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Actuarial program gets new accreditation

Many students won't have to write as many exams
October 30, 2012
By Wendy Helfenbaum

Sounds like a fair trade: earn at least a B in your coursework, and you can avoid writing as many as four preliminary professional exams. That’s the great news undergraduate actuarial students got this term after Concordia University earned provisional accreditation at the national level from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA).

Students who receive a B or higher in each of their actuarial courses will be exempt from writing up to four of the five preliminary exams required by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuary Society (CAS) on the way to obtain a first professional designation: Associate of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA).

Actuaries use mathematical models such as statistics and risk theory to analyze and solve financial problems. They specialize in designing, financing and operating insurance plans, annuities, and pension plans. Actuaries also help people plan for the future by showing them how to reduce financial risks associated with such things as retirement, illness, disability and unemployment.

“This accreditation will reduce stress on actuarial students, because for SOA exams, you have three hours to answer a lot of questions,” explains Actuarial Program Director Ewa Duma, adding that students will also save some cash: instead of having to pay the full examination fee, they will get a 20 per cent discount if they earn an exemption from the exam.

Third-year actuarial mathematics co-op student Sara Samie, currently on a work term as an actuarial auditor at Manulife Financial in Toronto, passed her first preliminary exam in September.

“School is demanding enough; people want to do well and get their GPAs up, which improves their chances of getting good internships and jobs after graduation. A lot of us have part-time jobs, and were expected to write these actuarial exams on top of it all,” she says. “They say we should study 100 hours for each hour of the exam, so not having to do this will save a lot of students a lot of time.”

Jean-Sébastien Côté wrote his fifth preliminary exam on October 24, and is currently completing his final term of the actuarial mathematics/finance co-op program while working part-time as a risk management analyst at Standard Life.

“Having this accreditation is so beneficial, because it means you don’t have to register, prepare and study in advance. It’s a very big advantage not to have to write these exams; this is great news for actuarial students,” says Côté.

Related links:
•    Department of Mathematics and Statistics
•    Canadian Institute of Actuaries
•    Society of Actuaries
•    Casualty Actuary Society


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