Ask Jeff: Take CPA Exam in April 2017 or Wait for Feedback/Horror Stories?

Need CPA Exam Study Advice? Struggling with balancing Life and the CPA Exam and need to vent?

You can Ask Jeff, and your question/comment/frustrations will be answered in an upcoming Ask Jeff/Podcast.

Disclaimer: This is general advice only – I don't know all of the facts/details of your situation. Please keep in mind that my opinion is often wrong – just ask my wife.

Take the New CPA Exam now or wait and see?

Hi Jeff! Quick question about the change. Do you advice I take Audit on April 17th or should I wait to see and learn about other peoples experiences. I use Becker & Ninja.

Jeff: Well, first of all – what are you really going to gain from waiting? You'll either find out that it was horrible or it wasn't that bad. Does either change whether you're going to take it? No. 🙂

Second – you won't find out how people did until August 2017 when the April-May 2017 CPA Exam Scores are released.

Take it on April 17.

73 on AUD because of SIMS

I am doing well on the MCQ's for FAR. Planning to take my exam (scored 73 in November) in April. I tanked on the SIMS, hence the 73. What would be your approach to successfully passing this beast considering these new changes? I have answered each SIM you have provided in FAR at least twice. I am sure you have given this advice before, please point me in the right direction. Thank you very much for your time.

Jeff: The SIMS are going from a 40% weight to a 50% weight. Other than that – business as usual on the SIMS. Sure, you might be asked some questions in new ways – but let's face it … a Bond SIM is a Bond SIM. It's not as if the AICPA re-invented Bonds for the “new” CPA Exam.

One word of caution: You're not 2 points away today because of the SIMS…you're 75 points away. You need to re-study everything PLUS extra work on SIMS. A big mistake people make on retakes that you can avoid is to not cut corners.

But…I'm a Bad Test taker…

I am bad test taker and my score is very low. I'm getting really low scores and I'm losing confidence. Currently, I don't do anything but staying home and studying for the CPA Exam. What should I do to pass this exam?

Jeff: Good News: You're not the first person to ever take the CPA Exam who is a horrible test taker. Very smart people freeze on exam day. Raise your hand – anyone who is out there – who has ever just stared at the screen 3 questions into your exam and thought “oh crap – my brain won't work”. Yeah. It Happens.

One thing I'll recommend is to not stay at home and study. Instead, treat it like a job and get up and leave every day. Physically leaving has a phycological impact. You're leaving the house because you have important things to do. Staying at home leaves you prone to “proactive avoidance” … you find little things like cleaning out kitchen junk drawers that just have to be done instead of studying boring CPA Exam materials.

Get up and leave every day…library…coffee shop, etc. Switch it up.

August Score Release – what about losing credits?

Hi Jeff, I'm concerned about losing my AUD credit in June. I just took FAR and if I don't pass I will have to retake but the score release is not till August. Any idea if I do pass in August – will I lose my AUD credit?

Jeff: I specifically asked the AICPA Exam Team about this one. It's up to each state board individually to make the call. Hopefully, your particular state board of accountancy has director/board, who will show mercy.

Trending 85 … Actual 61!?!?!

Hi Jeff, sorry for the lengthy question, but I need your advice. Here's my situation: REG. First time I took it, I studied using different software, and I failed it with 61.

So I purchased your NINJA MCQ, and ninja audio and my REG's trending score was about 85%. I also felt veryyyyyy confident on the exam date. I seriously thought I passed it with like 90. And here I am, found out today that I failed with 66.

I mean it's not even 74! I failed with 66 which means I am very far off. And the funny part is that I was confident in almost EVERY SINGLE QUESTION I answered on the exam date. Now I have to retake it in Q2 which means new version.

Can you please help me to understand what might be the reason that I am soo far off? Did I learn something wrong and think it's right? I am very determined to my studying and “not studying enough” is not my problem. Thank you, Jeff!

Jeff: It sounds like you did so many questions that you started to memorize the answers. Whenever someone's Trending and Actual scores are that far off, nine times out of 10, it's because of this. One way to “trick” the Trending Score is to do questions multiple times. I don't know if this is the case with you – but it's my first guess.

You have three courses of action:

1) Reset your NINJA progress and go through each question and read all of the material that goes with each question and take notes and make sure you're learning it.

2) Get the NINJA Book in addition to #1

3) Get a different CPA course and CPA test bank because you've memorized the answers from NINJA.

Out of School 8 Years – How to Start?

Jeff, I need some guidance on the best way to attack this FAR exam. This is my first time taking any part of the CPA exam and I'm extremely nervous and a bit overwhelmed. I've only been studying for about a week and I'm not sure if this is the best way to attack this exam. I'm using Yaeger CPA review to study and I've been out of school for 8 years. Do you have any advice to attacking this exam? Also, should I start with a different exam?

Jeff: Good idea to start with FAR. Always better to get “the beast” out of the way first. My top advice on “how” to study is to simply download my free CPA Exam Survival Guide. It has the N.I.N.J.A. method and everything included.

73 on BEC – Switch to FAR?

I just found out that I failed BEC. I got a 73. How do I study for BEC with the exam changes? I am so disappointed, and I don't know if I should study for BEC or continue studying for FAR. I used Becker to prepare for BEC.

Jeff: I would re-study for BEC the same way as you would if you were taking it in January. Not much is changing…sure, you have some BEC SIMS, but you needed to know those Cost Accounting concepts anyway. I would read this post on recovering from CPA Exam failure.

Whether you stick with BEC or go with FAR is up to you. Either way, you need to start over. Unless you're sick of BEC – I would re-take it for two reasons:

1) It's somewhat fresh in your mind, which will help as you re-study

2) You'll be part of the guinea pig class with the BEC SIMS which will be fun.

From Facebook

Irma: Can I take the CPA exam if I only have a Bachelors in accounting and finance or would I need more schooling?

Jeff: Most states – if not all now – require 150 hours to sit for the CPA Exam. I would contact NASBA to get the ball rolling on what you need to sit.

CPA Examination Services
800-CPA-EXAM (800-272-3926)
International: (615) 880-4250

Cory:REG is my last exam, and I have to take it under the new format. What type of study material do you recommend?

Jeff: The study materials aren't materially changing (see what I did there?) for the new format. Whatever course you used to pass the first 3 – roll with that.

Mohamed: If I studied ninja notes only in FAR I will pass the exam ?

Jeff: I wouldn't do that … you at least need a “test bank” so, I would go with NINJA Notes and NINJA MCQ at a minimum – although I feel like you need foundational concepts like the NINJA Book or some other text to go along with NINJA MCQ and the notes – which are more like a “cram”.

Have a CPA Exam Study Question?

You can Ask Jeff, and your question/comment/frustrations will be answered in an upcoming column or Podcast.

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