Valerie Barcarse of California became a CFE this past April after studying with the CFE Exam Prep Course. Valerie believes that her new CFE credential will reinforce some of the skills she needs to do her work effectively and efficiently. When Valerie is not working, she enjoys cooking for others and reading.
Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?
Barcarse: I received my CFE credential in April of 2018.
Coach: Please describe your experience using the CFE Exam Prep Course?
Barcarse: The Prep Course software was very user-friendly. It was easy to navigate the course online to access the diagnostic test, individual review sections, and practice exams.
Coach: What did you like most about the Prep Course?
Barcarse: The practice exams were what I liked most about the Prep Course. I loved that the practice exams simulated the actual testing experience (e.g., exams were timed and the layout was the same), so when it came to exam day, there were no surprises.
Coach: How long did it take you to complete the Prep Course and how often did you study?
Barcarse: It took me about two-and-a-half months to complete the Prep Course. I work full time, so I studied an hour to an hour and a half a day for at least five days during the week. I was averaging about a 90% on the practice exams, so I felt pretty confident going into the actual exam.
Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?
Barcarse: In my current profession, I conduct audits of businesses varying in size and industry. I am very fortunate to have been exposed to different projects and cases. Over the course of the past few years, the cases I've worked on have become increasingly complex, and I believe my new CFE credential will reinforce some of the skills I need to do my work effectively and efficiently.
Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?
Barcarse: Definitely! The Prep Course played a major role in me passing the exam on the first try. I'm an advocate for test-prep courses, and the CFE Exam Prep Course is no exception. The Prep Course features questions very similar to those on the actual exam, so I wasn't too anxious about unexpected test topics that might come up during exam day.
Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
Barcarse: As I mentioned earlier, I am an auditor. I have uncovered tax evasion and similar fraud on several cases I have worked on. Dishonest businesses tip the scales, and my passion for fighting fraud stems from my drive to do my job well; this means ensuring that there's a level playing field for businesses involved with tangible personal property (TPP) sales.
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?
Barcarse: Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. My tastes are eclectic, so you can find me reading anything from Harper's Bazaar to the Harvard Business Review, and everything in between! When I'm not engrossed in a good read, I also enjoy cooking. I find it especially therapeutic to cook for other people. This past weekend, I tried out a new recipe for eggs Benedict, and my beau loved it!
Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?
Barcarse: Honestly, the best tip I have is to establish a study plan and stick to it. Figure out at what time during the day you can squeeze in your study time, and make it a habit to reserve that window of time specifically for studying. This means minimizing or eliminating distractions (i.e., silence your cell phone so you're not tempted to surf your social media accounts as soon as you get a notification that Susan tagged you in a funny meme) so you can create an environment conducive to learning. Starting a routine can be difficult, but maintaining it can be very rewarding.