Planning how to study for the CFE

Aug 1, 2019

Now that you’ve settled into your Capstone 2 module, gotten through your module workshop, submitted a few cases, and received your first Case Results Report, here are a few ideas to consider in your ongoing CFE preparation. 

Capstone 2 Module 

Case Tracker Excel 

Tracking your progress week-over-week during Capstone 2 is an excellent method to ensure you’re maintaining your strengths and addressing your weaknesses. Missing an AO from time-to-time at the beginning of the module may not necessarily be a cause for immediate concern. However, if you notice that you’re routinely scoring an NA on a specific technical competency, use this information to uncover and investigate if something specific is causing you to miss this. 

There is so much potential technical material to review. A good debrief can help you isolate where to spend your time in your technical review! 

Case Results Report 

Competency Rank 

Did you get the competency ranking results you were expecting? If you didn’t score as high as you intended, don’t get discouraged; this is part of the process! Instead, it’s more meaningful to compare your personal results week-over-week and look for improvements, rather than looking at performance on a single case in isolation. 

Since it is still the first few weeks of Capstone 2, pay special attention to any NA’s that you’ve received. Did you see it and not address it because of time constraints? No problem; look for ways to touch on everything in your next case. Did you miss an AO entirely? Consider reviewing the debrief materials for the specific triggers and see if you caught them in your outline. 

Decile rank 

While it is great to receive insight on how you performed overall on a specific case compared with your peers, also be mindful to changes on your decile ranking over time. If your decile ranking is going up, that’s great – can you attribute the improvement to something specific in your approach that you can bring to future cases? If your decile ranking is trending down, this can be a great indicator to review your debrief notes for something that is holding you back.


The feedback you receive from the National Marking Center for each AO can be a treasure trove of information to help improve your case writing style. Your marker should indicate to you what was necessary to improve your response; can you find a way to use this feedback to adjust your approach to the next case? Are there common improvement points noted? Is there something your marker indicates you did well, and can you find a faster way to demonstrate this? Look for addressing patterns of similar deficiency, or low hanging fruit, rather than attempting to plug every hole in your feedback for your next attempt. Aim to make your next case five-to-ten percent better, and you’ll be amazed at your improvements over the next few weeks!