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Prepare for exams


Each exam is offered several times a year. Application forms for the preliminary exams are available on In particular, the five preliminary exams are:

  • Exam P/1 (called Exam P by SOA and Exam 1 by CAS)
  • Exam FM/2 (called Exam FM by SOA and Exam 2 by CAS)
  • Exam MFE/3F (called Exam MFE by SOA and Exam 3F by CAS)
  • The SOA and CAS each offers their own version of the life contingencies exam.
    • Exam MLC: Life Contingencies, by SOA
    • Exam 3L: Life Contingencies and Statistics, by CAS
  • Exam C/4 (called Exam C by SOA and Exam 4 by CAS)

CAS will give credit for MLC; SOA will not give credit for 3L.

Some of these exam can be taken locally at Binghamton and Vestal. Binghamton University is an examination center for Exam MLC. There is also an exam center near campus that is not affiliated to the university which administers Exam P/1 and Exam FM/2. The university itself has nothing to do with the design of the exam questions; it is merely an agent of SOA / CAS, administering the exams for the convenience of the Binghamton students. Please contact the actuarial societies and for information about registering for an exam.

The Order of Course and Exam Taking

The graph below illustrates the relation between actuarial major-related courses and the actuarial exams. According to the graph, the fastest way for a student to pass four exams in college is to

  1. take 221-222-(323,346) in the first three semesters and pass Exam FM in the fourth semester;
  2. take (447,330) in the fourth semesters and pass Exam P in the following summer;
  3. take 450, 452 and 454 in the junior and senior years and pass at least one of the Exams MLC or MFE before graduation and pass the other one shortly after graduation.

If everything goes as planned, the student can pass two exams before his/her junior year. Then in the fifth semester (Fall of the junior year), he/she can have a better chance to be hired as a summer intern. Permanent position offers are often derived from summer internships.

Specific Exam Tips

Here we focus on the first few exams: Exams P/1, FM/2, MLC and MFE, which most undergraduate students take. Due to the relatively low demand among undergraduate students for exams beyond those listed above, there is limited resource on campus available. Interested students will have to reply on their own to study the materials for those exams.

Note that a student can take Exam FM/2 while or before he/she takes Exam P/1. The knowledge to Exam P/1 is not required for Exam FM/2. In any case, a student can take these two exams in any order, but he/she is recommended to finish both by the start of the junior year.

The courses offered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences help students to prepare at least four actuarial exams as follows.

Exam P/1

This exam is jointly administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. The Society of Actuaries calls this exam “Exam P, Probability”. The Casualty Actuarial Society calls this exam “Exam 1, Probability”.

Students interested in specializing in actuarial science should prepare for Exam P/1, as soon as possible. To pass Exam P/1, students should first take the Calculus sequence (221-222-323) and then Math 447, Introduction to Probability and Statistics (I). Students who do well in Math 447 usually can pass Exam P after completing several practice exams. In the case that the student needs additional help, he/she could take Math 449, Problem Solving in Actuarial Sciences, offered every spring, which is a course specially designed for the preparation for Exam P/1.

Do not interpret Math 447 as a prep course for Exam P/1. It contains all the necessary skills to pass Exam P/1 but the course itself serves a boarder and more general purpose. Under no circumstance can a student be waived on the major requirement for Math 447 due to a passing grade in Exam P/1. Under no circumstance can a student skip taking Math 447 due to a passing grade in Exam P/1. In other words, the major requirement on 447 is neither waivable nor substitutable.

Students are encouraged to take Math 449 to prepare for Exam P/1. Note that for students entering the university in or after Fall 2014, Math 449 is no longer required for the actuarial science BA or BS degree, nor does it count toward the actuarial science major requirements.

Exam FM/2

This exam is jointly administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. This exam is called “Exam 2, FM” by the Society of Actuaries and “Exam 2” by the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Exam FM/2 is on Financial Mathematics. Math 346 covers 70% of the syllabus in Exam FM/2. The prerequisite for Math 346 is Calculus II, Math 222.

As one semester is not enough to cover the whole syllabus in Exam FM/2, students are expected to study some materials on their owns after the course. Thus it becomes particularly important for a student to plan in advance and perhaps prepares for the exam prior to taking the course.

Under no circumstance can a student be waived on the major requirement for Math 346 due to a passing grade in Exam FM/2. However, the requirement may be substituted (as stipulated below). In other words, the major requirement on 346 is not waivable, but is substitutable. In particular, in the circumstance that a student manages to pass Exam FM/2 before taking Math 346, he/she is advised to take another actuarial related course offered in Department of Mathematical Sciences, and use that course to substitute the major requirement on Math 346. In this case, please make contact with the director of undergraduate studies for consultation. Please consult him/her before taking that alternative course.

Exam MLC by SOA and Exam 3L by CAS

The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers courses Math 450 and 452 for the preparation of Exam MLC from SOA. Note that they only provide partial coverage for Exam 3L from CAS. The prerequisites for Math 450 are Math 346 and Math 447.

Exam MFE/3F

Exam MFE/3F is on Models of Financial Economics. Math 454 (and the last one third of Math 346) covers the syllabus in Exam MFE/3F. The prerequisites for Math 454 are Math 346 and Math 447.

Exam C/4

In Binghamton University, there is no stand-alone undergraduate course that prepares students for Exam C/4. However, Math 447/448 and Math 450/452 provide some useful background and constitute important components in Exam C/4, especially 448 (Introduction to Probability and Statistics (II)).

actuary/exams.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/05 18:20 (external edit)