Everything You Need to Know About the CFE Exam

To earn your Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential, you must pass the CFE Exam.

About the CFE Exam

The CFE Exam is a significant undertaking. Most likely, you will make a hefty time commitment as you prepare for and take the exam. To ensure that you are as informed as possible about the exam process, explore the three sections below to gain an in-depth understanding of the exam content, selecting the right format and scheduling your exam.

What You Need to Know

  • Content of the CFE Exam

    The exam will test your knowledge in the four major areas of fraud examination — Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes, Law, Investigation, and Fraud Prevention and Deterrence. These four areas correspond to the four sections of the Fraud Examiners Manual, which is the source of knowledge for all subject matter that appears on the CFE Exam.

    Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes

    This section tests your comprehension of the types of fraudulent financial transactions incurred in accounting records. In this section of the exam, you will be required to demonstrate knowledge of the following concepts:

    • Basic accounting and auditing theory
    • Fraud schemes
    • Internal controls to deter fraud
    • Other auditing and accounting matters

    Law

    This section focuses on the statutes and common law principles involved in prosecuting fraudsters. It also ensures your familiarity with the many legal ramifications of conducting fraud examinations, including: 
    • Criminal and civil law
    • Rules of evidence
    • Rights of the accused and accuser
    • Expert witness matters

    Investigation

    This section tests your understanding of the basic tools and techniques necessary to gather information and evidence when conducting a fraud examination and identifying perpetrators. It includes questions about:

    • Interviewing
    • Taking statements
    • Obtaining information from public records
    • Tracing illicit transactions
    • Evaluating deception
    • Report writing

    Fraud Prevention and Deterrence

    This section examines your understanding of why people commit fraud and the ways to prevent it. Topics covered in this section include: 

    • Crime causation
    • White-collar crime
    • Occupational fraud
    • Fraud prevention
    • Fraud risk assessment
    • The ACFE Code of Professional Ethics 
    View the CFE Exam Content Outline
  • CFE Exam Format

    The CFE Exam is a closed-book and closed notes exam comprised of four sections, each containing 100 multiple choice questions. Exam takers have a two-hour time limit on each section. Each exam is generated from a master database; no two exams are exactly alike.

    View the CFE Exam technical details

Exam Format Options

Online with a remote proctor

Online remote proctoring allows you to take the CFE Exam from the comfort of your own home without having to travel or test near other people. Learn more information about Prometric’s ProProctor online platform.

In person at a Prometric testing center

Prometric operates the world’s largest network of computer-based assessment centers that provide convenient access to test takers. Find a test center near you.

Onsite at an in-person CFE Exam Review Course

Attendees have the option of taking the exam onsite at an in-person course. Learn more about advanced preparation, application requirements and deadlines, as well as details for taking the CFE Exam onsite.

CFE Exam Details

  • CFE Exam Details
    • Your CFE Exam will correspond with the CFE Exam Prep Course year you are using to study. For example, if you're studying with the 2022 CFE Exam Prep Course, you will take the 2022 CFE Exam.
    • Your CFE Exam is valid for two years after the release date. For example, the 2022 CFE Exam will be valid until December 2023. If the study material or exam you have expires, you will take the most current version of the exam.
    • To pass, you must accurately answer at least 75% of the questions in each section of the CFE Exam. You must pass each section of the exam within three attempts. 
    View additional CFE Exam details
  • CFE Exam Process

    Upon receiving approval, you can begin working your way through the exam process. Follow these steps if you are taking the exam at a test center or online. 

    Step 1: Schedule your exam appointments through Prometric.

    When your exam application is approved, a green “Schedule Exam” button will appear in your Certification Portal. Click this button when you are ready for your eligibility period to begin. You will have 60 days to complete all four sections of the exam. Be on the lookout for an email with step-by-step instructions on how to schedule your appointments with Prometric.  

    We strongly recommend you schedule your exams at least 30 days ahead of time to secure the appointments of your choice. Please make note of the reschedule/cancellation policy below to ensure you are not subject to any fees if you need to make changes to your appointments. 

    Step 2: Take the CFE Exam and receive your results.

    Once you start a section of the exam, you must complete it in one sitting. You are not required to complete all four sections in one sitting. In fact, we recommend only taking a section or two at a time.  

    After you complete a section and are satisfied with all your answers, select “End Exam.” Your exam will automatically submit. Within 24 hours of completing each exam section, you will receive an email from Prometric with your score report. 

  • Additional CFE Exam Information

    Rescheduling or Cancelling Your Exam Appointments

    If you need to make a change to your scheduled exam appointment, you may incur additional fees. Fees are based on the timing of an appointment change: 

    • 30+ days before your scheduled appointment: There is no charge for changing or cancelling an exam appointment 30 days or more before a scheduled appointment. 
    • 3-29 days before your scheduled appointment: Changes made between 3 and 29 days are subject to a $35 fee, paid directly to Prometric at the time of the appointment change. 
    • Less than three days before your scheduled appointment: You may not reschedule an exam less than three days prior to your appointment. If you fail to show up for an exam or cancel within three days of a scheduled appointment, you will be subject to a $50 rescheduling fee (paid directly to the ACFE) and forfeiture of an exam attempt. 

    Test Center Fees 

    If you choose to take your exams at a testing center instead, you will be charged an additional $10 fee for each exam appointment. The same is true for retakes — the cost of a remote proctored appointment is covered by the ACFE’s retake fee, but there will be an additional $10 charge if a testing center is used. 

    View CFE Exam FAQs