Too many exams

Hi, I am confused when is it having too many exams? I did an actuarial internship the past summer. My company gave me a return offer, which I accepted. I am thinking of completing my 4th exam(mas-1) before I start with them. Would that be having too many exams? I already have 3 exams passed right now.

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The goal is to become credentialled. Having a job in-hand, “how many is too many” is a pointless question.

Even if the “return offer” is for a second internship, “how many is too many” isn’t a good question to try to answer. Pass Exams. Getting FCAS will only allow you to focus more on the company’s business and not “how does the industry do it in general?” (i.e., studying for Exams)


This too many exams thing is rumour mill stuff and hypothesis. Maybe you get underpaid for a bit worst case scenario.

You have four exams, someone else has 2. You get hired they don’t. Maybe you get paid for three exams.

Two years later you have eight exams and you’re close to jy.oing I to 7 or 8 exam jobs. The difference disappears quickly once you’ve got a some experience.

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It’ll be too many exams if it takes 10 exams to be a fellow but you somehow ended up with 11 exams passed.


I’ve long been in the minority when this topic comes up, but having talked to a number of people over time on the “is there such a thing as too many exams for entry-level people?” question the unanimous response has been yes, there is. The difference is where they draw the line. I’ve never heard anyone say “yes, if someone had 7 exams at entry-level I’d hire them in knowing they’ve got 2 more to finish out and I can abuse them for workload after that.” Not even “I’d take them in at 7 exams but only pay them for 4, then figure out how to bring them up over time.”

Remember that there’s an expected relationship between exams and experience after you get through the prelims. [Entire discussion on the relationship between passing exams and ability to properly apply knowledge in the CAS’s current education system omitted.] If you’ve got say the first 7 exams, someone is going to expect you to know something practical about ratemaking and reserving. If your knowledge base is well, I took a test on it then an employer has to decide how much time to spend to bring you up to speed on things you allegedly know about. There’s also the possibility (in some cases, expectation) that “I passed X exams” turns into expectations of promotions and additional responsibility on some accelerated scale, instead of actually learning and earning the way up the ladder.

[Remind me to tell the story some time of someone who hit ACAS and demanded various items that were known to not be available to them, under the threat of walking out - and then got pissed that they got their bluff called.]

To the specific question in the OP? Presuming “return offer” is in reference to an internship, you’re probably getting paid a rate regardless of # of exams passed and it’ll be higher the 2nd time around. Take MAS-I. Hell, even take MAS-II after you pass MAS-I. After that, I think you’re narrowing the opportunities when it comes time to look entry-level unless where you’re doing the internship wants you full-time.

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Hi Ted, the return offer is a full-time entry level position

Oh. Then test away. How they’ll handle starting pay if you pass exams in the interim is an open question. I’d inquire just so you know what to expect.