UFE Study Buddy or Group

Your UFE study partner or study group is one of the important choices you’ll have to make early on. As with much of social interaction, results can vary.

As discussed previously, I do recommend a study partner or study group.

My own study buddy experience is an example of how you could handle various kinds of situations. During SOA in June I lived with and also worked on a common schedule with a single study buddy. It worked very well throughout June at SOA because we lived in the same place and it was easy to write an exam or two after classes, take it up and then debrief on our own.

This changed during my August UFE study period when commuting became a factor and it was more difficult to reliably follow a schedule. Within a week I could tell it wasn’t working for me or my study buddy and we parted ways. What works in one situation doesn’t work in another so it’s best to cut your losses. I ended up doing simulations with miscellaneous friends for another week in order to align my study schedule with another group I was planning to join the following week. I ended up doing some exams on my own as well which was naturally stressing me out a bit. Finally, for week 3 and 4 I joined a group of three and we formed our group of four study group. For the last two weeks this worked extremely well and the four of us were successful.

So, here’s some things to consider before and during your study period.

  1. Are you all sticking to a schedule where everyone is happy and moving forward?
    Study partners or groups that are constantly late are wasting your time and energy. Buddies that are a bad influence on you by offering distractions, temptations, etc. may also not be suitable for this one month.
  2. Are you all in the same skill league in terms of writing simulations?
    When one writer is vastly superior to the others both of you are not benefiting. In one case the superior writer is probably not going to improve, in the other, you may be discouraged by the superior writer who is just above average whereas you should be comparing yourself to the average.
  3. Are you enjoying spending the day with your group or study buddy?
    You are probably spending upto 8 hours a day with this person or group, so you want this time to be as enjoyable as possible. 2011 National UFE Gold Medallist Juliana Yuen expressed the same sentiment: “My study group was also invaluable – we worked hard when we needed to, but we made sure to have fun too!”
  4. Are you getting good feedback from your study buddy/group or are you just being used for yours?
    Make sure that you are providing good feedback and getting it. The hard work is in debriefing but your partner needs to have some use by providing good feedback on exactly how your case reads to someone independent.
  5. Are you and your group improving at all? If not, what might be the cause?
    The purpose of the study partner or study group is to improve your simulations. If it’s been two weeks and you aren’t improving, find out quickly what the problem is. Are you debriefing badly? Is your group not providing any good feedback? Two weeks in is probably your last opportunity to fix the problem.
Fun Facts: The 2010 National UFE Gold Medallist Vicky Au studied with her boyfriend as part of her study group, who also made the honour roll. The 2011 National UFE Gold Medallist Juliana Yuen also had a boyfriend who wrote the 2009 UFE as her mentor. Not sure I’d recommend this path but maybe they’re on to something!

Past writers, please share in the comments: What are some of your study buddy experiences like? What’s your advice?

For this year’s writers: What are some of your questions or concerns about study buddies/groups?


  1. So I’ve been studying alone so far and I think it has been going well (my scores are always above the class average), however my program has provided us with personal debriefs on cases and peer feedback/access to some of our peers’ cases to help us debrief.
    Now I am concerned that in August, when I am truly on my own, I will stop improving/my ultimate performance will be harmed through lack of outside feedback on my cases. Should I be concerned? I didn’t join a group as I live far from where everyone has chosen to meet to study/other students, and as a mature student I have additional responsibilities that make my schedule less flexible.
    Any feedback would be much appreciated!!

    • Hey!

      That doesn’t sound like too bad of a problem. It sounds like you’re very capable to manage this on your own. Normally I would discourage it but let the results speak for themselves.

      Since things are going well, why not just mitigage the risk of going downhill over the UFE study period.

      Some suggestions:
      – Find someone you can exchange cases with online, this will give you the opportunity to compare and get some feedback
      – Instead of meeting up everyday like most people, why not just do it once a week? Most people write two cases per day so this will give you some external feedback on at least two cases per week. You can adjust as neccessary.
      – It wasn’t clear if you’ll keep receiving the feedback you mentioned, if not, you could try one of the UFE case marking services out there (1 or 2 cases a week) which will give you feedback. This comes at a cost, though.
      – Perhaps you can find a study partner that will be flexible, one day they’ll visit you and the next you can visit them.

      Remember that the UFE is different than SOA, make sure you receive some feedback from another person during the process so that you know the differences and are on the right track.

      Best of luck!

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