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Nowadays, I am studying probability. I want to be an actuary and the first exam that I have to pass is P exam. I just want to know what is the best way and if you can recommend any books please let me know.

Free ebooks would be more preferable.

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    $\begingroup$ Probably impossible to answer without knowing the scope of the exam and what level of theory you need. $\endgroup$
    – user126540
    Jul 10, 2015 at 2:07
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    $\begingroup$ Also, what level of knowledge of math you already have. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2015 at 2:07
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent point about level of knowledge. I you do not already have a very firm grasp of calculus (through multiple integration and infinite series and series expansions), you should work on that before you start probability. $\endgroup$
    – BruceET
    Jul 10, 2015 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ @BruceTrumbo : Some aspects of probability can be learned without much in the way of prerequisites. I see no reason why one shouldn't work on those before completing all the prerequisites to a more advanced probability course. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2015 at 3:04
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy: Respect your view. I have seen too many students with weak calculus hit a brick wall in the midst of trying to get the probability they need for actuarial exams. Maybe I'm over-reacting to that. $\endgroup$
    – BruceET
    Jul 10, 2015 at 3:09

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In my experience, different actuarial exams from various societies and in various countries can stress quite different topics. Most junior and senior level courses at major universities cover the necessary topics, but unless they are part of a pre-actuarial program, these courses do not always put primary emphasis on what you may find on an exam.

Because you are already 'studying probability' I think your best strategy is to look at sample questions from old exams of the society of most relevant to your personal career. As you go along, note similarities between your current study topics and topics on exams. Also, be sure you know the exam rules, particularly the policy on calculators (and types of calculators), and try practice problems under the same conditions as for the exam.

I know of no actuarial exams that take a measure-theoretic approach to probability. If your current study is pre-measure theory, fine. If you are taking a measure theoretic approach in your study, then be sure to pay attention to the non-measure theoretic approaches and topics that are likely be on your exam (as represented in sample questions).

Finally, I have to say that the book by Hogg and Craig (some down-votes just now notwithstanding) would be an excellent choice. I believe both authors have had experience with actuarial curricula. The book does not use measure theory and is one of the most comprehensive on relevant topics. (I'd be surprised if other equally good books at about the same level don't get mentioned here as well.)

Addendum: For self study, there is absolutely no reason to get the latest edition of any of the major probability books. Used copies of the current edition of Hogg/Craig are listed online for about $40, and undoubtedly lower prices are to be found for prior editions. Often the only differences between editions are trivial and superficial--or have to do with computational methods that are likely irrelevant for purposes of an actuarial exam. (I would stay away from books offered free on the Internet unless you have the guidance of someone knowledgeable. Some pretty good, some quirky as to coverage and/or full of mistakes.)

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  • $\begingroup$ than you for your answer. I am studying for society of actuary of canada. $\endgroup$
    – RajSharma
    Jul 10, 2015 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ From SOA, Exam P Biblio: Ross, S.M., Chapters 1–8; Wackerly, D., Mendenhall III, W., Scheaffer, R., Chapters 1-7; Hassett, M. and Stewart, D., Chapters 1–11; Hogg, R.V. and Tanis, E.A., Chapters 1–5; Asimow, L. and Maxwell. M.; Bean, M.A., Chapters 1–9. Notes: I think Ross is difficult for self-study, Wackerly, et al. has pretty good student solutions manual, Saw a free internet version of Hogg/Tanis (slightly more elementary than Hogg/Craig). You should read the whole SOA syllabus. $\endgroup$
    – BruceET
    Jul 10, 2015 at 7:50
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Introduction to Mathematical Statistics by Hogg & Craig.

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    $\begingroup$ As a rule, it is useful to suggest a reason for the recommendation - what qualities you liked about the book, etc. It's very hard to evaluate a recommendation from a person with zero history here. This is a \$100+ book, and the title is stats, for example, so it begs the question is there a cheaper book that is more about probability. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2015 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ Prices is an ever increasing concern. See addendum to my Answer. However, 'probability' parts of some actuarial exams include some topics that textbooks include as 'mathematical statistics.' $\endgroup$
    – BruceET
    Jul 10, 2015 at 2:39

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