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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

Member Services Team

memberservices@actuaries.org.uk

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

+44 1865 268207

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

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Events calendar

  • The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

    13 October 2021 - 8 December 2021

    Fully booked.

    This practical course is aimed at actuaries at any stage of their career who want to develop their own growth mindset and apply it to their work setting and personal or professional lifelong learning. The content of the course builds on the lecture given by Dr Helen Wright on Growth Mindset as part of the President’s 2021 Lecture series, and will be delivered over a period of 2 months, from mid-October to early December.

  • Spaces available

    The role of actuaries within the health sector varies considerably from one country to another, due to differences in the local evolution of health systems and the funding models for health services. 

  • Spaces available

    This paper outlines key frameworks for reserving validation and techniques employed. Many companies lack an embedded reserve validation framework and validation is viewed as piecemeal and unstructured.  The paper outlines a case study demonstrating how successful machine learning techniques will become and then goes on to discuss implications.  The paper explores common validation approaches and their role in enhancing governance and confidence.

  • Spaces available

    Content will be aimed at all actuaries looking to understand the issues surrounding mental health in insurance and in particular those looking to ensure products and processes widen access for, and are most useful to, those experiencing periods of poor mental health.
     

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA Policy Briefing 'Can we help consumers avoid running out of money in retirement' examined the benefits of blending a lifetime annuity with income drawdown. Panellists, including providers and advisers, will look at the market practicalities of taking the actuarial theory through into the core advice propositions used by IFAs and Fund Managers. They will share a number of practical issues such as investment consequences before and after retirement and the level of annuity that is appropriate and answer questions from the audience.

  • Speech from the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    1 December 2021

    The IFoA is pleased to be hosting the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, to deliver a speech on delivering policyholder protection in insurance regulation.

    The speech will be presented to an in-person audience, and simultaneously live-streamed, at 14.00 on Wednesday 1st December.

  • The Many Faces of Bias

    2 December 2021

    Spaces available

    This webinar looks at the many types of biases, both conscious and unconscious and the impacts they can have in the workplace.  Raising our own awareness and understanding of the issues can help us avoid the pitfalls of unconscious bias in particular.  We’ve all heard the phrase ‘office banter’ but are we sure that’s how those on the receiving end perceive it and is it ok to go along with it?

  • Spaces available

    Actuaries need to take action now - but how?  With a focus on climate change, this session will provide informed insight to enable you to improve your knowledge and understanding of the issues involved, demonstrate how it will impact advice to your clients, and highlight prospective opportunities for actuaries within pensions and wider fields.

  • Spaces available

    Pension scams have become more prevalent as a result of the pandemic, and Trustees have increased responsibilities to protect members, which means that actuaries need to be in a position to provide advice in this area. Our specialist panel will include a professional trustee, an IFA and head administrator, two of whom are members of PASA.

  • Spaces available

    The covid-19 pandemic creates a challenge for actuaries analysing experience data that includes mortality shocks.  To address this we present a methodology for modelling portfolio mortality data that offers local flexibility in the time dimension.  The approach permits the identification of seasonal variation, mortality shocks and late-reported deaths.  The methodology also allows actuaries to measure portfolio-specific mortality improvements.  Results are given for a mature annuity portfolio in the UK

  • Spaces available

    In this webinar, the authors of the 2021 Brian Hey prize winning paper present a new deep learning model called the LocalGLMnet. While deep learning models lead to very competitive regression models, often outperforming classical statistical models such as generalized linear models, the disadvantage is that deep learning solutions are difficult to interpret and explain, and variable selection is not easily possible.

  • Spaces available

    The dominant underwriting approach is a mix between rule-based engines and traditional underwriting. Applications are first assessed by automated rule-based engines which typically are capable of processing only simple applications. The remaining applications are reviewed by underwriters or referred to the reinsurers. This research aims to construct predictive machine learning models for complicated applications that cannot be processed by rule-based engines.

  • Spaces available

    With the Pension Schemes Act 2021 requiring a long term strategy from Trustees and sponsors, choosing a pensions endgame strategy has become even more critical. However, it is important that the endgame options available are adequately assessed before choosing one. With an ever-increasing array of creative and innovative options available, this decision may not be straightforward.