4 Days Before CFE – How I Am Feeling & My Updated Study Plan

Does it surprise you that I have another update? I am sure if you have been following my CPA journey for a while, it does not. My plan is always changing depending on how I feel and it has always been therapeutic to share it with you.

If you are reading this before you write the Sep 2021 CFE, I hope this reminds you that you are not alone. If we have never interacted on Instagram, I want to wish you all the best here.

If you are reading this later, I hope this reminds you that it is okay to adjust your CFE prep as you go. For me, there was a lot of trial and error. Regardless, it brought me to where I am now. Work hard, stay focused and stay motivated.

The Challenges I Had In The Past 4 Days

There Was So Much More Technical to Study!

I knew this was coming at some point so this was a major reason why I started CFE prep early. I heard from more than one successful CFE candidate that something they wished they had done earlier was to start reviewing technical before Capstone 2. It was not mandatory as they passed. However, they said it would have made CFE prep easier.

Now that I am sharing with you how I felt, you might think my early prep must have been useless. To tell you the truth, I am not sure. I will not be able to tell you definitively whether I would have struggled the same or more if I didn’t start reviewing technical when I did. But I do not regret it. It kept the momentum going for me and was a nice distraction when the world was still in lockdown.

I felt this statement when I was watching the Densmore’s tax technical refresher video. However, I also knew for a fact that I knew enough of the basics. This feeling was not rational. I attempted and debriefed a very healthy chuck of cases to know enough (some knowledge might have slipped my mind already so my debrief notes review scheduled for tomorrow will be useful).

There is not much I can do beyond telling myself I know enough. Feelings are mysterious. If you feel this way, know that it is normal.

Others Are More Prepared Than I Am.

This is because my college friends who are writing Sept CFE with me are hardworking and dedicated. We didn’t meet often (only twice since we started Core 1 but also due to COVID) but we kept each other motivated virtually throughout the last two years. Some had two months’ off and followed a schedule provided by their employers, one had no choice but to work until the very last minute and one had a new born. They all put in as much effort as possible so it is natural for me to feel like I am not as prepared.

However, this is not a bad thing. I am a true believer of surrounding myself with people who I admire – their strengths, their dedications and their intelligence. This is how I stay motivated. On the flip side, I have had friends who made the mistake of prepping CFE with friends who did not take CFE prep as seriously as they did. This could have a very significant negative impact on your study. If you are reading this early, choose your study buddy carefully.

Are you preparing for CFE and is wondering what you need to know?
Check out my CFE guides here!

What If I Developed COVID Symptoms!?

I am not sure how long this will be relevant (hopefully not much longer). For those of you reading this later, candidates all over Canada are writing the Sep 2021 CFE at hotels in our own designated hotel room for distancing. For the three weeks leading up to CFE, we were asked to fill out a COVID survey weekly. If we have any COVID symptoms on the day of the exam, we will not be allowed to write the exam.

Last week, I thought I was developing a sore throat one night. It was very slight but I went to bed earlier than usual to be safe. I woke up and realized the discomfort was from my slightly inflamed gum. Since I was going to the dentist for my Invisalign check-up anyway, I asked the dentist to check it out. It was nothing concerning and he said it will go away if I keep the area clean.

For the past one-year-and-a-half, I would get worried every time I felt the slightest off. Now that both Eric and I are fully vaccinated, I do feel better about my chances. However, with CFE on the line, catching COVID worried me more than ever.

What If I Am The Weak Candidate The BOE Kept Talking About

For my CFE prep, I relied heavily on the Debrief Notes (e.g., how to answer the AO, what the trigger was, what the BOE said weak candidates did) provided for past CFE cases. Obviously, the information on what weak candidates did was provided to allow us to learn from their mistakes and not repeat them. However, I can’t help but feel like they were describing me sometimes. The mistakes ranged from missing an AO, misinterpreting an AO, including too few component, being weak in technical or lacking in depth for qualitative.

At the same time, I feel confident about passing CFE still. But, I want to perform well enough to not have to wonder whether I passed or not in the next 3 months before results are out. I always talk about the importance of believing in yourself and I truly believe that. I know that is what I need to do but sometimes I just can’t help it.

A Recap On Everything I Did In The Past 4 Days

*without attempting

  • attempted
    • Perfecto Painters, Dogani Inc (Capstone 2 Day 3)
    • Fanatix (Densmore Day 3)
  • ‘attempted’ (only answered in my head)
    • May 2021 CFE Day 3 cases
    • Forward (Densmore Day 3)
  • reviewed
    • Wild Care, Culinary Crawl, Canadian Holistic, Katwill, National Mail, Play Canada, World Wide Windows & Elder Care (Capstone 2 Day 3)
    • Elyse, Taylors (Densmore Day 3)
    • Kepler, Great North Timber* (Densmore Day 2)
  • reviewed debrief notes from previously-attempted cases
  • watched several Densmore videos (CFE Day 2 approach, CFE Day 2 Approach for Finance, half of Tax Technical Refresher)

Updated Study Plan For CFE

I attempted less cases in the past several days than I originally planned. This was because I was just getting annoyed with writing cases in an exam setting. I knew about the importance of staying in control of my mental state so I decided to dial down my plan. It might still seem like a lot of studying but I ensure you it does not take long and the goal is to refresh my memory on knowledge I already have.

September 10 (3 Days Before CFE)

  • review Capstone 2 flashcards for common and role (Finance)
  • review debrief notes
  • review solution for Agriculture* (Densmore Day 3)

September 11 (2 Days Before CFE)

  • review Day 1 study aids:
    • Densmore’s WDI bridging document
    • CPA May CFE Day 1 case (just to outline as suggested by my friend)
    • CPA feedback guide
    • WDI strong report
    • Densmore Day 1 approach video

September 12 (The Day Before CFE)

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