Tips for Capstone 2

Jul 18, 2019

Capstone 2, the final CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) module before the Common Final Examination (CFE), starts on July 20, 2019. We asked Shawn Weber, CPA, MPAcc, CPAWSB’s Manager of Learner Support to provide some tips for candidates to best utilize their time in the module.

Emulate the CFE

The best use of Capstone 2 materials is to simulate the authentic CFE experience.


Try to simulate the CFE writing environment every time you write a case, especially during the Mock CFE week.

  • Can you write your case at 9:00 am every time? If not, can you write at another consistent time that is more convenient?
  • Which foods and beverages will you bring? Can you have these same items with you each time you write? Be sure you’re only eating and drinking foods that you know agree with you – you don’t want to try anything new on CFE day.
  • Will you take a bathroom break, or write for the full four or five hours? If you’re taking a break, can you take it at the same time each time?


It’s essential to dig deep into a case and cover those technical knowledge gaps you discover while writing. However, avoid adjusting your allotted case writing time based on your familiarity with the technical material in the case. You only get one shot to simulate the CFE experience with a specific case, so stick to the stated time budget!

If you want to deep dive into a subject that caught you off-guard in a case, complete the case, and then debrief the case afterward. This way, you get the CFE experience and can still close any gaps you uncover later – it’s the best of both worlds!


By preparing to have a great debrief process, you might be more comfortable to commit to only writing the case for the stated time budget instead of going over or extending your allotted time.


After writing the case (sticking to the stated suggested time), review the evaluation and feedback guides. The feedback guide will provide you with a framework for what may be necessary to reach RC or C. The evaluation guide is a comprehensive ‘perfect’ solution, so don’t compare it to your response (we know you’d get there if not for restricting your time!).


Trade your case response with a co-worker, friend, or request a list of peer-study partners from Marking a peer’s case will help put you in the “marker mindset,” which can help improve your future responses. It’s challenging to give yourself honest feedback during your own debrief.  You may inadvertently mentally “fill-in-the-gaps” in your answer (you knew what you meant to say there, right?). Unless your study partner is a mind reader, they will only give feedback on what made it onto the page, providing valuable insight when compared with your self-assessment.


When you receive your response feedback from the CPA National Marking Center, a few days will have passed since you performed your initial self-debrief. Where did your marker see your response differently than you did during your initial self-debrief? Do you still agree with your original self-assessment?

If you’re re-writing the CFE and taking the not-for-credit Capstone 2 module, you won’t have access to the CPA National Marking Center. Have you considered finding a tutor to mark your cases and provide feedback? To request a list of tutors, consider reaching out to