The Common Final Exam (CFE): Are you ready?

By Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Apr 1, 2021

A few weeks before the final exam a Core 2 candidate posted the following message to the discussion board:

Title: Lots of content, we are getting close!

Everyone may feel like I do in that there are many, many documents to produce right now with the Module Workshop activities due next week.  I find I need to carve out additional time to work on all of this, so trying to add more time such as waking up at 5am to work on it for an extra hour.  Or listening to the module workshop videos in the car to get a jump on those activities.

All of the activities do really help with final exam preparations.  I’m sure others are feeling there is a lot of content to churn out this week and next week, so I hope you all keep on charging to get it done and help get ready for the upcoming final!


This message resonated with me as it spoke to candidate empowerment and control. This candidate embraced their situation and wanted to share their motivating words and tips to thrive in exam preparation.  

Inaction has consequences

CPAWSB educators regularly received emails from learners seeking permission to skip a deliverable or ask us what the minimum required work is. The answer I provide is likely never satisfactory: There are no “have to’s” but rather consequences for not doing, including risking your exam eligibility status, performance on the exam, and if there is a habit of submitting half-attempted assignments, you may risk creating an identity of someone who does not give their full effort to the task at hand.

Hard work pays off

With that, I end this with a question I would ask of candidates in my Capstone 2 workshop in a non-COVID environment:

When you sit down to write the exam, in those quiet moments right before the invigilator yells “Go!”, how do you want to feel? Would you like to:


  • Be overwhelmed with self-doubt knowing your short-term (in)action did not align with your goal of becoming a CPA?

As anonymous encouraged us at the beginning of this post, the choice is yours.

Do you have feedback on this post or a question you’d like answered by an experienced CPAWSB educator? Please contact your facilitator or send a question to the General Topic in the Candidate Discussion forum. 

Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB and an instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education. Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.