(Posted July 2021)

This will likely come as a surprise to many of you but the most critical part of preparing for the CFE is NOT just writing cases or reading the solutions in the marking guides. It’s what you do AFTER you write and mark a case.

For more than 25 years, we have shown candidates how to debrief effectively. It means looking at the case, the solution in the marking guide, and your response – all at the same time. You need to break down the assessment opportunities to understand how they were triggered, look at which case facts were applied to the relevant technical, and then trace those details back to the case to see where they came from.

The “answer” to a case is never a guess, it always comes from the case itself – you just need to know how to see it. This is what proper debriefing teaches you and why successful writers learn to debrief well. If you are writing cases, make sure you are taking the time to understand how they triggered the answer; otherwise, you are not learning.

Memorizing solutions is a mistake some writers make each year when preparing for the CFE. Avoid falling into this trap! The cases on the CFE will never be the same, and you will need strong reading skills to adapt to the differences and pass. The only way to get these skills is to properly debrief each case.

There is still lots of time between now and the CFE, with many cases to write, mark AND debrief. Learn from each one. If you need additional practice cases, check out our CFE resources.