Distractions and Renewed Motivation

September 24, 2010 Club 75 Candidate Bloggers

Jay is a weekly columnist as a Club 75 Blogger, where he documents his journey through the CPA Exam. He has been a member of Club 75 since April 2010.

Week 2 Report:

Last weekend didn’t go quite the way I planned. Saturday was pretty much lost with the kids’ birthday party I had mentioned. My plan was to hit Starbucks early for studying, but there were some unforeseen things that arose.

Saturday was a complete wash.

On Sunday, I set up shop in my basement office, bad idea. Distractions all day long, kids upstairs crying periodically, the computer is available to check fantasy football scores, and the tv is available to occasionally check football highlights.

The weekend went completely off-course, but I realize I have to get back to the library in order to focus appropriately. I did at least get good quality time with the family, but that’s not going to help me on the Audit exam.

Studying during the week was slightly better. I did 2.5 hours on Monday, Wednesday & Thursday. I got stuck at work on Tuesday and by Friday night I was completely drained and useless when I got home at 7:30pm.

I didn’t really feel comfortable with my understanding of the types of Audit Opinions, so I took some time this Saturday to re-review Chapter 1 prior to doing the homework. I’m not really a fan of the way Becker lays out the explanations; I found it to be confusing.

They explain Modified Unqualified, give a summary of the 7 instances in which an explanatory paragraph is used, then after detailing the first 4 instances, they move on to Qualified Opinions.

Maybe it’s just me or the fact that I don’t get through a full chapter in one sitting, but the layout is all over the map in my opinion. Anyway, I hit the library for 4.5 hours on Saturday afternoon and then did an additional 2 hours at night, after the kids were sleeping. I feel like I got back into the groove Saturday.

Early rise on Sunday and I was at the library by 9am. I worked on Chapter 2 until 1:30pm, it actually went pretty well. After the library, it was time to get home and close up the swimming pool, the weather in New York is getting chilly and it’ll be frigid before you know it.

The kids get to play in the yard on their big wheel and tricycle, while I work on the pool and my wife does a clean up on the inside of the house. It all actually worked out pretty well and everyone is happy. I did another 1.5 hours this evening after the kids were asleep and now it’s Sunday night as I write this recap of my week.

During the week ahead, I plan on doing 3 hours after work every night, no excuses or exceptions. Now that school is back in session, the local college library is open 8am – 11pm, 7 days a week, so I will be at the library all week long. If I can get out of work a bit early, I may be able to log a few more hours than planned. I’m crossing my fingers.

Have a nice week and good luck with the score releases this week, I’m expecting FAR, but I’m not eager to see the results.

Week 3 Report:

I’ve done a pretty good job sticking to my study plan this week, after last weekend’s renewed motivation. I logged 11 study hours after work between Monday and Thursday. I’m still on Becker’s Chapter #2 for Audit (Other Reports).

Although I got through the lectures and most of the homework, I still have attest homework, supplemental questions and simulations, but hope to have those completed by Saturday afternoon, so I can start Chapter #3 on Sunday.

I feel like it takes me forever to get through a chapter and I am seriously starting to doubt my study habits. Becker gives a hypothetical weekly study schedule and assumes it should take 17 hours to complete Chapter 1 and 15 hours to complete Chapter 2, but I’m nowhere close to getting through the material at the pace they are suggesting.

Am I the only one that has experienced this? I think I may be spending too much time rewriting notes after each lecture is completed. I think that’s what torpedoed me with FAR too.

I feel it helps me, but its way too time consuming. I wonder if I am wasting precious time rewriting notes. Would appreciate if anyone, including Jeff, has any comments or thoughts on rewriting the notes??

(Jeff’s Input: Re-writing your notes is one of my secret CPA Ninja Study Techniques. The only exam I had time to do it on was REG, which netted me a 92. ONLY do it if you have a full week to devote to it. Otherwise, MCQs are much more important.)

Anyway, I got this renewed motivation last week to start hitting the material hard and the past week has gone well, until today. I received my second FAR exam results and scored lower than the first time I took the exam. That was completely demoralizing and makes me wonder whether I have the steel to get through the whole darn CPA exam.

It also makes me think of the impact on my family. I’ve been at this since March and haven’t got a thing to show for it. I’m trying to remain positive and focus on AUD, but its really difficult.

Plan for the next week is 3-4 hours on Friday, 5 hours each on Saturday and Sunday, and then 3-4 hours per evening on Mon-Fri. If I get 15 hours logged during the week, I’ll be very happy.

Lastly, any suggestions on the Cram courses for FAR would be appreciated. Any advice or experiences with Becker Cram or Yaeger CRAM would be helpful. I may order from http://www.yaegercpareview.com/

My goal is going to be to finish AUD by third week of October and then do a cram course for FAR and retake FAR on NOV 30th.

If you’re wondering why I’m being aggressive on cramming them both in by year end, its because I’d like to try and avoid preparing for the updated materials/formats in 2011 for FAR and AUD.

Hope your week has been better than mine.

Jay-O



  • Michelle Richard

    Alright – so I just got my audit score (an 80) so now I can say this with confidence, get Jeff’s notes. Best idea I had for audit. I used Becker as well and was so lost and confused, his notes are kind of lengthy but are right to the point which I love!! I used the Becker Final Review for both BEC and FAR, I got 88 and 87 on those. I definitely thought it helped summarize a lot of the points right before the exam. I was too burnt out to bother with it for Audit. I think to use it by itself would be a good idea as long as you have done close to passing, and since you have other becker’s you can use that to supplement. Also the Wiley test banks are only $80 and provide a lot more mcq’s. The Becker Final Review didn’t have many new mcq’s and I found that disappointing but still a good thing to do to bump you up! Best of luck!!

  • http://www.another71.com Jeff – another71.com

    Thanks Michelle!

  • Akap

    The first two times I took AUD I used Becker. I passed the first time, but my score expired. When I failed AUD the second time I decided to buy Yaeger. I definitely still relied on a lot of tools the Becker material provided, but Yaeger was organized in a manner that was much easier for me to follow and understand. It really cleared things up in my head (especially when it came to the audit opinions) and I passed! Good luck!

  • Chris K.

    Definitely stick with Becker. I just passed AUD with a 78 on the first try using Becker (I could have studied a little more on a couple of sections). It prepares you really well and I actually saw several MC questions from Becker on the actual exam. Just read and re-read the sections and hammer the MC’s and you’ll do fine. The key to the AUD exam is memorization.

    Good luck!

  • New Orleans

    So I see some people received their audit scores. I am still waiting. Just checked and my score still is not up. The wait is killing me!!! I took the audit exam on Aug. 17th. Where is my score? Does anyone have any suggestions? Jeff any predictions on why I haven’t received my score?

  • Chuck W

    Jay O,

    I’m not a club 75 member, but I’ve been following Jeff’s site for over a year now. It’s a great way to see what others that are in the same boat are going through, to vent if needed, and to get EXCELLENT advice. Thanks, Jeff. This site has helped me through some of my toughest days – honest truth.

    Jay, I love that you’re giving a week by week summary. I’m sure it’s helpful to a lot of people out there. A synopsis of my personal experience: BEC 77; Reg 67, 80; Aud 71, 80; FAR 53, 67, studying for it right now. Some advice for you: I’m a big proponent of the idea that it’s not the review course – it’s the person. I’ve only used Becker, and my failures were always and only because I didn’t put in enough time. If you put in enough time, you WILL pass – it’s my firm belief and it’s that simple. Of course, putting in the time can be a very difficult matter complicated by emotions, habits, responsibilities, sometimes self-lies, etc. (all of which I am very well acquainted with). Having said all of that, I really believe that Becker, Yeager, Wiley, Bisk, Kaplan, etc. are all just as good as the other. There just can’t be that much difference between these. Too many people have passed using any of these for any one of them to be that bad. I too considered switching from Becker, and the real truth is that I considered it because blaming the course was easier than coming to terms with myself and changing my studying behavior. Bottom line: whatever course you have currently is in all likelihood good enough, and Becker is certainly good enough.

    Since you’re feeling a time crunch – end of year, what I recommend is changing the WAY you study. Here’s what I did: Once I had taken my first 2 simulation exams I no longer studied the sims on the software. GREAT advice I read from someone somewhere on this site. You are not going to see the same sim on your exam anyway, and if you know the concepts well enough, then you can answer any question correctly – MC or Sim, and the best way to learn the concepts is through the MC. So to make the most of your time listen to each lecture, do EVERY MC, and after lecture 3 do a quiz over 1,2 and 3, and then after each additional lecture do a quiz over all of the previous lectures. Like someone once told me, and she was absolutely right, “repetition is the key.” Yes you will be doing the same MCQs over again and will immediately recognize many and know the answer, but the key is to remind yourself of the concept behind the answer and DEFINITELY KNOW WHY THE ANSWER IS RIGHT AND WHY THE WRONG ANSWERS ARE WRONG. That cannot be overemphasized, because the ultimate key to passing is knowing the concepts – since you won’t see the same exact MCQs – except for maybe a few, and again, the best way to learn the concepts is by doing the MCQs and LEARNING THE CONCEPTS through the questions.

    On exam day: When you get to the sims do the written part 1st, then the research, and then the rest of the sim. Each written part is worth a whole 5% of your grade – that’s huge. Make sure you don’t run out of time for those. On the last sim, if you run out of time like me – every time – yes, even on Aud both times I took it – I’m a slow test taker, you can just fill in any of the multiple guess choices from the drop down menus if your sims are like that. To pass these exams you need to 1, know the stuff, and 2, know how to smartly take the exam. This is how I’ve managed so far. Best of luck to you; I know what you’re going through.