Tag Archives: handbook

The Handbook can be useful

I was a huge fan of using the Handbook during my case writing. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not that big on memorizing long criteria or rules so instead I learned how the Handbook worked and just went in there every time I needed specific criteria.

This was in a time when we could use FolioViews in the UFE. That’s changed and now it’s some sort of PDF viewer which I understand may not be as search friendly. You may have to therefore rely a little more on knowing the Handbook sections.

On the bright side, I believe you’re able to Copy-Paste now directly from the handbook. That was not something I could do and boy would it have been a time saver. We had to go back and forth between the two at the risk of crashing your computer at any moment.

All this to say, I find myself a little surprised when people tell me they don’t use the Handbook at all. If you’ve got all the rules and criteria memorized, then kudos to you but if you don’t, give it a shot, you might be surprised how useful you find it.

Be confident in Assurance and PMR – Part 2

PMR will make up 20-30% of the exam marks. It should go without saying that you should have some strength in this indicator in order to stay competitive and make the rest of the exam easier on yourself.

By now, you have probably encountered the majority of the types of situations you may encounter on your final and you’ll have some idea where you stand.

Within the PMR competency, here are some ways you might be able to stand out:

  • Quantify issues whenever possible – This doesn’t mean just in the quant questions but anywhere you get the numbers to work with is an opportunity to add some depth by giving numeric behind your qualitative response.
  • Ranking – Understand that material issues and numbers are more important while other more minor issues can be left behind when time is scarce. The real easy stuff is often in there to take up your time and doesn’t add a lot of value.
  • Using case facts to backup your discussion – By far, something that a lot of candidates struggle with at this point is not enough case facts. Whenever writing an issue, always do it in terms of the case fact. In PMR, I always wrote the criteria supported by the case fact in one sentence or bullet point.
  • Don’t be afraid to use that handbook – It’s an open-book test! I used the handbook like crazy for SOA and UFE. What an unbelievable source of technical. For specific issues, the technical is often already there.

What other PMR tips do you want to share?

Use that Handbook! – Why Folioviews is great

Important Update: The 2012 UFE has stopped using Folioviews. See my update here.

One of the best things about writing the UFE in 2010 was that The Handbook was only allowed in electronic form which was not the case in previous years. I had to learn and use the electronic copy which turned out to be amazingly useful. One of my weaknesses is memorizing long rules and for this, the electronic Handbook is extremely useful. You’ll likely encounter some accounting issue in the UFE for which you can’t remember the exact criteria. Now a days it’s as easy jumping into the Handbook for a few minutes, doing a quick keyword search and finding the criteria. Even better, I understand that you can even copy and paste straight into your case which wasn’t possible when I wrote. How can anybody not be doing this all the time? Yet I still find some people prefer to try to cram the whole Handbook into their heads. It’s an open book exam – no need to memorize the book!

When to use Folioviews?

My advice: Get to know that beautiful electronic Handbook during your study period if you haven’t already and use it often! Why risk memory lapses or digging through Handbook sections for the first time during the UFE? It’s also often faster to find the exact criteria in the Handbook and copy it into your case and fill in the case facts as they apply and then conclude. You don’t want to be fiddling around with Folioviews for the first time during the UFE so I’ll say it again, get to know it during your study period and use it often.

When not to use Folioviews?

While the electronic CICA Handbook available is a beautiful thing, unfortunately the Income Tax Act version of it is not. Unless you are very sure that a specific issue is addressed in the ITA and you know where it is or the exact keyword then I have almost never found it useful. Because of the legislative way that the ITA is written, it’s unlikely you’ll find what you need during UFE time to tackle the issue without wasting a lot of time. You are better off trying to address the issue from memory. Sorry, no shortcuts here!

As always, there are some exceptions and in 2010 I was lucky enough to get one of these when LPP (Listed Personal Property) was an issue. This is one of those where having that keyword available to search can be of some use. Another is specific CCA rates so I would not memorize that list. As I’ve mentioned before, it looks like the CICA might be hinting that you should use this more often so it’s worth fiddling around a little if you haven’t before.

How often have you been using Folioviews? Do you foresee any issues that might arise by using it during the UFE?

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