Club 75 Candidate Bloggers

PASSED! My CPA Exam Journey is Complete


Barry is a weekly Another71 Facebook blogger as he documents his journey through the CPA Exam.

After 12 months, 500+ hours of studying, 6 exams, many near-nervous breakdowns and a very deprived wife, I have finally done it! When that beautiful 87 sat there staring back at me in the face, it didn’t seem real.

So much time, energy and sacrifice this year was all worth it in the end. Since this is my final blog post, there were a few things I’ve been waiting to write about that I truly felt helped get me over that final hump…

#1 There is no one perfect prep course out there. Some people swear on one course or another. Personally, I found my review course more than adequate. I did supplement REG and AUD with a test bank, but only for the additional MCQ’s.

#2 Plan accordingly! I started studying on New Year’s Day 2011. I had each of the first four tests planned out before I cracked open my first book. I also had a backup plan for when/how I’d take retakes (just in case).

My goal was to be done by the end of 2011, so the plan was to take 2 tests per window, one at the very beginning (April and July) and one at the very end (May and August). That gave me 8 weeks between tests, except for BEC which I had 5 weeks for in early July. Then, I knew I could use the final quarter to retake any missed parts. Granted, I was lucky enough to have passed 2 on the first try, making my retakes a little easier to plan/study for.

#3 Get serious and be persistent!!! I think many people first starting off with this exam don’t truly understand the magnitude and sacrifice necessary to conquer it. I’m not saying give 24/7, but you can’t just study “when you feel like it.” The worst moments of the last year were when I was exhausted (less than 4 hours of sleep a night during my FAR study marathons) and sick at the same time, wondering why I was doing this.

If you aren’t 100% committed to passing this thing, it won’t happen. In fact, there are many people in the forum who have been at this for YEARS, sacrificing everything and still haven’t passed. So, you really have to keep at it.

#4 Use I’m serious about this. I’m not lying when I say that I passed this monster because of this website. I found it about a month before I took FAR and the stories from people in the forum (Yankee, Keeptrying, etc.) have been my inspiration. I’m not a vocal person on the boards as I read from afar, but listen to these people. They’ve been through the ringer and are still fighting for their goals and dreams. But, the most important part is we are all a community here. Everyone (alumni and current exam takers) are in it together.

#5 Just take the exam! What I mean by this is… don’t sit and wonder about how you did. There is absolutely no way to know. When I read the boards, people are always saying “Oh, the first testlet was easy, second was much harder, as was the third,” or something like that. And, since we know that the harder the testlets get, the “better” you’re doing, right? Well, from experience, let me tell you that this isn’t true because you can’t know which questions are considered difficult or not.

The longer paragraph questions? I didn’t have a single one of those in AUD/REG/BEC and scored in the 80’s. I had a few in FAR and got a 78. My point here is to study hard, take your test, and don’t worry if the tests are getting “harder” or not. They may not seem harder because you’re so well prepared!

Hopefully that didn’t seem like a lecture. My goal is to share my experiences and processes that I truly believe were the key to passing all of these tests. I’m not sure if any of my blog posts actually were helpful to either of you who read them (joking), but hopefully you gained something from reading about my experience.

Good luck to everyone trying to close this out once and for all, or to those of you just starting out. Use this website, I promise it’ll be the best decision you make.

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Not Quite Ready to Look at REG Score

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Ready to Own the CPA Exam in 2012

The Author

Barry Chaison

Barry Chaison


  1. JoMarie
    December 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    WTG Barry!!! Congrats!!!!

  2. Laura (keeptrying)
    December 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for your kind words Barry!! I can not wait to write my last blog!! Congrats!!

  3. Anonymous
    December 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Congratulations Barry! Very happy for you. So glad that your wife will get her husband back now!!

  4. David
    December 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Congratulations Barry! And thanks for your blogs this year. They have all been helpful to me. I started my CPA journey this year but just haven’t been able to give it the commitment required. So I’ve ended 2011 in a whimper;) So next year is another brand new start at these exams. Take care!

  5. Barry
    December 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you all for the kind words! You’ll all get there. I know everyone says “If I can do it, anyone can”, but I mean it. I scored 940 on my SATs, which means I don’t test well at all. It’ll happen! I’ll have to stick around just to see all of your successes!

  6. Kyle
    December 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Congrats man, the blogs have been great, your last advice on this one was awesome as well, love #5.

  7. Benji
    December 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Congratulations! What a relief this must be for you (and your wife). I began studying/taking the exam in mid-June and have followed your blogs. I’m so glad you talked about the sacrifice that your wife is making also during your study time. I’ve been able to tell my wife that Barry (yes, you’ve become a household name to me and my wife) says his wife puts up with his mood swings, sleepless nights, stress, etc. I’m so thankful that my wife fully supports me in this adventure, very similar to yours; she is my first line of love and support. Sometimes we forget about our wives in all of this craziness.
    You have been a true encouragement to me the last six months. I’m glad you have this test behind you, but will truly miss reading your blogs. If you have any more helpful tips, shoot me an e-mail.

  8. Shelby
    December 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Great job! I just found out that I got a 71 on REG 🙁 Currently studying for BEC and trying to take that right before the bulk of “busy season” hits (I’m an auditor). I’m bound and determined to pass all 4 in 2012.

  9. Barry
    December 10, 2011 at 1:39 am


    I truly appreciate the kind words. It sounds like we’re cut from the same cloth. I’m taking the wife on a Caribbean cruise this April as a reward for putting up with me for the last 12 months. It’s scary how you engulf yourself in this exam and literally become someone you’re not. But, I truly believe that you have to engulf yourself in it and just knock it out as quickly as possible. Some people obviously don’t have the ability to sacrifice their lives for 6 months to a year, but if you have the support system (sounds like your wife ROCKS), it can happen. If you have any questions about my study methods, etc, drop me an email. Not sure how to give you my email without making it completely public? Where are you in the process? Exams passed? Left to take? I’d be curious to hear!

    Shelby- Stick with it! I’ve got a co-worker (I’m in tax) who has FAR left and he’s trying to nail it before busy season. It can be done! If you want it, it’ll happen. Just stick with it!

  10. Benji
    December 10, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Barry, my e-mail is

  11. nadia
    December 14, 2011 at 7:57 am



  12. nadia
    December 14, 2011 at 8:16 am


    OOPS….wasn’t finished yet! I am really glad to see that you are done, and I am guessing your wife is ecstatic. What a way to end the year!!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience…I know for me I am going to pay attention to #3 and #5. But most importantly, I am going to try and make good on the inspiration part in 2012. Thank you for the kind remarks, it really made smile, something I needed after this last window (haha). I have said this before, but it is worth saying again, seeing our “classmates” cross that finish line is such a motivating factor. To those of us on the other side, it helps us see that it is possible. Congrats again!!!!

    Have a Merry Christmas and New Year!

    Nadia (Yankee)

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