We have a lot of "I took __ today threads" so to consolidate, here is the official thread.
Please - Not even a hint of exam disclosure per AICPA rules.
Links to other Exam Experience Threads:
Took FAR last Friday for the 2nd time. What frustrates me the most is the time limit. I can take 90 MC questions that are paragraphs(5-6 sentences) and 6 sims that require a deeper understanding than what your review material discusses, but give me 6 hours to do it. And let me at least bring a bottle of water into the test with me! Sorry, just venting here......
Compared to the first test, I think I did better on the MC. But, the sims this time around were twice as hard. I can't remember exactly, but I think I left 1 hour 40 minutes for the sims and still left one comletely blank. I am still clueless as how to study for them if your review material doesn't touch upon the detail. Do you just look at a topic in the material and start asking yourself what if questions and then research a possible answer?
I haven't experienced the "I can't believe I passed" moment yet, so here is hoping I will. I have been pretty spot on in knowing when I passed/failed.
Ugh where to begin. This will probably result in a long thread but I just got back from Prometric and of course you guys are the first people to talk to. Earlier this morning I was fairly calm, but I started getting really anxious in the car. I arrived at Prometric about an hour early and attempted to review my cards but I just knew I wasn't capable of absorbing anything last minute so I opted to take it earlier than my 11:30 time.
So Testlet #1 was totally doable, if fact even "easy" compared to what I expected. I thought that the material covered a broader ranger of topics than the rest of the exam did and I think I did well which was validated by the onset of Testlet #2. Right from the start of the second testlet, I was hit with two one paragrapher computation questions so I knew right away what people meant about it getting wordier. I don't know how to describe how I felt during this testlet, certain questions I felt really comfortable with and others I just really hated. I began to get bogged down with calculations and seeing any theory related questions was a huge relief. There were also reoccuring themes of questions and less variety. I consciously kept track of time and still felt stressed about staying on top of my timing. Testlet #3 returned to being ok, much like many of you guys had spoken about. I don't know how I did on this one since it was easier than #2 but I also felt the time pressure to leave myself 90 minutes for the simulations so I was much more rushed than I would like to be. Managing time was really hard for me because although I was basically on schedule I felt like my performance wasn't as optimal.
The simulations... god the simulations. As I began flipping through the tabs, my initial reaction was that I was comfortable with about 4 of the topics and the other 3 were from hell. I began with the research tab, and luckily I'm pretty sure I got it right within the first 4 minutes. Next I moved onto my next most comfortable topic, I think I nailed this one too and I hopeeeeee it wasn't a pretest. The next one I felt like 70% on. The rest of them were just ridiculous. The other topic that was presented that I initially felt comfortable on was so convoluted that I had no idea what the hell was going on. The amount of time it took for me to even read them and try to comprehend how to move forward was just unsettling. Each of the rest of the simulations had a full one page and half a scroll downwards of the actual simulation and then an additional page of extra information. I think I just got slaughtered on these, literally massacred. I started getting frazzled and flipping between tabs hoping to find another one I was ok with but nope. All in all, I left nothing blank but a lot of these were uneducated guesses but I worked until the time ran out.
Overall, the MCQ were better than I thought. The simulations were worse than I thought. And I think I failed. However, that being said, part of me isn't as scared of FAR anymore because half of my fear was the anticipation of "What is it going to be like?" Now I know, even though I really don't know how I will prepare to tackle the SIMs.
@mgoloubenko I'm sure you did fine!!!! I'm still super scared, can't believe i'll be taking it this week already! Thanks for the inputs, and I guess I'll go back to studying again! ;(
@mgoloubenko... thanks for sharing, now I have 3 days to look forward to those awesome sims you described
i took it today too...your explanation is pretty much my experience too.
the 2nd mc part was the hardest and half the sims were so completely hellish that i was literally about to laugh deliriously with 20 minutes left until 5PM when i could just get out.
after i signed out and went to my car i didnt even know what i was doing. i think i wouldve rammed into the prometric building (accidentally of course) if my dad hadnt sent me a text then and there.
an hour into driving i was just completely numb....until i hit a traffic jam on my way home on the interstate (which like never happens).......i saw 2 ambulance trucks and i just kind of went crazy.
i think i screamed for about 2 minutes about why people are so completely stupid that traffic cant even move.
and then when i got home i just started bawling...and now after a shower i guess i feel better.
its just FAR is so frustrating as a test i dont know how i can ever face all that material again....
i think for the majority i have levelled with myself that i most likely failed. i guess all i can do is pray now.
@cpa_someday- Yeah I just sat there and flipped through tabs for a good 5 minutes and then just basically began making things up about the ones I didn't know. I made up my own accounting rules, I believe. When I walked back to my car, I just felt numb as well I wasn't tired, or upset. I just sat in my car not thinking a single thing for about 10 minutes and finally called my dad and finally broke down. Now I just feel nothing. I have no idea how to study for the SIMS though...
@mg Don't worry... I am sure you did just fine... if it makes you feel better, I left one SIM completely blank and still passed FAR! :D I honestly think FAR is the most curved out of the 4 exams.
I took FAR for the first time today as well. This was my first section of the CPA exam. I was extremely pessimistic about the test because I could not pass a full length simulated exam on CPA Excel to save my life. It was very frustrating as I have not had a full night's sleep in three months studying for this test. I have a very demanding job that doesn't leave me much time to study until late at night. It is not so much the problem questions that were giving me trouble but the theory. Out of about ten attempts, I only passed one with a 76. I think because I had already accepted defeat, I was very calm during my exam today.
After reading all of the horror stories about FAR on this forum, I think today was my lucky day. My first testlet was borderline easy. My second testlet stepped up the difficulty and I was pretty sure that I missed quite a few. My third testlet was moderately difficult but nothing too bad. I was very surprised that there wasn't a question where I was like "What is this!!??"
The simulations were very long but were all on topics that I was familiar with. Hopefully I got enough partial credit on them to pass. I finished with about five minutes to spare. I am praying very hard that I passed this exam. I know that I will not be so lucky if I have to take it again. Now on to AUD.
@ Bcrawley! It sounds like you did great. :)
@mgolo, regardless whether you passed or failed (although i am sure you passed), just be thamkful to be moving on to bec. That will be a breeze for you after FAR. I started with bec and am studying far now and would trade anything to go back to bec! Although i should watch what i wish for because my 18 month clock is ticking away. One tip, dont stress the written AT ALL!
Unfortunately I think I'm changing my study plan because I have a friend coming into town next week, finals and graduation in May with my parents coming for 10 days so I won't be able to devote the time I'd like to BEC so if anything I'll restudy for FAR in June. At least you have one down, that's more than I can say!
Hey, everyone, I'm a newbie here. Take my FAR next week which I've spent a glorious 200+ hours studying for & AUD a few weeks after. Reading your posts makes me want to prep even more for FAR but I'm not sure how helpful that will be since the SIMs sound nothing like what is in the prep courses. I started out w/ CPA Excel then switched to Wiley.
I'm sure you guys have heard this but it is supposed to be a good sign if your 2nd testlet is harder. They only do that when you've done pretty well on the first. And I know it's a big IF but provided you do very well on your MCQs you can miss more than 1/2 your SIMs and still pass. Also, I've heard from various people that they were sure they bombed a section but ended up passing. So, best of luck to you all! Hopefully I can learn from your testing experiences to be more prepared for mine. Fingers crossed for everyone :)
@wmalvino, I hope you're right! My best advice is something that everyone says but just try to manage your time as well as possible because it was something I didn't have problems with when using Becker but the questions on the exam will be new to you and will just take a little longer to work out. That having been said, I though that they were easier than my practice materials- except for the second testlet which was just like ehhhhhhh lol
@mgoloubenko your post echos the way things went for me yesterday. Ever since I came out of FAR, the sims have clouded my mind. How do one even ever prepare for those things? I also felt the time crunch doing them. I had about 1hr20m to do SIMs but considering that SIMs are the most verbose and tricky, that time was not enough to think clearly.
I am still numb with the FAR experience. :-(
It really was a disaster, I sat in class this morning just thinking about it. I feel confident on the MCQ's and like garbage about the SIMs, how many do you think you got right/finished?
@mg: i posted this in the other thread, but i think it got lost in the shuffle...
I had a very similar experience like you did but in AUD. It's been a few days now (took the test on Saturday) and i am finally in full BEC mode. The best advice i recieved from everyone after this last dissapointing exam was to put it behind me, not think about it anymore because we cant change and it put all your focus into the next exam.
How are you preparing for BEC?
Hey Journey to Fate, I'm actually changing my study plan because I have a lot coming up this month like finals and graduation and by May I'll already know how I did on FAR so I'll begin the restudying then.
yeah i felt i did really well on my first testlet..a real confidence booster but the second and third testlets were alot more difficult. I ended up flagging almost half of them and spent way too much time working them out. I only had an hour left to do the sims. The sims were really long and i felt like i was rushing and didnt fully analyze the questions. i feel really dissapointed to say the least.
I hope you passed FAR! Thanks for providing us with your feedback.
Once you get past FAR, why are you planning to do BEC next? I've heard that it's best to do AUD right after FAR because there is some overlap in those topics. Take advantage of FAR being fresh in your mind.
This is only from other feedback that I've gotten from other sources. I'm not there yet, myself..
Just wanted to mention that to you.
Let us know your results when you get them, and congrats on your graduation!! Very exciting time.
My first post on here...I took FAR Monday as well. And the same thing happened to me as many of you mentioned already. Multiple choice was not bad. It got more difficult, but I only marked 6-10 per booklet. However, I only left myself an hour for the SIMS. They were extremely difficult. I did not get the last Sim at all. Hope my MC will pull me through but I doubt it.
so I wish I was under the same circumstances as now I feel like I Definitely failed.... I too took the exam on Wednesday last week and boy was it nerve wracking. although I must admit, as soon as I sat down and put those noise canceling headphones I was in another world. I totally zoned in and went to work. I believe the first booklet was the easiest however I feel like I could not notice them getting any harder. I mean, They were scattered questions and one might say that they were more difficult as they were questions over materials that aren't as simple such as bonds, leases, pensions etc. but having studied upwards of 200 hrs for this beast I felt very comfortable. I would answer and look it over quick but not look too much into changing answers. (i know when I think to much about it, I always end up with my first answer anyway.) that said, questions seemed challenging, guessed on roughly 4-5 per booklet but other than that I was pretty comfortable. Now on to the Sims....Either I was out of my mind and fantasizing that the Sims were extremely easy or I really got all of them wrong thinking I did great. I was left with 2 hrs to tackle them and finished every one of them with 4 minutes to spare. The SIMS were on subjects that I had covered or that I could reasonably work through with little to no problem. I would say that out of all of them, two were difficult but very workable, the others were medium to easy. I walked out of the exam with the biggest headache of my life (weird I hadn't noticed it during the exam). Now I am trying to focus on AUD and it seems impossible thinking that I could have badly failed FAR and am only adding information to my brain taking away necessary room for my potential retake of the BEAST.... I am praying that I at least get a 75.... I don't care about the bragging rights... I just hope I don't have to sit for this exam again.....
So, I took FAR today and it was just a relief getting the exam over with. Since it was my first exam, I was nervous because I didn't know what to expect.
I don't think I did very well. My 1st testlet was okay. I had a few questions where I didn't quite know and had to make an educated guess. The 2nd testlet was kind of the same difficulty but slightly harder. This really threw me off because that means I didn't do very well in the 1st testlet. I had more concept questions than I expected I would have so it seems like my 2nd testlet was medium-difficulty. Throughout the whole 2nd testlet, I was just thinking I must've done horrible in the 1st one. I tried to get it out of my mind, but I just kept thinking about it. The 3rd testlet got harder, but still manageable. There were more questions where I had the narrow down the answer to 2 possible choices and make an educated guess.
Then came the sims. I had 2 research sims and I'm kind of sure I nailed those. There were two sims I know that I did well, at least 75% on those. I butchered 1 sim. Becker did not go over this topic a lot (only 2 pages). So I'm pretty upset about that. I did okay on the 6th one and I can't remember what the last sim was. I even wrote them down on my scratch paper hoping that I would remember them all, but I can't remember.......
I would say that I have a 35% chance of passing and a 65% chance of failing. I really don't know how well I did for the MC. There were a lot of easy questions I feel I should've remembered. After that test I was pretty drained. As I was paying the parking attendant (btw, $12 is robbery), the person behind me hits the back of my car. There was no damage, but it's been that kind of week for me. I was so tired, I couldn't even get mad at her if I wanted to. But I did go to the mall and get myself some nice t-shirts for cheap lol
Overall, I'm glad I got my 1st test out of the way. I know what to expect now and if I have to take FAR again, it won't be too bad studying for it. Waiting a month for my score will be hell, but I have AUD at the end of May. I'll have that to occupy my mind. Good luck for those who are taking FAR this window. Know your gov't/nfp and know your JE for sims!
Yeah it seems like a lot of people had similar experiences. Today I spent a lot of the day thinking back on my exam and just drifting off in class thinking about it, I still don't know how to feel but I think people change their opinion on a lot of things based on how they score. For example, people who end up passing will say they thought the test was totally manageable even if they were sweating during it lol and people who will fail will still feel like FAR is the virtual equivalent of Everest. Guess it's all a matter of time.
@ Tux, there isn't much reason to my madness but I've heard AUD isn't that difficult to study for even when you're working so I'm leaving it for last. I want to get BEC done because nothing about the topic excites me and Reg I want to get done when I have nothing to do but study. But that being said, I am pushing back my study schedule and will focus on retaking FAR if that's what it comes to. If that's the case then I'll take FAR again July 1st, and BEC in early August. I don't start work until January so hopefully that gives me plenty of time to work towards the CPA but FAR is my absolute priority because I cannot imagine working and studying for it.
I agree with dualmatrix.
Just took mine on 7th of April.
I studied like hell and kept on scoring above 80~85% on Wiley CPA test.
Then on the actual exam, I've encountered way more concept questions that calculations...which kind of threw me off.
The theory questions were very specific and wording was very tricky, so I had a lot of question which I had to take a guess between 2 possible answers.
When it reached 3rd testlet, i was already tired and kind of just wanted to get this thing over with.
Sim...i also had 2 research, and there were some J/E questions which was never covered with Wiley although i did solve every single one of them during the practice.....so i was a bit upset about it as well. (SIM was harder than Wiley in my opinion)
I might have to take a round 2 with FAR, but i have REG scheduled so i'll have to shift my focus elsewhere.
To be honest, I am not sure how to re-study for FAR as when I got back home and re-took Wiley & other CPA software, I again scored in high 80's...i just can't find the theory questions from the actual test... should i just re-read & memorize the whole thing?
I just hope i passed somehow lol.
I feel like it's really the luck of the draw, because I had a lot more calculations than theory and I had hoped otherwise! And two research SIMs, ughhh I wish! So lucky haha :)
i can't seem to find the PM/Chat option in this forum.
Sometimes I want to chat with fellow test-takers to ask for their study tactics without bombarding the thread.
mgoloubenko, we should have gotten others' testlets!!!!
I feel like for the SIMs, there are those who have an inherent strength in them meaning that more likely than not they would not even have to look at the study material to know how to handle them on test day. I have friends like that who just KNOW what to do without studying for them and I feel like that's the hardest thing with the simulations because in reality how do you study them when they could be virtually on any topic. It's either something I feel that you're background has made you strong in, or you're just not. The studying part comes in with the MCQ's because that isn't knowledge that everyone knows from doing well in Accounting courses so I'm not sure how to handle it from this point forward.
For me, i was well prepared for calculations (although I had to guess on some hard ones during the MCQ), so my experience was better with simulation than bunch of theory questions on MCQ. Well, let's all wait for the official score!
It truly is the luck of the draw which makes me curious as to how they grade the exam. I got a lot of calculations. The first testlet had only a few calculations but nothing major. I'm praying for a miracle :) If I fail I have one last chance to try and pass before I lose Audit. I am really hoping it doesn't come to that....we will see!
It's gonna be a looooong month waiting for our scores.
Hi everyone- I’m new to this blog, and here is my story: I took the FAR exam on Monday. I studied diligently because I wanted to make sure I passed this time. I went over every nook and cranny, and every sim in Wiley, and for this test I had to learn all the new updates and IFRS material. I first took the exam in May 2008 when I was totally unprepared and didn’t realize that I needed more prep. I got a 56 on that one. The next time I took it was February 2009 and I got a 63. My next one was October 2009 and I bumped it up to 71. The last time prior to Monday’s was in November 2010 and I got a whopping 72. I really thought I’d nail it this time, but I don’t think I did.
Every time I’ve taken the exam it has seemed more difficult. I was kind of stunned by how hard the one on Monday was. My first question in the testlet was a really difficult calculation. That first testlet was so hard- usually there aren’t so many calcs in the first testlet. I pulled myself together and marked the questions that were difficult to come back to. Still I went over an hour on the first testlet. I was so glad to be done with it.
I always take a break, but only for about 3 minutes. I gulped water, went to the bathroom, got a new set of blank paper and hit testlets 2 and 3. I was really ticked off that I got some questions that were practically identical to questions I’d studied, but I could not calculate the right answer. Fortunately I remembered these questions and I’m going to figure them out on my own. You just don’t have time to really think in the exam- that is always the challenge. There are some topics I always score well on and I was so happy to see those questions. I’ve always heard that you should not select “A” unless you are really sure. There were many questions that I was dead sure about and they were letter A. I thought that was interesting.
The sims weren’t too bad- they were pretty short, but they were tough. I did the research first and I think I nailed it. The other sims I had to really sit and think about, and often guess. On many of the multis I had to guess. All in all I don’t think I passed, but miracles do sometimes happen. A coworker told me that she didn’t even finish one sim (back when they just had 2 long sims) and she passed the exam and got a decent score.
I know what I need to do- I need to take the topics I’m weakest in (calculations) and do speed drills. I wish I could mention the topic, but these calculation problems were all in the same module. They tested very heavily in this one module, which I thought was strange. They emphasized a lot of the same topics and didn’t cover some topics at all. I think the exam should touch on nearly everything. It seems kind of unfair to not do that.
My biggest gripe were the loud, sick people near me. There were about 4 people who coughed through the entire exam. Another guy sitting next to me moaned all the time. I think he was taking the CPA exam, too- and he didn’t realize it would be so hard. He was moaning and groaning all the time. I wanted to shout SHUT UP, but I couldn’t. I also wish they would issue us a big bottle of water. I get so thirsty. I HATE the calculator. Mine would not display commas for thousands. I had calculations in the millions with 9 zeros and I had to squint at the screen to read the figure. Geez- the exam is hard enough- why do they have to make it more so due to a crappy calculator?
On the drive home I was screaming out loud in my car with the windows rolled up. It didn’t help me feel better. I am not kidding- I went home and listened to a Joel Osteen show I taped on my DVR and his topic was not giving up- and that made me feel better. I am planning to take the exam again in July. In the past I wait so long in-between. This blog has been a HUGE help to me. Thank you all for your honesty and your sense of humor. I hope you all keep trying- don’t give up. We can all do this!
@ Lisa_Jane, I'm really glad that you keep working towards your goal! :) It's actually really funny that you mention the calculator function because I just had a conversation with my father about it, I was like they can't even give you a simple $3 calculator to work with, instead they have you counting 0's on the screen. And he just thought that was so ridiculous because what CPA doesn't have access to a normal calculator? I really think certain parts of the exam are meant to make everything more complicated.
@mgoloubenko Thanks so much for your comments about the calculator. I'm always bitching about it and no one really cares but me it seems. Yeah- why can't they just issue us a calculator?
The other thing that was weird at the exam was the metal detector. They scanned me at first and every time I went into the exam room after a break. I asked if it was due to guns and they said it was due to people sneaking electronic devices in. Honestly, I don't know how the heck you would even have time to cheat on the exam!
I think a lot of the process just messes with your head because going into Prometric just takes everything too seriously, "Empty your pockets". Finger print scans, picture taking. I'm pretty sure I couldn't pay someone to take the CPA all over again hahaha
I always truncate the numbers to cut out all the extra zeros...They like to throw numbers in the millions and billions, which is ridiculous... save yourself some time and truncate...you'll get the same answer without having to count the zeros on the screen.
I used to truncate in Cost Acct but I was nervous about doing it on the exam. I don't remember the calculator not having the commas before, but maybe I just didn't get numbers with 9 zeroes before either. I'm going to practice truncating for sure. Thanks!
I agree it can get a little confusing! Just keep in mind that if you truncate, you have to truncate EVERY number involved in your calculation, otherwise it won't work.
Wow, these stories are scaring me! I'm almost done my first run through the Becker review. I generally get about 60-65% of the questions right on the first try, immediately after listening to the lectures, with no other studying. I plan on spending the last 2 weeks leading up to my exam (5/5/12) doing nothing but 1000s of MCQ and re-writing my Ninja notes. I REALLY hope I can pass this thing on the first try. I feel like it will boost my confidence, and make me want to go pass AUD/REG sooner than I'm currently thinking.
Don't let our war stories scare you- if you study hard you should do OK. It is a tiring experience though- try to simulate an actual exam if you can with a timer running 4 hours, and just blow through the practice exam. You have to know the answers like at gun point. Best of luck to you and I hope you pass on the first try. I know lots of people who have.
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