Monthly Archives: September 2012

Dealing with UFE Wait Anxiety

It’s been two weeks since the 2012 UFE finished. If you’re seeing this then chances are it hasn’t left your mind yet (it should be getting better by now!) and you’re still suffering from UFE wait anxiety.

Here’s a couple strategies that may help.

1. Confront the Issue

Speak to someone whose done this before and it’s behind them, not someone in it like you. You don’t want to take others down. Get it all out and try to reason through it with the other person. I’ve done my best to explain that most people think they did terribly on the UFE but if you need more then talk it out with someone and say everything you need to say. Agree that after this is done you’ll let it go for the moment.

2. Distract Yourself and Change Your Thought

This is my favourite method of dealing with this anxiety. Like breaking bad habits, you have to interrupt the habit/thought/anxiety and change the topic in your head. Don’t dwell on it like you normally would but change your thoughts to something else right away. The more you do this the more it’ll be put behind you. If you must, get someone else to help you and keep your mind off of it.

I’m not a professional in this area but I’ve seen these two things work well so if you haven’t already give it a try. Best of luck!

How fast do I need to type on the SOA or UFE?

It’s hard to quantify it exactly but you will need to be proficient on a computer. When you get to the stage of writing simulations you will spend about 1/3 of your time reading and outlining and 2/3 of the time writing. Your average simulation response could include 2-4 pages of text (if quants are not involved) for a 60-90 minute simulation. Some of that time will be spent thinking as well so keep that in mind.

I haven’t met many people who are slow typers anymore but if you are significantly below average this may be a good time to take up some activities to increase your typing speed. If you are average then you’ll be fine in my opinion. You don’t need any kind of above-average level of typing to do well on the UFE. Especially if you become a strong case writer and can get your thoughts down concisely.

Can I write the UFE without a lot of audit experience?

The answer is absolutely a YES.

With the introduction a few years ago to CA Training Offices (CATOs) the Chartered Accounting profession has opened up streams that don’t involve getting an public auditor’s license at the end. This also means that many CA candidates today may not be exposed to audit experience right off the bat.

The CA exams/process still has a large audit component attached to it though so you will have to know your stuff but you can do this without auditing clients. This information is found in your audit text books, your prep courses that you may take, numerous books about the UFE available out there and I’ll also be developing notes here as we go.

So, don’t panic, you can do it without direct audit experience and I know many that have. Don’t even let it bother you.

One Core Knowledge Exam (CKE) Study Strategy

Today’s post is dedicated more towards students studying for the CKE (Core Knowledge Exam) in Ontario which takes place Thursday January 3, 2013. Students from other provinces may also find this a useful strategy to measure themselves against so feel free to read on.

Many candidates will have recently started working for accounting firms or CA Training Offices (CATOs) and naturally, many of you will start thinking immediately about the grueling process ahead that will take you through a number of hurdles until you get to challenge the UFE.

Don’t panic just yet. Even if you’ve been out of school or forgotten a lot of your accounting courses.

Many students seem to have a bit of an over reaction and it’s important that you recognize from the beginning that studying for the UFE is a measured process that will take you through the next year with breaks to recover at various steps. It will often be unpleasant and involve a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t mean that the next year is going to be nothing but studying long nights. In fact, myself, and many others have a great time during this year, meet a lot of great people and I still look back fondly on my UFE year. So that said, let’s look at the CKE.

The CKE is entirely a multiple-choice exam and it tests all the “technical” therefore the purpose of the CKE is for you to have solid technical by the time you take the test in January. This, for some, is therefore their most difficult exam and I including myself in this group. I wasn’t very fond of the CKE because I hate memorizing technical (I’m not a big memorization guy) and it’s not an open-book test like the SOA or UFE so I had no choice. I also don’t like multiple-choice, I find accounting to be a little ambiguous sometimes and this kind of thing doesn’t lend itself to being tested by multiple choice. I’ve heard the better you are with technical the more difficult such multiple choice tests can be. Of course I could just be telling myself that to feel better. 🙂

So you’ve got three months left to get ready. What do you do?

1. Take a CKE Prep Course if you can

I highly recommend a CKE prep course which will cover everything you need to know for the CKE. I took the PASS course but the ICAO also offers their own course. These are starting very soon (if not yet) so go… like now.

If you choose not to take a course you’ll need to learn about the coverage of the CKE and create your own course. I will try to post something very soon about how you might do this and of course I’ll be offering up a lot of notes here myself as we go.

You should spend October, November and some of December brushing up on your technical. You’ll need to read, practice problems and understand technical. What I don’t recommend you do is practice writing MC exams yet during October, November and the first part of December.

The prep courses generally run every weekend (8 hours per weekend day) and depending how you are with your technical you might have to do a night or two a week of additional review, especially come November and December where you may also want to devote a full week or two of evenings studying.

2. Practice writing CKE Mock Exams

There are a limited number of CKE Mock Exams out there. You want to save them for the few weeks prior to the CKE Exam.

The following CKE Mock Exam packages are the ones I’m aware of:

  • Densmore CKE Practice Package (~600 questions) (Or 6 exams total) – These questions are, on average, considered slightly easier than the real CKE.
  • Norgrove Package (~225 questions) (Or just over 2 exams total) – These questions are, on average, considered very difficult but helpful in studying and learning in depth.
  • Dunlop CKE Question (~300 questions) (Or 3 full exams) – These questions are, on average, considered the most equivalent to the actual CKE.
* Note that I’m basing this on my experience on the 2010 versions of these publications so the questions/difficulty have changed since. If you’ve had a different experience more recently please give us some comments to let us know!

As you can see, there is only enough out there for about 11 full 100 question exams. This is plenty but if you start doing these exams right now or before December you may not have enough left to judge how you are performing after you’ve relearned all your technical. So therefore I recommend working these into your December study strategy and not before! You will be surprised how well you remember most of the questions after you do them.

What about Christmas/New Years?

Sorry to tell you, but this is one of those sacrifices you will have to make this year. Chances are, that unless you’re really feeling great, you’ll need to do some studying over the Christmas/New Years holidays. Doesn’t mean you can’t take some days off in there but it will weigh on your mind this year.

So congratulations on embarking on this exciting year. I’ll be around here at every step and I hope you’ll drop in and make UFE Blog part of your study routine. Feel free to drop me a line or follow me on Twitter or Facebook where I’ll be posting as well.

Do I have to remember everything from University in order to write the UFE?

The answer is to some extent yes, and to some extent no.

Yes – many of the University topics you would have learned for accounting are in some way covered by the UFE. You can see the specific topic coverage in the UFE competency map (This version is for the 2012 UFE but a new one will be out soon and should be similar).

 No – In University you would have likely learned them in far more detail than is covered in the UFE. Your responses in University would have also likely had to be to a higher degree of accuracy than they are on the UFE. 

If you are writing in 2013, you’ve got almost a year now to get yourself ready for the UFE. Step 1 is to review technical and give yourself a solid technical base because come next summer your entire focus will be on learning to write and debrief simulations and perfect your ability to write a solid response to a business case.

I’ll tell you right now: the number one fear of UFE writers is that they are not technically sound. This feeling seems to persist even up to the UFE and many students spend too much time on technical close to the UFE and not enough time writing simulations and debriefing them properly.

I’ll be working on some technical guides as we lead up to the CKE and next summer so keep coming back as we continue our march to the 2013 UFE.

What do previous writers think? How much technical from University did you need and to what extent?

UFE 2013 – Welcome to the next cohort of UFE writers

While we’ll get back to UFE 2012 closer to the results, 2012 writers are welcome to participate on Facebook, Twitter or in the Community Forums for their UFE fix as a lot of the uninitiated will drop by with questions. However, as I’ve said before, I recommend you just get away from the UFE and enjoy normal life for the time being.

One of our readers has already pointed out that the countdown to the next UFE has begun so without further ado…

To all those who will be challenging the 2013 UFE, welcome to UFE Blog! 

We will be light on posts here for this week and possibly the next while I take care of other aspects of this site that have been ignored. After which I’ll get back to regularly posting. I’ll be starting to focus on the technical side of things for 2013, writers in Ontario will first have to face the CKE and outside of Ontario, writers should begin building up their technical accounting base for UFE 2013.

UFE 2013 : September 10, 11 and 12.

As always, you’re welcome to send in questions or start discussions on our Facebook, FacebookTwitter or in the Community Forums which are elements of this site that I’ll keep trying to build over the next year. I’ll be available on those in the meantime.

Back soon.

– UFE Blogger

So you think you failed the UFE

Not surprisingly, there’s been a large jump of people coming here for hope the last two days because they think that they failed the UFE or there is no way they passed the UFE.

“I can’t stop thinking about the UFE”

“I think I failed the UFE”

“What if you bomb day X of the UFE”

“NC on UFE”

I could go on. A lot of people feel this way after the UFE. Even Gold Medallists feel this way sometimes after the UFE. It may be the biggest exam of your life and it’s normal to feel like you blew it. 

Here’s the goal: I can’t stop you from thinking about the UFE but the feeling does go away in a week or two as you get back to normal life. Unfortunately it also does comes back near the results which are released on November 30, 2012. I can’t promise it will be good for everybody but most people feel bad about some or all of the days and I can certainly assure you that based on the traffic on this site this still remains true. In the mean time, you don’t want to spend the next two months constantly worried so the best thing you can do is just avoid the topic. The less you discuss it the further removed you’ll feel and it’ll help you keep your mind off it. I’ll echo Krupo over on his blog, it’s time to do all that stuff you’ve been putting off all summer! Do yourself a favour and start this weekend 🙂

And.. If any previous UFE writers have any tips for this year’s cohort on getting through the next few months please do share!

What happens with your UFE response now?

So you’ve made it through the UFE. What happens between now and December with your paper?

All the simulations from around Canada (and Bermuda) are sent to the marking centre which is in Montreal. Somewhere from 150-200 (171 last year) markers are gathered at the Evaluation Centre to review and mark the responses. Markers are selected based on “marking experience, motivation, academic achievement, work experience, personal references, and regional representation.” (2011 UFE Report, p. 16)

Before live marking begins, the following occurs:

  • Board members, leaders and assistant leaders attend a five-day training session and meeting to review the evaluation guides, review select responses and make revisions to the evaluation guides.
  • Phase 1: markers get familiarized with the evaluation guides on actual responses and then collectively review the results. This phase is intended to make sure all markers are very familiar with the issues in the simulation.
  • Phase 2: markers perform an extended test marking of another set of responses to establish congruence.
Live marking now begins.

The simulations are marked by English-speaking and French-speaking teams in mid-late October. Each simulation is assigned marking teams between 16 and 18 people (in 2011). Lastly, for simulations that are considered “borderline” the marking is performed in late October.

During the marking process, statistics are maintained of each markers assignments and leaders and assistant leaders perform cross marking and monitoring. This is all intended to ensure that responses are marked fairly, consistently and with a high level of quality.

Each response is marked independently by two markers. If there is a discrepancy, a leader or assistant leader performs another marking to determine the final result.

Based on the results of Level 1 and 2, for borderline responses, leaders and assistant leaders mark for secondary indicators at that point for Level 3.

 

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a pretty rigorous process to me so you can rest confident that you’re exam will get a fair look and is in capable hands.

 

Congratulations on Completing the 2012 UFE

Congratulations to all my friends writing and to all the readers who today completed the 2012 UFE!!

For most of you it’s been quite a marathon and for many it’s not the first time. You’ve challenged a very tough exam and you can be proud of that. I hope you’ll take tonight and the rest of the week/weekend off and celebrate. I’ll have a little more content about what happens next coming up over the weekend so check back then.

In the mean time, if you’ve used UFE Blog this year, please help a UFE Blogger out by filling out our 2012 UFE Blog Survey.

And to all a good night!

UFE Thursday

UFE Thursday was the most difficult day for me. I was already tired from the previous two days and in 2010 I felt like every indicator wanted procedures and I was just sick of writing them. I was also worried about tax because I felt like there were so few indicators and I’d done poorly on all of them so far.

These kinds of things will be on your mind today or previous days. You’ll probably be the most tired today from the three day marathon and you’d have had time to reflect on your performance to-date. Everyday is 1/3 of the marks so don’t forget that today is just as important as each of the previous two days. Your memory is probably not 100% accurate from the previous two days so don’t dwell on it and try to start fresh today and maintain your approach strategy. I wouldn’t change too much now.

Almost there. Sweet relief is mere hours away now. Good luck today!

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