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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

  • GIRO 2020 Virtual Conference

    Available to watch globally in November.
    02-13 November 2020
    Spaces available

    This year's GIRO has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the general insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's GI Online Learning Resource area

  • Life Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Online
    16 November 2020 - 27 November 2020

    Spaces available

    This year's Life Conference has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the life insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's website.

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    Cash-flow driven investing is a game-changer for DB pension funds navigating their end-game. Suitable for sponsors who want to reduce risks on their balance sheets. And for trustees, it shifts the focus to providing greater certainty of returns, managing funding level volatility and ensuring they have enough income to pay cash-flow requirements.

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    We have over 500 volunteers and countless topics which we have amalgamated into 93 workstreams.