The Road Ahead to UFE 2013

Chances are that most people are hitting their busy season now so maybe you haven’t had much time to focus on UFE recently. That’s okay and don’t worry about it. It’s too early to start stressing about that. Here’s a bit of a high level roadmap of the course you could take.

January – Brush up on your technical, this is a good time to start reviewing your tax that you probably blew off for CKE (if you’re in Ontario). Nothing too heavy but take some time on the weekends if you can and review for a few hours here and there. If it’s just not in the cards right now, don’t worry about it. If you’re the type that needs to do something, review technical because later on you won’t have nearly as much time for this.

February – Same as January.

March – Same as February, review technical, get it solidified in your head.

April – In my opinion, April is a good time to start looking at case approach and learning the basics of cases. In Ontario this means start with SOA cases. Chances are that if you’re enrolled in one of the big UFE prep programs you’ll be forced into this anyway around this time. This doesn’t mean hitting cases full steam. Do one every weekend, learn from the process. I’ll post some material on this in early April to help you out.

May – Continue practicing cases, one a week is good recommendation. Keep brushing up on any technical that these cases may expose.

June – In Ontario, you’ll have SOA which will keep you busy busy, and you’ll find yourself writing 5 SOA cases a week on average. This is a lot of cases so this is where you’ll really get your method down. Outside Ontario, I’m unfortunately not familiar with the programs, but I imagine you’ll start writing cases more often too.

July – You’ll write less cases in Ontario as you wait for your results. Good time for one last brush up on technical, there will be almost no time in August for technical so finalize it here. Go back to one or two cases a week and learn what a UFE case looks like.

August – August is when you go hard on UFE cases. Most people take the four weeks prior to the UFE an do eight hour days Monday to Friday writing simulations. These will be days of writing and debriefing simulations, you might have some time to review technical but it’s not a good time to study heavy technical so keep that in mind.

September 10 – 12, 2013 – UFE

And that’s it for the average candidate. Those who are anxious can relax a little, plenty of time remains.


  1. I would second your advice on technical. Especially for SOA writers, this winter/spring is really your best time to brush up, especially in your weak areas. You should really start (and mostly finish – one of my mistakes) preparing your “UFE Bible”, which has very brief notes on everything you need to know. I personally tried both the typed and handwritten on cue cards approaches, and would recommend the latter. The cue cards keep you concise, and it’s easy to add notes to a cue card when you screw up on a case, but having to edit your typed version and reprint is a big hassle that you won’t have time for at SOA. In general, you will not have time to study technical outside of SOA classes, and SOA is by far the more technical of the two case exams. So you want to be ready to go when you arrive. One last advantage to the cue cards- when exam time is approaching, they make it easier to throw out one-off topics that you don’t have time for. You get your stack down to a dozen or two, and you make sure you know them front and back.

    The only differing advice I would offer is for July, at least for Ontario writers. I didn’t do a damn thing (study related) between SOA and Densmore UFE prep (other than the cases they recommended). Sure, review your technical in the evenings if you want, but if you can take the time off work, use it to just relax. August is so intense, I feel like I would have teetered into burnout without that month off, not thinking about stuff. It gives you a fresh start. Furthermore, you won’t needlessly burn cases when you’re not fully motivated/in study mode. Even without doing cases in July, I ran out of recent UFE cases in August.

    Sarah (UFE ’12)

    • Hey Sarah,

      Thanks a lot for sharing your story and tips! I agree about July, if you’re in Ontario you’ll be all cased out after SOA (and waiting for results anyway) so it’s a good time to take a bit of a break. August, as Sarah mentioned, gets pretty crazy. If you need to do something to stay comfortable in July, it’s a good time to look at a few UFE cases and see how they differ from SOA but you’ll have some time at the start of August to do that as well. Many people will spend the beginning of August in prep programs anyway so don’t feel guilty taking July off.

      Thanks again Sarah!

  2. Experience to the UFE studies may vary significantly from person to person. For Quebec writers, most will pass their graduate diploma in chartered accountancy by end of July, given it is a requirement by the OCAQ to write the UFE in Qubec. Most will have the same technical knowledge by then, regardless of the university they will attend, regardless of the language of studies.

    The biggest difference is the month of August, like any other CA writers Canada-wide. My advice for the summer, manage your time because you still need to have fun. You need to enjoy what you do. You don’t want to study late at night or in the weekend. To put it simple, basically in August, you are writing each week a year of UFE, and debrief it… maybe some technical review but not so much. You don’t need to burn yourself out.

    When not studying, go out and relax. When studying, do it right, do it once. The UFE is hard, but very manageable. And, take a week off between the end of the Graduate CA program and the beginning of the UFE studies… it helps.

    My advice: Have fun, manage your time, and don’t/never despair.

  3. The CASB students will definitely have to follow a different to route to study for UFE as most will have to pass Module around July I think.

    Personally, being a CASB student and a repeat writer. I think that CASB student should not worry about technical too much.None of my friends and I touched anything related to UFE before June. All my friends passed on the first attempt.

    Even as a second time writer, I never studied before July but did follow what Densmore recommend in his book, UFE success.

  4. Thank you so much for all your advice! So helpful!! And you are inspiring everyone on the road to CA! Please keep it up!

    • Glad I could help. Thanks for dropping in and helping make this a success. One of my goals was to make this more of a ‘community’ so that’s easier when others are lending their advice and experience!

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