Best Order To Do Actuarial Science Under New Curriculum

IN73LL1G3NCE 15 7H3 4B1L17Y 70 4D4P7 70 CH4NG3! -STEPHEN HAWKING

The new curriculum of Actuarial Science is almost in action before 2019. Actuarial aspirants have already started preparing for their exams and software skills training to gear up for the updated curriculum.

Under 2019 curriculum, you need to clear a total of 13 papers to become a fully qualified actuary either from IFOA or IAI. Again, the whole Core Principles group (i.e. CT series) and Core Practices group (i.e. CA series) is compulsory to clear. Whereas, just like before you have the choice to select and clear 2 Specialists Principles (ST papers) and finally choose 1 Specialist Advanced (SA paper).

Further few rules have been kept same as before, which includes your choice to give any paper in any order even from Specialists Principles or Specialists Advanced too, given that you are the active member of the UK or Indian Actuarial Society. But this time you can give two exams namely, CS1 (CT-3 in the old curriculum) and CM1 (CT-1 in the old curriculum) as the non-member under the new curriculum.

If you are still pursuing your graduation/ post-graduation then it is best for you to clear Core Principles group first. Clearing around 4-5 Core Principles’ papers is favored while studying cause you surely don’t want yourself to be over-qualified for various job openings in companies that hire freshers in the actuarial domain.

Although it isn’t mandatory to clear Core Principles group before you head on to other levels but it is beneficial to do the same because this group is designed to give you a solid foundation in actuarial techniques.

On the other hand, as I mentioned in my previous article on clearing papers under old curriculum that employers are inclined towards some paper passes more than the other papers cleared, the same applies for the new curriculum.

Order to clear actuarial papers vary for each and every aspirant mainly due to factors:

  1. Graduation course you are pursuing
  2. The company in which you are working
  3. Your employment status (students choose to clear SP and SA papers before completing the Core Principles/Practices group especially if they are working in the related field)
  4. Your commerce/science background

Keeping all factors and expectations of employers in mind, I’m suggesting you an order which you can refer to while selecting papers as per your convenience:

  • CS1: ACTUARIAL STATISTICS is favored as the starting point. It introduces to essential mathematical & statistical methods and R language that is widely used in actuarial coursework throughout.
  • CS2: RISK MODELLING AND SURVIVAL ANALYSIS further grounds your basics of statistical techniques build on CS1. R software is tested at a finer level to develop an understanding of practical applications of statistical methodology. So, as a matter of fact, CS2 should be given after CS1.
  • The material of Actuarial Statistics i.e. CS1 and CS2 principles are applied to actuarial modeling in Actuarial Mathematics i.e. CM1 and CM2. Clearing Actuarial Statistics’ exams before Actuarial Mathematics’ exams is suggested.
  • CM1: ACTUARIAL MATHEMATICS equips the actuarial aspirant with fundamentals of mathematics and actuarial modeling with a practical exam of MS Excel based on deterministic models and their application to financial products. You can opt for CM1 after giving CS1 and CS2 or in-between CS1 or CS2 as per your preference.
  • CM2: FINANCIAL ENGINEERING AND LOSS RESERVING focuses on the stochastic asset-liability models and vigorous valuation of financial derivatives along with MS Excel practical exam. It is the hardest exam under Core Principles group and chiefly requires knowledge of CS1, CS2, and CM1. You can give it any time after clearing CS1, CS2, and CM1. 
  • CB1: BUSINESS FINANCE and CB2: BUSINESS ECONOMICS are relatively easy theory-based papers independent of CS and CM group. It comprises of accounting concepts and economics insight respectively. You can give them any time. If you want a break from heavy statistics and mathematics you can opt for these exams in-between CS and CM papers also. 
  • CB3: BUSINESS MANAGEMENT is a practical exam which is not valued much by the employers. It is an outlier paper just to check your business sense. It is the most expensive exam in whole Actuarial coursework. Giving this exam once you are employed is advisable so that you can be benefitted from the Employer’s Education Program (if any).
  • Most employers will prefer Actuarial Statistics’ and Actuarial Mathematics’ paper passes more than other exam passes for a fresher. Keeping that in mind you can choose your papers accordingly.
  • Further exams can be opted as per your experience and interest level.
  • CP1: ACTUARIAL PRACTICE extends on all the technical aspects introduced in the Core Principles group and uses methods and techniques to solve practical problems in the actuarial domain. Taking this exam once you have completed the Core Principles group is recommended. 
  • CP2: MODELLING PRACTICE and CP3: COMMUNICATIONS PRACTICE are practical exams emphasizing on business skills using and presenting spreadsheet work in CP2 and good communication using MS Word to write effectively to a non-technical or non-actuarial audience in CP3. You can give these papers after completing Core Principles group and CP1 or even before CP1 too. 
  • SPECIALIST PRINCIPLES and SPECIALIST ADVANCED series are theoretical exams which you can give any time after clearing Core Principles group as per your convenience and preference.
  • Initially, after clearing a few papers, you should aim to learn other computer skills other than MS Excel and R Language also like MS Access, VBA, SQL and python to name a few to give you an edge and to develop a better understanding of the practical outlook of the Actuarial system.

In the end, I would like to say that there is no such particular order which you can follow. Always choose your papers which suits your call. The above points reflect a common pattern chosen by students. Your personal choice can be influenced by various factors which I discussed above, therefore, the Actuarial institutions have given you the liberty to choose your papers as per your convenience and enjoy the leverage of flexibility.

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