The NEAS Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) On-Line Courses
NEAS offers on-line courses for VEE credit: microeconomics, macroeconomics, corporate finance, regression analysis, and time series. All five courses are approved for VEE credit by the SOA and CAS.
The on-line courses can be combined with college courses to meet VEE requirements. You may have a college course in microeconomics but not macroeconomics, or you may have credit for regression analysis but not time series. Combine your college course with an on-line course for VEE credit.
Each course has 24 modules and a two hour multiple choice final exam. The courses are given four times a year. See Schedule for registration and exam dates.
Please register in the session you are taking the Final Exam.
The student projects for regression analysis and time series depend on the methods taught in the courses. You may prefer to do the readings, homework assignments, and final exam before the student project. Our statistics faculty provides guidance throughout the year.
During the week of exams, the final exams are: Monday, Microeconomics; Tuesday, Regression Analysis; Wednesday, Corporate Finance; Thursday, Macroeconomics; Friday, Time Series.
The NEAS on-line courses are rigorously graded; VEE credit is contingent on completing 80% of the homework assignments and a grade of B- or better on the final exam. Statistics courses also require completion of a student project. The NEAS courses are intended for candidates :
- who have no local college offering courses on economics, corporate finance (with option pricing), regression, and time series to out-side students
- who work during the day and cannot attend a college course
- who want clear syllabi, so they can complete the course as efficiently as possible
- who study both at home and at the office, and want material available on-line
- who live outside of North America and do not have other VEE opportunities.
You may participate in the courses before registering. The discussion boards and course materials are available even to candidates who do not register for the courses.
Please register in the session you are taking the final exam.
Do not send in homework or projects until you have registered. All registration is on-line. Check the NEAS website www.neas-seminars.com, click on VEE, click on the online registration bar to reach the online registration form. Check our web site for registration deadlines.
Payment is by check or credit card and you may defer payment until the registration deadline. The courses are quick-paced. Buy the textbooks and begin the homework when the course begins, even if you defer payment until the end of the course.
Tuition for the on-line courses is $295 for the first course, $245 for the second course, and $195 for the third through fifth courses. The tuition covers administration expenses and fees of our independent instructors. If you have already taken an on-line course, your next course is $245; if you have taken two courses, further courses are $195 apiece. The courses need not be in the same semester or year. Employer discounts are:
- Employers with 5 to 9 candidates in one semester: The first or second course for each candidate is $245;
the third course is $195.
- Employers with 10+ candidates in one semester: Tuition for all courses is $195.
The on-line courses are priced strictly at cost: office managers to handle administrative matters and academic advisors to write discussion board postings, grade homework assignments, form final exams, provide guidance for student projects for the statistics courses, and answer student questions. We work with employers wherever candidates take on-line courses to arrange for proctored final exams. Without the help of numerous insurers, we would not be able to offer the courses at the prices that we do. We are particularly thankful to the actuaries and other professionals who have volunteered to proctor exams, sometimes even for candidates they do not know.
For candidates in low-income countries, we provide VEE tuition discounts similar to the SOA exam discounts. Candidates in Eastern Europe, Africa, and parts of Latin America have difficulty with the VEE requirements, since they lack the breadth of college courses available in North America, Western Europe, and large Asian cities. If you are receiving discounts for the SOA exams, email the NEAS office for discounts on the on-line courses.
The textbooks are available at bookstores and internet booksellers (amazon, barnesandnoble); we have also arranged for the Actuarial Bookstore to carry the textbooks. In the U.S., the texts arrive within a few days of ordering them. Allow an additional week for mailing outside North America. At many employers, candidates can use library copies of the textbooks. Please check our web site www.neas-seminars for the most current textbooks.
Each course has 24 modules; you may choose a four month course or an accelerated two month course. Each module has five types of postings on the discussion board:
- Assigned readings from the textbook
- Illustrative test questions and practice problems
- Explanations, intuition, and responses to questions
- Insurance applications
- Homework assignments
The textbook readings specify the pages to read and formulas to know. Each section is summarized, so you know what to focus on. The discussion board notes the topics and formulas tested on the exam; no material is unexpected. For each course, our faculty sift through the textbook chapters, making sure all topics needed for VEE credit are covered, specifying which formulas must be memorized for the final exam, and explaining the types of problems on the exam.
Each course has about two hundred illustrative test questions and practice problems on the discussion boards along with explanations of the answers and discussions of related topics. The final exam questions and problems are similar to those on the discussion boards. The VEE courses teach the material; no exam problems are unexpected. If you master the material, you should pass the course.
The regression analysis and time series courses require student projects that apply statistical methods to real data. You may choose a project template from the NEAS web site or design your own project. The project templates apply the statistical concepts and procedures to actuarial tasks, such as pricing, reserving, solvency monitoring, interest rate generators, and marketing. You have your choice of project, and you may select a sample data set provided by NEAS or you may use your own data. The statistical procedures are explained in the textbook readings and the NEAS discussion board postings. The projects are supervised by the NEAS faculty, who explain any procedures that are not clear to you.
You may also design your own project. Select data from the world wide web or use data from a client or employer. Past student projects have been drawn from hundreds of topics: airline vacation travel, movie ticket sales, migration, sports statistics, weather patterns, birth rates, DVD sales, and voting records. The NEAS faculty will work with you to ensure the project meets the SOA / CAS requirements.
The 24 modules for each course are geared to a four month semester paced like a college course or an accelerated two month course. You choose the study times you wish, adapting the course to your work week or study habits. Some candidates work best at a set rate; others want to finish the readings early to allow more time for exam preparation. Please remember to register in the session you plan to take the final exam. The pacing is totally up to the student. Textbook readings and homework assignments are posted on the discussion forum. Candidates in different countries and time zones can access the same course.
Homework assignments may be sent in periodically, in packets of modules 1-6, 7-12, 13-18, and 19-24, or in any form that fits your study schedule. Most students wait and send the homework at the end of the session when it is complete. The homework assignments are an integral part of the course. If you pass the final exam but have not turned in 80% of the homework assignments, you receive an incomplete, which is changed to a passing grade when the homework is completed. If you defer the exam (or you do not receive a score of 70% or higher), you may take the exam again in a subsequent semester at no additional charge.
The student projects for the statistics courses require mastery of the underlying regression analysis and time series procedures. They may be completed in the final section of the course, which is geared to explaining and directing the projects. The modules at the end of each course deal with similar applications of the statistical theory and methods to practical scenarios. The student projects may also be completed after the final exam, letting you write the homework assignments, study for and pass the final exam, and them complete the student project for VEE credit.
Each course has a 2 hour, 50 question, final exam, administered by your proctor. Most candidates take 1½ to 2 minutes per question. The questions test whether you have read the text and done the homework assignments. Each question is peer-reviewed by two instructors, and questions challenged by a candidate are reviewed by non-NEAS faculty. Our top concern is ensuring that the exam is fair to candidates who study adequately.
The discussion forum has comprehensive sets of practice exam questions for each course. Actual exam questions are similar to the sample questions and practice problems on the discussion boards. All material tested is specified in the postings. If you do the work and read the text, you should pass the exam.
The final exam is proctored by an actuary or other professional in the following order:
- SOA or CAS Fellow / Associate or an accredited foreign actuary
- A member of a society using professional exams (e.g., CFA, CMA, CPA, CPCU, CLU)
- A corporate officer or manager, or a teacher or university instructor We email results about 4 weeks after the exam week; exams mailed from overseas may take longer. VEE REQUIREMENTS
- VEE has three subjects (economics, corporate finance, and statistics).
- Proctor information should be entered online as you register or entered online as an update to your registration before the registration deadline. NEAS emails the final exam and blank answer keys to the proctor shortly before the exam date. Proctor will be emailed an information letter shortly after the registration deadline. If you cannot find a proctor, but you live in (or can travel to) a major US or Canadian city where other students are taking the exam, NEAS can try to arrange for the same proctor to supervise your exam as well. We can not guarantee that we can match you with a proctor.
- Economics covers micro- and macro-economics. We give separate micro- and macro-economics courses so you may join a college micro course with the on-line macro course (or vice versa).
- The statistics requirement covers regression analysis and time series. We give separate courses so you may join a college regression course with the on-line time series course (or vice versa).
To receive VEE Credit, complete and submit the form on the SOA web site. The NEAS courses are pre-approved for VEE credit, but you still must submit the SOA form. The on-line courses are calibrated to fulfill the VEE requirements. Mastery of the material is geared to the level required for VEE. Candidates who have not taken the VEE subjects in college may find the on-line courses an efficient way to obtain VEE credit.The on-line courses can be combined with college courses for VEE credit, such as a college regression course and the on-line time series course. Approval codes are on http://eande.soa.org/vee/standardized-exams.html.
The on-line courses are ideal for working actuaries. Actuaries constantly weigh alternatives: how much time to spend on exam study vs VEE courses? The on-line courses help you master the course material as efficiently as possible. We specify the textbook pages for each module, we summarize what each section covers, and we provide illustrative questions and practice problems for each topic, so that you can study productively. Our discussion boards provide immediate access to the NEAS faculty and other students enrolled in the courses, allowing you to quickly clarify items you don’t understand. If other students are taking the same on-line course at your employer, you can work on the homework together, though you must submit your own paper. (Employers with five or more students receive tuition discounts, reflecting the reduction in our costs.)
Ideally, you should complete the VEE courses by the time you take Courses M and C (Exams 3 and 4). These two exams are difficult; it is easier to study for the VEE courses while taking the first two exams. Passing VEE courses gives you extra incentive to pass the actuarial exams.
The work needed for these courses depends on your background. If you read the Wall Street Journal regularly at work, you will find that the Journal editorial pages echo the Landsburg and Barro textbooks. These courses give you VEE credit while deepening your understanding of political and economic issues. Corporate finance is particularly useful for candidates working with financial or investment tasks. The course material is an excellent introduction to the modern portfolio theory and options pricing on the actuarial exams. The statistics courses are similar to SOA Course C. The VEE courses cover statistical models and are excellent preparation for SOA course C.
New England Actuarial Seminars, Inc. PO Box 315 / Sharon, MA 02067 Telephone: 781-784-0170 • Facsimile: 781-784-820 •
Website: www.neas-seminars.com. E-mail: email@example.com