Posted by: LYF | September 24, 2008

UFE – Day 1

I realize I’ve been slacking off and haven’t posted much lately. The past two weeks have been really hectic. However, in the following 3 posts I’m going to talk about what it felt like to write the UFE. Day 1 was the comp.


I got to the UFE writing center at 8:00. That hour felt very long, but I would still recommend going early. I saw a lot of people having technical problems, but since they came so early almost all of them were resolved. To put technical problems in perspective, my laptop died 1min before the SOA. The result? I scored a 10th decile on the first question because I was so rattled. Don’t gamble with technical problems. Get there early.
For the first 90min I planned my answer. I thought this part was crucial. The comp is so big and asks you to do so much that if you don’t prepare adequately you’ll feel lost half way through the exam.

I had a little panic attack in the first 10min. The short-text (the part of the case that lays out the “real required”) was 3/4 of a page long and I could only find 3 real requireds. This meant that on a comp – which should have 6-9 real requireds – I was missing over 50% of what I needed to address.

Instead of a normal short text that outlined what you needed to do, the first page said something like, “address the owner’s concerns.” Only after flipping to the exhibit entitled “owner’s concerns” did I realize that this was were the real requireds were buried. Unfortunately, I had read the first 1/3 of the exam without knowing a good chunk of what I was supposed to answer. This meant I didn’t have a context to put in any of the information I had read. Luckily, the comp is 5 hours so time wasn’t a huge factor. I was able to go back and slot the information under the requireds I had written down on my outline.

After that things picked up and I found myself getting into a good rhythm. Then I started my quant. It’s always good to slow down and think when you’re doing your quant. For a brief moment I forgot to do that. Long story short, I copied and pasted the wrong row of cells into a new exhibit. The cells I copied were not the ones that had been multiplied by 12%.

This had the effect of making my quant a ridiculous joke as my costs were astronomical. This in turn set off a large chain reaction. My costs were high, which made my bid greater than the competitors. Since it was greater, I’d have to recommend not submitting a bid. And if we weren’t going to submit a bid, I wouldn’t have to talk about the accounting issues. At face value this seemed wrong. The biggest red flag was the accounting aspect. I couldn’t not talk about the accounting issues. After a good 10min of freaking out I realized my mistake and inserted the correct row of cells. Then my numbers started making a lot more sense. The rest of the exam went alright. I followed my outline and I knew what I was talking about.

After the proctor told us to stop writing, the relief of being 1/3 done far exceeded the anxiety of how well I did.


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