(Posted August 2021)

One of the common things we see with CFE writers is a settling in, or complacency that happens about now in their study period. Many of you have been at it for a number of weeks and you are tired. You have a tracking sheet that is kind of “settled” at NCs and RCs, with some Cs. You are not seeing much improvement and you just want it to be over.

This is meant to be a kick in the pants, don’t stop working. Keep digging into those marking guides (even further than you have been) to understand where the case facts were used. When you debrief, go back to the case to see if you saw those facts when you were reading. Dig to find the links and make sure you get where they came from. The answer is always in the case, but you must dig in to find it. If you are not working on your “digging” skills, you are not going to get better. And, if you are just reading the marking guides without digging, you are not going to get any better either.

Keep tracking those results to see where you are weak, and then focus on that area in your digging. The most common weakness for candidates is not scoring Competent consistently (or at all) in FR. If you are still not scoring Cs here, do not panic since you still have time. Having said that, you need to put effort into eliminating that weakness and that does not mean just allocating more time to each accounting issue when you write. Go back to your last 10 or so AOs in FR and look to see if there is a common theme in why you are held back at RC. Maybe you just didn’t know the technical but now you do for that issue, so it is okay going forward. Are you writing too much and a lot of it is not relevant? Rewrite a few to figure out what you didn’t need if you didn’t do that in the debrief. Are you not including enough case facts? Dig in again to see what you missed and why you missed using those case facts in your response.

Don’t get complacent, don’t settle…keep digging. If you need additional practice, check out our CFE resources.