Indiana University Bloomington


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Frequently Asked Questions

Actuary 101

What is an Actuary?
Why become an Actuary?
How do I become an actuary?

The Exam Process

What exams do I need to pass?
Does it matter if I take P/1 or FM/2 first?
How do I prepare for the exams?
How do I sign up for the exams?
Where are the nearest exam locations?

Courses at IU

Which courses help with actuarial exams?
What are VEE credits?
Which courses satisfy VEE credits?

Helpful Links

Actuary 101

What is an Actuary?

--- Actuaries use mathematics to determine the financial effect that uncertain future events such as birth, death, retirement, fire, earthquake, accident, and sickness have on insurance and other benefit plans. Actuaries may work for insurance companies, consulting firms, or the benefits departments of general businesses and government agencies.

Why become an Actuary?

--- The Actuarial profession is consistently ranked the #1 Best Jobs by CareerCast. The combination of low stress, pleasant working environment, solid income, and strong growth potential make it a lucrative career worth pursuing. Another study from The Wall Street Journal offers optimistic data as well including 0.0% uneployment for Actuarial Science majors.

How to become an Actuary?

--- To advance in the actuarial profession, one must pass a series of highly challenging examinations given by the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society. Passing these examinations requires discipline and additional study beyond Indiana University course work. Actuaries also must be comfortable with the language and substance of a wide range of mathematics, economics, statistics, and finance/accounting principles to prepare for these exams. An actuary student should aim to pass at least one, and preferably two, of these examinations before graduation. Actuary students who desire a summer internship may benefit from passing the first examination, Exam P, by the summer following their junior year. Internships help assure strong job placement upon graduation and are strongly encouraged. Additionally, an actuary student should take some VEE (Validation by Educational Experience) accredited courses and must receive a grade of B- or better in these courses to earn VEE credit.

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The Exam Process

What are the exams?

Preliminary Exams:

You may pass P/1 and FM/2 in any order, but both must be completed prior to taking any of the modeling exams (MFE/3F or MLC/3L).

How do I prepare for the exams?

How do I sign up for exams? does a great job explaining step-by-step how to register.

Where are the nearest exam locations?

Follow this link HERE to find exam locations near Bloomington.

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Courses at IU

Preparation for Actuarial Exams

The following courses offer most of the preparation for the Actuarial Examinations. However, a large amount of independent study is required outside of class in order to pass the exams.

Exam P

Introduction to Probability Theory I
MATH-M 463

Prerequisites: M211, M212, M311, M301/303

Exam FM

Financial Economics
ECON-E 425

Prerequisites: E201, E202, E321, E370

Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) Requirements

The VEE topics are not prerequisites for the Actuarial Exams but are required in order to attain future designations in your career. Click HERE to find out more. Any of the following courses satisfy the requirements:

(NOTE (Aug. 20, 2020): This is out of date. For the current list, see this SOA listing. One thing we need to do is update this list and get new courses approved. --RL)

Applied Statistical Methods

Econometric Theory and Practice I & II
  • ECON-E 471 and 472
Business Econometrics
  • BUS-G 350

Corporate Finance

Foundations of Accounting
  • BUS-A 200
Financial Economics
  • EON-E 425
Honors Financial Management
  • BUS-F 304
Intermediate Corporate Finance
  • BUS-F 305


Introduction to Microeconomics & Macroeconomics
  • ECON-E/S 201 and 202
Intermediate Microeconomic & Macroeconomic Theory
  • ECON-E/S 321 and 322

For information on the ECON classes listed above, visit the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

For information on the BUS classes listed above, visit the Kelley School of Business Bulletin.

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Helpful Links

  • Society of Actuaries
  • Casualty Actuarial Society
  • Be An Actuary
  • IU Department of Mathematics
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    (This page was updated: 8/25/2019)