(Posted May 2023)

At this point, most of you have two weeks of studying ahead of you before the CFE. While it may seem like so little time is left, there is still time to improve your results and refine your case writing skills. Your study plan probably still includes one or two Day 1 and Day 2 cases and four to five CFE Day 3 cases (between Capstone 2 and the Densmore study plan). That is a lot of learning to work through!

You may be tired and getting a bit frustrated sitting at RCs and still too many NCs. That is normal. We have had lots of you reach out and say that you seem stuck at RC. Ask yourself: How close are your RCs to a C? Is it just that one more thing you need to move up? Guess what…over the next 10 – 14 days, you will figure out how to add in that “one more thing” if you continue to give each debrief exactly what it needs.

Your debriefing should focus on identifying what else you needed to score Competent and understanding why you missed it. Do not assume that it is just a technical weakness. More often than not, it is knowledge application problem, not a lack of knowledge problem.  For example, did you identify the relevant decision variables to discuss based on the case facts? Are you explaining the implication of the issue? Did you address each aspect of the required?

Remember that now is not the time for pure technical review. Focus any technical review on areas you have identified during your debrief of the cases you have written and stay focused on those commonly tested topics. Do not be the candidate who gets sidetracked on learning technical for an obscure issue using the eBooks when there are a whole lot of other areas that are much more likely to show up on the CFE and worth your time and attention.

Continue to track your results right through to the CFE. It is critical to look at how you are doing at each level to determine if you do need to put an extra focus on a specific competency area next week. Or maybe you are still scoring too many NCs and need to get laser-focused on following your time allocations when writing.  We often see unsuccessful writers who stopped tracking at this point in their study process and they missed signals that could have helped them eliminate a weakness and pass the CFE.

For those you who have been performing well, and you start feeling your performance sliding this week, it is likely you started out of the gate early and your brain is getting tired. Do not be afraid to take an afternoon or even a full day off this week or early next week. It will refresh those brain cells and give you a better perspective to finish well.

Focus on the progress that you have made to date instead of focusing on what you do not know or what could get tested on the CFE.  Stick to your study plan, including the breaks built into it. You want to arrive at the CFE mentally nimble and ready to adapt!