Back to Blogging + New CPA Exam Study Strategy

J.W. is a weekly Club 75 Blogger as he documents his journey through the CPA Exam. He has been a member of's Club 75 since August 2010.

It’s good to be back blogging again for Another71, and since it’s been a while since my last post, I’ll have to catch everyone up. I passed BEC in the January/February testing window with an 81. Then I went on to take Audit in the April/May window and failed with a gut-wrenching 73.

While after receiving this score I just wanted to take a mental break from it all because of some personal issues that have come up, the CPA Exam and its 18 month clock waits for no one. So I reluctantly started preparing myself for Audit part two.

This time around I decided to modify my strategy a bit and focus more on reading and MCQ’s than watching videos. I began each chapter reading and copying Jeff’s notes, then going through the Wiley Flash Cards. I find this gives me a good enough base of knowledge as to what to expect on the MCQ’s.

I then used the Wiley Test Bank and selected the maximum number of questions for each chapter. Then I did the questions one by one, carefully study the reason as to why I got it right or wrong, then read the text link provided. I find doing the same type of question and rereading the text link even though it says the same thing each time reinforces the topic.

Then I waited a day or two while starting the next chapter and do a few selections of 20-25 MCQ’s. If I score about 80 twice in a row, I know I’ve got a good grasp on the topic and will move ahead. If not, I go to the Yaeger CPA Review videos and hope for enlightenment from Phil, Cindy or Gary.

At the very end of it all I rewrote all of my 28 pages of notes and crammed MCQ's in the days leading up to the test and went over the simulations in the Wiley book.

I was feeling very prepared for my retake about a week before it. I was consistently scoring 80 or above on practice MCQ testlets. I considered moving my exam up because my confidence was high, but decided against it since the exam is so unpredictable and a few extra study days might be the difference between another 73 and a 75.

Test day came after a weekend filled with anxiousness. My Prometric center was closed the previous Saturday and Sunday, and I was hoping it would have electricity come Monday so I wouldn’t have to reschedule for October if they didn’t extend the window.

As I got there, I checked in and heard one of the employees tell someone that they needed to reschedule their exam because of some technical difficulties. Looking at the guy, I could tell he was screaming inside as he walked out of the place not saying a word. Fortunately for me I didn’t have the same fate, and I checked in without a problem.

I didn’t feel the testlets got harder as I progressed, but I felt the same way when I passed BEC. I felt they did get harder when I failed Audit the last time, so I have no idea what to expect just like everyone else when they leave.

I just knew that I was about as prepared as I could have possibly been, so I’m hoping for the best as I’m jumping right into FAR next. My aim is to take both FAR and REG in the next window and hopefully be done by Christmas.

Today is actually my anniversary of starting to study for the CPA Exam. I took FAR and failed (69) in the last window of 2010. Needless to say, this is not something where I want to see my 2nd anniversary.

If you’d like, you can follow me on Twitter @JasonStepnoski.

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Allyson 12 years ago

Welcome back! I wondered how the exam was going for you. Let's pass this thing.

J.W. 12 years ago

Thanks. Looking forward to hopefully finishing up in the next window.

Chris 12 years ago

Hey I took AUD a while back and got a 73 as well. I just did the retake w/ roger and couldnt really notice a change in difficulty between testlets either unlike the first where I felt it got harder. Crazy how similiar some experiences can be...hope we pass!!

J.W. 12 years ago

When I passed BEC I felt like it didn't any harder and I got an 81, if I pass this one, I'll really have no feel for the difference between medium questions and tough questions, they're all hard. Hopefully we just got smarter the 2nd time around good. Good luck.