CPA Exam Rants

CPA Exam Rants: April/May 2009 Window



This is a discussion post for anyone sitting for the CPA Exam in the April/May 2009 window. A follow-up post for score predictions will run early May.

You can read rants from previous testing windows here.

Good luck everyone (especially those working through tax season)

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675 comments on “CPA Exam Rants: April/May 2009 Window”

  • Hi Kankur, I have the same question as yours. I scheduled my BEC exam next week but don't feel like I am fully prepared. My NTS for BEC will be expired in 12 days. I really want to apply for a new NTS this month so that I still can take this exam in this test window. Should I wait after the NTS expired or can I get a new NTS NOW?
    If I don't show up for the exam, am I allowed to get the new NTS and take BEC in the same test window? I am planning to take it at the end of August. Thank you very much for your help!

  • I passed AUD, FAR, & REG, however failed BEC and now have lost AUD. Is there any rules about if I have to take AUD first? Or any rules about lost credit re-takes? Or am I the only one that has lost an 81.

  • I just passed my last sections, FAR & BEC. I passed AUD & REG in Oct & Nov of last year, and then took a break until after tax season. I wasn’t planning on doing that so I registered for both remaining sections in December. I looked at my NTS for FAR and realized BEC expired at the end of May. I took FAR fully prepped and got a 95 on the last Tuesday of the window. I took BEC 2 days later on 11 hours of study with my review book and got a 77. So woo hoo. So that’s all four sections on the first try with a 95 on REG & FAR a 90 on AUD and a 77 for BEC using only CPAexcel’s online & book. The felt a little cheesy, but certainly can’t complain.

  • I used the Becker review CD’s & also purchased their Final Review product to study for and pass all four examinations. I did not really focus on the simulations, but did do almost every multiple choice question. The key to passing this examination is persistence and few things in life feel better than getting that final passing grade.

    Jeff – Thanks for all the information you have provided on this site. It is a great forum and a wealth of information, especially around score release time.

  • Has anyone taken the Becker Final Review one day crash course? I am wondering if it is worth paying the money, if it’s just someone giving me more mulitchoice questions, no thanks…but if it helps with strategy and focus point on taking the exam I may be interested. The web site really doesn’t give much help so I’m looking for people who have actually taken it…

  • Well the fourth time around was a charm-I finally passed FAR with a 75…I know I know that in graduate school this would have been a grade that I would have scoffed at (all that work to get a 75). But this is the hardest grade that I worked for and I am so glad that I made it. Now I am done with the entire exam!!!

    So for everyone out there who is retaking a section-hang in there-there is light at the end of the tunnel!!! I wish I could have seen that light after one attempt but I guess after a fourth attempt the light shines all the more brighter. Good luck everyone!

  • Got my first exam with a simulation coming up, when using the simulation software and are filling in journal entries, if you don’t use a row for the journal entry do you have to fill it in with “No entry required” or does leaving it blank equate to the same thing? Every little time saver helps! Thanks!

  • Took FAR for the first time with Becker review and got a 74. Any suggestions on how much time I will need before I take it again? Also, should I stay with Becker or try something new?

  • Tough break TXwannaB… I used Becker for BEC as well and I felt it was quite sufficient.. you just have to master the hw questions & work ALL the supplementals!

    You’ll beat it next time!

  • Frustrated, I passed REG with an 80 last year and I used Becker. I found the Final Review simulations to be helpful.

  • I too just got a 74 on BEC in Texas. I walked out of there feeling better than I did after the 2 sections that i passed (AUD, REG) last year and I got a 74! I felt a little shakey in financial management, but not 56 worth! guess I need to go back and study my ROI more. I am using Becker and after the test I came home and searched their info for XBRL, and I found it on page 29 (of 92) in their update down loads… I only got to page 25 before I almost slipped into a coma. Better luck next time, I think I can be ready to retake next month.

  • Hey Frustrated- I got a 74 on FAR my first try and I asked for a rescore.. they did not change it. They told me that it is less than 1% chance that they do change it. Its a waste of money, I wouldn’t do it again.

  • my answer based on personal experience is that Jeff is pretty accurate in this predictions +/- few days.. however sometimes you just never know! πŸ˜‰

  • I am taking AUD on July 1st and BEC on July 17. When would I potentially recieve my socres?

  • 75% of a CPA: I just got REG score today in TX..i took it on 5/28 –> 74!.. can’t believe it.. I’m thinking of requesting a score review..

    –> has anyone got their score changed from 74 to 75 using the re-score process?

    Please advise.. this was my last section!!

    BTW.. I took AUD on 4/6 and still no score!

  • I just found out I failed Reg with a 74 (that was the third attempt and it is my last part!) I was thinking about trying the Yaeger Cram CDs. Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with those compared to becker? I tried to access the site to preview a sample one and it does not seem to be working. Any insight would be helfule.

  • I agree about the Becker FAR questions… very difficult. I had a very difficult time with the two final exams included with the software, to the point where I was almost distraught after so many hours studying. But I ended up passing comfortably ~ the real test was much easier than the Becker tests and questions (in my opinion).

  • No I would not give up many people will fail each section multiple times before passing, its a hard test!

  • Thanks kdb. What was the average percentage of questions were answering correctly towards the end of the review?

  • got my california REG score today….73. (previously got a 72, 69…now 73). am i not meant to be a CPA?

  • Thanks Steve! I failed AUD, REG and BEC (once each) and was getting somewhat discouraged about the Gleim system. Was there anything in particular that you found doing helped you pass BEC the 3rd time?

  • I used Becker for FAR, homework was very difficult, in my opinion they were harder and longer questions than the average question on the Exam. There are so many simulations to do, but both of mine on the exam were covered in Becker and I only passed with a 76 so I know it helped!! Good Luck!

  • Is there anybody out there that used Becker review and found several of the homework problems for the financial section insane? It seems like almost all of the questions are at the highest degree of difficulty. Is the exam just the same in difficulty?

  • I have used Gleim for all exams so far. I passed AUD the first time with a 78. I finally passed BEC on the third attempt with a 75. I previously scored a 68 & 69 on BEC. I scored a 68 on FAR the first attempt and I am waiting for the results for my 2nd attempt. The first time I took FAR about 80% of the MC was calculations. This time I only had about 30% calculations and thought the test was much easier this time. So, I don’t know what to think about FAR yet. But, I plan to take REG in August.

  • Took AUD 4/3, REG 5/13…Still haven’t waiting for my scores
    What’s going on with CO

  • Melissa…I’ve been there (74) twice.

    My recommendation: get the Yaeger cram and get back in there.

    With my 2nd 74, I left nothing to chance and got the REG HomeStudy, however…92.


  • Hi, I found out that I passed my last part of the exam a few weeks ago. However, I am confused as to the next step. I received my scores from NASBA in May and expected to get something from the MA Board of Accountancy indicating the next steps, but I haven’t received anything. I called the Board and was told that they don’t send me anything. Does anyone have any insight as to what I am to do next?

  • I did, unfortunately, have a bit of a surprise on my BEC exam after studying with Becker… hopefully those questions were pre-test questions.

  • I used Becker exclusively for BEC. I went to all the lectures, did the required HW questions and probably only 30% of the supplemental questions. I also reviewed each chapter the week before the exam and made use of the final exams and simulated exams in the Becker software. I passed with an 87, so I personally think Becker covered the BEC material pretty well. There were maybe 2-3 questions on the exam that came as a total surprise to me.

    Just make sure you stick to your own plan. Everyone has a different way of learning and only you really know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t worry about the details of what everyone else is doing. Tailor your study plan around how you learn ~ and try not to freak out on exam day ~ and you’ll do fine.

  • Anyone studying for FAR with 2008 Becker software should know that chapter 3 is outdated and does not cover FAS 141R. Becker’s website does not have an update for this, so I would recommend learning that topic somehow.

  • I also thought Becker covered pretty much everything BEC had on it. The only area I thought was weird was technology, but I think a lot of those questions are very strange and are not covered by any review course

  • i found the becker materials to be very good for BEC. i’ll find out what i scored here in a couple days on that exam but there weren’t any surprises when i took that test a couple of weeks ago.

  • Thank you so much IL candidate! I do hope that all works well. You are not the first to tell me though that BECKER doesn’t give enough information on BEC, I know they have given with the updates on thier website an addition addenum which I will be reviewing and someone also mentioned the lack of XBRL information which I will be looking form more info on that as well.

    Thank you!

  • OH and I forgot a key part of my study plan…do a chapter a day. Then, use a full day after you read through the whole book to do the 2 final exams that Becker offers (one in the morning, one in the evening). It will give you a great idea where your weak spots are, for additional and final review before the exam.

  • I used the Becker stuff as well. Last summer, I took the Becker class that was offered at my University, but I was qualified to sit until the following January. So, I used the textbooks with all the highlighting that Becker has you do in the books. I spent one day on each chapter. I would wake up in the morning and read through the chapter for that day. This would take about 3 hours. Then, I would take a 1-2 hour nap, wake up and start the Becker problems for that chapter. I found this method to work like a charm, and I kept my stress level down with the napping. Also, it is a true test how much information you are retaining when there is a break between reading the chapter and doing the questions. Becker was sufficient for REG and FAR, but it could have been better for BEC. I don’t know my AUD score yet, but I think the Becker materials lined up pretty well with that one. The biggest thing that Becker does is make is so you can structure your studying (1 chapter per day), so that you can study very efficiently. Best of luck to you, and I hope you do well!

  • Thank you so much IL Candidate for this response… I am in IL as well!! πŸ™‚ Bec and AUD will be my first two exams I am attempting at… I am using Becker any assistance on how to really digest the information effectively? What was your study plan for reg and far… how did you do such an awesome job?!

  • In January, I spent 2 weeks on REG (scored an 87) and 2 weeks on FARE (scored an 83). And, AUD and BEC are easier exams, so I think it can be done if you aren’t working and have 8 hours to put into it each day. After that I started working and took BEC with a half-effort thinking I would breeze through it, only to get a 74.

    BEC is passable for sure. AUD is the one I just recently took two weeks ago and I am waiting for the results any day now. AUD was pretty easy though. I hope this helps!

    Oh and FYI – I am in IL and I haven’t received any performance report, only my passing or failing score. It makes it difficult on a retake because I don’t know where I was weak and where I was strong.

  • So I am studying for both BEC and AUD and only have two- three weeks to knock down both… I am not in school or working can it be done… I say yes but is there anyone who has done it?

  • XBLR is the new way the SEC is requiring the submission of reports, its a way to “tag” data.

  • I took FAR first with Becker, studying was very time consuming, I did all the questions and made sure I understood the simulations. Wathing the class while taking notes helped me, I just paused it when I needed a little more time to understand a topic. Becker gives you so many simulations, just do all of them, and you will get atleast one you have worked on, maybe both…

  • CPA2009 and anonymous,

    Thanks for answering my question so quickly. Before I saw your posts, I tried calling both the VA BOA office and NASBA this morning and no one could give me a straight answer. Frustrating? Yes. Surprising? Sadly, no.

    THANK YOU haha!

  • I am reviewing with Becker and I feel that I did well on the audit exam. I am now reviewing for financial and I get the feeling that it is more difficult. I am having some trouble with certain topics during the review. Does anyone have any study advise for FARE and the Becker review for the section. Thanks.

  • Is there anyone who haven?t received score report form 1st Wave? I took my exam early April and I was able to check my advisory score online, but I haven?t gotten my report yet.

  • Regarding studying for BEC with Becker… I suggest starting with the last two chapters since they are the biggest chunk of the exam. Also, Becker does not cover XBRL so you should find a way to learn more about that on your own.

  • With Becker and BEC I wouldn’t skimp on the last two chapters they are a big chunk of the exam. The technology questions on BEC are pretty random just do the questions Becker has and you will get a good feel for what they will be like. When I reviewed I went through and did all the supplemental questions and I felt like I was well prepared for the exam.

  • what’s the deal with the ethics part I see people posting about? Is it required in NY?

  • I’m in Virginia, too. Our state doesn’t give you a diagnostic report unless you have a failing score, so not getting a diagnostic report is a good thing πŸ™‚ Although, I am curious about my recent test, oh well, on to another section.

  • To SN,

    Does anyone from Virginia know what the deal is here? Should I be expecting a performance report anytime soon or am I just getting my hopes up?

    The answer is – in VA if you passed you won’t get a Diagnostic/performance report. I have passed three and only got score letters. From reading this site, it seems only CA will issue performance report no matter pass or not.

  • Question – I’m sitting for the exam in Virginia and I just got my score report for FAR in the mail (my first part, which was graded in the first scoring wave)…but I didn’t get a performance report along with it. Why?

    I passed FAR and I was under the impression that everyone got a diagnostic/performance report regardless of whether they passed or failed each section. The only partial “answer” I could find was on the Uniform CPA Exam site and it said that some state boards choose to issue candidates’ performance reports separate from the actual score reports.

    Does anyone from Virginia know what the deal is here? Should I be expecting a performance report anytime soon or am I just getting my hopes up?

  • oh man, that must be rough! I’m waiting on a BEC score. Took FAR 5/1/09 and received score 5/20/09. I guess I was lucky πŸ™‚ Good luck to you and hang in there! That’s not right!

  • Waiting for scores is stressful. Also, I was wondering since some scores from the early part of the testing window which could have been wave 1 are held and subsequently released with the wave 2 scores, like the person still waiting from 4/1/09…sorry πŸ™ …do you have a greater chance of getting more off the wall stuff, i.e., weird sims in wave 1? All wave 2 scores are released the month following the end of the wave 2, so none of those exams score are held for 2 1/2 months…just wondering…

  • Yes, but I think the question is why? The first wave includes scores up through the 7th of the month, and scores are released about a week after that. The second wave has a testing window that ends on the last day of the month. Why aren?t scores released a week later from that date? Why is it two weeks from the end of the testing window?


  • I took AUD on 4/6 and still no score!… Took REG on 5/28 and still no score…

    waiting for REG I can tolerate.. but AUD.. WTF!

  • My scores from wave 1 are not available on NASBA?s website anymore. Could this mean NASBA is updating and we may get wave 2 scores sooner than predicted? I?m waiting on BEC.

  • Yes, but I think the question is why? The first wave includes scores up through the 7th of the month, and scores are released about a week after that. The second wave has a testing window that ends on the last day of the month. Why aren’t scores released a week later from that date? Why is it two weeks from the end of the testing window?

  • There isn’t a delay…Wave 1 scores will start coming out a week after the 7th or so…i.e mid-month.

    Wave 2 scores will start coming out 2 weeks after the window is over…i.e. mid-month.


  • Hey, I’m jealous…I never get a green pencil! Hey, but the bright blue scratch paper that you can’t see your pencil marks on…that’s cool πŸ™‚

  • For BEC, perhaps the delay is due to new pretest mcqs that require further “psychometric evaluation” by the AICPA. Maybe? Just a guess.

  • It might come out a week later because many of the tests have new simulations, but this wouldn’t apply for BEC

  • I believe scores are being released in a couple of weeks. Look on the bright side if you fail, the more times you have to retake an exam, the more green prometric pencils you get.

  • CPA WantaBe,
    That can’t be right regarding the delayed scoring. The reason I say that is because of the many people (on this blog alone) that received 74, 75, 76, etc. in wave one. If your theory were correct, then those individuals would not have received their scores in the first wave at all. It has to be some other reason, or no reason at all. Who knows!

  • Above: The delay is due to QC. All the bordline wave 1 and wave 2 scores, 72-78, are graded a second time to ensure the proper grade is given.

  • Why does the wave 2 score release come out a week later than the wave 1? For example, wave 1 ends around the 7th of the month and BEC comes out one week later (in Illinois it is usually the Saturday of the same week or the following Monday). However, according to Jeff?s prediction for wave 2, BEC will not come out for another week, when (timing wise) they should start filtering out this week. Why do they need two weeks after the end of the month to start releasing instead of just one like wave 1? Any reasons for this?

  • Yep, it’s 60% tax (corporate and personal), 20% ethics, and 20% law…per Yaeger. Studying REG this weekend, I should be outside πŸ™

  • So, I am taking BEC and AUD in July… early July. AUD seem familiar to me given that a majority of the material was covered in my AUD classes at school. However, I don’t know if I should be concerned with ALOT of memorization… also with BEC IT is a very, very foreign topic to me. However, I am using the infamous “B” prep materials and there is an addenum attached to this section… does anyone know if it is worth the read? Also… any information on AUD or BEC would be great!

  • I would just remember the tax part is worth 2/3 and the business law is 1/3 of the test, so take that into consideration when studying.

  • Anyone have any advice on REG,I am taking in mid July. My first time of taking it and i think i could use some good advice or suggestions


  • From everything I’ve read, it’s usually sometime the first week into the second month of the testing window. I believe for this past testing window it was May 7th of 8th.

  • If you are spending most of your time studying, then I think 4-6 weeks. The volume of material is significantly more than BEC or Audit. I think most people put in over 100 hours for this one.

  • @ Megs – I spent about 12 days and about 90 hours teaching myself FAR from scratch using Gleim (the only traditional ‘Accounting’ class I took was basic accounting since intermediate or advanced accounting wasn’t a prerequisite for my MTax degree).

  • I spent about 2.5 weeks on AUD and 2 weeks on BEC. I felt well-prepared for both, though I certainly could have used a few more days for BEC. Considering that I spend all day studying in the library, about how many weeks should I allow myself for FAR?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  • There’s nothing like sitting for FAR and 3 hours and 45 min into the exam experience a power surge in the building. It’s awesome when everyone else’s test is recovered except for yours.

    Oh well. Life goes on.

  • took REG in mid-May and am *very* apprehensive about finding out my score. i failed the first time i took it so i made sure to put the hours in for this 2nd round. i felt good about my performance, but there’s really no telling until i finally see my score.

    *crosses fingers*

    hopefully i find out soon!

    Nan, well put. i completely agree!

  • While I’m waiting for Wave 2 scores to be released I’m keeping up with another popular CPA prep forum, and reading the current posts for the exam section I just took. Just to keep my hand in, y’know, in case I have to re-take this section….

    I’m noticing that a lot of questions on that other website are coming from people who say things like “I’m using Expensive Company’s books, but I don’t have the videos/software, and I need help understanding [insert topic here]….” And I know that Expensive Company does not sell their books without the videos/software.

    In other words, they’re trying to prep with BOOTLEG materials from Expensive Company, rather than fork out a reasonable sum for the full program from a company like Jeff’s favorite company. Then they’re going on line to that other website and looking for free explanations.

    That just really ticks me off. I thought a big part of being a CPA was behaving ethically and professionally. Ethical and professional behavior does NOT include illegitimately obtaining Expensive Company’s exam prep materials, and justifying it by claiming the materials are overpriced.

    I’m sorry. I had to get that off my chest.

  • Hello anyone from CA…I got my REG advisory score..I managed to pass with 76..but still my credit is not updated…I am worried about the update…

  • Ivan

    Finishing BEC in 45 mins must be a record. Many people finish early with AUD. It seems like too much time is given for AUD.

  • Don’t know how can you finish writing and Sims in such a short time. You must have known all materials inside out so you can do all MCQ in seconds. But I believe you.

  • AUD was really odd for me. The first section was easy, the second was harder than the first, and the third section was easy again. Both sims were not bad at all. I ended up finishing the exam in 1 hour and 45 mins which I found to be surprising considering they give you 4 hours and 30 mins. Has anyone else run into this? Also, I passed BEC with an 80 in 45 mins and REG with an 85 in 2 hours.

  • I give up on the score predictions as they relate to AZ. I am in AZ and I just got REG this afternoon via e-mail (score of 70 last Fall, 83 this time around). For those in AZ who don’t know, you can request in writing to get your score e-mailed to you (saves a day or two in the mail). AZ Board doesn’t publicize this tid bit of information.

  • I also took Reg May 28th (HOPEFULLY my very last one because if I didn’t pass I have to take AUD again). I also felt the sims were brutal!! Of all things they could have been asking! Glad its over for now anyways..good luck to all.

  • To C_Slater

    I had the same feeling about AUD. Look at it two ways:
    1. Did so well could not give you any harder questions.
    2. Did so bad could not give you anything harder.

    I think #1 for both of us. Over a three week period I did 100 MCs a day. I did not struggle with any of the questions.

  • @Patrick – When your friends tell you that you don’t need to study because you know it and you’re a smart guy, just take it as a compliment. Say thanks but you have to stick with your study plan.

    No need to assume your friends are out to get you as others might have suggested. They don’t understand what you’re going through, and it’s not due to any fault of theirs. They just don’t know.

    Good job passing REG, and good luck on the others!

  • I am trying to figure out why I feel like I knew over 80% of the m/c on audit for sure but not sure if I got a “hard” testlet. That seems like enough questions to answer correctly in order to get a “hard” testlet. Anybody have any thoughts?

  • What?s your response to your friends who think you don?t need to study that much?

    With friends like that, who needs enemies? Such friends don’t like to feel like they are being out-done, and your very proximity is an extremely personal in-your-face reminder of their own inadequacy.

    I’d tell them that if I was about to undergo open-heart surgery, I’d hope my doctor ignored such “friends” while s/he was learning the business. And since I’m going to be the CPA whom people are going to entrust with the money they earned by the sweat of their brow, I’m going to put just as much effort into this as I hope the heart surgeon did.

  • The order means nothing *IF* you study your tail off. There are some advantages to taking REG first because it helps with deferred income tax on FAR, but regardless – you passing is based on

    1. What materials you use
    2. How hard you study them


  • You guys are scaring me! lol I am taking my exams in the following order:

    1) AUD
    2) BEC
    3) FAR
    4) REG

    Is it really the order you take them in or how much you study that will help you to pass???

  • Here’s my predicted analysis of how I did on REG.. please gimme your predictions! i’m desperate as this is (I’m hoping) my last exam!

    My first testlet was definitely MEDIUM (83% correct i think).. second one was oh so HARD (66% correct).. and unfortunately the third one was also felt like just MEDIUM (83% correct) (though last one was a little harder than the first).. i think i nailed the two writing sections (90%).. 80% on one sim.. and probably 40% on second sim as i ran out of time..

    any predictions on my score??!!

  • Just took REG last Thurs 28 May.. brutal sims! M/C were as expected.. albeit there were about 3-5 questions on my one “Hard” testlet which were striaght out of left-field! No idea how to tackle them.. SIMS u really have to know your stuff “inside & out”! i know i know there’s just too much stuff to know, but the SIM topics are unpredictable!

  • I took AUD in early April and still no score! So for those still waiting.. i’m with you!

  • Here’s a rant. You know what bugs me? People who say “oh, you don’t need to study, you’re a smart guy, you know this stuff better than you think you do.”

    Friends are always the worst culprits, but even my boss the CFO gives me this line of BS (he’s not a CPA, obviously).

    This stuff really is not that familiar to me – that’s why I spent a full year studying for REG and BEC. REG was extremely unfamiliar to me, given the fact that I squeaked by my undergrad Business Law 1 and Individual Tax classes with a C, way back in 1996. Oh, and I pulled a C+ in Cost Accounting that same year, as well πŸ˜‰ Yes, I passed REG (hopefully BEC too) but I truly did have to almost entirely re-teach myself the material in order to do so.

    About the only thing that will be that familiar to me in the entire CPA exam is the nonprofit accounting subsection within FAR, because that’s what I do. I’m basically a management accountant/controller who doesn’t even do any cost accounting, much less any auditing or tax preparation beyond a freakin’ Form 990. lol

    What’s your response to your friends who think you don’t need to study that much?

  • Oh, sorry. I was just answering the question about receiving scores in the mail.

    I got an 88, 1 down 3 to go!!!!

  • I got a question/comment about the scoring process.

    I recently got my score for Audit and I failed with a 73. Whenever I took a look at the candidate performance report, I was surprised to see that the ?passing candidate performance? for each content area was between 79 and 81. I know the scoring uses a scaling process, but it makes me feel that in order to pass I need to average 80s in each section.

    My scores were between 70 (Review 8-12%) to 84 (Planning 22-28%) with the other score below 75 being in Communications 12-18% with a 73. Although I did not get a score for simulations and written communicaitons, I was still in the comparable range.

    You can’t base your score off of the performance report. That is only a sample of questions that you answered. I’ve sat 6 times and notice that when I failed I was usually weaker in at least 2 areas and when I passed I was only weaker in 1 area. The only test where I was comparable in all areas and weaker in 1 was FAR. I managed to pass with a 78. My scores were all within the passing candidate performance.

  • I have a question – Is there a quota per wave, ie, a certain number or percentage set. Is this one of those un-written rules we will never know. The person above scored above 75 but seemed to be scaled down.

  • I got a question/comment about the scoring process.

    I recently got my score for Audit and I failed with a 73. Whenever I took a look at the candidate performance report, I was surprised to see that the “passing candidate performance” for each content area was between 79 and 81. I know the scoring uses a scaling process, but it makes me feel that in order to pass I need to average 80s in each section.

    My scores were between 70 (Review 8-12%) to 84 (Planning 22-28%) with the other score below 75 being in Communications 12-18% with a 73. Although I did not get a score for simulations and written communicaitons, I was still in the comparable range.

  • Good site, thanks for a place to discuss.

    Took FAR on Friday (5/29) and really feel pretty good about it. There were very few ‘trick’ questions by my estimation (used Becker), and a disproportionately low amount of computational questions, by my estimation.

    Simulations weren’t too hard.

    I feel strongly that there’s always a “luck” factor with standardized tests. If they play right to your strengths with the questioning, you’re going to have a pretty straightforward time. And I feel I got this – my two weakest subjects in FAR were barely covered (much unlike the Becker practice exams)…you hate to be confident, but I would be surprised if I didn’t pass.

  • How do I know if I got difficult testlets in the audit section? Some questions were very difficult.

    It’s hard to tell. If you coast through testlet one, only to find testlet two slowing you way down…you probably have a hard testlet. The harder testlets have questions that are more “wordy” and involved.

  • Is FAR really the ?hardest? part? I found BEC is a ?beast? which most people said it?s the ?easiest?. Jeff, what?s the order for you (from easy to hard)?

    I struggled more with BEC than I did with FAR, but this is how I personally rank them and is in line with general consensus:

    1. FAR
    1a. REG
    4. AUD

    I hated BEC and I know others who hate AUD…but in general, this is the order that I would take them in light of the 18 month rule.

  • Jeff,

    How do I know if I got difficult testlets in the audit section? Some questions were very difficult. I feel good about the m/c. My questions seemed very detailed. Do you think that means I had difficult testlets? Thanks.

  • I just took REG today. I only studied for 3 weeks (using becker). I felt pretty confident as I was getting 81’s on the simulated exams, however I hope I wasnt just memorizing the answers!

    I couldnt really tell if the testlets were getting harder or not. There were definitely more questions that required calculations, but I was doing consistantly better at tax than law when studying. Its hard to say.

    I passed audit last year, and BEC in April. I just found out last week I got a 74 on FAR after taking it for the 3rd time. Hopefully I passed REG so I can enjoy at least the second half of my summer.

  • Took BEC yesterday. Here’s my read on how it went:

    Clearly, one could tell that this wasn’t an adaptive test. Harder questions were interspersed with easy questions in each of the 3 testlets. This can be kind of unsettling. Some of the questions are so easy, that you look twice, maybe even 3 times, thinking it can’t possibly be that easy. Other questions look really easy on first glance, yet have some oddball twist inherent that you have to decipher.

    Some of the IT questions are just out there in left field, wacko questions.

    I saw one question that really looked like it should have been on FAR… question that should have been on REG, and one question that should have been on AUD.

    As with my REG experience, I felt that this exam hit me with a couple of the same topics over and over again, disproportionately – and those always seem to be areas in which I feel a little weaker. There was a lot of material for which I studied hard that did not appear on the exam at all, even topics that fall within the higher-percentage areas in the CSO.

    A couple questions rattled me a little, but all in all, I blew through the 90 questions, in 90 minutes. I can’t go out on a limb and predict a pass, because you never know, but I think that if I was able to pull a 90 on REG, I *had* to have passed this section. We’ll see. It would be great to get REG and BEC out of the way in the same window – I guess I’ll know in two weeks. In the meantime, I’ll assume I passed, and get back to the drawing board for a while re: FAR and AUD. Thinking I’m going to try to hit FAR first, possibly in October, then AUD in late November.

    I’m hoping that the FAR and AUD material will be a little more familiar to me than REG and BEC, and that my studies proceed a little quicker. When I first started studying, REG and BEC scared the living hell out of me.

  • Is FAR really the “hardest” part? I found BEC is a “beast” which most people said it’s the “easiest”. Jeff, what’s the order for you (from easy to hard)?

  • Just took Audit the other day, and one of the simulations CLEARLY will be thrown out. Couldn’t even believe how much it belonged on a different exam… one that I have taken, luckily, so I knew the answer. I believe that is within the confines to say:) But, still very frustrating and threw me off guard.

  • Also, is it true that they throw out one of the research simulations, and if they do, is it one you got wrong or was it predetermined which one would not count?

    They throw out one of the written communications…not the research. That said, I couldn’t get my research tab to work in my final FAR exam and I still passed…I kept selecting a section of text and the computer said “um, no…you’re an idiot”.

    I read a lot of posting in CPAnet said we should take FAR before AUD because AUD?s simulations are FAR questions. Is that true? If I take AUD first, what?s the chance of passing without studying FAR material?

    Study AUD and you will pass AUD…there is a little overlap, but I recommend taking FAR first anyway…it’s the hardest exam and you want your 18 month clock to start after passing the “hardest” part.

  • I read a lot of posting in CPAnet said we should take FAR before AUD because AUD’s simulations are FAR questions. Is that true? If I take AUD first, what’s the chance of passing without studying FAR material?

  • I took FAR a couple of days ago and feel that I probably got about 70% to 75% of the questions correct. The first section was relatively easy and the second and third section were more difficult. What do you think my chances are of passing?

    Also, is it true that they throw out one of the research simulations, and if they do, is it one you got wrong or was it predetermined which one would not count?

  • i took BEC today as well, and walked away thinking i did pretty darn good on it. who know’s if that’s how it will turn out…

  • To BEC Jinx, I think you will be okay and pass. I felt the same way during the test and couldn’t believe it. I had almost 45 minutes left after I was done with the third testlet then just reviewed each question and wasted my time there. I got 81. Not as great as I felt. We must have been lucky persons to get easy versions – not that much calculations questions.

  • I failed to prepare properly the first go round for REG (69). I am about to take it again today. I found something I thought might be useful to others while studying. I have InterVideo WinDVD5 on my comp. This program allows you to speed up the Yeager videos to 1.5x or 1.75x and still hear the audio perfectly. I think Phil talks a bit slow and found that I can keep up with the content just fine at 1.75x regular speed. At 1.75x, a 60min class takes about 35 minutes to go through. Find a program that allows you to turn the speed up while still playing the audio! try it!

  • I took the BEC this morning and-not to jinx myself-have come away thinking that it was incredibly easy. I got done so quickly that I can’t help fearing that either I skipped an entire section (which of course I know I didn’t) or that they gave me a dumbed-down version. Part of me worries that it was too easy and that I must have screwed something up big-time. Of course I know that I missed a few questions, but can’t help but wonder if anyone else walked away feeling the same.

  • Actually, Business Law was my strong point in REG.

    It’s the tax section that is giving me trouble, particularly AMT and the determination of realized/recognized gains and losses in complex scenarios. Becker covers those in theory. I could use some practice problems and/or practice sims.

  • Nan,

    For business law, I didn’t use the Wiley book at all. Yaeger’s HomeStudy has a handout and that’s the only thing you need to study – and it obviously worked because I was very weak in bus law prior to my last REG exam (92).

    Now – if you get the Yaeger cram, which comes with the handout I mentioned, you will also need the Wiley book. You don’t need the software…it’s an added bonus if you have time to do extra questions, but I recommend doing all of the questions in the book first.


    Yaeger cram + Wiley book is what I recommend getting if you’re feeling weak on Bus Law.

    Does that help?

  • Jeff,

    I’m not going to grow much length on my fingernails for the next 3 weeks waiting for my REG score. I’m looking at “what do I do now” to cover the holes in the Becker REG material if I have to take this beast again.

    I’m OK with Business Law. It’s the more arcane tax stuff that is giving me trouble. So I’m looking up the Wiley material on the Barnes & Noble and Amazon websites. If I really blew it (which I don’t think I did) I’d consider the Yeager Cram too.

    Wiley has a CD product called “Wiley CPA Examination Review Practice Software 14.0 Regulation.” I know how to read a book; do you know if there is any advantage to the Wiley software?

    Thanks for your input.

  • The first test I took was AUD and scored a 94. I felt pretty confident that I done well leaving the test except for the irrational thought of “what if I fell for all their tricks”. However, I took FAR yesterday, which I spent more time preparing for than AUD, and did not leave that test feeling very well at all about my performance. (edited – referring to exam content not allowed per the AICPA)The simulations would have been reasonable if I actually would have had enough time to read them and finish them.

    Has anyone else felt this way about FAR?

  • That’s right. You could get Med-Hard-Hard, Med-Hard-Med, Med-Med-Hard, or Med-Med-Med, depending on how well you did on the preceding section(s). BEC is supposedly all the same difficulty on all testlets, but it didn’t seem that way to me!

    It’s pretty easy to distinguish between Medium and Hard testlets on FAR and REG: you get a bunch more tricky math problems. AUD is mostly theory so it can leave you wondering.

    If you see that you got Med-Hard-Hard that’s a good sign. “They” say it is possible to pass the exam even if you get three Medium-Difficulty testlets, but you’ve got to really nail the sims to do so.

  • Okay so even if a student doesn’t do well on the first testlet (which is a medium), they’ll just get another medium testlet?

  • The 2nd and 3rd testlets seemed more difficult, but there still wasn’t an overwhelming number of calculation problems. I’ve heard that calculated problems are normally considered more difficult. However, last time I took FAR about 80% of the MC were calculations on all 3 testlets and I scored weaker in MC and 68 overall. This time only about 30% of the MC were calculations. I felt that the test was easier this time. So, I really don’t know how to feel about it. Now, it’s the waiting game……

  • FAR, REG, AUD are adaptive…you start on medium difficulty…if you do poorly, you stay on medium…if you do well…you go to difficult, which is harder, but worth more points per question.

    So – if your questions seemed harder in Testlet 2 and 3…you were probably doing well.

    The simulations are NOT adaptive…they are independent of the MCQs.

    Hope that helps,


  • Steve,

    I’m the same person who posted a few spots above you and I felt pretty much the same way you did coming out of FAR when I took it back in early April. I flew through the first set of MCQs, saw a significant increase in difficulty between the first and second testlets, the third testlet seemed just as difficult as the second, and I felt decent about the simulations. I ended up getting an 87.

    That being said, before I took FAR, I definitely heard the rumor that you mentioned – that the worse it seems, the better your score will be. My good friend took FAR in the Jan/Feb testing window and came out of the test CONVINCED that he failed. He was so sure, he almost started re-studying for it before waiting to find out his score. He ended up with an 86.

    All in all, I really think it depends on the person. If you felt good about other parts in the past and you ended up passing them, I think you’ll be okay this time, too. Believing rumors or buying into what “everyone else says” seems to cause much more stress than it’s worth, especially since most of the time it’s not true at all. Try to tune out the bs, do your thing, and you’ll be okay in the end. πŸ™‚

  • Hi all – I just sat for REG today. Are the simulations adaptive to how well you did on the MC testlets? Or does everyone get the same sims?

  • Thanks Jeff. I’ll associate the delay that NASBA is the bottleneck in attaching a name with a score. I’ll make a post when I receive the score. Hoping for a pass so I’ll be done with this beast.

  • Jeff – I’m in Washington. NASBA sends scores to a contractor called Castle Worldwide that the state board uses. In the four previous tests I’ve taken they’ve released their scores within one day of your predictions. Not sure why it’s delayed so long this time. Any idea if that means a failure?

  • Just got an email response from NASBA saying “Your REG score has been received with the first wave of scores. CASTLE will receive the hardcopy within the next few days and will mail to you.” Definitely delayed compared to Jeff’s predictions but apparently scores are still being received by NASBA.

  • I just took FAR for the second time today. I felt very comfortable about the multiple choice and I feel I did alright on most of the simulations. However, I am concerned because there wasn’t as much calculations this time. However, the last 2 testlets were harder than the first one. Last time I had over 80% calculations and scored a 68. I passed AUD the first try with a 78 and finished an hour early. It took me 3 times to pass BEC. The first 2 times I received questions from another planet and scored a 68 and then a 69. This time I felt very comfortable and only scored a 75. I feel good about FAR, but I have heard people say that the harder it seems the higher your score usually is. Should I worry?

  • Hey I am taking FAR in two days. Has any one taken it recently?? What topics did you get for simulations??


  • Hello. I am sitting for FAR and BEC in July. DO you think that 6-7 weeks prep is possible to pass both given I am not working or in school?

  • Has anyone received their AUD score for Colorado? I sat in early April and have not received my score. I have a friend who received her REG score already for CO and she sat in early May! Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Got my TX-REG score this morning 81! (says it’s still validating) That was my last test. I used Becker to pass all 4 test, while working long hours.

  • i took AUD today and was done with mcq in an hour…i dont know how am i supposed to feel..confused..its my last one..

  • dhp,

    It does work – last Wednesday I accessed the site and found out that I passed FAR. (87, woo!) The website isn’t user-friendly at all and you have to go to a weird place to find your score, though.

    If you haven’t already registered, go here:

    If you have registered, go to the login page (, log in, then click “manage my account” in the menu sidebar on the left. Click the “start” button at the bottom and then the “edit” link next to “CPA candidate” in the little box. Scroll down and you should see your score.

    Hopefully this works – maybe it’s a problem with your specific account if you can’t find your score by doing what I did. A friend of mine called the office to find out his score a few months ago and they told him over the phone, so I’d call them if all else fails. (I think the number is (804) 367-8505.)

    I hope this helps! And I hope you find out some good news about your score very soon!

  • Jeff,

    I just wanted to say thanks for this site! You do a great job of updating information, replying to comments, and you are always encouraging!

  • Just took FAR today…..feeling really good about it. Looks like working those 5000+ in multiple choice questions (Gliem & Kaplan) might pay off! =)

  • any idea when Wave 2 FAR will be posted for LA? I took it May 4th, and I am absolutely tired of waiting

  • Any word on when the Wave 2 for BEC (NY) will be somwhat available – like 2 weeks, a month? I took it right before the break and am very anxious. For me, the first booklet was tough and had the difficult problems, so I rushed through that thinking that the other booklets will be the same, but they were much easier. I am hoping that my guesses of “b” turned out OK.

  • Regina,

    Many people – including myself don’t finish Sim 2 and the test abruptly ends without us hitting “DONE” and we wonder if our answers were saved.

    The answer is: yes – you’re fine…no need to worry.


  • Hi,

    This is a great site! I’m hoping someone can give me some insight and maybe even hope. I took REG today. During the middle of the exam, I was interrupted by the test admin people. I lost time due to this and didn’t finish my exam. I was working the second simulation and did not finish one of the tabs. I did finish the written though. Will this impact my grade enough to keep me from passing?

  • Hey guys. Is it possible to complete both FAR and BEC in one window. I have about a month and two weeks for each…

  • Two questions….

    What gives with the VA score site? Any idea when it is going to work?

    Any idea of how long it takes for the results to come in for recent testings?

  • Hii,

    Its my first time to this forum. I took FAR on April 11 but california has not yet released the results. Someone in the forum said the results are out.. I really don’t know where to check. I checked my exam account and it still shows no credit.
    someone help please!

  • I only recommend the cram to people who score 71-74 on their failed exam and recommend the HomeStudy for anything less than that.

    I added 9 points to my score with the BEC cram – which would more than clear you…but someone else this window added 4 points with it…71 to a 75.

    If you think that you have a solid foundation – then use the cram. I arbitrarily set the cram score at 71…only you know if you need a “cram” or the full course.

    The cram is excellent, but only to add a few more points…otherwise the HomeStudy is recommended. I just don’t want you to waste the next 5 weeks only to add 5 more points…and fail.


  • I sit on 7/1 for BEC. Took it back in Oct 08 using Becker but got a 69. With my NTS expiring on 7/1 and my software having already expired…….I purchased the Yeager Cram. Does anyone think that it will be enough to pass BEC in 5 weeks?

  • NY has also posted it’s scores for REG this morning even though I took my exam on May 8. I passed with an 88!!!


  • To IPASSED: You say you studied for FAR for 2 months and failed. How many hours a day did you study?

  • That’s possible, I did just graduate in May. I’ll call my rep from my state and see if that’s the problem, thanks so much for the advice!

  • Is there any reason they might not release your grade? i.e. in some states, if you haven’t provided an official transcript because you just graduated, they hold the grades.

  • I took the BEC at the end of April and did not receive a score yet (took it in WI). I read somewhere that 100% of those scores should have been released. Does anyone have any advice?

  • Is it me or dooes it seem a lower % of grades were released in this wave as compared to other ones. It seems lower than usual.

  • I haven’t gotten my REG score yet either – took the test April 7th. I too am getting very frustrated πŸ™

  • I think we are both on the border. I will keep my fingers crossed.

    I noticed a lot of the questions were directly from the Wiley book. However, the wording was slightly altered to change the correct answer. I spent a lot of time reveiwing my answers.

  • Hi CPA WantaBe,

    I also took AUD this time around (5/20). I noticed the same degree of difficulty in the MCQs all throughout the three testlets. I felt good after the exam but read so many people here failing the AUD section even when they felt great after taking the exam! Now, I am worried… This is my last part so hope against hope that I am at the borderline.

  • Does anyone know if the Written and Research tabs on the simulations are wieghted more compared to the other tabs? I did not finish my last Simulation but I was able to complete the Research and Written tabs before the time expired.

  • I took AUD yesterday. I did not notice a change in difficulty from one MC testlet to the other. All 3 seem to have the same degree of difficulty. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing?

  • MASS just posted their FAR scores. I spent two months studying for FAR the first time and got a 71. I took some time off and went back at it for another 2 months. Finally tonight those 4 months of hard work finally paid off, I passed!
    The second time around I felt I do 100 times better on the multiple choice. However, I thought the simulations were a horror show. I felt I would have got the same amount correct if I had just left them blank. These killed my confidence leaving the exam but somehow I passed. Maybe the simulations really dont count as much as people think they do or the the testmakers make you think they do? Im just so pumped that I passed. It shows that if you do study hard you can and you will pass.

  • Hi, Brandon!

    Econ is only maybe 12 to 18% of the exam, but when left you’re outside and looking in those are a lot of points. There were two things I did to get the econ parts down.

    First, I took all those macro-and micro-economic concepts and kept relating them to what is happening in the real world right here and now…. What happens when you steamroller the banks and bloat the money supply? Deflation – yep, it’s here. Inflation – yep, it’s coming. Every time I saw something on the news about the economy I analyzed it according to the review material.

    This second part is going to sound weird.

    I must have looked like a hula dancer in the testing center, but I drew the supply and demand curves in the air, then got some body language involved with the left-right-up-down shifts.

    It worked.

  • Any suggestions on how to deal with timing issues and matching in FAR BECKER study material. For some reason I am having a lot of difficulity with this area. Please help, I am only on Lesson two and feeling crazy!

  • “dhp says:
    SOOOOO?. if you mess up real bad on the first simulation – do they give you an easier one for the second?”

    That’s almost funny. I wish.

    I just got back from taking REG. Got totally wrapped around the axle on the first sim. Combine this, that and the other thing, but only if they go together….. and give us the total only, please….

    Then I closed out that sim so that I could move on, and the second sim covered a topic that was completely obscure. It was simple enough, yes, and it was definitely a REG topic. But it was definitely not one of the more, shall we say, “popular” topics which I spent countless hours preparing.

    The MCQ testlets went OK. Between the writing portions and the MCQs I’m sure I scored at least a 71.

  • Hello, can someone please help. I scored an 87 on every section and ended up failing BEC with an 73. It seems i did awful on economics and financial management. Any tips on how to study these chapters? I never really liked economics in college, seems these two chapters killed me.

  • SOOOOO…. if you mess up real bad on the first simulation – do they give you an easier one for the second?

  • For the Yaeger Audit Homestudy, how many lectures and what is the total length of video time?

  • Thanks Jeff! I think a new post would be good since we don’t have to scroll so far down to get to the new postings πŸ™‚ Thank you again for keeping all of us sane while we wait patiently for our score!

  • Jeff, do you have any predictions for April/May window – wave 2? I took the Audit section today and just wonder if it will take as long as the Jan/Feb window – wave 2?

  • @ NJ – I found that the key to AUD was to take your time and READ EACH QUESTION CAREFULLY. 4 hours is more than enough time to do AUD because there’s no calculations, but there’s not a lot of auditing standards out there and no calculations, so in order to make the test more difficult, they have to play more word games with you.

    I did think that the questions on the test were easier than my practice MCQs, and from talking to other people, that seems to be true for almost all study materials.

  • @ AS – FAR and AUD have little or nothing to do with each other on the CPA exam. Most people think AUD is the easier of the two, but that’s due to the amount of information that’s covered on FAR. AUD questions can be very tricky, so I think you have to have a better understanding of the material than you do for FAR, if that makes any sense.

    I think three months of DEDICATED study time is more than enough for any section. I try to allow 2 months of studying (4-5 days per week) – 1 – 1.5 months to make a first pass through the material at a pace that allows me to learn and reinforce each topic as I go, and then the rest of the 2 month period to review notes and do lots of practice MCs and SIMs. So maybe if you are coming into it cold, you should allow a little more time for each of those phases.

    PLEASE HELP. I have a Dilemmna if you could please help. I have a window of 3 months to study for one part of the exam. Which one should i take, AUD or FAR, those are the only two choices that are available. Can you ever do AUD before FAR? Does it make sense to do AUD before learning how to prepare Financial Statements(FAR)? also i have no prior Audit experience. Is is possible to pass audit without doing FAR and having no Auditing experience in the past.


  • So, I haven’t been on here in a while, but I can say I am FINALLY getting a grip on my life to actually buckle down and cram all four parts of this exam before September 1! Crazy, insane some would say… I KNOW! But I have to do this to keep any credit I receive (hopefully and claiming πŸ™‚ ALL!) When I do pass this exam, I will have a story to tell for sure! πŸ™‚

  • Third time was a charm for me – BEC 75! I am ecstatic! I decided to take the plunge and get the Yaeger BEC CRAM, and it gave me the 3 extra points I needed to pass.

    I’m taking my last section on Saturday – FAR – and I have also been using Yaeger software. I’m a bit nervous, as I will only have clocked about 70 hours of studying for FAR. I’m trying to take deep breaths, plant myself in front of the computer / books / and cram like I’ve never crammed before. I have chance to be done with this monster forever (lose my AUD credit at the end of May), so I’m not going to waste it.

    Good luck to everyone, and stick with it! I am six years out of school and finally decided to get serious about this CPA thing. You can do it!

  • Is the Becker final review a seperate product? Or is it part of the regular review course?

  • I use the Becker Final Reviews. They have helped me a lot, but are not stand-alone products.

    If you still have time available on your NTS and you haven’t done the regular Becker course, reschedule. Period. Final Review is a broad overview summary of “Whatever you do, make sure you remember this.”

    If your NTS is expiring, and you have already paid for the exam, go fo it. But I would seriously suggest another alternative – take overnight delivery on the cram course Jeff recommends, and use that with the Becker MCQs to prepare. Then do the Becker Final Review the day before you sit for the exam.

  • Has anyone had any luck passing BEC using only the Becker Final Review? I’ve only given myself 2 weeks to pass this one. I figured I’d give it a shot before the testing window closes. My thought is to watch the final review lectures and then just practice all final review & regular becker mcqs. Any thoughts?

  • I was too keyed up to sleep for the first three sections, and I will be too keyed up to sleep for the 4th later this week. Stayed up all night cramming, got some breakfast, and nailed the exams.

    Didn’t regret it a bit. Plenty of time to sleep later.

  • Regarding CPA_IS_RUINING_MY_LIFE, its really hard to judge how you did coming out of the exam. I have taken three, FAR, AUD, & BEC in that order.

    FAR was tough but I thought I did fine and I did. AUD took a lot out of me and I thought I did terribly but ended up getting 2 more points than FAR. I took BEC a few weeks ago and thought I nailed it, with only a few that I wasn’t sure on and I ended up doing worse on it than FAR or AUD (but thankfully still passing).

    Now, on to REG… in about 10 hrs… oh dear! I should get some sleep πŸ™‚

  • I am reading these posts regarding the score releases and am anxiously awaiting REG in PA. Any chance scores will be released tomorrow 5/18??

  • @Rach

    Now you understand why this site is call “Another71”

    Take your time to take a big breath and get ready to at it again!

    Jeff had several 71s and he is now done with the CPA exam.

    You will too!

  • BEC Score Miami – 73

    Same boat as LB, will concentrate on REG, just have to figure out where I went wrong with BEC because it felt like I studied like I have never studied before, leaving BEC for the very end now, hope not to have to repeat any others !

  • Any word on when the FAR results will be posted? Its my last section and im dying to know!!!!

  • So BEC finally came out and i did not pass, I am disappointed but there is nothing else i can do than to pick my self up and get ready for REG and devote all my time.

    Thanks everyone who wished me well

    Good luck to everyone

  • I know that Patrick meant to be helpful. I had to edit his post because even speaking about general topics encountered or not encountered isn’t allowed by the AICPA and consequently since this is a site about the cpa exam – it’s not allowed here.

    Thank you for the head’s up Nan…I didn’t see it.

    It wasn’t blatant at all…I still had to edit it though.

    Thanks for everyone’s understanding.

  • Nan, I think you have too much time on your hands. Everyone knows that everyone else’s exam is going to be totally different. Furthermore, he didn’t even say what was on his test but what wasn’t on it. There was a whole crap load of stuff not on my Reg exam too. Actually, all the things he listed were on my exam. Everyone’s test is different. It’s not like he’s divulging actual questions. Do everybody a favor and study up on your Reg so you can pass it and get off these boards.

  • Patrick,

    Thanks for the reply (10:35 pm).

    But by directly referring to the topics tested on an exam, you’re dancing on the edge of the “nondisclosure” rule.

    Jeff – would you take a look at his comment?

  • (edited – exam information)

    I swear, they kept throwing the same topics at me, over and over.

  • “My feeling was that this section is not necessarily hard?but they throw so many curve balls at you and sometimes their way of asking questions or the answer choices given are so awkward that you end up now understanding the question even though you have a good grasp of the material.”

    You see, I really don’t feel they should do this. This is such a catch-all section, it really should be tighter, IMO. I mean, what is the AICPA trying to prove with this section.

    Having taken one section (REG), and having worked through lots of BEC questions since it is next on my slate, my main problem with this whole exam is exactly what you described above…..which is, TOTAL BS answer choices, as well as TOTAL BS as to the way the question is worded. There should be a CLEAR CUT answer to EVERY SINGLE QUESTION, not answers that are *slightly* better than others BASED ON SOMEONE’S OPINION. God, that really pisses me off.

    The AICPA is evil. I have no doubt in my mind. This is a horrible, downright unfair, thing all of us are attempting. Those of you who actually pass this exam right out of school with little or no work experience, my hat is off to you, as I have no idea how you do it. It’s more than ridiculous enough for me, with 10 years of various sorts of accounting experience under my belt. I would have had 0% chance of passing this right out of school, and I’m not even kidding. 0%….it shouldn’t be that way.

    According to recent interview Jeff did with the AICPA there is no curve of any kind. Also, I think BEC is the only one that is not adaptive, so if the testlets did not get harder, that doesn’t mean anything.

    I felt the same way after taking BEC but my score was higher than I was expecting

    Good luck! and hope you enjoy the ridiculously long wait πŸ˜€

  • that you end up not understanding the question even though you have a good grasp of the material.**

  • Took the BEC section today (first time exam taker). Really do not know what to expect. For those of you who have taken BEC or any other sections in the past, how did you feel coming out of the exam? Were the scores higher than you expected or lower – is there any sort of curve? Also, do the testlets vary in difficulty depending on how you do on the preceding sections?

    My feeling was that this section is not necessarily hard…but they throw so many curve balls at you and sometimes their way of asking questions or the answer choices given are so awkward that you end up now understanding the question even though you have a good grasp of the material.

  • Mike says:
    May 15, 2009 at 11:34 am
    Anyone have an estimate when BEC will be out in NY?

    Your BEST estimate is – about 2 weeks from May 8, 2009. You can always call your NASBA coordinator who’d advise you on whether the scores were released by AICPA or not.

  • i sat for REG in early April (4/4). it was my second time to take it. I passed REG in 2007 but the credit expired because i kept on failing AUD. πŸ™

    so i finally passed AUD in Feb 09. i retook BEC for the same reason last year and i scored 75. now i’m hoping i will pass REG this time….cuz i really want to move on and get it over with >_<

    it took me 3 times to pass FARE. 4 times to pass AUD. i just wish i don’t hv to go thru that with REG…:(

  • I do not think your strategy was totally wrong. It is actually got to get familiar with the multiple choice problems in Becker up to the level when you almost remember not only the questions, but the numerical answers.

    But next time, when you try to prepare yourself for the exam try to also work out the solutions, even though you know the answers to the problems in Becker. This will help. Mark questions, which you got wrong on your first attempt, and try to re-work them using a theoretical framework. This will help. In the end, it is in human nature to memorize questions and answers.

    Hopefully, you passed!!

  • I just stumbled across this website- and I can’t express how much better it makes me feel about this exam. I have been so down since I took the exam that I embarrassingly tear up when people ask how it went. It’s pathetic, I know, but true none-the-less.

    I took my first part (FARE) a few weeks ago, and left the test in complete shock. Though I sailed through the Becker questions (at least 7 times each) and practiced every simulation provided, some of the MC and one simulation completely blind sighted me.

    Though I did not pass (I haven’t received my score yet, but I’m pretty sure I know what the result will be) my advice to anyone taking the FARE section is NOT to over work yourself. I practiced the questions so many times that I subconsciously memorized the answers rather than learn how to work through the problems. So when confronted with a tricky question during the exam, I just froze, and eventually ran out of time. Also, do not solely depend on Becker for the simulations. I found the actual simulations to be far more complex than provided by the review software.

  • “EST people?s scores should plan on 12-12:30am release if they upload them at 8pm EST.

    I would check this post?more people are posting about scores there?”

    Dude, enough making these unsubstantiated “predictions”. This is a total game. You’ll be more successful at horse race betting!!

    I actually believed to what you posted about score release for East Coast at 12-12:30 am and was waking up every hour or so, and you know what? – nothing has been posted. I had to be at work today at 7 am, and will probably stay till 6 pm, with no sleep.

  • For CA candidates, do we check our score through CA Board of Accountancy (client account)??

  • Nan,

    For me, other than the average income computation to pick/approve chapter 7 or chapter 13 for individuals. The general bankruptcy material wasn’t difficult or confusing at all.

  • A general question about REG for anyone:

    Did you find the Bankruptcy material difficult or confusing, and a stumbling block on the exam?

    I’m just curious, because I’ve been working for the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee since way before the Means Test was implemented, and the bankruptcy material seems easy to me.

  • BEC scores are out for CA. I passed, finally, after four attempts. One more to go – Audit on May 27th and I am done! Good luck to everyone, do not give up, it is possible!

  • Jeff,

    I saw your updated release dates since BEC has been posted. What is your prediction for FAR release for IL.

  • BEC scores are out for CA. I got an 82

    BEC – 74, 82
    REG – 75
    AUD – 74
    FAR – August 1
    Ethics – 90

  • Jeff,

    Does that mean that BEC will be posted on NASBA tonight between 9pm and Midnight Eastern time (New York)?


  • Ok everyone,

    So I am new to this site, just took my first test 5/13 (Auditing) and now preparing for FAR in July. I have many friends that have been through this process, unfortunately for me – they knocked em out of the ballpark first try so lets hope I can do that. One question remains…

    If I am able to have a blood and urine sample evaluated in less than three days without a fingerprint or gov. issued I.D…why can’t computer tests be GRADED and the scores RELEASED in a reasonable amount of time?!?! Ahh the struggles, here we come…

  • For some reason i found REG to be pretty easy. I took it on 4/23 and blew through the multiple choice in about 65 minutes and then coasted through 2 fairly easy simulations and wrapped up with about 15 minutes left on the clock. Should I be worried?

  • Illinois has BEC posted! Woo-Hoo; I passed, I am done with the CPA!

    Jeff – Thanks for this site, and everything that it has meant to me.

  • I am scheduled to take AUD on 5/20. I am getting really nervous since I read on previous posts that AUD is extremely difficult on sims… I have passed all the other three parts and would be upset if I have to take Indepence & Professional Responsibilities again if I do not clear AUD this year!

  • so did NASBA release BEC today? Or will that be tomorrow and AUD Monday REG Tues…ect.?

  • PJ – I’ve passed BEC twice by using Gleim. I will take all of the multi’s until I’ve answered them all correctly, then 2-3 days before the test I will do all the questions for each chapter independently. It’s gruelling but has worked for me. Don’t get discouraged, I work with people who have scored 90’s on all other sections, but have taken BEC 3 or 4 times. Stick with it, it’s a squirelly section, but you can get it!

  • BEC scores in IL are out.. just check the website.. after the taking BEC for the 5th time.. i got my second dreaded 72. not sure how i can change my studying habits.. can’t believe i have to take it again. with FAR in less than 10 days i need to get my act together.

    thank god AUD and REG are done for me.

  • Maryland’s BEC scores out this morning?
    That has me scratching my head.
    California is still asleep, but shouldn’t Illinois be soon after Maryland?

  • I know this has been asked before, but with the updated predictions-

    So AUD is predicted to be released tomorrow. Is this AM or PM? And, can it be released saturday morning?

    I was looking for answers on how this weekend could shake out. If its not there tomorrow morning should I wait until Monday? Check at night? Check saturday morning?

    Thanks sooo much for the help!!

  • I saw the updated predictions; however, are these for NASBA?

    When is AUD and FAR (for NASBA) due out?!!!

  • Nan – we (at least I) were talking about entire questions that, in my opinion, didn’t fit the test I was taking. Not “fluff” information meant to confuse us, but a whole question.

  • You can find your score at the NASBA website if your state allows you to view it on line.

    You will get an official letter one to two weeks later.

  • “I will refrain from discussing specifics since I don?t want to violate the don?t talk about what was on your exam agreement, but I was wondering?..Did anyone who has taken REG felt they had questions on the exam that shouldn?t have been based on the topic? I took REG this past Saturday (95% sure I failed) and had 2 or 3 questions that I felt should have been on FAR, not REG. Anyone else have this happen to them?”

    I took REG on 4/29 – I did not see anything that I thought could have been a FAR question. In fact, and I posted this before, I thought the questions were quite narrowly focused on just a handful of tax topics (that seemed to want to hit what I thought were my weakest areas) and some questions on professional responsibility that I thought were really odd. There was a lot of material for which I studied hard that wasn’t on the exam at all.

    Unrelated note, what do I do to get my score when it is released? I have no idea. REG was my first section, and no one ever made this process clear to me.

  • CB

    I feel you on the wait for BEC,I am aslo dieing and at the same time scared of the outcome. It driving me crazy. I was meant to take REG this May but i can’t cos i am not focused. Passed AUD last November with a 77. The wait is tough…

  • Re: “When taking BEC I had questions which – in my opinion – belong to REG or AUD. I am not exactly sure about the purpose of doing this.”

    There’s a reason for it, and I have to agree with the examiner’s rationale.

    In the real world nothing is black-and-white. Most of the time you have to cut past a lot of irrelevant junk to solve your problems. So the examiners apparently have no qualms about throwing irrelevant facts into the test questions.

    One BEC question in particular sticks in my mind. The “fluff” story situation preceding the question described a fact-pattern of concepts covered in REG. The actual question, however, was a BEC question. Upon a closer look, I realized that the REG-material story actually was a distractor designed to trip us up. It was irrelevant to what they were really asking.

  • I’m dieing to know what my BEC score is. I don’t think I’ve worried more about getting score results back more than this. The 17th couldn’t come any faster! This will be my 4th time taking BEC in the past year after receiving a 69,74,and the dreaded 74. I left the exam an hour early becasue this time I didn’t go back and change scores (which I did before causing me to lose pts by changing my answers to the wrong ones!). I feel like I definately know this stuff enough to pass, but we’ll see if NASBA feels the same. Hopefully AUD will be my last one in 2 weeks, otherwise I’ll be scrambling this summer before REG expires in August.

  • KF,

    Regarding the practice simulations:

    The biggest benefit I got from them was to be comfortable with the format and function of the tabs on the real sims. Each test section is unique, and has its own types of sim questions. It’s not something you want to see for the first time when you have 43 minutes left in your Prometric test session.

    I wouldn’t kill myself over the practice sims, but I definitely wouldn’t blow them off either.

    I found the essay questions and suggested answers particularly valuable, since they showed the examiners’ expected format, layout, and wording for various types of recipients.

  • -Nan…I never said I wasn’t going to work through the supplemental questions – I agree with you, they are worth my time. I just found that with AUD, I stressed over the practice simulations and spent SO much time on them but it didn’t really prepare me for what I got on the exam.

    JZ, MW, & Jeff – thanks for your input.

  • To Kait:

    It seems that it is normal practice (is it?) to throw in questions which do not belong to a particular module. When taking BEC I had questions which – in my opinion – belong to REG or AUD. I am not exactly sure about the purpose of doing this.

  • I believe that if you know the material well enough to do well on MCQs – you will know the sims. You could practice 10 sims and not get any of them. You KNOW what types of MCQs you will get…study those and success on the sims will follow.

    My $.02

  • KF, You should at least skim through Becker simulations…. I am waiting for my result but I can asure you that those stimulations are worth your time.

  • KF,

    You have two weeks left to study, and you’re considering NOT doing the Becker simulations and the Supplemental Questions? Those sections are loaded with material that help you really understand the material and get an edge on testing day.

    Do you like 71s?

    On second thought, go ahead and skip those sections. It’ll just make it all the easier for me to get that job you were hoping for.

  • It is a good idea to get a good understanding with the practice simulations (worth 30% of your exam). Intensive studying for the MC is not enough in my case. Wish you luck!

    I passed REG on Feb and now I can’t wait for my BEC to release for this window (been checking like crazy and so anxious?just can’t focus anymore). Planning to take AUD in July. Does anyone know when the new materials are in effect? A little concerned about the material changes.

  • So I am sitting for REG in two weeks….I’ve been through the Becker review textbook twice & have done all the MC questions except for the supplemental questions. I haven’t looked at any of the practice simulations. Do you guys think it’s worth practicing doing simulations? I took AUD last month and none of the practice simulations I did could have prepared me for what I had on the actual exam.

  • Thanks, but I can’t take credit for it. I think the poem was written by someone named Gwen Cuizon.

    It fits, though.

    I don’t have time to go crazy myself. My BEC score is due in this wave, but I still have an appointment with destiny (REG, that is) next Thursday.

  • Nan

    Well wriiten, i am awaiting BEC, I am going crazy already. You should see the way my heart beats when i visit I need ti pass the exam. I anticipate a tough time dealing with it if a fail.

  • If you have found the site to be loading slow – that’s because there’s a lot of people on right now (i.e. this time in the testing window). I’ve disabled some of the things like the video bar, cleaned up the side bar, and dropped the number of posts that appear on the front page. Hopefully you’ll find that the site loads faster…let me know if you have any problems.

    Thanks again for reading,


  • I see the grade-watch is heating up.

    There is a moment I long for
    A moment my soul has craved
    A stillness –
    Buried deep in my heart
    Unperturbed, undeclared.

    Be still my restless heart
    Listen and be still
    For all of your deep longings
    There is no cure but
    A breath of peace?

    I search for peace
    Wrench me from melancholy!
    Be still my restless heart,
    My soul won?t rest
    Til I see my CPA exam passing scores.

  • Wow 5 to 6 hours earlier.. That helps a whole lot. Especially with BEC which is all multiple choice…Why not just give us the scores after we take the exam… BEC is my only section left to pass and last time i got a 74….I can’t take this stress anymore…LOL….I going to bed and am not waking up till the 17th….Good luck to all who have taken an exam in the first part of this window.

  • Does anybody know if WA state fits in with the IL/CA/VA crowd??

    WA releases its grades through Castle Worldwide. I have seen my grade posted in the late evening/night before the email gets sent out.

    Thank you very much .

  • I keep hoping Illinois will receive the BEC scores today. That would likely move the entire thing up 3 days. As crazy as the Jan/Feb Wave 2 was, I don’t see why something crazy couldn’t happen again–only this time for the better.

  • Thank you, Jeff.

    Yes, it will be interesting to follow.
    I’m waiting for Reg, but I will be watching the process closely. I’d rather do that than work.

  • Nasba loading scores sooner…

    re: BEC … When the AICPA releases scores, NASBA has some extra steps that they take, which takes a full day…and then they’re uploaded. So…(under new method) if AICPA releases Friday…process takes Saturday…uploaded Sunday…scores come out Sunday night.

    This score release wave will be interesting…that’s what I *do* know

  • Jeff,

    I read the good news about NASBA loading the scores sooner. Thank you. You predict May 17 for BEC, which is a Sunday. I understand it is just a prediction, but wouldn’t the update occur between 9 pm and 12 am on Friday, May 15?

  • Are you possibly trying to read a Becker DVD disk with a CD drive? They just changed media formats.

  • Re: “For anyone using Becker. I am attempting to update L3 for the new material that will be tested July 1 and it is not working for me.”

    What Becker section is L3?

    All the Becker updates I’ve seen are labeled F, A, B, or R.

  • I took BEC for the second time on 4/17/2009. I’m anxiously waiting for my scores. I hope I passed. I’m sick of getting 74s. So painful.

    REG – 75
    BEC – 74
    AUD – 74
    FAR – August 1

  • So the pretest questions do not hurt you if you miss them, right? Do they help you if you get them right, or are they thrown out either way?

  • I have passed all of the sections except FAR and I took FAR for the 4th time two weeks ago. 67, 72, 73 were my previous scores and I feel pretty good about my last performance. Each testlet got harder and I nailed the first simulation and did OK on the 2nd.

    My question is this, I lose credit for AUD at the end of July so if I fail FAR again (which I hope doesn’t happen) and take FAR prior to July 31st if I pass will I lose credit for AUD since I didn’t get my results prior to July 31st?

  • Nathan, I took FAR. My hope lies with the fact that testlets went medium ,hard, hard, (although that meant some questions I had to guess on) and to receive some credit for the first sim where I completed everything except the research and hopefully a few points for the written comm on in the second sim.

  • In response to Kait– yes, I definitely felt the same way. I took REG in april and started studying for FAR right after and found that one of my simulations on the REG exam was covered in my FAR study materials. I was totally stressed out on the simulations, so I guess I just have to wait and see…

  • In response to Kait…………..yes I found there were mulitiple choice questions that were not a part of REG. Also one of the similations had a topic that was not a REG topic. I ended up stessed out on that similatioin and didn’t finish. So I guess I will be taking it again…………3 times!!! I had a 70 last time.

  • Regarding all the questions about MCQ changing in difficulty during the exam: the CPA exam uses “adaptive testing.” If you totally rock the first testlet, the second testlet you receive will be more difficult. While it’s totally subjective, you can kind of get an idea of how you are doing on the MCQ based on the difficulty between testlets. No change in difficulty doesn’t mean you are doing poorly, it could simply mean you are comparable to other passing candidiates.

  • Kait – I took REG a few weeks ago and felt the same way. I was happy that I had already taken FAR for the background, but not sure that I remembered evertyhing from that section. I am hoping that those were the “sample” questions.

  • For anyone using Becker.

    I am attempting to update L3 for the new material that will be tested July 1 and it is not working for me. Is anyone else getting an error message claiming the disk is not being read?

  • I took audit last week . I did not notice a change in the difficulty of the exam.Does i tmean I did poorly on the MCQ? Any input?

  • I will refrain from discussing specifics since I don’t want to violate the don’t talk about what was on your exam agreement, but I was wondering…..Did anyone who has taken REG felt they had questions on the exam that shouldn’t have been based on the topic? I took REG this past Saturday (95% sure I failed) and had 2 or 3 questions that I felt should have been on FAR, not REG. Anyone else have this happen to them?

  • Thank you so much nan, I really needed that information… both professionally and personally πŸ™‚

  • You get a new NTS exactly the same way you got your original NTS, only the turnaround is faster. Talk to your state CPA society. It’s like re-applying to take a failed section. It will cost $$, but you don’t lose your qualification to sit for the exam.

    If your personal life is interfering (like mine does), the best thing you can do is find another place to study away from home. What you’re trying to do is critically important for everyone’s future. They need to understand that, need to take care of their own problems, and need to let you alone. And you need to back off and pretend you don’t notice the chaos they choose to surround themselves with.

    Finally, if you’re not the parent, child, or spouse of your “relationship problem” you really should reconsider whether that relationship is worth it in the long run.

  • I know this may be slightly random, but I don’t know who esle to reference this to. I am having severe relationship problems and attempting to study for the CPA exam. It has been so hard for me because my life is so unstable because of this situation. I have been attempting to study for this exam since February and have reset test dates at least seven times now. Now my NTS is up in September and I have no choice but to get it done. This means me passing all four parts by then! Of course, a large part of this is my fault, but I just don’t know what to do. Is it possible to extend my NTS and if so how much would it cost me.

    Sorry if too much information πŸ™

  • I passed the last part in Feb of this year. The only part I had to repeat was REG and I clear the whole thing in 8 months using Becker. Looking back at the whole test, I think each part is difficult in its own way. Difficult but not unobtainable if you really do what you are supposed to do. Even though it seems like REG can use a little more time, either you know how to get to the answers or you don’t because if you don’t master the material, the extra time doesn’t get you anywhere. I was able to finish all of the REG test both times I took it and scored 67 and 93 respetively. So there is a huge difference between knowing and not knowing the material.

  • I had a similiar experence with REG. I had 50 minutes to do the last 2 sims. I was down to 20 minutes on the last sim. I did the essey and research and flew thru the rest. I ended up with an 80.

  • Justin,

    You might want to seriously re-think spending fewer hours prepping BEC than you did prepping AUD, unless your day job specializes in an area like IT.

    Don’t be fooled by the shorter exam length and lack of sims. AUD is almost all theory. BEC has a lot of math – probably even more than FAR – and you’ve got to be very comfortable working the formulas.

  • Alex,

    What exam section did you just take?

    You may have passed anyway.

    I blew my second sim with FAR – answered the multiple-guess blocks but only part of the math blocks, couldn’t get the other math blocks to resolve to anything meaningful, wasted time trying to type formulas into the spreadsheet, couldn’t find the research item at all, and with only 5 minutes left tried to pull something spontaneous together for the essay. The clock cut me off mid-sentence.

    I scored an 85. I must have done well enough on the other 4 testlets. Either that, or the 2nd sim had unscored “experimental” parts.

  • took aud this morning. Drove from the test center average 75+ mph.. hopefully that reflects my score πŸ™‚

  • DAMN IT !! The reviled by everybody CPAExcell which I no longer use but still have access to, actually had information and practice problems on the material which just happened to be in the second SIm (and which that fat ass 900 page Wiley book didnt cover) its so awesome to know that a 200+ study effort will likely go down the toilet because I understudied by a few hours.( and I made a conscious decision to risk it and not check out CPA Excell) ARGH!!!

  • I forgot to ask this, but does anyone know which section is retaken the most? And, possibly, the average amount each section is retaken by candidates?

  • I really believe that its the quality of time you put into studying, not the quantity of time. For some people it will take more time to study than others, so quantifying it in time probably isn’t the best way (although its good for planning purposes and giving yourself enough time). For example, I studied for BEC for a little more than a week everyday after taking the Becker class and passed (I don’t think I would recommend this to anyone else though)! So I think it really is quality over quantity because you can study for 250 hours and not effectively use your time or study 100 hours effectively using your time and pass. I also think its hard to tell sometimes if testlets are getting harder. When I took AUD, I thought that maybe they were getting harder but not really that much if at all and the sims were quite easy. I walked out not knowing how I did because I got nervous because they weren’t getting hard. I ended up passing with a 90. But every time I’ve ever walked out of a CPA exam I really had no clue whether I passed or not, so if you think you totally failed then you can definately be in for a surprise!

  • I took auditing in December and passed with a 79. First try. Probably studied about 80 hours. I take BEC 5/15/09. I have budgeted about 60 hours.

    I just wanted to comment and say that nothing in the auditing portion came as a surprise to me. I could definitely tell the questions got harder from one testlet to the next. Sim was very easy, just needed a little more time but I think I probably would have scored a 95% out of 100% if it was a college exam. I use cpa excel. Compared to the material my coworkers use to study (and none of them have passed yet), it appears cpa excel has many more multiple choice questions than becker. I find cpa excel very abbreviated and don’t feel like i am wasting time when i read over the material. i’ve never used a different program, and i doubt i will.

    I thought i would offer my input in case my experience can prove helpful to anyone.

  • Thanks Jeff for changing it to 500 comments/pg. It will definitely be easier!!!

  • btw – I adjusted the comments so that each page shows 500 comments instead of 50 so that you don’t have to click back several pages. Jan/Feb Wave 2 release predictions had 1400 comments, which was a lot of pages to keep track of…this will be better (I think).

  • whats the deal the bringing up a password prompt (which doesnt accept my login) to just enter the website?

  • Good to know re: BEC. I’m not so worried about that one, as I studied for it concurrently with REG for a long, long time. Possibly so long, that I may have wasted my own time.

    Just don’t give me any of those esoteric marginal revenue/marginal cost econ. graphs with the curvy lines. Or the indifference curve. I hate those. Beyond that it’s almost a relief not having to worry about any diabolical simulations.

  • Just took BEC today. Some of these questions do not appear in the Becker study materials. I even went on to the internet and could not find the answers. I’m thinking they may be experimental questions. Otherwise, I think the exam was ok. I have heard that the BEC exam is not adaptive, but it seemed like each section was harder than the last. Who knows? The 3rd section was definately the hardest. This exam is a real pain in the ***. Also, I agree that so much of the material that I studied was not on the exam at all. I guess 90 questions permits only so much that can be asked. That’s why you have to study everything under the sun. May 18th cannot come fast enough. I should be in the first wave of scoring, right?

  • God, I hope I passed it. Doing so would put the pressure on, as the clock would be ticking……but I really do not wish to study for REG again. I was trying to get REG and BEC out of the way first, as that material was either very stale to me, or in some cases, completely foreign.

    While the second simulation was easier than the first, *both* of those simulations were harder than any sims in my study materials, and it’s not even close.

  • kudos to you Alex…you just reminded me why I dropped the video bar to the bottom of the page the last time I tinkered with it…it causes all of the posts below it to adopt its links and tags.

    I put it to the bottom of the page…problem should be solved.

    If you see anything wacky in the future – please let me know!

    Thanks again,


  • well when I click specifically on the link that should take me directly to the 319 comments relating to the “2009 April/May test rants” it takes me to the BEC video review. Same situation happens when I click on the comments link in the “score release predictions April/May” post

  • Three weeks is enough – esp after a 73. However, make sure you’re up on your MCQs so that they’re fresh in your mind. You can score a 73 and then not look at it for awhile and if you don’t get back up to “Exam Day caliber” comprehension – your 73 will turn into a 68 if you don’t “cram”.

    Speaking of cram – I highly recommend getting one for the occasion. It’s up to you.

    My advice:
    -do a lot of MCQs
    -watch a cram (like the Yaeger BEC cram…added 9 points to my score after three 71s)

    You should be fine.


  • Jeff,

    I am taking BEC for the second time after a 73 .My questions is what do you recommend doing differently, I am taking it in 3 weeeks dedicating full time prep for it.WOuld that be enough?

    TX CPA To Be

    FAR : 78
    BEC: 73, studying..sitting on May 29
    Audit: 5/6/09…waiting

  • alex – I appreciate you letting me know if the site is messing up (and anyone else as well!)

    the video bar is an experiment…after a few weeks of daily video adds, it will hopefully become a solid *free* resource.

    However, the video bar doesn’t play nice all of the time with internet explorer.

    The comments thing is due to only 50 or so being shown per page…click “older comments” above the reply area. I will look into expanding the # of comments show (I’m still new to wordpress and tweaking things daily).

    As far as the links goes – can you be more specific? Which links? If it’s the most recent posts along the right sidebar – this makes sense because the two most recent posts are videos (they show up in the video bar and not on the main blog area…).

    As far as I can tell, the site is running ok in Firefox and internet explorer 6.0 (I didn’t upgrade internet explorer intentionally so I could see how it looked).

    Any comments or thoughts or suggestions about the blog format or content is ALWAYS welcomed.


  • Jeff the website is malfunctioning severely. Only a few of the 314 comments for this topic are visible and a lot of links keep taking me to the video review clips.

  • Jeff the website is malfunctioning severely. Only a few of the 314 comments for this topic are visible and a lot of link keep taking me to the video reviiew clips.

  • @NY REG
    I feel your pain! I am NY as well and I took REg on 4/6. The MCQ were great I was on high spirits, but once I saw the Simulations I wanted to cry. They were really hard. I am sure I did not pass. I taking FAR on 5/26 and I trying my best to put REG behind me, but it is tough!!!

  • Patrick,

    I took REG on 4/30 and had a very similar situation as you. I breezed through Testlet #1, Testlet #2 was definitely harder, and Testlet #3 was in harder than #1, but easier than #2. I only took about 50 minutes on the multiple choice. The simulations were not what I was expecting at all. I definitely took longer on the first one, because I had no idea how to approach it. The second stimulation was a little easier. I think my communication memos came out fairly well. All in all, I don’t know how I really did. I feel about the same about it as I did FAR and I passed that one. Oh well, I guess only time will tell.

  • Patrick, my experience with FAR was exactly the same as your REG: vast swaths of material studied vs. relatively few topics tested. I was rather miffed as well…

  • Patrick,

    Sounds like you nailed REG. My prediction of your grade: 89. You da man!

  • Oh, and I might add, I was quite upset to find that vast swaths of material, for which I studied hard, were NOT on the exam, or extremely lightly tested.

    My REG exam really seemed heavily concentrated in a handful of areas.

  • I took REG last week on 4/28….my first section of the CPA exam. Yeah, I was pretty nervous. Here’s my read on the test:

    Multiple choice testlet 1: I found it pretty easy. I blew right through it in almost no time. I’d like to think I answered all of these correctly, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that I made a couple careless mistakes.

    Multiple choice testlet 2: This was clearly an upgrade in difficulty over testlet 1, so I must have done reasonably well on the first testlet. There were maybe 1-2 questions where I threw up my hands and basically said “**** if I know.” Some of the other questions had some little tricky twists, but again, I kinda blew right through them.

    Multiple choice testlet 3: I’m not certain whether the questions in this testlet were of the “easy” set or the “hard” set. They didn’t seem quite as difficult as in #2, but they weren’t as easy as #1 either. Obviously, I hope they were in the more-difficult range. All in all, I blew through the multiple choice in 40-45 minutes flat, giving myself a full 2 hours and 15 minutes on the simulations.

    Good thing, too, because I needed that two hours:

    Simulation 1: F’ing brutal. It took me at least 15 minutes to even begin to get a handle on what I was supposed to do. I did my best on the fill in the blanks, and then was asked to fill out a tax form I’d never seen before. Again, I did my best, and hopefully scratched out a few points, but I didn’t have countless hours to spend on this simulation, so I had to move on. In retrospect, I see where I made a couple mistakes. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. On to “Communication.” While the fill-in-the-blank was really difficult, the Communication tab on this particular simulation was pretty simple, and very similar to one encountered in the Bisk review materials. I would at least like to think I did well on the Communication tab. The research element was simple.

    Simulation 2: Not loads of fun by any stretch, but at the very least, easier and more familiar than Simulation 1. I doubt I nailed the fill in the blank 100%, but I know I answered SOME correctly. The Communication tab here was a little lengthier and more involved than in Sim 1 – I don’t think my writing here was as concise and effective as it was in Sim 1 (I was getting tired), but I probably blundered my way to decent points. The research element here was RIDICULOUS. It had to do with something really obscure that I could not find for the life of me. After answering the Communication tab, I had about 25 minutes left, and I spent 20 minutes frantically scouring the tax code for something that looked like an exact match. I never could find one. I tossed my hands up, picked the closest thing I could find, and closed out my exam with 5 minutes left on the clock.

    Did I pass? I really have no idea. I *think* the multiple choice may be promising, but I am very uncertain of the simulations. Pass or fail, it will probably be close. I don’t see any way I scored above an 80 or 90….but I’ll suspend prediction, because I truly have no idea. When do you guys think I can expect a score report on a 4/28 exam? I have BEC on 5/29.

  • Those who are preparing for BEC.Becker has an update as of yesterday’s date. Check their website.

  • Edkohl,

    trust me when I tell you that people say every window “____ does not sound good this window”.

    The exams are the same every window – difficult. Just study hard and don’t worry about such things…you’ll be fine.

  • I am taking Reg on Thursday May 7th. A lot of what I am reading about Reg this testing period does not sound good. I took Audit and BEC already and had no problems with them. From what I am reading it seems some of these questions for REG are are of left field and not even in the Becker book. I hope this isn’t the case…

  • Wow. I only lost a week and a half in my expected testing window.

    I wonder if a lot of other people get an unexpectedly speedy turnaround on first-time applications.

  • The same thing happened to me. I sent in my paperwork to get my first NTS on Columbus Day (October 13). I was told it would take 8-10 weeks, so I scheduled my review class to start in January. Imagine my surprise when my NTS came on 10/25 and expired on 4/25!!!

  • 13 days until I get my BEC score…. (wish the days would go faster….)

    and 16 days until I sit for REG (I TAKE IT BACK!!!! I WANT MORE STUDY TIME!!!)

    Way back when, “They” said it would take 6-8 weeks for my original application to be processed. “They” were a little off. My NTS came in only three weeks, so it expires earlier than I wanted it to.

  • I just sat for Reg today. I felt pretty good after the 3 MC testlets and then came the sims. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing on both of them. No way I passed.

  • Took BEC today, first testlet was pretty tough, the other two weren’t that bad. I used a couple of study materials too, mostly the most popular one that starts with a B, but in response to anonymous on May 4th at 5:40, it’s tough to prepare for it because it’s so broad. I think you just have to stick with the one or two courses you have and really understand the theory/concepts, not just the defintions. Hopefully this was my last exam!

  • I walked out from BEC today feeling that I totally failed it. I used several review course materials to study for it and it seems that I knew answers to 30% of questions at most. There were not many computational questions, mostly theory.

    Anyone else had the same feeling? How one can prepare themselves for BEC?

  • “FAR, BEC, REG, and AUD”
    That’s the order in which I’m taking mine also; and also trying to do it all in six months. Is it a good idea? Not sure yet; still haven’t gotten my FAR score, and I take BEC on Saturday! But, it seemed like a good progression from what I read on here and cpanet…and, it fit my schedule well with vacations and blackout months. Here’s hoping!

  • Jeff,

    Thanks for the response. I decided to study for FAR and BEC during May and June and take them both in July. Taking FAR, July 1, and BEC, July 8. What are your thoughts on this. I think that as long as I get the study time in, I should be ok… you think?

  • I feel like I’m in the same position as some of you are now and as Jeff was. I took FAR yesterday and I walked out of the test feeling like I definitely failed. The MCs were hard and I had a nearly impossible sim. And it’s not like I didn’t work hard; I studied my butt off, I put the most hours in and practiced the most MCs then any other test as this is my last one I need to pass. The worse part about this situation was that if I didn?t pass this I?m going to loose my hard earned REG credit! I?m not sure what to do. Do I keep studying or just wait? Any suggestions? I think this horrible feeling in my stomach is going to last until I find out my score.

  • FAR, BEC, REG, and AUD is a great order. While FAR-REG-BEC-AUD is recommended if you want to go from most-difficult to least-difficult (according to the majority opinion) b/c of the 18 month rule, taking a “break” (haha…I hated BEC…it’s why my site is named another71) between FAR and REG is justified as well.

    The only way you’ll complete all four parts by Sept 1 is if you book it and take a section at the end of May. This leaves you June to study and take an exam July 1…study July…take exam at end of July…study August…take exam at end of August. DONE. (in theory).

  • So, I am just curious. I am sitting for the Parts in this order: FAR, BEC, REG, and AUD. Is this ok? This will be my first time attempt at the CPA exam, ever! I just want to make sure I am on the right track. Also, I am not working or in school and have nothing but time to study. Can I complete all four parts by September 1?


  • This site definately keeps me sane. This must be what an AA meeting is like. LOL. Yes, it is comforting knowing that everybody else is in the same boat as me. I have 2 parts passed, AUD and REG. I took FAR on April 23rd and I am taking BEC on Wednesday. With FAR, I had 2 minutes left to spare. Hopefully, my next post will be good news. Gool luck everybody!

  • “I also did not notice that questions were becoming harder from one testlet to another, but the amount of computational questions were somewhat higher towards the end of the exam.”

    Unlike the other 3 sections, BEC doesn’t change the difficulty of the questions from testlet to testlet based on your performance on the previous testlet.

  • To TXgirl:

    Which review course did you use if any? I took BEC last Tuesday and felt I totally failed it. There were a lot of weird, mostly theoretical questions, and all the computations were quite easy. I also did not notice that questions were becoming harder from one testlet to another, but the amount of computational questions were somewhat higher towards the end of the exam.

    I used Yaeger to prepare for BEC, and feel like I need to switch to another course. Is there another course which is more theoretical for BEC rather than computational?

  • I just took my (hopefully) last CPA exam. It was BEC and I left an hour early. Is this fairly common? I’ve been 3/3 so far and it would be amazing if I could finish this last one and be done within 4 months…

  • If you’re having trouble with REG, and you haven’t taken all 3 of the other parts yet, you might consider setting REG aside until you’ve taken the other 3 at least once. REG will make a lot more sense that way.

    A lot of the material in REG builds on the other parts. For instance:

    FAR covers the foundation material, both GAAP and Governmental. AUD presumes you are well-versed in FAR material. You can’t examine something intelligently if you don’t know what you’re looking at.

    FAR also very clearly outlines the difference between GAAP income and Taxable Income. FAR covers Deferred Taxes, and what constitutes Temporary Tax Differences and Permanent Tax Differences, all of which are critical to understanding and passing REG.

    AUD covers, in depth, the differences between Attestation, Review, and Compilation engagements. REG tests you on the different ethical Standards (such as independence) applicable to each of these engagements. If you aren’t well-versed in the distinctions between the different engagements, you’re going to struggle.

    BEC covers Financial and Managerial (non-GAAP) Accounting, but makes comparisons to non-GAAP and the GAAP material covered in FAR. BEC is much easier if you don’t feel like you’re lost when those come up.

    BEC goes on to discuss, in depth, the differences between types of business organizations, particularly Partnerships and Corporations. REG then gives you the tax rules for the different organizations. Once again, if you aren’t well versed on the differences between the organizations from BEC, the tax rules in REG can get mixed up easily.

    In retrospect, I am very glad that I took FAR first and am taking REG last. It was just happenstance, but if I had to do it all over again I would take them in the same order: FAR – AUD – BEC – REG.

  • ak – Estates/Trusts are tested obviously, but partnerships, individual tax, S corps, c corps are all tested to a much more in-depth level.

    If you know the basics about estates/trusts…you know enough for the exam most-likely.

  • “Jeff – says:
    April 28, 2009 at 1:07 pm
    Gifts/Estates aren?t as heavily tested, but they are still tested?you have to know it.”

    This is not true, at least when I took my REG.

  • And here I was looking at the REG review material and saying “I already know most of this stuff….” But I also always knew that wasn’t going to be good enough to pass.

    Y’all are just reminding me to go over EVERYTHING – and do it DILIGENTLY, no matter how familiar I am with the subject.

    KF, I sit for REG on May 21. Stick in there. We can do it buddy!

  • Oh boy – now I am all nervous after reading the posts from people who have sat for REG in this testing window! πŸ™ I’m scheduled to take it the end of May….

  • Thanks Joey, I’m starting to believe that the time between sitting and getting my score will be necessary to get my head ready to study again. It’s good to know that folks have felt the same way leaving (the test), and still managed to pass.
    I typically feel pretty good about my study program until the last few days, then panic over being able to remember it all. I’m definitely going to revisit my approach next time. (I hope there won’t be a next time.)
    Good Luck! as well. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • hey Whatnext?,

    I am right there with you. I have now taken the exam 13 times: 3 FAR, 2 BEC, 3 AUD, 3 REG, retake FAR twice (expired). In the process of being liad-off from my bank job & have 2 young kids (one born while in the process of studying).

    With BEC now looming as expiring, I’m scared sh**less. I got a 74 on FAR in February (thought I would be lucky to get a 65!) & retook it a couple weeks ago.

    I studied my ass off & took lots of notes. I cruised through the 1st section & knew I did well as the 2nd MCQ were tough & 3rd MCQs were tough as well.

    I must say, the sims were not so bad. In fact, probably the easiest sims I’ve ever come across…almost eerily easy. I did run out of time on the 2nd sim, but managed to get most of it (even the research tab!).

    If I fail – – I’m going right back to do FAR & get BEC done (again) as quickly as possible.

    DO NOT GIVE UP! Dang, you’re almost there!!

    The fact that the MCQs were tough is definitely a good sign. I have passed sections where I totally crapped-out on the sims, but managed to pass…the key is to do well on the written comm.

    YOU’RE too close to give up – – and wayyyyy too much $$$$ spent. Buck up! You’ll get it done.

    My mantra during this whole traumatic (2+ years) experience has been “CPA Stands For…Set For Life!”.

    Good Luck ! See you on the other side.

  • Jeff, Thanks for the site. It’s nice to not be alone in this.
    I find myself where you’ve already been. Having passed three sections, I’ve come up short against FAR twice and took it yesterday for the third time before I start losing credit for my passed sections. (insight into how that system works?)
    I didn’t feel so good leaving the site. I bombed the second sim (ran out of time). I wondered if you had experienced what I did in that the questions seemed much harder this time around, and whether that was a potentially good sign?
    I don’t want to give up on this, but with kids, putting in the time to study has left me spent. Thoughts?

  • This is the third time I’ve taken REG (73 & 72) and still waiting for the score. The sims are ridiculous, nothing can prepare you for that.

  • I took REG 2 weeks ago and felt the same way too. It was my second time taking it(scored 73) and I think I did worse this time. If I have to take it again I have no idea what to do to pass it besides everything that I have already done the other 2 times. The sims were totally ridiculous and half of them didn’t make any sense!

  • Anonymous says:
    April 28, 2009 at 10:28 am
    I just took what was supposed to be my last exam yesterday, REG. I studied hard but I feel terrible about it. Both simulations were rediculously hard and I had a lot of questions in the multiple choice that I was not sure about. Has anybody who has taken REG felt like there was a pretty big curve after they got their score? Thats what its gonna take for me to pass.

    Hi Anonymous – I can sympathize with you after taking REG this week also. The simulations were nothing like any in my study guides and I really felt helpless. Plus the way they were set up, you had to know 2-3 answers to get one question right. I have taken BEC (89) and FAR (not scored) and I felt pretty good about both after taking them and I followed the same study pattern and really thought I knew the material. Maybe we will get lucky and they will all be test questions that we missed.

  • i am down to one as well. I take AUD on May 21. I will know the third week of June if this studying is all over,

  • Hey Jeff – I found your site after failing the first exam I sat for (FAR) in Dec ’07; walking out of the Prometric testing center I thought I?d be lucky to get a 40% (I scored a 74%, frankly, I was shocked). I took studying too lightly and treated the CPA exam as a joke, thinking I would breeze by and get a 75.
    Reading people?s comments on this site scared me straight; I didn?t want to be someone who was taking multiple sections over and over again. I got my act together, but in the work required and started rattling of sections; AUD, FAR, the REG?which brings me to where I am today, I just took BEC (my last part) this morning. I almost broke down, getting on the ?El? to head to work, thinking about how much I had to sacrifice in the last couple years because of this test?but (fingers crossed) it?s all over now.
    I?d like to thank you, and your site for being a support system during this time, and would love to share my story (in more detail) in your ?success stories? section. But first, I?ll need a passing score, and I?m not submitting a picture unless I lose some of this CPA studying/busy season lbs (similar to baby weight)?haha

  • Matt W. Thanks I hope it works out that way for me too. The waiting game has started. May 21st can’t come fast enough.

  • Re: “BEC…it looks like most of the math/workout problems are near the end of each testlet.”

    Actual exam questions are in random order. If you’re concerned about keeping on pace you might consider making 3 passes through each Multiple Choice testlet: the first pass to answer all the Theory questions, the second pass to answer all the Math questions, and the third pass to take a last-chance look at the Mark for Review questions.

    A more helpful technique: use the scratch paper to schedule “countdown” clock time targets for finishing each testlet. Keep an eye on the clock throughout and compare to your schedule so that you don’t let yourself get hung up on any one section, nor rush unnecessarily.

    For BEC, divide the “time to go” evenly and write down scheduled times to be halfway through each testlet and to finish each testlet.

    For AUD, REG, and FAR, also write down scheduled times to be halfway through and to finish each testlet, but don’t break up the time evenly. These three give you an “easier” first testlet and “harder” second and third testlets as long as you are doing OK. Schedule 5 to 10 minutes less for the first testlet than you schedule for the second and third. Follow the instructions in your review course for dividing your time between Multiple Choice testlets and Simulations.

  • ” Anonymous says:
    April 28, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I just took what was supposed to be my last exam yesterday, REG. I studied hard but I feel terrible about it. Both simulations were rediculously hard and I had a lot of questions in the multiple choice that I was not sure about. Has anybody who has taken REG felt like there was a pretty big curve after they got their score? Thats what its gonna take for me to pass.”

    I thought I completely bombed REG last quarter and got an 80 (this wasn’t irrational either – I had no idea what I was doing on one of my SIMs)…don’t give up hope!!!

  • Looking over the Becker BEC practice final exams and the AICPA released questions (2008), it looks like most of the math/workout problems are near the end of each testlet. Did anyone find that to be true on the actual CPA exam? Because if so, I think I might start with the last questions in each testlet and work my way forward. The workout problems take me the longest, so I want to get those out of the way first. Thanks in advance.

  • Michael – thanks for your advice πŸ™‚ I am going to bury myself in REG for the next month and hopefully pass!!

  • Jeff,

    You mentionaed on your old website an inspirational book about overcoming failure. Can you post that again. I need it. thanks.

  • Hi, Caribbean Girl!

    Nice to hear from someone who says REG wasn’t so bad. It gives me reason to hope that I’m not deluding myself.

  • Jeff is so correct , you have to have a solid foundation for all of the REG material. If you skip something or are weak?it could mean the difference b/w a 74 and a 75.

    I did a lot a skimming For REG sitting taking comfort that i havent fail any exams before I got a nice 74. I was so angry but didnt have anyone to blame but myself. I study every thing this time in the becker material and did 300 MC per day pratice writing communication responses i did the exam yesterday It wasnt so bad. one a sim had me guessing. but i can say it was not a bad paper. So iam now waiting for results

    Caribbean Girl

  • KF – I’ve taken REG twice using Becker – liked it so much the first time decided to take it again. Unfortunately all 7 chapters are evenly tested on the exam. One learning I’ve gained with using Becker and taking REG twice (passed the other three parts on first attempt) is that every word is key. I skimmed over certain subsections or even sentences and you will see questions regarding those areas. Read the book carefully. Read the Homework Reading because you will see questions on the exam. Probably not sims but you will see a few questions.

  • Jeff – thanks for the advice. My exam is one month from tomorrow and I’m halfway through Chapter 6….If I reschedule to July, I’m going to get lazy, lol.

  • Gifts/Estates aren’t as heavily tested, but they are still tested…you have to know it.

    Really, you have to have a solid foundation for all of the REG material. If you skip something or are weak…it could mean the difference b/w a 74 and a 75.

    I hated AMT and 1231/1245/1250 and skipped them and scored back to back 74s. I got my act together and studied them and scored a 92 on my next try. Tough it out and know everything. If you’re short on time – reschedule!


  • Hello all….I am currently studying for REG using Becker. Which chapters are the most heavily tested on the exam? Also, how much focus should I put on the “Homework Reading”? It sucks that they don’t go over all the areas.

  • I just found out I have another reason to study until I drop, so that I pass REG next month on the first try.

    Becker is now releasing its software on DVD, and the little 1999-vintage laptop I’m running the review courses on doesn’t have a DVD drive!

    AAAKKK!@! The LAST thing I need to deal with is replacing my computer so that I can prepare to re-take this exam!!! The plan is supposed to be: pass the exam, get a better job, THEN upgrade my laptop PC.

  • J –

    I bombed sim #2 on FAR and still passed. I left 3 tabs blank…I ran out of time. I made sure I wrote the communication first and then tried to answer as many as I could. It was enough to pass, apparently.

  • Just took FAR last week..MC were hard as I expected (probably had issues with about 4-5 within each testlet). First Sim was a killer for me, had to just plug in random numbers..but I wrote a pretty good memo. Second Sim i nailed it, along with the memo. My question is, if I bombed the first Sim (except the memo), killed the second, did decent on the MC and maybe with a curve what do you think my chances are?

    Any comments are appreciated!


  • I just took what was supposed to be my last exam yesterday, REG. I studied hard but I feel terrible about it. Both simulations were rediculously hard and I had a lot of questions in the multiple choice that I was not sure about. Has anybody who has taken REG felt like there was a pretty big curve after they got their score? Thats what its gonna take for me to pass.

  • CPA Candidate,
    “Im 6.5 days away from taking my FAR exam! Should i scan the text a lot or do a lot of problems in my final days? Thanks guys!”

    I did both with a greater focus on re-working questions that I struggled with or had answered incorrectly on the first pass. I continued to re-answer questions I answered incorrectly until I could explain the reasons for each correct and incorrect answer option. While it sounds like overkill, it focused me on my weaknesses and it worked.

    For each exam section, I quickly reviewed my text about one week out, and then again about two days before test day. Each time I either picked up something I had previously missed or had forgotten.

    Since you are 6.5 days out, I assume you have a good idea of your weaknesses. I also made flashcards/note cards focused on my weakest areas and reviewed them at least daily. I also took the cards I struggled with most on test day and ran through them before enterring the test center.

    Good Luck!

  • Im 6.5 days away from taking my FAR exam! Should i scan the text a lot or do a lot of problems in my final days? Thanks guys!

  • Claiming,

    FAR is a good place to start if you think you’re weak on traditional GAAP accounting as a whole. The oddball section in FAR is the Governmental and Not-for-profit fund accounting, which a lot of people may not have taken as an accounting elective. That’s maybe 15 or 20% of the exam.

    BEC is a good place to start if you’re weak on the stuff described below. Of course, whichever exam you start with, you need to be prepping the other while waiting for the results on the first to be released.

    Economics is only about 12% of the BEC exam. A lot of the review material consists of stuff like “If the president and congress get onto a runaway spending spree, how will that affect the price and demand for goods? And how can they attempt to hold back the runaway inflation that naturally follows such a massive expansion of M-1, especially since interest rates have already been artifically suppressed to nearly zero?”

    Economics is real, it’s relevant, and as long as you can visualize or feel the supply and demand curve right-left shifts like you were on a dancefloor, it’s not bad.

    The real killer in BEC, in my opinion, is the computer technology section. That’s about 25% of the exam. For instance, assuming you’ve even heard of them, do you know the difference between a Digital Signature, a Digital Certificate, and a Certificate Authority? Or can you describe how a Firewall filters packets of data?

    The rest of BEC is regular accounting stuff – heavy on non-GAAP Cost and Managerial accounting.

    BEC has a lot of math. I used 4x more scratch paper on BEC than I did on FAR. But BEC has no simulations (this year, anyway)!

    It’s your call.

  • Can someone clarify what is meant by Wave 1 or Wave 2? What’s the date cut off between the two?

    Ugh… can’t wait until this process is over…

  • Nan, tell me about it! No life when you are a CPA candidate. On the top of that, even if I studied 144 hours believe me on the back of my mind I know I didn’t cover all the possible topics on the exam.

    BTW: I took REG today and absolutely, as you said add supplement materials.

  • When you are a CPA exam candidate, you have no life and time has no meaning. Exam prep is as close to experiencing eternity as anyone can ever reach in this lifetime.

    It’s impossible to say how many hours you should spend studying, because all hours blend together into a meaningless blur that transcends normal reality.

    Until, that is, you are less than 72 hours away from arriving at the Prometric Testing Center. Suddenly you notice that your remaining study time collapses into a massive Black Hole, at a rate inversely proportional to the rate the universe expanded immediately after the Big Bang.

  • Nan,

    I have read some of your responses to others regarding BEC. I hated economics in school, so it seems that this may be my hardest exam. with that said, would you recommend I take it first instead of FAR?

  • Hello to all. I love this site. I am new to the CPA program and I hope to take my first section in the Fall. I’m planning to use the Bisk CPA Review and I was wondering if anyone else has used this review program? Would you advise sitting for one or two sections on the first try? Also, does anyone have a general estimate for the amount of hours you should spend studying for each part?

  • kallison ,

    What I did when I took Fare with Becker, I printed the questions for example market value method and book method and put them together, monetary and nonmonetary changes and put them together…. when I reviewed these concepts, It made the differences very clear to me.
    I hope this helps!

  • Thanks Nan! I was extremely worried about the date. I really appreciate the advice! πŸ™‚

  • Claiming,

    It took me about 7 weeks to prep FAR, working full time and studying every evening at the library (well, actually, the bookstore LOL). I also took one day a week off of work for the first 6 weeks, and a full week off work for the final week before the exam, to keep my study schedule on pace.

    If you’re don’t have a life outside of studying (that includes having no small kids hanging onto your ankles), May 26 should be good.

    One other thought: Take BEC before REG. It helps to know what all the types of businesses are (BEC) before you try to discern the differences on how they are taxed (REG).

    Good luck, and let us know how you score!

  • Nan (or anyone),

    so, my scheduled date is already for may 26, do think that’s enough time from now for FAR given that I am not working or going to school? Or should I reschedule?

  • Nan and Jeff,

    wow! You have so much great information to offer. Thank you so much for your suggestions! Your have definitely helped me with your advice! Thanks to you also Jeff for you input! πŸ™‚

  • Kallison,

    Don’t throw out Becker quite yet. You will get screwball questions because the computer sees you are doing well and upgrades you to the harder testlets for sections 2 & 3. The time to worry is when all the questions seem to be too easy.

    Remember, some 25% of the questions are bogus pre-release questions that are not used in calculating your score.

    This test is done, and you can’t change it. Concentrate on your next section, and let us know how well you scored when you see that passing grade next month.

  • Quick question for anyone that has some thoughts. Just took FAR today for the third time. 73 & 72, first and second attempt respectfully. Using Becker. Has anyone else found that the materials in becker dont seem to match up to the exam. I kept thinking wtf during the multiple choice questions.

    In preparation i went through all 1400 multiple choice questions. I did 10 practice tests of 100 questions so I felt like i put the time in. and yet I walked out today thinking, wow i may need to take it again. any thoughts?

  • I am not sure if most of you are aware that you can access the litereature on this website:

    CPA Exam Candidates: Free On-line Access to Professional Literature Package

    CPA exam candidates can get a free six-month subscription to professional literature used in the computerized CPA Examination. This online package includes AICPA Professional Standards and FASB Original Pronouncements. Only candidates who have applied to take the CPA exam, and have been deemed eligible by state boards of accountancy, will receive access to this package of professional literature. This online package of literature will familiarize CPA Exam candidates with the use of online accounting resources. However, the interface used by the online package is not exactly the same as that used in the operational CPA Examination. Candidates are strongly encouraged to also review the CPA Exam tutorial and sample tests found on this web site. The sample tests reflect the functionality and interfaces used in the actual examination.

    Good Luck to All!!!

  • nan, thank you for answering all those questions, you’re so helpful!

    jeff, thank you for this blog!!

  • Hi, Shawn!

    I got my undergrad degree in 1980, joined the Air Force, and didn’t work in Accounting for two decades. A lot of stuff on the exam now didn’t even exist when I got my undergrad degree. That definitely makes it essential for us to pass these exams if we’re going to prove to potential employers that we are up-to-speed and have our acts together.

    I did plenty that had to do with IT though. I got to be part of IT as it evolved from hanging-chad punchcards and beer-barrel sized hard drives all the way to now.

    There is one nice thing to be said for having been out that long – we don’t have a lot of “old habits” leading us to be tripped up on the exams because of recently changed standards. I have now passed FAR and AUD on my first try, am waiting for my score in BEC, and am prepping REG.

    FAR is definitely the best place to start for folks like us – get a refresher course on all the foundation material that all else builds upon.

    You might take BEC next – 25% of BEC is IT, and with an IT background you should be able to knock that out easily sometime in August.

    If I were you, I’d take save REG and AUD for the 3rd and 4th tests.

    AUD stands on its own, but presumes you have a decent grasp of GAAP accounting upon which to build GAAS.

    REG has a lot of “alike and different” contrasts with FAR (tax rules vs GAAP). Putting at least one test between FAR and REG may reduce confusion on test day, because the tax rules will be fresher in your mind.

    Good luck!

  • All,

    I am new to the whole exam scene. It has been almost 20 years since I passed BS in accounting. I am now looking to get the CPA certification to further my career and move out of IT, to which I had unfortunately succumbed to during my yesteryears.

    Any tips suggestions guidance on where and how to start and how to progress successfully to the finish line. I am taking FAR first in July.

    Your guidance is sincerely appreciated in advance.


  • Nan,
    i paid for the Becker course myself so i know what you mean about motivation.
    Im also looking for a job. Anyone with information about accounting jobs in California. Mostly LA county, orange county, and surrounding areas. Please pass the job board along.

  • Anyone in the Inland empire area studying for the CPA exam?. I live in Fontana and always study at the Victoria Gardens library. Let me know

  • Biff,

    No loophole. The “library” access is intentional.

    Part of the test is demonstrating that you know where to find the answers that are not at your fingertips, that you can drill down to the “right” answers, and that you can do so quickly and efficiently. So take full advantage of the “library” when you are doing the sims, and you will maximize your score.

    But don’t ever get the idea that you can blow off preparing the sims in favor of studying the MCQs. You need to prep both.

  • motun,

    The hardest section for anyone will be:
    The material that was covered in the Accounting elective courses you didn’t take….
    The areas you haven’t worked in for more than 5 years….
    The laws and standards that were changed or implemented after you got your degree, especially if you worked hard to master the “old” way….

    It’s different for everyone.

    Conventional wisdom, backed up by pass rates, says that FAR is the hardest, REG is 2nd hardest, BEC is third, and AUD is easiest. (“easy”?? ROTFLMAO) But the difference in pass rates between the sections is almost statistically insignificant. If you never did anything with a computer except use MS Word and you slept through your Economics classes, you may find that BEC is the hardest test by far.

    Obviously, being sworn to secrecy as a condition of taking the exam, I can’t discuss actual content. What I can tell you is take FULL advantage of ALL the review material you paid so very dearly to acquire, and you will be prepared for nearly anything they throw at you.

    It helps to have a couple of ulterior motives as well. I am on a tight timeline, because the company I work for will be closing (the boss is retiring) and I will need a decent job. Also, I had to pay for all my review courses out of my own pocket, and I bought the full package including flashcards and last-minute cram courses. You tend to pay more attention when you spend the money yourself, especially when you get a monthly reminder in the form of a credit card statement with an unpaid balance; Becker is NOT cheap.

  • just took FAR 4/24..MC were pretty much what i expected (tough as usual)..the first sim I think i bombed, but the second sim i nailed it…My question…Are the sims weighted differently? if i did really good on one and bad on another will it kinda be a wash?

  • I have a question about using the research tabs while doing simulations, specifically for REG and AUD.

    I took REG the last day of February. I was given a simulation that I was not completely comfortable with the subject matter. I quickly found out that I could look up almost anything up in the research tab, and find the answers in the IRC.

    I talked with some friends that have taken the AUD exam and they say you can do almost the same thing for AUD.

    Doesn’t this seem like a loophole? There is no way I could have answered as much as I did without looking up the answers. If so, doesn’t this just reinforce the idea that you should spend almost all of your time on MCQs and just “wing it” with the simulations?

    **I’m not trying to cheat the exam or fish for questions that other candidates have had to answer for the exam. I just want to know why the exam is structured this way, so please don’t reference an AICPA ethics code for me to look up. I just want to study efficiently for my upcoming exams.


  • nan,
    thanks for your reply. you are like an inspiration. a 98! wow. i am scared. i am doing audit coz its the first becker class im taking. whats the hardest section to you? what kind of questions do thay ask in simlation questions. Any other tips. will really apprecciate it

  • motun,

    I recently passed AUD with a 98. To me it was actually the easiest section of the 3 I have taken, and I have seen others say the same.

    5 weeks is plenty of time to prep AUD.

    Just a thought – if you haven’t taken the other 3 sections you might consider taking AUD later. The nightmare scenario is to pass AUD, start your 18-month clock running, not pass some of the other sections, have your 18 months expire, and have to test for AUD again.

  • For study tips with Becker: I don’t suggest viewing the lecture DVD more than once; And highlighting seems to be a waste of time, unless you’re ACTUALLY going to go back to review your notes.

    For me, doing the HW questions, practice final exams, & Sim’s is where the real learning happens.. the DVD gives me the general concept and overall understanding/review of material.. it’s in the application you find out where your flaws/gaps are and then you can go back in the material to sharpen it up.. then go back to the HW questions & final exam questions and re do them until you’re getting near 100%… remember to learn the questions and not just learn/memorize the answers!

    I use the Becker Home Study DVD, Flashcards, & Final Review.. it’s worked 2 times so far and 3rd one I am pretty confident about as well.. 4th (REG) I’m taking end of May and I’m done!

    BTW Becker customer service is worse than a fast food place.. except u don’t pay fast food prices!

  • MW,

    You can DEFINITELY pass BEC with 2 weeks prep! .. one caveat is that you have to have a prior basic understanding of macroeconomics & general IT security stuff.. I studied two days using Becker home study and came out thinking test questions were easier than anticipated. Also good thing is that they are all multiple choice & no Sim’s.. especially if you are good at eliminating couple of answer choices before you guess

    GOOD LUCK & remember it’s more about your focus, concentration, and self-confidence rather than amount of time put in to studying..

  • Thanks Nan, definitely use additional supplement-material for REG. I am taking the exam next week.

  • By the way – if you’re preparing REG, you can find the entire US code on line at

    In particular I use the Cornell University US code collection to look up Title 26 (Internal Revenue Code) and Title 11 (Bankruptcy). It’s a very nice website that I have gotten a lot of use from, starting long before I began preparing for the CPA exams.

  • A “three-hour” Becker lecture typically takes me about six to eight hours, because I pause at every major topic to make notes and read everything the instructor doesn’t speak on.

    When Gearty, Potenza, or Green is the lecturer I grasp the material better by watching him discuss a one-to-three page topic first, then reading everything else on those pages. When Olinto is the lecturer I have to switch to reading the topic first, then watching what he has to say about it.

    FAR was the only course where I felt it necessary to view the lectures as a group before working the MCQs. That helped me, because I am working for a governmental contractor who uses fund accounting and had lost my edge with conventional commercial GAAP.

    I did much better with AUD and BEC by viewing each chapter of the book separately and working its MCQs/simulation(s) before moving on.
    Thus far REG is going like AUD and BEC, with the exception that I am also spending a lot of time on the IRS website reading the IRS instructions for the various tax forms. That has clarified a great deal for me.

  • Jeff – I also really appreciate this site. I am the comptroller for a business, and none of my co-workers even has an accounting degree nor do they have a clue what this exam prep involves. Needless to say, trying to commiserate with them is rather pointless.

    This is a great place to share and to vent. Knowing the forecast score release dates is a nice bonus.

  • Hello, Claiming!

    My experience studying FAR was like yours – view the F1 to F7 lectures as a group first, since they are all conventional GAAP and the material seems to cross-reference itself. F8 and F9 are Government and Not-for-Profit accounting and should be done separately, especially if you’ve never had a class in it. Mastering F8 and F9 will give you a critical edge when passing the exam.

    Here’s how I did it – and this seemed to help (I passed on the first try with an 85).

    First, skim all 9 lectures and highlight/underline everything in the book that is highlighted on the screen. DO NOT listen to the lectures at this point; use the forward/back slider bar to find the highlighted points. This way when you actually view the lectures you won’t be splitting your attention between listening to the instructor and drawing in your book.

    Next, actively listen to the F1 to F7 lectures and make notes. Use a different color pen or a pencil to make your notes so as to distinguish them from the “highly tested” material the instructor highlighted/underlined.

    Then work all the F1 to F7 questions one time (only), including the supplemental questions. Mark for review any question you had to research, as well as any question you got wrong.

    When you are about halfway through the MCQs, assess your readiness and pacing, and schedule your exam.

    Don’t forget the simulations. You risk getting stir-crazy taking all those MCQs at once, so break it up by working a simulation after each chapter’s questions.

    After this, view the F8 and F9 lectures together, then work those MCQs and simulations.

    Now you’re done with all the lectures and it’s time to review. Make your second pass through the MCQs, re-working all the questions you got wrong or marked for review. Take another pass through the simulations, and pick up any simulations you didn’t complete yet.

    What you do next is up to you, depending on how much time you have left before your exam date.

    Good luck. You will pass.

  • Hey Claiming,

    Thanks for reading my site…glad you’re here.

    If you find the lectures dragging on and you’re getting bored – take notes while you watch the lectures instead of after you view them.

    Taking notes is active learning and it’s the only thing that kept me from goofing off even more than I did while studying.

    Also – only study one hour at a time. Get up and take 10 minute breaks or mindlessly mess around on the internet. It will help keep you sane.

    Taking notes while you watch the lectures is key, I think.

    If you’re struggling to get through two lectures a week due to boredom it’s time to turn up the heat.

    Schedule FAR so that you have enough time to adequately study, but don’t leave yourself too much room to breath. You need to feel the pressure…it will get you motivated…schedule it 3 weeks from now…6 weeks from now…whatever makes sense to you.

    I always found that when I was under the gun – it made me focus. Maybe your study schedule is too comfortable and you need pressure?


  • Ok so here is my issue, if anyone can help I would appreciate it. I am now studying for FAR however, I am not working or in school at the moment. I am studying with Becker and I understand that they want you to cover two lectures a week but this is dragging for me. I decided to just view all of the lectures and then take notes and study from there. Please NOTE: This is my first attempt at the CPA and FAR is the first part I am sitting for. Will this be effective and if not any suggestion on how to go about this?


  • You can wait until your score to come out before you review REG again, since you can’t retake the exam until the next window (July is the soonest). I assume your score will release in wave one (by the end of May), a month to review is good enough…

  • I took REG on 4/18 and have passed the other 3 sections. I am not overly confident that I passed. Would anyone recommend continuing to study until I get my results? The thought of studying when I might not have to makes me sick, but if I didn’t pass…

  • Nan..
    I used the on screen calculator with the keyboard…Much faster for those of us (most of us I imagine) familiar with a 12 digit calculator

  • That’s a great question…I’ll ask NASBA what they think about something like that…I hope to continue the 2nd half of my interview with NASBA late this week. The first half went well.

  • If NASBA (or whoever really controls scores) were any smarter they would increase revenue streams by allowing test takers to pay something like $30-$50 to recieve their score within 2 weeks of them taking the exam. Otherwise, they would have to wait for one of the designated waves.

    Someone needs to teach them a little something about capitalism. Supply/demand.

    Complain that the exams are too expensive already (which they are considering the application fee too), but I guarentee there is significant interest out there from people who want their scores ASAP.

    “Why not just have a 2 week turn around anyway?!”

    1. They dont have to.
    2. Sometimes grading exams close to the 75 mark are difficult.
    3. Scaling (if it happens or not)
    4. Understaffed
    5. reduce uncertainty by releasing at once rather than when they are ready

    Just some of the reasons, so don’t jump on my back.

    I should apply for a job at NASBA…

  • Nan – I agree. I use the scrap paper to do most of the calculations. It is not worth putting formulas in a cell.

  • My biggest problem with FAR (my first test) was believing that the simulation’s spreadsheet functions and operators were worth using. WRONG! Mis-type one keystroke in the cell and you have to start all over again, and each spreadsheet hiccup costs you 90 seconds of precious time.

    Much faster to use the old fashioned stubby-pencil method, augmented by the cheesy little on-screen calculator.

    By the way, my experience was that the only way the on-screen calculator would work in BEC and AUD (my mind is numb regarding FAR) was to mouse-click on the buttons. — SNARL — That’s painfully slow. I tried to use the keyboard, but it just would not respond.

    Was anyone else able to manipulate the on-screen calculator with the keyboard?

  • If you are using Becker, check their website for updates on Audit chapter 5, they just updated the internal control communication again!
    Good luck!

  • RE: “I work for an accounting firm but we do not do traditional accounting(Audit and Tax). How much of a disadvantage do you think this puts me at for the CPA exam.”

    I don’t think it will matter much IF you study. I am a Federal Agent and do no accounting at all. I have passed three parts the first time and am waiting on my final score.

  • Thank you Declan!

    Here’s hoping for a P in May…waiting until 3rd week of June would be brutal.

    This is a great website, Jeff. Keep up the good work my man. Like you, I have now taken the exam 13 bloody times. Been laid-off from 2 jobs, raised 2 kids. I am almost broke. …I will make it!!

  • I work for an accounting firm but we do not do traditional accounting(Audit and Tax). How much of a disadvantage do you think this puts me at for the CPA exam.

  • I took FARE on 4/2, and made it through the MC to find sims that seemed crazy. Unless I was just brain-dead at that point, the exam required you to copy/paste extensive info from one window to another for the sims. I wasted a lot of time doing that, assuming maybe some easy points, and then had little time to actually solve what they required. Did anyone else experience this??

  • Hopefully this is my last one too – REG questions on the actual test weren’t as wordy as the review course I used. However, I probably did M/C questions for 3 hours/day for a week straight before my exam. If you have the time, I would suggest doing as many M/C as possible before the exam. That way, if you have mastered the wordier questions, the questions on the exam will seem so much clearer in comparison and perhaps boost your confidence when you get into there on exam day. Good luck!

  • Thanks for your input Jeff and Anonymous. I have most of the concepts down for REG but like you said i am having trouble with real wordy questions and some of the calculations. I hope when i get there it is easier then my study material. Cross my fingers. Last one.

  • I sat for REG on Saturday. Some questions were a lot easier than the questions studied and I knew the answer right away. However, as I continued through the testlets, the difficulty level increased tremendously and I had over 1/2 marked to go back and review in the 3rd testlet. I ended up changing one of my answers and then looked it up when I got in the car – I had it right the first time. I should have listened to my mother – never change your first answer!

  • Yes – I usually felt that the questions on the actual exam overall were easier than my study questions.


    “1. You will find that the exam questions for the most part are not as ?wordy? as the questions you have practiced and seem a little more straightforward. Chances are, the practice MCQs in your materials are a collection of the more-difficult questions that you can encounter on the CPA Exam. I?ve always left the testing center feeling like the actual exam is easier than the practice questions.”

  • I take REG in a week. Has anybody sat for REG and felt the questions were easier then the questions that they studied?

  • Joey – I took roughly 2 weeks to study for each of my exams and that was during a busy season working as an auditor and I just took my 4th one a week ago. You can definitely pass an exam studying for 2 weeks if you’re good at tests and drink a lot of coffee and stay up until like 1 for a solid week and a half/2 weeks. I wouldn’t suggest it because it sucks but it got me through 3 out of 3 so far…

  • Advice for FARE and REG:

    I am using Becker and have taken FARE and REG. I thought Becker did a great job covering material in FARE and did not give enough detail for REG.

    For FARE, pay close attention to the dates and the question being asked. I thought that most of the MC were easy if you just look at the dates and what is being asked. I can’t give specific examples due to the confidentiality I pledged. I took the live course and re-watched F2-F7 and read F8 and F9 and took my own notes throughout. Anything that I felt rusty with, I read that section in my college intermediate book and it was worth it. I would watch F2-F9 if I have to do it over again. F8 and F9 are very important! I made a 85 in FARE and put in about 140 hours of studying in a 3 week period.

    For REG, I did the same thing re-watching R1-R6 and ran out of time to watch R7 which could be a reason I won’t pass if I do not. Homework reading is a necessity. I would recommend reading the major topics in an individual and/or corporate tax college book. The extra detail provided is great. If I remember correctly, I think R3 and R4 are important.

    AUD and BEC are coming up for me. If anyone wants to throw out Becker advice, please feel free to do so.

  • What they’ll do after you file a complaint about your exam is look at your exam log and then e-mail you and tell you that they will give you a free exam sitting, but you don’t get to know what your score was. Only you know if your score was adversely affected by this.

    I got written up once for not having a 2nd form of a signed ID. My credit card said “see photo ID”. Oops. It was my very first exam ever and I sat there mad for 15 minutes because the lady was very cold about it.

  • Yes in Feb I was written up for taking a tissue out of pocket during the exam to blow my nose. I had no intentions of cheating, It was just a natural reaction. I was suppose to use one at the test center. I wrote to them, no reply. I got my score, I passed. All I care about is my grade counted!

  • Hi all! I sat for FAR today (4/20) and mid way through my 3rd group of multiple choice questions the computer shut off. Talk about a total buzz kill! The staff at the testing center was able to get my exam back up and running but the whole situation threw me off my game. Has anyone ever written to NASBA about issues during their exam? Does it really help? I’m just wondering if it is worth my time. Good luck to everyone else taking the CPA this window.

  • Hi Joey,

    What Jeff says also applies to Washington state. If you have sat for a section between April 1 and May 7 you should get your score in May as Jeff has predicted. I am from WA, I expect to get my Audit score around then. They hold certain scores until June but that is the expception to the rule.


  • Good Luck Nan!

    Here’s a question for all: I live in Washington State. Our board says grades are released after the testing window closes. Does this “Wave 1” thing apply to ALL states? It sure would be great to not have to wait until 3rd week of June to get my result.

    I mean, if the bloody exam “knows” how well I’m doing as I’m taking it. (I.E. I got the “hard” 2nd testlet…so it knows how many I got right/wrong.) Why should it take 2 entire months for me to get my actual result? That’s just insane!

    Any insights would be appreciated !!

  • So now Jeff has the Wave 1 dates forecast. If he’s on target (as usual) I’ll not have uncertainty about my BEC score nagging me when I walk into REG on May 21. I think I passed. At least I hope I passed…… Either way, I’ll know what I’ll be doing starting May 22.

    Thanks, Jeff. πŸ™‚

  • Hi MW,

    Doing 2 weeks for BEC? Unless you have an unusually great understanding of costing & economics, I wouldn’t bother wasting your $$$.

    Although I found BEC to be the easiest of the four sections, I still spent 2 MONTHS studying for it. And even then I barely squeaked by.

    My advice: Focus on your FAR. Get that done.

    A half-assed approach to BEC will probably only result in boosting one thing: your depression level. I’ve sat for these dang exams way too many times now!! If nothing else, I have learned to respect the amount of time it takes to learn this stuff.

    Good Luck !!

  • I am planning to take FAR in May and also hoping to squeeze BEC with in the next 2 weeks. But I am not sure how many hours it will take to master all the formulas and IT stuff. Could you please give me some kind of insight how many hours on average you spend to study for BEC???

    Any feed back will be appreciated.

  • where are all 180 comments? there’s some odd bug with this new site.

    Sat for FAR on 4/18. As a #1 rant: the CPA exam is crap.

    The on-screen calculator is horrendous. The user interface is shoddy. The simulations are terribly vague & incredibly frustrating to navigate around in. Many of the questions (and answers) are actually surprisingly poorly written. The layout is lousy. What’s up the lame “break option” segways? Total crap!

    Perhaps the biggest challenge (besides getting all the info crammed into your head) is just getting through NASBA/AICPA’s poorly orchestrated exam. No wonder many bright and knowledgable individuals struggle with this experience.

    Anywhooo, that’s my rant. Good luck to all!!

  • Above Regarding Overhead Variances

    Yeager has a table that summaries how to applied the formules given the variables presented. I found it very hopeful.

  • hello people,
    i need some help here. I have real mental block with OVERHEAD VARIANCES and such. Can you please help with this. let me ask you this, if i dont understand this completely, can i still pass???

    PLEASE HELP. I feel discouraged from this part of the exam.
    BEC is a dread.

  • I took REG on 4/4/09 and studying BEC, which scheduled to sit on 5/29/09. I hate BEC!! I feel discourage…

  • I took REG on April 18th. It was brutal! I ran into time constrains on my second simulation and didn’t have enough time to finish strong. Hopefully it was enough. Hopefully……

  • I took BEC on 4/6 in CA and my status still says “BEC: Schedule w/Prometric”. Anyone else in similar situation? From my previous experience, it would change to “Attended Score Pending” w/in a few days.

  • Patrick,
    You can do it. Have a beer, relax, close your eyes, and do a mental shift like you would shift gears in your car. Tell yourself that you will set aside your mental block and remember these REG details until 5:00 pm on April 28th. After that, you won’t need them again for a long time, because you will have PASSED this section of the exam. Then, on April 29th, do a complete brain-dump on REG and focus on BEC.

    I took BEC April 2 and am preparing to take REG May 21. You and I both can pass both sections this cycle. We’ll have them over with before the exam format changes, and before we have to worry about the international accounting standards showing up on the exam.

  • Well, I embark on my horrific CPA exam experience April 28 – I’m taking REG. Taking BEC May 29.

    I’ve been so worried about this, I’ve been running Bisk AND Wiley multiple choice questions and simulations since 2007. I kid you not….this just seems like such a horrible amount of memorization, I still don’t feel prepared. I keep getting the same stupid questions wrong, and I keep not being able to recall the same stupid “amounts”……WHY ON EARTH does this exam force you to memorize NUMBERS that could be easily looked up?? The accumulated earnings credit, for example. I forget this one every single time. $250,000 means absolutely nothing to me in the context of a multiple choice question. I cannot remember things like this, I just can’t.

    What makes matters worse is that I’m the controller at a not-for-profit corp. I use absolutely none of this in my career capacity. Everything on the REG exam is absolutely foreign to me, except for corporate and partnership taxation (covered those in grad school back in 2006).

    I’m a smart guy….typically have done quite well on standardized tests in the past, but I just don’t feel very good about this. It’s such a ridiculous amount of stuff that needs to be memorized, I feel like the Dutch Boy running back and forth trying to plug holes in a dike that keep repeatedly opening up. With chewing gum, no less.

    My worst fear is that I’ll see a whole bunch of questions that look nothing like what I’ve been running through constantly for over a YEAR now. If I see questions on title and risk of loss, I am going to pull my hair out….because no matter how often I look at those rules, I cannot remember them.

    I have a real mental block with the following:

    -Title and risk of loss
    -Regulation D
    -Estimated tax safe harbor % for individuals and corporations
    -Income in respect of a decedent
    -AMT differences between individuals and corporations
    -Rules regarding the foreign tax credit

  • If I take FAR May 4th, will my score have any chance of being published with the first wave of scores released?

  • Just took FAR today and it was brutal. The mcq weren’t bad and everything was going well until I hit the sims. I don’t think there is any way I passed. I will probably have nightmares tonight about killer sims.

  • you don’t have to be a becker student. What you have to do, click on student, then current, then to the right there is update and academic support click on it and you’ll be able to access all the released questions, good luck!

  • Thanks, Nan you are awesome I just updated my software. I need it for next week:)

    BTW: you don’t need to be a becker student to access the Questions. Go to beckers and current students…. and you will see the Questions you are referring to.

  • The AICPA has made its 2009 release of questions for all 4 sections of the exam. They were posted on the Becker website today (Apr 16) with letter answers only; explanations to follow in a couple of weeks. Don’t know if you have to be a Becker student to access the questions there.

    Jeff – do you have them?

  • Anonymous: About the AUD covering the new rule, I studied that new material that Becker provided, however it was terribly confusing. BTW I just took AUD on Apr 6, you can see my earlier post in regards to it. BTW…Becker has been AWESOME for me!

    First I cannot predict what will be on the exam and I don’t remember, at all, what was on my exam; Here is a general suggestion: try to focus on the definition of material weakness, significant weakness, and how to handle each one when spotted for both public & non public company audits. In fact, Tim Gearty (in the video) states that you shouldn’t worry too much about this part anyway.

    Hope it helps! And be sure to let us know how you did!

  • Wiley 14.0 Software will be released on 4/23/09. Is the Software the same as the book? This year?s version was delayed, is it worth the wait?

  • Anybody who’s taking audit this window, heard about the change in internal control communication. SSAE 15 and SAS 115. I am using becker and they said the old and the new material could be tested. They have an update on their site for this section. I am finfing it confusing to seperate between the 2. Any advise onhow to handle this section.

  • Nan,

    I’ve schedule REG on last day of this testing period.. May 31st! LOL ..I feel like need the time!

    I’m interested in tax stuff in general but this exam I think will be insane… how boring is it..?? i’ve trying to start on the 1st lecture but I have way too much going on otherwise.. my biggest fear is that it will be so boring that the lectures will become just a blur and i won’t motivate myself enough to do well

    I got close to that point during AUD but I had to remind myself of the raison de’etre for all this.. and it was all good!

  • Does every candidate sitting the April/May window receive the same multiple choice and simulation questions? I am taking REG on Saturday and have heard horror stories about the difficulty of the SIMs this window for REG.

  • Few days left…work on the AICPA Questions,Re-read your ?Top? notes and rewrite the most important one.

    You should be fine! and ofcourse smile for the cam @ the test center:)

    “Yes We can”

  • Been studying for FAR for about a month now…going in to take the exam in a few days..Any last words of advice?

  • According to my state board, AUD and FAR take a long time to grade. BEC and REG scores come back pretty quickly.

    If they are correct, this means that anyone who took AUD or FAR close to the cut-off and hoped to get a first wave score shouldn’t panic when it doesn’t happen. I passed AUD and FAR by a comfortable margin, and both of those scores came in the 2nd wave.

    So chill….. At least, try to chill….. You can’t make the score come out any sooner by beating your head on the wall.

  • I want to try to get my score in wave 1. Although I know there might be a chance I am not one of the “lucky” few, is the cut off for Wave one always the 7th of the second testing month?

  • @The Person Above Me:

    Both have unknowns. The difference is, one incredibly difficult, and the other one isn’t. Good luck.

  • Studying for CPA exam is worst than freshmen Year in College. You don’t know what to expect.

    …Getting ready for REG exam.

  • I will scream if I don’t get my results in the first wave. Audit taken 4/11. Last one!!!

    Highly suggest taking Audit after you’ve gone through a busy season (if you’re in an accounting firm). It makes half of the material redundant.

  • I am studying for FARE (my first exam) and scheduled for May 27th, 2009. I have been studying but feel like I would need more time with material and not sure how best to create/derive a winning study plan? Any advice? Using Becker & Yaeger.

  • TX CPA Candidate,

    My experience with AUD was exactly the same as yours. Even used exactly the same study materials as you. I scored a 98. You should do fine.

    Passed FAR and AUD, waiting for the score on BEC, and now prepping REG. Did you take REG yet?

  • Arrrggghhh! I soooo much want this to be over with. I stepped on the scale this morning and saw how much weight I have gained since I became an exam study hermit. Cryyyyy.

    Had a nightmare last night that someone kept interrupting me while I was taking the last exam, so I totally blew it, and I only scored a three.

    Dreams like that make you glad to wake up, but then they follow you around all day and haunt you.

    5 weeks and 3 days to go before I sit for my last exam. I hope its my last exam………

  • Took REG today. The multiple choice were do-able. Da Sims though? Let’s put it into perspective. I got 100% of the tabs right on the practice SIM on the cpa-exam website as well as those 5 multiple choice all right. Not that I’m particularly proud of that because they were pretty easy, but you would think the SIM they give you there is at least in the same universe as the ones on the exam. Not even close. So much for being done with the exam. Guarantee I’m going to have to retake REG this summer. Another ruined summer only to get a certification that in this economy, is the worlds most difficult to obtain ticket to the unemployment line.

  • How do a lot of people seem to pass without even opening their second simulation then? I know of quite a few.

  • They grade both sims – they only grade one writing sample – but you have no way to know which one will get graded. Budget your time and do your best to finish both sims.

  • Hey Everyone,

    I have been wondering about the simulations. Do you think it is best to spend as much time needed on the first simulation and make it perfect before moving on to the second? Or should you spend the 45 and 45 min my review program tells me to? I have heard of so many people passing who did not even get to their second simulation and am wondering if you do not even open it, does that mean they will only grade the fist sim? Any thoughts?

  • Guys/Gals,

    I just took AUD on APR 6th and I felt really really good coming out of it.. this is NOT TYPICAL! I had like almost an hour left after 5 testlets, where I went through each SIM question twice just to make sure.. I even used the research materials to help me answer both “writing” sections… is this weird?

    Here was my study experience: I used Becker Home study Cd’s, Becker Flash Cards, & Becker Final Review: I did all Cd’s, all MCQ’s only once, and Final review the day before the exam; I also did about 8 practice SIMS & 2 full practice exams.. all this I crammed in to about 3 weeks

    On my last two FAR & BEC I felt terrible coming out and squeaked by with a WIN.. but this one makes me really scared because I’ve never felt so good coming out of an exam..

    Any thoughts?

  • I’m having site issues…are my latest two posts showing up about Exam Day and Pass Rates?…they should be there in the “Latest” button next to popular. There should be like 9 posts in there. If there’s only four – delete your cache and they should show up.

  • thanks jeff! i was wondering the same thing as chris, but I didn’t want to bother you.

    as for chris, i took AUD on the 7th and it’s my last as well.

    i can’t wait, i can’t wait!

  • Hey Chris – I will probably post the score release predictions for Wave 1 a week from this coming Monday. Wave 1 is usually from the 15th-23rd or so of the 2nd month in the testing window.

    More to come in a week…

  • Hey Jeff,
    I just took AUD today (4/11/09), which is my last part. Any idea of the range of when first and/or second wave grades will begin popping up?

  • The testlets start out on medium and if you do well, they ratchet up to a more difficult level. Otherwise, they stay on medium. — that’s my understanding, anyway.

    You don’t have to have medium-hard-hard to pass…it just takes more correct answers if you have medium-medium-medium.

    I wouldn’t read too much into it (easier said than done, I know).

  • I also took FARE on April 1 and I saw the same thing as Pras. This was my third time though this exam (74,74). I followed Jeff’s advise and completely re-wrote my notes on index cards, which I reviewed every day. I repeatedly practiced writing a sheet of mnemonics, which was the first thing I did after I started the examination. I also did as many MCQ’s daily as I could stand. At the end of the day, any score over 74 will be a victory and I will finally have my certification.

  • Mindy – I would forget about the ethics exam and focus 110% on REG. The ethics exam is nothing more than hunting for key words in the text and answering the questions.

    Focus on REG…pass all four parts…then ethics.

  • Sorry….I have one last question for those who are more experienced at REG. Do you think it helps comprehension to complete the Ethics exam while studying for REG? Or would you spend more time just going over the study material itself and not worrying about the Ethics exam until you pass all 4 parts?

  • I may have a dumb question, but maybe someone knows the answer! πŸ™‚ Are the sims based off of how you did in MCQ? For example, if you did well in MCQ, do they give you harder Sims, or are they independently chosen? Alternatively, is the second sim based off of how you did on the first sim?

  • Joey,
    I wish you all the best for the 18th. I am sure you will nail it. I will keep you posted on my score. Please let me know your expereince after you are done with your exam. Wish you GOOD LUCK !!!

  • Pras,

    I noticed a similar scenario for me the last time I took it (relatively smooth MCQ). Although I did poorly on the sims–which were baffling to me (one was absolute nonsense).

    Sadly, I got a 74. A seventy-freakin-four.

    Reviewing my results from Castle, I was “strong” in MCQ, but “weak” in Sims. I was really surprised about my results in the MCQ. I was “strong” on the written comm.

    If you think you did well in the sims, you may be happy with your result…who knows. Best of luck! I’m sitting again on the 18th & will nail it this time.

  • Mindy,
    I had an exam scheduled for May 9 and just rescheduled this week without having to pay anything. Having said that, last section I rescheduled twice; once b/c I wasn’t ready and once due to a death in the family. The first time it was $35, the second (a week before the exam) it was around $150. Both times, the money was well worth it. While I don’t think most people ever feel “prepared”, you really know when you are NOT prepared. Do what is best for you in your situation. To me, $35 is worth a little confidence going in at any rate. I ended up passing AUD with a 79 and know without a doubt, not taking into consideration the death, if I had taken it the first time, I would not have passed.

  • Mindy,

    If you reschedule between 31-10 days before you exam date, you have to pay a $35 fee or something around that figure. So, if you are willing to part with $35, then yes, you can reschedule. Just don’t take too much time off; you are in a rhythm and it will be hard to get back into it as time passes.

    I wouldn’t be thinking reactively though. I walked into all of my exam sections thus far thinking I would have to retake and passed all of them. You really don’t know how you did until you get your score.

  • Hey there, I passed BEC with an 81 in January. I actually came out of it thinking there was a 50/50 chance of passing, and I remember thinking of several problems I had done wrong, so it’s so hard to tell.

    I took FAR this morning, and am planning on retaking that one. I will probably be looking into the Yaeger. I was frustrated because it’s like the exam somehow psychically knew which areas were my weaknesses, and several questions I knew the content, but wasn’t quite sure what the question was looking for!

    I have a question, I’m scheduled to take REG on May 7th, but I think I really need a break, can I reschedule it later without losing all the money I paid for it??

  • LB,
    You will pass dude….I had the same feeling, I passed. Anyways good luck, I will pray for you.

  • -SN,

    I started studying for AUD in mid-January. There was no way I was going to sit for it by the end of February so I took my time studying. I didn’t study every day but when I did, it was for a minimum of 3 hours. I also spent more time on a chapter the first time I went through it. I have REG scheduled for the end of May so I can’t be so lax this time around. I plan to put in at least 3 hours EVERY DAY, no breaks, no excuses.

  • Anyone who passed BEC, how did you feel after taking it? I felt some questions were hard and some quite easy. Anywayz just wanted to hear some comments on it form folks who passed.

  • Pras –

    Assessing your chances of having passed, given how you perceived the testlet difficulty – it depends. Did you have more than a few questions where you said: “H— if I know… The math isn’t working out… That answer looks close…”??

    On the other hand, if you studied your butt off with MCQs and felt comfortable with the material going in, you would probably perceive the MCQs as being easy no matter what they threw at you.

    Let us know when you get your score. I walked out of FAR believing I had a 50/50 shot of having passed, and scored an 85.

  • KF-

    It varies a little depending on what topic/chapter I happen to be covering each day (I try to spend extra time on the sure-fire important stuff to make sure I learn it right). I would say I study between 3-5 hours per day, but that includes EVERYTHING exam-related – reading the book, taking notes, doing practice MCQs and watching dvd lectures. And I tend to break up my day with other things to keep me from going insane (going running, short TV breaks, etc.) so the 3-5 estimate might be a little off.

    I don’t study every single day. For FAR, I would make studying my “full-time job” like you said you’re doing. I really focused on getting my work done M-F and then I’d take either Saturday or Sunday off depending on my plans. I started to get a little behind at one point and I was thankful for those extra days that I built into my schedule because it allowed me to catch up again. Starting two weeks from my exam date, I studied everyday…even on my birthday, which was the day before my exam gahhh!

    I’m studying for AUD now and I’m condensing my schedule a little bit in order to just GET IT DONE. I studied for eight weeks for FAR, and although I think it was necessary given the INSANE volume of material, it nearly killed me to have to study the same frickin’ stuff for two months straight. I’m giving myself five weeks to study for audit and I’m going to (try to) study almost every day this time (except on days when I go visit my friends at school, who are blissfully unaware how life is in the “real world”).

    Is that anything close to what you’re doing?

  • Hi,
    I took FARE part of the exam last week 04/06/09, and I am not sure how I did in MCQs, but I did pretty well in both of the SIMs. The question I have is: My second teslet questions were much easier then the first one, and the difficulty level on the last testlet was almost similar to the first one. Does that tell I didn’t do well in the first teslet? What are my chances of passing the exam with the given circumstances?

  • When you click on the archives – click on the month you want to read – they are there in reverse chronological order (i.e. the most recent posts are at the top of the page). Start with April and work back.

    For people new to the site – I re-categorized everything by topic in the Nav bar at the top of the page…I hope that is helpful as well.

  • Jeff,

    I am preparing for AUD now which I will take in Beginning of May. I am retaking BEC after a 73! I will take it end of May , do you think 3 weeks will be enough to review it again? By the way I already passed FARE in Nov. 08 window.

  • Under “Trackbacks/Pingbacks” there’s a link for older comments. Click on that and you should be able to view the prior comments that aren’t showing on the current screen.

  • I am currently studying for REG using Yaeger. I am going to have an extra 2 weeks after I finish the review. Any suggestions for what I should do during that time other than practice MCQs & Sims?

  • The best way that I’ve found is the archives…either at the top of the page or in the right sidebar. I’m still learning the ins and outs of this template myself. Good question.

  • I really don’t understand why some people on here get upset about “barely passing” with a 75-80. Isn’t passing just that: passing?

    The people who get a 75 on every test get the same CPA certificate as the people who get the Sells award on every test. Yeah, the people who win the award get “extra recognition,” but beyond that, who really cares?

    No offense to anyone on this board who actually did in fact win the Sells award.

  • I got a 68 after taking becker, but I only worked the mcq once so my thoughts are work the questions several more times.

  • Does any one know when the first wave of testing will end and the next begin in this window?

  • -SN,

    How many hours do you spend studying/day? Do you study every day? I’m also not working so studying is my full-time job, lol.

  • man, talk about BEC!

    I took BEC once and passed it with a 77. When I walked out I felt like the study materials were nothing like the exam. I felt like I either failed miserably or barely skinned it and that’s kind of what happened. =\

    BEC just seemed like a foreign language to me.

  • New -B,

    I’m not working yet, just studying. My start date with my firm is October 5th, so I’ve got a loooong time to knock this thing out before working full-time. I might get a part-time job soon just to have a little money coming in, but nothing major. Are you working yet?

  • You’re right…you probably won’t have time on FAR and REG to go through the research info to answer your writen comm. AUD is the only one where you should even consider using the research function to answer the writing piece (in my opinion).

  • re: using the research function to answer communication tab…

    I have only taken AUD and while I felt I knew the info to answer the communication tab, I did as a previous poster mentioned and used it on both sims to check my thoughts and terminology. I was also able to use it to help answer another tab in one of the sims. But only because I knew I had plenty of time to do so. From what I understand, there is not really enough time on the FAR and REG to do anything but answer what is given; and in some cases not enough time to do that!

  • I took FAR on 04/06/09 and i think testletes were harder than previous window begining from very first testlet i think NASBA made them harder for this year

  • Hi

    I took BEC on 04/06/09. I can’t even tell how i feel about it. Some MC questions were relatively easy, and some i had to guess. I hate the wait b4 the results come out. I hope i pass, i am really worried about it. I think i will just start studying hard for REG to get my mind off it. Passed AUD last Nov.

    Good luck everyone

  • The scores take so long to be released because: a)there are three different combinations of testlets (easy-easy-easy, easy-hard-easy, and easy-hard-hard) and probably several versions of each testlet, b)each question is statistically weighted, c)the tests are scored anonymously in a big national scoring system, d)the tests are graded independently by both computers and people, the scores are married together and then reconciled, e)tests with marginal results and out-of-limits reconciliations are sent back for re-scoring f)after reconciling the scores, the anonymous tests are matched to the candidates, g)the scores are released to the states, and h)the states post the scores.

    Anyone need a beer after reading that?

  • yeah, I use the research function when I need to find answers. It’s kind of like an “open book” exam sometimes. It’s very helpful and can make you sound really smart in the communication section. (=

  • I’m taking REG on the 15th. I submitted my work experience form to my employer (CA), and they refused to sign! Anybody have any experience with that? I don’t understand, as I work in accounting (AR & revenue reporting duties) and the requirement says “General experience may include provide any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills. To qualify, experience shall have been performed in accordance with applicable professional standards.” Anybody else think this is f**d-ed up?

  • I’m taking AUD on saturday… getting down to the wire on this one (hopefully my final part) anyone have tips for last minute review (ie items i should pay specific attention to) I am expecting alot on the audit reports and the different changes for each possible issue, also i’m going to focus on sampling, and chapters 3&4 in becker review.


  • It’s ridiculous that it takes so long for them to release the scores. Is there a curve involved?

  • I took AUD yesterday. I agree with KF…I’m not so patiently waiting for my score. Anyone know when the scores are expected to be released? It would be nice if they set the same dates every year so then you would know.

    As for the Communications tab in the simulation, I did use the research function to complete it. I just wanted to make sure that my thoughts were correct and that I was using the terminology, etc. that they use.

  • I took AUD today and I’m not so patient with waiting for the results. Any predictions on when they should be released?

    Also…for the Communications tab in the Simulations, do you all use the Research funtion to complete it or is it information you already know?

  • I just took AUD today. already patiently waiting for results to be posted! πŸ˜‰

    my take on questions getting harder/easier:

    testlet 3 has always been the hardest/trickiest for me on all CPA exams.

    let this be the last exam, please! (=

    good luck to everyone sitting this window.

  • It used to be that if you failed a section, but had a valid NTS still open for other sections, you had to sit for those sections first before you could apply for the section you just failed.

    It’s not that way anymore from what I understand. If you failed FAR in Jan/Feb and still had an NTS for REG, you can still get another NTS for FAR in Apr/May and push REG to the side for awhile. The only thing to consider is that your REG NTS is only good for 6 mo….you can’t extend it.

    Does this answer your question?

  • JEFF!! Explain to those of us who don’t quite get it yet about the scheduling of an exam when you have a current NTS that hasn’t yet expired. Is it if you’re trying to schedule the same section?

  • SN
    Thanks SN and CPA-Hopeful for your advice! These tips have really eased my nerves and encouraged me to stick with a date and just do it. One question SN, are you working right now or just prepping for the exam?

  • That sounds better.Thanks for the thought.Its high time to sweep out the trash and focus on the next dish…will def. start today.

  • I have noticed the second and third testlets being harder than the first. I think the difficulty increase is mostly through the topic.

    (edited because of exam content)

  • Okay, Goldie, look at it this way: Consider each testlet individually. You thought the questions were easy for the first testlet, correct? If you didn’t know the material, the questions wouldn’t have SEEMED easy to you regardless of what the AICPA thinks. So, if you knew the material and found the questions easy, then you must have done well on that testlet, right.

    Based on that, assuming the test you took had multi-stage testing, the second testlet HAD to have been considered harder. That’s the way multi-stage testing works. But you still felt the questions were easy. Therefore, you knew the material and answered correctly.

    Lather, rinse, repeat for the third testlet. Give yourself a little credit. You worked hard to prepare for this exam and found the questions easy – because you knew the answers. πŸ™‚

  • The best time to study for REG is before April 15… while you prepare your individual/business income tax πŸ™‚

  • Just took BEC yesterday 4/6. It was my 2nd attempt and it was not as tricky/confusing as my first attempt last summer. But I’m still not sure how I did. I will be all done if I pass this one. Regarding formurlas…just write them down as you do the homework. Review them the day before or the morning of. You don’t have to know all of them, but just a few are tested.

  • Hi anonymous,

    formulas are just a few…write them down in a sheet of paper and go through it everyday.If its Standard costing,u can find easy ways to remember them…like AQAP-AQSP is Mat.Price variance and AQSP-SQSP is Mat Qty Variance…AQ-Actual qty produced in the Price formula and AQ i-Actual Qty used/consumed in the Qty formula etc…similiarly do for labour..OHs..other chapters should be ok

    Hi Cpa-hopeful…
    Wish i could feel as positive as u…but finding it hard to focus..any inputs would be greatly appreciated…any thoughts for the spirit to revive..but have a feeling exams were bad cos qs were easy.

  • I also, would like some help on studying for BEC. What about all those formulas??? Help please πŸ™‚

  • About the testlets getting harder as you go: Be glad that they do – really!!! It means you are doing well.

    The CPA exam uses Multi-Stage Testing for FAR, AUD, and REG. (They say they don’t use this for BEC, but my experience would speak otherwise.) M.S.T. means the computer scores each part of the test on the spot as soon as you are done, and then selects the next testlet depending on your performance so far.

    The first testlet is always medium difficulty. If you do well on the first testlet, you will get a harder second testlet. If you don’t do well on the first testlet, you will receive another medium-difficulty testlet. The third testlet can be medium or difficult, depending on your performance on the first two.

    THIS NEXT NOTE IS IMPORTANT: When you are budgeting your time in the exam room, you should allow more time for the second and third testlets than you allow for the first!!!

    I really wish I had discovered this before I sat for my first three parts. It was very discouraging and frustrating to think I was falling behind on my pace, when I could have known on the spot that the increasing difficulty actually meant I was more likely to pass.

    It is still possible to pass the exam if you are given three medium difficulty testlets, but you would have to do an outstanding job on the third testlet and then really nail the simulations.

    If you’re interested, you can read more here:

  • Does anyone have good tips for BEC? I have taken it three times, my third one today and there I still found a lot of questions (especially IT) that were no where to be found in my preparation materials. I have passed FAR and REG without much difficulty, but for some reason I can not get through BEC. I am taking AUD in May and hopefully I can get through it without major problems.

  • Took AUD today. I definitely found testlet 3 harder than the first two. The first 4 questions of testlet 3 were of the sort that I didn’t know how to guess. Anyway, I hope I passed.

    I think the problem with AUD is that it’s hard to feel prepared. I took BEC and REG already and felt very prepared on test day. With AUD, everything is more fluff and academic. Not solid rules like REG, or concrete concepts like BEC. It’s hard to know how much you really know.

  • Does anyone have any tips for BEC? I take april 27. Do you have to learn all the formulas? There are so many damn formulas. Any help would be appreciated! I made an 86 on AUD in February. I’m having a hard time studying for BEC. Email me if you have any suggestions. I’m using bisk.

  • I wanted to post separately about the difficulty level of the testlets for FAR. (If you didn?t read my ridiculously long post above, I just took FAR on 4/2). I saw a HUGE difference between testlets and that actually helped me push through the MCQ.

    My first testlet almost made me second-guess myself because it was so easy. I rolled through it in less than 30 minutes (which ended up being awesome because I used that extra time on my simulations). The second one was definitely harder, which I figured was a good sign, but I still was able to answer most of the questions without TOO much trouble. The third was the worst of the three, easily. I still answered at least half of the questions confidently, but some of them were incredibly complicated or vaguely worded. I never got a question where I didn?t at least recognize the topic, though.

    Recent FAR test-takers – did any of you notice a ridiculous difference in difficulty? I have a feeling it might be easier to spot more difficult questions in FAR than in any other section because of the wide range of topics covered and the fact that many of them are computational.

  • New -B:

    My situation is pretty similar to yours – it’s nice to know there are others out there like me. I graduated this past December and I just sat for FAR (my first part) last Thursday (4/2). I rescheduled it a few times too for various reasons (including being terrified of actually sitting for the stupid test), but my advice to you is to pick a date, force yourself to stick with it, and just take it. Honestly, the anxiety leading up to the exam (in my opinion) was WAY worse than the actual test itself. I?m like KG ? usually tests (and most other things) don?t bother me but I was a frickin? mess during the week leading up to FAR and it wasn?t necessary at all. KG made an excellent point ? it?s definitely hard, but it?s totally do-able if you prepare the right way.

    Since it was my first part, too, I didn’t know what to expect AT ALL. Several of my friends took FAR during the Jan/Feb 2009 testing window and they told me all of their horror stories about it, so that?s all I ?knew? about the exam. Try to ignore all of that negative stuff as much as possible. You know it?s a hard test. But your situation could be completely different from the person who just ?bombed? that part. Just trust yourself to prepare for it properly and do your best when you get in there. That?s all anyone (including yourself) can ask of you.

    I didn?t use Becker ? I used the other well-known course that begins with the same letter, so I can?t really give you much advice about the over studying/under studying thing. If you study as much as they recommend and you don?t half-a** any of it, I think you?ll be okay. Go with your gut ? if you think you don?t know a certain topic as well as you should, go review it again (ESPECIALLY the heavily-tested ones).

    The ABSOLUTE BEST THING I did during my ?final review? was spend the week before the exam redoing every single MCQ one more time. Every time I would miss a question, guess on a question, or if I couldn?t remember an exact rule, I would record that topic or rule in a word document. That 7-page document became my cram sheet that I read in the car right before I walked into the test center. A good friend of mine told me to do this ? he sat for FAR back in February and he was right when he said it would help A LOT during the exam. Answering all of those MCQs in such a short span of time was really beneficial, too, because it was a great way to get used to answering a ton of questions at once. When you answer 200+ in a day, it makes the 90 on the actual exam seem like nothing.

    Good luck!! Hope this helps!!

  • I also took BEC last Friday 4/3/09 and I thought the second testlet was a lot harder than the first…now I’m studying for FAR.

  • In MD, quite, peaceful & much better! I guess the noisy exam candidates were praying πŸ™‚

  • I took the exam last Friday (4.3) and I noticed that Testlet 2 was considerably harder than Testlet 1.

  • The Test Center is open on Sundays?? This is the first time I’m hearing such.

    What city and state is this center located?

  • Well, Yesturday I took Audit (yeah! I was suprised they open on Sunday). I have not notice the difficulty b/n the 1st testlet vs. 2 or 3. except the stimulations. well I have 50/50 passing chance.

    Now, Studing REG… 3 more exams to go! “Yes we can”:)

  • I’m nervous about FAR but I’ve been using Becker to keep me focused on the exam. Last class is tonight and then I’ll probably review for a week or two before I take it again. I want to take Audit this window as well. Does anyone else think BEC is the easiest test?

  • wow…thats great..Congrats on the Macc..I think all the hype abt harder testlets got onto my nerves..but isnt tht how adaptive testing is supposed to be..and i dont think i was that well prepared..IT was a nightmare for me..btw have to relax my nerves and work onthe next paper..gosh its so difficult.

  • I took AUD this past Friday (4/3) and didn’t notice any difference in difficulty level. In fact, there were fewer questions on the 2nd testlet I was unsure about than on the 1st. But since I was only unsure about 5 questions on the 1st testlet, I know that they 2nd HAD to be a higher difficulty, I just didn’t notice the change because I was well-prepared.

    BTW, if anyone’s wondering, I’m just finishing up my Master of Accountancy this semester and plan to go buy my audit professor lunch tomorrow. πŸ™‚

  • Above – I think the getting harder thing is overrated. I experienced the second testlet harder than the first and only got a 70 on AUD in January

  • Goldie – I’ve actually been thinking about that whole thing with the testlets getting harder. I’m not sure you’d notice even if they do. If you’re well-prepared and know the answers, how would you know that the questions are considered harder by the AICPA? I’ve taken BEC, REG and AUD, and have gotten a 90 & 87 (just took AUD this month) and have not noticed the questions getting harder.

  • No worries Goldie…BEC isn’t adaptive like the other three. If you found each testlet “easy” – that’s just fine.

    Now, with REG, FAR, AUD…if you don’t notice a difference in difficulty level with each testlet (except the sims…the sims are not adaptive), then that’s a bad sign…it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to fail, but it does mean that you need to step it up.

  • Goldie – I personally have never noticed my MC testlets getting harder (and I’ve passed REG, FAR and BEC). I think it’s all relative to what you know/studied and what you don’t/didn’t. Don’t let your worries with BEC slow you down for REG.

  • Hi jeff,

    This is kind of stupid…but i think my BEC testlets were easier after the first and i keep worrying il fail…is it true that as it gets easier..its hard to pass for BEC..i get no motivation for REG on 22nd…pl do give ur opinion

  • I am taking a section on May 9th as well and Jeff told me a few weeks ago that the first wave usually ends on the 7th of the second month. However, I’m holidng out hope that the 9th will fall into wave 1 due to it being a Saturday.

  • Jeff,

    I am interested in your opinion of the difficulty of the exam sections. Which ones do you think are the hardest for people that have been out of school for a couple of years?


  • Jeff,
    Do you have any info if AUD and BEC in this testing window will have any of the new topics.

  • Keep in mind that your review MCQs that you work are usually harder than what you’ll encounter on the exam. Also keep in mind that most review companies buy their MCQs from the same place: the AICPA. If you bought a review package from three different companies, you would see many of the same multiple choice questions.

  • Anonymous – thanks for your advice!! Does anyone know how long it takes for exam scores to be released?

  • Anonymous – thanks for your advice! Does anyone know how long it takes for exam results to be released?

  • KF, I can’t attest for AUD because I am not there yet, but I have used Becker for FAR and REG and found that the questions on Becker are harder and really prepare you with all the details. If you take the practice test a three times and get 65 to 75%, I would say you will be fine on the real exam.

  • Hello all….I’m sitting for AUD this week (first part I’m sitting for). I’m using Becker and I got around to taking their Final Exams. Am I the only one that found that some the questions are extremely difficult? They were nothing like the homework questions I’ve been doing. I got really discouraged and I’ve been studying for a good 6 weeks for this exam πŸ™

  • For the most current official information about exam formats and content, go to the official AICPA CPA Exam website:

    BEC has no simulation section at this time. Major changes to the content and format are pending, however, for several sections. When they are implemented you will find official announcements at that website.

  • I watched a CPA instructor video recently on YouTube out of boredom during studying for REG and no I am not depending on YouTube videos to review! I am using Becker. Anyway, the instructor said there has never been a business law simulation to his knowledge. Is anyone at liberty to confirm this for me? I am taking REG 4/10 for anyone who wants to throw any advice out there also.

  • I am sitting for Reg end of April and BEC end of May. Does anybody know if ther is any format change in these 2 sections?

  • Thanks all for your pats on the back. They sure help. Have some pats in return from me for YOUR effort.

    Kankur, if your NTS for REG expires in 20 days as you said yesterday, that’s April 21, not May 21. If you’re hoping to get that date extended in this window you’d better contact your state board and the NASBA right away to get the real answer from them. I definitely would not recommend just “winging it” by scheduling the exam and not showing up.

    That said, you asked about my study strategy. OK – here it is.

    For studying throughout the day while I’m at work I bought the Becker flashcard set and got a couple of business card holders from the office supply store. I turned the cards over, wrote each question topic above the answer on the back, and parked them on my desk. Throughout the day I flip through them whenever I look away from my task at hand. Instant exam prep – and painless too.

    I’m using the self-paced CD-ROM program. From late August until early October I tried studying FAR at home between 6pm and midnight and all day on weekends. Got absolutely nowhere, and nothing stuck. Home has too much activity and far too many things that need attention. So I scheduled FAR for the day before Thanksgiving and I told my husband and my teenager that I had to go somewhere else. I took my laptop, loaded it up with a bunch of classical music CDs to use for “white noise”, and bought a decent audio headset. I took up residence at a local big name bookstore which has free wi-fi, a coffee bar, and stays open until 11pm. I found out that I can have Windows Media Player softly playing my music in the background while I am also listening to the lecture CDs. This combo drowns out conversations even as close as 5 feet away, and lets me really concentrate on my work.

    Now that I’ve passed FAR, passed AUD, think I’ve passed BEC, and am prepping for REG you’ll still find me at the bookstore every single night of the week. I’m not kidding. It’s working out very well.

    I pretty much just follow the review program, with some slight modifications that are more effective for me. First I scan the Lecture CDs and make all the notes in the book that I see on the screen. Then I read the book a few pages at a time either immediately before or after I view the lecture on those pages, making additional notes in the book. After finishing each chapter I work all the questions associated with that chapter one time each, including all of the supplemental questions, and work that chapter’s simulations. Questions that I get wrong and questions that I wasn’t comfortable answering I mark for later review.

    For lunchtime reading I have one of two things with me. Early in the section prep I keep my course book with me and read the chapter appendices and anything else the lecture CD indicated I should read on my own. As I get closer to exam date I go through all the AICPA Recently Released Questions, which I have downloaded and printed into a binder. Because I started this process in 2008 I was able to capture both the 2007 and 2008 AICPA Recently Released Questions from the Becker website.

    After finishing all the chapters and their questions, I make my second pass through the question bank and work the AICPA recently-released simulations. By this time it’s getting close to my scheduled Test Date. Yes, I did fork out the extra ca$h for Becker’s Final Review product. It only took me a few $econd$ to do the math and realize that wa$ a whole lot cheaper than re-$cheduling a failed exam. That material and all the Final Review simulations consume the next few days. It’s a good product, a good companion to the regular program, and I’m not at all sorry I bought it.

    If there is any time left between all that and my test date, I make absolutely sure I have worked every tab on every simulation. I then take a third pass through the question bank answering (again) all the questions I have marked for review and re-reading those parts of the book.

    I’m going to admit that I have not yet once worked any of Becker’s practice tests or practice final exams. Maybe I will have time to do that before taking REG. Maybe not. I DID, however, work the practice exams at

    You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not skipping the timed practice tests is a good idea for you. If ticking clocks make you as nervous as Captain Hook you should definitely do them. I figure it is better for me personally to take my time carefully working through problems and ensuring I understand them, then to play beat-the-clock games with the practice exams. On test day, on the top of the scratch paper, I simply mark down my planned start and finish times for each testlet and keep my eye on the countdown clock.

    OK – I’ve taken enough time writing tonight. Now it’s off to bed for me so that I can get in a full weekend of effective studying.

    Good luck to everyone on the exams, and may all your study sessions be productive.


  • Thanks for the insight guys. Don’t worry, I’m not getting a big head :). I might have been, but then i just squeeze out a 77 on BEC and that brought me back to earth! I’m finding that reviewing is going significantly better than my initial jaunt through the Wiley text. Everything builds on the previous material, which seems to make it much easier to remember.

  • Mutiny…Don’t be too hard on yourself. I was almost in tears when I left my Auditing exam in February. I knew I failed, I was literally sick waiting on my score. But guess what, I passed with an 82. You just never know.

  • I am starting to feel extremely inadequate…Auditing was EXTREMELY rough on me yesterdy. I would be surprised if I passed.

  • KG…I know the two above posters said AUD is easy, but do not, I repeat DO NOT, get a big head about the section. From my experience with the section (81) you have to read every M/C question very carefully because there will literally be one word in one sentence that will completely change the entire basis of the question. I will agree that AUD is easier out of the three I have taken so far (AUD, REG, BEC), but it is by no means “easy.”

    If you are using Yager/Wiley, just follow Gary’s instructions to the letter and you will be fine. If you have already passed three sections I’m sure you have a good review system in place.

    Good luck.

  • KG…I posted at 9:32..while i say i barely passed AUD, I made a 79. But Nan is right, it is easy. My 79 came partly from the fact that like I said, I focused on the wrong section. Having said that, I also didn’t start studying until the Monday before I took the test..I sat for it on a Saturday. And yes, I worked full time the whole week. I took Becker’s online course and I only watched the very first lecture the whole way through. The rest I didn’t bother with. I did the MCQ’s before I studied the text to determine where I was weak…and read the explanation of each question. That helped the most. Then I studied the text and that was it; like i said before mostly focusing on the reports. Which is why I got a 79. I did just enough to pass. Don’t copy my study schedule…I felt comfortable with the material before I ever started studying. I won’t be able to do that on any of the other sections. But I passed b/c I had a good grasp of the concept.

  • KG, AUD was easy easy easy. I sailed through all 3 MC sections in just over 90 minutes, including checking my answers. “Yep, I’ve seen a question just like this in Becker. Here’s another… and another…” It seems to me that the other 2 sections I have taken had a lot more math in the MC sections. If it’s a theory question, you either know it or you don’t. 45 seconds a question, done. Why they allowed 4.5 hours for AUD is beyond me. That gave me lots of time to take a potty break, to take the simulations at my leisure, and to write some very nice essays.

    Don’t regret staying up all night to cram, tho. “Mile wide and an inch deep” is right. The broader the range of material you have freshly in mind, the easier the test.

    A lot of the MC questions seem to be insane. That’s because the terminology used in the Accounting profession is not normal English. Who would have thought that an “unqualified” audit opinion meant you were good? Everywhere else in the country, “unqualified” means you blew it big time. And had you ever heard of the term “reperformance testing”? Try looking up “reperformance” in the dictionary. Any dictionary. You won’t find it. Turns out that the AICPA and everyone else who has an input into FASB/GASB had already assigned a specific accounting meaning to every other legitimate term that was a synonym for “independent verification”. Near as I can tell, Congress needed a word for a new precise definition under Sarbanes-Oxley, so they made one up. That’s what happens when lawyers try to write.

    The best thing I can say is to do as many AICPA previously released questions as you can, read all the explanations for all the wrong answers on the theory questions, and read enough of each math answer to be sure you are doing the calculations right. Then you can recognize what they mean when they say things certain ways, and recognize the bogus terms when you see them. And take the extra couple of minutes to look up terms that you are not sure of so that you really understand what ***they*** mean.

    There is an excellent website I found just for this: If your review material leaves you shaking your head over terminology, look it up on that website. You won’t regret it.

    Ran across one funky term other day in my review – an old economics question asking which of the terms below was a legitimate term for non-mathematical economic analysis. Two answers were clearly mathematical analysis methods, one I hadn’t seen before but looked like it could be non-mathematical, and the 4th answer was “Delphi.” I remember saying, “Delphi… as in ‘Oracle of Delphi?’ That’s a bogus answer if I ever saw one.” Wrong. Turns out Dephi Forecasting is real. And it’s just as imprecise as the ancient oracle was in 600BC. The resonable-looking answer was the “gotcha” one.

    Yes, the previously released questions are not going to be used again, but there is only so much material to test on. So the questions get reworked, slightly reworded, and (surprise-surprise) they are back on the exam. The more explanations you review, the easier the test will be.

    Good luck.

  • KG…I just passed AUD, and barely. My problem was I focused too much on one area, despite it only being a smaller percentage of the exam than other ares. Whiel all I do is auditing at my firm, I was tooooo focused on ALL of the reporting requirements and not enough on the other areas. I felt sure it would be tested more in depth. Of course, study all the areas, but believe your review materials when it tells you what areas are more heavily tested. Focus more time there. Remember that they say “the exam is a mile long and only an inch deep”, or something to that effect. They only have so many questions to cover a lot of material. Get a grasp of the concepts of everything, and more in depth the areas that are heavily tested. We don’t pay thousands of dollars for these review courses for nothing! Good luck πŸ™‚

  • New-B: FAR was first exam too, and I, a normally low-stress and easygoing gal, was a totally nutcase. Don’t do that to yourself – it’s a hard test, but it’s not impossible. I can’t vouch for Becker, but I used Wiley and the Yaeger cram, and I passed w/ a 82. When I walked out of the exam, i really thought I could have either gotten a 50 or a 80, I had no idea. I think I would have even gotten a higher score had I not been so freaked out. MAKE SURE you study, in depth, nonprofit and govn’t accounting. I think that’s what saved me.

    Definitely study your face off – you’d rather overstudy than understudy and have to take this dreadful exam again. I think I’ve studied more for this exam than in all of my 200+ hours of college! I’d rather put in an extra 20 hours of studying than and miss out on happy hour or a night out at the bars than waste another minute on these exams.

    I’m taking my last exam, AUD, in 2 weeks. I’ve passed the other 3 on my first attempt, and I really really really just want my life back. Any tips on Auditing? I really don’t have a knack for it, and I’m afraid that I’m going to bomb this exam. I’m using Wiley – I’m hoping and praying the Wiley questions are harder than the exam, some of them are INSANE! I seem to have this problem of inferring things about the given situation in the MC questions, which will lead to the wrong answer. I don’t know why, but I can’t just take the question at face value. I start my review today – doing Wiley MC again and using the Yaeger cram. Any tips are so appreciated!

    Good luck to everyone, and thanks, Jeff!

  • Nan

    You have a great story. Congrats on passing the first two. Also thanks for serving our Country.

  • Nan…. I must say I wasnt born when you graduated but I am really really impressed with your story…. I thought I was cool when I passed AUD with 94…. but hats off to you….

    Its a coincidence that I also took a paper (FAR) yesterday and I am also planning to take REG on May 21!! – which hopefully will be my last section!!….. (using becker too!)… Although I did not have many surprises on FAR (except about 5 – 7 vague MCQs…)I am still worried of having made some silly mistake and not making it….. Did you also do the final exams from becker…. I have never passed those… but for FAR I was atleast glad that I was able to manage my time well on those and I believe it helped me yesterday to keep on track as time in FAR was not plentiful at all….

    Would love to hear about your strategy for REG (we will be taking it at the same time and hopefully will be last section for both of us).

    Best wishes…

  • April 2. Took my third section today – BEC. Feeling fairly OK about my performance: answered every question (the last one with 39 seconds to go) and can only think of one or two questions I was really not sure about. I think I also spotted a couple of the bogus questions. Taking the night off, and tomorrow I’m back into it. My date with REG is May 21st.

    So now I’m past the halfway point. My first test was FAR, and I took that for the first and only time right before Thanksgiving 2008. I walked out thinking I probably had a 50/50 chance of having passed. I almost fainted when I got the envelope with the official score notice: 85 on FAR.

    After Christmas was over I jumped back in to prep for AUD and tested on Feb 20. Had a friend call me on Mar 20 telling me that scores were available on the internet. Of course, mine wasn’t posted yet. Monday March 23 it was, big as daylight. I must have screwed up somewhere because I missed a few points. I passed with a 98. No typo. 98 on AUD. First try. I have that printed out and pinned to my wall.

    Some trivia about me: I’m 50 years old and taking the CPA exams for the first time. I got my undergrad degree in 1980, when modern accounting computer technology consisted of learning FORTRAN, typing single-line commands on punchcards, and handing my card deck in to the university computer center for program execution. Yes, I actually had to use the “hanging chad” kind of punchcards to write mini programs for my computer class.

    After graduating college I went into the Air Force and spent the next two decades doing anything and everything except accounting. When I retired from the AF I found myself against a wall: Not enough “in the trenches” experience to be hired for a mid-level accounting job, but way too much management experience to be hired for any entry-level accounting position.

    In these 29 years since I got my degree I forgot half of what I learned, and half what I do remember has changed. GASB didn’t even exist in 1980. I eventually landed a job as an in-house accounting assistant, mostly because the AF taught me how to do magic with PCs, and because I was willing to work my a** off for a bookkeeper’s meager salary. From such simple beginnings come great opportunities for those willing to work. Now I’m moving up in the world again, with excellent job prospects.

    Passing the CPA exams will give me the edge I need to progress further. I figure that if inexperienced kids half my age can and do pass these exams every day, I sure should be able to. Two down, one pending, and one to go, all inside of 6 months. Long range objective: Certified Fraud Examiner and Forensic Accountant.

    In case you’re wondering, I’m using Becker. I’m using their whole kit and caboodle program, just the way they say to do, except that the only sample questions I’m looking at a second time are the ones I missed on the first pass. I also stayed up all night cramming at least once during the week right before I took each section.

    When I start to suffer from study-burn out, I imagine that the section I am about to test is my very last section to pass. Then the energy level jumps back up and I tear into the CPA review material with the speed of an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane on afterburner. You may not know much about the SR-71, so let me put it into perspective for you. The SR-71 cruises at Mach 3 at an altitude of over 80,000 feet. It flew from Los Angeles to Washington DC in one hour and 4 minutes, from New York to London in one hour and 55 minutes, and from London back to Los Angeles in 3 hours and 47 minutes. Yea!!!!!

    So, if you’re having trouble, hang in there and focus-focus-focus. Yes, you do have to put your like on “hold” while prepping for the exams, but keep in mind that situation is only temporary. After all, if a geezer like me from the dark ages can pass the CPA exams on my first try, 29 years after I graduated and after spending a lifetime away from the profession, all you kids who weren’t even born when I got my degree should be able to do it too.

  • Just took FAR today after much preparation and was still hit with a few weird / vague sounding questions including one on a really really simple and familiar area (so I dont think I could have been wrong) where I believe the correct answer was not one of the choices….. Oh well, I guess I just have to wait for the results…… Too bad I took the exam so early in the testing window that I can only expect the result in a month and half’s time…

    One question – I have an NTS for REG expiring in 20 days from now. I would have waited for it to expire but by the time it does expire and I get a new one I may not have my first preference dates available for testing. So — if I schedule an exam REG in the next few days and do not show up for it, am I allowed to get a new NTS and reschedule (and take!) the exam in the same testing window…..

    Thanks for your help guys…

  • Well, I just got out of auditing. My first attempt. I am pretty sure that I did not pass. I did not even recognize one of the parts of the simulation (not even an inkling of recognition). I used Becker for the past 7 weeks prepping, but I just don’t think it was enough.

    I took REG last round and thought I did ‘ok’ and I was pleasantly surprised with an 86.

    I just hope my efforts (coupled with a few questions favorably thrown out) will be enough to hit the magical 75.

    I laugh when I go to the prometrics site, since it is literally right across the street from the Hustler Casino – there is a metaphor in that somewhere, but I am too tired to figure out what it is.

    On to BUS!

  • Everybody is using the forbidden word here: Becker. I mention this word in past posts and people get pissed off!

  • New-B: I took FAR as my first part in February and passed it, using Becker, which was a huge relief. I was exactly where you are now.

    Go through all the lectures like they advise you to do, but FOCUS ON THE MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS! Work them over and over, and read the explanations for the answers. Those explanations were really helpful because they helped me to really understand the question – not just get the right answer. If you find something you don’t really understand, go back to the lecture and workbook (which you should’ve already been through once) and make sure you learn it.

    Then, take all of the tests that Becker gives you. At the end, they break out your score by category and percentages, which will give you more direction as to where you need help.

    I only spent a small amount of time looking at simulations just to learn the functionality.

    I wish I could’ve given you a short-cut, but I don’t think that one exists for this stuff. You’ve just got to know it!

  • Ok, So this is my second time visiting this site and honestly I love it.

    Just to give a brief background of myself, I just graduated this past december and this will be my first attempt at the CPA exam.

    I am taking FAR in May and I am seeking out any tips to pass this exam the first go-round. I am not sure what to expect or if I am under studying or over studying. I have changed my exam date now 6 times! A large part has to do with so many things going on around me but also anxiety. My 7th study plan starts this week. πŸ™‚ I am prepping with Becker.

    Any help would be great.

  • Captain Fancypants – the time it take to write these long emails, you could be studying!

  • NY 72:
    Unfortunately I cannot tell you what was on the SIMs. That would be a violation of the thing you/I agree to when you/we sit down at the compuer to take the exam. Worst case scenario is that the powers-that-be would take all my credits away from me or never let me sit for the CPA exam again (which will be perfectly fine after I finally pass all four parts!)

  • Anon – wow, kudos to you for working tax season and passing REG and FAR. That is hardcore! I’m giving myself a month for FAR, and thought that was pushing it.

  • I passed REG and FAR last window. It was a miserable month working until 9 or 930 then studying until midnight. But it can be done. Just get in the mind set that if you will allow yourself to be miserable, seriously work, CPA studying, sleep (in that order of time commitment) for one month, you can pass both of them in one window. I’m not sure about 1 week, but its possible

  • Re: NY 72

    I hope you are joking. Have you even studied REG or do you not care? Rule 501…

  • Mark (Captain Fancypants)…. can you tell me what was on the sims??
    Im retaking AUD next week.

  • I take BEC on April 17 and then re-take AUD on April 31st. First time I took AUD on February 25th, I got a 71 so I was pretty close and confident that I can clear it this time around. Then next month, it’s REG. I’m saving FAR for last which will be in July.

    Does anyone think it’s possible to study for both REG and FAR in the stretch of a month? I’m toying with the idea of taking both REG and FAR in last week of May as I want to finish this exam once and for all. Keep in mind, I’ll probably start studying for both on May 1.

    Opinions are welcome. Thanks!

  • LOL “Corky from Life Goes On” candidate…

    Very good post Captain Fancypants. Maybe you can take some of the stuff you found helpful for passing AUD and use those techniques to pass FAR on your first try.

    Good Luck!

  • You know it is a bad sign when the people at the Prometric testing site knows you by name!!! Yep that is me career test taker! (I am the one that got a 67 on FAR last time around and lost my REG) I have been at this for a couple of years and it’s about damn time I passed!

  • I took AUD this morning. My…..drum roll….FOURTH attempt! You know what they say. Fourth time is the charm, right? Is that what they say? Maybe they say something else.

    It’s funny because each time I took this part, it felt like I knew the material very well. Then when I took the next part, I knew it better. This time is no exception. I feel I know the material really well.

    The main difference this time is that in attempts #1, #2 & #3, when sitting at the computer with the exam, the majority of the MCQs didn’t look familiar to me. I had to put myself in the shoes of the MCQ creator and think what I thought they were saying the correct answer was. Let me clarify, the challenge of the questions…the concepts….didn’t look familiar to me. This time, about 90% of the MCQs looked familiar to me to the point that I knew the answer before looking at the answers.

    Before I continue, if I do not pass this time, I don’t know what I am going to do. So in the spirit of positive thinking, here is how the evolution of my AUD experience has been:

    AUD attempt #1. I studied with a certain company that is very very well-known and well-known for being one of the more pricey review companies. I scored a 55. I did only the MCQs that were part of this company’s review product. I also did some SIMs.

    AUD attempt #2. I studied with a certain company that Jeff endorses all the time. I did MCQs from the software that came with the book that the company suggested candidates to use. I wouldn’t say that I bled MCQs, but I did a good share of them. I also did SIMs. I scored a 65.

    AUD attempt #3. I studied with a company’s cram dvd that isn’t very well known but the company’s name is four letters long. I spent most of my time memorizing everything in the whole friggin book. I swear to you that I even memorized word-for-word an entire unqualified opinion! I barely touched the MCQs. I took this attempt about 2 weeks after I found out the results of attempt #2. I was hoping that my prep from attempt #2 would be retained since I was taking attempt #3 so close to attempt #2. I scored a 68.

    AUD attempt #4. I bought the dvd cram for Jeff’s favorite review company. I went through that taking notes at a fever pitch. I obviously recognized everything. Shoot…here it is and I have been living and breathing auditing for almost 8 months! SICK! I then decided to go through the electronic MCQs of the software and the MCQs in the book…over and over and over. Not to the point of memorizing the answer…but to absorb the challenge….know the issue…facilitate the comprehension. Another difference in studying this time around is that for the FOUR days prior to the exam, I spent all day at the local university library on the second floor in a corner all to myself with my laptop and notebook paper. About 2:30pm the day before the exam, something just hit me that my brain had reached its capacity or that God was telling me: “You now know this stuff…go home and rest!”

    And so here I am today writing this message. If I pass this, I will have until October 2009 to pass FAR. Then I will be done. You do the math. It took me 8 months of straight AUD to possibly pass AUD. I now have 7 full months to get FAR. And yes yes yes…I have heard how 2 months is plenty to pass FAR. Not for me. It’s not for me. Okay? In another message I will post some thoughts on how CPA Candidates can be broken down into three categories. The first category is the Doogie Howser candidate. The second candidate is the Joe The Plumber candidate. The third candidate is the Corky From Life Goes On candidate. I am the third type of candidate. I will explain later.

    The bottom line is: Anybody can pass the CPA exam. The catch is that in the worst case scenario you will need a lot of cash (like me). I’m not saying that I have a lot of cash, I’m saying because of the type of CPA candidate that I am…I need a lot of cash to take the exam many times over.

    Another thought: Jeff can probably attest to this as well since we both have sat in these Prometric test centers so many times and seen these NASBA exams so much….there are beyond a doubt different levels of difficulty on different exams. I noticed this on the three BEC exams that I took. I have now noticed this on the four AUD exams that I have taken. I will also say this and I do not think that I am divulging any details of my exam experience when I say this: a written communication tab on today’s AUD attempt was the exact same written communication that I saw on my second AUD attempt. That is a sign that you have sat for a part of the CPA exam too many times! Is Jeff Foxworthy listening? You know you might be a struggling CPA candidate if…

  • I’m taking FAR in the very beginning of July but my Becker expires May 20th so I started watching lectures last night (I’m in the middle of tax season so this is NOT fun).

    The good news is I just passed REG so I’m feeling pretty good — just want to keep the momentum going here. I could seriously do without an hour lecture on “Sources of GAAP” After a 13 hour workday yesterday I went home for 15 mins to change and then came back to the office and stayed til midnight.


    In response to Leigh, I think the key to BEC (this is the first section I passed) is studying the “right” material (I’m sure you already know this seeing how you are taking it for the third time). I was lucky enough to spot this website about a month before I took the exam and it really focused my study on certain chapters, which my particular exam focused on. After the dust cleared I got an 87.

    I really think Jeff’s post about copying and re-copying notes is true. Your life might be miserable and you might develop carpel tunnel syndrome — but for me it’s a proven method for retaining information.

    Good Luck Everyone!!! Let the misery begin…

  • I’m taking BEC on April 18. I also work in public accounting, so have been getting in about 10 hours / week of study time – total budget of 50 hours of studying I have taken BEC twice before – got a 72, then a 71 using Bisk and Becker. Admittedly, I did not study as much as I should have. Now I bought Yaeger’s CRAM after seeing them on your website, making notecards, and doing every M.C. question. I am hoping this will be enough to put me over the 75 mark FINALLY.

    After that I am taking FAR on May 23. I’m budgeting myself 80 hours of study time, and it will be much easier to accomplish that since tax season will be over. I am quite nervous about FAR because everyone says it is the greatest amount of material and one of the hardest. I took FAR 5 years ago right after I graduated college, don’t even remember what my score was. I have already passed REG and AUD, but my AUD credit expires at the end of May! So it’s do or die πŸ™‚ I bought Yaeger’s full review course for FAR, so I am hoping that will be the key to passing this. I have already planned my vacation to Turkey, leaving May 24, so at least I have something to look forward to when I’m done.

    Anybody else want to commiserate????

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