CA Students love to study technical. I don’t know why, but it seems that when a bad case is written, or in almost every other situation surrounding the UFE, everyone just wants to hide away somewhere and study technical. My best guess as to why is that either people feel lazy or just perpetually weak in technical. I say lazy because it’s easier to sit around and read technical rather than do the hard work of writing another case and debriefing it properly. You can convince yourself that your are still studying and being productive this way, which you are, but it’s not optimal.
This is a mistake and the level of technical required for the UFE is exaggerated and for the more technical subjects you have the Handbook available to use. Except for taxation, I did not study anymore technical after the CKE except for the simulations and the occasional reference lookup. If you still insist on having something, I recommend (it’s the only one I used so this is not an opinion about the other material out there) Densmore’s Competency Map Study Notes which cover the material in appropriate detail for the UFE.
What You Should be Doing
- Write simulations! Lots of them. The UFE puts you in business simulations (with a heavy tilt to accounting) and it is largely a writing exam. The best way to get good at this and reach competence on the UFE is to practice lots of exams and debrief them. This is hard work and there is no avoiding it.
- For highly technical issues, you should be aware of what triggers these issues in the simulation, roughly where you can find the issue in the Handbook and then use The Handbook to find the criteria. Finding the triggers is often the toughest part and the only way to develop this is through writing and debriefing lots of cases.
- The solutions to the UFE Simulations contain all the technical you need to know so don’t spend a lot of time going even more in depth after debriefing. These are the solutions already! They don’t need anymore from you in order to reach competency.
- Many important things on the UFE to reach competence such as writing procedures, ranking issues and identifying PQ indicators come with practice and cannot be studied. Don’t overlook these, so I’ll repeat one last time, write lots of simulations!
When it’s okay to study technical
- For taxation related issues. Taxation is extremely rule based and the tax act is hard to navigate. It may be prudent to work some taxation technical into your study schedule if this is a weak area of yours. Keep in my that it’s only part of your entire study schedule so don’t go overboard. You don’t want to have the best taxation response in the world at the expense of all the others.
- For PMR, You should have a general awareness of a broad range of accounting issues so if you don’t even know what non-monetary transactions, capital leases or financial instruments are then you won’t even identify the issues and get NAs. I still recommend you start by writing cases but if you are getting a lot of NAs at this point you are missing issues and will need to brush up on technical.
Chances are that the UFE is a different kind of exam from your University days so it’s important to change the way you play the game.
Let us know in the comments: How have you been studying and do you have any other advice that’s worked?