Three Days of CFE: Do’s and Don’ts Between Exam Days

A few more weeks to go before the D-Day. I am sure there are pangs of nervousness, anxiety, excitement (that you can then enjoy free time), basically all the mixed emotions that are brewing. Completely understandable – just calm down, breathe. It’s completely fine – this too shall pass.

You cannot forget the months of hard work, sincerity and dedication you have put in for these 3 most important days. Hence, out of experience, I would love to share the do’s and don’ts of the week of the exam.

CFE Day 1

Remember, this is your first day of the exam and it’s 4 hours. Being the first day, it would not seem tiring to type on your laptop, but mentally it is draining, because you are tense before the exam.

So, take it easy and ensure:

  • You sleep early the day before
  • You don’t cram by going through a lot of your notes
  • You pack your bags and keep it ready with all the food, documents, and stationery you may require for the exam
  • You reach the exam center early so that you know your seating and the exact location.  This way, even if there are delays, it won’t stress you as you have enough buffer time.

CFE Day 2

This is an important day because Days 2 and 3 go hand-in-hand and they are both very technical. You need to know FR, MA and your role. Plus, you must pass Days 2 and 3 together, so it’s important to stay focused and be energetic. The night before Day 2, you may already feel exhausted as 4 hours of Day 1 had just gotten over and Day 2 is 5 hours, which can be tiring if you don’t get enough rest.

So before Day 2, ensure:

  • You do not discuss Day 1 paper with others or go on Reddit
  • You relax and take your mind off Day 1 exam
  • You do not go through your notes. If you are not comfortable with this idea, go through your quick notes, flash cards and concepts that you want to just skim through before the big day. The idea is to refresh concepts, not bog down and panic
  • You watch your favorite show, eat your favorite food and get fueled for the next day
  • You get rest, because resting is super important for your mind to feel fresh the next day. You spent 4 hours looking at the screen in Day 1 and you still need to use your knowledge the next day. 

CFE Day 3

This CFE day is as critical as the first two. You cannot pass only Day 3, you must pass Days 2 and 3 together. But remember, 2 out of the 3 battles are done. You must give yourself credit for getting through Days 1 and 2.

So to go about Day 3, ensure:

  • You go through only the non-role concepts, because you already covered your role for Day 2 (if you want to skip something)
  • You get more rest. You need to switch between the cases in a smooth transition,  which is only possible if you are well rested
  • You don’t forget your tea, coffee, and water bottle to fuel you for Day 3. I know you won’t have the time, but it can get overwhelming as you must solve multiple cases, so one or two sips in-between cases really helps!
  • You don’t take the weights of Days 1 and 2 with you – leave it behind and go on Day 3 as a new day.

Stay calm through this process, so many of us have done it, you can too! Relax and remember a few more days before you are a free bird! Give it your all, in the end it’s just an exam – so enjoy the process and learn the most you can!

Good luck and smash it! – Leela

Author: Leela Pai, ICAI and successful CFE writer from Sep 2021