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Gearing up for May 2021 CFE

Published October 20, 2020 by Ira Walfish

It's now late fall 2020 and winter/spring is approaching quickly.  A common question among CFE candidates is: "What should I do between now and Capstone 1, to help me prepare for the CFE in May"?  While there is no "one right answer" to this, there are definitely some productive actions that one could take during this time period.  Let's look at some of the possibilities.

Writing Modules/Challenge Exams in December – For those students who are still completing Modules  in December 2020, the approach is simple.  Prepare for the December exam and then immediately shift into practice case writing between now and Jan. 23, when Capstone 1 starts.  Start with writing a few multi cases during that time, to ease your way into the case writing.  You will also want to review your technical, particularly technical relating to modules that you did not take recently.

Students in Accredited/Diploma Program – As soon as you have finished your program you will want to make optimal use of your time before commencing Capstone 1 (if you need to take this).  There are two key actions you should be taking:

(1) Review technical in areas that need beefing up (probably financial and management accounting). We have spoken to students who have taken accredited programs and we have found that the technical gaps in the accredited programs vary depending on the university.  For example, one student told us that in her university program there was virtually no coverage of management accounting.  

(2) Practice multi cases to get a head start on case writing.


Keep in mind that whether you did PEP or an Accredited/Diploma Program you do not need to perfect your technical before working on your case writing.  The two can be done simultaneously and you can learn a great deal of technical from the case writing.

In order to beef up your technical you may wish to consider the PASS technical review courses in Management and/or Financial Accounting for the CFE or purchase technical resources which are available for all 6 competencies , especially if you did not take PASS courses or acquire technical resources when preparing for the module exams. 

Keep in mind that one area where technical studying is unlikely to help is strategy and governance.  For this competency, the only way to improve is through practice case writing and using common sense.

In order to help you master case writing, PASS you may want to consider taking our CFE comprehensive course where you will not only have the opportunity to write additional cases but also learn techniques to help you move up the levels to greatly increase your chances of getting "competent.

So just to conclude, the golden rules that apply to everyone are:

1)  Solid technical is necessary for case writing;
2)  Practicing Multi cases before Capstone 1will definitely help come the spring; and
3)  Assume that you will not have a lot of time while in Capstone 1 to do a great deal of anything else, so use the time leading up to Capstone 1 wisely!

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