Overcoming CPA Exam Failure
Your heart races with anxiety as the score page from NASBA loads.
Well, nothing except Error: Score not found. Please verify Section ID Number and Date of Birth format and re-submit, which is the same thing it has said the past five times you?ve checked in the last hour.
A few minutes of casual internet browsing pass and you come back to the score page to check ?just one last time?.
Hours of preparation and sacrifice down the drain. Thoughts of vacation days wasted, and weekends absent from friends and family add insult to injury.
Here are some tips for dealing with failure on the CPA Exam:
1. Honest evaluation of yourself
It?s time to come clean ? at least to yourself. Did you give 110% or was it more like a 65% effort? While you were ?studying at the coffee shop? were you watching CPA review lectures or was it YouTube? The frantic typing on your laptop that could be heard from 2 tables away ? were those CPA Exam notes or where you commenting on pictures of your friend?s weekend indiscretions that were posted on Facebook? While your spouse was watching the kids ? did you turn up the heat and knock out a section of FAR or did you take a ?much deserved mental break? and watch tv episodes on Hulu? Just asking.
If you started to feel a little guilty reading this?you already know what needs to be done.
2. Honest evaluation of your review materials
Are you trying to study Auditing with 2007 books that you purchased off of eBay? Are you crazy? ? those were written in 2006 and you?re taking a 2009 exam. Did you go cheap when you bought your flatscreen tv? No ? you just had to have a 52 inch 1080 instead of a 46 inch 720. Yet, for some reason you?re sitting there studying for this beast of an exam using 3 year old study material?ironically with your expensive flatscreen blaring in the background.
Throw that garbage away and get NEW CPA Exam review materials. You?re studying outdated information that could very well be the difference between passing and a 74. Go cheap on that engagement ring ? NOT your CPA review materials. She?ll never know it?s a CZ anyway. Her friends won?t be able to get over how shiny and perfect it looks and you?ll be a hero?AND a genius because you passed the CPA Exam?which means you must be ?really good at math?.
3. Honest evaluation of your schedule
So, you work 45 (or 65+ during busy season) hours a week and try to get in a little study time between going to the gym, the TV shows you recorded on your DVR, and seeing family and friends.
Great ? at this pace you?ll be ready for FAR in 6 months. It?s time to get medieval on your study schedule.
If you?re not studying 20 hours a week?you?re not studying.
Wake up an hour and forty-five minutes earlier than normal?the first 30 minutes will be spent stumbling around, hating life, cursing the exam, and making coffee. The next 15 minutes will be spent checking e-mail and Twitter. You know you?re going to do it, so plan for it. This clears the way for a solid hour of studying.
1 extra hour a day Mon-Fri = 5 hours of studying a week
Bring your lunch to work?eat for 15 minutes?and study the next 45 minutes.
45 minutes at lunch Mon-Thurs (eat out with friends on Friday) = 3 hours of studying per week
Studying at Home:
If you?re single, your schedule is much more flexible and you could feasibly study 4 hours a night if you wanted to at home. If you have a significant other or a family ? the following applies to you:
If you have kids ? get them in bed by 8:30 (many times a laughable proposition with the repeated requests for drinks of water, needing one more hug, too hot/cold, and the sudden urge for them to declare their birthday wish list even though it's still 10 months away – but still try for 8:30)?watch an hour of TV or whatever with your spouse?study from 9:30 to 11:00. This still puts you in a prime spot to get to sleep early enough that you can get up early as mentioned above.
1.5 hours studying Mon-Thurs (Friday is a night off of studying) = 6 hours of studying per week
Grand total for weekday studying: 14 hours
You don?t have to kill your weekends in order to be a good CPA candidate. You also don?t have to be AWOL from your family and friends. Three hours a day each day on Saturday/Sunday is all you need to get 20 hours of CPA Exam study time per week.
If you have kids ? spend time with them in the morning?study during nap time (if applicable) and you have the rest of the evening with them as well.
That?s 20 hours a week of studying for the CPA Exam and you barely had to alter your schedule or lose out on time with family and friends.
Following this study plan, you could conceivably be ready for:
FAR in 6-7 weeks
REG in 5-6 weeks
AUD in 3-4 weeks
BEC in 3-4 weeks
It sounds simple ? and it is. It?s the schedule that I used to finally pass the CPA Exam and if you have failed a section and are looking for a new approach, I recommend that you give it a try.
Thanks for reading.