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The Dreaded "T" Word... It's Not What You Think

On July 30, 2019

If we asked CFE writers, 95% would say technical is their biggest fear about the CFE. And they would be wrong. Technical is not what needs to be feared; TIME is the “T” word that needs to be feared. When you fear something, you respect it. You give it its due. You manage it. Get the idea?


Once you have completed your study process, either through Capstone 2 or on your own, you will have written and debriefed (more on that later) over 24 CFE cases (a mix of day 1, 2 and 3). You will have seen at least 90% of what is going to come at you from a technical perspective. That means there won’t be any “new” technical on the exam, or at least on 90% of the exam. Pretty sure anyone not passing has bigger issues than the 10% of technical they may not have known. But we digress.


What’s the big deal with time on the CFE? Truth is, if we gave everyone the exam now and asked them to hand it in on September 11, 99.9% would pass, no problem. The other 0.1% would still have reading errors and planning problems because they were not using basic approach skills, but again, we digress.


So, what’s the big deal then? Simply put, it’s very hard to answer cases that would take several hours to answer in “real life” in about 20% of that time. This means that you need to make choices, accept less than perfection and walk away from some things you know. And that is hard to do.


It is exactly these time management skills that you need to learn as you write and debrief cases over the next several weeks. You will learn technical (“refresh” is a better word as most of you already passed the technical through the modules), but you will only learn time management if you focus on it and if you are disciplined about it. That’s where people get in trouble. It is a lot easier to sit and review technical than to look at your planning, your choices, and the words that you wrote to figure out how you could have been more efficient and effective in those 10-minute writing blocks on Day 3 and 20-minute writing blocks on Day 2.


Concentrate on honing your approach and writing skills, not just memorizing technical. Focus on the right fear and you will pass this exam!


(The Densmore Team – July 30, 2019)







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