Today’s post is dedicated more towards students studying for the CKE (Core Knowledge Exam) in Ontario which takes place Thursday January 3, 2013. Students from other provinces may also find this a useful strategy to measure themselves against so feel free to read on.
Many candidates will have recently started working for accounting firms or CA Training Offices (CATOs) and naturally, many of you will start thinking immediately about the grueling process ahead that will take you through a number of hurdles until you get to challenge the UFE.
Don’t panic just yet. Even if you’ve been out of school or forgotten a lot of your accounting courses.
Many students seem to have a bit of an over reaction and it’s important that you recognize from the beginning that studying for the UFE is a measured process that will take you through the next year with breaks to recover at various steps. It will often be unpleasant and involve a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t mean that the next year is going to be nothing but studying long nights. In fact, myself, and many others have a great time during this year, meet a lot of great people and I still look back fondly on my UFE year. So that said, let’s look at the CKE.
The CKE is entirely a multiple-choice exam and it tests all the “technical” therefore the purpose of the CKE is for you to have solid technical by the time you take the test in January. This, for some, is therefore their most difficult exam and I including myself in this group. I wasn’t very fond of the CKE because I hate memorizing technical (I’m not a big memorization guy) and it’s not an open-book test like the SOA or UFE so I had no choice. I also don’t like multiple-choice, I find accounting to be a little ambiguous sometimes and this kind of thing doesn’t lend itself to being tested by multiple choice. I’ve heard the better you are with technical the more difficult such multiple choice tests can be. Of course I could just be telling myself that to feel better. 🙂
So you’ve got three months left to get ready. What do you do?
1. Take a CKE Prep Course if you can
I highly recommend a CKE prep course which will cover everything you need to know for the CKE. I took the PASS course but the ICAO also offers their own course. These are starting very soon (if not yet) so go… like now.
If you choose not to take a course you’ll need to learn about the coverage of the CKE and create your own course. I will try to post something very soon about how you might do this and of course I’ll be offering up a lot of notes here myself as we go.
You should spend October, November and some of December brushing up on your technical. You’ll need to read, practice problems and understand technical. What I don’t recommend you do is practice writing MC exams yet during October, November and the first part of December.
The prep courses generally run every weekend (8 hours per weekend day) and depending how you are with your technical you might have to do a night or two a week of additional review, especially come November and December where you may also want to devote a full week or two of evenings studying.
2. Practice writing CKE Mock Exams
There are a limited number of CKE Mock Exams out there. You want to save them for the few weeks prior to the CKE Exam.
The following CKE Mock Exam packages are the ones I’m aware of:
- Densmore CKE Practice Package (~600 questions) (Or 6 exams total) – These questions are, on average, considered slightly easier than the real CKE.
- Norgrove Package (~225 questions) (Or just over 2 exams total) – These questions are, on average, considered very difficult but helpful in studying and learning in depth.
- Dunlop CKE Question (~300 questions) (Or 3 full exams) – These questions are, on average, considered the most equivalent to the actual CKE.
* Note that I’m basing this on my experience on the 2010 versions of these publications so the questions/difficulty have changed since. If you’ve had a different experience more recently please give us some comments to let us know!
As you can see, there is only enough out there for about 11 full 100 question exams. This is plenty but if you start doing these exams right now or before December you may not have enough left to judge how you are performing after you’ve relearned all your technical. So therefore I recommend working these into your December study strategy and not before! You will be surprised how well you remember most of the questions after you do them.
What about Christmas/New Years?
Sorry to tell you, but this is one of those sacrifices you will have to make this year. Chances are, that unless you’re really feeling great, you’ll need to do some studying over the Christmas/New Years holidays. Doesn’t mean you can’t take some days off in there but it will weigh on your mind this year.
So congratulations on embarking on this exciting year. I’ll be around here at every step and I hope you’ll drop in and make UFE Blog part of your study routine. Feel free to drop me a line or follow me on Twitter or Facebook where I’ll be posting as well.