CPA PEP – The Importance of Debriefing Cases

I remembered how confused I was at my Core 1 Module Workshop when the facilitator kept using the word ‘debrief.’ She stressed the importance of debriefing a case properly and that debriefing is half of the learning (if not more). It took me a couple of modules before I truly appreciated the power of debriefing.

Click here to find out how to debrief effectively

Right now, I have the luxury of time because I am taking extended finance but the same principle would have applied if I was taking a regular module – if I have two hours to spend, I will attempt the case in one hour and debrief for another hour.

When Should You Start Debriefing Cases?

The short answer is – when you start Core 1.

Debriefing is a technique that you will get better in time and with practice. When I did Core 1, I was so overwhelmed (easier to go crazy together with a moral support group) that I never debriefed until more than halfway through the module. Despite the facilitator’s repeated suggestions, I convinced myself there couldn’t possibly be any time for something that was not going to be graded (unlike assignments or MC). However, if I had debriefed properly from the beginning, I would have been better equipped to attempt future cases. That would have given me more time during the week to…. DEBRIEF!

I Am Struggling With Graded Assignments – How Do I Find Time to Debrief?

My experience has taught me the importance of scheduling time specifically for debriefing. Because if you don’t, you simply won’t get to it.

Figuring out how much time you have that week for studying would be a great start. For example, if you have 12 hours for Week 3, you could allocate your time this way:

– 5 hours for assigned readings
– 1.5 hours for PC
– 2 hours for IP
– 1.5 hour for MC
– 2 hours for debriefing PC and IP
= 12 hours

You need to convince yourself as soon as possible that debriefing is as important as the graded assignments. In reality, as long as you make a good enough attempt on the assignments, you will get the 75% you need to be eligible for writing the exam. What truly matters is how much you learned AFTER you submitted the assignment.

~ 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 PERT – Enabling Competencies Examples
Densmore for CPA PEP – Are The PEP Essentials Packages Worth It?
CPA PEP Module – Regular Module or Extended Module?

The Relationship Between Debriefing & Time Management Skills

If you have read about CFE or talked to past CFE writers, you would know that time management skills are as important as your technical skills for the 3-day examination. That means you need to be able to budget your time and stick to your budget successfully.

By budgeting time for debriefing (as suggested above) during your CPA PEP modules, you will in fact be practising your time management skills. Being able to stop when you are supposed to (e.g., submit your practice case after one hour as opposed to four hours) requires discipline. If you struggle to do so now in a module setting, you will struggle even more during an exam. Remember, the 3-day CFE is designed to test both breadth and depth on a wide range of topics. If you are not able to stop when time is up and move on to the next AO, you might risk failing the exam.


Being set up for success for future cases and improving your time management skills are just two benefits of debriefing cases.

If you look on the internet, you will find there are different ways to debrief. Therefore, it is important for you to find the most effective way for you as early in your journey as possible. Regardless of your method, the outcome is always to identify a more efficient way to achieve competency within the time constraint. In my next post, I will share my debriefing process (Update Aug 12: here it is).