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 five 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.

Modern Actuarial Statistics I (MAS-I)

The Modern Actuarial Statistics I Exam (MAS-I) is administered by the CAS. To receive credit for Exam MAS-I, the candidate must have credit for Exam S–Statistics and Probabilistic Models through an examination administered prior to January 1, 2018.

Exam MAS-I is a four-hour multiple-choice exam. This examination covers Probability Models (Stochastic Processes and Survival Models), Statistics, Extended Linear Models and Time Series with Constant Variance. The Syllabus is defined in the form of learning objectives, knowledge statements and readings. A thorough knowledge of calculus, probability, interest theory for discounting in the life contingencies and linear algebra (at the level that would expected as a prerequisite to take an undergraduate college level regression analysis course) is assumed.

The first sitting of MAS-I will be offered in spring 2018.


Modern Actuarial Statistics II (MAS-II)

The Modern Actuarial Statistics II Exam (MAS-II) is administered by the CAS. To receive credit for Exam MAS-II, the candidate must have credit for Exam 4–Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models through an examination administered prior to July 1, 2018. See Waiver of Examinations Rules for the various ways a candidate can be granted a waiver by the CAS for its Exam 4 examination requirement.

Exam MAS-II is a four-hour multiple-choice exam. This examination covers Introduction to Credibility, Linear Mixed Models, Bayesian Analysis and Markov Chain Monte Carlo and Statistical Learning. The Syllabus is defined in the form of learning objectives, knowledge statements and readings. While MAS-I is not a formal requirement, many of the topics in MAS-II build on topics from MAS-I, so at least familiarity with those topics will be assumed.

The first sitting of MAS-II will be offered in fall 2018.


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.