Answers to 10 common questions about Exam P

by | Feb 7, 2018 | Exams, Pre-ASA |

Today I’ve created a post of answers to the top 10 Exam P questions that YOU asked GOOGLE!!

Google doesn’t know the answers… but I do!

So if you’re writing SOA Exam P (or CAS Exam 1) soon, you’re gunna wanna read this…

  1. How is Exam P Scored?
  2. How to pass Exam P?
  3. How hard is Exam P?
  4. How long is Exam P?
  5. How much does Exam P cost?
  6. When should I take Exam P?
  7. How many questions on Exam P?
  8. How long should I study for Exam P?
  9. How to register for Exam P?
  10. Is Exam P or Exam FM harder?

Let’s go!

How is Exam P scored?

I know you really want to know how many questions you need to get right on Exam P to pass.. but that’s a question that really only the SOA can truly answer. I’ll try though.

There are 30 questions on Exam P. Your Exam P performance is scored on a scale of from 0 to 10, 10 being the best.

You need to score at least a 6 to pass.

BUT that doesn’t mean that you need to just get 60% of the questions right.

Actually, right now you need to get 71% of the questions right to pass (according to the Nov 2017 SOA Exam P passing percentages file). This 71% stays fairly stable from sitting to sitting so it’ll likely be about the same for yours.

There are some added complexities though.

You would think that you need to get 71% * 30 = 21.3 questions right to pass Exam P (essentially 22) but the SOA adds some “pilot” questions into the mix questions on your test.

Pilot questions are questions that the SOA is testing out to determine the difficulty of them for future exams. They don’t tell you which questions are pilot questions nor do they tell you how many pilot questions are on your exam.

Pilot question DO NOT count toward your final score. So if there are, for example, 3 pilot questions then your score is based only on the 27 questions that actually count, and therefore you would need to get 71% *27 = 19.17 (essentially 20) of the non-pilot questions right.

There is also the fact that with Exam P computer based testing (CBT) there are several different “sets” of questions so that not everyone gets the exact same exam.

The passing score for each set of questions can be different depending on the overall difficulty level of the questions.

For example, if Set A is easier, maybe the passing score is 75% whereas for Set B the passing score could be 67%. The weighted average passing score could be 71% in this example, but people that got Set B didn’t need to achieve 71% to pass.

See how there are a lot of complexities in this system?

It’s impossible to come up with an exact number of questions that you need to get right to pass.

Taking all these things into consideration, I believe that a score at 23/30 or 24/30 would be almost guaranteed to pass but it is certainly possible to pass without getting that many right due to all these nuances.

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How to pass Exam P?

Funny you ask… I have a post about that EXACT thing. The # 1 thing you need to pass Exam P. Enjoy!

You can also join my Study Strategy Program where I actually work WITH you to pass so that you don’t have to figure all this stuff out on your own.

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How hard is Exam P?

If you are willing to put in the effort and know how to study for Exam P properly (which I teach in the Study Strategy Program) then you won’t find Exam P that hard.

It’s all about proper preparation for the exam.

Fail rates are over 50%!!

I’ve said many times (and it’s my reason for starting the Study Strategy Program) that people are NOT failing because they aren’t smart enough or because they don’t have the proper study materials. People fail generally because they didn’t know how to study properly and in many cases because they didn’t fit in enough study time for various reasons.

The Study Strategy Program fixes both those problems because I show you step-by-step exactly what you need to do, down to the DAY, and I do regular check-ins to keep you on track, motivated, and focused so that you don’t end up cramming during the last month (or weeks).

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How long is Exam P?

10 hours!! – JUST KIDDING.

Exam P is a 3 hour exam with 30 questions.

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How much does Exam P cost?

The exam itself costs $225.

That’s why my Study Strategy Program has a $225 Pass Guarantee – If you don’t pass, I pay your next $225 exam registration fee. Pretty awesome, right? (At least I think so.. I just wish the program was around when I wrote Exam P!)

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When should I take Exam P

Ideally you should wait to take Exam P until you’ve passed a few calculus courses.  Calc 3 is the most advanced… if you’ve passed that it would be the perfect time to take Exam P.

There’s a ton of calculus on the exam, that means you’ll need to be super familiar with integration (single and double) and differentiation.

However, some study materials assume no prior knowledge of the material so if you don’t have those courses passed yet (or it’s been a while) then you’d be best off getting one of those.

I have a post here about the best study guide for Exam P here.

If you’re not in your second year of college yet, I wouldn’t worry about taking the exams yet!

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How many questions on Exam P?

There are 30 questions on Exam P.

There is a 3 hour time limit, which means that you should answer each question in 6 minutes or less.

Of course, some questions are going to take longer than 6 and others will take less.

On exam day (and when you’re doing practice exams) I recommend that you watch when you start each question, add 6 minutes to the start time, and then write down that time on your exam paper so that you know when you need to stop.

It can be very dangerous to allow yourself to consistently go over 6 minutes per question on exam day.

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How long should I study for Exam P?

You may have heard the 300 hours rule for Exam P.

It’s not true!

I’ve already written about that here so that you know how long you really need to study for the exam.

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How to register for Exam P?

The registration deadline for Exam P is usually at the beginning of the month before you plan to write.

So for example, if you’re writing in July, the deadline will likely be somewhere in early June.

You can check the registration deadlines here for Exam P 2018.

To actually register, you can go here.

First you’ll register for the exam with the SOA. A few days later the SOA will send you an email with further details on how to sign up with Prometric (the CBT administrators). That’s when you’ll actually pick your exam date.

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Is Exam P or FM harder?


This is going to be different for everyone! It depends a lot on your overall understanding of the materials on each exam.

If you take enough time to fully prepare, you’ll probably feel that both are of comparable difficulty.

Calculus and algebra are very important to understand for Exam P which can be difficult to grasp for some people, and those topics are a bit more advanced.

So generally, if you’re unsure which to start with, FM would probably be the safer bet!

Most people find the FM topics easier to relate to their everyday life and can therefore conceptualize the topics easier.

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Soooo… I’m guessing you’re studying for Exam P. Was I right?

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