My Experience in Passing CFE Exam

The Journey of a thousand miles starts with a step

In 2012, after I graduated from University of Dammam in Saudi Arabia, I knew that having the certificate of the bachelor degree in Accounting is My first step of thousand miles’ journey to be a professional Accountant. I had felt that I need to learn more about my major. Therefore, I decided to continue my education through pursuing Master degree in Accounting at Clark Atlanta University in U.S.A. Through the class that I took last semester, I asked myself if pursuing Master degree in Accounting is my second step, what will my next step then?.In the first semester, I took Fraud Examiner’ class.

The more I learned about various Fraud topics, the more I became interested in it. As a result, I realized that being certified Fraud Examinations is my third step, and this is for many reasons. First reason is the significant and necessary roles of fraud examination in the business world as a consequence of the dramatically increasing in White-Collar Crime. Second reason is I am not sure whether there any Saudi women that j been certified fraud examiner or there are a few number of them. Thus, this assumption motivated me to be Fraud Examiner. The third reason is not only I believe that to be a professional accounting you need to CPA, but also, I believe that to be an extraordinary CPA you need to have as much as you can from supporting skills like CFE.

In this article, I will briefly show you my experience in taking and passing CFE EXAM.

What is the CFE Exam: according to ACFE website “ The CFE Exam tests your knowledge of the four major areas that comprise the fraud examination body of knowledge: Fraud Prevention and Deterrence, Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Investigation and law”.
The process to take CFE Exam

Step one: Reregister as a member in ACFE- Association of Certified Fraud Examination via their website.

I chose Student membership, which contains some benefits. One of the benefits is I can access to Fraud Examination journal by using the association application. Another benefit of being membership is I paid the student package for prepare course that covers the exam cost for a suitable price. In addition, there are many resources on the website that I can access, such as, the documentary series of financial statements fraud and other different topics. You can find addition information about the benefit via this link.

Step two: You need to know what are the CFE Qualifications,
It is necessary to consider if you meet the qualifications or not so that you will start to work in meeting these qualifications. For who seeking for the answers to this questions, ACFE supplies all answers in this link. For the record, you can take the exam even if you do not have a minimum experience year which ACFE require. The system of qualifications depends on the points system which you can use via this link

Step three: Choose the material that you would like to use for studying the exam.

The ACFE provide three type of resource which is the CFE Exam Prep Course,Attend the CFE Exam Review Course and the Fraud Examiners Manual.

Since I had a Fraud Examination class, the book that we use in this class is The first material I used to study for the exam. the book called – Principles of Fraud Examination– ( 4th Edition, ISBN-13: 978-1118922347, ISBN-10: 1118922344). This book covers approximately 60% of the exam. I totally recommend it as a first material to use for the study. Even though the book uses many of the Fraud Examiners manual’s content, it is easier and more briefly than the manuals book. However, the book does not cover a lot of the law section and some components of the other three sections. So, you need another manual resource to cover the remained topics.

From ACFE’s resource I chose the CFE Exam Prep Course because I am a student, and I want to have more flexible to manage my time. Also, from my prospective, the exam will be from the notes of the course, but I can not guaranty this point. I also use the Fraud Examiners Manual because I believe the more you read about the topics, the more you understand rate will increase. To be honest, reading the book helped me to calm down my pressure during studying and taking the exam. If you can not read the book, I recommend knowing at least the structure of the primary information on each topic. For more detail about the Exam resources, please visit this link

Moreover, I Signed up for the CFE Exam newsletter in order to be aware of any update for the Exam, take the short exam, read the study tips which the newsletter provide it. Also, I Joined the ACFE Community to read about other experience of the exam. Finally, I watched several of documentary series that you can find it on the association websites

Step four: Plan your timeline for study the CFE EXAM

ACFE provide CFE Exam Study Plan, which you can look at in this link. The plans depend on day base. In short, there are three kinds of the plan To Complete the CFE Exam Prep Course. You can choose to complete it within 30 Days, 60 days, or 90 days. I chose plan three that is completed the course within 90 days to be applied to have a balance between study for the exam and study my master degree courses. I studied 25 question daily, and I wrote my notes in documents. Then, I read whatever I can read from the Fraud Examiners Manual before I went to sleep or at the beginning of the days. At the end of each week, I reviewed everything I studied during the week from the notes the I took before. If I finish a section, I rearview all that I studied, then took the pre-exam to measure my performance.

Step five: Apply for the CFE Exam

The good news is you can take the Exam online, but qualified persons must observe you. So, you need to arrange this point during your studying to avoid any postponement in your plan. Not only you need to arrange the observing person for the exam, but also you need to have three recommendations to get the key of the exam. Everything you need you for to get the key of the exam can find it in these links the CFE Exam application and the supporting documentation to complete your application.

Step six : Taking the CFE Exam

If your plan to take each part of the exam separately, like what I did, this was my plan. Before the day of each exam, I spend two days review the exam from my notes. Then I took one part. After that, I reviewed second part for two days, and so on.

As I mentioned before, the CFE Exam contains four sections. Each part will have 125 questions, and The unique technique in this exam is “Each section is allocated a maximum of 2.6 hours to complete. Each of the four exam sections has 125 questions, and you will have a maximum of 75 seconds to answer each question”. In other words, you can spend more than 75 seconds in each question. However, I had no problem is this situation since I prepare well for the exam, and I used two techniques that I think work with me manage the time of answers the questions.The first technique, when I read a question, I see if I know the answer before I read the choices. After that, I do not read all the answer. I just look for the exact answer that I know and choose it. For example,

1. I will read a question:

Baker, a cash register attendant at a department store, regularly inflates a number of customer refunds. For instance, if a customer returns an item for $100, Baker records a $150 refund. Then Baker gives the customer $100 and keeps $50 for himself. This scheme is known a

2. I will ask myself if I know the answer before I read the choices. For this question, I believe the answer is An overstated refund scheme.

3. I do not read all the answer; I just look for the exact answer that I know or the closest one.

1. Cash Larceny
2. An overstated refund scheme ( The correct answer )
3. A fictitious refund scheme
4. Skimming

The second technique I use this technique If I am not sure about my answer. the technique is while I read each of four answers, I immediately delete any wrong answer until I reach the correct answer. For example,

1. I read the question

Ed Smith, a city commissioner, negotiated a land development deal with a group of private investors. After the deal was approved, the investors rewarded Smith with an all-expenses-paid vacation. Which of the following is the most appropriate term to describe what has taken place?

2. I will read and think if this answer is the correct answer, and why?

1. Economic extortion

This answer is wrong because Economic extortion defines as is defined as “ the obtaining of property from another, with the other party’s consent induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force or fear.” So, I will eliminate it.

2.Need recognition

This answer is not correct because need recognition occurs when procurement employee convinces his employer that it needs excessive or unnecessary products or services. So, I will eliminate it.

3. Illegal Gratuity

This answer is correct because illegal gratuity is defined as are items of value given to reward a decision, often after the recipient has made the decision.


For more information visit this link: http://www.acfe.com/details-taking-exam.aspx

As you can see, the process are not long or complex to pass the CFE Exam. Before one month, I pass the CFE exam, but I have not been certified of fraud examiner yet. I am seeking for two years experiences to get the license. I recommend if you are interested in Certified of Fraud Examiner, take step forward and apply for CFE Exam.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

Thank you for reading my post.

By Yasmen Alelaiw

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