SDM - Spring 2023 - Exam Syllabus is up now

CFE - Strategic Decision Making Exam - Spring/Fall 2023 (

Here are my detailed comments for the SDM exam:

  • Removed Objective 5 (Organizational Behavior textbook + Pyramid Principle + Bias material) is all gone now
  • A great new book “Understanding Michael Porter” that replaces some (but not all) of the Strategic Management textbook and replaces the Competitive Advantage textbook. This new book is awesome and well-written with great examples – thanks SOA for adding this book!
  • Strategic Management textbook is now in for only Ch. 6, 7, and 9 – Ch. 6 is new this sitting (on Corporate-level strategies)
  • On the Damodaran on Valuation book, Ch. 11 has been dropped and Ch. 15 has been added in. (Ch. 15 on Valuing Synergy used to be a study note on CFEFD – so great if you are coming from CFEFD to this exam!)
  • The MCEV study note has been dropped – always an awkward study note … so happy that it has now been dropped
  • Objective 3 – Data, Models, and Decisions + 194 study note are all still in – i.e. no changes on this objective
  • Objective 4 – Business Dynamics – only a slight change on Ch. 15 pages included
  • Ultimately it was a reduction in pages as expected due to the shortening of the time to a 3.5 hour exam.

As mentioned elsewhere, I know a few students are thinking the exam will be “easier” because it has been shortened … but realize that you are still competing against very good students, so the exam will NOT be easier to pass (unless for some reason the SOA really lowered the pass mark). And for SDM in particular, you are competing against the very best students as almost all have passed two exams already on the Finance track … so SDM is harder to pass than ERM or CFEFD.

Feel free to reach out to me at with any questions on this exam.

I have posted links to all SOA SDM study notes (they are ALL available online) on a separate GoActuary thread.


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