Lily Fang from Shanghai recently won a prize for the highest score in a worldwide Society of Actuaries examination. The exam is one of the first steps in obtaining a professional qualification in actuarial science and is offered three times each year to students around the world. Lily is a management and systems science student at Simon Fraser University of Canada. Professor Gary Parker, the university's actuarial science co-ordinator, says the three-hour exam attracts some of the best mathematics students worldwide. Out of the 2,000 undergraduates who sit for the exam, only 700 to 900 earn a passing grade. 'I first heard about actuarial science when I was at Lester B. Pearson College near Victoria. It appealed to me, but I wasn't too serious about it until I joined the programme at Simon Fraser,' Lily said. She said she had heard how difficult the professional exams were from her friends, but decided to take them 'as an experiment'. 'I wanted to see how I liked it,' she said. Lily, who is currently in a placement at The Coles Group, a Vancouver actuarial firm, needs seven courses to complete her undergraduate degree. 'I may go to graduate school or work with an actuarial firm. I haven't made a decision yet,' she said.