Tag Archives: examentor

Choosing a UFE Prep Course

A new year, the CKE results around the corner and some requests in the comments tell me that candidates are looking for more information on UFE prep programs out there. I haven’t taken each individual course myself so I can’t rate them but I’m hoping candidates that have taken them in the past can give us some input in the comments. Outside of that, please visit their web sites and checkout what you get as part of the course to make your decision.

On a similar note, in the past I’ve discussed a UFE schedule and we got some great comments from past students on what worked for them in their respective provinces. I do recommend you check the previous articles out.

So here is the major stuff out there and what I know about it.

  1. Densmore Consulting Services offers the Densmore Prep Program. I took this program for SOA and UFE prep and it offers an excellent introduction to case writing as well as the emotional aspect of writing these exams. Densmore has excellent and experienced instructors, plenty of case marking as part of the course and books/presentations that you can learn from. Learn about the fees for the course here. Densmore has also added online versions of the course which are a little less expensive at $1,000 without marking and $1,600 with marking. As far as I know, this is the leading UFE prep program out there based on the number of candidates that take it which means that you’ll most likely end up in some large lectures. All the instructors were very willing to help those with questions though which is a very positive thing.

  2. Professional Accounting Supplementary School (PASS) offers its comprehensive UFE prep course through the summer as well. I took this course for CKE but not for SOA or UFE. I can tell you that Mr. Walfish has a very strong technical background and offers a good CKE course. Like Densmore, PASS has begun to offer and online version of their course in the winter which is available for $595.

  3. In Ontario, the ICAO offers the UFE Finalist Preparation Program. I have no personal knowledge of how these courses are since I haven’t taken them. If you’ve taken it, please let us know your experience in the comments.

For those looking for further alternatives, a number of newer courses and programs have sprung up in the past few years which look promising.

  1. ExaMENTOR has been around for a number of years now offers a number of UFE related services including in-class workshops, marking services and coaching services. They’re also in some more locations than you might find the other programs above which could reduce your travel costs. For those looking for a more individual experience and attention, exaMENTOR may be worth trying. Prices range based on your choices and may be a good value for the size of the class, check it out.

  2. CPA Formula is a new online training program which offers a mix of video lessons, case marking and virtual/in-person tutoring and some method to compare yourself to candidates in other provinces. You can learn a little more about what they offer here. CPA Formula is priced a little lower than the major lecture-style courses mentioned above and may be a good value for candidates who can part with the classroom setting.

(Full disclosure: exaMENTOR and CPA Formula advertise with UFE Blog) 

So what’s best for you?

Wish I could tell you! You’ll have to go through what each program offers and decide which one will work best for your situation. I do recommend you have some support though, even if it’s just strictly marking support from a professional marker. I’ve known people who have passed the UFE first try with just a little marking support but for most I still recommend a course, especially if you haven’t done a lot of case writing in the past.

Decisions, decisions…

Are you a past UFE writer who took a course? Let us know how your experience was!

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.

Build your UFE muscles! Start now, don’t wait till August!

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

Preparing for an intellectual, case-writing and critical-thinking marathon like the UFE is hard. That’s why you need to develop the strength to push yourself through the three-day challenge and across the finish line ahead of your competition!

So how do you prepare for this marathon? By building your UFE muscles. You need to make sure your brain is trained to withstand the pressure of time constraints and that your memory responds to every attempt at recalling your technical knowledge.

Successful studying involves addressing your weaknesses and capitalizing on your strengths. However, you also need to be realistic and understand that preparing for the UFE is not something you can do in two days. Effective preparation takes time. It’s a lot like building muscle mass; it’s impossible to do over night, but a few months of disciplined and persistent training can do wonders.

Since 2010, exaMENTOR has been assisting candidates to prepare for their UFE marathons. We are the first organized group of experienced CAs to offer both marking and coaching services. Our exaMENTOR team includes CAs with extensive UFE marking centre experience, comprehensive managerial experience and honour roll UFE writers.

We are eager to share with you our knowledge and expertise. Here are a few tips to get you started preparing for your marathon:

Tip  #1: Understand your strengths and weaknesses

Whether a new or experienced writer, we strongly recommend submitting one or two simulations to a seasoned marker and arranging for a one-on-one consultation session in May. This will help you to recognize and more deeply understand your strengths and weaknesses early on in the preparation process.

If you are an experienced writer, you absolutely must get your PAR reviewed by a professional marker. We strongly discourage you from solely relying on a self-analysis of your PAR. Depend on professionals who are capable of providing you with an estimate of your ranking on the UFE. Also, our experienced markers will help you create a personalized study plan that will offer a range of simulations to give you opportunities to train your weaker areas. For instance, if you are spending too much time on quantitative analysis, your mentor will suggest practice simulations that include more quantitative analysis and coach you on how to approach various quantitative indicators. We strongly urge you to not wait until August; by then, it may be too late to improve your case writing skills. Remember, it takes time to train your muscles, whether it’s your biceps, triceps or brain muscle!

Tip  #2: Come up with a plan

If you’re a repeat writer we strongly encourage you to re-evaluate your study strategy. If you have taken a preparation course in the past, consider whether personalized tutoring and marking would be a better option this year.

If you’re a new writer, we recommend that you take a preparation course in combination with personalized tutoring and marking. Private tutoring and marking offers multiple benefits to candidates. Professionals with UFE and provincial institute exam marking experience will mark your papers and provide valuable feedback, which will help you assess your own performance. A professional marker is able to identify exactly what you need to do to pass the UFE. In fact, with an experienced marker, you don’t need to worry if you don’t have a study buddy. You will receive better feedback by submitting your simulations to a professional marker than you would to a fellow candidate. In addition, one-on-one discussions with your mentor that assess your performance is an effective stress management technique. Your personal coach is also able to track your performance and compare it to other candidates. This will help you to stay on the right track during your preparation. Most importantly, it will give you confidence that you are on the right track and will stop you from falling victim to a lethal panic.

Tip  #3: Create time and come up with a budget

Ensure that you make the necessary arrangements with your employer so that you have sufficient time to properly prepare for the UFE. It is recommended that you not work during August as the challenge of studying and writing the UFE requires you to be mentally and physically energetic and alert. Remember, building muscles means having the time and energy to go to the gym and work out.

Make a budget as to how to finance your extra help. We find a long-term relationship with a marker and mentor to be far much more beneficial than sporadically submitting work to be marked. An investment in your preparation is a sure path to success.

If possible, plan a short getaway towards the end of July. It’s a good idea to clear your mind and relax before the key study period begins in August.

Tip  #4: Review your technical

Make sure that you are comfortable with your technical knowledge before August. Do not leave this element of your preparation until then. Of course, we strongly advise you to have a solid grip on the technical rules to ensure you are capable of providing in-depth discussions, but you want to use August to perfect your case-writing skills and not for acquiring technical knowledge. Your coach will help you to stay on track and confirm that your knowledge base is adequate.

Take the time to plan out your summer and start your first muscle-building exercises today! Visit our website – www.exaMENTOR.ca – to find out more. 

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.

Good time to review your UFE plan

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, it’s been busy on my end and looking now I see it’s been a long time – too long. So let’s get back on track as everyone starts getting their head into the UFE.

This seems as good a time as any to review where you are in terms of getting ready for the UFE. Previously, I’ve discussed a UFE schedule and we got some great comments from past students on what worked for them in their respective provinces. I do recommend you check the previous articles out, and as you’ll see, April is a great time to start reviewing to how-tos of writing a case. In Ontario, you’ll be introduced to the case writing approach if you take one of the big UFE prep courses.

Speaking of which, this is a good time to go through what’s available out there.

  1. Densmore Consulting Services offers the Densmore Prep Program. I took this program for SOA and UFE prep and it offers an excellent introduction to case writing as well as the emotional aspect of writing these exams. ($1,680 and up). Densmore has also added online versions of the course which start at $1,000 and up for those that can’t make it to the big cities.

  2. Professional Accounting Supplementary School (PASS). I took this course for CKE but not for SOA or UFE so I can tell you that Mr. Walfish has strong technical and offers a good course. ($1,675 for the comprehensive UFE course). Like Densmore, PASS has begun to offer and online version of their course which is available for $595.

  3. In Ontario, the ICAO offers the UFE Finalist Preparation Program from Mr. Norgrove. I have no personal knowledge of how these courses are. More information about this course will be offered in the summer.

For those looking for further alternatives, a number of newer courses and programs have sprung up in the past few years which look promising.

  1. ExaMENTOR has been around for a number of years now offers a number of UFE related services including workshops on topics such as debriefing and critical-reading, marking services and coaching services. They’re also in some more locations than you might find the other programs. For those looking for a more individual experience, exaMENTOR may be worth trying. Prices start at $600 (including HST in this case).

  2. CPA Formula is a new online training program which offers a mix of video lessons, some case marking and virtual/in-person tutoring. CPA Formula will cost you about $997.

(Full disclosure: exaMENTOR advertises with UFE Blog) 

So what’s best for you?

Wish I could tell you! You’ll have to go through what each program offers and decide which one will work best for your situation. I do recommend you have some support though, even if it’s just strictly marking support from a professional marker. I’ve known people who have passed the UFE first try with just a little marking support but for more I still recommend a course, especially if you haven’t done a lot of case writing in the past.

Happy deciding 🙂

Quick note on advertising

Those who come here more regularly may notice we’ve got an advertisement up on the right side that wasn’t there before. I’m happy to say that I’ve teamed up with exaMENTOR who will be providing some sponsorship of UFE Blog. I thought this would be a good time to indicate that although I’m accepting sponsorship, it has no effect on the content I offer on this site — I’ll continue to blog independently and I won’t write anything to satisfy advertisers or that I don’t believe is in the best interest of candidates writing the UFE. I encourage you to check out exaMENTOR’s offerings as well as that of others and choose what you think is best for you.

Thanks, and now back to our regular programming.

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