(Posted July 2021)
These are the three things you MUST understand and accept if you will be writing the CFE:
1. Don’t underestimate what it takes to prepare. It is not enough to just write the practice cases and get them marked. This will only get you part way to passing the CFE. It’s what you do after you write the case that really matters. Take time to figure out how the case facts were used and how the issue was discussed. We call this process debriefing, and if you’re not sure how to do it, our post on debriefing will give you some basics to follow. Also, ensure you review the marker’s comments or feedback to look for consistent weaknesses in your writing.
2. Set up a study plan and stick to it. You only want to write the CFE once and time will slip away. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Work consistently, using the time you have available efficiently and covering off a cross section of Day 1, 2 and 3 cases. Once Capstone 2 is over, do not just stop. Use the remaining week before the CFE to focus on the weaknesses you have identified in your writing and stay calm.
3. Time is the only real enemy. Make sure you know how to plan and approach a case and manage your time actively while you are writing. The CFE is all about preparing reasonable, not perfect, analyses given the time constraints you will face. You cannot do it all, so you must make good choices on what to leave behind. You will develop this skill through practice, proper planning, and thorough debriefing to understand what to change on your next practice case.