In addition to my regular long-form posts, I thought it will be fun for me to track my CPA CFE prep in a diary format. They will be less informational and more about what I did or did not do every day leading up to my CFE in September. As of the writing of this introduction, I was 2 weeks away from my last PEP exam (Performance Management) and just registered for Densmore CFE Prep last week. As starting too early is not always recommended in case of burn-out, I most likely started thinking about CFE prep earlier than most of you would (my previous CPA CFE posts). I am confident that I will be fine as I am quite familiar with the learning style that works best for me. However, as a safety precaution, I am going to note down “how I feel” in every entry. If I sense the slightest hint of burn-out, I will adjust my plan accordingly.
Also, I understand not everyone will be using Densmore or other CFE prep programs to supplement what CPA already offers. To make this post more relevant and applicable, I will try my best to include the equivalent CPA-provided or free materials/exercises.
Note, this post contains a product that was sponsored by Densmore Consulting Consulting Services Inc. However, all opinions are 100% my own.
Mar 20, 2021 (Day 1 of CFE Prep)
I finished watching the introductory videos on Densmore a couple of days ago. They were great videos that talked about the CFE, technical review, their program and critical reading. Since I had done a lot of reading on CFE already, there wasn’t much that surprised me. After that, I finalized a schedule where I will be tackling one skill drill (14 of them split between Management Accounting & Finance) per day for the next week or so before I go back to studying for my PM exam. I did my first skill drill for Management Accounting (Divisional Analysis) just now and it took less time than I expected. Since it was a topic I was familiar with, it only took ~30 mins or so.
How I feel: a little tired from work (finished an exciting but challenging task today) but looking forward to watching Brave New World since I am already done studying
Skill Drill equivalent: old CPA PEP Core 2 cases that tested on Management Accounting or Finance competencies (avoid re-doing the whole case but just pick out the required and work on that)
Recommended free resources: CPA Alberta’s post, LinkedIn post, CPAWSB’s post & Densmore post.
Mar 21, 2021 (Day 2 of CFE Prep)
When I got home from dinner, I contemplated working on a Finance skill drill (harder for me) instead of a Management Accounting one (easier). However, I decided against it as I wasn’t feeling 100% (blame cramps). Tonight was Contribution Margin and Break-Even analysis – another topic I was comfortable with. I set a timer as suggested and actually wasted several minutes being lost on the format. I thought I wasn’t on the right path as I was thrown off by a tricky part (extra revenue from a side business). I took a peek at the solution when I was about done with the first 2 parts (there were 3) and realized I was actually on the right track. This has shown me how important it will be to be able to stay calm during the CFE. Since I was only practising, I was able to simply look at the answer. Obviously, I won’t be able to when I write the exam and things could go downhill really quickly if I don’t manage my emotions well. I spent ~30 mins on this tonight (suggested 45 mins).
How I feel: thanks to cramps, I have been sore and tired all day; luckily, I knew these skill drills wouldn’t take long so I managed to convince myself to finish one anyway
Recommended free resources: Youtube videos on (1) break-even analysis (2) contribution margin
Mar 22, 2021 (Day 3 of CFE Prep)
I got the Densmore Scenario Flowchart in the mail (much earlier than expected) today and flipped through it. I always knew Taxation was one of my weakest areas since I never understood it fully in college. It was painfully evident when I scanned through the taxation section in the flowchart and had a lot of trouble following. Not gonna lie but that was quite discouraging because it meant I have a lot of work ahead. However, better now than later.
I didn’t end up studying after we came back from a walk after work. It is not unusual for me to end up chilling on Fridays anyway. I do have to come up with a study plan for Taxation on the weekend though.
How I feel: I have been feeling unproductive all week and after speaking to Eric, I think I have come up with a solution that I will try next week.
Densmore Scenario Flowchart equivalent: I have not come across anything like their flowchart yet (read the Densmore post to find out what it is) so I can only think of creating one on your own (you will most likely see value in creating one as you will be studying too)
Mar 23, 2021 (Day 4 of CFE Prep)
I meant to be way more productive than I ended up being today. I did get around getting another Management Accounting skill drill done. It was budgeting this time and was probably the easiest one so far. It tested on cash vs. non-cash, sunk costs & relevant costs. After completing 3 skill drills, I realized I can probably get more than 1 done per day as they only take ~30 mins each or so. However, once I have my game plan for Taxation technical reviews, I will probably set aside time on that instead. Planning that will be a must-do for me tomorrow.
How I feel: hopeful because we had a promising showing for our condo today *fingers crossed*
Recommended free resources: this cash budget tutorial video by one of my favourite YouTubers
Mar 24, 2021 (Day 5 of CFE Prep)
I reviewed quite a bit of tax technical today: definition of “persons” per Income Tax Act (ITA), tax filing deadlines and penalties, employee vs. contractor/self-employed, employment income for individuals and deductions. My tax courses were quite easy to pass in college so my foundation was so-so. Luckily, I have been filing my own taxes since I started working so I was comfortable with personal income tax (T1). The real challenge would be corporation tax and I can’t say I am super excited about reviewing (or rather, learning) them. I basically relied on the Knotia e-book and competency map to guide my review today. I saved the Taxation chapters as a PDF and scanned the Taxation competencies before I start reading the chapters. I made notes using this technique called Cornell Note Taking with little success as I have never tried before. The concept seems promising though so I will most likely keep trying.
How I feel: happy because I studied more than I planned on today!
Mar 25, 2021 (Day 6 of CFE Prep)
Another review day for tax technical: accounting income vs income for tax purposes adjustments, CCA, personal-services business and a bit of property income. I relied on the Knotia e-book and competency map to guide my study again today. I highly recommend utilizing the competency map as it stopped me from reviewing a complicated topic (level C for terminal loss/capital loss for non-arm’s length transactions) in more depth. I would have wasted precious time trying to understand it completely. It’s not that learning more about something would have been a complete waste but I had to remind myself that passing CFE is the main goal. As always, I tried to watch YouTube videos whenever I could. It is not always easy as Canadian CPA content is not as abundant as American content. On top of that, I tend to stay away from outdated materials in case the standards/policies have changed. However, I have found a couple of videos and an article that worked well for me today.
Also, if you know me well, you would know that I love finding multiple ways to understand a concept. To understand how corporate tax flows on a T2, I played around with this form designed to estimate corporate tax payable. You will see how the difference pieces fit together to give you your corporate tax payable.
How I feel: today was as good as a Monday can get 🙂
Recommended free resources: a video on Personal-Services Business, one on eligible and non-eligible dividends & an article on Corporate Tax by Bench Accounting
Mar 26, 2021 (Day 7 of CFE Prep)
Today would mark the last day of CFE review before I switch gear back to reviewing for my PM exam in a week. I probably won’t need the full week to study but I thought it would be better for me to finish PM first in case I need more time than expected. Like the last couple of days, I reviewed tax technical today: property income, other income for personal, other deductions for personal and tax planning opportunities (RRSP, TFSA etc). I was going to review a bit more until I decided to call it a night after taking another look at the competency map. I am getting more and more comfortable with navigating the different sections of the map as I use it more. It is important for me to know which topic requires level A proficiency (able to demonstrate knowledge and analyze problem) and which requires only a level C (high-level understanding). If you haven’t used the competency map before, it might seem confusing at first. However, the more you use it, the clearer it becomes.
How I feel: I have been enjoying the tax materials – I think it’s because tax is the topic I am least comfortable with so the reviews have helped me feel more at ease
Mar 27, 2021 (Day 8 of
CFE PM Prep)
I didn’t study. I worked, went to a virtual networking event (so much fun) and watched Bones.
How I feel: I knew I dreaded studying for PM because I wanted to study more tax. As a result, I compromised and had a slack day instead.
Mar 28, 2021 (Day 9 of
CFE PM Prep)
I struggled with how I wanted to study for my performance management exam next week. I knew I didn’t want to read the assigned chapters again. Most of the chapters were a repeat from Core 2 and I re-read them once before the module started in January already. I wanted to make sure I study in a way that will prepare me better for the exam without overstudying (since I could go back to studying tax instead). I decided to review the PM practice cases from the module again. I had the excel feedback guide and the solution PDF side by side and made notes of what a ‘C’ response would be. I paid attention to how the response was structured and the level of depth required. If I identified a technical area I wasn’t familiar with, I would review that quickly.
I finished 4 practice cases and intend to finish the other 4 tomorrow. I don’t normally review integrated problems as they are not formatted like an exam. However, I might if I find myself struggling with certain topics and wanted more reviews. If all goes as planned, I will attempt another practice exam on Saturday. By then, I should have a pretty good idea of where I stand.
How I feel: I can’t wait to finalize when I am moving (still selling our place) so I can finalize my study schedule for the next few months – not knowing for sure is annoying
Recommended free resources: what is TQM – Total Quality Management
Mar 29, 2021 (Day 10 of
CFE PM Prep)
I didn’t study, again.
How I feel: Fridays are probably the most common slack day for me so I am not surprised.
Mar 30, 2021 (Day 11 of
CFE PM Prep)
I don’t normally sleep in on the weekends but I sure did today. I woke up and ate before going back to bed. I ended up leaving the bed officially at 1 PM. Luckily, I got sometime before my Among Us session so I squeezed some reviews in. I went through the remaining 4 practice cases (same methodology as Day 9) I was supposed to yesterday and reviewed a couple of integrated problems.
How I feel: Annoyed because the showing was a no-show but I was proud of myself for not taking another slack day
Mar 31, 2021 (Day 12 of
CFE PM Prep)
I was surprised I can still go to bed before midnight after sleeping in yesterday. We grabbed brunch and spent the rest of the day home. I studied for several hours (worked on a post in between) and finished going through all of the Integrated Problems (same methodology as Day 9). I also attempted practice exam #2 on CPA D2L. I did not work on the case under exam condition fully but made sure I knew what to write and how much to write. Since the practice exam was an actual case used on a past PM exam, its feedback guide looked a little different than the ones for practice cases. For example, instead of specifying the number of risks candidates need to identify for a ‘C,’ it used adjectives to award marks (e.g., reasonably quantifies the impact). I never noticed this before and thought it was worth mentioning. At the end of the day though, I think knowing the ballpark of how many pros and cons would constitute a “balanced response” would serve you well.
How I feel: ready for the PM exam but torn between spending more time on PM or going back to CFE
Recommended free resource: my post on what to study for the PM exam (shameless plug)
Apr 1, 2021 (Day 13 of
CFE PM Prep)
This is most likely be my last day reviewing PM. I reviewed some chapter reading notes (on the strategy formulation process) and realized I might have missed several concepts. However, I think it is too late for me to review any more than I already have. I still feel quite confident about the exam based on what I already know so I will just leave those missed topics. I did attempt the last Practice Exam on CPA D2L (there are 3). Same as the first 2, I didn’t write it in exam condition to save time. I followed the case writing method and did a proper outline, attempted the quants and verbally finished the qualitative. Ideally, I would love to go back to reviewing for CFE but I think I will just take it easy tomorrow.
How I feel: feeling ready for the exam and also ready for quarter-end at work!
Apr 2, 2021 (Day 14 of
CFE PM Prep)
As intended, I didn’t study at all so I can take it easy the night before my exam. I did, however, wrote a post with my final thoughts on the performance management module. In short, I was glad PM was my last PEP module as it was a lot less time-consuming compared to Finance (which I took extended).
How I feel: ready for the exam!
Apr 3, 2021 (Day 15 of CFE Prep)
This was my PM exam day. I woke up, had A&W for breakfast and got my favorite coffee from Starbucks. The exam was easier than expected. Simple calculations with a lot of writing. There was an unexpected topic for me (sole proprietorship vs incorporation) but I think I did pretty good overall!
How I feel: actually a little sad now that all my PEP exams are done
Apr 4, 2021 (Day 16 of CFE Prep)
I am finally back to reviewing for CFE! I did a bit of work this morning (holiday but also quarter-end so I volunteered to work half-day which I will get back later) so I didn’t study until after lunch. I went back to tax and finally finished with personal taxes. I used the same review method as I did a week ago: read the Taxation chapters from Knotia and utilized the competency map to make sure I was not focusing on the wrong topic. For example, if the competency was only applicable to Elective candidates, I would skip it completely since Finance will be my CFE role. I sensed myself getting distracted after just over an hour so I called it a day.
How I feel: the concepts are not really sticking right now but this was expected as it was only my first review
Recommended free resource: videos on Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE), Corporate Income Tax
Apr 5, 2021 (Day 17 of CFE Prep)
My morning was busy so I didn’t start reviewing until mid-afternoon again. I managed to review tax for about an hour-and-a-half (including 20 mins of scrolling on my phone). I can’t say I am feeling confident about my tax technical but I definitely know a lot more than I did before I started my tax review a couple of weeks ago. I contemplated continuing with my tax review but I caught my mind “floating away” so I stopped. There are only several topics left for tax so I should be done tomorrow!
How I feel: definitely glad I started revewing techincals early because I had very limited knowledge about some topics I reviewed – would have been a disaster if I waited till Capstone 2
Apr 6 to 7, 2021 (Day 18 to 19 of CFE Prep)
How I feel: little guilty but I promise I will pick up my pace!
Apr 8, 2021 (Day 20 of CFE Prep)
Did I not say I will be done with tax technical already? Well, I was wrong. I spent another evening on it and stopped with a couple of topics left. I reviewed quite a few topics today: corporate structures (CCPA, partnership, sole proprietor etc), tax planning opportunities (salary vs dividend, income splitting), GAAR (General Anti-Avoidance Rule) and trusts (still a bit confused). I studied more than my attention span was ideal for so I had a hard time understanding the last topic (trusts). I didn’t watch any YouTube videos or read online articles like I normally do when I struggled with the text. However, after reviewing the last bits for tax tonight, I plan on doing just that.
How I feel: excited and a little scared to start reviewing Financial Reporting soon
Apr 9, 2021 (Day 21 of CFE Prep)
I am done with tax technical review! I finished the last of trusts (highly recommend the videos below) and the chapter on GST. For GST, the chapter was laid out the same way as the Competency Map so it was much easier than other topics to review. It also helped that I filed GST at work so a lot of the content was not new to me. I haven’t decided whether to go back to the skill drills provided by Densmore or start my technical review for Financial Reporting.
How I feel: quite proud of myself for finishing technical review early – it made me feel a lot more at ease!
Recommended free resource: this video on Estate Planning for Canadians by Jacky Kuk (briefly touched on testamentary trust which is on the competency map but practical info nonetheless) and this one on Graduated Rate Estate (GRE)
Apr 10 to 12, 2021 (Day 22 to 24 of CFE Prep)
Instead of moving on to the next competency, I took 3 slack days in a row instead. My excuse? My mind was preoccupied with selling our place. We finally got an offer so there were a couple of emotionally draining days in my personal life on top of a busy work week (quarter-end).
How I feel: I am not 100% relieved yet as subjects have yet to be removed on the offer but *fingers crossed*
Apr 13, 2021 (Day 25 of CFE Prep)
I started reviewing Financial Reporting today! On my last entry before my 3-day slack session, I mentioned I was debating between moving on to Financial Reporting or Densmore skill drills for Management Accounting. I ultimately decided to review Financial Reporting as I haven’t reviewed those chapters since I finished Core 1 over a year ago. I did the exact same thing I did for Taxation: downloaded the Financial Reporting chapters from Knotia, opened the Competency Map (Section 7-1) and took notes by hand. I went back and forth between taking notes electronically and by hand during my whole academic life and decided my preference is writing notes on paper.
How I feel: little guilty for taking such a long consecutive break from studying but I knew I was way too distracted to focus with the offer going on
Recommended free resource: not CPA-related but here is an interesting read on pen & paper vs laptop for note-taking debate
Apr 14, 2021 (Day 26 of CFE Prep)
I shared on my Instagram story that I almost took another slack day today. After work, we went out to pick up dinner and picked out a bike. It took longer than expected so by the time I ate and showered, it was already close to 7. Luckily, my Google assistant didn’t hear me the first time I asked her to turn on the TV so I took that as a sign to study instead! It wasn’t a long session – maybe 45 minutes or so. I got through more chapters for routine transactions like financial instruments.
How I feel: was reminded how easy it is to give up and how important it is to have an inner supportive voice!
Apr 15, 2021 (Day 27 of CFE Prep)
I reviewed for close to an hour today: goodwill & intangible, impairment of assets and decommission provision. Following the Competency Map as I have done since I started reviewing for CFE really helped as non-routine transactions only require a B competency (versus A for routine). This helped me decide how much time I should spend on each topic.
How I feel: FR is not as bad as I thought it will going to be – working in the industry definitely helped!
Apr 16 to 18, 2021 (Day 28 to 31 of CFE Prep)
I took another break and this time lasted even longer than last time (4 days this time). I blame the perfect weather and the bikes we picked up last week. Eric and I went out biking after work for hours instead of studying. I had no excuse for the weekend other than the weather was perfect again and I started a new (to me) show called Castle.
How I feel: immense guilt… but I can’t resist the nice weather.
Apr 19, 2021 (Day 32 of CFE Prep)
I finally convinced myself to study after a longer than expected break. I tried to do it in the morning before work (it worked last year around this time) but I stayed in bed until I had to work instead. I did squeeze in about an hour after work and review few more FR topics: foreign currency translation, assets held for sale, hedge accounting and government assistance.
How I feel: I am trying to convince myself to wake up early to study in the morning before work but we will see.
Apr 20, 2021 (Day 33 of CFE Prep)
I reviewed a little bit of FR (employee benefits) before heading out for a ride. I meant to continue my review after but it turned out to be another long ride so I was exhausted by the time I came home.
How I feel: wish I spent more time studying but I think exercising is a pretty good excuse
Recommended free resource: read this excellent CFE advice Reddit post
Apr 21, 2021 (Day 34 of CFE Prep)
I was taking notes by hand (as I have since I started CFE prep over a month ago) when I decided it was taking too long for FR. I found it useful for taxation but I just didn’t feel the same for FR. There were too many criteria (e.g., development costs capitalization) and tables (e.g., IFRS vs ASPE) and I didn’t feel like I was remembering anything at all after writing them down (not that I expected myself to memorize all of it). Since I have the Densmore Scenario Flowcharts & PDF summaries on Knotia, I decided to start reading the chapters without making any note.
How I feel: anxious about my dentist appointment this weekend – I hope I don’t lose all will to study after
Recommended free resource: a quick refresher video on basic vs diluted earnings per share (EPS), a video (by one of my favourite Youtubers) on how to calculate diluted EPS and one on accounting changes
Apr 22 to 23, 2021 (Day 35 to 36 of CFE Prep)
I skipped the business combination chapters (leaving the heavy ones for last) and read the easy topics first: MD&A, Changes in Accounting, Events After the Reporting Period, Operating Segments, Interim Financial Reporting & Statement of Cash Flows. These were all short and easy-to-understand chapters so I thought it was appropriate to tackle them before I finish off with the business combination, public sector & not-for-profit.
How I feel: dental appointment soon – please no pain!!!
Recommended free resource: a video on changes in accounting (IAS 8)
Apr 24 to 26, 2021 (Day 37 to 39 of CFE Prep)
I was completely wiped out after getting my tooth extracted so I basically stayed in bed the whole weekend other than running a couple of errands. I watched A LOT of Castle.
Apr 27, 2021 (Day 40 of CFE Prep)
Phew – finally back to work and study! I finished reading the remaining FR chapters today (skimmed through Business Combination chapters because they were tooooo dry). I watched a Youtube video from Silvia of CPDbox after and understood IFRS 3 a lot more. I actually find her channel super helpful for IFRS so I encourage everyone to check it out!
How I feel: the surgery left a couple of canker sores in my mouth and they hurt!
Recommended free resource: as mentioned already, Silvia’s channel is an amazing resource if you are struggling with IFRS!
Apr 28, 2021 (Day 41 of CFE Prep)
I basically finished with FR now but thought I would watch several more of Silvia’s IFRS videos. I watched them in bed on my laptop so I can’t say I was 100% alert but hey, better than nothing!
How I feel: my mouth continued to hurt!!!!!!
Apr 29, 2021 (Day 42 of CFE Prep)
I decided to move on to Assurance today but I did not go far at all. I reviewed the first introductory chapter and watched a video on the difference between an audit, a review and a compilation before calling it a night.
How I feel: can my mouth stop hurting already?
Apr 30, 2021 (Day 43 of CFE Prep)
Another day for Assurance. I continued with the Knotia chapter reading and made notes (back to making hand-written notes instead of simply reading). I didn’t get far though – probably just over a chapter.
How I feel: love introductory chapters – so easy to understand.
May 1, 2021 (Day 44 of CFE Prep)
We had a couple of errands to run today so I made sure I got in my review before we headed out. More Assurance chapters – still haven’t encountered the complicated stuffs so I am happy about it 😀
How I feel: love it when I manage to study before I go out and about!
May 2 to 3, 2021 (Day 45 to 56 of CFE Prep)
May 4, 2021 (Day 47 of CFE Prep)
I find month-end week to be the hardest when it comes to studying after work. However, I am trying really hard not to take too many slack days in a row now that Capstone 1 is upon me. I didn’t realize until yesterday that my weekend will be consumed by live module workshop. I was expecting it to be pre-recorded videos again like the two modules I took before but guess not. I am REALLY hoping for awesome groupmates so I can have a smooth couple of months.
In terms of studying, I continued with Assurance. I reviewed the fraud, going concern and audit approach chapters. I was tired from writing by then but not quite finished with reviewing so I read the analytical procedures chapter without making notes.
How I feel: I am REALLY dreading the 60-page case I need to read for Capstone pre-work. Why?
May 5, 2021 (Day 48 of CFE Prep)
If you follow me on Instagram, you would know this already. I read the Capstone 1 case for the first time. The case is 59-page long with appendices. Since I am a first-time writer for the Sept CFE, my Capstone 1 case is Waste Disposal. I knew it was going to be boring and dry before I read it but boy was I underprepared. It was actually quite hard to get through the material when you don’t care about the business at all. I did it anyway… skipping more sections that I should.
I also had to write up a summary of strategic & operational issues while I read the case so I did that as well. I used bullet points though so that did not take long. I figured we will be taught how to manage such a long case at the workshop so I spent too much time on it.
How I feel: I wish I got the hotel case instead.
May 6, 2021 (Day 49 of CFE Prep)
I was going to tweak my Capstone 1 workshop pre-work a little before handing it in but I decided against it. I spent the evening writing a post instead.
How I feel: I feel accomplished every time I write a post.
May 7, 2021 (Day 50 of CFE Prep)
Slack day. We went downtown to drop off my old work laptop and picked up a bunch of take-outs on my way back. I had a very great Friday night!
How I feel: I was extremely full.
May 8, 2021 (Day 51 of CFE Prep)
It was the first day of my Capstone 1 workshop today so that was the only CPA thing I did. It was live and online so I didn’t have to wake up too early. However, I was quite tired at the end as there was quite a bit of information and several activities.
How I feel: I am ready for Among Us!
May 9, 2021 (Day 52 of CFE Prep)
Day 2 of my Capstone 1 workshop. We spent the morning on group presentations and most of the afternoon working with our groups. It was quite a productive meeting so we got half of the week #1 submission done! I really wanted to slack after the workshop but convinced myself to write a post at the end.
How I feel: I am proud of myself for fighting the urge to slack!
May 10 to 11, 2021 (Day 53 & 54 of CFE Prep)
Slacked but I really should be working on my parts for our group project… I guess I will wake up earlier tomorrow.
How I feel: No matter what… can’t let my groupmates down.
May 12, 2021 (Day 55 of CFE Prep)
My Capstone 1 group met for the first time after the workshop. We used Zoom and it was really production. We scheduled for 1.5 hours but finished 15 mins early. I think it really helped to have an agenda set for the meeting (we are going to rotate this responsibility) as we were able to stay on track.
How I feel: I am not sure when I will go back to reviewing technicals…
May 13 – 15, 2021 (Day 56 to 58 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. The mood I am in right now is this: I don’t feel like working on my Capstone 1 project so I should not review technicals because if I do, I really should be working on my Capstone 1 project…..
How I feel: tomorrow is going to be productive, I swear.
May 16, 2021 (Day 59 of CFE Prep)
I started my Sunday morning bright and early as I had to finish my parts before my weekly Capstone 1 meeting. The meeting went slightly over time but it was as productive as the last one. We were able to cover a lot of grounds and finalized our plan for the rest of the week. I could have finished my parts for the Part 1 submission but I decided to write the PERT post I have been meaning to write instead.
How I feel: really happy about writing the PERT post finally!!
May 17, 2021 (Day 60 of CFE Prep)
It was my birthday so I definitely did not study.
How I feel: annoyed because I woke up to cramps on my birthday!!!
May 18, 2021 (Day 61 of CFE Prep)
I planned on spending some time on my parts for the Part 1 Capstone report but I ended up finishing them. That felt good as I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated when I started.
How I feel: feels good to be ahead of schedule, have been lacking motivation since Capstone 1 started!
May 19, 2021 (Day 62 of CFE Prep)
It turned out there was more work to be done for my parts so I did that today. I also had to make sure we are on track for page limit and word count as I was assigned the formatting role this time. Who knew sticking to the limits was the most difficult part of Part 1? Instead of spending more time on CFE, I spent the rest of the evening writing a non-CPA post instead.
How I feel: can’t wait to have more time for Part 2
May 20, 2021 (Day 63 of CFE Prep)
We biked all the way to Southlands Tsawwassenn after work so I definitely did not do anything CPA-related.
How I feel: this weather is simply too perfect.
May 21, 2021 (Day 64 of CFE Prep)
I was responsible for formatting and submitting Part 1 for Capstone so I had to finalize several details before the submission. Other than that, I did not do anything else CPA-related. I am pretty happy with how Part 1 turned out so, hopefully, there will be no revisions. However, I asked around and revisions seemed to be pretty common.
How I feel: happy long weekend!!
May 22, 2021 (Day 65 of CFE Prep)
I had a meeting with my Capstone 1 group first thing in the morning. It was another productive meeting as we were able to finish our revisions for the project plan and assigned Part 2 to everyone. It’s looking like we will be able to finish Part 2 with some extra time left over. This is perfect as it is much less stressful this way so my team can afford to have some back up time.
How I feel: felt good to be productive on the weekend first thing!
May 23, 2021 (Day 66 of CFE Prep)
This was a complete write-off as our power went out just after noon. Eric was changing our thermostats when it happened and without a licensed electrician, we can’t get into the main electrical room in the condo to pop the switch back on. We also spent a good couple of hours looking for an electrician!! I ended up just watching Castle for the rest of the day.
How I feel: note to self – long weekend is the worst time to lose power.
May 24, 2021 (Day 67 of CFE Prep)
Words can’t describe how thankful I was for the electrician that came first thing in the morning. I didn’t end up studying at all but spent the majority of the day patching holes on our wall and packing for our moves in a few weeks. I also managed to break down all the little things I need to do for the move so I can schedule the next 3 weeks accordingly.
How I feel: not prepared for how many pieces of furniture we have to disassemble…
May 25, 2021 (Day 68 of CFE Prep)
Every cell in my body told me to go biking after work today but I can’t. My Capstone 1 group had our first call with our facilitator this evening. We got way more than our three submitted questions answered and the short 30-minute meeting was quite productive and informative. I also wrote a Capstone 1 tips post for week 1 & 2 before I called it a day.
How I feel: made me sad that the weather was not going to be nice again until Friday
May 26, 2021 (Day 69 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. All I did after dinner was “pack.” I put pack in quotation because I was more focused on looking at the sentimental stuffs in the box. Opps.
How I feel: I love this part of packing!
May 27 to 28, 2021 (Day 70 to 71 of CFE Prep)
All I did was attempt to review some Assurance chapters but I definitely did not go far. I think I got through one chapter over the 2 days? However, I have always found audit concepts easier to understand than other competency (e.g., FR or tax).
How I feel: I definitely need to catch up on technical review sooner than later.
May 29, 2021 (Day 72 of CFE Prep)
In true Saturday fashion, I stayed in bed watching Castle until almost noon. I debated whether to go out riding on this nice day or stay in to check things off my to-do list. I am glad to report that work won… this time. I worked on PERT, Capstone 1 before I reviewed some assurance chapters. I ended up spending most of the 45-minute on Amanda’s videos on assertions and analytical procedures.
How I feel: a productive Saturday…. very rare!
Recommended free resources: Dr. Amanda White’s audit YouTube channel is amazing and I highly recommend watching this video on assertions!
May 30, 2021 (Day 73 of CFE Prep)
I met with my Capstone 1 group this morning and it was as productive as usual. I shared this on my Instagram already but in case you aren’t there: meeting agendas and meeting minutes are working so well for my group. We have had such productive meetings and many takeaways.
How I feel: happy about a productive weekend overall 🙂
May 31, 2021 (Day 74 of CFE Prep)
Since I am not in charge of any strategic option analysis for Part 2 (we have 5 people on the team and there are 4 options only), my job is to be on standby for anyone who has questions and also to put the final report together at the end. We came up with several items to discuss/decide at our last meeting so I had to read the full case again before I can come up with my findings. This was my second full case read (all 60 pages) and it went a lot better than the first. It still took about an hour but I picked up so many things I missed the first time I read it.
How I feel: also entering month-end at work – busy week!
Jun 1, 2021 (Day 75 of CFE Prep)
I spent part of my evening after work finalizing both goals/objectives (for qualitative) and return/discount rate (for quantitative) for all 4 strategic options. I found having a designated person (me in this case) who is not in charge of a big section so we can have someone whose goal is to focus on the overall report is working really well. The time I won’t need to spend on working on the analysis, I will spend focusing on making sure everyone’s part makes sense when combined. Hopefully, this will mean our Part 2 report goes without revisions!
How I feel: day 1 of month end at work, went smoothly!
Jun 2, 2021 (Day 76 of CFE Prep)
I shared this before but I need to share again: you must watch Amanda’s audit videos when you are reviewing assurance. Like last time, I supplemented Knotia chapter readings with her videos and Epsdira’s on audit opinions (also love this channel).
How I feel: love reviewing audit – so easy to understand!
Jun 3, 2021 (Day 77 of CFE Prep)
We went out riding after work so I didn’t come home until 7 PM. I really wanted an ice-cold beer after such a hot ride but decided to power through what I needed to do for Capstone 1 first. One of my groupmates finished her Part 2 analysis and write-up so I reviewed that. For those of you wondering what I meant by that:
– I compared her work against the Week #5 instructions to make sure we hit everything
– I read her qualitative write-up and made suggestions (we use Google Docs and it has a suggestion mode that works like track changes on Word)
– I reviewed the assumptions and formula for her quantitative analysis (note, I did not re-perform the calculations)
How I feel: I love riding. It’s more energizing than any other sports I have tried before!
Jun 4, 2021 (Day 78 of CFE Prep)
It’s not related to CFE prep but since I am writing CFE in 2021, I thought I would share: I got my first dose of COVID vaccine today! My arm is slightly sore at the time of writing this (3 hours after the shot) but I suspect it could be due to my overly imaginative mind. Knowing that I most likely will be tired from the side effects of the vaccine tomorrow, I decided to wrap up my assurance review tonight. I also organized the YouTube videos I used for my assurance review in this post here.
How I feel: happy to be done with another competency!
Jun 5, 2021 (Day 79 of CFE Prep)
I took the ultimate slack day today. I woke up at 6 AM (the sun was shining bright) and aside from eating twice (once leftover and another one was fresh lunch brought home by Eric), I basically remained in bed until 4 PM. I got insanely hooked on this criminal psychology channel and binged a couple of their videos (1 to 2 hours long) and just browsed on my phone.
The only productive thing I did was to review one of my groupmates’ Part 2 analysis.
How I feel: I love Saturdays.
Jun 6, 2021 (Day 80 of CFE Prep)
My Capstone 1 group had a long but super productive meeting this morning. As expected, we finalized the timeline for our Part 2 submission (still little more work to be done but we are right on track). One of my groupmates urged us to discuss the timeline for Part 3 too and so glad she did. The next 3-and-a-half week is packed with submissions: Part 3, facilitator’s call, presentation (recorded) and the PowerPoint. We basically came up with work assignments, meeting times (more than once a week) and internal deadlines. It will be a busy month for all of us (& I am moving) but I think we can do it!
How I feel: I finished the weekend by getting a lot of packing done – yea!
Jun 7, 2021 (Day 81 of CFE Prep)
Work was busy today because I had a deadline and imagined a variance that did not actually exist. I ended up spending a lot more time than I had to if I didn’t. If you followed me on Instagram, you probably know how I described this day already: “like parts of me left my body.” As a result, I took the evening off.
How I feel: felt silly creating more work for myself for no reason at all.
Jun 8, 2021 (Day 82 of CFE Prep)
I am not sure anyone warned us about the most difficult part of Capstone 1: word and exhibit limits. Since I am the designated formatting person for Part 2 (I did not have to do analysis), I put together my groupmates’ parts yesterday and had to cut down 900 words (my friends’ groups either had around the same or even more). Same thing happened with the exhibits (should have used the ‘page break view’). The weekly instructions asked for a lot so it was really challenging to be concise. Hopefully we can wrap it up before Friday.
My group also decided to get a head start on Part 3 so I also finished my assigned part: data analytics. The analysis part took no time at all but it took me a good while to figure out what to analyze. We are given over 10 tabs of data and it was up to us to decide what to create our charts from. It was a bit hard because we haven’t actually decided on which option to proceed with yet. However, I was still glad that we decided to start early so I at least have an idea what is there.
How I feel: cutting down words was a lot harder than it seemed.
Jun 9, 2021 (Day 83 of CFE Prep)
I spent the evening planning the next 4 months of CFE prep! Instead of my bullet-journal, I created the calendar on Google Sheets instead. The reason why I chose Google Sheets over my bullet-journal is because the uncertainties of the tasks. I got a good idea of what to expect from Capstone 2 by looking at the Introduction to Capstone 2 and CFE Module 2021 on CPA D2L. Since I also got Densmore (registered for CFE Prep II thanks to Densmore), I also added their deadlines for the practice cases as well.
How I feel: only 4 months left!
Jun 10, 2021 (Day 84 of CFE Prep)
I uploaded Part 2 to D2L so my groupmates can download and check the submitted version (to mimic what our facilitator will see as we had some issues seeing the same word and page count). Then one of them realized the margins were wrong. We thought it was no big deal because we can email the facilitator and re-submit. However, my facilitator said re-submission was only allowed if you submitted a completely different file (e.g., an integrated problem instead of the practice case). When I shared that on my Instagram to remind people to submit only the final version, I was told by a couple of people that their facilitators allowed them to do so. However, my facilitator confirmed that she will not be counting the blank pages so there is still hope. Also, we are allowed to do revisions for Part 2 so we should be fine. Luckily, my group was super nice about it. I still felt really bad though.
How I feel: hoping all of our exhibits will still be reviewed!
Jun 11, 2021 (Day 85 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. Eric had a work emergency so I ended up doing nothing but waiting after work (too hungry and lazy to get anything done).
How I feel: dinner at Mui Kee Chicken Pot was amazing!
Jun 12, 2021 (Day 86 of CFE Prep)
This was a big day as Eric and I were getting our first tray of Invisalign! The process was completely painless. My teeth felt fine most of the day except for a little soreness towards the end. I worked on a bit of Capstone 1 before calling it a day.
How I feel: loooong journey ahead with my Invisalign!
Jun 13, 2021 (Day 87 of CFE Prep)
I had the usual weekly meeting with my Capstone 1 group this morning. It was the longest yet as we finished part of Part 3 so we had a lot to discuss. However,, since we hadn’t gotten our feedback for Part 2 yet, we weren’t able to decide on which option to recommend. The coming week is going to be busy!
I then spent the rest of the day watching Castle.
How I feel: my justification for binging Castle is that the show is leaving Prime in just over a week and I have one more season to go!
Jun 14, 2021 (Day 88 of CFE Prep)
I finally started reviewing Finance technicals today (my CFE role). I first referred to my to-do list from when I took Finance elective and extracted the number of pages from the assigned reading per week. I then allocated a certain number of pages for the next 3 weeks. I plan on tracking the YouTube videos I use so I can share them in a post as well (similar to what I did with Assurance).
How I feel: better late than never… right?
Jun 15, 2021 (Day 89 of CFE Prep)
Another slack day! I spent the entire evening finishing packing as we were moving the next day.
How I feel: pretty excited about the move!
Jun 16, 2021 (Day 90 of CFE Prep)
I did not study at all. It was our moving day and it ended up taking the entire day. My plan is to unpack as much as I could this weekend so I can get back on track.
How I feel: a bit tired but super excited to be in our new home!!!
Jun 17, 2021 (Day 91 of CFE Prep)
I did not study at all. It was our moving day and it ended up taking the entire day. My plan is to unpack as much as I could this weekend so I can get back on track.
How I feel: a bit tired but super excited to be in our new home!!!
Jun 18, 2021 (Day 92 of CFE Prep)
Another day of 0 study. We went out to run some errands and came home to do some light unpacking. I am meeting my designer tomorrow so I had to clear up some space!
How I feel: still loving our new home.
Jun 19, 2021 (Day 93 of CFE Prep)
I met with my Capstone 1 group at noon and finished the bulk of my Part 3 in the evening. I got the financials forecast this time and it took a lot longer than expected. It made me wonder how unprepared I am to write CFE under the Finance role!
How I feel: I ended the day with a beer on the balcony – looooove.
Jun 20, 2021 (Day 94 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. We went out in the afternoon and spent the rest of the evening unpacking.
How I feel: my week ahead is going to be busy being trained for a new role at work.
Jun 21, 2021 (Day 95 of CFE Prep)
Day 1 of training for my new role and it actually went really well. I ended up having a lot of energy after work so I studied Finance technical (just review chapter readings for Week 1 of elective module) and wrote a post with tips for Part 2 report of Capstone 1.
How I feel: energized!
Jun 22, 2021 (Day 96 of CFE Prep)
Instead of studying, I unpacked my kitchen instead. You know what I always say? Find something you don’t want to do more than the task you have been avoiding! In this case, I didn’t want to study so badly that I would rather unpack on a weekday evening!
How I feel: my kitchen is finally functional!
Jun 23, 2021 (Day 97 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. I tried reviewing Finance for a bit before giving up since I had a very slight headache and was too distracted. My Capstone 1 group is finalizing Part 3 report tonight but more work to come tomorrow.
How I feel: I rarely get headaches but hopefully a good night’s sleep will make it go away.
Jun 24, 2021 (Day 98 of CFE Prep)
I completely forgot what I did on this day.
Jun 25, 2021 (Day 99 of CFE Prep)
We submitted our Part 3 report with a couple of hours to spare! There wasn’t much to do today other than final review by the group. The report turned out really well-written (if I can say so myself). I only have the CD’s in my group to thank – I was the composition was in perfect balance as I tend to rush things being an I.
How I feel: I rarely get headaches but hopefully a good night’s sleep will make it go away.
Jun 26, 2021 (Day 100 of CFE Prep)
I stayed in bed watching The Mentalist (my new show after Castle) until it was time for my Capstone 1 meeting. It wasn’t as long as usual since we only had the recorded presentation to discuss. Hopefully, it will go smoothly!
How I feel: I can’t thank the existence of AC enough for this heatwave weekend.
Jun 27, 2021 (Day 101 of CFE Prep)
I spent the majority of the day unpacking/running errands. I didn’t get to preparing my Capstone 1 presentation until the evening. I tried not to leave things with deadlines last-minute on a weekend as the task would linger in my mind all weekend. Well, it’s one of those weekends!
How I feel: quarter-end is coming – going to be a busy one with training but hopefully smooth nonetheless!
Jun 28, 2021 (Day 102 of CFE Prep)
I had another meeting with my Capstone 1 group this evening to go over our presentation slides. We went over some formatting decisions before calling it a night. All there is left to do is record my own portion for the presentation!!
How I feel: ready to be done with Capstone 1
Jun 29, 2021 (Day 103 of CFE Prep)
I spent about 45 minutes coming up with talking points for the recorded Capstone 1 presentation (I was assigned 6 minutes, 3 clips). It took another 45 mins to record 6 minutes of footage. It ended up taking longer than I expected as I had to memorize the talking points so I can look at the camera naturally. It also didn’t help that the lighting was just horrible in my living room (ended up doing it in the bedroom). I found a minor mistake in the longest clip (3 mins) but decided the rest was good enough so I chose not to re-record.
How I feel: really… really close to the end of Capstone 1!
Jun 30, 2021 (Day 104 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. I was tired from training all day at work today so I ran a couple of errands before taking it easy after work.
How I feel: rested!
Jul 1, 2021 (Day 105 of CFE Prep)
It was Canada Day but I worked (to make up for another day I took off in lieu). I was still tired from all the training at work so I took it easy after work.
How I feel: nice to have today to catch up on my work!!
Jul 2, 2021 (Day 106 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. We went out for dinner after work and I ended up “cooking” a second dinner for myself at night.
How I feel: Not sure how enjoyable I find cooking. Also, I said “cooked” because there was no cooking involved. It was just a salad.
Jul 3 to 4, 2021 (Day 107 to 108 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. I was out basically the entire day on Saturday and lounged around at home on Sunday. I did a bit of work in the morning on Sunday and that was the end of my productive agenda.
How I feel: my throat has been feeling off which I attributed to my new Invisalign tray.. hoping I will feel 100% again soon!
Jul 5, 2021 (Day 109 of CFE Prep)
I didn’t want to start this entry with ‘slacked’ again because I sort of did something CFE prep-related: I wrote my last Capstone 1 post! I also poked around the Intro to Capstone 2 and CFE module on D2L a bit before calling it a night.
How I feel: the big quarter-end rush at work is over – phew!
Jul 6, 2021 (Day 110 of CFE Prep)
I had been trying to figure out what Capstone 2 really is even though I had a general idea from talking to friends who wrote CFE. I thought I finally figured out the basics so I wrote another post today. After that, I finally had the drive to review Finance technicals. I am quite behind but happy to report Week 2 reading is done!
How I feel: hoping I will be caught up on Finance readings before Capstone 2 starts.
Jul 7, 2021 (Day 111 of CFE Prep)
Slacked on CFE prep but I wrote another CFE post today so I was pretty happy catching up on my post ideas!
How I feel: low-key dreading all the cases I need to write in the next 2 days – one for the CFE session with CPABC and another for Densmore.
Jul 8, 2021 (Day 112 of CFE Prep)
I signed up for the CFE Case Writing Practice Session hosted by CPABC few weeks ago and it is happening tomorrow. I meant to take the day off so I can write the Day 3 case in the scheduled time under exam condition. However, it’s my coworker’s last day to train me tomorrow (I am on my own starting next Monday – oh boy) so I decided to work instead. As a result, I had to write the case under exam condition tonight instead. It was an 80-minute case with AOs from Core modules. I don’t want to spoil it but all I can say is there are many different AOs!
How I feel: I knew I would feel unprepared already before I wrote the Day 3 case so I am not feeling too defeated. Still, I wish I knew more.
Jul 9, 2021 (Day 113 of CFE Prep)
It was a busy Friday for me – last day of training with my coworker (our longest session yet at 3 hours+) and the first day of CFE Case Writing Practice Session. I took the rest of the evening off to rest.
How I feel: a little scared now that I am officially stepping into my new role soon.
Jul 10, 2021 (Day 114 of CFE Prep)
It’s Among Us Saturday which meant I needed to get as much done as possible before 7:30 PM. I wrote the Densmore Day 3 case (The Taylors) for submission, debriefed it and the case from the CFE session with CPAWSB (Chang ESL) and filled out the marking guide for my partner for the event. My thoughts at this point of CFE prep: I am strong in MA & Finance (thank goodness as that is my role) but really weak in Assurance & Tax.
I also started filling out the CFE case tracking sheet (if you did not participate in the CFE session, you will get one once Capstone 2 opens up on CPA D2L). I strongly recommend starting using it ASAP as it is an effective way to monitor progress!
How I feel: can’t wait to play Among Us as a reward for being so productive today!
Jul 11, 2021 (Day 115 of CFE Prep)
I wrote another Day 3 case (Densmore’s Elyse Burch) this morning before I headed out to meet my friends (for the first time in months!!!!). I knew I didn’t want to think about it while I was out so I was motivated to wake up early to get it done. It paid off because productive mornings are the best mornings!
I also watched the Densmore videos on CFE evaluation and got an even clearer understanding on how to pass the 4 levels for Day 2 & 3. I briefly explained the 4 levels in one of my earlier CFE prep post but I plan on explaining it in further details in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!
How I feel: officially starting my new position tomorrow – excited!
Jul 12, 2021 (Day 116 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. I was supposed to do some technical reviews but decided to share what I learned from the CFE case writing session instead.
How I feel: glad I caught up on CFE prep a little over the weekend so I can take it easy for a couple of days!
Jul 13, 2021 (Day 117 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. We went out for dinner after work and rode our bikes for a little bit instead.
How I feel: new role is going pretty good – all things considered.
Jul 14, 2021 (Day 118 of CFE Prep)
Slacked on the CFE prep but I worked hard on PERT tonight! Two of my friends got their first Level 2s – CELEBRATIONS!!!!! Originally, I was going to wait till closer to my current boss/mentor’s departure date (he is covering for maternity leave) to submit my next report. However, my friend reminded me to submit now so I can still ask him to review my revisions if required. What a smart idea! It didn’t take too long for me to touch up my submissions and added a couple more as I had been working on it slowly.
I feel really good about this submission so I am really hoping for a couple of level 2s *fingers crossed*
How I feel: but PERT is so unpredictable…. I hope I don’t get disappointed.
Jul 15, 2021 (Day 119 of CFE Prep)
Slacked – how many days can I slack before I can no longer call it a slack? I was having the worst issue possible with my website so I spent the entire evening looking into it. I couldn’t resolve the issue yet so I was too defeated to study.
How I feel: pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee let the problem go away so I can focus.
Jul 16, 2021 (Day 120 of CFE Prep)
Slacked. No excuse other than it was Friday.
How I feel: HAPPY FRIDAY!
Jul 17, 2021 (Day 121 of CFE Prep)
I had cramps in the morning so I didn’t get around to starting Day 1 of the workshop until 1 PM. I regretted it instantly because there was a lot to go through! We went out to grab dinner and I had to finish the last 2 parts of Day 1 after. I was too tired to work on the last submission properly (it was the Day 1 AO) so I submitted only what I could.
I was not too tired for A Quiet Place II though – it was finally on Prime and was so good!
How I feel: hoping for an easier Day 2 tomorrow!
Jul 18, 2021 (Day 122 of CFE Prep)
Capstone 2 workshop day 2! I ready my first-ever Day 2 case today and worked on an outline. I had been dreading Day 2 cases for a while but it actually didn’t turn out too bad. I was far from competent with FR AOs as expected but was familiar with the Finance AOs. It didn’t mean I knew how to do all the Finance AOs (definitely not at a C-level) but at least I knew what was expected.
Day 2 of the asynchronous workshop wasn’t as tiring as Day 1 so I was glad!
How I feel: that was my last module workshop ever!
Jul 19, 2021 (Day 123 of CFE Prep)
Happy Monday. I started the Monday thinking I will be very productive until I got completely distracted by trip planning for 2022. Opps. I got nothing done.
If you want to read my week-by-week CFE study plan, click here!
How I feel: that was my last module workshop ever!
Jul 20, 2021 (Day 124 of CFE Prep)
I went to bed late yesterday so I was already sleepy after dinner at around 6 PM. A part of me wanted to just call it a night but I convinced myself not to. I already didn’t review technical yesterday as I hoped. I have been experimenting with different ways to review technicals (I reviewed by reading the Knotia chapters before) and my latest method is this:
- read the solution for each AO in full
- not trying to memorize the full answer here – key is to understand the concepts/technicals applied
- take notes on Google Docs (I like how easily accessible it is), organized by competency area (e.g., Finance), topic (e.g., Valuation) and area (e.g., normalized after-tax discretionary cash flow)
- open the feedback guide on the side
- though it is not my main purpose when I review technicals, I also make note of how to respond to the AO
- for example: MA’s variance analysis
- state the variance (e.g., 9% increase in sales)
- discuss the impact (e.g., selling expense is expected to go up)
- provide a suggestion to mitigate the impact (e.g., find a more efficient way to sell)
How I feel: is it weird for me to feel slightly excited about technical review…
Jul 21, 2021 (Day 125 of CFE Prep)
Another day of technical review! I went through the same process I shared yesterday for the Day 3 case (Chang ESL, Capstone 2 additional case) I wrote at the case writing session. I ended the night by finishing the Capstone 2 workshop post.
How I feel: still waiting for my Densmore Competency Map Notes to arrive in the mail – think it will be an excellent supplement to my technical review!
Jul 22, 2021 (Day 126 of CFE Prep)
We didn’t get home until closer to 7 PM tonight but I managed to do some technical review anyway. I went over the Day 3 case we did at the Capstone 2 workshop (Dogani, Capstone 2 case). My weekend is going to be busy (couple of appointments & meeting some friends) so I know I couldn’t fall behind. I still have to write the Capstone Day 3 case for submission (due tomorrow night) and Densmore Day 2 Kepler Aerospace case for Saturday.
How I feel: feeling a little bit of busy work (picking up my new role and training my coworker for my old role) + CFE prep!
Jul 23, 2021 (Day 127 of CFE Prep)
It was a long week at work! Training and doing new stuffs on my own. I only managed to write the Capstone 2 Day 3 case Perkins for submission before calling it a night.
How I feel: busy weekend ahead – I hope I stay on track!
Jul 24, 2021 (Day 128 of CFE Prep)
My Densmore Day 2 Kepler case was due for marking tonight but I had a dentist appointment this morning. We had lunch and ran a couple of errands after so we didn’t get home until closer to 3 PM. I then wrote the case in an exam setting (Folioviews, water breaks & no internet) and only managed to work on it for 2.5 hours before calling it quit. I wasn’t able to answer all AOs (basically left 3 out of 13 AOs blank) and was unsure about the 3 FR AOs. I felt better about the MA & Finance AOs but still wasn’t confident. I was quite wiped after writing it so I didn’t debrief right away.
How I feel: writing a case for 5 hours is going to be a challenge!
Jul 25, 2021 (Day 129 of CFE Prep)
I had a packed afternoon so I knew I had to get some studying done in the morning. I debriefed the Densmore Day 2 Kepler case and updated my technical review Google doc. I also got my second COVID shot today! Hopefully my side effects are mild.
How I feel: few hours after the shot – feeling fine still but my friends mostly got their side effects the night after.
Jul 26, 2021 (Day 130 of CFE Prep)
The side effects of my second COVID shot finally hit me after lunch. I felt extra tired (more so than a normal Monday) and I felt myself warming up. I called it a day early at work, had dinner and just stayed in bed. I did manage to watch a couple of CFE prep videos on Densmore: Day 3 of CFE and Management Accounting Competency. They weren’t short (35 to 55 minutes each; especially when I can’t speed it up like I normally do with videos) but I learned something new anyway.
How I feel: hopefully I will feel 100% tomorrow!
Jul 27, 2021 (Day 131 of CFE Prep)
I took it easy today and called it a night after watching the Capstone 2 Week 1’s webinar. Below is what I shared on my Instagram story regarding it:
How I feel: basically feeling 100% from the vaccine already 🙂
Jul 28, 2021 (Day 132 of CFE Prep)
I started writing Elcar (Capstone 2 Day 2 case) right after work and took a dinner/shower break in between. It ended up taking me almost 5 hours including being distracted/dinner/shower (~1.5 hours). It took longer than my last Day 2 case attempt (2.5 hours) because I attempted all AOs (I skipped 3 completely last time)!!!! I cheated a little and Googled a couple of AOs because I would have absolutely nothing to write about otherwise. I tried not to do that in the past because I wanted to know where I was exactly. However, I decided to make note of what I had to Google (1 x FR and 1 x Finance AOs) instead of not attempting at all.
I don’t plan on debriefing tonight but I definitely will tomorrow. I still have to debrief Perkins (Capstone 2 Day 3 case) I wrote last Friday before writing StillGood Food (Capstone 2 Day 3 case) for submission.
I realized after I submitted Elcar that I have Fanatix (Densmore’s Day 3 case) to submit for marking tonight as well. It completely slipped my mind but I decided to let it go. Theoretically, I could spend another hour or so on another case but I am quite tired already. I am worried I will feel burned-out if I force myself to get it done.
How I feel: I officially feel like all I do is write cases now!
Jul 29, 2021 (Day 133 of CFE Prep)
I haven’t been riding PERT (my bike) as much as I hope so I was happy when we finally found time today. I had to go to the post office to pick up my Densmore Competency Map Notes so we decided to grab dinner as well. I spent about an hour debriefing the Elcar case I wrote yesterday. It made me realize I should make sure I get in some serious technical reviews before attempting another Day 2 case. I moved things around in my CFE calendar so I will be reviewing Finance technicals part of this weekend.
How I feel: my first month-end in my new role is keeping me very busy!
Jul 30, 2021 (Day 134 of CFE Prep)
A 90-minute case (StillGood Food, Capstone 2 Day 3) felt like a walk in the park after writing a Day 2 case yesterday. Instead of focusing on depth (though I admit I haven’t been doing that well when I attempted my Day 2 cases), I focused on breadth. I attempted all AOs (yeah!!!) and made it just in time. I had game night with my friends right after so I didn’t debrief the case properly. I took a peek at the solution just before bed and realized I didn’t do as well as I thought. #storyofourlives
How I feel: glad I made it to game night cause it was so fun!!!
Jul 31, 2021 (Day 135 of CFE Prep)
I debriefed StillGood Food and Perkins (both Capstone 2 Day 3) today. I wrote Perkins last week so I had a bad time debriefing it. I forgot what the case was about and what I wrote so I had to spend time refreshing my mind. Normally, I would be able to just dive right in if I debrief the next day.
I also didn’t do any technical review as I hoped so tomorrow should be a catch up day.
How I feel: regret not debriefing Perkins early.
Aug 1, 2021 (Day 136 of CFE Prep)
I told myself I was going to do technical review, WDI (Capstone 2 Day 1) case and write the second part of the case-writing post (part 1 here) today. However, I was so tired after lunch. I got more than enough sleep so I suspected it had something to do with my new Invisalign tray (weekly change so I put on a new set yesterday). I decided to take the day off anyway. Eric agreed cause he knew I have been busy at work + CFE prep.
I stayed in bed for most of the day and caught up on The Mentalist. Love it!
How I feel: today served as a reminder to listen to your body & mind – take care of yourself.
Aug 2, 2021 (Day 137 of CFE Prep)
This was a stat holiday but I chose to work instead. I can get a day off in lieu later and I will most likely take a day off as soon as month end is wrapped. This was my first month-end in my new role and I got to admit I was a bit worried about it. First month-end at a new job or new role is always hard because of the time crunch and new knowledge. I thought it went well though but we will see tomorrow (revenue deadline).
I took it easy and did some light technical reviews tonight instead. I used the Densmore’s competency map study notes as a supplement to my own notes from debriefing. I went through several FR issues before calling it a night.
How I feel: tomorrow is another month-end crunch day!
Aug 3, 2021 (Day 138 of CFE Prep)
I ended work a bit early (thanks to month end being smooth) and thought I would attempt WDI (Capstone 2 Day 1) this evening. We had dinner and got home around 6 PM. I decided I was too tired then for a 4-hour case so I changed to technical review instead. I have been meaning to refresh my Finance technical (my role and I took the elective last year) so this was the best time. I did the Skill Drills on Densmore (valuations, capital budgeting, cash flow forecast) and used the Competency Map notes as a supplement. I spent about an hour or so and felt it was quite productive.
I also write a post on how to prepare for CFE mentally before calling it a night. I have been getting messages from you guys about the difficult times they are having so hopefully this will help.
How I feel: feeling much better about my finance technical!
Aug 4, 2021 (Day 139 of CFE Prep)
I finally wrote the WDI (Capstone 2 Day 1 case) for submission on the last day. I meant to write in exam setting but got distracted after I finished reading the case, creating my outline and situational analysis. For the first time since I started case-writing for CFE prep, I was completely clueless as to what to write for the first AO. I also felt quite annoyed at myself while I was writing the case for being so clueless. I made it to analyzing all strategic options but never to the two operational issues. There is a lot to debrief tomorrow!
By the way, I have been a lot more active on my Instagram feed where I have been sharing lessons learned from specific cases. Check it out if you are interested!
How I feel: feeling much better about my finance technical!
Aug 5, 2021 (Day 140 of CFE Prep)
I spent about 45 minutes debriefing the WDI case. It did not take long as I focused on making notes on the format for situational analysis (I got some but not all) and the format for the case response in general. The feedback guide is very different from Day 2 & 3 cases so I highly recommend you checking it out. I also managed to finish reviewing Finance technical using the Densmore’s Competency Map Study Notes!!!!! If you have been following my CFE prep diary for a while, you might recall me trying to do that weeks ago. I never got around finishing my review until tonight!
I am sure I will have more to review as I attempt more cases but I feel a lot more ready to attempt Day 2 this weekend.
How I feel: extremely happy about finishing finance technical review!!!
Aug 6, 2021 (Day 141 of CFE Prep)
TGIF! I managed to stay ahead of month-end at work so today was the last of month-end for me (except for minor lingering adjustments to make next week). This felt good as it was my first month-end and my team was down one person. Also, as my CFE leave starts in a-week-and-a-half, this will give me an opportunity to catch up as much as I can before my last day (until next month-end as I will be returning to work temporarily).
I intended to attempt one of the day 3 mock cases tonight but the power at my house went out just as I was about to start. I tried reviewing tax technical using the Densmore’s competency map notes but it was getting too dark. I gave up about 30 minutes later and called it a night. This means I will have to properly attempt the full mock day 3 (3 cases in total) on Sunday.
How I feel: another busy weekend ahead I guess!
Aug 7, 2021 (Day 142 of CFE Prep)
The mock day 2 case for Capstone 2 was due tonight and I was meeting my college friends for dinner so I knew I had to finish it in the morning. I woke up at 7, stayed in bed till 9 and started the case at around 10 after breakfast. I went into more details about what I learned on my Instagram but the short version is: I definitely improved from when Capstone 2 first started but still a long way to go. Also, not all AOs are the same in terms of difficulty. This was expected if you have read/skimmed the Board of Examiners’ report for past CFEs before. The takeaway is not to panic whenever you see a difficult AO – most candidates probably feel the same as you!
How I feel: writing a day 2 case is tiring as always!
Aug 8, 2021 (Day 143 of CFE Prep)
I had the mock day 3 case (3 cases totaling 4 hours of writing time) to write for submission today so I made sure I got home before 2 PM. My game night was starting at 6 PM so that would give me just enough time. I attempted all AOs on all 3 cases within the time limit (I did take quick phone breaks between cases) and googled only once for a tax AO. I find day 3 cases almost therapeutic every time after writing a day 2 case as they required much less integration of case facts and less depth than the day 2 case.
I am caught up on Capstone 2 cases submisssion so I plan on reviewing a lot of technicals in the coming week.
How I feel: another busy weekend done!
Aug 9, 2021 (Day 144 of CFE Prep)
I debriefed all 3 Day 3 cases (Dream Donuts, Festival Inc & Jump) after dinner. I did alright with all AOs (room for improvements but not as far off as when I first started Capstone 2) except for Tax AOs. That did not surprise me as I already planned on reviewing tax technical this week. I also wrote a post on my CFE prep update and a list of strengths and weaknesses I identified. I found this exercise really help as it helped guide me on how to plan my next 5 weeks.
How I feel: gonna work hard on tax!
Aug 10, 2021 (Day 145 of CFE Prep)
I reviewed tax technical using the Densmore’s competency map study notes as planned. I spent about an hour and a half in the evening before I decided I wasn’t retaining anymore knowledge. I called it a night then and watched a movie with Eric instead.
How I feel: taxation is making a bit more sense but it’s still so confusing/boring 🙁
Aug 11, 2021 (Day 146 of CFE Prep)
I finished going through the Densmore notes for taxation tonight. I am not 100% confident but definitely have more basic knowledge than before this review. Hopefully this means I can get the RCs I need on my next case with tax!
How I feel: glad to be done with tax review!
Aug 12, 2021 (Day 147 of CFE Prep)
I did another update on my CFE prep and decided to attempt more cases than planned (scheduled the additional cases from Capstone 2 in my calendar). I then went back to the first several Day 3 cases I attempted and made notes on how to answer the AOs. I wasn’t confident in how they were debriefed so thought it will be worth my time in case they pop up again in future cases or on the CFE. I am seeing more patterns now which helped calm me.
I also cancelled my Whistler trip meaning I got 3 days of CFE prep back!! I have been doubting the trip as it was short (3 days with driving so not relaxing) and we have been to Whistler many times already. I felt like I booked the trip because FOMO (fear of missing out) and actually felt relieved when I cancelled it.
How I feel: one case a day is an ambitious goal for me so I will see if I can do it.
Aug 13, 2021 (Day 148 of CFE Prep)
I attempted the Veza (Capstone 2 Day 3) case tonight and thought it went really well. Unlike the other day 3 cases, this one was short and had no FR AO. I did well time-wise and attempted everything on the tax AO! I left it to the end so I can spend more time on it.
How I feel: a lot of work planned for the weekend!
Aug 14, 2021 (Day 149 of CFE Prep)
Eric’s parents dropped by with some food in the morning before they all left to get dim sum. I ate something before starting Solar (Capstone 2 Day 2). I felt confident going in as yesterday went well. I realized quickly that this was a hard case. The common FR AOs were fine but the role Finance AOs tested topics I did not see often. I managed to attempt all but two before calling it quit. I quickly took a look at the solution and knew I did meh. I am going to debrief tomorrow as there will be many technical topics to review.
How I feel: day 2 cases are tiring!
Aug 15, 2021 (Day 150 of CFE Prep)
We spent the morning getting caffeine and flowers (no luck) before heading back home to study. As mentioned, my plan was to address my issues with depth and accuracy. I debriefed the facilitators’ notes for the mock Day 3 cases and paid close attention to what I should have done/missed. I picked up several things I can action on but I also noticed the inconsistencies in facilitators’ markings. Some were really detailed and would reference my work and some unfortunately did not mark carefully (e.g., miss points I made that were obvious). They are humans after all so my reminder to myself is how important it really is to mark my own work.
I also attempted and debriefed Lake Country (Capstone 2 Day 3). It was a hard and confusing case for sure. I then started debriefing Solar (Capstone 2 Day 2) but called it a day without getting far.
How I feel: I learned a lot this weekend and recognized how far I still am from being CFE ready!
Aug 16, 2021 (Day 151 of CFE Prep)
Cramps + Monday = wanted to go back to bed as soon as I woke up. However, I can’t because I got to get my work all lined up before my CFE leave starts on Wednesday. I did manage to attempt the Bamboo (Capstone 2 Day 3) barely after work. My quick debrief said I did not do that well but at least I tried.
How I feel: hate cramps!
Aug 17, 2021 (Day 152 of CFE Prep)
Last day of work before my CFE leave part 1. I had a list of things I wanted to get done before I leave so I was busy all day. I meant to attempt Wild Care (Densmore Day 3) in the evening after work but we went out to get a printer instead. Since I wrote all my PEP exams except for Core 1 at home, I never needed to practice case writing offline (hardcopy cases instead of PDF). However, since I will be provided with hardcopy of the cases during CFE, I decided to invest in a printer so I can mimic the exam condition. I picked up a cheap inkjet printer so it took an hour just to print. There went my evening.
How I feel: I forgot how slow inkjet printer is….
Aug 18, 2021 (Day 153 of CFE Prep)
Today was my first day of CFE leave part 1! I was actually excited about starting my studying at 8 AM instead of after work. I rarely studied more than an hour and a half in the evening so I knew I would be able to get a lot more done if I started in the morning. In the morning, I debriefed Bamboo (Capstone 2 Day 3), Veza (Capstone 2 Day 3) and finance AOs from Solar (Capstone 2 Day 2). I then had lunch for about an hour and attempted the Wild Care case (Densmore Day 3). It was a very productive day for me. I only hope I can continue for the rest of CFE leave part 1.
FYI – I am going to share my daily CFE prep goal every morning on Instagram if you want to follow along!
How I feel: feeling very hopeful about my productivity!
Aug 19, 2021 (Day 154 of CFE Prep)
I was scheduled to attempt and debriefed two Day 3 cases today (King Street Theatre & TinyCo, both Capstone 2). They both went relatively well and I managed to debrief them right after. I called it a day early (just before 2 PM) and wrote a CFE prep update post instead.
How I feel: not really excited about writing a day 2 case tomorrow.
Aug 20, 2021 (Day 155 of CFE Prep)
I have been having an alright time with Day 3 cases so I knew it was time to go back to Day 2. I woke up at about 7 and stayed in bed until 8 as usual. I was hungry but didn’t want to eat what we got at home. I also knew I had to eat something or I won’t last. I had cereal at the end before starting the K-Med case (Capstone 2 Day 2). I was more distracted than the previous two days which didn’t help with integrating case facts. The FR AOs were alright but I struggled with Finance AOs again. I was not too annoyed with not knowing how to do them but I was definitely more tired than usual.
I decided to take a shower around 1 PM and called it a day not long after.
How I feel: slow and steady… slow and steady.
Aug 21, 2021 (Day 156 of CFE Prep)
I spent the morning “attempting” the last 3 finance AOs for K-Med and debriefing the case as a whole again. It took a while as I was really trying to understand how the dots were connected. I don’t think I did that well so I will come back to this another time. I then attempted and debriefed Elder Care (Capstone 2 Day 3). The shorter, simpler Day 3 cases make me so much happier!
How I feel: connect the dots…. connect the dots!
Aug 22, 2021 (Day 157 of CFE Prep)
My alarm went off at 7:15 but I fell back asleep unintentionally (while still debating whether I should let myself sleep in a little more). I woke up again at 8:20 and had breakfast. I planned on attempting and debriefing both WDI (Capstone 2 Week 6 Day 1) and Fanatix (Densmore Day 3) today. I first spent time reviewing the bridging document for Capstone 1 WDI case and the feedback guide for the last WDI case (Capstone 2 Week 3 Day 1). As a result, I didn’t start the WDI case until 10 AM. I did a pretty good job with staying away from my phone (my bad habit) today and managed to finish the case in less than 3.5 hours. Eric came home around the time I finished WDI so we went out to the market instead. I debriefed the case after we came back and decided to skip Fanatix today.
How I feel: this was a productive weekend after all!
Aug 23, 2021 (Day 158 of CFE Prep)
Monday hurt more when I had a day 2 case (Atlantic, Capstone 2 Day 2) planned. My friend who attempted the case a couple weeks ago said it was a confidence booster (PM role for her). I thought I was going to have a better time than I did with K-Med on the weekend but sadly I didn’t. When I debriefed it, I did notice the technical was ‘easier’ and the integration was less intense. However, I continued to struggle with connecting the dots and applying my technical knowledge on my own. I debriefed the case in full which I did not intend because I was quite disappointed at my progress.
On a tough day like this, I called it a night by watching TV in bed.
How I feel: really hoping to see some improvements in Day 2 case soon…
Aug 24, 2021 (Day 159 of CFE Prep)
I managed to wake up for real when my alarm went off at 7:15 thanks to pumpkin spice syrup returning to Starbucks. After getting our respective coffees, we dropped by Fred Gingell Park, our favourite view point in Tsawwassen, before going home. After the tough day I had yesterday, I thought I was going to have a better day today with the Day 3 cases (Canadian Holistic & Culinary Crawl, Capstone 2 Day 3). Well, I was wrong. Canadian Holistic was okay but Culinary Crawl was DIFFICULT. I thought it had two tax AOs but in fact they were combined. The instructions for the S&G AO was vague so I had a lot of trouble with depth.
I had to take a lunch break (had pho) before finishing my review in the courtyard. The water view put me in a better mood and I desperately needed it!
How I feel: hate to say it but CFE prep is definitely getting to me!
Aug 25, 2021 (Day 160 of CFE Prep)
I opened a can of beer yesterday (I have been on a self-imposed no-beer ban for weeks and drank only once) and emptied it after 3 sips. My fear of not sleeping well is not joke. I still had a bit of a weird sleep but I got to sleep in till closer to 8 because my phone died overnight. I was tempted to attempt another Day 2 case today (Ferguson Real Estate) but I decided against it. I spent the morning debriefing day 2 cases instead. I used the same documents (debrief notes, feedback guide & solution) but I focused on the basics this time. I found myself forgetting about what I once knew (e.g., WACC, operating vs free cash flow) and attributed that to be the reason why I have been struggling.
I took a shower break and cooking break in between. I finally called it a night not long after dinner.
How I feel: my mood has definitely improved after today 🙂
Aug 26, 2021 (Day 161 of CFE Prep)
I finished The Mentalist yesterday (even though I watched the finale scene a couple of times already) so I started Chicago Med. I ended up watching 3 episodes all at once so I went to bed after midnight. I thought it was fine as I wasn’t planning on attempting a Day 2 case today. Instead, I attempted two Day 3 cases (National Mail & Katwill Lodge) instead. I finished both with about 10 minutes to spare each case so I finished studying at around 1 PM. I was going to get more studying done since it was early but watched a Densmore webinar instead. Densmore Webinar #4 on Day 2 tips was really helpful if anyone is struggling.
FYI – I wrote about my struggle yesterday so give this a read if you are interested.
How I feel: my confidence is improving one day 3 case at a time!
Aug 27, 2021 (Day 162 of CFE Prep)
I woke up at 8 and started writing Ferguson (Capstone 2 Day 2) at 9 sharp (full review of my experience here). I managed to attempt a day 2 case for the first time ever so I was very pleased. It was really tiring and I had to keep reminding myself not to give up. I also didn’t touch my phone at all so I actually wrote for the full 4 hours (with several quick water/washroom breaks). I could have reviewed my work and done more for a FR AO I didn’t get but I was too hungry by then.
I meant to debrief right after but it was too warm and sunny in our courtyard so I just daydreamed instead. Eric got off work a little early so we went out for dinner before I came home to finish debriefing the case.
How I feel: it was an exhausting but satisfying day!
Aug 28, 2021 (Day 163 of CFE Prep)
It happened again: my alarm went off at 7:15 and the second time I opened my eyes the clock showed 8:30. As soon as Eric said ‘yes’ to Starbucks, I got out of bed and our door in no time. I also picked up flowers on our way home so I didn’t start studying until 10 AM. It was too late for a day 2 case then so I decided to work on the day 3 cases I scheduled for Sunday instead. For some silly reasons I scheduled 3 x Day 3 cases for Sunday but I cut it down to 2 instead. I attempted and debriefed them both before I spent 3-ish hours not doing much while Eric took a nap.
How I feel: gotta wake up on time tomorrow so I can attempt TankCo (Capstone 2 Day 2)
Aug 29, 2021 (Day 164 of CFE Prep)
I had all the intention of starting early but we went out to get coffee again. I didn’t linger but it was 10 AM by the time I finished breakfast. I started TankCo anyway even though it was later than usual. Two hours in, I wanted to take a nap. But I made it at the end! I attempted all but 1 FR AO. I attempted all Finance AOs I identified (missed one because of misunderstanding again). We left the house to grab dinner and played badminton at our clubhouse for a bit after. It was so fun! I spent about another hour debriefing the TankCo case before calling it a night.
How I feel: not sure I want to go back to work because the last week and a half felt like a vacation (in relative terms)
Aug 30, 2021 (Day 165 of CFE Prep)
First day back to work for month-end! Thanks to my boss, I did not come back to a lot of catch up. I was quite sleepy from going to bed later than usual though (cue Chicago Med). We went out after work so we didn’t get home until close to 6. I finished debriefing the TankCo case (Capstone 2 Day 2) and did a little bit of Finance technical review. It’s so much harder to study after work so I called it a day after about an hour. I do feel a lot better with Finance now than a week ago so FR is now my concern.
How I feel: better go to bed on time!
Aug 31, 2021 (Day 166 of CFE Prep)
I did a lot of prep work today for month-end. After work, we went out for dinner as usual and by the time we came back, it was close to 6. I did a little bit of debrief notes review before climbing in bed (it wasn’t even 8 PM). Then, my college friend talked about the flashcards from Capstone 2 (for common and role AOs). I started reviewing them on my phone and ended finishing them all! It took about an hour and I was glad I pushed through. They really helped!
How I feel: proud of myself… could have been watching Chicago Med.
Sep 1, 2021 (Day 167 of CFE Prep)
I knew today was going to be the toughest day of month end because it’s Day 1. There were more last-minute changes than last time and I was still learning. So, naturally I was more tired than usual after work. We went out for dinner and all I did was to debrief 3 Day 3 cases (referring back to my notes at the same time).
How I feel: I hope everything reconciles tomorrow!!
Sep 2, 2021 (Day 168 of CFE Prep)
The toughest part of month end is over for me. I started debriefing day 3 cases as soon as work was over. Eric went into the office today so he brought dinner on his way home. Since we weren’t too hungry, we played badminton for a bit before dinner. I resumed my review after dinner & shower. It’s getting darker earlier now so my living room lamp is barley enough. I am glad I don’t have to study during another winter again!!
I reviewed the debrief notes & solution of four day 3 cases in total. I didn’t read the solution in full as that would take too long. My intention is to use those to remind myself how to tackle the AO and score RC/Cs. I called it a night after planning for the next 10 days.
How I feel: one more day of work before I am back to CFE prep full time!
Sep 3, 2021 (Day 169 of CFE Prep)
Last day of work before I was back on CFE leave so I was busy trying to catch up as much as I could. After work, we went out for dinner and played a bit of badminton. I was very tempted to call it a night without studying but I convinced myself not to!! I only scheduled one Day 2 case (Atlantic, Capstone 2) to debrief so it wouldn’t have taken long. I think it took about 45 minutes.
How I feel: proud of myself for sticking to my schedule!
Sep 4, 2021 (Day 170 of CFE Prep)
My first day of CFE leave part 2! I started around 9 AM and reviewed three Day 2 cases by reading the debrief notes, solution & feedback guide (Elcar, Envirocab & TankCo, Capstone 2). I also followed my own debrief notes from my first attempt’s debrief as well. I finished quite early so I took a break before spending some more time reviewing my general debrief notes.
How I feel: last study weekend!
Sep 5, 2021 (Day 171 of CFE Prep)
I watched too much Chicago Med yesterday (emotional rollercoaster) so I woke up later and sleepier than usual. By the time I got coffee and finished breakfast, it was already close to noon. Originally, I scheduled a couple of day 3 cases to attempt. However, since I was tired and started later than I wanted, I decided to switch Monday’s schedule with today’s instead.
I did the same thing as yesterday: read the debrief notes, solution & feedback guide of Day 2 cases (K-Med, Solar & Ferguson, Capstone 2). I was pretty distracted (blame Eric) so it took about 3 hours from start to finish.
How I feel: sad because we sold our GTI today.
Sep 6, 2021 (Day 172 of CFE Prep)
We went for another drive to White Rock this morning because it was a holiday! I made the mistake of not calling the restaurant ahead of time as our first two choices were both closed (found out about the first one the hard way). We ended up finding a random breakfast restaurant for some cheese, eggs & pancakes! When we got home, I attempted two Day 3 cases: Perfecto Painters & Dogani Inc (Capstone 2 Day 3). They were alright and I was definitely glad I attempted them. I picked up some useful technical (especially for tax) and got back into the case-writing rhythm after over one week without.
I spent sometime in the hot tub before going home to finish my to-do list: review Wild Care & Culinary Crawl (Capstone 2 Day 3).
How I feel: there goes the long weekend (for Eric)!
Sep 7, 2021 (Day 173 of CFE Prep)
We had our Invisalign appointments this morning so I took advantage of the hour-long car ride for some debrief notes review. These were notes I have been jotting down shortly after Capstone 2 begun (I started electronic notes before switching to paper). I find myself forgetting lessons I learned and technicals if I don’t review them again so this was really helpful.
We got home just before noon. I spent the afternoon reviewing Canadian Holistic, Katwill (Capstone 2 Day 3), Elyse and Taylors (Densmore Day 3). I called it a day after I watched the Densmore video on Defensive Writing and finished reviewing my debrief notes.
How I feel: excited to be 25% done with my Invisalign 😀
Sep 8, 2021 (Day 174 of CFE Prep)
I went to bed even earlier than usual yesterday (shortly before 10?) and still managed to sleep in till just before 8. I am thankful for the lack of blackout curtains because the sunlight definitely helped me wake up earlier than I have to!
I attempted & debriefed Fanatix (Densmore Day 3) and reviewed Kepler (Densmore Day 2) as planned. I also attempted May 2021 CFE Day 3 cases in my head. Which means I was too lazy to type so I worked on the AOs verbally (to myself). There were several tax topics I had to look up but overall, they felt fine. I had to take a break early because I was too hungry and all I wanted to eat was poke bowls. Eric had an errand to run right after work so we didn’t go until after. The small poke bowl I got from Poke Bar was quite a bit of food so I am done with poke bowls for a while now.
I fell behind on Densmore videos so I watched the tax technical refresher (made it halfway only because the content was so dry) and CFE Day 2 approach (definitely regret not watching this sooner).
If you don’t have Densmore, I suggest watching the weekly webinars from Capstone 2 instead.
How I feel: I wish I can stop myself from studying more but I also have nothing else to do (okay, I have a lot I can do but I don’t want to do them)
Sep 9, 2021 (Day 176 of CFE Prep)
Last busy day for me – I started the day with Densmore’s Day 2 approach video for my role (finance). Then, I debriefed Great North (Densmore Day 2, without attempting), Forward Vision (Densmore Day 3, barely attempted) and several Capstone 2 Day 3 cases (previously-attempted). I had a bit of trouble with the tax AO so I was a bit disappointed/annoyed. As soon as I got through what I wanted, I spent the afternoon re-watching Knives Out,. I knew it was going to be good and light.
Since Eric was still working, I took advantage of the remaining time by working on a post!
How I feel: can’t believe it’s almost over.
Sep 10, 2021 (Day 177 of CFE Prep)
I started at around 10 AM after breakfast today. I reviewed the solution for Agriculture (Densmore Day 3, never attempted), flashcards for common and role (Capstone 2) and my own debrief notes. I managed to do the first two at home before I needed a change of scenery. I went down to our courtyard and finished reviewing my debrief notes.
We then went out for dinner and desserts before calling it a night!
How I feel: the best way to stop myself from studying more (not that I want to anymore) is to leave the house!
Sep 11, 2021 (Day 178 of CFE Prep)
It was meant to be a light day today and it was. I woke up as early as usual (alarm went off at 7:30) so I will not be tempted to stay up late tonight. However, we went out first thing in the morning and didn’t come home until 11. I only had Day 1 to review so I did just that. It took a while for me to focus because I was so done with studying.
I scanned the May 2021 CFE Day 1 case, Densmore’s bridging document for Capstone 1, strong response for the May Day 1 case(created by Densmore as well) and feedback guides for the two Day 1 cases I attempted during Capstone 2. It didn’t take long – maybe about an hour. I couldn’t focus anymore so we went out again.
Nothing else but game night and pack tonight!
How I feel: I feel like I am going on a vacation soon!
Sep 12, 2021 (Day 179 of CFE Prep)
I wanted to sleep on time so badly yesterday, I didn’t. I remembered trying to fall asleep at 11 PM and probably rolled around until past midnight. I got woken up by Eric at 5:30 because he decided to wash his car this early (LOL). My alarm went out at 6:30 but I slept in till 7 anyway. We packed most of our stuffs the night before so there wasn’t much left this morning. We had breakfast in Richmond then took a scenic drive all the way to Horseshoe Bay. I was impressed with how nice it was!
We then checked in to Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and went out for dinner. After dinner, we did a little window shopping. My cramps started as I was waiting for my second dinner to be ready and I realized I forgot to pack my painkillers! Luckily, a Shoppers was literally right next door. In true in-person CPA exam fashion, I had to rush out to pick something up last-minute (flashback to the wired mouse I bought 10 mins before London Drugs closed the night before I wrote Core 1). I guess there was no better way to conclude my CPA PEP journey!
I knew I shouldn’t study anymore but I can’t help but review my Day 1 plan anyway. It didn’t take long – maybe 15 mins. I am officially READY FOR DAY 1!
🍀🍀🍀 GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF US WRITING CFE TOMORROW!!!!! 🍀🍀🍀
How I feel: tired from the running around today (which was intentional so I will tire myself out)
Sep 13 – 15, 2021 (CFE)
Sep 21, 2021 (Post-CFE, Last Update)
When I started this diary back in March 2021, I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested. However, six months, three days of CFE and thousands of views later, I am here writing my last CFE prep diary entry.
As I mentioned on my Instagram story, I was really proud of myself for performing as well as I hoped for on exam days. CFE definitely wasn’t easy. It was a combination of predictabilities and surprises. For me, time was of the essence on both Day 2 & 3. Like many of you, I freaked out when I saw something I wasn’t familiar with (cue the tax AO). Also, like so many before me, I realized I should have written something or thought of something I didn’t do right two days after the exam. I know it is inevitable for me to question my performance up until results are released, but I will remind myself how I felt when I finished the exam: I did the best I could.
I went back to work the next day and spent my first weekend after CFE celebrating with friends and family. It felt weird as I haven’t had a weekend without a to-do list for a long time. Now, as I am writing this update, I am still not 100% back to being my most productive self. However, this is fine. We all worked so hard for so long and now it is finally time for us to take a much-deserved break.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. Your support has been my constant source of motivation. ❤️