What’s ahead?

Many of you, especially in Ontario, have been asking: what do I do now that I passed/didn’t pass the the CKE? What if I’m not in Ontario, what do I do?

The basic plan is to start with some more technical study and then work on your case writing muscles through the SOA (in Ontario) until the UFE. You want to have your technical knowledge down early because later on there won’t be much time to study it in depth since you’ll be working on cases.

Your skeleton Ontario schedule might look something like this:

January – February: Technical review and study (Wait! don’t panic! If you’re too busy it’s okay to take the time off from UFE study)

March – April: Technical review and study while starting writing cases, perhaps one per week or two. This will correspond with your courses if you’re taking one where you’ll learn some case writing techniques.

May: In Ontario this is pre-SOA time, you’ll continue to get into case writing, definitely doing one per week at this point.

June: School of Accountancy – long days and lots of case writing but very manageable.

July: Take a breather here while you wait for results. Yep, take the time to rest and recover because August is busy.

August: You’ll get introduced to UFE cases here and start writing a few.

August – September UFE Study Time: You will take off three weeks from any work to write/debrief cases 5 days a week and 8 hours a day leading up to the UFE.

September 9, 10 and 11th – the Big Day – the 2014 UFE! Hard to believe it’s only 221 days away.

See? It’s not so bad.

There are plenty of other paths. Some people work much harder, others don’t lift a finger until June but I think your average candidate follows this path (in Ontario, anyway). Other provinces have a much earlier focus on cases (and have two year programs in some cases). For example, in the CASB program you will have to pass a module in July so you will have to adjust your steps slightly. I believe it’s similar in Quebec as well.


A word on technical study from now on

The level of UFE technical is different from the CKE and also different from what you learned in University. It is not as high as you probably think. Both PASS and Densmore offer UFE-level technical study guides. I used the Densmore one and thought it was fantastic so I will continue to recommend it to candidates going forward. However, the best source of technical knowledge for the UFE will be the UFE (and SOA) solutions themselves. We’ll talk more about this in the future.


Past candidates: How did you study for the UFE? Tell us in the comments!
Today’s candidates: What are the big questions you still have?


  1. Could you get some one from casb to throw light on study plan for casb students including how did they study the technical part; did they just went through the notes and topics covered in mod 1 to mod 5 or studied everything thats on the reference list?

    for technical study, should we study everything that is on the reference list of the Competency map? or are there some must know from that list that we should focus on?

  2. Has anyone used the services provided by exam mentor or CA formula, or the ICAO? And what were your experiences like?

    Thank you!

    • Hi SOA/UFE,

      Adam here from CAFormula.com, I would be happy to answer any questions you have about our program.

      Send me an email at: support@caformula.com and I’ll connect you with 3-5 students who have used our program last year and passed. I can also provide you with students from the current year if it helps.

      Adam – CAFormula

  3. I know on the cke that it was segregated by competencies but on the soa/ufe, I would presume that assurance, pmr, tax would make up the bulk of it. How important are the other competencies for case writing?

    • The points allocation is approximately the same as on the CKE for the competencies so they are important. Especially on the UFE because you have to both demonstrate depth (score high enough on PMR and Assurance) and breadth (score high enough on Tax, MDM and Finance). On the UFE, if you aren’t able to score correctly on any particular competency you will not pass, even if you do excellent everywhere else. This is the reason why it’s important to know how scoring works on the UFE (down the road)!

    • Hi Kelly,

      The scoring on the UFE focuses on how well you can integrate technical with case facts (in a nut shell) and conclude appropriately.

      All 6 competency areas are tested on the exam. Quantitative competencies like MDM and Finance require qualitative responses to achieve a “C” (competence). In other words, all 6 competency areas are important.

      Here is the breakdown for competencies tested on SOA/UFE:

      Governance, Strategy and Risk Management 5–10%
      Performance Measurement & Reporting 20–30%
      Assurance 25–35%
      Finance 10–20%
      Management Decision-Making 10–20%
      Taxation 10–20%


  4. 2013 Successful Writer

    CASB Student,
    The three people in our group followed the CASB study schedule the entire study period. Technical study days were about once a week or so. As you will be writing tons of cases during this period, our approach was to write a case, debrief the case, and then takes notes on any technical requirements from that particular case. Our technical study days were spent reviewing our notes and addressing the technical issues that we already saw on practice cases.

    Be careful about getting too stuck on the reference list. Focus your studies on the technical in the cases you write, then closer to the end of your studies, have a quick scan through the reference list to highlight any technical that wasn’t present on the practice cases you wrote. You’ll start seeing patterns for what technical will most likely be present on the UFE; however, there will ALWAYS be something on there that you won’t know.

    Your module material will be a helpful reference for you, but keep in mind that it is MUCH more detailed and in depth than the UFE will require.

    We all ended up passing last year by using this method. Hope this helps!

  5. Hi guys, I was really weak in technical and failed the SOA twice. I bought the PASS technical review book on my third try and finally passed the SOA and then the UFE on the first try. It really help me get my technical up too speed as the book focus only on what’s important and is less than 200 pages. Get the book if you are weak in technical I highly recommend it!

  6. any recommendations on any good/reasonable priced hp laptops for the SOA and UFE?

  7. I am having issues copying and pasting content from the pdf files to answer sheet in SecureExam. For example, when I copy a section from the HB and paste it into my answer the paragraphs are not nicely formatted, instead the lines are broken up. Some lines only have one word on them and it is very time consuming deleting the spaces to make one complete paragraph.

    Is this a common issue? I am using the 2013 version, which could be the problem as 2014 is not released yet.

  8. this is something everyone has to deal with – formatting is necessary.. i can’t remember what font, but i think if you go down a size (10?) then it will paste properly.

    • Thanks. Is any reasonable size font acceptable for a submission, i.e. can we use 10 font when writing a response?

      • 2013 UFE Graduate

        10 should be a reasonable size as long as you are consistent with it throughout your response.

        If you are putting in excerpts from handbook, I would italicize the information pasted so that it stands out from the rest of your response and will make it look more professional

  9. Another recommendation is to list out the criteria using A-first criteria b-second critera. And then once you have listed out all the criteria, your next paragraph can say A is met because (list the case facts) and B is met because (list case facts). I learned this technique from the honor roll responses that are provided after each case and found that it was effective and efficient.

  10. 1. Do students enrolled in Densmore receive all of his materials as part of the registration fee? The DCS website doesn’t say that the Competency Map Study Notes are included for students registered in their courses.

    2. Should we wait until the 2014 version of SecureExam is released before practicing? Just want to double check in case having the 2013 version will mess up any updating that I try to do in late April/early May.

    • 1. Competency Map study notes are not usually included as part of the Densmore course package. This is a separate purchase.

      2. By all means, start with the 2013 version! They aren’t likely to be much different and the sooner you start the better, I think. It’s not always the easiest software to work vs. Word/Excel.

  11. Hi ufeblogger,
    Im a repeat CKE writer (wrote in January, currently working at a CA firm) and I was wondering if your guideline of 40-60 in mocks still applies this time around.

    I figured the population of individuals writing will be very different this time (i.e., the “keeners” who were hitting 70s-80s on their mocks arent around) and there will be individuals writing straight out of university. But with that, will factors such as them being stronger in something like tax (since they likely just took the course) mean that our range of marks going in should be higher?

    • While I don’t know for sure – as it’s a closed process, I don’t think it makes a big difference whether you write in January or May.

      Typically, the number of candidates that pass in May is fewer than in January and in the past the ICAO has stated that “The passing standard established for the CKE is set based upon performance on questions relative to pre-determined expectations and historical performance on repeat questions.”. If you go back far enough on the May CKEs they would write: “The passing standard established for the CKE is set based upon performance on questions relative to pre-determined expectations and historical performance on repeat questions. The group of candidates writing the May 2011 CKE did not perform as well as the group writing the January 2011 CKE and the passing standard was set accordingly.”

      So it seems that the passing standard is set based on current and historical performance. Perhaps there might be a slight edge in the May CKE for the reasons you mention but I wouldn’t be counting on this for my pass – I think therefore that the 40-60 standard is still worth looking to.

      Hang in there – May 5th is still far enough away to get a lot of practice in! Best of luck in your studies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Commenting Guidelines

I love open conversations. Casual is fine, professional is fine, but this is a community so anything abusive, demeaning or annoying will be removed at my discretion. Below is a guide to help keep you on the straight and narrow.

  1. 1. Use a name or alias. I understand wanting to keep your name personal, so make something clever up and stick to it. We can't tell each other apart if everybody is "Anon".
  2. 2. Remember the point. This is a community to discuss, debate and assist each other to pass the CFE or discuss other CPA things. Let's act like we're all the intelligent professionals that we are supposed to be.
  3. 3. No personal attacks. It's okay to disagree with opinions or advice but argue the point, not the person.
  4. 4. Don't be obnoxious. You should be proud if you are the next honour roll writer or work for a prestigious firm but don't be obnoxious by using it to feel better than others.


Other Great Reads

Get the Latest CFE News

Get the Latest CFE News

Get the latest and most important CFE news right to your inbox. I'll keep it to the best stuff and infrequent, promise.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest