To become a fully qualified Actuary, you need to clear 15 papers either from IAI or IFOA. Whole CT and CA series are compulsory to clear, whereas you need to give 2 papers from ST series and finally 1 paper from SA series.
The catch is, once you have become the member of any Actuarial society, you can give any paper of any level whenever you want, even from CA, ST and SA series also. So, it isn’t mandatory to complete CT series before you head on to other levels. Although it is recommended to clear CT series first because it lays the foundation of the diversity of disciplines of which the Actuarial course is sculpted.
So, if you are pursuing your graduation currently then CT series will mould you on technical grounds of knowledge which the course wants to impart.
It is advised to clear atleast 4-5 CT papers during your graduation and the same is the basic requirement of most of the companies hiring freshers.
But, employers are inclined towards some paper passes more than the other papers cleared. So, keeping the demand in mind, I’m suggesting you an order which you can refer to while choosing your papers as per your convenience:
- CT-1 (Financial Mathematics) and CT-3 (Probability and Mathematical Statistics) are the most basic and foundational papers. CT-1 comprises basal financial maths which would be used all the way throughout Actuarial coursework. CT-3 introduces you to the key statistical approaches which you will be applying in various exams. You can also give CT-1 and CT-3 in one sitting.
- CT-2 (Finance and Financial Reporting) and CT-7 (Business Economics) are independent and comparatively easy papers. These are theoretical papers inculcated to test your accountancy and economics insight. Commerce students usually club these papers along with difficult once. However, science students may find these papers a little hard to grasp at first sight.
- Try giving CT-5 (Contingencies) immediately after giving CT-1 and CT-3. Concepts of both CT-1 and CT-3 and a little knowledge of CT-4 is required for CT-5. However, the CT-4 material has been adequately explained in CT-5, so clearing CT-4 isn’t essential to sit for CT-5.
- To clear CT-6 (Statistical Methods), you need to have the pre-requisite idea of CT-3. You can give it after giving the CT-5 exam.
- For CT-4 (Models), you again need the knowledge of CT-3. This exam is also vital to deliver some concepts of CT-8. But, it is not valued much in the employment sector so students prefer to clear this exam later after clearing CT-5 and CT-6.
- CT-8 (Financial Economics) is considered the toughest exam of whole CT series and requires the knowledge of all the papers studied yet.
- CT-9 (Business Awareness) 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. You are advised to clear this exam once you have got job so that you can be benefited from the Employer’s Education Program (if any).
- Further exams can be opted as per your experience and interest level.
- CA-1 (Actuarial Risk Management) is considered the toughest exam of the course. It’s a two day exam of 3 hrs and 100 marks each.
- CA-2 (Model Documentation, Analysis and Reporting) and CP-3 (Communication Practice) – previously known as CA-3 are practical exams which I recommend you to give after completing CT series.
- ST and SA series are theoretical exams which you can give anytime after clearing CT series as well.
- Initially, after clearing a few papers, you should aim to learn several computer skills like Advance Excel, Access, VBA, SQL and R 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 the graduation course you are pursuing, your commerce/science background, the company in which you are working currently etc., therefore, the Actuarial institutions have given you the liberty to choose your papers as per your convenience and enjoy the leverage of flexibility.