ASA & CERA Curriculum Changes - Frequently Asked Questions

Updated September 20, 2017

Q1: If I earn my ASA prior to July 1, 2018 and do not earn my FSA prior to July 1, 2022, will I lose my ASA?

A1: No, you keep your ASA. However, you will be required to complete the Predictive Analytics Exam (and fulfill any additional requirements established in the future) if you wish to attain an FSA.


Q2: When will the new versions of the exams be given?

A2: The current versions of the exams will continue through any administrations prior to July 1, 2018. During that period there may be minor adjustments to the readings or syllabi as is always done for exams. The new exams will begin with the first administration of each after July 1, 2018. (Exceptions: The revised versions of P and FM will have their first administrations in September and October 2018 respectively.).


Q3: When will readings and syllabi for the new exams be released?

A3: For all exams, official syllabi are released about six months prior to the exam’s administration. The SOA has released preliminary syllabi for the ASA exams that will be effective July 1, 2018. Readings and study note information is included. Please note that while no significant changes are anticipated to these syllabi, they are not considered final until posted on the respective exam home pages on SOA.org.


Q4: Given that there are exams, seminars, and e-Learning assessments throughout the year, how is the requirement for earning an ASA by July 1, 2018 to be interpreted?

A4: To earn an ASA under the current requirements, all requirements must be completed (passed) by July 1, 2018 AND your name must appear on the June, 2018 (or earlier) list of new ASAs. This will require careful planning. The SOA has provided final dates by which required components must be completed to earn an ASA or CERA prior to the July 2018 transition.


Q5: How will the new exams be administered?

A5: Most of the preliminary exams will continue to use computer-based testing (CBT) through Prometric in a manner similar to that used today. However, it is likely that we will not be able to provide instant unofficial results for some of the exams. This is due to the significance of the changes, which prevents the SOA from setting the pass mark in advance, and the time needed to build up a sufficient number of questions in each item bank. The Long-Term Actuarial Mathematics exam will be administered with the same process used currently for Exam MLC, a combination of multiple choice and written answer questions in a paper/pencil format.


Q6: I plan on applying my exams toward earning a designation from the CIA or CAS. How will this work with the revised exams?

A6: The SOA has kept both the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) informed regarding the changes. Any announcements regarding the effect of the SOA’s exam changes will come directly from those organizations as they are independent from the SOA and set their own rules for membership.


Q7: If I take an approved VEE course for Applied Statistics or Corporate Finance in the early part of 2018, but do not receive a grade for that course until after the July 1, 2018 (July 1, 2019 for Corporate Finance) transition deadline, can I still use the course for VEE credit providing I receive a B- or better?

A7: No. Courses taken to meet VEE requirements that are ending due to the transition must be passed with a B- or better prior to the transition deadlines. The end date of the term will govern the date passed.

  • For Applied Statistics credit, the course(s) must be passed prior to July 1, 2018. Credits earned and passed prior to that date may be claimed at any time and converted to credit for the new VEE Mathematical Statistics and the Statistics for Risk Modeling exam.
  • For Corporate Finance credit, the course(s) must be passed prior to July 1, 2019. Credits earned and passed prior to that date may be claimed at any time and converted to credit for the new VEE Accounting and Finance. Approved Corporate finance courses not passed by this date can be used to meet the Finance component of the VEE Accounting and Finance requirement.

Q8: Will credit be automatically transferred to the new exams or do I need to apply to have it transferred?

A8: You do not need to do anything. Your transcript will continue to show the components you passed. However, the SOA’s internal systems will know which credits you have in the new system.


Q9: To get transition credit for VEE Mathematical Statistics do I need to pass both VEE Applied Statistics and Exam C?

A9: No. Only one of the two is needed to receive transition credit for VEE Mathematical Statistics.


Q10: The Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries currently waives the EA-1 exam for those with credit for Exams FM and MLC. What will be their policy with respect to the new exams? 

A10: The Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries as agreed to continue this policy, accepting LTAM in lieu of MLC.


Q11: Will the new exams affect the recommended order for taking them?

A11: Soon after the learning objectives are final, a recommended order will be published. However, it is clear that the SOA will continue to recommend that Exams P and FM be taken first (though in either order). There will likely be a recommendation that the Predicative Analytics assessment be taken near the end of the ASA sequence. The Statistics of Risk Modeling Exam will be a formal prerequisite for the Predictive Analytics assessment.


Q12: Do I have to get credit for all three VEE requirements by July 1, 2018 to avoid the new requirements?

A12: Yes, however VEE courses taken before the cutoff dates but applied for at a later date will earn transition credit for the new requirements Learn more.


Q13: I am an FSA who may want to take the Predictive Analytics assessment for continuing professional development credit. Will I first have to pass the Statistics for Risk Modeling exam given that it is a formal prerequisite?

A13: Many FSAs will have transition credit for the Statistics for Risk Modeling exam and so this is likely to be a non-issue. For those who don’t, this requirement will be waived.


Q14: What software will be used for the Predictive Analytics exam?

A14:  Our current expectation is that candidates will have access to Word, Excel, and R-Studio.


Q15: If I have VEE credit for Regression, but not Time Series, must I take a Time Series course before July 1, 2018?

A15: Yes. The Applied Statistics VEE requires both components to be completed before credit can be claimed. All approved Applied Statistic courses will have their end dates changed to June 30, 2018, so courses taken after that date cannot be claimed.


Q16: How frequently will the new exams be offered?

A16: It is expected that exams that have a counterpart exam in the current system will be offered on the same frequency. The two new components, the Statistics for Risk Modeling Exam and the Predictive Analytics assessment will be offered at least twice per year, perhaps more often if demand is sufficient.


Q17: If my current corporate finance requirement lists two courses, what happens if I’ve completed only one of them by July 1, 2019?

A17: Any course or set of courses that meets the current VEE Corporate Finance requirement will meet the Finance component of the new Accounting and Finance requirement. Thus, completing the second course will fulfill that component of the new requirement. However, because the VEE Corporate Finance requirement was not earned before July 1, 2019, you will need to complete the Accounting portion as well.   


Q18: I read that requirements completed too close to the July 1, 2018 transition date (e.g., June 2018 Exam C) cannot be used to earn an ASA/CERA prior to the transition.  Will transition credit be given for those elements?

A18: Yes. Those passing the June 2018 Exam C will receive transition credit for VEE Mathematical Statistics and the Short-Term Actuarial Mathematics Exam. This also applies to other components completed late in the first half of 2018.  See the Timing for candidates seeking to attain an ASA or CERA prior to July 1, 2018 transition.


Q19: It has recently been announced that the first offerings of the revised versions of Exams P and FM will be delayed by one session. What are the consequences for candidates of this decision?

A19: The consequences are minor. The 2018 changes to these exams are small, so minimal additional preparation for the revised versions should be necessary. This change has no effect on the deadline for earning an ASA under the current requirements. Only those earning an ASA by July 1, 2018 will be able to do so under the current rules. Exam P must be passed by the March 2018 administration and Exam FM by the April 2018 to be able to be applied to earn an ASA under the current rules.

Read more about the Timing for candidates seeking to attain an ASA or CERA prior to July 1, 2018 transition.


Q20: What can you tell us about the Predictive Analytics Assessment?

A20: Details are still to be finalized. In particular, a contract is yet to be signed with a vendor to provide computer-based testing. However, we do expect that the assessment will be conducted at a computer-based testing facility using a vendor with sites throughout the world. The computer will provide access to Word, Excel, and RStudio, with a pre-defined set of R packages loaded. Candidates will receive a data set and a business problem and be given about five hours to analyze the data and write a report. Candidates will submit the report in Word along with other relevant files by the end of the session. There will be opportunities to prepare for the assessment through online learning that will include sample projects and solutions. As the numbers grow, it is expected that the assessment will be administered three times per year.