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Next Steps for Unsuccessful Candidates

On December 2, 2017

Your mind is probably reeling if you were unsuccessful on the September 2017 CFE. That’s perfectly normal. It will take plenty of time and some sober reflection to figure out what went wrong and how to regroup for a 2018 CFE attempt. It’s a healing process. December is not the month to crack the books and start studying again. However, you do have two important decisions to make by month-end.

 

First, you will need to decide whether you want to appeal your results by December 31. You need to weigh the cost of appealing against the likelihood of success.

 

If you failed Day 1, consider that your response was looked at twice and maybe even a third time when you are deciding whether to appeal. If you failed Day 1 and wrote FVT, you have one more chance in September 2018 to pass Day 1 based on that Capstone 1 case. If you failed Day 1 for PRI, you will need to write FVT or the 2018 Capstone I case.

 

If you failed Days 2 and 3, here is some information to help you understand your results:

  • Level 1 (Sufficiency) – You did not score Competent and/or Reaching Competence enough times on all of the assessment opportunities across Day 2 and Day 3. Your sufficiency grouping tells you how close you were to passing Level 1, with 1 being the closest and 10 being the furthest away.
  • Level 2 (Depth) – You did not score Competent enough times on the Financial Reporting or Management Accounting assessment opportunities across Day 2 and Day 3. Remember, you only need to pass Level 2 for one of those areas.
  • Level 3 (Depth) – You did not score Competent enough times on your role assessment opportunities on Day 2.
  • Level 4 (Breadth) – You did not score at least Reaching Competence enough times on the assessment opportunities across Day 2 and Day 3 for each of the six technical competency areas.

 

Only a very small percentage of appeals are successful. If you failed Days 2 and 3 at Level 1 with a decile ranking of 1, you may want to appeal. Keep in mind though that everyone with that result will not successfully appeal. Unfortunately, there is no sufficiency grouping for Level 2, Level 3 or Level 4 so you don’t know how close you were. If you failed at more than one level, the chances of a successful appeal are even lower.

 

The second decision relates to Performance Analysis Reviews (PARs) that are available through CPA Canada and must be requested by December 31. The PARs we saw for the September 2016 CFE gave specific feedback on areas where candidates did not meet the minimum standard with guidance on how to improve performance. You will also receive feedback on areas where you performed well. You will need to decide whether the cost is worth it. If you have failed Day 1 more than once, we recommend that you request a Day 1 PAR and submit it to us for review and feedback.

 

In making your decision to request a PAR, consider your results. For example, if you only failed at Level 4 Finance and you know that you struggled with quantitative analysis and didn’t manage your time well on Day 3, we do not recommend that you request a PAR. If you failed at more than one level, you may want to consider getting a PAR. If you do, again we will help you analyze your PAR and how you might use it.

 

If you took our 2017 CFE Prep course or are registered for our 2018 CFE Prep for experienced writers, we will analyze your September 2017 CFE results. Send your results to us along with your tracking sheet from your study period so we can look at the information and get you pointed in the right direction for your next attempt. Ultimately, it is very important to understand what went wrong to cause this result. You will need to change something (and often more than one thing) in your next attempt to achieve a pass. We would like to help you understand what it is you need to change.

 

(December 2, 2017)







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Showing 20 Comments
Avatar Bev Whittaker-Taggart 6 months agoReply
Hi,

I unfortunately failed all 3 days after writing the CFE for the first time this year. I did take the Densmore first time writers course in 2017 but had to take it without marking as I was not aware of the online class. I have decided not to appeal the results and have paid to receive my PAR.

I'd love to talk to someone at Densmore to get some advise on how to go at the CFE in 2018. I want to write it one more time and pass. I'm looking at signing up early enough for the Densmore in Halifax (not sure which one I should sign up for). I'm also debating on whether I should take Capstone 2 again.

Bev

Avatar Paul Morris (Densmore Consulting) 6 months agoReply
Hi Bev,

Sorry to hear that you didn't make it through the CFE this year. If you haven't done so already, please send your results and tracking sheet to us at info@dcscpa.com and we will give you some guidance about next steps, course selections, and so on. We'll also take a look at your PAR for you when it's available.
Avatar XS 7 months agoReply
Hi,
I feel sorry for those that failed Day 1 again.
I failed last year, but I made it in 2017. I re-wrote PRI. I found the Densmore materials helped me a lot, while the capstone 2 day 1 sample cases are useless.
Here is my thought to be successful in D1: Focus on the root cause of all the changes! You might need to discuss several issues, but all the issues are kind of related to the root cause, you will need to link to the root cause in your discussion. For example, in 2016 PRI, the root cause was the new bonus programme. I followed this rule, and I passed.
I know how it feels, I failed all three days last year. I work full time and have young children, life is busy, and I was not able to take a single day off for my exam preparation. But if you plan it and work toward it, you can make it.
wish you all good luck.
Avatar Ang 7 months agoReply
Thanks so much for sharing with us your advice. Your experience is very encouraging and inspiring!
Avatar JB 7 months agoReply
Hey,

I have the same issue as Galina and Ang. Day 1 is the only thing holding me up for the second time. Don't know what to do and what case to choose next time.

Please advise.

Thanks
Avatar Paul Morris (Densmore Consulting) 7 months agoReply
Hi JB,

We're in the process of interviewing writers this week to determine common themes relating to performance. You can send an email to Amie.Lear@dcscpa.com with your results and tracking sheet and a couple of paragraphs about how you felt about the day 1 cases in both 2016 and 2017. She will be in touch with more questions and advice on next steps.

Generally speaking, we're advising third-time writers to select version 2 of FVT (the Capstone 1 case from 2017) to write in 2018.
Avatar Gonzo 6 months agoReply
I didn't use a track sheet. Would it still be useful to send you my results? It looks like I failed Day 2.
Avatar Paul Morris (Densmore Consulting) 6 months agoReply
It's difficult for us to interpret what went wrong without evidence from your progress during the study period (i.e., your tracking sheet). You stated that it looked like you failed Day 2. Since Days 2 and 3 are a combined evaluation unit, does this mean that you failed Level 3 (depth in your chosen role), which is only evaluated via the Day 2 case?
Avatar Gonzo 6 months agoReply
Failed Level 3 yes.
Avatar Paul Morris (Densmore Consulting) 6 months agoReply
Which role did you write on Day 2?
Avatar shawn 7 months agoReply
Hello,
I have the same issue as Ang and Galina, failed Day1 PRI again. please advise. if there is someone I can talk with, that would be great.

Thanks,
Avatar psmorris 7 months agoReply
Hi Shawn,

We're in the process of interviewing writers this week to determine common themes relating to performance. You can send an email to Amie.Lear@dcscpa.com with your results and tracking sheet and a couple of paragraphs about how you felt about the day 1 cases in both 2016 and 2017. She will be in touch with more questions and advice on next steps.
Avatar JK 7 months agoReply
Hi, I only failed on level 3 depth in assurance. It seems like chance to win is slim but I feel really bad since I passed all other area. From above, you mentioned that Day 1 case is marked 2~3 times. How about day 2-3 specifically on level 3? $500 is a lot of money. What is chance to win if I appeal?
Avatar Paul Morris (Densmore Consulting) 7 months agoReply
Hi JK,

Yes, the day 2 and 3 cases are also marked two or three times and the level of quality control over the marking is exceptional. That's why so very few appeals are ever successful.

Did you attend a Densmore CFE Prep course? If so, you can send your results and tracking sheet to us at info@dcscpa.com. We can get a feeling for whether your level 3 outcome was consistent with your practice or whether it was anomalous. That might give you a better sense for whether you should pay for an appeal or not.
Avatar Ang 7 months agoReply
Hello,
I am facing the same situation as Galina. Failed Day 1 again on my second attempt, and what scares me is that I don't know what to do, like what I can do to improve my writing skill or to pass the Day 1 case. Day 2 and 3 I feel very confident about what I am going to, but about Day 1, I don't know what I can do or what the steps to pass.
Please advise!!! If I can have someone to talk to , that's will be great!

Thanks so much,
Ang

Avatar Paul Morris (Densmore Consulting) 7 months agoReply
Hi Ang,

You have lots of time to sort this out, so try not to worry about it now. We're in the process of interviewing writers this week to determine common themes relating to performance. You can send an email to Amie.Lear@dcscpa.com with your results and tracking sheet and a couple of paragraphs about how you felt about the day 1 cases in both 2016 and 2017. She will be in touch with more questions and advice on next steps.
Avatar Rajiv Mohan 7 months agoReply
I took DCS course. How do I email my results & tracking sheet as I did not succeed. I have specific questions to ask as well?
Avatar Paul Morris (Densmore Consulting) 7 months agoReply
You can email your results and tracking sheet to us a info@dcscpa.com.
Avatar Galina 7 months agoReply
Hello,
I took a “Day 1 only” course for 2017 CFE preparation. Your course was excellent, and I was trying to follow all your recommendations for the exam preparation and during the exam…But, I fail it again. I feel like all my future is crashing down because I`m not capable to pass Day 1, the exam with a 98% pass rate. I have only one attempt left, and don’t know what to do. Should I take a break for a year, or should I try again in 2018? I`m completely demoralized.
I would really appreciate your advice. Please contact me via my e-mail.
Best Regards,
Galina
Avatar Paul Morris (Densmore Consulting) 7 months agoReply
I've forwarded your questions to Amie Lear and she will be in touch via email.