While most of the CA students employed with the large accounting firms or training offices will probably have an established relationship with one of the large prep programs out there, many CA students in the increasing number of CATOs may not yet have established training programs.
This post doesn’t serve as a review of each of the prep courses, only to inform you of what’s out there. I took PASS for CKE and Densmore for SOA and UFE prep so my personal knowledge is limited to those and I felt each provided sufficient and thorough training for each of the exams. I hope others students will share their experiences in the comments. You can also gain additional insight over at the forums of myCASite.
There are three main prep courses around that get the most attention.
- Densmore Consulting Services offers the Densmore Prep Program. I took this program for SOA and UFE prep and it offers an excellent introduction to case writing as well as the emotional aspect of writing these exams. ($1,650 and up)
- Professional Accounting Supplementary School (PASS). I took this course for CKE but not for SOA or UFE so I can tell you that Mr. Walfish has strong technical and offers a good course. ($1,675 for the comprehensive UFE course)
- In Ontario, the ICAO offers the UFE Finalist Preparation Program from Mr. Norgrove. I have no personal knowledge of how these courses are. ($800)
These courses are expensive and will cost you into the thousands of dollars. Is it worth it? I know people who have passed the exam without the courses so it is possible. However, my feeling is that the courses do provide significant value. They will save you time in learning to write cases, will give you more confidence and I would go as far as to say that they may make the difference between passing and failing. Given that you are paying significant amounts to write these exams and devoting significant time to them I would say that if possible, you should take a prep course.
What are your experiences with prep courses? Do share in the comments!