FAQs

CFE Prep FAQs

Why should I purchase CFE Prep before the start of my time off study period?

Many resources are provided to writers who enroll before they are off from work on study leave.  For May CFE writers, we post technical review materials in mid-November. For September CFE writers, we post the technical review materials in early March. 

The technical review materials include sessions to explain how to focus your technical review on CFE case writing. We also mail out Densmore’s Scenario Flowcharts Workbook, which is the basis for your technical review of commonly tested topics.  This should be used in conjunction with the Densmore Skill Drills to improve your technical knowledge and case writing skills in each technical competency area.  For experienced writers, we also provide three CFE Day 3 practice cases to keep your case writing skills sharp.

Where are the locations of the onsite CFE Prep courses?

Toronto course

Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University)

Room TBD, Ted Rogers School of Management, 55 Dundas St. West, Toronto, ON, M5G 2C3

Campus Map

Edmonton course

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)

Room TBD, 11763 106 St., Edmonton, AB, T5G 2R1

NAIT Campus Map

The closest hotels are the Chateau Louis or Edmonton Inn & Conference Centre. Please note we have listed these for information purposes only; candidates will need to do their own research to determine suitability.

Click here for more information about parking on-campus.

Vancouver course

University of British Columbia

Room TBD, 6138 Student Union Blvd, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3

UBC Campus Map (Vancouver Campus)

Halifax course

Dalhousie University

Room TBD, Marion McCain Arts & Social Sciences Building, 6135 University Ave, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2

Dalhousie Campus Map

The closest hotels are the Lord Nelson or Westin Nova Scotian. Please note we have listed these for information purposes only; candidates will need to do their own research to determine suitability.

Click here for more information about parking on-campus.

Calgary course

University of Calgary

Room TBD, 856 Campus Pl NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4V8

UCalgary Campus Map

The University of Calgary has a corporate rate at Aloft Hotels. Candidates requiring accommodation should review the information here. Please note we have provided this for information purposes only, candidates will need to do their own research to determine suitability.

I am an experienced writer.  What should I be doing between now and my time off for studying?

View the Techncial Review session and plan to spend approximately 4-5 hours per week on technical review, using the Densmore Scenario Flowcharts Workbook to focus on commonly tested topics.  Use the Densmore Skill Drills to practice your case writing skills for these topics.  In January (for May writers) and April (for September writers), view the CFE Day 3 Approach session and then write one Densmore Day 3 practice case per month, which will help you refine your case writing skills before your study period begins.

I am a first-time writer who has some time before Capstone 1 starts. What should I be doing?

View the Technical Review Session and plan to spend approximately 4-5 hours per week on technical review, using the Densmore Scenario Flowcharts Workbook to focus on commonly tested topics.  Use the Densmore Skill Drills to practice your case writing skills for these topics.

Which Day 2 role should I choose?

If you may be interested in obtaining your Public Accounting Licence in the future, you are required to pass Level 2 in Financial Reporting and pass Level 3 in the Assurance role. If this does not apply to you, you should consider your module electives, work experience, interests, and comfort level with each elective area based on your other past educational experience to determine which role would be ideal for you.

To help you decide which role to select, download the September 2015 CFE Report from the CPA Canada website here.  Read the CFE Day 2 case (page 37-69).  When you’re reading through the role requirements, think about which role best lines up with your technical knowledge and work experience.

Should I use the CPA Canada eBooks for technical review?

Your focus during technical review should be on the commonly tested topics and on how you would write each topic in a CFE case.  Pure technical review and memorization is not effective from a CFE perspective. While the CPA Canada eBooks are useful as a more detailed technical resource for topics where you are struggling, we do not recommend reviewing the CPA Canada eBooks in their entirety.  We recommend starting with the Densmore Scenario Flowcharts Workbook (available only as part of our CFE Prep course) to stay focused on the most commonly tested topics and the most relevant technical for writing the CFE. We recommend viewing our Technical Review Skills session in our CFE Prep course to get more details on how to effectively study technical for the CFE.

How much time off is ideal for students who are writing the CFE?

For first-time writers taking Capstone 2, the module schedule is rigorous. Typically, candidates write one CFE Day 1 or Day 2 case and a CFE Day 3 case each week. Therefore, we recommend students take anywhere from four weeks to the full length of Capstone 2 off prior to the CFE. This will allow them time for writing, marking, and debriefing additional cases and completing technical review.  

For experienced writers and first-time writers who are not taking Capstone 2, we recommend at least four weeks off prior to the CFE if they are re-writing days 2 and 3 of the CFE or all 3 days. If they are only re-writing day 1 of the CFE, we recommend taking one to two weeks off prior to the exam.

What technical review support is provided in the CFE Prep courses?

While our CFE Prep course focuses on case writing skills, technical resources and review are also built into the program to ensure you are prepared to pass the CFE.  Believe it or not, if you have gone through the modules or an accredited program at university, you already have most of the technical skills required to write the exam and our CFE Prep course helps you to efficiently refresh this knowledge and learn to apply it in a case setting.  You will learn technical in the CFE Prep course in a variety of ways:

  • A Technical Review Skills session that explains our approach to technical review, including why it is important to avoid memorization and focus on how to write topics in a case setting.
  • The Densmore Scenario Flowcharts Workbook provides you with key technical to apply and tips on how to write the most commonly tested topics in each of the six competency areas.
  • Our Skill Drills provide you with opportunities to learn your technical with a single assessment opportunity exercise, complete with solutions and tips on how to write more effectively. These cover topics in each of the six competency areas.
  • A Tax Technical Refresher session at the Core level.
  • Individual depth sessions for each of the four Day 2 roles to review how to gain depth in your role requirements.
  • We focus on debriefing cases, which is how you will learn both the technical to apply for future cases, and how to write those cases more effectively.
Why are Densmore cases “harder” than Capstone 2?

We spend hundreds of hours each year understanding the CFE requirements and ensuring that our cases are representative of what you will see on the CFE.  You want to go into the CFE knowing you will pass, and not hoping that you have reached the requirements at Competent.  Our cases and marker grids ensure that the requirements at Competent are realistic and will help you score Competent on the CFE.

That said, we also want to ensure that you see as many different topics as possible that are examinable on the CFE based on the CPA Competency Map. As such, we include topics on our practice cases that you will not see based on writing the last three or four CFEs.  Often, seeing a topic you are unfamiliar with gives you the sense that the case is harder than it actually is.  However, this prepares you for dealing with unfamiliar topics when you actually reach the CFE.

How and why are the Densmore marking materials different than Capstone 2?

The Densmore marking materials are different than Capstone 2 in that our marker grids are prepared in Word, rather than Excel.  The CFE is a competency-based exam, not an exam where it takes a certain number of items checked off to pass.  The use of the Word marker grids ensures that we can explain what it takes to achieve Competent for each assessment opportunity and is not reduced to checking off a certain number of items. Our markers are trained to provide feedback and examples of how to improve your case writing skills to ensure you are confident you know what it takes to achieve Competent when you write the CFE.

Is there anything I would need to do in addition to this course to prepare?

We believe we have provided everything you need in our CFE Prep courses to prepare successfully for the CFE. Keep in mind that being successful means putting in your full effort and starting the course prepared. As such, we do expect that you have a base level of technical competency before the start of the course (in March for May writers and in July for September writers). We recommend enrolling early to take advantage of our technical review resources before our CFE Prep sessions are scheduled to begin to enhance those technical skills. In addition, you may need a technical resource in one or more competency areas if your technical is weak and you do not have access to the CPA Canada eBooks. We recommend our CPA Competency Map Study Notes publication.

I want to ensure I have comprehensive preparation for the CFE. How is the competency map integrated into the development of this course?

We spend hundreds of hours each year ensuring that our course content and practice cases cover all six areas of the competency map at the appropriate examinability levels. We cover each of the six competency areas in competency coverage sessions that help writers understand how each competency area could be tested, historical testing trends, and specific writing examples to illustrate these concepts. Our practice cases are structured to mimic the actual CFE, by ensuring the right balance of coverage over each of the six competency areas.

Why do I need CFE Prep if I am taking Capstone 2?

While Capstone 2 provides some practice case resources and marking to help you prepare for the CFE, we believe that you need more practice and feedback to develop your case writing skills and peak for success at the CFE. We provide comprehensive study plans that include both the Densmore CFE Prep course and the Capstone 2 requirements to guide your study time, as well as numerous resources to build your technical and case writing skills before you even begin Capstone 2.

Where can I get more information about the CFE?

A high-level overview is available here. CPA Canada’s Certification Resource Centre contains the CFE exam blueprint, technical updates, and examination regulations, among other resources.

What is the difference between onsite and online-only CFE Prep courses?

These two courses are very similar as far as the material that is contained within the courses such as amount of practice cases, etc. The main difference comes down to format and timing. Students attending the online-only courses work through the CFE Prep sessions and practice cases guided by a detailed study plan provided in calendar format. These study plans cover the two months leading up to when the CFE is written. Students attending the onsite course will attend three days with an in-person CFE Prep instructor, with a mix of attending lectures and writing practice cases. Following these three days in person, onsite students will move into the online component of the course, which is guided by a study plan, similar to the online-only course.

Do you offer onsite courses for May CFE writers?

We only offer online-only courses for May writers due to fewer writers sitting for the May vs. September CFE.

What should I consider when choosing between the online and onsite CFE Prep course?

There are a number of things that are similar between the online and onsite courses, including the content of the courses, the practice cases, and the level of support provided.  However, an onsite course allows you to ask questions and participate in-person, which may be more preferable depending on your learning style. 

The online course works best for students who are self-disciplined and committed to working through all of the online sessions and giving full effort to all of the practice cases. As such, some students find that they need the structure of an onsite course, with an instructor in front of them, to ensure that they engage in the sessions and write the practice cases as a kickoff to the remainder of the course, which is delivered online. You should also consider whether your learning environment is conducive to online learning (e.g., minimal distractions), and the benefits of flexibility and reduced travel costs.

Are there any live classes as part of your online-only CFE Prep course?

The course is asynchronous, meaning that the material is pre-recorded, and all released at the same time in the summer. Students will access the provided study plans to guide them through the course resources, such as viewing sessions or writing practice cases. Since the sessions are pre-recorded, students have some flexibility as to when during the day they want to access the resources.  For example, some students choose to work through material in the evening if they are working during the day.  We recommend staying as close as possible to the provided study plans and completing the tasks in the order they are presented in the study plans.

Our CFE Prep course includes six Ask the CFE Expert webinars, which occur in the weeks leading up to the CFE.  We try to schedule the webinars at times when the majority of candidates across the country would be available. However, if you are unable to attend the live broadcast of the webinars, we record them and post them in the course in the days following for you to access them.

Do you provide one-on-one mentoring or personal support?

While our course does not provide one-on-one mentoring per se, we do support writers individually in a variety of ways.  For example, we answer individual questions via our forums or email, we provide customized study plan guidance when writers have a unique study schedule or time off work situation, and we analyze writer tracking sheets when concerns arise during the study period. For unsuccessful writers, we analyze CFE results and PARs for unsuccessful writers, and meet with individuals to discuss their results and identify next steps.

How many hours are required to work through Densmore’s CFE Prep course?

Our CFE Prep course contains over 35 hours of work related to technical review that is available before the course begins, including sessions on technical review, and our Densmore Skill Drills and Scenario Flowcharts Workbook. The CFE Prep course contains over 90 hours of sessions, webinars and practice case materials. Please note that this does not include the Capstone 2 requirements or the use of prior CFE cases as additional practice in the study plans.

To successfully complete all of the course content, we recommend writers register early for the course (mid-November for May writers and early March for September writers), to take full advantage of the technical review resources before our CFE Prep sessions are scheduled to begin. We also recommend that writers take at least four weeks off prior to CFE, especially if they are also enrolled in Capstone 2, to ensure that they have time to work through all of the required materials.

When are the course materials available?

The technical review resources are available beginning in mid-November for students writing in May, and in early March for students writing in September. The full course materials are released in mid-March for students writing in May and late June for students writing in September.

Are the CPA Competency Map Study Notes included with my CFE Prep course?

This resource is not included with your CFE Prep registration. However, you may choose to add it on to your CFE Prep registration or purchase separately if you are looking for technical reference material. The CPA Competency Map Study Notes publication can be purchased here.

Is the Scenario Flowcharts Workbook available as a stand-alone purchase?

No, the Scenario Flowcharts Workbook is only available as part of our full CFE Prep course.

What is the best approach if I am an international student planning to write the CFE in Canada under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?

The CPA exam is likely very different from other CA exam experiences you’ve had. For this reason, it can be incredibly challenging to pass the CFE under a MOU agreement. We often see this related to a lack of focus on case writing skills as well as under-preparedness in Canadian technical topics (such as ASPE, Canadian Tax and Canadian Auditing Standards). If you’re planning to write the CFE under a MOU agreement, we encourage you to enroll in our MOU Bridge to CFE Prep course before registering in our CFE Prep course to build your technical knowledge base and help you begin to develop your case writing skills.

CPA Competency Map Study Notes FAQs

What is covered in the CPA Competency Map Study Notes publication?

The publication includes summary technical notes for all six technical competency areas (Financial Reporting, Audit and Assurance, Strategy and Governance, Management Accounting, Finance and Taxation) that are covered in the CPA Competency Map. The publication is at a level suitable for the Core PEP modules, the Elective PEP modules, and the CFE.

How is the information organized?

The CPA Competency Map Study Notes are organized in a digestible, easy-to-understand format. If you would like to see how the book is formatted and the level of detail that is provided, download a sample excerpt of the book in your preferred language:

What is the difference between the digital (eBook) and print versions?

The content is the same in both the digital and print versions. However, the digital version is updated with any technical updates for the two years following purchase. If you prefer a print version, we post an annual technical update summary document. Download the update in your preferred language:

Are the CPA Competency Map Study Notes included with my CFE Prep course?

This resource is not included with your CFE Prep registration. However, you may choose to add it on to your CFE Prep registration or purchase separately if you are looking for technical reference material. The CPA Competency Map Study Notes publication can be purchased here.

When will my digital eBook access to the CPA Competency Map Study Notes publication expire?

Access to the eBook expires at the end of the second calendar year following the year in which the publication was purchased (i.e., the 2024 CPA Competency Map Study Notes eBook would expire on December 31, 2026). However, if you are still using the publication in pursuit of your CPA designation after the expiration date, you may request an extension at no charge by emailing info@densmorecpa.com.

PEP Modules – Core and Elective FAQs

Can I work through the Densmore EDGE course at the same time that I am in the CPA Canada PEP Module?

You can use the Densmore EDGE course as a supplement to the CPA PEP module work, or you can choose to use the EDGE course before starting the CPA PEP module to get your technical and case writing skills up to speed.

I am currently enrolled in a CPA Canada PEP module. How should I use Densmore’s EDGE course?

You should use the Densmore EDGE course as supplemental materials. For technical review, we suggest completing our MCQs for topics with which you are less comfortable.  To improve your case writing, start by viewing the Basic Approach Session. Then, we suggest spreading the six practice cases out over your study period, leaving enough time to mark and debrief each response and view the online walkthrough to learn from each attempt. View the Exam Strategy Session and write the practice exam approximately 2 weeks prior to your exam date. This will provide you with time to debrief each MCQ and to mark and debrief your case response(s) and view the online walkthrough(s) to learn from the practice attempt.

I am challenging a CPA PEP module exam. How should I use Densmore’s EDGE course?

You should create a study plan for your time left to the exam considering your time off work situation.  For technical review, spend time using the MCQs in each technical competency area to gauge your knowledge (e.g., 2-3 weeks depending on how much time off you have from work).  This will help you understand where to focus your technical review on your areas of weakness. To improve your case writing, start by viewing the Basic Approach Session. Then, we suggest spreading the six practice cases out over your study period (approximately one per week if you are working). Ensure you schedule enough time to not only write the case, but also mark and debrief each response and view the walkthrough to learn from each attempt. View the Exam Strategy Session and write the practice exam approximately 2 weeks prior to your exam date. This will provide you with time to debrief each MCQ and to mark and debrief your case response(s) and view the online walkthrough(s) to learn from the practice attempt.

Why does Densmore’s EDGE course not include any technical resources?

Most students taking the modules have access to CPA Canada’s ebooks, which are a suitable technical resource. If you do not have access to CPA Canada’s ebooks, you may need to obtain your own technical resources depending on your comfort level with the technical knowledge. We recommend our CPA Competency Map Study Notes publication, which you can purchase here.

How long will I have access to Densmore’s PEP Module resources?

By default, access to the Densmore EDGE courses expires one year from the date of purchase. However, if you are still enrolled in the CPA Program, you can email us at info@densmorecpa.com to request an extension to your EDGE course at no charge. The stand-alone Densmore PEP Practice Exams expire on the date of the next CPA PEP Module exam, as they are intended for practice prior to writing the exam. Please see our full refund / extension policy here.

Which CPA Canada PEP Elective Modules should I choose?

If you may be interested in obtaining your Public Accounting Licence in the future, you are required to complete the Taxation and Assurance elective modules. If this does not apply to you, you should consider your work experience, interests, and comfort level with each elective area based on your past educational experience to determine which electives would be most suitable for you.

CPA Canada has posted sample cases for each of the Electives here.  You can also read through the sample cases and evaluation guides (solutions) for each module to help inform your decision.

Can I request a preview of the EDGE course(s)?

If you would like to see how the course materials are presented, please email info@densmorecpa.com to gain access to our test course for a 48-hour trial period. This course provides limited access to some of our case materials and MCQs so you can see how the materials are presented to determine if the EDGE course will suit your needs before purchasing.

Continuing Professional Development FAQs

Where can I learn more about the CPD requirements in my province?

Visit the provincial and regional accounting bodies’ websites at the links below.

What are verifiable CPD hours?

If you participated in a course, webinar, conference, or seminar, that would constitute verifiable CPD.  Hours spent attending the course, webinar, conference, or seminar provided that you are learning as well as hours spent preparing or studying for the course, conference, seminar or exam (to a maximum of 5 hours prep time for each hour of participation) would qualify as verifiable CPD.

You must have documentation from an independent provider to confirm your professional development hours.  Examples of acceptable documentation:

  • Copy of course payment/invoice
  • Certificate of completion or official transcript
  • Confirmation of participation by provider or employer
  • Attendance record (e.g., sign-in sheet)
  • Course or exam results, confirmation of designation or certification
  • For prep/study hours, you would also need to provide a log of your prep/study hours in addition to one of the above pieces of documentation.

Other activities, such as teaching a course, participation as a speaker at a conference, participation on a board or technical committee, and conducting research are also examples of verifiable CPD.  For more information, visit your provincial and regional accounting bodies’ websites (see above).

What qualifies as professional ethics CPD hours?

Professional ethics is the study of the values that guide the choices and behaviours of professionals.  Professional ethics CPD must be relevant to your responsibilities and competencies, and help you to make decisions based on your moral principles.

Examples of professional ethics topics include, not are not limited to, the following:

  • Provincial regulatory updates covering the Act, Bylaws, Regulations and Code of Professional Conduct
  • Regulatory updates that are relevant and appropriate to the member’s role or industry
  • Corporate codes of conduct
  • Independence / conflicts of interest
  • Ethical business culture
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Whistleblowing
  • Anti-money-laundering
  • Bribery and corruption, etc.

Post-Secondary Institutions FAQs

How much do Densmore cases cost for post-secondary institutions?

Our per-student pricing is as follows:

  • Undergraduate cases – $7.50 + HST/student
  • Exam-only cases – $7.50 + HST/student
  • Core and Elective Module cases – $12.50 + HST/student
  • CFE Day 3 cases – $12.50 + HST/student
  • CFE Day 2 cases – $36.00 + HST/student
  • CFE Day 1 cases – $22.50 + HST/student
How much do the Competency Map Study Notes cost for post-secondary institutions?

Print edition: $199 + tax (two-volume set)

Ebook edition: $145 + tax

Print and ebook package: $259 + tax

Which Canadian post-secondary institutions have partnered with Densmore?
  • Acadia University
  • Bishop’s University 
  • Cape Breton University 
  • Carleton University 
  • Concordia University 
  • Edwards School of Business 
  • HEC Montreal 
  • Ivey Business School 
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University 
  • Lakehead University 
  • Laurentian University 
  • McMaster University 
  • Ontario Tech University
  • Queen’s University 
  • Saint Mary’s University 
  • Schulich School of Business 
  • Toronto Metropolitan University 
  • University of Ottawa 
  • Université du Québec à Chicoutimi 
  • University of Alberta 
  • University of Calgary 
  • University of Guelph 
  • University of Quebec at Rimouski 
  • University of Regina 
  • University of Saskatchewan 
  • University of Sherbrooke 
  • University of Toronto 
  • University of Windsor 
  • Western University 
  • Wilfrid Laurier University 
  • York University
Are Densmore materials available in French?

Our Competency Map Study Notes are available in French.

Some of our cases, including many of the CFE Day 2 and 3 cases, are available in French. To see a full list of available cases, please contact cases@densmorecpa.com.

Businesses and Firms FAQs

What resources are available for my employees in the process of obtaining their CPA designation?

We provide a variety of resources to assist your employees in their journey to becoming a CPA. For the Core and Elective modules, we have our EDGE courses and practice exams.  For the CFE, we have our CFE Prep courses and additional CFE cases. We also have our CPA Competency Map Study Notes publication that can be used for the PEP modules and the CFE.  For more information about the courses and resources we offer, please contact info@densmorecpa.com.

Do I have to register my CPA students individually online?

No, we are happy to process bulk orders and invoice you directly. Please email info@densmorecpa.com with the products you would like to purchase and a list that includes student name, email address, and shipping address. For CFE Prep registrations, also include their CFE Day 2 role, their Capstone 1 case choice, and whether they are a first-time or experienced writer. For PEP registrations, include the Core/Elective module.

How much time off is ideal for students who are writing the CFE?

For first-time writers taking Capstone 2, the module schedule is rigorous. Typically, candidates write one CFE Day 1 or Day 2 case and a CFE Day 3 case each week. Therefore, we recommend students take anywhere from four weeks to the full length of Capstone 2 off prior to the CFE. This will allow them time for writing, marking, and debriefing additional cases and completing technical review.  

For experienced writers and first-time writers who are not taking Capstone 2, we recommend at least four weeks off prior to the CFE if they are re-writing days 2 and 3 of the CFE or all 3 days. If they are only re-writing day 1 of the CFE, we recommend taking one to two weeks off prior to the exam.

What resources are available for my employees who need to complete their continuing professional development (CPD) obligations?

We provide a variety of continuing professional development courses and resources to assist your employees in meeting their CPD obligations and learning new skills. For more information about the courses and resources we offer, please contact cpd@densmorecpa.com.

Do I have to register my employees for continuing professional development (CPD) individually online?

No, we are happy to process bulk orders and invoice you directly. Please email cpd@densmorecpa.com with the products you would like to purchase and a list that includes employee name, address, and email address.