Society of Actuaries modified the exams a few years back. When I took the exams in, like 1997, I remember taking a calculus based exam that was straight out of my calc III course and a statistics based exam that seemed to cover both material from my math probability course and a lot of material I'd never seen. Stuff I'd expect to have learned in the math stats class I never took. I remember looking at the calc exam thinking, "Man, if I had eight hours and my text book, I'd ace this." But I didn't. I had 2 hours and a crappy calculator. So I scored a 3 (10 being a perfect score, around 7 considered passing). Well I guess the calc test is gone. The probability test just covers probability. What most people now think of as "exam 2" covers financial models. Dr. Davis assures me that taking math probability should be sufficient to prepare for "exam 1".

The theory of probability course, however, is still pretty calculus heavy. I mean, it's a 300-level course with calc III as a pre-req. And my math is still pretty rusty. So I'm going to be hitting the math books to prepare for classes in the fall. Get back into the swing of things, you know? Do a couple hours of math per day to review material I'll have to be able to use in the probability course. This morning, I did most of the review chapter at the beginning of my calculus textbook. Just linear and quadratic equations on a Cartesian plane, i.e. graphing lines, circles, parabolas, etc. It was fun. This afternoon I'll spend an hour with my linear algebra text. Once I get a feel for how quickly it's coming back, I'll adjust the schedule to make sure I'm ready for the fall.

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