Pass Rate For Actuarial Exams

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A New Pathway To Qualification Data Analytics

Actuarial Exam Pass Rates [And the reason WHY I think they’re so low]

The introduction of the Data Analytics Applications subject provides a new pathway to Fellowship. This enables students to choose between a final subject on Australian domain knowledge or a skills-based subject. Most students who took DA had already studied two principle-based subjects in either life insurance or general insurance.

A comment from a student summed up the different pathway The subject was extremely practical and gave a lot of opportunities to learn about industries and products outside insurance.

Data Analytics Practice Committee members who acted as markers were so impressed with the quality of assignment submissions that they are organising an Insights session to demonstrate how quickly actuaries can equip themselves in Data Analytics.

Is Exam P Or Fm Harder

This is going to be different for everyone! It depends a lot on your overall understanding of the materials on each exam. You should read this post to determine which one you should write first.

If you take enough time to fully prepare, youll probably feel that both are of comparable difficulty.

Calculus and algebra are very important to understand for Exam P which can be difficult to grasp for some people, and those topics are a bit more advanced.

So generally, if youre unsure which to start with, FM would probably be the safer bet! Most people find the FM topics easier to relate to their everyday life and can therefore conceptualize the topics easier.

Manuals Different Actuarial Students Use Many Different Methods In Their Attempts To Learn The Material And Pass The Exams

There are many different companies that create manuals and tons of different books, flashcards, study guides, etc. So where does one start?

As has been stated before, its really up to you to find what works best for yourself. That said, the majority opinion does seem to support a few specific choices. ASM is often the preferred company from which to purchase a study manual, followed by Actuarial Brew, BPP, and then Actex.

A study manual can be a huge help, but is not 100% necessary. The authors of this college guide highly recommend that you start with a study manual, as each manual will give you a comprehensive walkthrough of the material that will be on the exam and nothing more. If you spend your time solely studying books, some material will be covered either more or less thoroughly than you need, and you also might end up studying material that you dont need at all.

For many people, supplementing the manual with textbooks or other manuals can be very helpful. Though the manual that you purchase will cover almost all of the required material , it is useful to see the material presented in another way. Different writers and mathematicians learn and teach differently. Your goal should be to find which authors present the material in a way that you can best learn from.

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Why Do People Fail Actuarial Exams

People fail exams not because theyre not smart enough, not because they dont know what to study. But simply because theyre not taking they right approach to studying. Theyre not taking the time to create a study strategy that purposely eliminates or mitigates all the common reasons for exam failure.

About Our Governance Structure

Cas Exam Pass List

Council sets and monitors qualification standards through its Education Strategy Committee . Standards are maintained by multiple metrics, from the requirements to maintain mutual recognition and training with that of IFoA and SOA, through to benchmarking our subjects against related degrees from the Australian Qualification Framework .

There are also strict peer review frameworks in place for all Chief Examiners and over 100 volunteers involved in the marking, scrutineering and independent assessment of the subjects.

The table below shows the main parties involved in setting the assessments and those who oversee the process.

Our Independent Examiners have full access to the development of all assessment material, the scrutineering process, and the marking process. Each Independent Examiner verifies that the standard of assessments is in line with those set by Council through the Education Strategy Committee. ESC reviewers take a holistic view across all subjects but also perform in-depth reviews of nominated subjects. The Education Faculties are responsible for content and syllabus.

More information on the two programs can be found here:

Thank you to all our volunteers Sincere thanks are extended to the 100 volunteers who work with us to educate our next generation of actuaries.

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Welcome To The Real Life

Once you pass actuarial examinations, you will find that the rewards of actuarial work are truly great and satisfying. There are other professions that offer great careers: medicine, law, engineering, accounting. People who study those other professions work very hard and pay a lot of money for their education. It takes far less money to become an actuary. But the process is equally, or maybe even more serious. If you want to become an actuary, you should never try to do the minimum amount of work needed just to pass. If your objective were to become a doctor, would you study medicine this way? If a doctor studied just barely enough to get a medical license, would you want that doctor to take care of your child? Becoming an actuary is not just about getting a job. This is a prominent, prestigious profession. Be very, very serious about it. The day you take an actuarial examination should be as real in your mind as if you were a quarterback playing in the Super Bowl, an athlete competing for a gold medal in the Olympics, a tennis player in the Wimbledon final, or the Yellow Jersey cyclist on the biggest mountain stage of Tour de France.

Many actuarial students ask for tricks and shortcuts to passing actuarial examinations. I firmly believe there is only one trick/shortcut:

How To Prepare For Actuarial Exams

Actuaries are compensated very well. And just like any other well-paid profession, it takes a lot of work to get there. But unlike doctors or lawyers, actuaries need to, in order to become fully credentialed, pass a series of difficult tests called Actuarial Exams. These are very hard. Very very hard. The preliminary exams are 3 hours long, consisting of 30-35 multiple choice problems, and the pass rate is typically only 30-40%.

As a result of the overwhelming amount of material, one frequently asked question among student actuaries is for a good study method. The obvious answer to this question is that everybody studies differently. That being said, there are a few common factors in most successful study techniques and many resources that can be very helpful.

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How To Pass Exam P

The most important thing you need in order to pass Exam P is a good study strategy. You can learn all about that here in my post, The # 1 thing you need to pass Exam P. Enjoy!

You can also join our Exam P Warrior Groups in the Actuary Accelerator Community where youll learn everything you need to do, step-by-step, to give yourself the best chance of passing.

When To Start Writing Exams

What I’ve learnt from passing all my actuarial exams so far

Ideally you should start writing Actuarial exams in your second year of college or university. By this time youd have some background knowledge in the topics that are tested on the earlier exams and youd be able to learn the rest through study materials.

But some people discover the actuarial career path later in their education or later in life once theyve already started working. In that case its best to start writing actuarial exams right away. This post talks all about what you should expect when looking to become an actuary at age 30, 40, or 50.

In the U.S. many people graduate with 2-3 exams passed. In Canada having 4-5 exams passed upon graduation is common.

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What An Actuary Does

Actuaries depend on a wide pool of skills in their work

And they can work in a variety of positions across different industries. The most common beneficiaries of the actuarial manpower are insurance and reinsurance companies. Others include government agencies and a good deal of companies with the responsibility of taking care of retirement pensions.

In all these spheres, an actuary can be brought onboard either as an employee or a consultant.

As both consultants and employees, actuaries have the responsibility to forecast the likelihood of occurrence of certain events like death, illness, loss of property and injury. Basically, insurable events.

Of course, the occurrence of these events has an accompanying financial cost which, also, is evaluated by an actuary.

Aside from that, an actuary has the responsibility of

  • Determining the amount of contributions in a pension plan ideal for a given retirement income
  • Advising companies on the best route to take in terms of resource allocation in case of a risk. This is done to profit exhaustively.

Armed with data and analytical capabilities, actuaries play a major role in formulating and pricing financial plans pension plans, policies, etc. in a way that makes financial sense.

How To Pass Actuarial Exams

We all know that actuarial exams are hard. The pass rates vary from 50% on the preliminary/lower level actuarial exams, to 30% on the higher level CAS exams. Ive written a short guide providing advice on how to pass actuarial exams, and also my own experiences with studying for actuarial exams.


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You Are Always Being Interviewed

Most people think that the interview process has stopped once they receive their job offer.. wrong! Yes do enjoy the moment and go out and celebrate.. but be aware that this is only the beginning.

You are going to be evaluated continuously by your boss, by the boss of your boss, HR director, Marketing Director, IT Director, Compliance Director etc.. in the work place, at the office party and of course you will be judged on your on-line activities.

Career competition is both tough and subjective. In order to stand out positively, you need to demonstrate that you have qualities that make you unique from the rest of colleagues . Stuff that makes you stand out include but are not limited to

· communication skills we need people who can speak with confidence in front of a room full of people and can make complicated concepts accessible to non-technical audiences.

· leadership we need people who can lead themselves and show the potential to lead others.

· diversity of thought we need a collection of people who think differently with unique life experiences, backgrounds and perspectives.

· A sense of urgency we need people who are personally driven to get stuff done because that is an innate trait that is impossible to teach.

· Punctuality. Always arrive 5 minutes early for internal & external meetings. Just by doing this consistently you will already be `standing out from the crowd`

How Long Did It Take To Build The Empire State Building In 1930


Answer. The building was finished one year and 45 days later.

I found out this interesting bit of trivia at the start of the NYC Marathon chatting with a total stranger . He was at Fidelity, a large investment fund, and when he found out I was an actuary, he started to vent his frustration about how long actuaries took to deliver anything! He used the example of the empire state building to make his point. Actuaries can take ages to deliver seemingly mundane and routine projects without having a sense of urgency.

Bottom line. When you see that your estimated time line to deliver a new product, revised pricing basis or proposal to adapt to new accounting standard is going to take longer than the time it took to build the empire state building give yourself a reality check, is your project really that complicated ?

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Validation By Educational Experience

Validation by educational experience is essential for topics that, though important, are not core to the actuarial field. These topics include applied statistics, economics, and corporate finance.

The above are considered to be a bit challenging to be tested in the four preliminary exams. As a result, youll have to show that you did them in your degree program.

Otherwise, youll have to sign up for online courses on the same.

To be eligible for VEE credit, you must first of all youve passed Exams P and FM and they should appear on your online script.

On top of this, you must show that you attained a grade of not less than B- in VEE-approved university courses. Check out the approved courses here.

Or to get even more detailed information, check out this page on the SOA website.

How To Best Prepare For Actuarial Exams

Actuarial exams are not easy. Passing the actuarial exams requires many hours of dedicated study time with the right resources for your learning style. For first time actuarial exam takers, preparing can be very challenging. You have to take time to understand what material will be covered on the exams, and how youll be tested on it. There are abundant resources available to help students prepare, but if you do not take the time to utilize these resources to their full potential, you run the risk of underpreparing for a given test. Taking advantage of available study materials like study manuals and practice exams is key to passing your exams.

Dont Underestimate the Necessary Amount of Time and Study Preparation

Many firsttime actuarial students underestimate the amount of study time required to pass their first exam, or feel overconfident because of their strong aptitude for math. If you start studying only a few weeks before the exam, you simply will not have time to cover the amount of material tested in the exam.

Start Prepping Early

It is best to start at least eight weeks prior to the SOA P exam. Keep in mind that everyone taking this exam has excelled in mathematics. The exams are very rigorous and are designed to test knowledge of the material at a very high level thats why the pass rate on this exam typically hovers around the 30 to 40 percent range!

Take One Exam at a Time

Take Advantage of Available Resources

Obtain the right study materials

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The Following Is An Effective Study Method That Takes These Factors And Resources Into Account

1. The first step is to find the exam syllabus online at

This syllabus will outline the material that will be covered on the exam, which will give you a good idea of what and what not to study. This material sometimes varies depending on the month the exam is offered , so be sure to find the syllabus that corresponds to the month during which you are signed up to take it.

2. The second step is to get yourself a good study manual.

The most popular textbook study manuals are from ACTEX Publications and Actuarial Study Manuals . Some alternatives are The Infinite Actuary online seminars and the Coaching Actuaries eCourses and ADAPT software. As these seminars and eCourses can get a bit pricey, most stick with one of the aforementioned textbook manuals. Free, comprehensive and continuously updated study manuals by Marcel B. Finan can also be found online at A Probability Course for the Actuaries: A Preparation for Exam P/1 and A Basic Course in the Theory of Interest and Derivatives Markets: A Preparation for the Actuarial Exam FM/2.

3. Once you have your textbook, your third step is to read through it while taking notes and doing some problems along the way.

4. Once you have done this, your fourth step is to make a study packet that exactly follows the exam syllabus.

5. Once you have your beloved formula-dense packet, your fifth step is problems, problems, problems.

6. Now you are at step six: take practice exams under strict exam conditions.

So You Want To Be An Actuary

Only 25% Passed This Year’s CFA Level 1 Exam

Reprint of an article by Mark Alan Chesner, Milliman & Robertson, Inc. Printed in Careers and the College Grad, Crimson & Brown Associates. Reprinted by permission of Mr. Chesner, 31Jan97

In its broadest sense, an actuary is a person who expresses the likely future results of actions in monetary terms. How much more will it cost the taxpayers of New York State if the maximum age of an existing dental insurance program for children is extended from 12 to 18? How much should residents of Northern New Jersey be charged for flood insurance? How much more in dividends on a particular class of whole life insurance policies will be paid next year if the dividend formula is revised? These are typical questions actuaries are asked to answer.

An individual becomes an actuary by passing a lengthy series of challenging exams administered by either the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society . There are fewer than 20,000 people who have reached either Fellowship or Associateship . Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the actuarial exams. The passing rate for the first few is below 50%!

The current edition of the Jobs Rated Almanac ranked 250 jobs from accountant to zoologist and placed “actuary” as the number one profession in America. The six criteria were job environment, income, outlook, physical demands, security and stress.

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Categories Of Actuarial Disciplines

In becoming an actuary, you have two routes to choose from:

  • You can be a life actuary or
  • A non-life actuary
  • This category also comprises of pension and health actuaries.

    Life actuaries have a prime focus on three classes of risk:-

    • Morbidity risk they help in determining the likelihood of an individual to contract a disease. This is crucial in setting premiums.
    • Investment risk as the name suggests, actuaries here evaluate the uncertainty in meeting particular returns in line with the wishes of investors. Or, in simple terms, the probability of incurring a loss.
    • Mortality risk how many of an insurers life insurance policyholders will die before the expected time? Will they be too many to plunge the company into losses or the number will be manageable? These are some of the questions actuaries handling mortality risk try to answer.

    The above classes of risk have diverse insurance products. Here are a few of them and what their purposes

  • Long term care insurance covers the costs of long-term care for people who unable to take care of themselves due to an illness or a disability.
  • Annuities an annuity is an agreement between an insurer and the insured, requiring the insurer to make payments to the insured at a later date either at once or spread over some defined period.
  • Disability insurance available for both short and long terms. It guards against loss of income due to a disability.
  • Thats all about health actuaries. Now over to the second category

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