What is a Passing Score on Exam FM
Exam FM from the Society of Actuaries is one of the three preliminary... Read More
Exam P is one of the very first exams you’ll face immediately after your degree on your way to becoming an actuary. You have an option of going with it or exam FM.
Passing any of them is a requirement if at all you want to join the actuarial ranks – no way around this.
But then, just how much do you know about this important actuarial examination? Being a sure thing that you have an interest in the actuarial profession, there is no doubt you’ve heard about it a couple of times.
The details you have are sketchy for a larger part. And that isn’t exactly what you want when you’re looking into pursuing something to the very end. You need as much information as you can get hold of.
And since you’re here, you’re a few steps away from knowing all that there is about your pursuit – Exam P.
Have a go at it.
Exam P is a multiple-choice test (from A to E) – one among the different exams offered by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). It is aimed at building up your knowledge of important probability tools essential in quantitative risk assessment.
But what will be the use of these tools if you can’t use them to tackle issues as an actuary? Of course, not much. That’s why the Exam P not only exposes you to these tools but also puts an emphasis on how they can be used to formulate solutions to problems in the actuarial sphere.
But in developing your understanding and application of these probability tools, it is expected that you are conversant with:-
The exam is offered through computer-based testing and has a set duration of 3 hours.
As you’ve seen above, Exam P is about probability tools. But as with any other syllabus, it is organized into topics.
Each one of these topics accounts for a certain percentage of the whole exam – and has pre-set goals and outcomes for you as a learner.
The three topics are:
A univariate distribution refers to the distribution of a single random variable. In contrast, a multivariate distribution refers to the probability distribution of a group of random variables. For example, a multivariate distribution could be used to specify the probabilities of returns of a group of n stocks.
And now a deep dive…
Accounts for the smallest portion of the overall exam – usually 10 to 17 percent.
The objective of general probability is to equip you with an understanding of basic probability concepts. So by the end of it all, you should be able to:-
The univariate random variables topic accounts for between 40 and 47 percent of the whole test.
The learning objective is for you to get a grip on important concepts of discrete and continuous univariate random variables and how they can be applied in different scenarios.
The variables here include Poisson, geometric, exponential, hypergeometric, uniform, gamma, binomial, mixed, normal and negative binomial.
The following should be at your fingertips by the time you’re through with this topic:-
Just like univariate random variables, multivariate random variables can make 40-47% of the whole test. The two account for the largest portion of Exam P.
It serves the purpose of developing your knowledge in key concepts involving multivariate random variables – and that also includes the bivariate normal.
Here’s what is expected of you as a learner by the end of this topic:-
Just so you know the percentage of the exam each of the topics makes up may vary from time to time. Also, it’s not always the case that a question targets a single topic.
Some questions may require that you combine your understanding of varied concepts under each one of the above topics to solve them.
Sure, Exam P and Exam FM are the first exams you sit for on your way up to becoming an actuary, at least for most people. It all depends on the route you decide on.
No matter the direction you choose, Exam P is going to be either your first or second test – that is if you’re doing your actuarial exams under the Society of Actuaries (SOA).
You may decide to go with either property and casualty or health and life insurance.
For the property and casualty option, you have the flexibility of choosing between the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries. Either way, you’ll still encounter Exams P and FM as the very first tests. The only difference is in their names – under CAS, they are referred to as Exam 1 and Exam 2 respectively.
For the health and life insurance option, you only have SOA as far as the actuarial exams are concerned. Of course, you can choose to either be a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) or a Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary (CERA). Or even both.
And as with property and casualty, Exam P and Exam FM are the ones that will introduce you to the world of actuarial exams. So regardless of the route you choose to follow, the two are a must first-encounter.
So the question is: when should you start with Exam P?
Ideally, you can start with any of these two preliminary exams – no problem with it.
But to start with Exam P, you should have a thorough grasp of calculus. It is a significant part of the whole syllabus and is applicable in meeting the above learning objectives.
So go ahead with P first if you find mathematics particularly darling. If not, you’re better off going with Exam FM as you plan for the future when you’re in a better position to handle all those integrals.
To be on the next batch of Exam P candidates, you have to be informed of the process, dates, requirements and any provisions for special cases.
Here’s a breakdown of each one of these.
The process is a simple two-step activity. The first step is the actual registration where you sign up for the exam on the SOA website. The second step is booking a seat at the nearest CBT Prometric center.
In between these two steps, there is a period of between 3-5 business days. This when you wait to hear back from SOA after you’ve turned in your details.
Let’s look at each one of these steps in more detail.
Before the registration period is over, turn in your details through the SOA website – and that is before midnight U.S. Central Time on the date the registration period is slated to end.
Though online registration is a preference, you can also opt for paper application forms. And as with online application, the forms must be turned in before midnight U.S. Central Time on the deadline date. The forms can be accessed via the SOA website on the exam homepage when the test is offered in paper and pencil format.
Naturally, both of the above require that you fill in your name. And that calls for utmost care – in the order in which you fill your first and second names and the spellings.
The order and spellings must be in sync with those on the identification you will provide (more on the identification later). Any inconsistencies will lead to your application being rejected.
So that means you forget about any of those nicknames or name variations. And it doesn’t matter that people call you by your middle name. You can’t use it in the application process in the place of your first name. Remember: what matters is your official identification.
Additionally, you should bring up any legal name change(s) occurring between the registration date and the day of the exam.
Before moving on to step 2, it is important to look at the waiting period mentioned above. What happens during the wait is the deciding factor of whether or not to proceed to this second step.
After submitting your details, SOA sends over an acknowledgment letter via the email you provided (within an hour or so). The letter contains your candidate/eligibility number which is not activated at this point.
Be on the lookout in the next 3-5 business days for the second email – a letter of confirmation this time. The email means your eligibility number has been activated and, therefore, you should proceed with step 2 – scheduling an appointment at a CBT Prometric center.
It is important to move with speed on this step if you don’t want to be inconvenienced – like finding your local Prometric center stack full on the day you should be sitting for your Exam P.
You can schedule a seat by any of the following two ways:-
SOA opens registration for 6 weeks. To know when the next registration will open, follow the following steps:-
Keep an eye out on the deadlines and be sure to submit your details within the required period. Trying to register when the period has elapsed is pointless – you won’t be considered.
You have 6 chances in a year to sit for Exam P as that is the number of times it is administered – that is in January, March, May, July, September, and November; Basically the odd months.
SOA accepts several payment methods with which you can use to clear the examination fees. They include Master Card, Visa, and American Express.
If you are applying through paper, then remember to mail your application with credit card information, money order or check – whatever your preferred method of payment.
Exam P costs $225 for CBT and $190 for pencil and paper. Note that these fees are non-refundable. So once you take the jump, there is no turning back – unless you give up on your cash.
SOA strives to give everyone an equal opportunity in attempting Exam P. So even with a documented disability that affects your experience during the exam, you’ll have a level playing field as long as you bring this up.
And that’s the whole purpose of testing accommodations.
Common testing accommodations include:-
And so on. This list is to give a rough idea of the testing accommodations available. Check out this document for a more exhaustive list.
Also, note that testing accommodation is not a guarantee. SOA will review your request individually before deciding on whether to honor your request or not. So it’s a good idea to go in with an open mind.
Just fill the form and wait.
Some of the considerations you want to have before requesting accommodations are
Find more details about testing accommodations here.
Here are a few more resources to aid you in case you have to request for testing accommodation
At Analyst Prep, we have all you need as far as sharpening your probability wits is concerned.
Aside from getting up-to-date study materials, here are a few other great takeaways
What’s more, you get advice from people who’ve been there, done that. Have a look at the full advantages of studying for Exam P with us.
Finally, the exam day is here. It’s time to head out to the Prometric center you scheduled a seat.
While at it, remember there are rules that you have to adhere to – for the greater good of everyone. And the staff at your center of choice is like your tour guide in ensuring the rules are obeyed. So it helps to listen to whatever it is he/she has to say.
As a candidate, you’re expected to turn up at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam. This leaves enough time for preliminary procedures outlined below. Being late will cost you an opportunity to sit for the exam (and your money) since you won’t be allowed into the testing room.
Other expectations on your side include
These are just some of the conduct guidelines you’ll be required to play by when you turn up for your Exam P. Grab everything you need to know from this page.
Your performance for this actuarial exam is gauged between 0 and 10. Where, of course, the further away from that zero the better it is.
But getting a 5 isn’t better than getting a 4 – both of them represent a fail. To be on the safe side, you’ll have to score from 6 to 10.
You can have your scores by checking out Online Transcript Access on SOA’s website, 8-11 weeks after the exam. To know if you’ve passed, give it a week and check the exam results page to see if your name is among those published.
So that’s all about Exam P.
If you’re looking to sit for it, then it’s only natural that you be informed adequately. And picking scraps of information from people around you is not how you go about it.
From registering, preparing and finally doing it – all the details are up there. Over to you now – when are you jumping into the deep end?
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