Q & A with Elisabeth Christensen, CFE

Elisabeth Christensen of Virginia recently became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Washington, D.C. When Elisabeth has time off, she enjoys engaging in outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, traveling, and bird watching. This past fall, Elisabeth put some time aside to accomplish her goal of obtaining the CFE credential. Elisabeth feels that being a CFE rounds out her skill set as an investigative attorney and aligns well with her agency’s mission of preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Christensen: I was certified in October 2016
Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Washington D.C. and, following the course you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe your experience of participating in the four-day course and then sitting for the exam immediately after.

Christensen: I found the course to be extremely informative. The instructors who presented each topic were knowledgeable, and the information offered was very useful. Even though participation in the course and sitting for the exam each day made for some long and challenging days, I would recommend this method to all who are seeking to get the CFE credential. 
Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course? 

Christensen: The course provides you with all the tools you need to succeed, both on the exam and as a new CFE. I found the in-person instruction to work well for my learning style. 
Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession? 

Christensen: Being a CFE rounds out my skill set as an investigative attorney. The ability to identify fraud and fraud risk dovetails well with my agency’s mission of preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse. The credential has also allowed me to meet and learn from other CFEs in similar fields. 
Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day? 

Christensen: As material was presented, I highlighted the text and made note of any new concepts. Before sitting for each section of the exam, I would review the information presented, paying particular attention to unfamiliar subjects. 
Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues? 

Christensen: Absolutely. This was an efficient and streamlined way to study for and take the CFE Exam. 
Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Christensen: I believe strongly in making sure that precious taxpayer dollars are awarded and administered properly, especially in the area of scientific research and education.  
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?

Christensen: I enjoy being in the outdoors—gardening, hiking, traveling, and bird watching. I recently visited beautiful Fairbanks, Alaska, which I’d certainly recommend, but maybe not in January when I went!
Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Christensen: Focus on your strengths first. As an attorney, I worried more about the sections covering financial transactions and fraud schemes, but found that my retention of information was actually better for the newer material.