Speed Bumps on the CPA Exam Path

    JennyJenny is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    All I have to say is I HATE COLDS.

    Okay, I hate any type of sickness but colds seems to be the worst. A cold just makes a normal, easy task 10 times harder.

    Don’t get me started on studying. Studying with a cold is not ideal. Every time I sat down to study I would feel like my head was in such a fog.

    I tried to stay as focused as I could. I’m focusing on the NINJA BEC MCQs. The information is slowly seeping in. There are days I feel like I haven’t made any progress.

    For now, I will focus a day at time. I also have to keep telling myself, each time I sit to study, as I proceed, I am gaining the knowledge I need to pass the exam.

    Spousal Insight

    Through this adventure, there will always be up days and down days. And unfortunately, as a spouse, sometimes stress gets to everyone, including me.

    When this stress is coupled with a sickness that gets passed around to all 4 kids, the studying wife, and myself, sometimes things become almost unbearable.

    HOWEVER, all of these things are just speed bumps in the road to success. These are short in duration, and sometimes cause a hard hit.

    The trek to pass the CPA exam is like traveling up a mountain on switch back (Slowly meandering back and forth and slowly up the mountain). So, when you hit a speed bump (like sickness) along that path, it can make the trek seem harder.

    As a spouse, and encourager, it is our responsibility to try to flatten those speed bumps as much as possible. Sometimes you can’t (like sickness), but some you can (like making sure the household runs smoothly).

    September 28, 2015 NINJA CPA Review

    Introducing NINJA CPA Blogger Melissa


    Melissa is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    Hello NINJAs. My name is Melissa and I’m from the land of beer and cheese, that’s right…Wisconsin.

    I graduated college in 2013 and don’t really have any responsibilities yet like a husband and kids. I started my CPA journey one year ago.

    I had finally gotten out of a job that I didn’t like and landed one that was only 30 hours a week and closer to home.

    I was feeling confident about life and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give the CPA exam a shot.

    I want the letters “CPA” behind my name to be more marketable and have more options in the job market so I can potentially move out of a small town into a bigger city and out of my parents’ home.

    So I started with FAR last summer and studied for about 2 and a half months. I really had no idea how to study and failed with a 55. I decided to move on from FAR and study for AUD. I failed with a 61.

    Since then I have taken AUD two more times and have failed both with a 72 and 66. Mix in another FAR retake fail and a BEC fail and my confidence was failing.

    After a few weeks off from studying and thinking about life, I’ve decided to take AUD again in November. I know I am capable of passing but I am going to have to change my study methods. I’ve been using NINJA MCQ along with some other programs that have an expiration date of January.

    My problem is that I jump into the MCQ without nailing the concepts. This time around I will be reading my book more and purchasing NINJA notes and hopefully actually following the NINJA method.

    I also need to get rid of distractions such as my phone and the Internet, and the mindless amount of hours I spend wasting time doing nothing on those things.

    I’m hoping that becoming a NINJA blogger will keep me more accountable and give me more motivation to pass this beast of an exam.

    If you’re reading this, don’t be so hard on yourself and know that you’re not alone in this journey!

    September 25, 2015 NINJA CPA Review

    Starting a New Life While Studying for the CPA Exam

    dustinpicenglandDustin is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    I have officially started at the Big 4. I have only been there a couple of days thus far, but it is going very well.

    We have training for about two weeks, so I won’t have any client work until the end of the month.

    I think this will be a good way for me to become more comfortable with what I will be doing and how I’ll be doing it.

    I think there will be numerous challenges along the way, but my Bachelors, Masters, and CPA exams have trained me thus far for anything.

    I have realized I won’t be able to take as aggressive of a study stance as this summer, so I will be taking one exam in October, and another in January (those are my contingent plans – possible they will change).

    It is hard to study for the CPA Exam more than a couple of hours a day right now. I spend full days at the office and then I try to stay a few hours extra to get a little studying in there. I figure it is better to do it there, because once I come home my motivation is drained and I want to unwind.

    I have met some great people thus far in training. A lot of people actually. Some I will work with in the future, and others I will not, but that is to be expected, as some of us are in different industries. It is exciting to start with a group of ambitious “go-getters,” many of who are about my age.

    Many went to top schools, but some went to smaller colleges like myself. Some people have passed all parts of the exam (very jealous), others have some parts done (my category), and then finally there are a few who have not even applied for their NTS yet (they are in for a wild ride).

    I think I want to take my next exam in October since I have training until the end of the month, thus a little bit more freedom to study. Client work obviously is priority, but they work with us to get these exams done, as they want us to be certified.

    I am nervous and excited at the same time. Excited to be going forth with a career, but nervous about the new job (which I think is totally normal) and anxious when it comes to the CPA exam.

    I need to get these finished, but in due time. This is accrual punishment (see what I did there?—cruel punishment)

    September 24, 2015 NINJA CPA Review

    Welcome NINJA Blogger Keona!

    Keona is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    Hello Fellow NINJAs

    I am an avid reader of Another71.com blog. (btw I might have an obsession with visiting Another71.com).

    I started my CPA journey in December 2014. I remember waking up and thinking about the goals I haven’t reached yet and the CPA exam was one of them. I had started studying before but got off the wagon.

    I figured if I invested money in the application fee that would get the fire behind me. So there I go on CPA Central paying over $400 for the application fee and for my BEC registration.

    I had already ordered books for all four sections so I was equipped to start my journey (or so I thought).

    I had the schedule date of February 16th in my mind for my BEC exam. That would give me two months to study for BEC – I know what a joke!

    I wished I would have been introduced to this site earlier. I know the bloggers would have suggested a shorter timeframe. I was a newbie to the CPA exam world and that was one of my biggest mistakes.

    It took a while to receive my NTS because I started my application around the end of fall semester and the winter break so my transcripts took a while to get NASBA. I received my NTS on February 9th and scheduled my exam for February 16th.

    In the middle of January 2015, while in the midst of studying, I received a phone call that my father had a stroke. This was a difficult situation since he lived 600 miles away.

    My siblings and I all live in the same state. In the middle of my study routine I had to leave to go to the state he lives and fill out all the necessary paperwork for him.

    Despite this bump in the road, I still decided to keep my exam date of February 16th. I took the BEC exam and I honestly didn’t know how I did. It was great just getting the experience of taking the exam.

    While I waited the three weeks for my scores, I read Another71.com instead of starting to study for the next section. (I know a waste of time).

    I received my score a 68, I was disappointed, but I knew most people retake sections of the exam. With the advice from my family and fellow NINJAs, I decided to stick with BEC even though I was ready to move to AUD.

    I purchased NINJA MCQs for BEC (the best purchase I made in 2015). I changed my study routine by going straight to Starbucks after work to study (quit going to the gym and studying at home) and restudied for the next 3 weeks.

    I took BEC feeling way more confident. I had four weeks to wait for my score. While waiting I started studying for AUD and I was getting a little nervous about fitting AUD in the same quarter because of my work schedule (budget time and my boss resigned). I decided to switch direction and study the beast next.

    I scheduled the test in the beginning of the Q3 testing quarter. That gave me two months to conquer the beast we know as FAR. In the middle of changing direction from AUD to FAR, I found out I passed BEC with an 84. (My first CPA exam pass! Woo-hoo! I found out on Cinco de Mayo which was great)

    I used the same method for FAR as BEC I read other materials while completing MCQs and Sims in the book. Then I purchased the NINJA MCQ for my final review and it really helped put everything together.

    I was ready (or not) to take my second section of the CPA exam: FAR. I took the exam and felt how everyone felt about the Sims: OMG! I decided to enjoy the rest of summer and wait for the FAR score to decide my next step.

    Score release day came and I couldn’t sleep I usually don’t check my score until the morning but this time I couldn’t wait. A 77, I passed by the skin of my teeth but I worked so hard for it so I was happy.

    I moved on to AUD and plan on sitting for AUD in the beginning of next testing quarter. I also have REG schedule for the end of next testing quarter so I will be busy. Wish me luck.

    BTW, my company announced a global transformation starting January 1, 2016, which means there will be layoffs and I’m not sure where my future lies here.

    So this was the perfect time to complete my CPA exam. It’s funny how timing works out.

    September 24, 2015 NINJA CPA Review

    AUD Won the Battle, I Will Win the War

    Joshua GraunkeJoshua is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    Seeing a 67 on your screen and letting the reality that the work you put in for the AUD led you to exactly zilch is a feeling I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. It was deflating and humbling all at once.

    I knew I could have done better, done more NINJA MCQs and stayed up the extra few hours to get this exam done, but I didn’t.

    And now, I am facing the same book that I was looking at a month ago, trying to re-learn everything I hoped I could start forgetting.

    I took 2 weeks to myself to re-focus and try to unwind after non-stop studying from June to the end of August.

    Now that I have gotten a break to rest, and to propose to my girlfriend, I am ready and motivated to kick some butt on the re-take.

    Moving forward, I know I will need to double down on my MCQs for the re-take, as that is where I most likely shot myself in the foot. I didn’t bother reviewing the assessment from the board because, quite frankly, I’m weak in all areas if I have to re-take the exam.

    I am not starting from scratch, but I do believe a more comprehensive review is needed to nail down some areas that I prayed didn’t get tested on the exam (spoilers: they all did).

    With wedding planning added to my ever-growing list of to-do’s, I know that time is going to be a premium item that will need to be meticulously monitored.

    There is no such thing as “free time” until the holidays begin and the exam window closes for the year. I have removed all of my fantasy football apps and push notifications from my phone, and will be cranking out NINJA Audio daily from now until October.

    Getting knocked down sucks, but what would suck more is to throw all of the work I’ve put in for my exam out the window because things didn’t break my way this time. I will not let this exam beat me. Audit won the battle, I will win the war.


    September 22, 2015 NINJA CPA Review

    Introducing NINJA CPA Blogger Angelle

    AngelleHeadshotAngelle is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    Hello, everyone! My name is Angelle and, like many of you, I have taken on the daunting task of passing the CPA Exam. Let me tell you: I did not know what I was getting myself into.

    I am halfway through the journey with FAR and AUD passed (more on that later), but I can’t help but feel like it’s never going to be over!

    Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel?
    All I can see is the darkness of this never-ending study session looming ahead! (Okay, that was a little overdramatic.)

    It has definitely been a rough ride, but the people on the Another71 Forum have been my inspiration and my motivation in desperate times.

    No one understands the toll this process takes on your life better than fellow NINJAs!

    Having a great support system is invaluable… this process can really tear you down. While on this journey, I have learned about a lot more than just accounting.

    The stress of the exam has challenged my relationships, stretched my emotions to their limits, made me take a hard look at the path I am on in life, and tested my power of will, but most importantly, it has made me stronger.  I’m going to look back on this in times of adversity and say, “If I could do that, I can surely do anything.”

    I’m scheduled to take REG in just over 2 weeks, so the pressure is on! I’ve got a mountain of flash cards containing almost every piece of information from my textbook, which I plan on going through over and over until I have every single one memorized. I foresee some very long days of studying up ahead!

    I can’t wait to share more of my story with all of you, but until then, happy studying! We are ambitious, we are capable, and we will achieve this goal. It will all be worth it in the end!

    September 18, 2015 NINJA CPA Review

    New City, New Job and Waiting on AUD Score

    dustinpicenglandDustin is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    Wow. I am all moved in. Ready to tackle the real world. I am settled into my Boston apartment along with roommates.

    The place is in the Old North End, a very fun and exciting place to live. All sorts of things going on and the residents of the North End are very friendly.

    And if you have ever been to Boston, if I say the North End all you think about is the Italian restaurants. One reason I am excited to start work is so that I can afford to eat at those places again!

    So, now that I am all unpacked, it is back to the grindstone. I seem to always have a score up in the air when I write these blogs.

    I am waiting for the AUD score for my retake, in which I won’t know for another week or so. I felt pretty good about the simulations, but there were some very difficult MCQs. Could go both ways I suppose.

    I plan on taking a few days to explore my surroundings and figure out the area I am living in. The last time I lived in Boston I lived on the other end of the city, so I don’t know this area nearly as well. After I am all settled and feel comfortable, I will start my studies again.

    I am thinking that next Monday I will start hammering out the information and some NINJA MCQs. I don’t feel the lectures are all that beneficial to watch the second time around.

    I tend to dose off and lose focus. But, I don’t say that is a tell-all rule for everyone. Each of us studies a different way, and it is up to you to find out what works best. I know now what works better for me.

    Best of luck to all of you sitting in Q4! I will be there with you. My next post will be after I have started work, and therefore I will have some new insights and experiences.

    September 16, 2015 NINJA CPA Review

    BEC Exam Scheduled: Time to Focus + Stick to Studying

    JennyAshley is a NINJA CPA blogger.

    It’s official!! I have paid all the exam fees and scheduled the BEC exam for October 17th. Not exactly a fun thing to do on a Saturday but it will be worth it once all parts are past.

    So what now? Time to focus harder and stick to my study plan. I have read over the NINJA Book and I am now tackling multiple choice questions.

    I am focusing a section at a time making sure I make notes on questions I miss. I am also working through the NINJA Flashcards.

    At this point the exam feels far off. I do know this time will go fast. In a perfect world I can get up early, study before work, study at lunch, and come home and study a few more hours at night.

    Reality for me right now is to study as much as I can after work. Managing two almost 4-year-olds and two almost ten-month-olds is sometimes a two person job.

    It’s important that I use all the study time I get efficiently. It’s not the quantity of hours you put in but the quality.

    Spousal Insight

    Sometimes it is hard to be a good spouse when your better half is studying for an exam. When they ask you to do something, the only thing they want you to do is what they’ve asked you to do.

    When they have studying on their mind, and something doesn’t get done, they can become distracted by that which they have asked you to do. As a result, you (the spouse) have now become an impediment to their studying efforts rather than a helpful aside.

    Remember that your spouse should be your focus. Do as they have asked the first time, and don’t procrastinate. If you fail in this, get back in line and help remove ANY impediments in their way.

    You as a spouse need to make sure their studying is efficient. As my wife said above, when time is short, it is about quality a not quantity.

    September 15, 2015 NINJA CPA Review
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