First Attempters and Passed and in the high 80s and 90s - Page 2

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  • #177630 Reply

    Using the Ninja analogy, what does it take to do a roundhouse kick and kick the CPA exams out of the park?

    I’m looking for all the wisdom for those that have successfully done a first attempt and passed in the high 80s and 90s on any of the exams….It seems that would guarantee a win, no questions to ask…It is a PASS!

    The truth is I have to do this first attempt…or maybe second attempt on one or two. I have two exam cycles to get this done in 2013. In California everything changes in 2014 with expanded academic requirements.

    Also it seems that some have an approach that works and that first attempt strategies are out there. So bring it on.

Viewing 8 replies - 16 through 23 (of 23 total)
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  • #424222 Reply

    Let me add something to my previous post, and reemphasize something else. For the last two exams that I took – REG and AUD, I started to write my own notes. I've NEVER been a big note taker whatsoever – never in school, and even during my preparation for the first two sections, I just jotted down a few things in the columns of the Wiley book. With the business law/professional and legal responsibility parts of REG and with all of the AUD modules, I took the the time to write my own notes. Not only did this organize/centralize things for me, but it made me put the information in my own words and really comprehend everything that I was typing. For AUD, I basically compressed the Yaeger handouts and Wiley book into approximately 50 pages of typed notes.

    Second, the Wiley Test Bank is an excellent tool to reinforce what you've learned. Some of the explanations of correct or incorrect answers might be lacking, but you get immediate feedback. The questions are much more similar in nature to actual CPA questions than what are found in the back of the Wiley book (which are significantly more difficult as a whole). I am not joking when I state that I saw a couple of questions on AUD that were exactly the same – word for word – as those in the WTB.

    On my first two sections, I scored an 85 (BEC) and a 90 (FAR). While these are good scores, I know I could have done even better if I would have done on these sections what I have stated above (and I'm not trying to be cocky but rather just reinforce what I believe is the value of the aforementioned comments). On the last two sections, I scored a 90 on REG and a 97 on AUD, and the 90 on REG was semi-disappointing if that makes sense, because I was really well prepared and screwed up on the simulations. For both of these, approximately 80% of my study time was spent between my notes and the WTB.

    #424223 Reply

    I just used Becker. What I would do was go through the lecture's once, then go back through the chapter and make my own flash cards, then read aloud my flash cards 1-2 times (and by flash cards I mean chapter summaries on note cards, I wouldn't call what I did you traditional flash card), then did the practice multiple choice problems.

    Once I passed with at least an 80% on the HW, I moved on to the next topic. If I didn't pass, I would re-do all the multiple choice questions and get me an 80%.

    If I got anything wrong, I would make a note of it on the flash card that covered that topic and I would do it in red so I knew it was an issue I had.

    For my final review, I would try to dedicate 1-2 days to each Becker chapter and go through my flash cards 1-2 times, then I would attempt multiple quizzes per section. All the while, I would make a study sheet of all the important acronyms.

    Surprisingly all this I did with 20 hours of study time a week, except on my final review where it was 25-30.

    Honestly when I got to the final review, the last day or two before the exam my mind was fried. I did not look at anything on exam day and I stopped myself every night at a decent hour to avoid overkill.

    All this I did over the course of almost 2 years, with a marriage, a change of churches, a first time home buying house purchase and a job change.

    Definitely could not have done it with out the help of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, my rock and my strength.

    The above procedure really helped me retain as much as possible, to the point that while at work, I would make up my own math problems for math sections and try and solve them.

    I think the biggest thing about Becker was the acronyms they gave for certain items. I would suggest going on ebay and buying it their at a discount vs doing on the Becker website. Saved me a lot.

    #424224 Reply

    And added to my last post, I never attempted practicing the SIMS. I went in blind for all 4 sections on the SIMS. I figured if I could nail the concepts and math via multiple choice that the SIMS would come naturally.

    For BEC, just beware of those little topics like internal auditing. On my BEC exam I got 2 essays on topics that were 1 pagers in Becker.

    #424225 Reply

    Everyone studies/learns in a different way, so you'll probably just have to see what works best for you.

    I studied using NIU (Northern Illinois University) CPA Review – Correspondence Option. It's basically an MP3 audio version of the live review course. I supplemented the material with Wiley Online Test Bank. However, I ran out of time and was only able to get through about 300 Wiley MCQ's per exam section.

    The review materials from NIU CPA Review were pretty well loaded with MCQs mixed in throughout the chapters, so it's not like I didn't practice any MCQs. Many candidates do thousands of MCQs and repeat them several times.

    The MP3's contained approximately 40-50 hours of lecture for each exam section (maybe only 30 for BEC, but I haven't started yet, so not sure).

    Here's the approach I've used for each exam section so far.

    1) Listen to lecture and follow along in the review books. Take necessary notes.

    2) Re-read the books and work through the material on my own. Take notes as necessary.

    3) Read through all review books again (the 3rd review is much quicker than previous 2).

    4) Review notes and/or sections from books that were difficult to remember.

    5) Work MCQs from Wiley Online Test Bank in practice mode from all topics. Again, I ran out of time, so I didn't make it through nearly as many questions as I had originally planned. I didn't work any practice task based simulations in Wiley. I just hoped that my understanding of the material was sufficient to complete the task based simulations thrown at me during the exam.

    6) Review AICPA exam released questions. These were provided through my review course. They are a sample of actual exam questions released by AICPA from recent exams.

    For each section, this was done in a compressed time frame of approximately 20 days (maybe a little longer for FAR). I'm the worst procrastinator in the world. Fortunately, my job allowed me to take some time off before each exam. I studied for 12+ hours per day for at least 10 days prior to the exam. Estimated study time for each exam: FAR – 200, AUD 150 to 175, REG 150 to 160.

    There were also a few topics in FAR that I found myself referencing my textbook from college accounting courses to get a better understanding and explanation of the topic.

    So far, I've scored FAR 90, AUD 96, and REG 93. It would be an understatement to say that I'm pleased with the NIU CPA Review course.

    Many candidates are successful just cranking out thousands of MCQs without much reading/reviewing. I don't like this approach because I feel the need to understand as much of the material as possible before approaching MCQs (with the exception of MCQs contained in each chapter to help with understanding concepts). However, I must say that the 300 or so Wiley MCQ's I attempted for each exam section were very helpful. Many of them were very similar to actual exam questions. If I had to do it over again for the 3 sections I passed, I would try to get through all of the MCQs at least once.

    #424226 Reply

    I took 4 months to study for FAR. I went through a chapter a week. This consisted of watching lecture, reading the book, doing the homework, reading my notes I took while reading the book and randomly going over flashcards. Then took a month to re-do each chapter and homework including either re-watching the lecture or re-reading the book. Then spent the last few weeks doing just MCQs and SIMs. I would rather take more time to study for each exam than try to rush through it.

    My goal too is to get all of the exams done this year because my baby is due in December and I don't want to study during maternity leave. REG seems to be just as much as a beast as FAR, so I'm going to change my dates to have 3 months study time for REG and hopefully since AUD and BEC is shorter and hopefully easier I can got those done during the same window.

    #424227 Reply

    Not sure if this has been mentioned, but I think you are playing a risky game by doing FAR last. You are going to be so burned out by the end, only to get stuck with FAR? Agh, just thinking of that makes me wanna BARF

    #424228 Reply

    I'm glad I got FAR done first. I'm already burnt out on studying. I just started REG 3 weeks ago and decided to take a 4 day break before I start the next chapter.

    #424229 Reply

    Hey, I'm glad to get Far done first.( that's if I pass, and I will pass ) It is definitely a beast and I would not want to go through to pass everything and leave far last. Not a chance…..tempting but after studying NO WAY. We know everyone is different, but get the hard stuff over first.

    It begins with a 75
    Been here too long as a cheerleader.....time to pass
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