Help and advice for new students

This page contains help and advice for new students. We have divided the questions into the following sections:

Sitting the CS1 or CM1 exam as a non-member
New students webinar
Short guide to choosing study material
Induction courses
Actuarial exam subject listing
What should I order if I am sitting an exam for the first time?
Profession's Student Handbook 

Sitting the CS1 or CM1 exam as a non-member

If you are sitting Subject CS1 or CM1 as a non-member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, please click here.

New students webinar

Please click here to watch the recording of the webinar that we ran on Thursday 17 October 2019.

Induction courses

Induction courses are designed to give new actuarial students a flying start to the early subjects, as well as introducing and developing the basic actuarial skills that new students will use in the office.

Actuarial exam subject listing

Full listing of subject numbers and associated titles.

What should I order if I am sitting an exam for the first time?

Please read the IFoA Student Handbook carefully to understand how the exam system works. It is important that you start studying as soon as possible – we would expect this to be on, but ideally before, 1 November 2019 for the April 2019 exams, so you should order your materials and apply for tutorials as soon as possible.

Paper products

If you are sitting a subject for the first time, we recommend that you order a Combined Materials Pack, Series X Marking (and Series Y Marking for the CM and CS Subjects), and a Mock Exam with Marking (unless your employer will automatically purchase a Mock Exam for you). Our Revision Notes, ASET and Flashcards are also very popular. For advice about which products to choose, please read our product guide

In addition to the ActEd study materials mentioned above, you will also need a copy of the Formulae and Tables for Examinations of the Faculty of Actuaries and the Institute of Actuaries, 2nd Edition (2002). These are often referred to as simply the (orange, yellow or gold) Tables and are available separately from the IFoA's Publications Unit.

If your maths or statistics is a little rusty you may wish to consider purchasing additional material to help you get up to speed. The course ‘Pure Maths and Statistics for Actuarial Studies’ is available from ActEd and it covers the mathematical techniques that are required for the Core Principles subjects, some of which are beyond A-Level (or Higher) standard. You do not need to work through the whole course in order – you can just refer to it when you need help on a particular topic. An initial assessment to test your mathematical skills and further details regarding the course can be found here.


Our tutorials are also very helpful. You can choose between a Regular or Block Tutorial or for some subjects, a Live Online Tutorial or the Online Classroom. A Preparation Day for Paper B in the CM and CS Subjects is a very useful addition. Please note that there is a significant degree of overlap between Regular and Block Tutorials and we do not expect students to attend both of these in a given subject in the same session.

As our tutorials are based around the course notes and therefore require students to have worked through some or all of the current course before each tutorial, you should order your courses before or at the same time as registering on tutorials. If you order tutorials before materials, your application may be delayed while we try to contact you to advise you of the situation. If you would like more information about our tutorials, please visit our Tutorials section.

If you are studying a CM or CS Subject then you should use the Paper B Online Resources throughout your study of the main course and not leave all of your Paper B preparation until the end. If you attend a Preparation Day then you will need to be familiar with the main course content and either Excel (CM Subjects) or R (CS Subjects) in order to benefit from attending this tutorial.

Placing an order for the first time

For help on completing the ActEd application forms, please view Placing your first order.

The profession's libraries

The IFoA's library services offer a comprehensive collection of publications for members, students and other people interested in actuarial science.

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Certified Actuarial Analyst

We are specialist actuarial educators and we are producing a wide range of affordable, online study resources to prepare students studying for the Certified Actuarial Analyst (CAA) exams offered by CAA Global.

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