What is the best way to prepare for taking your first exam?
To prepare for your first exam, first review the syllabus to get an understanding of what is covered on the exam and what you need to learn to be able to pass the exam. This information can be accessed for each of the preliminary exams. It is also important that you download and practice taking the past exam questions and solutions. As the examinations are timed, it is critical that you practice as many sample exam questions as possible and work to build your speed.
When is the best time to start taking your first exam?
It is ideal if you can begin taking the exams during your undergraduate work. After you have thoroughly read and studied the syllabus materials and spent considerable time doing practice questions, register and take your first exam. The exams are offered on a regular basis throughout the year.
Actuarial employers usually require that candidates have passed at least two exams. If you have passed an exam, you have demonstrated that you have the aptitude, interest, and commitment to be an actuary.
How do companies support employees who are taking the actuarial exams?
Most insurance companies and consulting firms that employ actuaries have established programs that pay the exam fees for their employees and provide some time during the workday to study for exams. In addition, raises are often tied to exam progress.
Do you have to take preliminary exams in a particular order? For example, is Exam P/1 the first exam you must take? Or can you take the preliminary exams in any order?
Are there any third-party organizations that offer examination study guides or review seminars? What other resources are available to help those preparing for the actuarial examinations?
The CAS website also has information on email-based examination study groups.
The exams can be taken in any order you wish. However, all of other preliminary exams rely heavily on both Exams P/1 and FM/2 although Exam C/4 relies less on Exam FM/2.