Taking too Much Time to Study or Right on Track?

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

I am at work at 5:45am because I cannot get any studying completed at my house. My kids are too loud, they’re fighting, my wife expects so much of me (which I understand), and it seems that her neck issues are getting worse and worse to the point she can only do so much.

If this is your first time reading my blog, my wife doesn’t support my CPA journey either, so getting support from her is not an option.

I put more study time in when I’m away from the house…at work. On Monday through Friday, I get in around 6:00am. Over the course of the day, I put in around 2 hours to 3 hours.

Over the weekends, I put in about 1 1/2 hours on Saturday and 1 1/2 hours on Sunday. This past week, I logged about 18 hours in 7 days. Is that good or bad? I think bad because I think that I should be farther along in my FAR studies than I am.

My only beef with my review course is that its exam planner feature thinks that a candidate should complete certain modules at a certain pace. For instance, to get through its module on Dollar Value LIFO, it says that the estimated average total study time is 30 minutes. I took my sweet time and it almost took 90 minutes.

Am I spinning my wheels or am I spot on? I wouldn’t care, except for the fact that the planner makes it clear that you are behind schedule and you’ll need an act of God to catch up … or re-calibrate your planner.

I feel like it takes me longer to absorb the material than most candidates. For example, when I hear someone say that they studied 2 hours, I would bet that I probably spent 3 hours on the same material. I suppose at the end of the day, I should feel good about my 3 hours if at the end of the day I understand the material.

This extra time it takes robs me of valuable time near my exam date that I could be doing a final review or going back over MCQs. I’m not sure how to fix this.

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Mark 11 years ago

I have studied more today (Monday) than I have studied all weekend combined.

Jamie 11 years ago

I use CPAexcel also and I don't use there planner I just try to do as much as I can progress at my own speed. All of there calculations seem a bit generic for time to complete. I have never seen one less than 30 minutes, and I have done a few in under thirty minutes. Some of the harder ones definitely took me longer and it just is what it is. Keep up the good work.

Barry 11 years ago

Like Jamie, I use it too. That's my biggest beef with them is that everything takes 30 minutes. Even sections with 2 questions and one page in the book with a 2 minute lecture. I remember it took me over 100 minutes to do the Indirect Statement of Cash Flows, so each one is different.

Mark 11 years ago

Jamie and Barry...that's what I'm talking about. That's my only beef. Other than that, I think they explain the material really well.

Allyson 11 years ago

I think people get too hung up on the quantity of time and not the quality they spend studying. Use their timeline as guidance but don't beat yourself up if it takes you longer than they recommend. You know if you are getting it. Move on only when you feel comfortable. Also don't get fooled into a false sense of security that you are doing well because you are "on schedule"; just try not to get too behind and thus feel discouraged. 18 hours a week is dang good with all you have going on.

Michelle 11 years ago

I agree with Allyson. Logging hours can be deceiving. Just because someone "studies" for 20 hours a week and is on "schedule" doesn't mean that they are truly ready to move on. I set my weekly schedule by what all I want to exactly accomplish and I do it on my own pace. Don't move on until you truly feel ready - this will help your review process better and you will be much calmer the week before your test.