September already!? Last minute advice for September CFE writers

First off: wishing all those writing the CFE this Wednesday, September 21 – Friday, September 23 the very best!

Whether you’ve been studying for 5-6 weeks or only squeaked a week or two, here are some final tips to get through the CFE:

  • Take a break before Wednesday. At minimum I would suggest taking Tuesday entirely off from work and study.
  • Sleep is super important. Get a good sleep before the exam and during the three days.
  • Don’t study during the exam, you need to rest in between each day to be fresh.
  • Remember, this is a three-day examination and every day counts. Don’t get discouraged if you have a bad day and think that you’ve failed so you won’t try as hard on what’s left. Most people feel terrible walking out of one or more of the exam days. Give your 100% each day. This isn’t the time to feel sorry for yourself.
  • Don’t talk about the exam until after all three days are over. There is little reward and lots of risk of getting discouraged because you missed something that somebody else had identified (correctly or not).

With that, good luck and best wishes!


  1. Just a quick question: are we required to show depth in both MA and FA for passing Level 2 or either one of those?
    I know I messed up on some of the MA calculations on Day 3. But I am pretty confident about the FA on Day 2 and 3.
    Just not sure if we need depth in both to pass.

    • No we need C in either MA or FA. However to get license , C in Assurance and FA both is required but just to be pass C in either FA or MA along with C in your elective is required

      • 90% of test takers are from the CA stream, thus going for audit, so they just need FR and Audit. MA Competence is just for CMA types like me who want to have a life while there is snow on the ground 😛 Seriously, I have a deal in place to swap Summer Fridays for Winter Fridays, and chose not to go for auditor to make sure it stays that way…

      • Thanks, Vipul.
        That’s definitely a bit of a relief.

        • Hey You guys know how many AOs we had on day 3 on strategy ? I just attempted one case 3 evaluating Business strategy of Ivy… Was there any other AO in any of those 3 cases ?

          • I don’t believe so. The only one they explictly asked about was the case 3 Ivy . Thats the only case I talked about strategy as well.

          • That is such a relief to read. I was freaking out about that AO. I also think the financial indicators were not the easiest to talk about, and I am really afraid that I am not going to have enough C in MA and in FR. I really wished there would have been more FR on day 3.

            Also , Day 1, there was almost no numbers to talk about !!

            What are your thoughts on that?

          • I hope they might not have buried hidden AO about bigger picture kind of AO! I am just worried about Strategy RC.

            Lauren , Financial means Finance or FR you are referring ?.. FR was tough .. Was there any Goodwill Impairment required on day 2 as the cost of PPE FMV had gone down ? Any idea .. ? But there were many FR AOs and i think we don’t need C in not more than half AOs

            I think in Day1 there was little quants about choosing one those 3 Check out systems…basically spreading fixed cost over 4 years to arrive at avg yearly cost.. I don’t remember anything else for day 1.. somehow I feel ..I had written that case ages back !! after going through grueling days 2 and 3!!

  2. I did talk about impairment of the production equipment since they specifically mentioned they could liquidate it for 60% of the CV. I think that would count as an indicator.
    But there was no other info given. So it could be argued that there arent enough indications of impairment and we need to further look into it.

    And yes I agree. FR issues were confusing and so was MA on Day 3. I am just hoping I get enough RC’s on MA to meet the breadth requirement.

    • I may be completely wrong but i did following

      If the recoverable amount of the unit exceeds the carrying amount of the unit, the unit and the goodwill allocated to that unit is not impaired If the carrying amount of the unit exceeds the recoverable amount of the unit, the entity must recognise an impairment loss.
      The impairment loss is allocated to reduce the carrying amount of the assets of the unit (group of units) in the following order: [IAS 36.104]

      first, reduce the carrying amount of any goodwill allocated to the cash-generating unit (group of units); and then, reduce the carrying amounts of the other assets of the unit (group of units) pro rata on the basis.”

      So I reduced Goodwill Account by excess of carrying amount of the assets over recoverable amount …instead of reducing the Account balances of the asset.

      I am not sure whether I did it right.. Can you please explain ?


  3. You are absolutely correct Vipul if the corporation was following IFRS. I think the allocation of impairment loss to Goodwill is different for ASPE. I don’t think we would have to allocate the loss first to Goodwill as we would under IFRS.
    But again, I am not a 100% sure. I just remember reading this in the PASS notes.

    • Thanks for your help. I followed IFRS.. Becasue the case said somewhere that Bank requires to follow IFRS… so for calculating all adjustments I used IFRS.. If we were suppose to use ASPE for all adjustments I am completely screwed. May be I did wrong at multiple levels !!

      • They were currently reporting under ASPE. Since they did not mention about transitioning, I assumed we would make the adjustments based on ASPE. However, now I’m thinking it makes sense to report under IFRS since the bank required it. I completely missed that part 🙁
        Either way, they were not explicit enough. So, I don’t know if they would fail us based on this. I hope not.

        • Lets hope for the best!!

          • Just wondering, to join in on the conversation, if you guys did depth for the assurance role for day 2…what did you guys do with the review engagement information? was there any specific requirement for that?


          • Yes I has selected Assurance Elective.
            No I don’t think any review question on Day2. It was about Audit Planing , Materiality , Approach and Procedures

        • Hi guys,

          The bank required IFRS only on day 3. Day 2 was under ASPE and the Goddwill Impairement was on day 2.

          Can you guys tell me what were your FR on day 3 (which were under IFRS). I believe there were only indicators on day on the case #2.

          I really think I did bad on day 3 on many levels.

          • I don’t even remember case details now!

            If I recollect correctly, in the case (I think It was Day 2) where the owner died, It was required to see whether the bank covenants are met. In this case I suppose there were 4 or 5 FR adjustments to recalculate F/s I think Bank required IFRS in checking whether covenants are met. R u sure there was no requirement by Bank that IFRS be followed ? I also have a doubt whether any going concern discussion required from Audit/FR point of view as owner and main person running the show had died ?

            On 3rd day:

            I think 1st or 2nd case was about that Toy Blocks rental. I think there was no FR in that ..all MA/Finance and some tax.

            There was another case where the land ( Asset) was exchanged So AO regarding valuation of land acquired. There was some revenue rec issue too. If anybody can remind me more case details, I would appreciate.

            Third case was for that of Tour operator ..Some Tax and Strategy AO. There was no AO for FR in that either.

          • I remember on Day 2 the bank requiring IFRS for the audit.

          • Hi Lauren,
            I used ASPE as well. I hope they give some leeway for the framework. Trying to make logic bank was already a user and they wanted review, I wander if they want to change the accounting framework. Anyways just trying to justify my position. So far 3 for IFRS and 3 for ASPE

          • Is there any way we can contact CPA to let them know that it was confusing whether to use ASPE or IFRS on day 2 and thus half used one framework and the other half used the other cause it was not clear in the case? Just so they know that when they decide on setting the passing profile that candidates were confused due to lack of clarity?

          • They do quite a bit of QA on the exams that are marked. If there are issues such as this, they will adjust the marking to take it into consideration if warranted. As other readers have mentioned, others have been in touch and they’ve given some e-mails where you can provide your input.

  4. Hey guys,

    not to be discouraging but how many tries are we allowed to write the CFE? i know for modules, there are a max of 3 tries. is CFE tries unlimited? or are there limitations on this exam?

    P.S. just being paranoid so asking this question lol im sure most of you writing here have passed

  5. For Day 3, the only AO for FR that I saw was from case 2 for non-monetary transaction. I am not sure about the rec. rec. issue as I don’t remember the case details anymore. Pretty sure I did not write anything about that though. Case 1 and 3 did not have any FR issues.

    As for Day 2, I did all the adjustments based on ASPE as they did not explicitly tell us that they were transitioning to IFRS. I might be wrong though.

  6. Hi guys just curious where to find the 2016 Sep questions online? Seems CPA canada has not posted them yet?

  7. So for Day 2 I used ASPE. From the discussions it seemed a lot of people used IFRS. I wander what is correct. God save us all

  8. Yes, I think we should. Worst case they will tell us they won’t consider it. But I don’t see any harm making them aware of the situation.
    Does anyone know what the best way is to communicate with the CPA?

  9. Ok lets email and see how it goes. Let us know if you hear back and I will do the same.

  10. any response from CPA body with regards to day 2 framework? I doubt whether they will consider

  11. Is everyone panicking already. Just want to be done with it!!!

  12. I wonder what the passing rate is…

  13. Hoping the diverse group of exam writers this sitting would keep the averages balanced.

  14. I think this was the first sitting for a lot of legacy CGA and CMA writers.

  15. Passing rates are difficult to calculate. Someone on reddit had calculated 68% for May 2016 CFE

  16. CPA is no longer releasing the passing percentage of writers.
    So people calculate it based on the total number of writers (this info is released) and those who passed.

  17. So nervous! Couldn’t sleep last night and definitely won’t be sleeping tonight 🙁

    • It won’t be a good nights sleep for sure!!

      • for legacy CA students, do we login with the old ca student id or the new cpa one that starts with a 4? also, is the passward, our email or the same candidate # cause ive seen each mentioned in separate emails?

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