Preliminary Actuarial Exams

The topics covered by 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 exam topics. Employers recommend that students complete 2 – 3 exams before graduation. The exams are offered multiple times each year. Specific exam dates and deadlines are provided.

The CAS recommends that candidates complete the six preliminary exams listed below before advancing to associate exams. Since the CAS only administers two preliminary exams, candidates must fulfill the remaining learning objectives through exams administered by other organizations and be granted a waiver. Information about obtaining an exam waiver is outlined at the bottom of the page. 

Probability Exam 

The Probability Exam (Exam P) is administered by the SOA, and is used to fulfill CAS learning objectives and obtain CAS Exam 1 credit. The CAS does not administer a probability exam.

Exam P 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 

The Financial Mathematics Exam (Exam FM) is administered by the SOA, and is used to fulfill CAS learning objectives and obtain CAS Exam 2 credit. The CAS does not administer a financial mathematics exam.

Exam FM 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

The Models for Financial Economics Exam (Exam MFE) is administered by the SOA, and is used to fulfill CAS learning objectives and obtain CAS Exam 3F credit. The CAS does not administer an exam covering models for financial economics.

Exam MFE 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.

Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models Exam

Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models Exam (Exam C) is administered by the SOA, and is used to fulfill CAS learning objectives and obtain CAS Exam 4 credit. The CAS does not administer a construction and evaluation of actuarial models exam.

Exam C 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.


Statistics and Probabilistic Models Exam (Exam S)

Please note that Exam S is considered an Associate Exam.

The Statistics and Probabilistic Models Exam (Exam S) is administered by the CAS. There is not a waiver or SOA equivalent for this exam.

Exam S is a four-hour multiple-choice exam. This examination covers Stochastic Processes, Survival Models (including limited Life Contingencies concepts), Statistics, General Linear Models (including Ordinary Least Squares) and Time Series. The syllabus is defined in the form of learning objectives, knowledge statements, and readings. A thorough knowledge of calculus, probability, and interest theory is assumed.

Starting in Fall 2016 it replaces Preliminary Exams LC, ST, and Validation by Educational Experience Statistics.


Obtaining an Examination Waiver

For CAS learning objectives addressed through preliminary examinations offered by other organizations, the CAS will grant waivers to candidates who receive credit from the following organizations:

  • Society of Actuaries
  • Canadian Institute of Actuaries
  • Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (U.K.)
  • Institute of Actuaries of India
  • Actuaries Institute (Australia)

Society of Actuaries Examination Waiver

Candidates who check “Property and Casualty Field” on their preliminary exam application will have the results of their exams automatically updated in the CAS candidate database. Candidates who did not check “Property and Casualty field” can have their exam results verified and updated in the CAS candidate database by completing the online form.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries Examination Waiver

The CAS recognizes the exam waivers granted by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries University Accreditation Program for Exams 2, 3F, LC, and 4. The CAS will only grant waivers for CIA UAP exam credits that were awarded based on work at universities in Canada. The CIA is reviewing the UAP requirements for Exam ST.