FAR Trouble Spots: Pensions and Deferred Taxes

Jay is a weekly columnist as a Club 75 Blogger, where he documents his journey through the CPA Exam. He has been a member of Club 75 since April 2010.

Week 17:

Hello all. I’ve had a good week logging my study hours, but unfortunately I’m having a tough time slogging through Pension plans and Deferred Taxes. I logged 22.5 hours this week and have gotten through Becker’s Chapter 6 lectures, but haven’t fared very well on the MCQ’s.

I was getting questions wrong, because I wasn’t getting the amortization part correct, but I think I understand it now. The other thing is that the Pension questions give you all that data, so it ends up taking me 5 minutes to get through the darn question. Hopefully practice will help me identify the pieces I need more quickly. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

On Deferred Taxes, I can identify the permanent and temporary differences, but I seem to be having problems distinguishing whether I have a DTA or DTL, so I subtract when I’m supposed to add and vice versa. Are there any sure fire tips that I can look for that might help me distinguish between them?

For instance, I try to use my financial statement income and figure out whether it will be positively or negatively impacted in future periods based on the information given, but it hasn’t been working consistently for me. Again, any tips you guys may have would be appreciated.

I have 36 days until my exam, so I will likely need to increase my pace, as 20 hours per week doesn’t seem like it’s going to get me there. I have 3 full chapters remaining, so if they take 1 week each, which I fear may not be quite enough for these last chapters, that will only leave me with about 2.5 weeks to cram and do MCQ’s.

I’m starting to get nervous, as I know this material when I read through it, but I never seem to do really well on the MCQ’s. I wish I did this earlier in life, as I feel like I’m taking all this time away from my little girls, but don’t see any end in sight, I have real doubts about passing FAR. My win in Audit hasn’t really helped build my confidence very much. Well, I’ll let you know how the next week goes. Good luck to all.


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Georgina 12 years ago

For those long questions (especially pension plan), I usually scroll down and look at the questions first and determine what they're asking, and skim quickly through the question to look for the parts that I need: because sometimes it's good for you to understand the questions thoroughly when there are a series of questions based on the same descriptions, but that's usually the case in practice questions and not in the real exam. In the real exam, sometimes they throw some long description at you but in the end they asked a very simple question that didn't require you to read the whole thing. So save some time, skip to the question and determine what they're looking for, then read through the question as necessary/required.

Jay.O 12 years ago

Thanks Georgina. I always feel like I'm going to miss something, but you're right. Becker does always say to go to the question stem first, so I will give that a try and see how it goes. -Jay

Georgina 12 years ago

Good luck! :)