This paper presents a conforming augmented finite element method (C-AFEM) that can account for arbitrary cracking in solids with similar accuracy of other conforming methods, but with a significantly improved numerical efficiency of about ten times. We show that the numerical gains are mainly due to our proposed new solving procedure, which involves solving a local problem for crack propagation and a global problem for structural equilibrium, through a tightly coupled two-step process. Through several numerical benchmarking examples, we further demonstrate that the C-AFEM is more accurate and mesh insensitive when compared with the original A-FEM, and both C-AFEM and A-FEM are much more robust and efficient than other parallel methods including the extended finite element method (XFEM)/generalized finite element (GFEM) and the conforming embedded discontinuity method.