Time to Get it Done: Final Stretch before BEC Exam

    ben Ben is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

    HiYa!

    Well my last exam is fast approaching. As an exam gets closer I know it is near by the general state of my health. I won’t say that I get really sick, but I do not handle stress very well.

    I worry like you wouldn’t believe and I will have a frequent upset stomach as I worry myself to death over how well I know I need to do and over how well I feel I will do (I am the perfect example of someone who has psyched himself out of passing many times…literally my own worst enemy!)

    This happens to be my last test and I never want to see another CPA exam again! It has been quite the journey but I am aiming to pass and never see another CPA exam related MCQ in my life!

    I have been reviewing the material and trying hard to memorize formulas. I have a feeling that knowing formulas will be key to my success. Memorizing and understanding formulas will be my greatest strength on this exam.

    As of writing this blog I am 1 weeks and 4 days away from my exam. My wife and I are 4 weeks away from having our baby (unless she decides to come early of course!) There is a lot riding on this test and I need to just wrap it up.

    I want my morning back. I want my lunches back. I want my evening time with my family back.

    It is time to get it done.

    Hoping your exam studies are going well and that you too can join me in becoming part of the 2014 class of CPAs!

    May the force be with you!

    April 23, 2014 NINJA CPA Review

    Burnt Out: Hard to Find REG Study Ethic

    AshleyLAshley is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

    After seeing my Audit score of a 74, and then retaking it and getting an 84, I decided I was going to do it right the first time with FAR.

    This time around, my study ethic was impeccable.

    My course tells me exactly which sections to cover each day, and for a full-time Masters in accounting student, this was HARD. I followed those suggestions to a T… until I had three exams in one week.

    I missed 7 days worth of material. Instead of going back and getting farther behind, I picked up where I should be and ignored the missed sections.

    I wanted to take FAR by the end of February and I was going to do it if it killed me.

    Waking up early to cleverly named alarms on my phone, going to class, taking notes on material in class, studying after class, studying while doing cardio at the gym, studying before going to bed, reading Jeff’s NINJA Notes, etc. I was a maniac when it came to studying. My class work suffered a little bit, but on February 27, after only 5 weeks of studying, I passed FAR with a 79.

    The problem that I’m dealing with now is that my work ethic is gone. Not a smidge to be found. Every week I tell myself I’ll start REG, and then I don’t. Opening up my materials and just looking at the website fills me with dread. I really overdid the studying with FAR and I burnt myself out a little bit. The drive to get back into CPA study mode is absent in my life right now.

    I need a good kick in the butt.

    But with less than 160 days till my wedding (and even less towards MAcc graduation) it’s hard to find motivation to study. I know it will happen, I’ll do my best and eventually I will be a CPA. And now that I’m a blogger, I’m being held accountable for my study habits.

    So maybe I’ll watch a lecture or two tonight before bed.

    April 21, 2014 NINJA CPA Review

    Introducing NINJA CPA Blogger Melantha

    NINJA PhotoMelantha is a new NINJA CPA Blogger.

    My journey towards the CPA began in the Fall of 2006 when I was a first year associate at one of the Big 4 located in Philadelphia. I’ve always been an overachiever and at the top of my game no matter what I tried to accomplish.

    I graduated at the top of my class in both undergrad and grad … so the CPA should’ve been a piece of cake, right? Well, not exactly.

    My first exam was Regulation. I studied hard and actually got an 85. This gave me the momentum that I needed to study for the other parts, but little did I know how hard it would be to get a 75 on each part. I spent the next year and a half earning anything but a 75 or a passing score.

    During those 18 months I earned so many 71’s, 73’s, and 74’s that after a while I got depressed and just gave up. And losing the only passing part that I earned didn’t help either. My super star shining light had been doused.

    So in early 2008 I decided to hang it up … this CPA thing was just not in my future and I already had my MBA and a great job and that was enough at the time. Fast forward to 2010, after languishing at home for 6 months after an unexpected downsizing I realized that the only thing that was missing from my resume to set me apart from my peers was the CPA. I was being passed over for roles because I didn’t have it.

    No one cared about my experience. I didn’t have the CPA so I didn’t get the job. So I again started down the yellow brick road so to speak with the ultimate goal being completion of all four exams. This time I started with Audit… got a 74. How in the heck does an experienced auditor get a 74 on an audit exam?

    I attempted to study for the other exams but was unsuccessful. I got frustrated again and decided to focus on finding another job. The CPA would have to come later.

    In 2012, I got the CPA bug again and this time my boss was really pressuring me to get it done. At this point I realized that if I’m ever going to advance I NEED TO PASS THE EXAM. So with the support of my friends, family and my boss I embarked on yet another journey towards becoming a CPA. I started with FAR, which I knew was my weakest area and I signed up with a well-known review course in my city.

    I did everything that the instructors told me, I killed myself with MCQ and simulations, I did marathon study sessions on Saturdays and Sundays and I studied every night after work. One week before my exam, I had surgery, my relationship imploded and I lost my mojo.

    I didn’t use my time wisely during that last week and I lost my focus. When the results came back I had received a 71.

    It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve even attempted to go at it again and I’m preparing to start a new review course. But before I spend yet another small fortune on this thing I had to ask myself, what’s different about this time than the other times? How bad do you want it? What’s the real reason why I haven’t passed?

    And the answer is ME.

    In the past I chose to allow myself to become distracted by “life” and other things because it was easy to do so. I chose to get depressed when I didn’t pass an exam rather than going back to it with a vengeance. I chose happy hour or TV over studying. The buck stops with me.

    This time really is different. I’m shutting everything down. No happy hours, no parties, no binge watching Netflix, and very little social media interactions. I’m hoping that my fellow NINJAs will keep me accountable. I want this so bad that I can taste it!!!

    Sincerely,

    Melantha, (CPA One Day If It Kills Me)

    April 17, 2014 NINJA CPA Review

    REG Videos Finished, Non-Stop MCQs Begin

    blog imageRollie is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

    Hello NINJA CPA readers!

    It has been awhile since my last post and I have lost some study time! A week ago, I had to squeeze all my workweek into 3.5 days to take an 11-hour (one-way) car ride to a wedding for the weekend.

    As you can imagine between the driving, working long hours (being tired really puts a damper on motivation) and packing for the trip, it did not leave much time for studying. And of course, the last thing I want to do and put my wife through is to listen to the NINJA audio at 11:5O PM in the middle of Montana.

    No offense Jeff! In the beginning of the trip it would be a good possibility. I prefer to stay awake while driving though.

    Anyway, that week has come and gone and I finally finished the videos for Regulation. With 4 weeks into studying and less than 5 to go, I have started the NON-STOP MCQ and it is showing me how much I DON’T know. With so many little details to understand and so much material, the questions are seemingly out to get me.

    In college, we had a professor who would pull questions from past CPA Exams and I always did poorly on her exams. At least I have become better at actually reading the questions slower and look for the key words!

    Another problem that I am incurring is the urge to go outside as the weather begins to actually become nice here in the great state of South Dakota! The sun is out and up later, the birds are singing and the allergens are out in full force!

    With studying at my alma mater’s library and seeing my past Ultimate Frisbee team practicing outside; it becomes so easy to say “why not? I will make it up tomorrow”. Then I do not make it up the next day because I do the same &%$# thing … I just need to power through this CPA exam journey and know that it will be worth at the end.

    April 16, 2014 NINJA CPA Review

    Second Chance Confidence: Rematch with FAR

    Ninja_Phillip JamesPhillip is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    Hey NINJAs,

    It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on the blog. Things as usual have been chaotic, but I am still on the CPA journey. I have a renewed sense of purpose and still have the goal of being in the CPA Class of 2014. I will catch you up on what has being going in my life since my last post.

    October 7, 2013 was my first attempt at FAR. Going into that exam, I was less than optimistic about a positive outcome. Despite my best studying efforts, I could not consistently score higher than 60% on my Wiley MCQs.

    As discouraging as this was to me, I was able to find plenty of inspiration in the Another71 Forum, which changed my perspective and led to entering into the test with confidence. I was convinced by the outstanding support I received that passing FAR would be possible even with my practice test scores because others before me had done the same thing.

    After taking the test, I did my best to think positive thoughts. I felt that I had performed well on the MCQs and passing would come down to the simulations. Then my results came … and I got a 60! I was weaker in everything except Not for Profit, for that I was comparable.

    I tried to fight through all the negative emotions that go with failing, but I couldn’t really get through them. At the time I got my FAR score, I was half way through preparing for Audit and was performing well. I consistently got 80-90s on my practice exams. Surprisingly, I’ve never worked in Audit a day in my life. I’ve been in corporate accounting most of my career and had a cup of coffee in corporate finance about four years ago … lol.

    Mentally, after getting over my FAR score, my new plan of attack was supposed to be 3 months of intensive study from Jan 14 – March 14 and re-take FAR at the beginning of April. Well, that’s when what usually happens in my life as it relates to this test happens.

    At work, we had mandatory 10-hour days Monday through Friday and 4 to 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday from the beginning of January to the middle of February. That left me way too tired and angry to study. I resolved to begin again in February using a modified version of the NINJA method.

    So, now here I am again within thirty days of my FAR rematch. I feel way more confident with the material than I did with the first go-round. My plan in these last four weeks is to answer at least 90 MCQs a day, 4 days per week, review notes 2 days, and rest 1 day so that I can refresh. I am confident that with a second chance, I will slay the beast that is FAR on May 12, 2014.

    See you at the swearing in ceremony!

    April 15, 2014 NINJA CPA Review

    CPA Exam Pass Rates 2014 (Q1) Released; Looking (Mostly) Good

    fist-bump

    The CPA Exam Pass Rates for the January/February 2014 Testing Window have been released by the AICPA.

    AUD Q1 2014: 47.35%
    AUD Q1 2013: 45.19%
    AUD Q1 2012: 44.9%

    AUD: 5% Increase vs. 2013

    BEC Q1 2014: 53.28%
    BEC Q1 2013: 53.47%
    BEC Q1 2012: 48.63%

    BEC: Negligible Decrease vs. 2013

    FAR Q1 2014: 44.06%
    FAR Q1 2013: 47.16%
    FAR Q1 2012: 43.84%

    FAR: 6.5% Decrease vs. 2013

    REG Q1 2014: 49.17%
    REG Q1 2013: 47.57%
    REG Q1 2012: 45.00%

    REG: 3% Increase

    Analysis: FAR dropping so much is puzzling. Thankfully, the transition to the Clarified Auditing Standards (introduced July 2013 and fully implemented January 2014) didn’t give candidates any problems. It must have been the Clarity Project Video .

    :)

    April 15, 2014 CPA Exam Pass Rates

    Three Weeks to Go: Match with BEC to Finish the CPA Exam

    ben Ben is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

    HiYa!

    Hello my fellow NINJAs and CPA exam destroyers!

    It is hard to believe how much time flies when you are having fun furiously studying for your next exam! This has been another crazy week for me. I was finally over my flu bug by Wednesday, but then I got back to work and was crazy busy.

    I had reconciliations to do, refunds to process, and invoices to make. I work as an accountant in an AR function and it was crazy busy catching up on all of my missed work. With getting sick so much lately it has really put me behind in my studies.

    If you have been following my blog you know that I don’t want to push out my exam anymore because we have a baby due the end of May and I really do not want to have a conflict of interest, as it were, with trying to take my exam while my wife is having the baby. (With how unlucky I have been lately with everything I wouldn’t put it past me having that issue come up too!)

    So, I will have to push hard to get ready for my next exam.

    I have gotten through all of my videos and I am now starting on my Wiley MCQs. It is amazing how beat up and useless these questions can make you feel. From experience, the questions are much harder than the MCQ’s you see on the exam, but they have to drill down points you may possibly see on your exam.

    It is easy to get discouraged with the questions but I merely take one section at a time. Each question I miss I try to write down the basic rule behind the question and what I need to know about that topic. I think reading and writing down the correct logic behind the question have helped me get through and retain more of the needed information for the exam.

    So BEC and I have our match in 3 weeks. Three weeks to finish up this exam and to finalize my CPA exam journey for good. It’s my last one! Good luck studying NINJAs! Keep up the good fight and may the force be with you!

    April 15, 2014 NINJA CPA Review

    CPA Reviewed: CPA Exam Podcast #55

    The CPA Reviewed Podcast is back!

    (I can tell you missed it).

    As usual, there are two ways to get the podcast: YouTube, and an audio-only version that streams from the site. You can also subscribe on iTunes

    Have a question for the Podcast? Ask Jeff

    Rod - I studied for FAR for over 5 months, went through my video course 3 times, as well as the Wiley test bank, and passed with a 77. Now that I’m studying for Audit I don’t want to go through the same process. What lessons should I learn from my first studying experience?

    Alejandra - I have taken the audit exam 3 times and my scores were 70,69,70. What can I do to better prepare for my retake?

    Barbara - About 5 years ago, I started registering for the CPA Exam and never completed my registration. A whole lot of excuses later, I am ready to embark on this journey. Where do I begin?

    CPA Exam Survival Guide

    Ashley - Do you know if the pass rates for the exams are skewed so low because of 1) people who don’t study, and 2) people who graduated 30+ years ago? If you had to guess, what percentage of people who have recently graduated with accounting degrees and are actively studying for the exam actually pass?

    Carolina - Is it possible to study day and night and pass all four sections in six weeks?

    Mike - I hate my job as an auditor and have a new job offer. I don’t want to leave my company hanging during busy season. Should I tell the new company I’m available in April?

    Eric - Best way to quickly and efficiently pass the CPA Exam while studying full time?

    Alicia – How large are the NINJA Audio files? I am guessing they are MP3 files, but I’d like to know if they can fit on my old MP3 player which is only a 4GB player.

    Also how do the updates work for the notes and the audio? Do you have to provide copies of your failing scores to receive the updates? I was just wondering if for some reason an exam got pushed back from the 2014 year to the 2015 year because of whatever, would someone still be eligible for the updates for free? I’m planning on starting the exam this fall and with the weather here in the northeast and my luck, I’ll get snowed out on at least one exam testing day. What is the best way to pass quickly and efficiently the CPA exam? I am between jobs and I want to take advantage of my time off.

    Get More CPA Reviewed Podcasts

    Free Resources:
    CPA Exam Survival Guide
    CPA Exam Study Planner

    April 14, 2014 Podcasts
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