Barry is a weekly Another71 Facebook blogger as he documents his journey through the CPA Exam.
After 12 months, 500+ hours of studying, 6 exams, many near-nervous breakdowns and a very deprived wife, I have finally done it! When that beautiful 87 sat there staring back at me in the face, it didnt seem real.
So much time, energy and sacrifice this year was all worth it in the end. Since this is my final blog post, there were a few things Ive been waiting to write about that I truly felt helped get me over that final hump
#1 There is no one perfect prep course out there. Some people swear on one course or another. Personally, I found my review course more than adequate. I did supplement REG and AUD with a test bank, but only for the additional MCQs.
#2 Plan accordingly! I started studying on New Years Day 2011. I had each of the first four tests planned out before I cracked open my first book. I also had a backup plan for when/how Id take retakes (just in case).
My goal was to be done by the end of 2011, so the plan was to take 2 tests per window, one at the very beginning (April and July) and one at the very end (May and August). That gave me 8 weeks between tests, except for BEC which I had 5 weeks for in early July. Then, I knew I could use the final quarter to retake any missed parts. Granted, I was lucky enough to have passed 2 on the first try, making my retakes a little easier to plan/study for.
#3 Get serious and be persistent!!! I think many people first starting off with this exam dont truly understand the magnitude and sacrifice necessary to conquer it. Im not saying give 24/7, but you cant just study when you feel like it. The worst moments of the last year were when I was exhausted (less than 4 hours of sleep a night during my FAR study marathons) and sick at the same time, wondering why I was doing this.
If you arent 100% committed to passing this thing, it wont happen. In fact, there are many people in the forum who have been at this for YEARS, sacrificing everything and still havent passed. So, you really have to keep at it.
#4 Use Another71.com. Im serious about this. Im not lying when I say that I passed this monster because of this website. I found it about a month before I took FAR and the stories from people in the forum (Yankee, Keeptrying, etc.) have been my inspiration. Im not a vocal person on the boards as I read from afar, but listen to these people. Theyve been through the ringer and are still fighting for their goals and dreams. But, the most important part is we are all a community here. Everyone (alumni and current exam takers) are in it together.
#5 Just take the exam! What I mean by this is dont sit and wonder about how you did. There is absolutely no way to know. When I read the boards, people are always saying Oh, the first testlet was easy, second was much harder, as was the third, or something like that. And, since we know that the harder the testlets get, the better youre doing, right? Well, from experience, let me tell you that this isnt true because you cant know which questions are considered difficult or not.
The longer paragraph questions? I didnt have a single one of those in AUD/REG/BEC and scored in the 80s. I had a few in FAR and got a 78. My point here is to study hard, take your test, and dont worry if the tests are getting harder or not. They may not seem harder because youre so well prepared!
Hopefully that didnt seem like a lecture. My goal is to share my experiences and processes that I truly believe were the key to passing all of these tests. Im not sure if any of my blog posts actually were helpful to either of you who read them (joking), but hopefully you gained something from reading about my experience.
Good luck to everyone trying to close this out once and for all, or to those of you just starting out. Use this website, I promise itll be the best decision you make.