DEBRIEFING CFE CASES. Important, but what the h*ck does “debriefing” even mean?

HOW LONG?

For Day 2 CFE cases, your debrief should take about 5 hours. For Day 3 CFE Cases, your debrief should take approximately 1 to 2 times the time it took you to write the case. You’ll need to be focussed and ideally a bit curious about what you did well and what you could improve.

That said, your first debriefs will take longer if you are learning technical along the way (which you likely will be, but depends on how much you remember from your CPA PEP Core and CPA PEP Elective courses, if you took them). If you find your debrief taking a lot longer, you are likely getting sucked into a CPA handbook or CPA eBook rabbit hole. Reign yourself back in and focus on what is in the suggested solution for that CFE case.

WHEN?

Do your debrief as soon as you can after writing the CFE case, so that it is fresh in your mind. For Days 2 CFE cases, that likely means the next morning and for Day 3s, you can either do your debrief right after, or if you are writing 2 x Day 3 CFE cases in a row, do your debriefs in the afternoon. Either schedule is fine, you can try both to see what works best for you. Personally, I debriefed the majority of my CFE cases immediately after writing but also did a couple “mock” CFEs to practice writing 3 in a row.

DO NOT wait to get your marking back from Capstone 2! So many candidates do this but it is a bad habit. You will have written several other cases while waiting to get your feedback, and then all the case facts start to blend together. So do your debrief right away. Mark your own case and then compare it to what your marker gave you once you get your marks back.

And to be clear, just looking at your marks from your marker is not a debrief. The technical will not stick with you and you won’t learn from your mistakes in order to improve on future cases (the whole point of writing the case in the first place).

SO WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD YOU DO DURING YOUR DEBRIEF?

Here is my checklist that I used while studying, it walks you through step by step what you should be doing during each debrief to ensure that you get full value out of each case.

Click Here to Get your Free Step by Step Debrief Checklist