Waiting is the Hardest Part (but worth it)

cpa exam candidateTyler is a weekly blogger as he documents his journey through the CPA Exam. He is currently a graduate student at the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University.

Studying for Auditing:

As I briefly began to explain last week, I started studying for AUD earlier this summer, as soon as I started work full-time with an accounting internship. I did have a week or two of down time between finishing up classes in May and starting the internship, but of course I didn’t use that time to study.

At first, the studying was not too bad. I had talked with numerous friends that had already started studying for the CPA exam, and so I knew exactly what to expect when I cracked that book open. The thing that caught me off guard was just how time consuming the whole process was. I had maybe 5 weeks budgeted out to study for the exam, but I quickly realized that when they recommended at least 7, they were not exaggerating – especially when you throw in a 40-hour workweek.

I started off the studying process very slowly, hesitantly. Mainly this was because I had just finished an audit course in my undergraduate studies and so the vast majority of the material was relatively fresh in mind. All I really had to do was shift over my brief acquaintance with the topics to an in-depth, CPA exam resistant knowledge. I became a pro with the ever-so-exciting tidbits of knowledge such as a basic auditor’s report, typical IT audit controls, and the 10 Generally Accepted Auditing Standards.

My preferred method of studying was to read through a chapter in the textbook, do the multiple choice questions provided online, watch the related video lectures, then re-do questions that I missed. I’ll admit that I definitely did not have time to do this for every single chapter, but that’s at least what I aimed for.

Definitely the hardest part about all the studying was maintaining the discipline to get to work whenever I had time. After working all day, the last thing I wanted to do was lock myself in my room to study auditing techniques, but that’s exactly what I did. Once I really got into the swing of things, I was probably averaging a solid 2-4 hours a night on weekdays, and then anywhere from 3-10 hours on Saturdays and Sundays, depending on the little fun I had left in my life at the time. Once I finally went over all of the study materials for the first time, I then tried to go back and make note cards for all the key points that I felt necessary.

Note cards are just my preferred means of cramming in a lot of minute facts that I think may end up on an exam, and I highly recommend them to anyone that doesn’t use them. I know some study programs offer pre-made note cards, but for me, the most helpful part of my note cards is the process of actually writing them. Scientifically speaking, it probably has something to do with enforcing the knowledge through multiple channels – kinesthetically and visually, but since I’m in accounting and not science, I’ll just say I like note cards.

Although it probably was one of the busiest summers of my life because of all the studying on top of working, it was definitely worth it. I sat for the test mid-July, and just like everyone else, I felt that it went terribly. I think the worst feeling about the CPA exams is also the main reason a lot of you visit this site – you have to wait for your score even though you want it right away. As the song goes, waiting is the hardest part – especially when you have to immediately begin studying for the next section. In my case, the next exam up to bat was FAR, which I will blog about next week, but I’d like to end on a happy note.

6 weeks later, I got my score for AUD: 85!

The day that I got that score was definitely one of the very few days that I let myself take a break from studying to just celebrate the fact that I was 1/4th done with the most challenging exam of my life! One down, three to go…

Until next time,

One Response to "Waiting is the Hardest Part (but worth it)"

  1. Nick says:

    I enjoyed the post, Tyler.

    Ryan, you sound like a real winner.