What is the difference between the SOA and the CAS exams?
The Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) are professional organizations for actuaries. Property and Casualty Actuaries pursue their credentials through the CAS; all other actuaries pursue their credentials through the SOA. The preliminary exams P, FM, and IFM are only administered by the SOA and credit for these exams is currently honored by the CAS. Refer to each sites’ exam requirements to see where the requirements differ beyond the preliminary exams.
Preliminary Actuarial Exams
The topics covered by the preliminary exams are the common foundation for becoming an actuary. No matter which actuarial practice area a person decides to enter, future actuarial education will depend on mastery of the preliminary exam topics. Employers recommend that students complete 2 – 3 exams before graduation. The exams are offered multiple times each year.
The CAS recommends that candidates complete the six preliminary exams listed below before advancing to associate exams. Since the CAS only administers two preliminary exams, candidates must fulfill the remaining learning objectives through exams administered by other organizations and be granted a waiver. Information about obtaining an exam waiver is outlined at the bottom of the page.
The Probability Exam (Exam P) is administered by the SOA, and is used to fulfill CAS learning objectives and obtain CAS Exam 1 credit. The CAS does not administer a probability exam.
Exam P consists of three hours of multiple-choice questions. The purpose of this exam is to develop knowledge of probability. The application of these tools to problems encountered by actuaries is emphasized. A thorough command of calculus and probability topics is assumed. Additionally, a very basic knowledge of insurance and risk management is assumed.
Financial Mathematics Exam
The Financial Mathematics Exam (Exam FM) is administered by the SOA, and is used to fulfill CAS learning objectives and obtain CAS Exam 2 credit. The CAS does not administer a financial mathematics exam.
Exam FM consists of three hours of multiple-choice questions. This exam covers interest theory (discrete and continuous) and an introduction to derivative securities. It assumes a basic knowledge of calculus and probability.
Models for Financial Economics Exam
The Investment and Financial Markets (Exam IFM) is administered by the SOA, and is used to fulfill CAS learning objectives and obtain CAS Exam 3F credit. The CAS does not administer an exam covering models for financial economics.
Exam IFM consists of three hours of multiple-choice questions. This exam covers interest rate models, rational valuation of derivative securities, simulation, and financial risk management techniques.
Preliminary Exam Information Courtesy of CAS Student Central.