Q & A with Donn LeVie, CFE

Donn LeVie of Texas became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Denver, CO. When Donn is not working, he enjoys traveling and having a nice dinner with friends. But this past August, he put some time aside to focus on accomplishing his goal of obtaining the CFE credential. Donn hopes the CFE credential and the training he received while preparing for the CFE Exam will enable him to extend his speaking engagements into professions related to assessing fraud risk and detecting fraud. He also feels the CFE credential provides him with a better understanding of the issues and challenges facing organizations in his target markets. 

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential? 

LeVie: I was certified on August 10, 2017.

Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Denver and following the course you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe how you prepared to take the exam immediately after.

LeVie: I started out by taking the online pre-assessment to determine which areas I should prioritize. The review sections and practice exams helped further define where I needed to focus. 

 If you show up for the CFE Exam Review Course without having gone through the Prep Course, it will be very difficult to pass all four sections just showing up for the class without doing the prep work.  I also decided to enroll in the CFE Exam Review Course based on recommendations from many who had gone through the course.

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course? 

LeVie: Of all the strategies I used to prepare for the CFE Exam, the CFE Exam Review Course was the most effective. It’s one thing to read the material, but to hear it in a lecture format, interspersed with videos and real-world stories from the great instructors, helps cement the content even more. One thing to take note of: Stories help you remember facts, and the instructors make plenty of use of actual instances that provide that real-world application of the information. 

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession? 

LeVie: I do write feature articles for Fraud Magazine, and I want to extend my speaking into professions related to assessing fraud risk and detecting fraud (investigations, accounting, finance, compliance and ethics, etc.). So, in April, I decided I would take the exam. I felt the CFE credential would provide me with a better understanding of issues and challenges facing organizations in my target markets. 

Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day? 

LeVie: I started by committing one hour a day to the online study tools and then switched to the hard copy manual for two hours a day (sometimes more), three to four weeks before attending the CFE Exam Review Course that was held in Denver in early August. I haven’t had to study this hard since grad school back in the early 1980s, so I dusted off my old study habits to see me through the upcoming weeks. 

Coach: To help focus my reading, I underlined every line that I read. It forced me to slow down and absorb the material, so I wasn’t just running my eyes over text and forgetting what I just read. 

LeVie: On the next pass, I used a highlighter over most of the content. I then took the online review for each of the individual subsections within one of the four major sections. It’s the equivalent of eating an elephant one bite at a time. I find that I retain more information by focusing on the small chunks rather than trying to bull my way through one of the four major sections all at once.

On the next pass through the course review guide, I used a checkmark or a five-pointed star to indicate that the particular content showed up in one of the review sections, making it likely I would see it again on the exam.

Coach:  Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

LeVie: Well, I like to do many things, but my top three are: (1) traveling to Europe (especially Spain) whenever we can; (2) enjoying great wine and food with friends; and (3) enjoying a great cigar or two on the weekends as a treat. Traveling exposes you to so many unique experiences, memories, and people. Great wine and food, when paired together properly, is a gastronomical pleasure that is a constant learning experience. Enjoying a great cigar—along with a fine liqueur—is a way for me to relax while reading or listening to music out on our deck. 

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

LeVie: Two other suggestions for taking the exam: (1) Pace yourself, don’t get stuck on one question. If the answer doesn’t immediately jump out at you, move on to the next question. (2) Consider using foam ear plugs to block out the ambient noise in the room. I used them for all four exams and they helped focus my concentration. 

Do the upfront work and take the CFE Exam Review Course, and you’ll likely pass all four sections of the exam the first time through.