I have been reading a lot about CFE prep from past candidates and shared what I have found in two of my previous CFE posts. Based on what I have learned from others and what I know about my study style, I have finalized the first draft of my CPA CFE 2021 study plan.

Note, I have never attempted the CFE before so this will be my first try. My CFE prep is going to be what I think will work for me and is definitely subject to change. I encourage you to use it as a starting point but modify it to suit your circumstance and needs. Also, my CFE study plan starts while I am going through my last elective and before I start Capstone 1.

Read all of my CPA CFE posts here

How to Study for CFE – 9 Months Before the Exam

Decide On My Elective Depth Role For Day 2 of CFE

Technically, you don’t need to decide on your elective depth role until you register for Capstone 2. For the September CFE, that will be mid-May. However, since I have already decided on Finance as my elective role for CFE, I can structure my technical review with that in mind.

For those of you who haven’t decided on your elective depth role, you can still start your technical review early. Since Day 3 of CFE consists of 3 to 4 smaller cases that test you on all 6 competencies, you can start your technical review on Core modules.

YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED – Densmore for CPA PEP – Are The PEP Essentials Packages Worth It?

Competency Map for CFE

If you have read my CPA posts before, you probably know that I strongly recommend getting familiar with the Competency Map. The CPA Competency Map is the blueprint of competencies “you must demonstrate to qualify for the CPA designation.” In another word, what you need to know for CFE (and all other PEP modules).

CPA CFE Competency Map Study Plan
CPA CFE Competency Map Study Plan

Before I begin any CFE study, I made sure I found out the required competencies for Core 1, Core 2 and Finance (my chosen elective depth role). I modified the excel Competency Map for the Finance role so I don’t get distracted by the competencies applicable to other elective roles. This way, I end up with a checklist of technical competencies I need to review for CFE.

More CPA Posts ~
CPA PEP Core 1 – How to Study for the Module and the Exam
CPA PERT – Ultimate Guide on How to Get Your First Experience Report via EVR Approved
CPA PEP Module – Regular Module or Extended Module?

Study Timeline for CFE

Since I am starting earlier than many candidates who reported starting 6 to 8 weeks before their CFEs, I need to make sure I have a structured study plan that is not prone to burn-out. Also, a trend I have noticed is that past candidates would caution against starting case-writing too early. One of the common reasons is to prevent burn-out and another is to ensure you don’t forget about what you learned. Even though I originally plan on practicing my case-writing as early as possible, I thought it is best to take their advice into consideration. Another perk of reviewing technicals before attempting any case is the increased opportunities to write cases in a mock exam setting as I should have the technical knowledge required already.

February to March 2021
Technical Competency Review / Performance Management Module (Last Elective)
– focus on technical competencies from Core 1 as I have identified Financial Reporting & Tax as my weaknesses
– since I will be finished with the assigned readings for Performance Management by the end of January, the actual module time (Jan 30 to Mar 31) will be used for assignments only
– review past practice cases from PEP modules for practice if required

March to May 2021
Technical Competency Review
– focus on competencies from Core 2 & Elective Role (Finance)
– review past practice cases from PEP modules for practice if required

May to July 2021
Capstone 1 / CFE Practice Case Writing
– group work and presentation
– practice CFE cases

July to Mid-September 2021
Capstone 2 & CFE (With 4-Week Off Work)
– cases, cases & cases
– review study schedule to ensure ample rest time in order to prevent last-minute burnout

September 13 – 15, 2021
Common Final Examination

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