Densmore Blog


The Skills Challenge

On October 28, 2016

Too often candidates get bogged down in learning technical during the Core modules and do not take the time to develop case-writing skills. Even at this early stage, where only 25% of your final exam is a case, knowing how to tackle that part of the exam can make the difference between a pass and fail.


As you move into the Electives, you can expect up to 75% of your final exam grade to come from two cases. Strong case-writing skills become even more essential. The great thing about learning these skills early in the process is that it will help improve your overall chance of success on each of the modules, not to mention the CFE. It’s a wise investment of your time!


Think of case writing like downhill skiing. You can go up the lift, get off at the top, head straight down the hill and arrive at the bottom without any instructions. Some will make it to the bottom without causing bodily damage to themselves, especially on the bunny hill. Others will not be so fortunate and will end up on their butts… or worse. Some will get a lesson on how to ski and will navigate down the hill using some basic skills – plotting your course, turning your skis, bending your knees. With those fundamental skills, the vast majority will make it down the hill safely. And, as the runs get more difficult, they will have a much higher success rate in making it to the bottom alive thanks to those practiced skills!  


It’s not much different with case writing for the modules. The Core 1, and even some Core 2 cases, are like the bunny hill: short, with only a few directed requireds. The next level of difficulty is with the Elective cases. Although a lot of the time constraint is relieved with the gross-up of time on these cases, it still doesn’t alleviate the need for case-writing skills to ensure you arrive safely. 


Some candidates don’t plan their responses or even attempt to allocate their time between the things they have been asked to address. Chaos ensues, and while they may end up passing, it will be in spite of these fundamental flaws, not because of them. They’ll get by because there was enough extra time cushion that they could get to everything. The problem with this approach is that it will not work with CFE cases as the time gross-up disappears and all of a sudden the enemy is the time constraint. The transition to those CFE cases requiring a higher level of skill is a clear and present danger, especially when there is no foundation of case skills on which to build.


We have an initial case approach for Core 1 that helps you develop these basic skills. Think “point your skis down the hill, keep your head up and stay in control.” Feel free to watch it (click here for video). For Core 2 and the Electives, this approach is built upon in our Prep courses to help you navigate more complex and longer cases.


Good, solid skills, no matter what the challenge, will always help you find your way to success.

(Carol Jones - October 28, 2016)

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