I wanted to get ahead with CFE study so I finished the assigned readings for Performance Management (PM), my last CPA PEP module, early. Unlike with Finance, I did not use the Densmore package for PM this time. I have heard that PM was going to be a relatively easy module (especially compared to Finance) and I was quite comfortable with the content. So, I finished the readings just as the module started officially at the end of January. Since I was not taking an extended pace this time, I attributed getting started early as one of the main reasons why the module went smoothly for me.
Now, with my final CPA PEP exam 3 weeks away, I thought I will share with you what I did in the first 5 weeks and what I plan on doing for the next 3 weeks of the module. Note, my exam is scheduled for March 31 and I am writing the Sept 2021 CFE.
What Did I Do For The First 5 Weeks of CPA PEP Performance Management Module?
As I have mentioned in the introduction, I finished all 8 weeks of readings about the same time the module officially started. There was quite a bit of overlap with the chapters from Core 2 so I was able to get through those topics relatively quickly (as opposed to learning new concepts). Therefore, I only had the weekly MC (only 15 questions compared to 25 for other modules), practice case and integrated problem to work on. The only exception was the week the module workshop was due. That was the most challenging week for me as I also did not want to rush the workshop. I have always found the workshop very useful so I spent several evenings on the material (~8 hours total). I would have preferred getting it done over the weekend but I had forgotten about it until Sunday before it was due on Friday.
For the remaining weeks, I was able to take several slack days here and there and worked on assignments for an average of 1.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. If you quickly add the numbers up, it would mean that I spent almost 40 hours in total. That gives me an average of 2.3 hours per practice case/integrated problem (I ignored MCs as they took very little time). I also managed to debrief all but 2 PCs (I generally spend less time debriefing IP).
I understand the time might sound too little as an aggregate and truthfully, I might be off a bit because this is only an estimation. This also excluded the time I spent on chapter readings ahead of time. In addition, I was quite comfortable with the content and writing in general (PM requires a lot more writing than Finance). With this being my 4th module, I have also become more familiar with the case-writing technique and formats for certain requireds (e.g., ratio analysis, SWOT).
RELATED POST – How To Debrief Cases Effectively
My biggest suggestion for this part of the module is to always stick to your time budgets and never, ever rush your debrief process. I have mentioned in my debrief post that it is most ideal to debrief close to when you finish the case. However, if I am short on time, I personally would prefer to delay debriefing until I can spend the appropriate amount of time on it (vary from 30-minutes to an hour for me for a 120-minute case). I do still strongly recommend doing so within several days of finishing the case. Note, CPA has recommended spending the same amount of time of the case on debriefing. For example, spend 100 minutes debriefing a 100-minute case. I have not found that to be needed for me personally but I definitely do not rush the process.
I have included a sample of what I note down when I debrief for CFE study reference that might help you get started:
What Will I Do For The Last 3 Weeks of CPA PEP Performance Management Module?
This month (6 months before CFE) will be the month I focus back on my CFE study. I managed to get started with technical reviews for Financial Reporting (one of the two areas I struggle with the most; the other being Taxation) until PM took back most of my attention. I figured I will finish all the module work for PM as quickly as possible before I go back to CFE. Also, I thought by focusing solely on PM, I was technically studying for CFE anyway.
~ 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?
As I mentioned, I have 2 more PM practice cases to debrief. Depending on how comfortable I feel after, I might or might not debrief the remaining integrated problems for the last 3 weeks. I will most likely attempt the practice exam cases available on CPA D2L. Since they are actual cases used in past exams, attempting them should give me a very good idea of where I stand and whether more studying is required. If you are at this stage of a PEP module (3 weeks+ before the exam) and feel unready despite having attempt all content provided by CPA, this is when I would suggest you look into supplementary material like the ones offered by Densmore.
Since I prefer studying in small chunks over many days, I anticipate spending about an hour a day for the next 3 weeks this way:
March 8 – 13, 2021
- debrief PM Practice Case x 2
- attempt PM Practice Exam x 2 (there are 3 available but might not attempt all 3)
March 14 – 24, 2021
- CFE technical review – Financial Reporting
March 25 – 31, 2021
- PM review (debriefing notes, Youtube videos for unfamiliar concepts)
- CFE technical review – Taxation