Monthly Archives: November 2014

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

UFE RESULTS DAY – A day like no other. You worked hard to get to this stage in your professional and academic career. You are looking forward to the celebration with your family, friends and peers – and heck, why not? Any CA will tell you: passing the UFE is a major stepping stone in one’s professional career.

You await the (hopefully good) news andthere it is: UFE 2014 – Not Successful 🙁

This is not something anyone wants to see or hear and rightfully so. You may have felt a mix of these emotions: anger, disappointment, loss of confidence and self-worth are among many thoughts that one may go through when there is an unsuccessful UFE result. It’s a terrible event to go through – some unsuccessful candidates feel this is the lowest point in their academic/professional careers. 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. Your personal and professional life will move on and you can bounce back and re-focus. And the good news is if you want to give this exam one last shot and you are eligible, there is one more UFE (yes, just one more) in June 2015. Having an exam in early June 2015 brings a different aspect to the game that candidates are not familiar with but at the same time, a ‘faster’ turnaround to the exam may be what most candidates need.

Keeping with the famous ‘rule of 3’ from business management, below is a list of 3 things that an unsuccessful UFE writer needs to consider following the receipt of their 2014 UFE result:

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

There may be a number of reasons why the 2014 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 the final UFE in June 2015. Moreover, it is important to also remind yourself of why you did the UFE in the first place: obtain CPA, CA designation – a very valuable, prestigious, recognizable and respected designation in all aspects of the business world.

(2) Consider what options you have in regards to ordering a PAR (see updates below) the cost/benefit of a re-read

Update #2 (December 20/2014): CPA Ontario has decided to provide PAR reports to unsuccessful 2014 UFE candidates. The deadline to apply for a PAR is Friday January 16th, 2014 with PAR reports available in March 2015. You can make the request for a PAR as of Tuesday December 23rd, 2014. Please check with your provincial CPA order whether PARs will be made available to you.

Update #1: Individual PARs will not be available to candidates for their 2014 UFE result based on the shorter turnaround time to the 2015 June UFE.

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 for the following year’s UFE. 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 was imperative 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 prior year’s UFE 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.

Update #2 (December 20/2014): Based on the info received, PARs should be available and please confirm with your provincial CPA institute regarding availability. Should you order a PAR, it is imperative it is professionally reviewed. PARs are expensive and having them professionally reviewed usually carries a fee as well. If this option is prohibitive –update #1 below will be offered: I will still be offering to my students a summary PAR report for my individual students in 2015, I will be offering a summary PAR report on the common issues that unsuccessful candidates had at the UFE over the past few years along with important study pointers. This summary report can in turn become part of a candidates study materials for the 2015 UFE.                                                                                           
Update #1: For my individual students in 2015, I will be offering a summary PAR report on the common issues that unsuccessful candidates had at the UFE over the past few years along with important study pointers. This summary report can in turn become part of a candidates study materials for the 2015 UFE.

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: prep course, UFE coaching and marking, mock UFE cases, etc. The reality is if you are going to re-attempt the process, you have to give it your all and there’s only one more chance to do it.

Note: There have been two updates since this original post as initially it was assumed that PARs would be made available. Information was then received that PARs would not be offered (update #1) and the most recent information (update #2) is that PARs will be offered for unsuccessful 2014 UFE candidates, however, it is best to check with your provincial institute to confirm this information. The above post was amended accordingly to reflect these changes for the PAR reports.

(3) Reflect on and consider obtaining specialized one-on-one UFE coaching from an experienced and knowledgeable UFE instructor

Here is the tricky part of my post: as a UFE coach, I am an advocate that most (if not all) UFE candidates should get specialized coaching during the UFE process. By default you have already done this to a certain degree: speaking to CAs and/or successful UFE candidates who have gone through the process, university professors giving you advice, firm assisted prep programs, etc. The reality is that most candidates can benefit from experienced coaching for this exam as long as one very important condition is met: your UFE coach must be experienced and knowledgeable with the challenging ‘game’ known as the UFE and that same coach must translate into value added to your UFE process. A successful UFE writer or experienced CA does not necessarily equate to a valuable UFE mentor (in fact, most of the time, once the UFE is over, a CA/successful UFE candidate may never look at the process ever again).

Over the years, I’ve had candidates tell me that the added benefits of my UFE coaching are as follows (a list that stays almost exactly the same year after year after year):

  • Keep candidates focused, motivated and on the right track;
  • Eliminating bad habits (constructive feedback);
  • Strengthening good habits through extensive marking of cases and coaching sessions (positive reinforcement and critical value-added feedback) ; and
  • Able to communicate with me whenever something was wrong or was not going well and they needed assistance and benefit from expert advice and (very important) availability

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 fee based consulting sessions with students who did not pass the 2014 UFE. The session is designed to help you figure out what went wrong during the 2014 UFE process and what can be done to help you achieve success for the final UFE in June 2015. You will need to email me your 2014 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 and mention this UFEBlog post


For the first 4 candidates who email me at and mention this UFEBlog post the session will be offered FREE OF CHARGE. The session will be limited to 40 minutes in length. In your email to me you must provide a brief background of your 2014 UFE journey and when available your 1 page 2014 UFE result from levels 1, 2 and 3. These 4 candidates will be eligible for the same special pricing on services which will be offered for 2015 UFE prep. Offer valid on a first come basis when the emails are received. Scheduling of the session will be arranged at a time to be agreed upon. Special bonus offer will expire December 31, 2014.

To sum up, it may be a difficult day but it should not be (and is not) 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. The reality, whether it is difficult to accept or not, is that there is only one more UFE exam and the ball is firmly in your court for you to help increase your chances of success.

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.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time from Albert Einstein which helped me not only achieve success on the UFE but really in all things in life:

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough



Charles Zane is a Chartered Professional 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: the leading prep provider in UFE training as a lecturer with Densmore Consulting Inc. as well as two of the most successful CA university programs: McGill University and Concordia University Chartered Accountancy Programs. Last and certainly not least, Charles has extensively worked one-on-one privately with UFE candidates from across Canada to help achieve success on the Uniform Final Exam.  Deeply committed to the success of UFE candidates, Charles has successfully prepared hundreds of students over the years to pass the Uniform Final Exam, whether it is be one-on-one coaching sessions across Canada, teaching at the McGill CA program in Montreal  or teaching in front of several hundred UFE candidates as a Densmore instructor in Ontario.

Overall, Charles works on developing skills for 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 Quebec Order of Chartered Accountants) and CPA Ontario (formerly ICAO – Institute Chartered Accountants of Ontario). Apart from the UFE world of teaching and mentoring, Charles works as a commercial banker at one of the Big Five Banks in Canada.

For CA and UFE coaching information, please contact Charles at and mention UFE Blog!

Material contained in blog posts are of the opinion of Charles Zane, MBA, CPA, CA only.




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Congratulations! UFE Results now out across Canada

A Congratulations from UFE Blog! You’ve waited a long time and now you hopefully have the good result. A big congratulations – all your hard work, studying and dedication have paid off. If not immediately, you will soon be a CPA, CA. Best wishes for the rest of your career and enjoy the weekend!

For those with not-so-good news today – I’m sorry to hear it and it sucks. It’s okay to be bummed out for a while but after that you need to turn it around. Every year there are many who must get back up and try again. Your next opportunity will be a lot sooner than ever before and there are plenty of resources out there to get the help you need. I’ve seen most repeat writers succeed eventually so have a real look at your situation and make the best decision for you. You have our support.

SOA Redux and Upcoming UFE Results

UFE Results Coming Up

It’s been long enough. The long wait is almost over and the UFE results are being released November 28th (Usually Nov 27th in Quebec). If you’re one of the many candidates out there that managed to forget about the UFE since September, it’s probably popping back into your head more and more often lately which is normal. Certainly there are a great number of you, judging by the comments, that started thinking about it more last week. Forget about all the rumours which are there every year, you’re almost through so hang in there.

November SOA

The unique November SOA is coming up November 26 and 27th for those who didn’t manage to get through last summer. This will be the opportunity to get through to the final UFE in June. The SOA Suggested Reading post is probably the best place to look for last minute tips but in the end, hopefully you’ve had enough time since the summer to workout any technical problems and it’s a stress management exercise now – so find ways to manage that stress, get help if you need to. Good luck and don’t let the repeat writer thing hurt you, in the end you end up with the same letters after you pass all this.

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