Waiting on REG Score + Making Plans for FAR
Greetings fellow NINJAs.
I have been laying low and working hard on my preparations for the FAR section. I had a little hiccup in my plan, but I am going to take this as the universe trying to show me something.
I was scheduled for July 6th, which seemed ideal as I have to drive over to Spokane (three hours away) the night before and it was almost exactly two months since my REG exam. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men, it was not meant to be.
Family decided to come visit over the 4th – wonderful, always glad to see them and our tiny town does host a wonderful celebration, but I was going to take my exam that weekend. OK, deep breath, not a biggie – I go to reschedule and the following Saturday is not available.
Mind you, I could ASK to take a day off for the exam and it would be granted no problem, my company is very supportive and just generally really great people, but I have in mind this Saturday thing. So, I am now out to the 20th of July. Did I mention that the family was not able to make it after all? While I will miss them dearly, I am excited about the extra time to prepare.
Back to my studies – using a paid program this time, enhanced with my NINJA Notes and Audio. Some day, I am going to be in an airport somewhere and I am going to hear Jeff speak and just KNOW that it is him. Good thing he has a great voice, because I am determined to listen to the FAR audio pretty much constantly.
I got to the first major section in my review course and I hit a very big wall – really, this is the start, this should be the easy stuff. Oh, wait, that is right, I graduated from college in 1994, not last year, so perhaps some of this basic stuff is not readily available in my aging brain. WOW. Humbled – I am just so humbled by this process.
I reached out to the course for help and the answer really smarted a bit – they essentially said that this was a review course and perhaps I should retake intermediate accounting first. Ouch, true perhaps, but ouch. Well, I persisted and made it through that section.
Based on my study plan with them, I am a little bit behind, but not horridly. I have reserved two weeks at the end for a final review and I am positive that this is going to make a huge difference for me.
My current plan is as follows:
- Complete review course by Friday July 5th
- Compete six full runs of the MCQ’s, taking notes as I go to learn from the process. That is about 190 questions a day, which may be unrealistic, but I am doing them in small chunks of ten questions at a time. I need to calculate the SIMS as well as I would like to have six runs of those done as well.
- Read the NINJA notes at least five times through. I have this broken out to 13.57 pages per day to read – that should be an easy one. I made a little chart with boxes to check off at each four page increment.
- Copy the NINJA notes at least twice completely. Here again, I have this broken down with little boxes to check and I am aiming to do this more than twice, but twice seems like a great place to start.
- Listen to the NINJA Audio for at least an hour each day. My ride to work is about thirty minutes each way, so this one is a no brainer, but again, something that I hope to do more of.
- Review mobile app during brief down times. I have no target for this, just reminding myself that it is there as an asset for me.
Now that the plan is in writing, I will be updating periodically to share my progress and what I have learned along the way.
My husband has put a HUGE carrot out there for me when I pass. I actually learned over dinner on Saturday night that he has to actually see the ‘plaque’ before I get my reward, so I may be driving to Helena with my last score to demand that my license be issued on the spot. Helena is about six hours each way, this is Montana, nothing is actually close.
I should hear about my REG results this week if I am reading the chart correctly. I PROMISE to not cry – it is what it is and I cannot change it. IF I need to redo, I will hit that at the end of this July test window if at all possible – it will depend on the score and the areas that may need work. There is no sense paying to sit, plus the hotel and travel time if I am not ready to nail it.
FAR Study: MCQs and Notes in Final Stretch
Well this is the final stretch, number crunchers. I haven’t been blogging much, because there’s not been much change.
Problems, problems, problems.
NINJA Notes, notes, notes.
I’m seven days out from taking the FAR portion of the exam. Something that is deeply disturbing to me when I retake an exam, like I’m doing with FAR, is when I discover something that I should have already known.
For instance, the other day, I learned something about expenses that had somewhat gotten out of my bubble of knowledge over the years. I had my CPA friend explain a Wiley problem to me and I was just dumbfounded that the information he gave me wasn’t something that I knew. How could I have possibly gone in and taken this exam before and not known that?
Of course, I’ve passed BEC and AUD, and I can assure you, if I went over that material I’d look at it and say “Wait, is that right? You’re supposed to put a date on an Auditor’s Report? Well, how about that?” Or something equally as obvious that somehow slipped by me.
I think I’m doing well, but a few weeks ago I got put behind with some medical issues, and while I’m back on my feet, I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to make my end of May appointment. So I considered putting it off until July 1st where I KNEW I’d be ready.
I decided against that though. Of course, don’t get me wrong, I still may be taking it July 1st, but I’m going to go in now and try to knock it out in May as well. I think if I put it off, my brain subconciously will slack in its studying urgency, and as a result those 4 weeks in between will not be utilized to the fullest like I assume they would do now.
We certainly don’t want to invite failure, but one of the things I’m planning on doing this time around, is that if my May test turns up with an unfortunate number, I’m going to jump right back on and hit it again in July.
I haven’t done this previously because usually I had the 18 month clock ticking, and had to start studying for something else, and the insane amount of time it used to take for the grades to come back, it was difficult to put everything on hold. Or, (and more embarassingly) I would become a pitiful sad sack about my grade and temporarily give up.
So, we’ll see how this repeated attack works for me. I’ll see you guys after testing!
Introducing NINJA CPA Blogger Sean
This is going to sound like confession: it’s been about one and a half years since I studied for the CPA Exam. I’m actually okay with that. The story is as follows.
At about age 32, I finally figured out what I wanted to do. I’d previously attended college for 3 years at the local state university, but dropped out when my son got sick and needed me home more. I was tired of school, anyways.
My wife and I moved out of university housing and worked alternate schedules because daycare did not work for my son and his new set of challenges.
This type of schedule tended to work well with jobs like construction, landscaping, warehouse and other part time work, usually working 2 – 3 jobs to both make ends meet and pick up the kids from school and coordinate other scheduling issues.
The kids were now teenagers and I had decided I was going to get a full time day job at a retirement or other financial planning firm. A brief stint with an insurance and investment company had shown me I was good with the numbers and explanations, but not so much the sales.
I still remember the day I sat in my cubicle and decided I was going to pursue the CPA licensing process. Little did I know what that really entailed. After finishing my undergraduate degree in accounting, and then completing the MAcc, I thought the testing would be a snap.
I had always been really good at tests, but didn’t realize that didn’t necessarily help all that much on the CPA Exam. Not only did I go into the process with slightly unrealistic expectations, I now had a family, mortgage, dogs, the usual household chaos, and two jobs.
Besides working for the retirement firm, I had also started a tax and accounting firm while in school, in order to gain experience and even some mentoring from a local CPA I subcontracted for. It had been serving just a few clients for a few years, but eventually became an overwhelmingly busy small firm.
My wife says I need to be cloned, as I always try to take on too much, and need more than one of me to accomplish it all. I finished the MAcc program in October, sat for and passed REG the first week of January. This made me a little overconfident, and I did not pass any of the next 3 exams (BEC was close at 74).
I had signed up for all of the exams at once, not really realizing that they could expire, and this wasn’t your typical college exam. My problem is definitely quality study time, with rest, or at least a little less chaos and stress, mixed in for good measure.
I plan this go around to take time off, especially Sundays, since I believe that day should be without work anyways, take it a little slower, and actually study the material not like I’m in a hurry, but really practice concepts and formulae as if I was explaining them to a client or presenting to a board of directors.
I just turned 40. I really need to learn to take things more slowly, and life a little less seriously. I visited Costa Rica for a friend’s wedding a few years ago, and the slow pace of life was so shocking to me.
The local Ticos, as they’re called, have a saying “tengo de tiempo.” It means “I’ve got time,” their version of “no worries” or whatever other similar sayings. I’d never been so relaxed as during that trip.
I’m not saying I’m going to go at a snail’s pace, but at least a snail eventually gets somewhere. I plan to finish testing within the next 12 months, a relatively long time frame for me, but should be a more realistic goal. Tough lessons that I’m happy to learn, as long as that takes me somewhere.
Introducing NINJA CPA Blogger Ali
I remember sitting in a CPA review company’s presentation in college. “Don’t sign up for an exam and think you’re just going to go and ‘see what it’s like.’ I’ll tell you what it’s like – it’s three hours of sitting there having no idea what the heck you’re doing. And it’s miserable.”
Those words stuck with me, and so I never took an exam just to see what it’s like. Not intentionally, at least.
Last June, I registered and paid the fees for all four parts of the exam, knowing that since I paid for everything, I’d definitely study. Except, I didn’t.
I bought the full set of NINJA Notes along with a couple audio sections, and made sure I was ready to start my review course. I dabbled with both the NINJA stuff and the course, but having no study plan meant I did a few MCQs and read a couple chapters before studying tapered off entirely.
Then came exam day – I figured, “it’s BEC, how bad can it be?” Well, it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t that great either. A few weeks later, I got worst news any CPA exam candidate can get – my lack of effort translated into a soul-crushing 74.
AUD was next. Work was out of control, so when I did get a few extra hours on the weekends, watching football seemed like a better idea than studying. The day before my exam, I drove around town until I had listened to the NINJA Audio twice over. I went home and did MCQs on my iPad like a boss. I don’t know how it happened, but I passed!
And then there was FAR. This was a race against the clock more than anything else. Last appointment of the last day of the last testing window of the year. I guess I couldn’t think of anything better to do with a few hours. 70. Needless to say, I never even attempted REG before my NTS expired.
So here I am, with three exam sections left (BEC, FAR, and REG) to pass before my AUD score expires next February. Since I started this journey, I left my audit job with the Big 4, joined a great company in industry, and found a renewed sense of motivation.
BEC is my next target. You buy the ticket, you take the ride – I can’t wait for all of you to join me on the road to becoming a CPA!