Actuarial exam info

Within the actuarial field, there is a certification process that consists of a number of professional exams that must be passed.  Go here for more general information about these exams.

Here are some tips for preparing for an actuarial exam, assembled by Matt Imoehl who passed Exams P, FM, and MFE on the first try.

The first two exams listed below can be taken in any order, because they do not have overlapping material.

  • SOA Exam P/CAS Exam 1 (Probability) covers calculus-based probability. The application of probabilistic tools to problems encountered in insurance-related situations is emphasized.
  • SOA Exam FM/CAS Exam 2 (Financial Mathematics) covers financial mathematics.  In particular, this exam covers interest theory (discrete and continuous) and financial derivatives (e.g., options, futures, etc.)  It assumes a basic knowledge of calculus (especially geometric series).
    This exam can be attempted after a student has completed a year of calculus—potentially even as early as the summer after his/her first year in college.

  • After completing Exams P/1 and FM/2, the next exams that are typically taken involve modeling.  SOA Exam MLC (Models for Life Contingencies) covers the theoretical basis of certain actuarial models, while SOA Exam MFE/CAS Exam 3F (Models for Financial Economics) covers the theoretical basis of financial models.  A thorough knowledge of calculus, probability, and interest theory is assumed. Knowledge of risk management at the level of Exam P is also assumed.
  • Another exam that can be taken after passing Exams P/1 and FM/2 is SOA Exam C/CAS Exam 4 (Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models).  This exam covers important actuarial methods that are useful in modeling, beyond those that are seen in Exams MLC and MFE/3F.  The candidate will be required to understand the steps involved in the modeling process and how to carry out these steps in solving business problems.  A thorough knowledge of calculus and probability is assumed.

If you want to know when a particular exam is scheduled to be given, go here for SOA scheduling and here for CAS scheduling.

Exam Study Materials

There are numerous places to find study materials for the exams.  Here are a few where current students are finding their materials.

Validation by Educational Experience (VEE)

In addition to taking exams, students seeking certification by the SOA or CAS must also meet three Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) requirements:  VEE Economics, VEE Corporate Finance, and VEE Applied Statistical Methods.  Each requirement is meant to be satisfied by taking one or two VEE-certified college courses.  Currently, students at Central can satisfy all three VEE requirements.

  • VEE Economics:  ECON 112 and ECON 113
  • VEE Corporate Finance:  BMGT 361 and BMGT 362
  • VEE Applied Statistical Methods (Regression):  ECON 281
  • VEE Applied Statistical Methods (Time Series):  ECON 485 (NOTE:  This course has the prequisite of ECON 313 and the pre-/co-requisite of ECON 312.)

If the prerequisites for ECON 485 make this course difficult to take, then another option for completing the VEE Applied Statistical Methods (Time Series) requirement is to take a correspondence course through New England Actuarial Seminars.

To see a list of VEE certified courses (sorted by institution), go here.