New ASA Modules

Building critical skills at the best time Leslie Fausher


The message from actuarial employers—and employers across professions, for that matter—is clear: Actuaries need more than just technical prowess. The pathway to obtaining an ASA always has addressed communication and other leadership skills through module content and written-answer assessments, but future actuaries need more in those areas—and they need to start building those skills earlier in their career journey.

Enter the new Pre-Actuarial Foundations and Actuarial Science Foundations modules. These modules act as “capstone” experiences for the Society of Actuaries’ (SOA’s) new micro-credentials, combining technical elements from prerequisite exams with the concepts of emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) and adaptability (AQ).

These skills are critical to the success of future actuaries

EQ and AQ both support success in building relationships, communicating effectively, managing challenges and solving problems. In today’s environment, raw intelligence (IQ) isn’t enough for individual contributors or leaders.

These modules are different

We don’t learn to be more emotionally aware in the same way that we learn how to apply a formula or analyze data. EQ is personal. It takes self-evaluation, critical reflection and individualized planning. It takes artful depiction of realistic personalities dealing with realistic challenges. It also takes candidates’ willingness to share their own stories to benefit from one another’s diverse perspectives and experiences.

These modules still require demonstration of skills

Although candidates will see new types of content, they still will check their knowledge through end-of-module tests and interactive scenarios that reinforce learning. And the modules still will culminate with a graded written assessment for skill demonstration.

Additional skill building doesn’t have to mean a longer pathway

Increasing our focus on EQ and AQ awareness has not lengthened the journey to obtaining an ASA. We have balanced the addition of the two new modules with the removal of content and three required assessments from Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) course.

Candidates have more support

As candidates work through these new modules and the existing ones in the FAP course, they have the option of joining the Learning Companion. The Learning Companion is an app for mobile devices, designed to enhance learning through support and engagement. Candidates receive just-in-time supplemental content, personalized to their experience in the modules. Alongside their peers who joined a module at about the same time, candidates can reach out to others in real time via a chat function. Initial engagement through this tool has far exceeded expectations, so we look forward to ongoing development that will enhance the candidate experience further.

Do you have more questions about these or any of the modules in the ASA pathway? Reach out to us at

Leslie Fausher is interim director, e-Learning, for the Society of Actuaries in Schaumburg, Illinois.

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