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Education

FAP Overview

Updated February 16, 2012

As part of the SOA's Education Redesign, more than 150 volunteers participated in the development of the web-based Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) course. Since 2006 over 15,000 candidates have registered for the FAP and FSA modules.

What is FAP?

The FAP course is a self-paced, e-Learning course where candidates acquire and apply knowledge that is distributed and facilitated by electronic means. This course teaches candidates about the business environment and exposes them to real-world situations before reaching the ASA level by using the Control Cycle as a framework. Simply stated, the Control Cycle is a practical problem-solving framework that an actuary uses to perform work.

FAP is a body of knowledge (concepts and problems) in an actuarial context–blending actuarial areas of practice and functional areas. FAP includes online and offline readings and activities, practical examples, case studies, embedded activities, search functions, a glossary, resource library, a discussion forum, end-of-module tests, and end-of-module exercises. The online environment presents the FAP material in an engaging and interactive manner for candidates.

FAP also includes a computer-based Interim Assessment at the end of Module 5 covering Modules 1-5, and a computer-based Final Assessment at the end of Module 8 covering Modules 6-8.

Who is FAP for?

Individuals who desire to be admitted as Associates of the Society of Actuaries represent the primary FAP target audience. However, the FAP course is appropriate for any individual engaged in the actuarial profession at some level. Individuals seeking Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit can register for the FAP modules by visiting the Professional Development e–Courses page of the SOA Website.

What are the prerequisites?

Candidates enrolling in the FAP course may have passed one or more of the Preliminary Education examinations (P, FM, MLC, MFE, C), but this is not a requirement. Many candidates will have passed the four Preliminary Education exams prior to beginning FAP Module 5.

What are the eight FAP modules?

FAP is comprised of eight modules completed in sequence as content in later modules builds upon the content of earlier modules.

  • Module 1: Introduction/Role of the Professional Actuary
  • Module 2: Core External Forces
  • Module 3: Risk in Actuarial Problems
  • Module 4: Actuarial Solutions
  • Module 5: Design and Pricing of an Actuarial Solution
  • Module 6: Model Selection and Solution Design
  • Module 7: Selection of Initial Assumptions
  • Module 8: Monitoring Results

Module 1: Introduction/The Role of the Professional Actuary

The focus of this module is to provide an overview of the basic framework for actuarial work and functions using the Control Cycle as the model. Additionally, the module provides candidates with an overview of the actuarial profession, the major areas of practice and the skills required of actuaries.

Module 2: Core External Forces

The focus of this module is to describe and demonstrate how external forces (outside of the actuarial sphere) effect and integrate into actuarial work; how they interrelate and change.

Module 3: Risk in Actuarial Problems

The focus of this module is to enable candidates to learn how to identify and define problems in various practice areas. This module creates the foundation for understanding and managing risk in actuarial problems and the commonalities that exist among problems so that they can be effectively addressed regardless of area of actuarial practice.

Module 4: Actuarial Solutions

This module builds upon Module 3. The primary goal of the module is to create a foundation for candidates to understand actuarial problems across practice areas and demonstrate how the entire Control Cycle is applied. Candidates will gain practical experience with key concepts related to traditional actuarial solutions and understand how actuaries provide value to their employers and/or clients.

Module 5: Design and Pricing of an Actuarial Solution

The focus of this module is to introduce fundamental concepts behind the tools used to solve common actuarial problems. Using various models, the module introduces candidates to coverages and benefit/policy design components of several actuarial solutions.

Module 6: Model Selection and Solution Design

The focus of Module 6 is to provide candidates with an overview of model selection and model building and how these processes fit within the context of the Control Cycle. The module creates the foundation for candidates to understand how to select an appropriate model for a given problem and design a solution.

Module 7: Selection of Initial Assumptions

This module builds upon previous modules focused on helping candidates identify and define problems and design solutions. The goal of this module is to introduce the methods and tools actuaries use to identify, select and quantify assumptions. Candidates will understand how the identification, selection and quantification of assumptions finalizes the "design solution" element of the Control Cycle and transitions actuarial work to that of monitoring results.

Module 8: Monitoring Results

The final module of the FAP course focuses on the purposes of monitoring experience and the techniques used by actuaries. The "monitor experience" element of the Control Cycle is dependent upon the objectives and definition of the problem addressed and the solution designed by the actuary. Candidates learn how monitoring results provides feedback to the other Control Cycle elements and how the feedback loop, in context with the work of the actuary, completes the Control Cycle.

How long will it take to complete a module?

The estimate is that each module will require approximately 30-50 hours to complete. Many candidates will maintain a pace to complete approximately one module per month. Candidates are encouraged to progress through the modules and complete the course within a timely basis, as the FAP course must be completed in 24 months. A one-time extension is available to eligible candidates unable to complete the course in the stated timeframe.

How much does the FAP course cost?

FAP includes Modules 1–8, the Interim Assessment and the Final Assessment.

FAP course fees are as follows:

Modules 1–8 $300
Interim Assessment $ 600
Final Assessment $ 1200
Retake of the Interim Assessment $ 500
or the Final Assessment  
FAP Extension $ 100

*(One extension allowed per candidate for one year)

Note to candidates with credit for previous Course 5 or Course 7: Candidates with credit for Course 5 will receive credit for Modules 1 through 5 and the Interim Assessment. Candidates with credit for Course 7 will receive credit for Modules 6 through 8, the FAP Final Assessment and the FSA capstone module (DMAC). Conversion candidates pay $300 for Modules 1-5 or 6-8, but will receive access to all 8 modules.

FAP Registration Process

  1. Read the SOA e–Learning Terms and Conditions Agreement for e–Learning Candidates.
  2. Register online or complete the FAP modules application form and fax or mail it to the SOA with payment.
  3. Login information will be sent to the e–mail address indicated during registration. Contact elearn@soa.org if registration information is not received.


Textbook Information

The SOA does not provide the required textbooks. Candidates are responsible for purchasing the books required for FAP. Read the FAP Book List for complete details. The SOA also provides a list of FAP book distributors.


System Requirements

Y = Supported
N= Not Supported


Operating System/Web Browser Requirements

        
 

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Mozilla Firefox

Google Chrome

Apple Safari

 

9

8

7

6

13 12

20

19

18

5

4

Windows

Y

Y

Y

N

Y Y

Y

Y

Y

N/A

N/A

Mac

N/A

N/A

N/A

N

Y Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y


Mobile Devices Supported

             
 

iOS
6

iOS
7

 iPad

Y

Y

other mobile devices not supported


Software Requirements for Interim and Final Assessments

             
 

for Windows

for Mac

 

2010

2007 2003 2011

2008

2004  X 2001
Microsoft Word

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Microsoft Excel

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

N

N

Other Requirements

PC with a minimum 1GHz processor

Screen resolution of 1,024 x768 or greater

Browser Pop-up Blocker settings set to allow elearn.soa

Adobe Reader 9 or greater

Javascript and Cookies enabled on broswer


Required Software

  • Microsoft Word 2003 or greater
  • Microsoft Excel 2003 or greater
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 or greater
  • Flash Player 8 or greater
  • Screen resolution of 1,024 x 768 or greater recommended

FAP Course Completion Process

Candidates follow the process below for Modules 1–4 and Modules 6–7:

  • Candidate completes a module (readings, activities)
  • Candidate takes an end–of–module test to determine readiness to proceed to the end–of–module exercise
  • Candidate completes end–of–module exercise (or series of exercises) and submits it to the SOA
  • Candidate receives an illustrative solution to the exercise
  • Candidates should allow approximately seven weeks for review of their exercises.

What is the format of the Interim Assessment?

The FAP Interim Assessment is in the format of a comprehensive exercise available at the end of Module 5 to candidates who complete all required modules. The assessment covers material in Modules 1-5. Candidates will have access to the Interim Assessment once they complete Module 5 and download the assessment to their computer.

The Interim Assessment will assess candidates understanding of content, achievement of learning outcomes and ability to apply key concepts presented in Modules 1-5. The Interim Assessment builds upon the Modules 1-4 End-of-Module exercises and helps candidates prepare for the Final Assessment.

Candidates complete the Interim Assessment under controlled conditions with formal grading (i.e., every Interim Assessment will be formally graded). Candidates have one month to complete the Interim Assessment. The assessment clock will start when candidates download the Interim Assessment. Candidates must submit (upload) assessment files before the clock expires. If the assessment is not uploaded before time expires, the assessment will receive an automatic grade of "does not meet minimum requirements" and the SOA will be unable to reverse the decision. NO exceptions will be made.

While a supervisor is required, candidates will NOT need to identify a supervisor for purposes of the Interim Assessment.

Grading will be completed in approximately seven weeks of submission. Grade notifications are sent via email. If a candidate does not meet minimum requirements on the Interim Assessment, the candidate will receive feedback in the result email. Such candidates will need to reregister to take the Interim Assessment.

The Interim Assessment MUST be successfully completed (meets minimum requirements) in order to be eligible to take the Final Assessment.

What is the format of the Final Assessment?

The FAP Final Assessment is in the format of a comprehensive exercise available at the end of Module 8 to candidates who complete all required modules. The assessment covers material in Modules 6-8. Candidates will have access to the Final Assessment once they complete Module 8 and download the assessment to their computer.

The Final Assessment is available on-demand. There is no registration deadline; candidates may take it at their own discretion once qualifications have been met. Candidates will have access to the assessment after completing the required modules and exercises.

Candidate registering for the Final Assessment must secure his/her own supervisor. Preferably, the supervisor must be an FSA (in good standing). If an FSA is not available, other acceptable designations would be: FCAS, FCIA, FFA, FIA, FIAA, FSPA. Submit supervisor change requests to customerservice@soa.org.

A separate login and password is required for the Final Assessment. Assessment login information is generated almost immediately after registration. Contact elearn@soa.org if login information is not received.

Candidates have 96 hours to complete and submit their assessment. The 96-hour timeframe will begin upon download of the Final Assessment materials. Candidates may login to the Final Assessment and read the instructions and FAQs without starting their assessment clock. The assessment clock will not begin until a candidate reaches the download page and candidates will be warned several times in advance of this happening. The Final Assessment is designed for a level of candidate effort of approximately 25 hours.

Each assessment is formally graded against predefined grading criteria for "meets minimum expectations" and "does not meet minimum expectations." If the grader determines the submission meet minimum requirements, the candidate will pass the assessment. If the grader determines the submission does not meet minimum requirements, the submission will be graded independently by an additional grader (i.e., the additional grader will be unaware that the previous grader assigned a grade of "does not meet minimum requirements"). If the second grader determines the submission meets minimum requirements (i.e., different grade than the primary grader), the submission will go to a third and final grader for resolution. If a candidate does not meet minimum requirements on the Final Assessment, the candidate will receive feedback in the result email.

Credit for the Interim Assessment is required prior to accessing and taking the Final Assessment. Modules 1-8 must be completed prior to accessing the Final Assessment.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the FAP course?

Contact elearn@soa.org