90-Day CFE Exam Challenge Success Story: Abigail Zieglar, CFE

Abigail first began her career in banking as a service representative in a branch where she was later able to transition to a loan auditor specializing in small business loans. Abigail had her first introduction to the fraud industry when a former coworker referred her to an open position at their health insurance company. Later she began her work as a Fraud Coordinator in 2018 and since has made the transition to becoming a Fraud Analyst. In 2021, Abigail joined the 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge, where she was able to study and pass her exams within 90 days.

Why did you join the 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge?

I wanted a way to stay on track and be held accountable. I also wanted to receive study tips, test taking tips and overall motivation from others. I was nervous to begin the process but hearing from others who were in the same position as me or were new CFE’s really boosted my confidence!

What did your study method look like?

After I took the practice test to determine the order of studying each section, I began looking at the questions in the CFE Prep Course. I studied my strongest section first and ended with my weakest section. All of these tips were provided in the 90-day challenge group! Every question taken in the prep course provided a paragraph or short sentence after the question which stated the reasoning as to why a question was right or wrong, along with the page number in the Fraud Examiner Manual for where you can read further about the question/topic. For me, I took hand-written notes in a notebook for every question taken in the prep course. I really focused on the reasonings to why a question was right or wrong, and pulled out the Fraud Examiner Manual if I needed further clarification on a topic. As for the length of time I would study each day, I would try to study between 1-2 hours every day. If I had extra time, I would try to study a little more. I would take breaks when I noticed I was getting distracted or if I needed to step away to do every day “life” things. There were a few days where I was traveling or days where I had events I needed to attend, so studying became more difficult. On days like that, I had a plan to read for a few minutes through my hand-written notes. Lastly, I checked the 90-day discussion forum at the end of every day. It helped me realize other people experienced the ups and downs of the study process, but also provided continued study tips and motivation!

How did the challenge help you accomplish your goal of passing the CFE Exam?

There was so much positivity in this challenge group! Between other challengers and CFE’s providing tips and motivation, I felt there was nothing I could not accomplish. No matter what emotions I felt throughout the process, I knew there were other people in the challenge group that felt the same way as me. The challenge group wants to see people succeed and it provided me with the confidence to keep going!

What did it feel like when you got the email saying you’d passed? How did you celebrate?

I was so excited, but more so proud of myself for following through! I will admit I doubted myself at times throughout the process, but I continued to listen and engage in the challenge group. Receiving that passing email was extremely rewarding and relieving! I celebrated by going to one of my favorite Italian restaurants!

What advice do you have for challenge participants who are preparing for the CFE Exam?

Engage in the challenge group! Ask questions, read directions and tips, provide feedback and take deep breaths. They want to see you succeed as much as you want to!

The 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge provides participants with study tips and peer support to help them stay motivated and on track to reach their goal of passing the CFE Exam. The upcoming challenge begins April 1 and ends on June 30.

Join the Challenge SOURCE: ACFE Insights – A Publication of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners