Introducing Club 75 Blogger: Blake

Hello fellow CPA hopefuls,

My name is Blake Smith and I’m new to the website. A friend of mine, who passed the 4 exam sections on the first try, highly recommended I check it out. I saw all of the blog posts and though that it would be a great therapeutic process for me to blog about my weekly struggles/successes while preparing for the CPA exam.

A little about me: I am born and raised in Seattle and was just hired by a large, multinational CPA firm as a Tax Associate. My starting date, per my contract, will begin in Fall 2011 or earlier, leaving me a solid three months to cram for as much of the CPA exams as possible (I decided to leave my previous employer to focus on my studies).

I received my BA from Washington State University in 2007 where I studied accounting (Go Cougs!). I went on to work in accounting in the private industry for a couple of years before I headed back to graduate school to attain my required 150 semester credit hours. I was interested in a skill which would allow me to work at a distance, so I opted to get a Master in Taxation from Golden Gate University in San Francisco/Seattle (I highly recommend the program, for those interested).

I also have the pleasure of caring for the sweetest three year old daughter in the world, Daniela. My girlfriend, Flower, is a great companion and it will be interesting to see how I am able to keep a healthy relationship going during this ordeal (Yes, Flower is her legal first name!)

I graduated with my MST in late April and my future employer, the CPA firm, gave me a very conspicuous nudge toward beginning my CPA certification. I took note and ordered my review materials and soon after attained my NTS; the NTS was a bit difficult to attain as I was still in school but my state representative from NASBA was very supportive and worked with me to get the extra documentation in I needed.

Originally, I gave myself three weeks to self-study for BEC and cram my exam date into the last day of the 2nd quarter of the year, May 31st. After going through a couple of the subsections, I quickly realized that cramming for BEC might not be the best for me considering much of the material was not covered during my undergraduate/graduate education.

I rescheduled BEC towards the end of my 6 month window and decided to focus on my in-class AUD preparation. My first class in next Wednesday, June 1st. I’m already nervous and anxious and I haven’t even started yet! I

have struggled in the past with exam anxiety, so much so that in grad school I went from a healthy 6’3’’ 235 pound frame down to a gaunt 6’3’’ 195 pound frame….in two months (I hadn’t been that thin since the 8th grade)! I’ll be interested to see how my body reacts to the CPA exam bombardment. My main defense towards this anxiety is exercise; it seems to be the only way I can put my mind at ease. I practice Hot Yoga to help ease my nerves. We will see how it helps me during my studies.

I will have more next week after I complete my first AUD study session in downtown Seattle. Good luck to everybody!!


P.S. Feel free to friend me on Facebook .

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cowboy 12 years ago

You and I sound very similar. Similar stories for school(2007 Grad), choices for work, how far along we are in the testing process, and I'm 6'4" 180-220 depending on how close I am to test time. Good luck bud. Don't fall into the trap of "studying just enough". In my opinion, it is better to over do it once than to redo it twice.

Blake 12 years ago

Thanks for the input cowboy. I'm trying to study as much as possible in attempts to ease my worries. We'll see if it was enough when I get my first score back!