Preliminary Computer Based Exams
The preliminary exams are the common foundation for becoming an actuary. No matter which actuarial practice area a person decides to enter, future actuarial education will depend on mastery of the preliminary exams.
These four computer–based exams are sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), and the Society of Actuaries (SOA).
Computer–based testing (CBT) gives candidates more frequent opportunities to take exams within a standardized environment. In addition to the benefit of frequent administrations, candidates taking the CBT will receive an unofficial pass/fail result immediately upon completion of the exam after the specific exam has been administered by CBT for a few test windows.
Probability Exam (called Exam P by the SOA and Exam 1 by the CAS) consists of three hours of multiple–choice questions. The purpose of this exam is to develop knowledge of probability. The application of these tools to problems encountered by actuaries is emphasized. A thorough command of calculus and probability topics is assumed. Additionally, a very basic knowledge of insurance and risk management is assumed.
Financial Mathematics Exam (called Exam FM by the SOA and Exam 2 by the CAS) consists of three hours of multiple–choice questions. This exam covers interest theory (discrete and continuous) and an introduction to derivative securities. It assumes a basic knowledge of calculus and probability.
Models for Financial Economics Exam (called Exam MFE by the SOA and Exam 3F by the CAS) consists of three hours of multiple–choice questions. This exam covers interest rate models, rational valuation of derivative securities, simulation, and financial risk management techniques.
The SOA and CAS each offer their own version of the life contingencies exam. SOA Life Contingencies Exam (called Exam MLC) is a three–hour multiple choice exam. CAS Life Contingencies and Statistics Exam (called Exam 3L) is a two-and-a-half-hour, multiple–choice exam. Those who pass SOA Life Contingencies Exam will be granted credit for CAS Life Contingencies and Statistics Exam. Please note, this exam is not a CBT exam.
Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models Exam (called Exam C by the SOA and Exam 4 by the CAS) consists of three and a half hours of multiple–choice questions. The syllabus provides an introduction to modeling and covers important actuarial methods that are useful in modeling. A thorough knowledge of calculus and probability is assumed. The candidate will be introduced to useful frequency and severity models beyond those covered in Financial Economics and Life Contingencies Exams.