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Frequently Asked Questions - Curriculum

Learning materials

  • 1. Where do I find the Core Reading?

    You can find the IFoA Core Reading at the E-Shop. ActEd (BPP) provide face-to-face tuition and distance learning materials for the IFoA examinations. More information is available at on the ActED website.

  • 2. How can I access the learning materials?

    Core Reading for each subject is produced by the IFoA and is available through the E-Shop. ActEd (BPP) is the main provider of additional supporting materials and learning resources. Their website provides information on what resources are available and the costs.

  • 3. Are there individual sets of Core Reading for CS1, CS2 and CM1 and CM2?

    Yes, there are sets of Core Reading for each of the four subjects.

Route to Qualification

  • 1. Is there a recommended route to qualification? What subjects should I be attempting first?

    The qualification structure is designed to help students with their studies. For both Associate and Fellow, students will need to pass or obtain exemptions from all the Core Principles subjects. It therefore makes sense to complete these before progressing to the Core Practice subjects. The Core Principles can be taken in any order, but it does make sense to pass certain subjects before attempting others. CS1 is recommended as the starting point. This provides a grounding in the basics of statistical techniques. CS2 then builds on this. So certainly, CS1 before CS2. CM1 and CM2 then cover the principles of mathematics and modelling as applied to actuarial work, and CM2 then builds upon this. Again, CM1 before CM2. Some students may want a break from heavy maths between the CS and CM subjects and so they might take the opportunity to sit CB1 at this stage. Finally, in order to gain the most benefit, it is advisable to sit CB3 after CB1 and CB2.

  • 2. Can I attempt an SP paper before I have completed all the Core Principles and Core Practices?

    Yes, and some students choose to do this, especially if they are working in a related field. But otherwise it does make sense to progress through the qualification structure as described.

  • 3. Will my ST3, SA5 and SA6 exam still count towards qualification?

    Yes, it will count as one of your SP/SA subjects provided you have passed!

Assessment

  • 1. I understand that ‘reading time’ has been removed from the examination schedule. Why is this?

    We wanted to give our adult learners the choice of how to use this time. We haven’t removed the time but it is now included in the overall time; for example, a 3 hour paper is now 3 hours and 15 minutes. The only exception is Paper 2 of CP1, which retains a dedicated 45 minutes of planning time, followed by a 2hours and 30 minutes examination.

  • 2. I see that the CS and CM subjects have two papers. What are the different assessments?

    The new curriculum has allowed us to review the way we assess our subjects. The traditional examination has an important role in testing knowledge and understanding, but now the second paper, (‘Problem-based Assessment’), tests the application of this knowledge using real sets of data.

  • 3. Do I have to attempt both papers in the same sitting?

    Yes, you will have to sit both papers in the same sitting. You should view this as an examination with two elements of assessment.

  • 4. Do I have to pass both papers in the same sitting?

    The two papers for the CS and CM subjects will be weighted. Paper A, the 3 hours and 15 minutes paper will be weighted at 70% and the Problem-based Assessment, Paper B, at 30%. The outcome will be a single mark. So, the marks for the two papers will be added together and, provided you achieve the pass mark, you will pass. There is no requirement to achieve a pass in both papers. If you fail either CS or CM, you will be required to take both Paper A and Paper B again. 

  • 5. Will I have to familiarise myself with ‘R’ code or is everything I need to know contained in the Core Reading?

    We recommend that those sitting the papers requiring ‘R’ (CS1 and CS2) familiarise themselves with ‘R Studio'. There are lots of free resources available to help you with this and we will be providing you with an ‘R’ guide detailing the packages that you will need.

  • 6. In the case of CS/CM subjects, will there be a separate pass mark for each part? If not, how will the final pass mark be decided?

    There will not be a separate pass mark for each paper. The elements of assessment will be marked and the two marks aggregated with a 70:30 split between the theory paper and the Problem-based Assessment. A final single mark will then be calculated for each of the CS and CM subjects (CS1, CS2, CM1, CM2). The Chief Examiner will set the pass mark for each subject.

If you have any further queries, or would like us to add to these FAQs, please contact the education services team.

Contact Details

Education Services Team

education.services@actuaries.org.uk

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 1st Floor, Park Central, 40/41 Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1JD

+44 01865 268207

We aim to respond to all enquiries within two working days.

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Events calendar

  • Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020

    The Grand Brighton, 97-99 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2FW
    02-03 June 2020
    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19 we have taken the decision to turn a selection of the conference programme into a webinar series. Further announcements about this event will be made soon.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

  • Mortality and Longevity 2020

    1 Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London SW1H 9JJ
    08-08 June 2020
    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19 this event has been postponed until later in the year. A new date will be announced soon.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

  • PHC Conference webinar: CMI Update

    Online webinar
    10 June 2020

    Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    An update from the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) with content focused on the work of the Assurances Committee and the Income Protection Committee.

  • Webinar: IFoA Annual General Meeting

    Virtual meeting
    15 June 2020

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries will be held online via a live webinar on Monday 15 June 2020. This will be followed by a Q&A session with the IFoA Leadership Team.

  • Spaces available

    Mark Williams will provide insight on this topic as IFoA Pensions Board Chair, lead actuarial representative on the PASA Working Group and head of Buck’s Square solution.

  • Pensions Conference 2020

    Worldwide
    18-19 June 2020
    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19, we are running this programme via a series of webinars commencing 16 June.

    Focussing on topics including funding and savings, pension law current issues, ESG, the end game and transferring risk, investment issues, data visualisation and data science. Expect a great line-up of speakers and a wide range of thought-provoking topics. 

  • Webinar: IFoA Presidential Address

    Online webinar
    18 June 2020

    Spaces available

    Tan Suee Chieh will be inaugurated as President of the IFoA at this year’s AGM. Join us for Suee Chieh’s Presidential address on Uncertainty, Culture and Imagination. Using the Covid-19 crisis as the backdrop, he will invite IFoA and the profession to re-imagine our roles in a digital age and a future fraught with uncertainty and opportunity.

  • TIGI 2020 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Webinars
    22 June 2020 - 7 July 2020

    Spaces available

    Technical Issues in General Insurance provides content across all key areas of the general insurance sector whilst also offering cross-practice area technical topic deep-dives.

  • Spaces available

    This is the third webinar in the Extreme Mortality Events series presented by Chair of the Life Board of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Colin Dutkiewicz.

    This discussion will have a look at the much talked about R0 number.  It will dissect why this average number is so poorly understood, and why it is a bad indicator of the pandemic progression.  In particular it will discuss how serious errors in decision making can be made by relying on this number.

     

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    In this session we will present the results of an international survey of claims assessors. We will explore key similarities and differences in claims practices in different locations, and their impact on the management of disability claims. 

  • Spaces available

    Climate change represents a material risk to future financial stability and creates implications for the work, actions and decision making of actuaries. Join us to learn about the science behind global warming and what that means for policy makers and society over the coming decades.

  • Spaces available

    The release of the PRA consultation paper may signal a good time for insurers to review and update their liquidity risk management framework. Within this presentation we discuss our interpretation of what the PRA’s liquidity consultation paper means for insurers and how this compares to our understanding of current market practice through answering the following questions: 

  • Spaces available

    Converting lifetime savings into a lifelong income are a fundamental part of pensions. Yet this is often not part of DC pension plans. One possibility is to offer a post-retirement, pooled annuity option, perhaps structured as a Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) plan, to retirees.  Pooled annuities convert lump-sum savings to a life annuity by collectively pooling longevity risk.

  • Spaces available

    Although ESG has many buyers across the asset allocation community, from pension funds to sovereign wealth funds, it still hasn’t found its place within the core asset management strategy desks where the money is actually invested. The problem as well as the opportunity is Fixed Income.

  • Spaces available

    Technical Issues in General Insurance

    The presentation will cover a summary of findings over the past few years of working on the boundary between data science and actuarial. The webinar will describe and review several data science approaches and discuss their relevance and use in actuarial pricing.

  • Spaces available

    A practical and theoretical look at risk from wider perspectives, drawing on theories and examples from other fields, as well as social experiments, the session aims to stimulate members to consider information asymmetry, bias, Bayesian methods, behavioural finance and behavioural psychology when determining pension scheme risk. 

  • Spaces available

    This talk expands on recent changes to Solvency II regulation to include sustainability risks and explores whether private equity offers an opportunity for making l long-term and impactful investments. 
    We will answer the following questions: 

    How sustainable private equity could be used in your portfolio to qualify for more favourable capital treatment under Solvency II?

  • Spaces available

    Technical Issues in General Insurance

    Across the General Insurance market actuarial pricing tools are being migrated from Excel to web-based technologies. Web based pricing technology offers many synergies with AI and Machine Learning. But they are often hampered by poor design and practically always perform worse than their Excel counterparts!

    The following will be presented: 

  • Spaces available

    In this talk we cover the practicalities of implementing ESG within real asset investment decisions. Capital deployed in real assets is invested for a long term and has far reaching impact on the environment and society.  However, implementing ESG into real asset investment decisions is not straightforward and requires a different approach to public market assets.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    This webinar will provide an overview of how and why we built a Death Toolbox using Shiny.  This includes a live demonstration of the tool that enables a user to explore mortality datasets without knowing specialist coding techniques.

  • Spaces available

    An update from the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI). Content will focus on the work of the Self-administered Pensions Schemes (SAPS) Mortality Committee and the Mortality Projections Committee and will cover the most relevant and up-to-date outputs.

  • Spaces available

    The PPF’s Purple Book provides the most comprehensive data on the UK universe of Defined Benefit (DB) pension schemes in the private sector.  Analysing how this landscape has changed over time shows that whilst the risk profile of DB schemes has reduced underfunding has persisted.  The session will explore these trends and provide an insight into how funding may evolve in the future under a number of our modelled scenarios.   

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA is running a webinar on Thursday 9 July 2020 which will focus on the challenges and issues facing defined contribution savers who wish to access illiquid investments.

    Our speakers will provide perspectives from their diverse experience, including DC fund implementation, platforms, master trusts, the role of trustees, regulation, and parallels with other fund types. They will then come together in a panel discussion with audience interaction. 

    The webinar is likely to be of interest to actuaries working across the spectrum of financial services, including investment advisers, asset managers, insurers, fund platforms and DC master trusts.

  • Spaces available

    An online webinar delivered by John Taylor, President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries who will look at the prospects for the actuarial profession in the era of unprecedented technological innovation.

  • Spaces available

    Climate change risks are likely to become material for many risk management and investment decisions. This will require to incorporate explicitly climate change in the tools used for risk management and investment decisions. At present existing climate change tools are often too crude for decision making.

  • Spaces available

    Because of Covid-19, forecasters predict a severe recession in 2020, followed by a V or U-shaped recovery. This impacts both individuals and companies. However, compared to previous recessions, the impact on banks of higher credit losses should be mitigated to some extent by government actions. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    This session will provide an overview of the Population Health Management Working Party's research including defining impactability and impactability modelling, discussing some examples of specific modelling approaches, considering the practical challenges across the NHS as well as wider public perception and ethical issues.

  • Spaces available

    Many actuaries consider career opportunities in the Finance and Investment practice area after having started off in more traditional actuarial roles such as valuations, capital management or pricing. This session is aimed at helping actuaries to better understand roles in Finance and Investment and how they can fine tune their skills to pursue such careers.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    With the rising prevalence of dementia, how can we manage this risk effectively and can insurance do more? Matt Singleton, Ageing Lead at Swiss Re, will cover these topics and demonstrate how insurance could help people address their concerns.

  • PHC Conference webinar: Gene Modification

    Online webinar
    6 August 2020

    Spaces available

    Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Gen Re Life/Health Research and Development, Dr John O'Brien, will discuss the impacts of Gene Modification for life/health insurance. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Modelling the structure and trends of cancer morbidity risk is important for pricing and reserving in related health insurance fields such as critical illness insurance and care provision. We model the dynamics of cancer incidence over time in different regions in England, using 1981-2016 ONS data. The modelling allows estimation of cancer rates at various age, year, gender and region levels, following a Bayesian setting to account for statistical uncertainty. Our analysis indicates significant regional variation in cancer incidence rates. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. In this talk we will outline the steps Aviva took in pulling together our first large-scale disclosures on the exposure of our business to climate change published in March 2019; in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. After touching on why insurers have such an important role in climate change, we'll cover a brief “how-to” guide for those who have not yet embarked on thinking about these topics before giving a case study of how the learnings from a TCFD disclosure exercise can be applied to investment portfolios.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. 

    The insurance industry currently underwrites customers with diabetes based on a range of factors, medical expertise and various medical studies. The work undertaken by the Diabetes Working Party would help the industry to approach this using current research findings to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes is considered. This includes the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes. This webinar will present our latest findings in the management of this important chronic condition which will include research in collaboration with the ARC.