CFE Day 3 Strategy: Write Your Role at the End and Passing Profile

CPA Canada’s CFE Days 2 and 3 has a 4-level evaluation approach called the passing profile. Here’s an overview and some strategies to help you navigate this process, including why your role AOs should be written at the end.

Level 1: Sufficiency Level

Level 1 counts how many Cs and RCs you got from combined Days 2 and 3. Every AO is given a numerical value:

  • Not Addressed (NA) = 0
  • Nominal Competence (NC) = 0
  • Reaching Competence (RC) = 2
  • Competence (C) = 4
  • Competence with Distinction (CD) = 4

Your score in level 1 is combination of RCs and Cs you got in both Days 2 and 3. Strategies for Level 1 include answering all AOs (don’t miss any), aiming for as many RCs/Cs as possible, and not aiming for CDs (because they are worth the same as C).

Level 2: FR or MA Depth Level

At Level 2, your FR and MA marks from both Days 2 and 3 are evaluated. Your goal is to get 3-4 Cs in either FR or MA. It’s not both, it has to be 3-4 Cs in either FR or MA. Only Cs count, RCs won’t help.

Strategy for Level 2 is to pick one area (FR or MA) and aim to get Cs on it in both Days 2 and 3. The other area can be RCs. For example, you can pick FR and get 2-3 Cs in Day 2 and 2-3 Cs in Day 3. You’ll have combined 4-6 Cs, which is enough to pass. 

Level 3: Role Level

Level 3 is based on your chosen role on Day 2. You need 4-5 Cs to pass. Only Day 2 counts for Level 3. Gettings Cs in Day 3 won’t help.

Strategy for Level 3 is to give enough time to your role in Day 2 to get Cs.

Level 4: Control Level

Finally, Level 4 assesses all AOs from both Days 2 and 3. To pass Level 4, you need minimum 1-2 RCs across all competencies (ie,  FR, MA, Tax, S&G, Finance, Assurance).

Why you should write FR/MA first in Day 3

As noted above, passing Level 2 is about getting 3-4 Cs in either FR or MA in both Days 2 and 3.

Since both Days 2 and 3 are counted, you can use Day 3 to meet this level. For example, if you scored 2 Cs in FR in Day 2, you can score 2 more Cs in Day 3, thus get 4 Cs and clear Level 2. By answering FR first in Day 3 you ensure you have enough time. If you don’t write FR ahead of others, you may get NC or RC, because you’ll run out of time.

Why you should write your Role at the end in Day 3

To pass Level 3, you need 4-5 Cs in your role and only Day 2 counts. This means getting Cs in your role in Day 3 won’t count.

Let’s say a student chooses to write their role first in Day 3 and some other area, for example Tax, at the end. Due to time crunch of Day 3, they run out of time on their last AO on every case. They will score Cs in their role AOs in Day 3 (because they wrote it first), but NCs in Tax. This means they would fail at Level 4, because Level 4 requires at least 1-2 RC in all areas, but they got NCs in Tax.

Now let’s say the same student chooses to write their role at the end in Day 3 and other areas, such as Tax, first. Due to time management issues, they run out of time on their last AO on every case. They will score Cs in Tax in Day 3, but NCs in their role. They would still pass at Level 4, because they already got Cs on their role from Day 2 and now they have C/RC in Tax from Day 3.

Key to understanding this strategy is to know that your role AOs in Day 2 count towards Level 1, 3 and 4. Once you scored Cs on it in Day 2, you don’t have to worry about it anymore; the other areas take priority in Day 3.

Extra resources

Extra resources are available at CFE Review courses.