Introducing CPA Exam Blogger: Mark

28 Sep 2011

Club 75 Candidate Bloggers

Mark is a new Another71 Facebook blogger as he documents his journey through the CPA Exam.

I started this journey in January 2008. Due to lots of different circumstances, which I will touch on later, I had to take a break from October 2009 till now.

I have heard that some of the greatest stresses that a person can experience in life are: (1) death of a loved one, (2) changing jobs, and (3) moving to a new home.

I think that studying for the CPA exam should be added to that list. If the CPA exam is the 4th stress, then I have experienced all these stresses except for death…several times over in the past 2 years.

Here is the quick rundown of the past 2 ½ years: I studied with Becker, Yaeger, Bisk & Roger CPA Review. I have passed REG & BEC and failed AUD & FAR multiple times. I’ve lost credit for REG & BEC.

My wife had major neck surgery, which didn’t help, so now she is in chronic pain. I got laid off from work. I found a job in another state (Iowa), sold our house in Kansas, moved the family to Iowa, started my kids in a new school, and started my new job, etc. The job was more stressful than being laid off, so within 3 months, I started looking for another job.

Needless to say it’s hard to study under such circumstances. I found another job in Texas, moved my family there in June 2011, started the kids in school, started the new job, and the wife’s neck issues are now off-the-chart painful. We are now going to the best of the best spine specialists located in the DFW area. More than likely she will need surgery again. Also, we do not have any family or friends in Texas yet.

In my new job, I’ve been tasked with finding a CPA review for myself and two other staff. I’ve chosen a review course for the following reasons:

(1) I have a hard time concentrating for long periods of time. This program is broken into 5-10 minute lecture nuggets. In the past, I wouldn’t study with other programs over lunch because a lecture on a given topic would easily take an hour. Guess what? That doesn’t work for me.

(2) There isn’t an expiration date.

(3) It updates the material automatically without purchasing more products, unlike….everybody else!

(4) It’s cheaper.

(5) There are about 15 or so different instructors which appeals to me rather than the few instructors that are presented with the other review companies.

(6) I’m convinced that it isn’t how much money you spend on a review program, it’s the time that you put in studying the material. For my life, my work schedule, my family circumstances, my ability to be easily distracted, this will have to work.

On another note, my wife, God bless her, is sick of hearing about the CPA exam. Let’s just say that she is not pleased with the commitment that studying for the exam requires of a candidate, especially when at times she feels like a single mother with chronic neck pain. She completely understands that I have studied for months on end, but she doesn’t see the reward happening for me, especially with a system that provides limited feedback on scores.

Finding the time to study this time will require me to be very creative, to say the least. If not, my family life will be terrible and that is not conducive to effective studying.

I would love to talk to anybody that is in the same unique boat that I am in. Does your spouse not support your journey through the CPA exam jungle? I can relate. Have you changed jobs, moved to other states, sold houses, started new jobs, felt the guilt of not spending time with your kids….while trying to study? I can relate. My email address is

Leave a Reply


Chris 13 years ago

A friend of mine is in a similar situation as you, Mark. His new wife wants his full attention and hates seeing him study for his CPA exam. If he doesn't pass all sections by the deadline that his wife has set, he has to give in. He has so much potential and I would hate to see him quit. Lack of family support certainly adds more burden on your already stressful situation. Good luck to you!

Binh 13 years ago

Wow, I wish you the best of luck!

Barry 13 years ago

Hi Mark, I know how you feel about the wife. Mine has been extremely supportive, but even for her, there comes a time when she wants her husband back. Looking at your 3 options, I've actually gone through all of them and can tell you right now that the CPA Exam is easily #4. No doubt. Also, I'm a CPAExcel-er myself. I really like them. For the price you pay, it's amazing value. I passed FAR and BEC on the first try and missed REG and AUD by a combined 7 points. They do a good job prepping you. My only complaint was the MCQ's. Sometimes their explanations are hard to comprehend. I went ahead and purchased the Gleim REG test bank and will probably purchase Wiley stuff through Jeff's discount on Friday. But, you may have better luck with CPAExcel!

Kricket 13 years ago

When my husband walks in the room and I'm NOT studying he tells me to get to work! We are in opposite boats! He can't wait for me to be done because he THINKS he can retire super early. I have news for him however! Glad you are back on the train through hell.

Kim 13 years ago

I switched to CPAExcel myself and have found that I really like the "bite size" lessons. It's much easier to get in 1/2 hour here, 45 minutes there than it was to sit down for an entire chapter of Becker. Between Becker (old study material) and CPAExcel, I WILL pass this time. Good luck to you Mark!