Monthly Archives: December 2013

CKE Discussion and Questions

As we get closer to the CKE on January 6, 2014 I’m sure many of you writing will have questions and things to discuss. I won’t be adding a heck of a lot of new stuff as the CKE has been pretty well covered in previous posts so I’ll leave this at the top for you to use the comments to discuss and ask questions.

UFE Blog’s CKE reading list…

As I’ve mentioned before, the CKE can be the toughest exam for many of you. It was for me. You’re most nervous because it’s the first ‘professional exam’ and it’s a very technical exam so of course there’s a lot to know. Keep it in perspective – most people pass and worst case, you do have another chance in May.

Do keep studying but do take a little time for the holidays. Happy Holidays to all.

Your UFE Questions Answered ebook release

I’ve been working behind the scenes on putting this together for a while and today I’m happy to announce the release of the UFE Blog ebook titled Your UFE Questions Answered. I’ve put together this resource from my experiences mentoring CA candidates over the years as well as the interactions I’ve had through this blog.

The book consists of answers to 50 of the most common questions about the UFE in a casual, easy to read format. It’s a PDF ebook so throw it up on any computer or device and go. This is a fantastic way to get up to speed quickly for the 2014 UFE.

Your UFE Questions Answered

I’ve put hundreds of hours into UFE Blog from the beginning and all the content and study guides here remain free, and always will. As this ebook took considerable effort to put together, I’m considering it a premium product and it will be sold on UFE Blog. I’ve made it deliberately very affordable at half the price of similar books because I want the average candidate to be able to read it. For the early birds, the first 100 copies will be selling at a further discount.

Sounds like something interesting?

Then find out more by clicking here.

What kind of marks to expect in your CKE mock exams

When I wrote the CKE and every year since I’ve seen similar mock marks so this post comes with a good bit of experience.

What kind of marks you should expect on your mocks before the CKE?

As most of you know, the CKE cutoff marks are not released publicly so nobody really knows what the passing grade is so of course this is just an educated guess based on my experience I’ve mentioned above.

By the time the CKE rolls around, in late December, you’re performance, on average, will be in the 40-60% range. This may seem low but it’s what I’ve consistently see on the Densmore, Dunlop and PASS exams. The Norgrove are a different story and I don’t include this because they are at a higher level of difficulty and should be used for a different purpose than grading yourself.

I’ve known people scoring in the 50-60% category before the CKE achieve 1st decile so I’m confident if you’re in the 60%+ area you’re in very good shape to achieve 1st decile.

I hope that gives everybody some perspective and prevents some panic as you start doing more and more mock exams leading up to the real thing. The CKE, for many, is the most nerve wracking exam so hang in there and keep at it but don’t forget to stay sane and not go overboard either.

What kind of marks are you seeing on your mocks?

 

You did not pass the UFE? … Some thoughts and perspective from an experienced UFE coach on what to do next

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by Charles Zane, MBA, CPA, CA.

Anger, disappointment, loss of confidence and self-worth are among thoughts that one may go through when there is an unsuccessful UFE result. It’s not a fun day to go through. It’s not fair. Unfortunately, not everyone can pass the exam. It’s part of the profession and the examination process.

Fortunately, it is not the end of the world. As I mentioned in my blog post a few days ago, the world will not stop to turn on results day.  Your personal and professional life will move on and you can bounce back and re-focus.

Below is a list of 3 things that an unsuccessful UFE writer needs to consider following the receipt of their result:

(1) Reflect on the UFE process and the importance of the designation

There may be a number of reasons why the 2013 UFE did not work out. It is possible that you were not focused enough, had the wrong study buddy or group, had a bad day at the exam or simply had too much pressure, whether from yourself or others. Whatever the reason(s) may be, it is important to have an honest assessment of what went right and what went wrong. This is the first important step in order to achieve success on next year’s UFE. Also, it is important to also remind yourself of why you did the UFE in the first place: obtain the CA (now CPA, CA) designation – a very valuable and respected designation in the business world.

(2) Strongly consider ordering a PAR and think about the cost/benefit of a re-read

There are different schools of thought about ordering a PAR report. Some believe it will not be very helpful as you will be a different writer in 2014. Others, like myself, believe a PAR could be helpful to pinpoint areas of strengths and weaknesses on your performance at the UFE. Although a PAR is considered useful, it is important that this benefit will likely only be achieved if it is professionally reviewed by a competent UFE coach. If you review it on your own, you run the risk of ‘burning’ the 2013 questions when you re-attempt them and a self-serving bias may come into play of masking what the real issues were for you on the UFE. You may email me for further clarifications on whether or not to obtain a PAR report.

In regards to considering a re-read, it is really a personal decision and should be considered on a case-by-case basis. You can email me if you have questions if you are thinking about a re-read. Historically, the chances of passing on a re-read are miniscule and you may be better off spending your resources elsewhere.

(3) Think about getting specialized one-on-one coaching & mentoring

Here is the tricky part of my post: as a UFE coach, I am an advocate that most UFE candidates should get specialized coaching during parts (or all) of the UFE process. Notice that I did not state that all UFE candidates should get coaching (it’s not for everyone). The reality is that most candidates can benefit from experienced coaching for this exam. The same is true for both 1st year and repeat writers, but there is an added emphasis with repeat writers.

Over the years, I’ve had candidates tell me that the added benefits of coaching are as follows: keep them focused, on the right track, eliminating bad habits (constructive feedback), strengthening good habits (positive reinforcement) and be able to call or email me whenever something was wrong and they needed assistance. There are many steps to obtaining a successful UFE result, coaching can be one of them but so is the right study buddy/group, prep course, attitude, focus as well as what is going on with your life apart from the exam. Questions in this regard? You can email me and see a glimpse of the special offer below.

Special Consulting Session Offer:

For a limited time, I will be having special one-on-one consulting sessions with students who did not pass the UFE. The session is designed to help you figure out what went wrong during the 2013 UFE process and what can be done to help you achieve success for the 2014 UFE. You will need to email me your 2013 UFE results page from levels 1, 2 and 3.

Candidates who go forward with this session will be eligible for special pricing on the following services:

  • study schedule
  • PAR review analysis
  • customized case marking and coaching packages
  • coaching/mentoring sessions: reading/planning, outlining, ranking issues, writing skills for sufficient depth, time management, stress management, technical competency map review and overall case based strategies

Should you be interested, please email charles.zane@gmail.com and mention UFEBlog.

To sum up, it may be a difficult day but it should not be the end of the world. The UFE is an exam which can be passed and with the right tools and focus, it can happen. I am here to help – do not hesitate to reach out to me.

For those who have passed and are reading this post, I would like to congratulate you. Remember that some candidates may not have been so fortunate, so do not forget to send words of encouragement their way.

 Charles Zane is a Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) residing in Montreal, Quebec. Specializing in CA and UFE exam teaching, coaching, and marking since 2010, Charles has worked with a variety of organizations to help students achieve success at various levels of the UFE process: Concordia University and McGill University Chartered Accountancy Programs, Densmore Consulting Inc., Professional Accounting Supplementary School as well as working one-on-one privately with students across Canada.  Deeply committed to the success of UFE candidates, Charles has successfully prepared a number of students over the years to pass the Uniform Final Exam, whether it is be one-on-one coaching sessions, small group tutorials or teaching in front of several hundred UFE students as a Densmore instructor.

Overall, Charles works on developing skills for CA and UFE candidates in reading/planning, outlining, ranking issues, writing skills for sufficient depth, time management, stress management, technical competency map review and overall case based strategies. Evaluation of candidates’ strengths & weaknesses, study schedules and PAR reviews are other areas which Charles has assisted UFE candidates.

Charles has also completed his US CPA designation (registered with the State of Illinois) and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario. He is a member of CPA Quebec (formerly OCAQ –Quebec Order of Chartered Accountants) and CPA Ontario (formerly ICAO – Institute Chartered Accountants of Ontario).

For CA and UFE coaching information, please contact Charles at charles.zane@gmail.com and mention UFE Blog!

Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company, which is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with UFE Blog, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of regular posts produced by UFE Blog are never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way.

A word on CKE multiple choice questions

For Ontario writers, most of you will probably start or have already started looking at and writing multiple choice questions. At minimum, I think you should spend about two weeks prior to the CKE writing one full test (100 questions) per day and learning from your mistakes. This will easily take up a full 8 hour day most days.

We’ve discussed before that there are plenty of question bank options and they come with varying degrees of difficulty. One of the more popular question sets is the “Norgrove MCQs” which, I’ll warn you,  are much, much more difficult than the actual CKE level questions. They’re also not exactly designed to take the same amount of time to answer so you should not be surprised when you’re getting really bad marks on Norgrove exams. They’re very difficult. They are great for studying and learning though. Norgrove provides excellent solutions and you can learn a lot from them which will give you a more solid base which is useful for the CKE. I think they are worth doing for that reason but I would tack this on top of your 2 weeks worth of “real” questions which means starting very soon.

Have you started writing multiple choice questions yet? Tell us in the comments what you’ve found.

UFE Supplement in the Globe & Mail (2013 UFE)

A lot of you are wondering and asking about when the UFE supplement will appear in the globe and mail, including the names of the successful 2013 UFE writers.

The answer is… February 22, 2014.

So hang tight until then and enjoy your holidays. I’ll be sure to remind you sometime in February in case you forget.

UFE Supplement in the Globe & Mail (2013 UFE)

A lot of you are wondering and asking about when the UFE supplement will appear in the globe and mail, including the names of the successful 2013 UFE writers.

The answer is… February 22, 2014.

So hang tight until then and enjoy your holidays. I’ll be sure to remind you sometime in February in case you forget.

The post UFE-results experience, from an "experienced writer"

Hi readers!  My name is Gus Patel, and I have offered to help with updates to content on the UFE Blog.  I have recently been in your situation, having written the 2013 UFE.  Currently, I work as an Audit Senior at BDO Canada LLP.  In my spare time, I enjoy being active, as well as teaching students about accounting concepts.

Last Thursday and Friday were the days.

They were the days you’ve been waiting 12 weeks for. After writing, what might possibly be one of the most challenging and mentally exhausting exams of your life, it’s finally UFE results day.  You are anxious, quivering nervous excitement, hoping desperately to see your name on the UFE results page.  As it gets closer to the final hour your heart beats as you constantly refresh the main results page at 12:00 sharp in Ontario.  You quickly scroll through the page, not finding your name through a quick glance, you decide to look up and down the page, but your name is not there….  You sit back like you just hit a brick wall, and you get that deep sinking feeling in your stomach. I failed the UFE!  

Sorry, I know that was a bit dramatic, but for some people it is not too far from how you’re feeling, trust me – I was in that situation too.  Your mind often has a way of hyping a situation to always be the “be-all-and-end-all” situation.  That if you don’t pass the UFE the first time, that the world will be over.  It may feel that way at first, but at some point you’ll come to realize that it was just an exam (maybe not just any exam).

Looking back on the experience, I think the hardest thing to me was looking my eager friends, family, and my girlfriend, who were also anxiously waiting for me to tell them that I had passed, that I didn’t.  Of course, then there is that awkward moment where they stumble to try and find their words to console you.  I think the last thing any writer who doesn’t make it through the process wants to hear is, “Don’t worry – you’ll study hard and do it again next time”.  Not a lot of people can understand what you went through.  On a positive note, hopefully soon after, you will run into a successful repeat writers, perhaps several in your office – they will reach out to you in understanding support.  Actually, looking back I was really surprised by how many people did reach out to me, even being at one of the Big-4 firms.

The first thing to get into your head is, it does happen, people can be unsuccessful the first time, or even the second or third time writing, you can fail this exam.  The Board of Evaluator’s objective is designed to do just that!  It doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.  If you get the UFE Success book by Densmore (which I strongly suggest you do at some point) it has some strong statistics, “… the flow-through rates (of the UFE) are as high as 99% in ASCA, are averaging around 97% in British Columbia and have historically been around 94% in Ontario but are rising. These statistics demonstrate that experienced writers can, and are, making it through the system. Passing the UFE is a very achievable goal.”  If nothing else, keep that in your head.  You can pass.

As for now, if you have just found out that you had an unsuccessful attempt, do not fret – it’s okay in the moment to feel upset, angry, emotional… it’s part of being human, but do not let it consume you.  I am a strong believer that things do happen for a reason, and coincidentally enough, there is always a reason behind why you didn’t pass.  It wasn’t an anomaly I can assure you of that.

You have questions, I know you do.  Luckily for you, I’ve been through this process once –  I was very meticulous in my second attempt in trying to reach at every possible resource in order to gain an advantage along my 2nd attempt, and I want to pass every bit of it to you.  Like I said, you can do this – if you really want to.  Looking back on it a year later, believe it or not, it is somewhat of a blessing in disguise because it will make you a stronger person.

However, do not fret about any of it for now.  First order of business I want you to do is nothing.  When I say nothing, I mean it – keep your head out of the UFE game, it is of ultimate priority that you rest and recover so that you can hit next year ready to attack.  Your goal in the next little while is reach to your friends and loved ones for support, get past the feeling of depression, self pity and doubt, and relax and forget all about this process.  Have fun again and enjoy the holidays, and don’t even think about the UFE until the beginning of next year.

There are more resources than ever today for repeat writers. Don’t worry, UFE Blog will be right here, helping along the way.

A note from Tom, the UFE Blogger:

I want to personally congratulate Gus, who I’ve worked with for some part of this year. I was nervous to be one of the people clicking refresh on the results page at 12 noon. I was even more thrilled to see Gus’ name there shortly after. I’m happy to bring Gus’ voice, as an experienced writer, to this blog and I hope that the many candidates that must write the UFE a second or third time benefit from his experience and support. Congratulations Gus!

The post UFE-results experience, from an “experienced writer”

Hi readers!  My name is Gus Patel, and I have offered to help with updates to content on the UFE Blog.  I have recently been in your situation, having written the 2013 UFE.  Currently, I work as an Audit Senior at BDO Canada LLP.  In my spare time, I enjoy being active, as well as teaching students about accounting concepts.

Last Thursday and Friday were the days.

They were the days you’ve been waiting 12 weeks for. After writing, what might possibly be one of the most challenging and mentally exhausting exams of your life, it’s finally UFE results day.  You are anxious, quivering nervous excitement, hoping desperately to see your name on the UFE results page.  As it gets closer to the final hour your heart beats as you constantly refresh the main results page at 12:00 sharp in Ontario.  You quickly scroll through the page, not finding your name through a quick glance, you decide to look up and down the page, but your name is not there….  You sit back like you just hit a brick wall, and you get that deep sinking feeling in your stomach. I failed the UFE!  

Sorry, I know that was a bit dramatic, but for some people it is not too far from how you’re feeling, trust me – I was in that situation too.  Your mind often has a way of hyping a situation to always be the “be-all-and-end-all” situation.  That if you don’t pass the UFE the first time, that the world will be over.  It may feel that way at first, but at some point you’ll come to realize that it was just an exam (maybe not just any exam).

Looking back on the experience, I think the hardest thing to me was looking my eager friends, family, and my girlfriend, who were also anxiously waiting for me to tell them that I had passed, that I didn’t.  Of course, then there is that awkward moment where they stumble to try and find their words to console you.  I think the last thing any writer who doesn’t make it through the process wants to hear is, “Don’t worry – you’ll study hard and do it again next time”.  Not a lot of people can understand what you went through.  On a positive note, hopefully soon after, you will run into a successful repeat writers, perhaps several in your office – they will reach out to you in understanding support.  Actually, looking back I was really surprised by how many people did reach out to me, even being at one of the Big-4 firms.

The first thing to get into your head is, it does happen, people can be unsuccessful the first time, or even the second or third time writing, you can fail this exam.  The Board of Evaluator’s objective is designed to do just that!  It doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.  If you get the UFE Success book by Densmore (which I strongly suggest you do at some point) it has some strong statistics, “… the flow-through rates (of the UFE) are as high as 99% in ASCA, are averaging around 97% in British Columbia and have historically been around 94% in Ontario but are rising. These statistics demonstrate that experienced writers can, and are, making it through the system. Passing the UFE is a very achievable goal.”  If nothing else, keep that in your head.  You can pass.

As for now, if you have just found out that you had an unsuccessful attempt, do not fret – it’s okay in the moment to feel upset, angry, emotional… it’s part of being human, but do not let it consume you.  I am a strong believer that things do happen for a reason, and coincidentally enough, there is always a reason behind why you didn’t pass.  It wasn’t an anomaly I can assure you of that.

You have questions, I know you do.  Luckily for you, I’ve been through this process once –  I was very meticulous in my second attempt in trying to reach at every possible resource in order to gain an advantage along my 2nd attempt, and I want to pass every bit of it to you.  Like I said, you can do this – if you really want to.  Looking back on it a year later, believe it or not, it is somewhat of a blessing in disguise because it will make you a stronger person.

However, do not fret about any of it for now.  First order of business I want you to do is nothing.  When I say nothing, I mean it – keep your head out of the UFE game, it is of ultimate priority that you rest and recover so that you can hit next year ready to attack.  Your goal in the next little while is reach to your friends and loved ones for support, get past the feeling of depression, self pity and doubt, and relax and forget all about this process.  Have fun again and enjoy the holidays, and don’t even think about the UFE until the beginning of next year.

There are more resources than ever today for repeat writers. Don’t worry, UFE Blog will be right here, helping along the way.

A note from Tom, the UFE Blogger:

I want to personally congratulate Gus, who I’ve worked with for some part of this year. I was nervous to be one of the people clicking refresh on the results page at 12 noon. I was even more thrilled to see Gus’ name there shortly after. I’m happy to bring Gus’ voice, as an experienced writer, to this blog and I hope that the many candidates that must write the UFE a second or third time benefit from his experience and support. Congratulations Gus!

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