The Casualty Actuary Society (CAS) has rolled out a new exam. Exam S! Take a look at the new exam’s syllabus.
A while ago, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) decided to discontinue their agreement with CAS to administer the preliminary exams jointly. This gave CAS a way to better educate actuaries following the casualty track. Previously, CAS split up exam 3L into two different exams: ST and LC. Although, this was only a first step. Since then, CAS has decided to incorporate more statistics and rollup exams ST and LC along with the Stats VEE into one exam, hence Exam S.
The exam is made up of 4 sections: A, B, C, and D. Section A covers Stochastic Processes, Markov Chains and Survival Models along with a simplified version of Life Contingencies. Section B covers topics that would be commonly found in a second semester course of a two semester Probability & Statistics sequence at the undergraduate level. Section C covers Generalized Linear Models, and Section D is the Time Series section. The exam is multiple choice and 4 hours long.
So what does this mean for you? Well, it could mean a lot of different things. CAS has given their guidelines on transitioning into the S exam. The first sitting will be in Fall 2015. If you have already passed or will have already passed exams LC, ST, and taken the Statistical Methods VEE by August 31, 2015 you will be granted credit for Exam S and no action is required. If you will have passed exam ST OR LC by August 31, 2015 you must complete the other exam by August 31, 2016. In addition, if the candidate does not have the stats VEE they must obtain it by August 31, 2016. If the candidate ONLY has the Stats VEE completed by August 31, 2015 and neither ST nor LC, they must take exam S.
For me, I only have my Stats VEE. Having taken the Stats VEE courses, I have decided that I would prefer to not have to test through that material again. My plan of action is to study for exam LC and sit in the spring of 2015. Although, I could study for both exams. I would prefer to focus on making sure I pass one. Splitting time between two exams is definitely doable, but it is also hard. To increase my chances of passing, I am going to solely focus on studying for exam LC. There is only one sitting for ST and LC before the August 2015 cutoff so passing on the first attempt is crucial.
If you are in a similar situation, I would suggest that you decide on a plan of action soon! Since there is only one sitting for ST and LC between the cutoff date, you will have to sit then. Decide whether you are going to study for one or both. This may mean switching gears and halting your studying for a different exam and start studying soon for ST and/or LC.
If you would rather not attempt to take ST and/or LC, I would advise studying for a different exam and not taking the first sitting for Exam S. Exam prep will not be as readily available for exam S. Online prep sites like Coaching Actuaries will have not had a chance to let their professionals sit for the exams prior to the date. You won’t have feedback from your peers and there will be limited resources for studying. Ultimately, we all just want to pass. So take your time and study hard but do so wisely.
CA Team Note: We have a 180 day Adapt subscription available for ST and LC (the exam is 141 days away from today) for all those who are trying to complete one or the other this coming spring.