Tag Archives: ufe advice

Have an easy going day today and get a good sleep – Good luck for UFE 2014

I certainly hope you aren’t studying much today! Your primary objective today is to tire yourself out enough so that you get a great sleep tonight.

If you have to do something then keep it to no more than half a day of light review and if you are writing any cases then make sure they are feel-good mocks and nothing new.

The next three days are the only ones that count so a little advice there:

1. Don’t talk about the exam after the exam. If you’re going to be tempted or going to be around people that can’t help themselves then don’t put yourself in that situation.

2. Each day is worth about the same points. You will probably feel terrible coming out of each day and this is normal and common. Don’t dare get discouraged and put in half-effort any of the three days.

3. Relax after the exam each day and do something to keep your mind off of it. Continue to get lots of sleep and don’t study/look things up after each day.

The key is to stay motivated, not get discouraged and be your best for these three days. After that you can go back to whatever lifestyle you prefer.

Good luck and congratulations for making it this far!

UFE Readings Part 2

Almost through, everybody. Not yet around the corner but it’s time to start monitoring for those signs of burnout to ensure that you are 100% on the three days you are writing the real UFE. Over here we’ll continue the content guide that is hopefully both timely and useful.

And of course there is the Debrief Week posts to help your debriefing:

And for inspiration, I always like to recommend the interview with a UFE Gold Medallist Vicky Au.

How is your UFE study period going?

What’s going to be on the UFE – 2014 edition

Today is a guest blog post from Gus Patel who successfully completed the 2013 UFE

It’s that time again! If you haven’t already gotten a chance to read the 2013 UFE Report, we have and that means the yearly What’s going to be on the UFE post.

As in prior years, the theory is that the UFE tends to reflect observations made in past UFE Reports so it is a good idea to read this article in conjunction with last years’ What’s going to be on the UFE – 2013 edition.  We will again take the same approach this year and not go into specifics of each case (UFE Blog wouldn’t want to spoil the fun!) but provide some general guidance on the trends and what to look for going into the 2014 UFE.  As a disclaimer, the UFE Blog has no insider knowledge on the 2014 UFE, and it is of the discretion of the candidate to implement a balanced study plan to cover all aspects that may be tested in this year’s UFE.  It is of our opinion that the UFE Report provides some key insight and guidance on what to watch out for.

Without further delay, let’s dive in…

Overall, the introduction in the Executive Summary of the report tells us that the Board of Evaluators concluded:

  • The 2013 UFE contained 2 fewer primary indicators than 2012, but same number of primary indicators as 2011 UFE.
  • The overall level of direction provided on the 2013 UFE was comparable to 2012 UFE, and there was one less PQ indicator, however there was a highlight point that future exams will continue to have a mix of directed and non-directed indicators (thus may not be a trend).
  • Overall candidates’ performance in 2013 was weaker than in the prior year.  Funny enough, the report made several references to the 2013 UFE being easier than the 2012 UFE, being a writer of both I would tend to agree with this, but I wouldn’t take this as a trend that the 2014 UFE will be easier by any means.

Some other noteworthy points summarized:

  • Candidates are doing a better job at applying Handbook guidance to case facts and not using a “copy/pasting” approach,  however some canadidates are not recognizing the need to apply handbook guidance at all in their discussion (Page 6).
  • Consistent with 2012 UFE Report, another warning, that candidates were continuing to employ a dangerous exam-writing strategy that candidates were looking for a specific number of issues on each indicator, even though there were numerous issues outlined in the simultations (Page 6).
  • Candidates performed stronger on quantitative analysis, however were struggling when asked to quantitatively compare options (Page 7).
  • There is a lack of clarity and documentation of calculations, many candidates’ calculations were not well organized, which often resulted in omitting items from analysis and technical errors, this includes the need to document calculations and explain why items may have been excluded (Page 7).
  • Lack of comprehension and integration of case facts, there was a trend of responses to what members of the board thought were evidence of reading the simulations too quickly which resulted in misunderstanding of the simulations (Page 8).
  • The unusual roles assigned in the simulations to candidates in the 2013 UFE continued to be varied with only 2 simulations being traditional assurance roles (i.e. expect to see varied roles in 2014!) (Page 9).

What does this all mean and how should I take this going forward?

  • Remember to take the read and outline stage seriously, including understanding your role and the required. If you are in a unique role, you need to not only act and respond as if you are in that role, you need to consider your users (whether or not they are sophisticated) and as such, you need to tailor your response accordingly.
  • Don’t fall into the trap that discussing a specific number of issues only (i.e. 3 accounting issues always and move on). When outlining you need to bring all your case issues to your outline and look at how many issues there are within an indicator, it is your job to rank these issues and allocate your time to discuss a sufficient number – this could be 3 on one case or 6 on another, so do not get too comfortable with a specific number.
  • There will be a need to track calculations carefully when outlining as well as documenting them clearly so that the marker can understand how you are arriving to your conclusion, remember, the marker’s can’t read your mind or your cell calculations for that matter, so it is necessary to clearly show your work.
  • Remember, to display “competence” and get that “C” you need to have a strong technical knowledge base but also be able to apply the technical in a useful way to the users, do not just jump to conclusions for your issues.

 

Comments by Competency Area

Assurance

Candidates’ performance in Assurance was weaker than in the prior year.  The Board noted last year that candidates’ performance in 2012 was down from the previous year due to them struggling with some of the unusual roles they were given in Assurance, and the same can be said for this year (Page 9).

Here we see again another comment about the “unusual” roles, the theme here is that you really need to adapt based on the required given and consider who the end user of the information is.

… Candidates had difficulty dealing with indicators on which they were asked to look into reporting options and describe procedures that could be performed under the different reports (Page 10).

I think it’s safe to say that you should continue to expect emphasis on special reporting options along with some procedures.

Performance Measurement and Reporting

The report introduced this section stating again that candidates performed poorly in comparison to 2012 in this indicator, and discussed at length that the major issue here is to make sure you are properly analyzing an issue without just jumping to the conclusion.

The Board also noticed that some candidates avoided the more complex issues and discussed the easy ones from a technical perspective only

Remember, even though there are some challenging PMR issues presented in all UFE cases, you must rank the cases and address the major issues rather than pick and choose the ones you find easiest.

Taxation

The Board noticed a slight decrease in the overall performance of taxation responses (Page 11).

Once again, candidates have a tendency to deal with the easy issues and leave the more complex ones aside, instead of taking the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through a discussion of issues requiring more depth of analysis (Page 12).

I completely empathize here, Tax was not my strong point by any means, but sometimes the UFE forces you to discuss these issues regardless of your strengths or weaknesses – if you are noticing yourself running out of things to discuss within a tax indicator, chances are you are addressing the more minor issues and ignoring the major ones.

Management Decision-Making

Without giving case specifics away, there was a note that there was a lack of quantitative analysis within one of the indicators, and candidates often struggled with how to incorporate facts into quantitative analysis.

It is important to keep in mind that integration is important on the UFE, including integrating some of your previous calculations into your next ones since the results of one calculation can feed the input of another.

Finance

Canadidates struggled with two main elements (in Finance).  First, they had a difficult time providing consistent calculations.  Many candidates included elements that applied to both options in their calculation for only one of the options, or they included elements that applied to only one option in their calculation for both options.  Second, candidates had a difficult time accounting for the time value of money (Page 13).

It is important to outline properly and ensure that you are “slotting” case facts to the right indicator, and in this case, to the right calculations.  Without mentioning specifics, time value of money was a funny comment, as it was mentioned twice in the report. I took another look at the specific case which had this issue and no surprise that the writers’ results here were dismal.  Luckily enough most of you will take on this case prior to the 2014 UFE as part of your study program, when you do, make sure you debrief the indicator well.

Another comment from the above is to make sure that you apply case facts consistently when making comparisons. You cannot compare two options if you include/exclude different items from each.

Governance, Strategy, and Risk Management

Candidates seemed comfortable discussing the risks and drawing on case facts to support their discussions.  However, there was still room for improvement, as candidates sometimes had difficulty explaining the implication to the company of the risk they had identified or providing a viable recommendation to address the risk identified (Page 13).

Remember, it is always necessary to discuss why the company cares that you’ve identified this weakness by linking it to either a key success factor or a financial or non-financial indicator that the company is concerned about. Make sure to develop reasonable recommendations that would cover off the control weakness and also take into account the size and nature of the company (i.e. do not make grand recommendations that a big company could do if who you are reporting to is a family run business).

Pervasive  Qualities and Skills

This year, candidates seemed to do a better job of identifying the issues; however, they had difficulty discussing them in enough depth (Page 14)… they didn’t always support their suspicion or provide a recommendation of what the next course of action should be (Page 14).

Recurring theme in the PQ section, writers are getting better at seeing the big picture but are not always supporting their identification of the issue or providing a recommendation.  A good way to format these discussions are using issue, implication, reccomendation format, being sure to provide more than one supporting point to back up the issue.

If you haven’t yet, do go and read the 2013 edition as this is rumored to also heavily influence content on the UFE. Happy studying!

What's going to be on the UFE – 2014 edition

Today is a guest blog post from Gus Patel who successfully completed the 2013 UFE

It’s that time again! If you haven’t already gotten a chance to read the 2013 UFE Report, we have and that means the yearly What’s going to be on the UFE post.

As in prior years, the theory is that the UFE tends to reflect observations made in past UFE Reports so it is a good idea to read this article in conjunction with last years’ What’s going to be on the UFE – 2013 edition.  We will again take the same approach this year and not go into specifics of each case (UFE Blog wouldn’t want to spoil the fun!) but provide some general guidance on the trends and what to look for going into the 2014 UFE.  As a disclaimer, the UFE Blog has no insider knowledge on the 2014 UFE, and it is of the discretion of the candidate to implement a balanced study plan to cover all aspects that may be tested in this year’s UFE.  It is of our opinion that the UFE Report provides some key insight and guidance on what to watch out for.

Without further delay, let’s dive in…

Overall, the introduction in the Executive Summary of the report tells us that the Board of Evaluators concluded:

  • The 2013 UFE contained 2 fewer primary indicators than 2012, but same number of primary indicators as 2011 UFE.
  • The overall level of direction provided on the 2013 UFE was comparable to 2012 UFE, and there was one less PQ indicator, however there was a highlight point that future exams will continue to have a mix of directed and non-directed indicators (thus may not be a trend).
  • Overall candidates’ performance in 2013 was weaker than in the prior year.  Funny enough, the report made several references to the 2013 UFE being easier than the 2012 UFE, being a writer of both I would tend to agree with this, but I wouldn’t take this as a trend that the 2014 UFE will be easier by any means.

Some other noteworthy points summarized:

  • Candidates are doing a better job at applying Handbook guidance to case facts and not using a “copy/pasting” approach,  however some canadidates are not recognizing the need to apply handbook guidance at all in their discussion (Page 6).
  • Consistent with 2012 UFE Report, another warning, that candidates were continuing to employ a dangerous exam-writing strategy that candidates were looking for a specific number of issues on each indicator, even though there were numerous issues outlined in the simultations (Page 6).
  • Candidates performed stronger on quantitative analysis, however were struggling when asked to quantitatively compare options (Page 7).
  • There is a lack of clarity and documentation of calculations, many candidates’ calculations were not well organized, which often resulted in omitting items from analysis and technical errors, this includes the need to document calculations and explain why items may have been excluded (Page 7).
  • Lack of comprehension and integration of case facts, there was a trend of responses to what members of the board thought were evidence of reading the simulations too quickly which resulted in misunderstanding of the simulations (Page 8).
  • The unusual roles assigned in the simulations to candidates in the 2013 UFE continued to be varied with only 2 simulations being traditional assurance roles (i.e. expect to see varied roles in 2014!) (Page 9).

What does this all mean and how should I take this going forward?

  • Remember to take the read and outline stage seriously, including understanding your role and the required. If you are in a unique role, you need to not only act and respond as if you are in that role, you need to consider your users (whether or not they are sophisticated) and as such, you need to tailor your response accordingly.
  • Don’t fall into the trap that discussing a specific number of issues only (i.e. 3 accounting issues always and move on). When outlining you need to bring all your case issues to your outline and look at how many issues there are within an indicator, it is your job to rank these issues and allocate your time to discuss a sufficient number – this could be 3 on one case or 6 on another, so do not get too comfortable with a specific number.
  • There will be a need to track calculations carefully when outlining as well as documenting them clearly so that the marker can understand how you are arriving to your conclusion, remember, the marker’s can’t read your mind or your cell calculations for that matter, so it is necessary to clearly show your work.
  • Remember, to display “competence” and get that “C” you need to have a strong technical knowledge base but also be able to apply the technical in a useful way to the users, do not just jump to conclusions for your issues.

 

Comments by Competency Area

Assurance

Candidates’ performance in Assurance was weaker than in the prior year.  The Board noted last year that candidates’ performance in 2012 was down from the previous year due to them struggling with some of the unusual roles they were given in Assurance, and the same can be said for this year (Page 9).

Here we see again another comment about the “unusual” roles, the theme here is that you really need to adapt based on the required given and consider who the end user of the information is.

… Candidates had difficulty dealing with indicators on which they were asked to look into reporting options and describe procedures that could be performed under the different reports (Page 10).

I think it’s safe to say that you should continue to expect emphasis on special reporting options along with some procedures.

Performance Measurement and Reporting

The report introduced this section stating again that candidates performed poorly in comparison to 2012 in this indicator, and discussed at length that the major issue here is to make sure you are properly analyzing an issue without just jumping to the conclusion.

The Board also noticed that some candidates avoided the more complex issues and discussed the easy ones from a technical perspective only

Remember, even though there are some challenging PMR issues presented in all UFE cases, you must rank the cases and address the major issues rather than pick and choose the ones you find easiest.

Taxation

The Board noticed a slight decrease in the overall performance of taxation responses (Page 11).

Once again, candidates have a tendency to deal with the easy issues and leave the more complex ones aside, instead of taking the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through a discussion of issues requiring more depth of analysis (Page 12).

I completely empathize here, Tax was not my strong point by any means, but sometimes the UFE forces you to discuss these issues regardless of your strengths or weaknesses – if you are noticing yourself running out of things to discuss within a tax indicator, chances are you are addressing the more minor issues and ignoring the major ones.

Management Decision-Making

Without giving case specifics away, there was a note that there was a lack of quantitative analysis within one of the indicators, and candidates often struggled with how to incorporate facts into quantitative analysis.

It is important to keep in mind that integration is important on the UFE, including integrating some of your previous calculations into your next ones since the results of one calculation can feed the input of another.

Finance

Canadidates struggled with two main elements (in Finance).  First, they had a difficult time providing consistent calculations.  Many candidates included elements that applied to both options in their calculation for only one of the options, or they included elements that applied to only one option in their calculation for both options.  Second, candidates had a difficult time accounting for the time value of money (Page 13).

It is important to outline properly and ensure that you are “slotting” case facts to the right indicator, and in this case, to the right calculations.  Without mentioning specifics, time value of money was a funny comment, as it was mentioned twice in the report. I took another look at the specific case which had this issue and no surprise that the writers’ results here were dismal.  Luckily enough most of you will take on this case prior to the 2014 UFE as part of your study program, when you do, make sure you debrief the indicator well.

Another comment from the above is to make sure that you apply case facts consistently when making comparisons. You cannot compare two options if you include/exclude different items from each.

Governance, Strategy, and Risk Management

Candidates seemed comfortable discussing the risks and drawing on case facts to support their discussions.  However, there was still room for improvement, as candidates sometimes had difficulty explaining the implication to the company of the risk they had identified or providing a viable recommendation to address the risk identified (Page 13).

Remember, it is always necessary to discuss why the company cares that you’ve identified this weakness by linking it to either a key success factor or a financial or non-financial indicator that the company is concerned about. Make sure to develop reasonable recommendations that would cover off the control weakness and also take into account the size and nature of the company (i.e. do not make grand recommendations that a big company could do if who you are reporting to is a family run business).

Pervasive  Qualities and Skills

This year, candidates seemed to do a better job of identifying the issues; however, they had difficulty discussing them in enough depth (Page 14)… they didn’t always support their suspicion or provide a recommendation of what the next course of action should be (Page 14).

Recurring theme in the PQ section, writers are getting better at seeing the big picture but are not always supporting their identification of the issue or providing a recommendation.  A good way to format these discussions are using issue, implication, reccomendation format, being sure to provide more than one supporting point to back up the issue.

If you haven’t yet, do go and read the 2013 edition as this is rumored to also heavily influence content on the UFE. Happy studying!

UFE Readings for the Week

For those looking for some timely UFE content to read and don’t want to go through the archives to find it, here are some timely articles as you get through your UFE prep courses and start your pre-UFE study periods.

Happy reading while you’re getting into the groove of things. Stay tuned for our yearly ‘what might be on the UFE review’ later this week.

In the meantime, what are the big issues you’re having at this point?

UFE 2014 – What’s next?

Want to get up to speed quickly? UFE Blog publishes Your UFE Questions Answered, an e-book that helps you understand the details about how the UFE works, how it’s marked and practical tips to succeed. Check it out if you want to take the short cut.

Good for you if you’ve been taking a bit of a break the last few weeks. Assuming you got good results from SOA earlier today then no doubt you are thinking about what’s next. It’s time to dust off the laptop and get to work again (after the celebratory weekend, of course!).

Before you fall into a UFE panic, the good news is that we’re going to ease into things. Always remember, the goal is to be at your best on the UFE writing days, not after, not before. Many of you will be going on UFE prep courses over the next few weeks. Use those well as they’re solid learning opportunities, and also a great place to have some fun after classes before the full-time study in August.

Speaking of August: the typical UFE intensive study period will be the four week prior to the UFE when you will start doing UFE case writing 5 days a week, full 8 hour days. Before this, don’t go too crazy with the cases. Do what your prep courses recommend or do the 1-2 (max) per week of the older UFE cases to get into the groove of things and learn how they differ from SOA cases if that applies to you.

Some additional suggestions for next week:

  • Get an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. If you wrote SOA you’ll get feedback about where you performed well and where you performed poorly. This is a good basis, but remember that you wrote a bunch of other cases during June so go back and look at your marks to see any trends. Most people should have a good understanding where they need work. This is what you’ll focus on first in your UFE study period. You want to target your weaker areas first with cases that test them.
  • Make sure you download and print out the full set of UFE cases for the past three years at least. UFE cases are found in the UFE Report for each year which can be found on your Institute’s web portal.
  • If you’re an Ontario writer, open up an old UFE cases and see how it’s different. Look at the marking guide/solution. SOA cases are marked different from UFE cases.

That should keep you busy and get you a good start to this year’s UFE season.

UFE 2014 – What's next?

Want to get up to speed quickly? UFE Blog publishes Your UFE Questions Answered, an e-book that helps you understand the details about how the UFE works, how it’s marked and practical tips to succeed. Check it out if you want to take the short cut.

Good for you if you’ve been taking a bit of a break the last few weeks. Assuming you got good results from SOA earlier today then no doubt you are thinking about what’s next. It’s time to dust off the laptop and get to work again (after the celebratory weekend, of course!).

Before you fall into a UFE panic, the good news is that we’re going to ease into things. Always remember, the goal is to be at your best on the UFE writing days, not after, not before. Many of you will be going on UFE prep courses over the next few weeks. Use those well as they’re solid learning opportunities, and also a great place to have some fun after classes before the full-time study in August.

Speaking of August: the typical UFE intensive study period will be the four week prior to the UFE when you will start doing UFE case writing 5 days a week, full 8 hour days. Before this, don’t go too crazy with the cases. Do what your prep courses recommend or do the 1-2 (max) per week of the older UFE cases to get into the groove of things and learn how they differ from SOA cases if that applies to you.

Some additional suggestions for next week:

  • Get an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. If you wrote SOA you’ll get feedback about where you performed well and where you performed poorly. This is a good basis, but remember that you wrote a bunch of other cases during June so go back and look at your marks to see any trends. Most people should have a good understanding where they need work. This is what you’ll focus on first in your UFE study period. You want to target your weaker areas first with cases that test them.
  • Make sure you download and print out the full set of UFE cases for the past three years at least. UFE cases are found in the UFE Report for each year which can be found on your Institute’s web portal.
  • If you’re an Ontario writer, open up an old UFE cases and see how it’s different. Look at the marking guide/solution. SOA cases are marked different from UFE cases.

That should keep you busy and get you a good start to this year’s UFE season.

What’s ahead?

Many of you, especially in Ontario, have been asking: what do I do now that I passed/didn’t pass the the CKE? What if I’m not in Ontario, what do I do?

The basic plan is to start with some more technical study and then work on your case writing muscles through the SOA (in Ontario) until the UFE. You want to have your technical knowledge down early because later on there won’t be much time to study it in depth since you’ll be working on cases.

Your skeleton Ontario schedule might look something like this:

January – February: Technical review and study (Wait! don’t panic! If you’re too busy it’s okay to take the time off from UFE study)

March – April: Technical review and study while starting writing cases, perhaps one per week or two. This will correspond with your courses if you’re taking one where you’ll learn some case writing techniques.

May: In Ontario this is pre-SOA time, you’ll continue to get into case writing, definitely doing one per week at this point.

June: School of Accountancy – long days and lots of case writing but very manageable.

July: Take a breather here while you wait for results. Yep, take the time to rest and recover because August is busy.

August: You’ll get introduced to UFE cases here and start writing a few.

August – September UFE Study Time: You will take off three weeks from any work to write/debrief cases 5 days a week and 8 hours a day leading up to the UFE.

September 9, 10 and 11th – the Big Day – the 2014 UFE! Hard to believe it’s only 221 days away.

See? It’s not so bad.

There are plenty of other paths. Some people work much harder, others don’t lift a finger until June but I think your average candidate follows this path (in Ontario, anyway). Other provinces have a much earlier focus on cases (and have two year programs in some cases). For example, in the CASB program you will have to pass a module in July so you will have to adjust your steps slightly. I believe it’s similar in Quebec as well.

 

A word on technical study from now on

The level of UFE technical is different from the CKE and also different from what you learned in University. It is not as high as you probably think. Both PASS and Densmore offer UFE-level technical study guides. I used the Densmore one and thought it was fantastic so I will continue to recommend it to candidates going forward. However, the best source of technical knowledge for the UFE will be the UFE (and SOA) solutions themselves. We’ll talk more about this in the future.

 

Past candidates: How did you study for the UFE? Tell us in the comments!
Today’s candidates: What are the big questions you still have?

What's ahead?

Many of you, especially in Ontario, have been asking: what do I do now that I passed/didn’t pass the the CKE? What if I’m not in Ontario, what do I do?

The basic plan is to start with some more technical study and then work on your case writing muscles through the SOA (in Ontario) until the UFE. You want to have your technical knowledge down early because later on there won’t be much time to study it in depth since you’ll be working on cases.

Your skeleton Ontario schedule might look something like this:

January – February: Technical review and study (Wait! don’t panic! If you’re too busy it’s okay to take the time off from UFE study)

March – April: Technical review and study while starting writing cases, perhaps one per week or two. This will correspond with your courses if you’re taking one where you’ll learn some case writing techniques.

May: In Ontario this is pre-SOA time, you’ll continue to get into case writing, definitely doing one per week at this point.

June: School of Accountancy – long days and lots of case writing but very manageable.

July: Take a breather here while you wait for results. Yep, take the time to rest and recover because August is busy.

August: You’ll get introduced to UFE cases here and start writing a few.

August – September UFE Study Time: You will take off three weeks from any work to write/debrief cases 5 days a week and 8 hours a day leading up to the UFE.

September 9, 10 and 11th – the Big Day – the 2014 UFE! Hard to believe it’s only 221 days away.

See? It’s not so bad.

There are plenty of other paths. Some people work much harder, others don’t lift a finger until June but I think your average candidate follows this path (in Ontario, anyway). Other provinces have a much earlier focus on cases (and have two year programs in some cases). For example, in the CASB program you will have to pass a module in July so you will have to adjust your steps slightly. I believe it’s similar in Quebec as well.

 

A word on technical study from now on

The level of UFE technical is different from the CKE and also different from what you learned in University. It is not as high as you probably think. Both PASS and Densmore offer UFE-level technical study guides. I used the Densmore one and thought it was fantastic so I will continue to recommend it to candidates going forward. However, the best source of technical knowledge for the UFE will be the UFE (and SOA) solutions themselves. We’ll talk more about this in the future.

 

Past candidates: How did you study for the UFE? Tell us in the comments!
Today’s candidates: What are the big questions you still have?

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!

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