Tenecia Strayhorn, CFE, is a data analytics supervisor in the internal audit department at Enterprise Holdings (parent company of Enterprise, National and Alamo car rental companies). She introduced herself to us in the last 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge by saying, “I've been putting off taking the CFE Exam for several years now and this 90-Day Challenge is just the jumpstart that I needed.” Many of her fellow participants felt the same way — earning the CFE credential had been a longtime goal and they needed a push to finally reach the finish line. Tenecia stayed dedicated to her goal throughout the 90 days, sharing and swapping advice along the way in our challenge group. She passed the exam just before 2018 rolled in, and now she’s got some advice to share with those who’d like to join our next 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge.
Why was it important for you to earn the CFE credential?
I work on the data analytics team within my company’s internal audit department. A large part of my job is managing our continuous monitoring program to detect and deter fraud. I want to learn as much as I can about fraud prevention and investigation so that I can help our field operators protect their businesses by being a resource and providing useful tools. Being a member of the ACFE and maintaining the CFE credential is how I’m able to continue to learn and have access to the best and most up-to-date information in the fight against fraud.
What did your study method look like?
My study method required a lot of discipline and diligence since I’m the mom of two small children, and am involved in other activities outside of work. I set aside time on my lunch break, at work and during the kids’ nap time on weekends for studying. I also used any extra time I could find to run through the practice questions. I made sure to devote at least one hour per day to study. Sure, there were days that I wasn’t able to fit it in, but I didn’t stress about it and made sure I didn’t lose momentum by jumping right back in the next day.
I also found that a change of location helped as well. I studied in different locations such as my desk, a conference room or the library just to change the scenery so studying wouldn’t become mundane.
How did you mentally prepare before starting each section of the exam?
Before each exam, I made sure that I got at least a 90% or higher on the practice exam. This made me confident that I was comfortable with the material. I am big into faith, so before I hit start on each exam, I prayed. I also reminded myself, “You know this, don’t stress.” Then I would take a deep breath and go for it.
What did it feel like when you got the email saying you'd passed? How did you celebrate?
I was so anxious after taking the exam because you just don’t know what may happen. I was hopeful and optimistic but not 100% sure of what the results would be. I have to admit, getting that email gave me a huge sense of relief! I went around my office telling my boss, my boss’ boss and his boss’ boss. I was really excited. As soon as my certificate arrived I went straight to the frame store to get it framed so I could display it on my desk. As a congratulations to everyone in our department who recently got a professional certification, we went to a St. Louis Blues hockey game and sat in the company suite. That was a great way to celebrate!
What advice do you have for our 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge participants who are currently preparing for the exam?
I would say pace yourself, set goals and stay focused. Don’t just answer the questions in the study guide, but read the notes at the bottom to get a good understanding of the concepts. For me, it also helped to work through each subsection individually. That helped me see areas where I needed to focus a little more time. Finally, just believe in yourself! You can do it!
Thank you so much to Tenecia for sharing her success story! If you’d like to join our upcoming challenge, sign up before it kicks off on April 2.
And if you have questions about the challenge, please leave them in a comment below. We’ll be on Facebook Live next Thursday, March 29, at 2 p.m. CT to answer them!