CFE Day 1 Dilemma: V1 or V2 Case?

In the CPA Canada Common Final Examination (CFE) Day 1, there are two versions of cases offered. The first version (V1) is the new case released in the new Capstone 1, while the second version (V2) is a repetition from the prior year’s Capstone 1. Some candidates have a choice which case to choose. Let’s explore which one to choose.

Who can choose which case?

For first-time writers, you are required to choose the case in Capstone 1 you completed, unless that case is no longer available. So for the majority of first-time writers, you don’t have a choice, you must choose the new case.

On the other hand, if you were unsuccessful in the previous CFE Day 1, or you are challenging the CFE, you have the option to choose from either v1 or v2 cases available for that CFE sitting.

Which Day 1 case to choose?

There are several factors to consider while choosing between the new V1 and the V2 case:

(1) Competition

    • By taking new V1 case, you would be competing with first-time writers, who would have been too busy preparing for all three days. This may provide you an edge since you have only Day 1 to prepare for. Additionally, if you choose V2, you will be competing with more experienced and better-prepared candidates, since students who write v2 are experienced writers like you.
    • Conclusion: New (V1) is better.

(2) Pass rate

    • Interestingly, V2 cases have a lower pass rate, according to Day 1 statistics. This suggests that writing new (V1) provides you statistically higher odds of passing the exam.
    • Conclusion: New (V1) is better.

For example, below are screenshots from CPA Canada’s Board of Examiner’s Reports. It shows that new (V1) cases have higher number students meeting the passing standards.

Example 1:

Example 2:

(3) Future proofing

    • Choosing the new (V1) case offers a safety net. In case you don’t pass, you have the option to attempt the same case on your next try. However, the V2 case will expire next CFE, because Day 1s are offered two times only, forcing you to prepare for another new case again.
    • Conclusion: New (V1) is better.

(4) Access time and additional cases

    • Choosing V2 allows early access to Capstone 2 practice cases, since they are already available. This is beneficial because it provides extra time for preparation, compared to the new (V1) case, which you will only receive eight weeks before the CFE, when new Capstone 2 starts. Additionally, V2 offers an extra case to learn from, as the prior exam version is available.
    • Conclusion: V2 is better.

(5) Industry type

    • If you’re currently working in a specific industry, like pets, teas, fitness or toys, choosing a case in a similar industry can give an advantage. Familiarity with the industry lingo can make it easier for you to understand and tackle the Day 1 case.
    • Conclusion: Varies.

Gevorg’s final verdict

Considering the pros and cons, my recommendation is to choose the new (V1) case, given its overall benefits and future-proofing potential. Remember, this is not a one-size-fits-all recommendation. Your personal circumstances, your readiness, and your work experience can come into play in making this decision. It’s best to consult a professional CPA Canada exam coach before making this decision.

Extra resources

Extra Day 1 resources are available at CFE Review courses.