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Are you planning to take the CFE exam? But the exam difficulty is hindering you from taking the exam? Undoubtedly, the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam is a challenging and rigorous assessment designed to evaluate professionals in the field of fraud prevention and detection. Aspiring fraud examiners undertake this examination to prove their expertise, dedication, and competence in combating fraudulent activities. But owing to a common perception that the exam is hard to pass, many students fear taking the exam. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the various aspects that make the CFE exam a formidable challenge. We will also discuss the best possible solution to each of the problems. 

7 Major Factors that Make CFE Exam Really Hard

The following are the factors that make the CFE exam hard. Each problem is defined and provided with an appropriate solution. 

Problem 1: Diverse Topics in Course

The CFE exam covers a wide range of topics, including fraud prevention and deterrence, financial transactions and fraud schemes, investigation methods, and legal elements related to fraud. This comprehensive coverage demands a deep understanding of various domains within fraud examination.


You must refer to the official study guide to prepare for the exam to ensure that none of the topics is missed out. The official guide contains all the topics and subtopics arranged in an organized manner. You can cross-check the topics that have been prepared at the time of preparation. 

Problem 2: Where to Start From

The CFE exam is divided into four parts: Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Law, Investigation, and Fraud Prevention and Deterrence. Each section tests specific knowledge areas, requiring candidates to be well-versed in diverse aspects of fraud examination. The problem is where one should start the preparation.


Usually, students start the preparation from the first topic. However, it is interesting to know that each topic in the CFE course is independent. You do not need to follow a specific pattern of topics. However, the sub-headings of each main heading, for example Law, must be done together. You can start your preparation from the topic that is easier for you.

Problem 3: Professional Experience Requirement

   To be eligible for the CFE designation, candidates must possess at least two years of professional experience in a field directly related to fraud prevention and detection. This prerequisite ensures that individuals attempting the exam have practical exposure to real-world scenarios, making the examination process more challenging. If you do not have the professional experience, you can take the formal education. 


If you have earned a bachelor’s degree, it is good to earn the eligibility points. The second solution to the problem is that you can take the professional experience which will help you attain 5 points for each year. You can either get hired on an online job or projects to fulfill your professional experience.

Problem 4. Concept-based Questions

The CFE exam not only tests theoretical knowledge but also evaluates candidates’ ability to apply their understanding to practical situations. This emphasis on the application of knowledge distinguishes the CFE exam from purely academic assessments.


You don’t just need to cram the course concepts. The questions in the exam are a mixture of the learned concepts and the conceptual details. When you learn any concept, you must practice it to ensure that you have practical knowledge.

Problem 5: Numerous Questions

CFE tests your fraud examination skills through scenario–based questions. Unlike other exams, the questions are not few. The exam comprises 100 questions that are timed. It is important that you have immense practice with the questions so you can solve the exam in a limited time. 


There are many practice resources on the internet that can be used to practice your concepts. The questions in the reliable practice materials have similar pattern as the actual CFE exam. You turn on the timer while you solve these questions to help build your question solving ability.

Problem 6. Addition of New Concepts

The field of fraud examination is dynamic, with new fraud schemes and techniques emerging regularly. The CFE exam is updated to reflect these changes, requiring candidates to stay current with the latest developments in fraud prevention and detection.


To protect yourself from this problem, you can join the groups and forums where the candidates discuss fraud security issues. These groups help you to get an understanding of the problems that others may be facing and learn the appropriate and reasonable solution to each problem.

Problem 7. Time Constraints

Successfully completing the CFE exam within the allotted time frame can be demanding. Candidates need to manage their time efficiently, ensuring that they can address each section thoroughly and accurately. The time for the exam is only 2 hours which is much less compared to the length of the exam. 


The time limit of the exam is a major issue. The exam is an amalgamation of the questions. You must solve the straight learning-based questions first followed by the concept-based questions. This method will help you to solve more questions in less time. However, pace your exam speed to finish the exam in a shorter time.

Read more: 8 Most Demanding Digital Forensic Certifications

9 Effective Tips for CFE Exam Preparation

To pass the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam, consider these tips:

1. Form an Effective Study Plan

  • Develop a structured study plan that covers all exam topics.
  • Allocate dedicated time each day for preparation. 2-3 hours of study is recommended each day.

2. Use Official Materials

3. Practice Plenty of Questions

  • Practice solving a variety of sample questions to get a feel for the exam format.
  • Analyze both correct and incorrect answers to understand the underlying concepts.

4. Learn through Peers 

   – Connect with other candidates or professionals preparing for the CFE exam.

   – Discuss and share insights, study strategies, and resources.

5. Figure Weak Areas

   – Regularly assess your progress and focus on areas where you need improvement.

   – Don’t neglect any part of the exam content.

6. Simulate Exam Conditions

   – Take practice exams under timed conditions to simulate the actual testing environment.

   – Build your stamina for the duration of the exam as there are many ques

7. Self-Reflection of Preparation

    – Reflect on your performance in mock exams and adjust your study plan accordingly.

    – Identify patterns in mistakes and address them proactively.

Read more: Are GIAC Certification Worth it?

Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam is a challenging undertaking that demands a comprehensive understanding of fraud prevention and detection. With its diverse content, real-world application focus, and continuous updates, the CFE exam sets a high standard for professionals seeking to excel in the field of fraud examination. While the journey to becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner may be arduous, the designation stands as a testament to the individual’s commitment to combating fraud with expertise and integrity.

Frequently Asked Questions

CFE exam is a professional exam that is designed for candidates who wish to upgrade their position to an advanced level. 

The course is diverse so it would take about 5-6 weeks to fully prepare for the exam. 

The CFE exam provides a valuable addition to your resume. It is a recognized certification that helps you to secure a good job position. According to PayScale, the average salary range of a CFE professional is Range:$51k – $117k.

The cost of the CFE exam is $450. The cost will rise if you add the course and the practice dumps to your preparation.



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