How do you fit all the material in, review, work, and have time for anything?

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  • #3311989

    I’m currently studying for FAR using Roger CPA review, first section. I’ve been at it for three weeks so far, going to take the exam on July 16. I asked someone else who passed REG with Roger how she studied, and she told me that she did all of the questions/SIMs twice, reworking incorrect questions as she went. She also skimmed/read each chapter once. She is currently working towards her Master’s degree – but she is also an amazing test-taker and seems really good at studying in general.

    I know generally what works for me for studying. However, when I look at the Roger planner for one year of studying, it says to devote around 3-4 hours per study day to studying (amazingly it does not incorporate review of past material, but I think that’s implied and up to us to handle). Some of the clusters of subsections on certain days take a good deal more than 3-4 hours to get through. For example, I started Ch. 7 today, meaning to go through subsections 1-5, and I’m already at over 6 hours and still have two and a half subsections to go.

    It’s super frustrating because even though I’m trying to quicken my pace (don’t linger for too long on any one question as I will eventually review it and understand it better), I think I was inefficient in the first couple of weeks and now am playing a little bit of catch-up (thankfully I will be caught up by the end of today). But none of it is leaving me much room for review. I know I will be able to review past material today and definitely tomorrow…but I am afraid of falling behind once again when the workweek begins and I have to try to cram going over all of the planned new material after my workday. The time just evaporates and I often don’t get through all of it – including because I (like everyone else here I think) have other things I have to get up and go do, and I have to fit in a break from it all in there somewhere (usually spent with family) or my brain will melt.

    Another thing that freaks me out is that Roger himself in the first video of Ch. 7 said that candidates should answer all of the homework at least two to three times to get really proficient with the material. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to have time to do that when getting through new material takes more time than I was hoping it would.

    I’ve seen some folks say they don’t bother with SIMs and just do lots of MCQs, but that doesn’t feel right to me since I really want to be ready for the real SIMs. These seem like a good prep for that, plus giving me more practice with the material itself. But I’m just worried I don’t have time to go over every single question/SIM two or three times before the end, and I really want to pass the first time – ideally finishing all exams by January next year (that’s just my own timeline; I’m super determined to do it this way but I understand that it could go differently).

    I’m trying to adjust my strategy to quicken my pace and make sure I leave plenty of time for review, but can anyone give me some tips? Am I just slower at studying?

    FAR: studying; taking July 16
    REG: taking later
    AUD: taking later
    BEC: taking later
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  • #3312013

    It's completely normal to be completely overwhelmed, especially with FAR, and especially when FAR is your first exam. I do recommend sitting for FAR first, but you need to have some mental strength to realize it will get better.
    I had a very hard time with FAR as I was out of school for 15 years at that point, and only worked in tax.

    Just trust the process, eventually it will all come together.
    I spent way too much time on FAR, still didn't feel prepared, honestly though I was going to fail, but I passed with an excellent score.
    As you progress through the exams your study habits and patterns will change, and your methods of studying will change. When I started on FAR I was watching the videos, reading the book, doing the MCQs and SIMs, the whole 9. By my last exam I was pretty much just watching the videos and doing MCQs and only going to the Roger or Gleim books when I was really struggling.
    Unfortunately it's trial and error to figure out what methods work best for you, so you just have to keep plugging away.

    Protip – Sundays should be for review, especially for FAR. I reserved about 2 weeks for review on FAR, and felt I had to relearn SO MUCH. If you do cumulative review questions one day of the week to try and keep the stuff fresh, you will thank yourself during the review phase.
    Don't worry about your timeline right now, it will sort itself out.

    (Also a note – the CPA exam was all consuming for me. I did literally nothing else. Went to the gym 1 hour 2x a week, went to family dinner Friday nights. Everything else was studying, posting and reading here, or thinking about the exams, it was rough. It completely consumed my life, but I got it done quick. You have to pick how long you want it to take, and how much you want to sacrifice in the now for future rewards. )

    Memento Mori - Kingston NY CPA & EA (SUNY Albany 2002)

    FAR-93 11/9/17 (10wks, 250 hrs, Roger 1800+ MCQs, Gleim TB 600+MCQs, SIMs)
    AUD-88 12/7/17 (3 wks, 85 hrs, Roger 1000 MCQs no SIMs hail mary)
    REG-96 1/18/18 (6 wks, 110 hrs, 1400 MCQs, no SIMs)
    BEC-91 2/16/18 (4wks, 90 hrs, 1240 MCQs)


    Thank you so much for your reply – what you said is reassuring. 🙂 I definitely had to adjust my study patterns in just the first few weeks and I suspect I will continue to do so. Also, I like your recommendation – saving a day per week for solid review with cumulative review questions will definitely help. For now, I am still a bit behind on review as I have not touched Ch. 3, 4 , 5, or 6 for a while, but I'm planning on whittling away at that tonight and then having a regular dedicated review day per week (or more often).

    Yes, it's definitely overwhelming but I have to keep reminding myself that that's normal.

    I thankfully have a bit more wiggle room with time as I am doing a 9-month timeline, but I still try to fill in as much free time as I can (with a few exceptions) as I feel like I'm always going against the clock. It sounds like your path was definitely intense, but judging by your scores it was absolutely worth it.

    I really appreciate your advice!

    FAR: studying; taking July 16
    REG: taking later
    AUD: taking later
    BEC: taking later

    Its your first exam, so every issue is understandable. I didn't use roger, i used gleim, but i agree with roger that it may be best to go through all the homework questions multiple times. There's a lot of material and the more you answer MCQs and SIMs the more you'll be prepared for the actual exam in my honest opinion. taking notes and reading through the material can only get you so far.

    I spent the last month of studying before each exam doing nothing except for completing mcq's and simulations, screenshotting the questions i got incorrect or had to think twice about, pasted them onto an excel sheet, and went through them the following day before studying.

    good luck!

    AUD - 81
    BEC - 83
    FAR - 81
    REG - 85
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