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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 charles.zane@gmail.com and mention this UFEBlog post

*BONUS OFFER FOR 2014 UFE CANDIDATES FOR DECEMBER 2014:

For the first 4 candidates who email me at charles.zane@gmail.com 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

 

Biography:

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 charles.zane@gmail.com and mention UFE Blog!

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

Email: charles.zane@gmail.com

LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/pub/charles-zane-mba-cpa-ca/44/a36/220/

 

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.

Writing the UFE in 2014?

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by CPA Formula

Writing the UFE in 2014?

Let’s face it- each writer has unique weaknesses. However, a common pitfall that most writers have is overestimating the importance of the technical material, while underestimating the significance of strategy or writing skills- both of which are more essential in passing.

How can I identify my unique weaknesses?

CPAFormula only hires professional UFE markers who you’ll work with on a one-on-one basis (for 10 one-on-one sessions) the entire time up until the UFE (which is 2 months worth of individual attention).

Each student is provided with a customized schedule based on their weaknesses along with an access to quick, easy to learn videos on specific topics within all 6 competency areas.

Furthermore, your uniquely assigned UFE marker (called a CA Trainer) will be available to answer short questions free of charge to students by phone, text, live-chat or e-mail throughout the whole process (and yes that includes those late night cram sessions for the UFE).

UFE Blog Discount

UFE Blog has negotiated a discount of $133 off any of the 2014 CPAFormula Courses. Use coupon code: UFEBLOG. Check them out here: http://cpaformula.com/september-2014-ufe/

Are you a 2015 June writer? Click here for their early bird special: http://cpaformula.com/june-2015-ufe/

2015 CPA Professional Education Program Prep

Going through the CPA PEP Process?

CPAFormula’s 2015 PEP Course provides all the necessary technical, strategic considerations and advice on writing skills you’ll need to know to pass the challenge exams. In addition to online lectures, each student receives individual attention in their exact areas of weakness based on an assessment of existing strengths and weaknesses (technical, strategic or written) through one-on-one sessions and professionally marked cases.

Each student will receive indefinite access to the 2015 CPA PEP prep course until they pass the CFE and have an opportunity to qualify as a Chartered Professional Accountant in Canada.

For more information, please check out: http://cpaformula.com/core-one-core-two-cpa-professional-education-program-pep/

 

Try CPAFormula Now!

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.

Advice For All Ontario SOA/UFE and CASB UFE Writers

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by CPA Formula

It’s important not to underestimate the challenge of the UFE.  It’s not just about knowing the right technical answer, but also about knowing the rules of the “game”. While the rules are the same for all writers, there is a multitude of differences in written, strategic and technical approaches to the UFE taken by candidates across the different provinces.

Each writer has unique weaknesses. It’s more than likely however, that writers overestimate the importance of technical material and underestimate strategic or written weaknesses which provide the breadth and depth necessary to pass the UFE.

 

How can I identify my unique weaknesses?

CPAFormula only hires professional UFE markers who you’ll work with on a one-on-one basis (for 10 one-on-one sessions) the entire time up until the UFE (that’s 3-4 months worth of individual attention).

Each student is provided with a customized schedule based on your weaknesses and access to technical videos in all 6 competency areas across all topics (for a listing of course topics discussed, check out this page).

Your uniquely assigned UFE marker (who they call CPA Trainer) is available to answer small questions free of charge to students by phone, text, live-chat or e-mail all the way until the UFE for those late night cram sessions.

CPAFormula feels this method prepares you much better than anyone in the industry.

 

What happens if I am already enrolled in a course? i.e. Densmore or PASS?

Short Answer: Take both. Prove that you’re enrolled in another program and receive an additional discount above the UFE Blog discount.

Long Answer: Traditional classroom based programs last 1-2 weeks in July, and overwhelm writers with a wealth of printed materials. The same programs have recently started offering “on-line” programs which can be just recorded classroom lectures. It’s hard to understand exactly what you should focus on, given the overwhelming amount of information.

CPAFormula provides the missing part of other prep programs. Compared to cramming all the technical studying into 1-2 weeks, CPAFormula provides 3-4 months worth of one-on-one attention through individual technical and/or written weaknesses identification; along with technical videos; and case-marking to get you ready.

CPAFormula offers you comprehensive support where you need it most and works around all program schedules. We encourage candidates, even if you are already enrolled in a program, to register with CPAFormula to ensure you receive the support that you need and pass the 2014 UFE.

Also, if you are already enrolled in another program, show us your invoice, and we will provide you with an additional discount on your CPAFormula course fees. Contact us at support@cpaformula.com for more information.

 

UFE Blog Discount

UFE Blog has negotiated a discount of $133 off any 2014 CPAFormula Courses. Use coupon code: UFEBLOG.

Try CPAFormula Now!

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.

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.

Advantages of failing the UFE

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by exaMENTOR.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” And he knew what he was talking about. Churchill had failed the sixth grade, and went on to lose the election in every public office role he ran for. Despite these many setbacks, he was eventually elected British prime minister at the age of 62.

So the UFE results came out and you did not see your name on the list. You did not pass the UFE. At this point, you start to doubt many things – whether you’ll pass it next year, whether you’ll make a good professional accountant and whether the stars will ever align for you to finally receive your designation. You are feeling lost, confused and uncertain. What went wrong? What do I do now? How do I start again?

While it might seem of little consolation at the time, your failure to pass the UFE places you, ironically enough, in an exclusive club. Here are some of its members:

  • Henry Ford’s first three companies were flops: the first one went out of business, he abandoned the second and the third went downhill because of declining sales.
  • After an early performance, Elvis Presley was told by the manager of the legendary Grand Ole Opry, “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”
  • Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
  • Soichiro Honda was left unemployed after he was rejected for an engineering job at Toyota.
  • JK Rowling was fired from her secretarial jobs because she was caught writing creative stories on her computer.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked creativity.”

The list goes on. Admittedly, it can be difficult to associate your own struggles with those on this list of famous celebrities. The point is that we all experience failure. Don’t be surprised during a frank conversation with some of the folks in corner offices when you hear stories about how they too encountered failure, including not passing the UFE on the first attempt.

So is it simply a coincidence that all of these successful people encountered failure at some point in their lives? Or could it be that failure is a necessary stumbling block on the path to success? Perhaps we need to experience failure to become more motivated to achieve our goals, to build “thicker” skin, to learn to never to give up, and to prevail despite temporary setbacks? Although it can seem counterintuitive, failure is not merely a coincidence in these and countless other success stories. It is not a stretch to say that the failures experienced by successful people actually lay the foundation for their future successes. Each person takes away particular lessons from their personal failures, but what they share in common is their commitment to their long-term goal and the courage to struggle towards it. They did not give up, sit back and simply accept what they were told by their bosses, peers or potential employers. With their personal goal at the center of their focus, they kept at it and proved all of those doubting people wrong.

You are probably thinking that this is not the whole story. Even if failure is a necessary and inevitable part of eventual success, doesn’t failure also result in a lot of personal misery, disappointment and under-achievement? This is also true. Not everyone who fails at something will later succeed in it. However, every one who has failed and who embraces their failure will. It’s about caring enough about yourself and what you’re doing to take on the challenge again, to work hard and have patience.

Dealing with failure is an opportunity for inner growth. Embrace it. This is the time to get stronger by understanding and addressing your weaknesses. This is your opportunity to become an unstoppable machine that slowly and steady approaches your destination—success.

So what’s the moral of the story? While you need to give yourself some time to mope around and deal with your feelings, please understand that you are not alone. Seek out and talk to people who have had similar experiences. After sometime, start thinking about what you need to do next. Revisit your preparation process to figure out what went wrong and what you should change to do better next year.  Most importantly, get help. You do not need to struggle through this process alone. So get up, dust yourself off and have the courage and to work harder and work smarter. Your name will be on that list next year.

As Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Historical examples used in this posted are based on We got fired! by Harvey Mackay and www.businessinsider.com.

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.

It’s UFE Results Week!… What should I be doing?

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

It’s that time of the year again: UFE Results Week. Having coached a number of candidates over the years and having been through the process personally, I know it could be quite an anxious time (‘quite anxious’ is a slight understatement). UFE candidates have a different view on what the exam represents and some may be more nervous than others.

Using the ‘rule of 3’ I have compiled a (short) list of 3 DOs and 3 DON’Ts for what UFE writers should do doing during results week. My experience in coaching UFE candidates over the years has led me to this list and I can only hope it will help any UFE writer reading this blog post:

DO

  1. … your best to relax this week. Relaxing means different things to different people. Apart from work, it would not hurt to book some relaxing activities. How about hanging out with friends and bantering about a good movie you recently saw, or (better yet) try something new such as a yoga class or massage/spa to unwind?
  2. … be selfish! I am an advocator of teamwork but perhaps that should not apply for this particular week. Think of yourself and what you need to do to relax (see point 1 above) and have fun (see point 3 below).
  3. … have fun this week! Fun? What a strange concept on results week? Results week may be one of the only weeks of the year (apart from vacation time) where one can take time for oneself and have a good time. You should do anything and everything that will make you happy (with the exception of the 3 DON’Ts below)

DON’T

  1. … think about the exam! The reality is, most candidates will do this, it’s human nature. However, the exam was quite a long time ago during the (much) warmer month of September. And regardless of whether you remember the exam or not, it’s been out of your hands since then. So thinking of question X or issue Y is completely irrelevant and will only add stress and anxiety for no reason.
  2. … discuss with anyone about the exam! Related to the previous point, it is important that people give you your space this week, whether they are CAs, UFE writers (past and current) or anyone for that matter. Sometimes it helps to stick with people who are far away from the UFE process for this to happen.
  3. … panic leading up to the results. This will be one of the most difficult steps to achieve. Remember that you likely put in a lot of time and effort into this process. Hopefully you will be rewarded for it. Regardless of your result, the world will not stop to turn when the results are released. Life moves on either way and new beginnings are on the horizon for all parties involved.

All that being written, it’s your week and enjoy it as much as possible because 2013 UFE writers, you deserve it!

Best of luck to each and every UFE writer! I wish you a lot of success for your results day 🙂

– Charles

 A Short Biography:

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 get 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.  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 base strategies.

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.

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.

How to crack the CKE

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by exaMENTOR.

With approximately two months remaining before the big day, it is time to get your game on. The multiple-choice Core Knowledge Exam (CKE) could be your worst nightmare if you do not prepare for it effectively.

So what does it take to pass the CKE with flying colours? Discipline, discipline and more discipline.

You will agree that you won’t learn how to drive a car just by reading about the traffic rules in a manual.  Likewise, it is impossible to pass the CKE simply by reading the technical rules. The age-old adage “practice makes perfect” holds true in this case. As a general rule of thumb, you are ready to write the CKE once you have practiced answering about 1,000 questions.

Holidays and the CKE study – not an ideal combination

The first sitting of the CKE is at the beginning of January. So while you cannot avoid the season’s holiday spirit while preparing for the CKE, you must not be completely distracted by it. Indeed, it is extremely hard to study technical material, which (let’s be honest) can be quite dry at times, especially when everyone else is off work and there are so many opportunities for get-togethers with family and friends.  However, this year you have to be strict with yourself. Make sure that your priorities are straight and that you have a strict schedule to follow while preparing for the exam. However, to keep your spirits up, come up with a reward system. For example, after a day of effective studying, do something that you really enjoy or splurge on something special that you always wanted to have. The choice of the reward is obviously particular to each individual.

Here at exaMENTOR, we get lots of questions about CKE study plans: “Should I attend a new year’s party?”; “Should I take a day in the middle of the week to celebrate the holidays?”; “Do I have to forgo the boxing day shopping this year?”; “Every year my friends and I go away for the weekend to a cottage… Is it alright if I go?” These are all very important questions. You can indeed fit in a little of bit of your holiday routine but you should keep in mind that you will need to compensate for the lost time elsewhere. Want to shop in the middle of the week? Well, then be sure to compensate for it with a full day of studying on Saturday.

Be honest… with yourself!

Make sure that you are being honest with yourself and track the actual amount of time you spend on studying during the day. For instance, write down the times when you talked on the phone, took breaks to surf the net or got distracted with other stuff. The idea is not to study 24/7, as this will burn you out, but to dedicate about 8 hours of solid studying each day.

The rules of the game

CKE is a 4-hour exam and that includes 100 multiple-choice questions. How much time do you have per question? You do the math! It works to be approximately 2.4 minutes per question, and every question is worth the same amount of marks.

You have to train yourself to be efficient. In the CKE world, time management is key. Not only is it critical when you actually write the exam, it is equally important when you are studying for it. While you practice, make sure that you are solving the questions under a time constraint.

The first round of questions you do in the beginning of your study plan might not be perfectly timed and that’s understandable – you are just warming up. However, during the three weeks before the CKE, you have to start timing yourself. We recommend doing 10 questions in one sitting (which should take you only 24 minutes!), debriefing those questions, taking a short (!) break and starting up again. Have a clock visible in front of you, to keep track of time. A noiseless stopwatch can be your best friend during your several weeks of study.

On the day of the exam, time management is your pass to success. You cannot afford to think about a question for longer than approximately 2.5 minutes as the opportunity cost of not getting to other questions is way too high. It is a matter of pass or fail.

Debriefing… what’s that?

It is a common experience to hit a point when you feel like you are not improving. The question that you have to ask yourself is, “Am I debriefing properly?” What does that mean? It’s not sufficient to simply look at the answers of the question for a couple minutes, follow the answer’s logic and then move on to the next question. If you catch yourself thinking, “This makes sense… Sure, I get it now,” STOP and think. Did you actually understand the logic and would you be able to solve this question on your own without looking at the solutions? Try it out! Understand where you might have misinterpreted the facts or perhaps your technical reasoning was weak. Analyze your solving process and know it.

Start cracking the CKE code today! Make a study plan and follow it. Want to get a second opinion on your study plan? exaMENTOR is only an email away.

 

Since 2010, exaMENTOR has been assisting candidates to prepare for the professional accounting exams, such as the CKE. We are the first and original organized group of experienced CAs to offer professional coaching services. Our exaMENTOR team includes CAs with extensive UFE marking centre experience, comprehensive managerial experience and honour roll candidates. 

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.

Modern Tools for the Core Knowledge Exam (CKE)

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by CA Formula.

Welcome to the start of the 2014 UFE process! There’s no doubt that you’re probably a little nervous about the whole thing – don’t worry – that’s normal. This is probably your first big professional exam.

If you’re a candidate writing in Ontario, your first hurdle will be to clear the Core Knowledge Exam, more casually called the CKE. You might be taking a course or you might be doing a self-study program. Both are great options but the most important part of getting through the CKE is practicing on plenty of multiple choice questions across all the competency areas and then learning from the solutions.

Beginning November 1st, CA Formula is excited to bring you 500 multiple choice questions the modern way.

What do we mean by the modern way?

No longer do you have to bother printing hundreds of pages of questions and solutions. CA Formula provides everything online, instantly.

No longer do you have to wonder how other candidates are performing. CA Formula tells you instantly how all other candidates who have completed the multiple choice exam have performed. You can instantly compare your results on a competency or overall exam basis. Understanding where most candidates have trouble right away will help reduce your stress and motivate you to focus on those areas and improve.

Want to learn more about studying for the CKE the modern way?

CA Formula is the first of its kind to offer a complete preparatory program to candidates online.

The CA Formula prep program also includes complete online technical summaries for all six competency areas and new this year, CA Formula is also offering a live chat service with a professional marker CA.

Come visit CA Formula to learn more, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. As a UFE Blog reader, we’re also giving you 5% off if you use the coupon code UFEBLOG when you sign up.

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.

Free CKE, SOA and UFE Information and Study Plan Session

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by PASS Professional Accounting Supplementary School.

How do I begin? Where do I start? How much do I have to study?

These and other questions confront all UFE candidates.  The truth is – these are important questions because in the final analysis, passing the UFE is as much about “the process” and “how” one studies as it is about raw intelligence.  In other words, over 90% of all candidates who get to the UFE ultimately pass!  What this demonstrates is that almost all UFE candidates have the skills to make it through.  The trick is doing it right the first time or at least figuring out how to do it right if something went wrong.

PASS is offering a free information/study plan session on Tuesday Sept. 17, in the evening.  We will review sample detailed study plans and discuss all of the exams – the CKE, SOA and the UFE.  We’ll talk about

  • study plans;
  • when to start;
  • study sources;
  • study groups;
  • technical vs. case writing split;
  • time budgeting and
  • passing stats.

At the end of the session, you should have a clear idea what you have to do to pass all 3 of the upcoming exams and feel a lot more confident that with a bit of guidance, you can definitely pass all of the exams, the first time around!

PASS has been preparing students since 1987 to pass these exams.  We have taught thousands of students over the years and have top UFE and SOA markers involved in the program.  This year we have in-class sessions, live online sessions and recorded videos, which means you can pick and choose which format works best for you and never miss a session.

From our technical CKE course where students practice on dozens of questions to our winter and spring case writing for the SOA and summer comprehensive UFE course, PASS will give you the tools to ensure you are as prepared as possible, from both a technical and case writing perspective. We are totally committed to doing everything possible to maximize your chances of success, first time around. Join us for an evening on Tuesday Sept. 17th to start the process on the right foot!

If you want to discuss your personal situation, find out more about our PASS programs or attend the free information/study plan session, go to www.passufe.ca and send us an e-mail or call us. We are happy to help!

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.

Take control of the 2013 UFE!

Today’s post is a sponsored guest post produced by exaMENTOR.

Congratulations! You got over the hurdle of the SOA. Well done! Make sure to take an evening or weekend to celebrate your achievement. If you passed with flying colours or if you were happy with your results in general, then the joy is overflowing. However, at exaMENTOR we know that passing with “a warning” or not performing as well as you had hoped can leave you with a bittersweet feeling. But in any case, passing is definitely a cause for celebration. You absolutely must take time this weekend to enjoy your achievement!

On Monday it’s back to business, and you will likely start preparing for the UFE. If you passed with ‘a warning’ or did not achieve the results you desired, it’s natural to feel a bit nervous about preparing for the UFE. You might think that you are at a disadvantage compared to your peers as your performance was below that of the average candidate.

If your goal is to pass the UFE this year, now is the time to take control of the situation. You need to understand that there is no actual correlation between passing the SOA and passing the UFE. Your SOA results can be merely used as a proxy but there is no direct causation. We have seen numerous candidates who marginally pass the SOA and go on to write and pass the UFE in September of the same year! You must realize that you have a fighting chance to pass the UFE, provided you play your cards right, from now until exam time.

It’s therefore crucial to use the next eight weeks effectively in order to properly prepare yourself for the UFE. You will need to work on case writing, improving your weaknesses and building your confidence. Since your performance so far has been below your expectations and goals, you should consider obtaining extra help from a marker and/or coach. We recommend taking the following steps:

1) Set up a Coaching Session

Set up one-on-one coaching sessions. These one-on-one coaching sessions allow your mentor to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Arrange to write one or two cases prior to your first meeting, so that your mentor can use them to assess your current case-writing skills. Your mentor will guide you as you create an effective study plan that addresses and mitigates your weaknesses.

2) Re-evaluate your Study Strategy

Reconsider whether your study approach for the SOA worked effectively and suited your personal study habits. For example, consider the dynamic within your study group. Did you get good feedback from your study partners? At exaMENTOR, we believe that you will receive much better feedback from an experienced marker than you are likely to get from a study buddy. Our valuable feedback will help you to make the leap from the bottom of the pack to the front.

3) Review your Results

Reviewing a detailed breakdown of your SOA results will also be of great benefit by helping you to clearly identify and understand what your weaknesses are. For instance, if you scored poorly on the PMR competency area, perhaps relating to a lack of integration of case facts or technical weaknesses, you should make sure that you address these areas in your UFE study plan. Your coach will assist you by selecting cases and designing a study schedule that focuses on your specific weakness.

4) Evaluate your Exam Experience

You might want to think back to your experience of the two-day SOA exam and evaluate what you could have done differently. Did you get a good night sleep? Were you too anxious? Did you attack the questions as they came at you? Did you stay within your time allocations? It’s understandable that you might have performed better on your practice exams than you did on the real thing. However, it’s crucial to address the reasons why this happened and to not repeat the same mistakes on the UFE in September.

5) Establish a Trustworthy Relationship with your Coach

Our experience shows that the mentor-candidate relationship is more effective in securing success than access to sporadic marking of your papers, since repeated meetings allows your coach to understand your deficits and tailor your study plan accordingly.

Most importantly, remember that if you study smart you will pass the 2013 UFE. We don’t just say this, we consistently see it happen!

exaMENTOR Inc. has used unique coaching and teaching techniques to assist numerous candidates to pass the UFE since 2010. Visit their website to find out more: www.exaMENTOR.ca.

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.

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