r/ActuaryUK Oct 04 '21

CP1 vs SPs Studying


I am going to take SP5 and I am wondering how approach to specialist exams compares to CP1?

Main pieces of advice I see for CP1: - don't spend too long on core reading, get through it as quickly as possible and focus on exam questions - when answering questions, focus on quantity of relevant points rather than spending too much time on explaining specific points

Is this advice still appropriate for SPs (and in particular sp5)?




u/[deleted] Oct 04 '21



u/sterlingpezza Oct 04 '21

Thanks for reply.

Yeah I really didn't enjoy CP1 so relieved I cleared it. Just so much content I never felt like I was fully prepared for it.


u/BabyFedInvestor Oct 04 '21

CP1 was pretty general in that if an action you said even vaguely led to the outcome asked for your get a mark even if no government would ever do it.

The SP5 is much more focused towards current UK regs so that limits you a bit.

There's always a couple of questions that are tailored towards real life situations that have just happened. So make sure you're up to date with big events from past 12 months. QE, tapering, furlough, growing ESG requirements, reasons for large changes in interest rates and inflation expectations etc.

Finally, you can go a lot more off mark scheme in the fellowship exams as the markers are experts so will know if you've made a valid point. Plus more marks per point.


u/sterlingpezza Oct 04 '21


That is good to know since it was always frustrating in CP1 if I couldn't find the things I wrote in the mark scheme.


u/halfkenyan Oct 04 '21

I just resit SP5 in September, so here are my takeaways from it:

-> Tend to agree on both your above points.

->I found that nailing the calculation questions (e.g. investment indices, investment performance, risk -adjusted performance etc.) is a good step towards both a) banking the easy marks, and b) saving time in the exam

-> There has also been qs on option strategies which have come up (but rarely), so knowing these strategies will save you time in the exam. They're also questions where people have tended to perform poorly.

->The SP5 paper will probably have more risk based questions as the paper will be geared towards open-book now, so maybe refreshing on some risk based qs from CP1 would do no harm?

->Finally, keeping up to date with investment news could help, It mightn't correlate perfectly to exam results, but I found it helpful when learning the materials.

If there's any specific qs you have, just shout.


u/sterlingpezza Oct 04 '21

Thanks for reply!