John Loftis, CFE
ACFE Membership Communications Manager
I recently saw a discussion in the CFE Exam Preparation community about people who are resolving to earn their CFE credential in 2017. According to statistics, more than 30 percent of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions after the first two weeks of January. Many resolutions like better health, better finances or finding the love of your life are things that I unfortunately cannot help you with, but I can help you to create a plan that will put you on the path to passing the CFE Exam.
I read an article in Forbes this week called, 7 Secrets of People Who Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions. I noticed how many of these secrets could apply to the CFE Exam. Based on that article, below is a quick framework to help you avoid becoming one of the 30 percent and earn the CFE credential.
1. Specify your goals
One of the trendy concepts you have probably heard of is creating SMART goals i.e. making your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. You want to earn your CFE credential in 2017, but did you pick a deadline yet? Review the 30-, 60- and 90-day study plans. Pick one and stick with it.
2. Break it down
You have to study for the exam, complete the application process and finally take the exam. That can be intimidating. However, the process is much more manageable if you break it down into small chunks. Create mini-goals to help you along the way.
Here are some examples:
- Complete the Pre-Assessment by 1/24/2017
- Submit the CFE Exam application before 1/31/2017
- Answer all the questions in the Fraud Prevention section by 2/8/2017
3. Schedule it
When I studied for my CFE Exam, I decided I would study during my lunch hour. Every day for about three months, I packed my lunch, sat at my desk and studied. Maybe studying at lunch will not work for you, but it is important to choose a time and place, and study consistently.
4. Measure progress
The CFE Exam Prep Course includes tools for tracking your study progress. You can also use this chart to keep track of the time you spend studying.
5. Share your goals in the CFE Exam Preparation Community
Stop by the CFE Exam Preparation Community and share your goals. As the Forbes article mentions, social support is critical. Who better to share your goals with than colleagues around the world who are preparing to pass the CFE Exam?
6. Something is better than nothing
At the most recent Principles of Fraud Examination course taught by the ACFE, I was discussing CFE Exam preparation with a member. I told her that even if you only have time to answer 10 questions a day in the Prep Course, you are still moving forward. Some progress is better than no progress and you will be surprised how many questions you answer after you knock out those first 10 questions.
7. Get up when you slip up
If you miss a day, week or even a month of studying, do not give up. Revisit your mini-goals, adjust your deadlines and get going. You can do it!
Because I am a quote person, I will leave you with this:
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” -Confucius