(Posted July 2022)

We are often asked if a study partner is really needed to prepare for the CFE. The answer is always YES. That is not to say that it can’t be done on your own, but the reality is that a study partner will help improve your chances of passing the CFE.

What are the benefits of working with a study partner to prepare to write the CFE?


Putting things off when you are on your own is way too easy. We all need someone to help us stay on task (and that person should not be your mother or partner!). Knowing someone else is counting on you to “show up” will keep you honest. If you are taking a CFE prep course, we also recommend working through the online sessions together with your study partner to keep you both accountable to your study plan. Working with a study partner throughout your CFE preparation will help you stay focused during your study time.


Reading what someone else writes within the suggested time for a case keeps the CFE process real. If you only look at the marking guides (full solutions), you will never get the perspective of what is actually doable in the time frame for CFE Day 1, Day 2 or Day 3 case. Working with a study partner can help you both manage your expectations of what is actually needed to score Competent. Reading a realistic response written by a study partner, instead of the perfect answer, can reduce your stress immensely.

Another way a study partner helps you keep perspective is by seeing how someone else’s performance on cases is tracking. You do not need to score Competent on every assessment opportunity to pass the CFE and seeing someone else scoring NAs and NCs will help you maintain reasonable expectations about your own performance.


Your study partner is really a peer marker. They will be able to mark your response as soon as it is written and they will mark it with objectivity. You’ll be able to do the same for your partner’s response. When you mark your own response, the tendency is to mark based on what you were thinking or what you intended to say, instead of what you actually typed. Trust us, there is a big difference!

As you mark each other’s responses, you’ll learn from each other, whether it’s effective writing that you want to emulate in your own responses or weak communication that you want to avoid. It also gives you the opportunity to discuss any questions you have about a particular case while you still remember what you were thinking when you read the case and wrote your response.

Next Steps

Start looking for a study partner if you haven’t already. For those of you already registered in one of our CFE Prep courses, you can post on the Densmore Forum under the topic “Study Partner / Peer Marker Search”. If you are thinking about registering for a CFE prep course, click here to learn more about our CFE Prep courses.