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The new exam system

Core Technical (CT) subjectsFor these subjects, hopefully the move to the new system is not too onerous. I shall not list all the new CT subjects – suffice to say that they pretty much correspond to the 100 series except that 103 and 104 combine to form just one CT subject. There is also the addition of a Business Awareness Module (CT9). This is a two-day residential course in which students have to carry out pre-course online study and sit a post-course online test.

Core Applications (CA) subjectsThese are the ones causing most confusion. Let us start with the easy bit:CA3 – Communications: this is similar to 201 except that now you have to answer two questions. This exam may also require you to correct poorly written text , or draft a slide presentation, which 201 did not.CA2 – Modelling Module: again this is new but you will not have to take it if you have already passed a 300 subject. This is a two-day computer-based course. The first day is spent making sure everyone is up to scratch on the software and the second day is the assessment.CA1 – Core Applications Concepts: for two years this will be split into CA11 (Assets) and CA12 (Liabilities). Any 302/3/4 pass can be used as a credit against CA12. 301 maps onto CA11 although some of the 301 material has been removed and a very small amount of 305 has been put in. There are a few situations you could be in, as shown in the flow chart below.

Watch this space…Now for the development I mentioned (left). The profession is currently ‘sympathetic’ to the following situation. You have a 302/3/4 pass which you would like to take forward as credit for CA12. You then don’t manage to pass CA11 in the two-year transitional period. So rather than lose your 300 pass, they may let you change your mind and transfer it to a ST pass and then you would need to take the whole of CA1. Be warned though – this is still a matter for debate so do check what the current situation is before you make your choice. Phew – I hope that’s clear.

Specialist Technical (ST) subjectsPretty much like the old 300 exams. You have the old favourites – Life, Pensions, General, and Finance and Investment, and the new boys on the block – Health and Care, another Finance and Investment paper (the old CiD) and an ‘Alternative Study’ subject. I could write a whole article on this last one alone, so I am going to gloss over it. If you want to find out more then there is plenty of information at www.actuaries.org.uk.Specialist Application (SA)This paper is the equivalent of the 400 exam paper 2. It is also available in three delicious new flavours – Health and Care, Finance and Investment, or you can opt to do a research dissertation.

UK Practice Modules (PM)You do not need to pass this exam to qualify as an actuary, but you will need it if you wish to practise as an actuary in the UK. This subject comprises two sections of multiple choice questions – one 45-minute section, which tests the generic principles of UK financial services, and one 45-minute subject-specific section, which is based on the same core reading as the corresponding SA exam. The subject-specific paper is the replacement for the 400 exam paper 1, and you don’t have to take it at the same time as your SA exam – but it is very much recommended that you do. If you have studied the core reading fully and have the relevant work experience, the UK practice paper should be a walk in the park (why do I get a sinking feeling that those words will come back to haunt me?). If you have already passed a 400 series subject, you will be exempt from the SA exam and the UK Practice Module.

That was a fairly quick rattle through the basic structure of these new exams, with some emphasis on what I think is causing the most confusion. I hope it was of some help.

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