FAR Exam -May 22- Test Center experience

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  • #3008220 Reply
    CPA_VT
    Participant

    I took the FAR exam yesterday at a Prometric Test center in Northern Virginia yesterday. I originally wanted to take the exam on May 15 ,that appointment was cancelled, then May 19th in Washington DC, that I chose to reschedule and I finally I decided to take it anyway.
    There has been several posts in this forum about the wisdom of taking the exam at a test center in these times of COVID-19 and I will not get into all that. It is a personal choice as to what level of risk you are comfortable with without potentially endangering others around you. So that is that.

    This may be a long post and written with the intent to help other newbies like me. I just turned 50 and I mentioned previously my goals are very different from the typical CPA candiate. For me it is more skill-development and potential yet uncertain long term benefits by having this diploma that I cannot predict.

    My apoglogies if you find this post too long.

    I had passed BEC back in March – my first section and scored well. Used only GLEIM, so stuck with it for this section as well. I work in IT and this is my second attempt at the CPA exam having tried once back in 2004 and failed miserably.

    Preparation:
    I used GLEIM Premium. which served me well for BEC. Started studying around March 20 and faithfully followed GLEIM plan. Took the 4 hour long GLEIM full lengh exam rehearsal and scored a low 70. So a bit concerning there. I was finding it hard to remember and not get confused by so many exceptions or alternatives to the accounting policies. I stumbled quite a bit on Pensions, and Governmental accounting. Ended up having to repeat a couple of sections. After I got through all the sections per the GLEIM methodology, I did about 1000 MCQs in study session mode. Yet I was still not feeling confident going into exam day. The night before the exam, I ran through the ‘core concepts' summary for each chapter. in GLEIM.

    Exam day:
    I almost forgot to print the NTS the day before and I am really thankful that I got a reminder email from GLEIM about that. My appointment was at 0730. I set the alarm for 5.30 a.m but woke up around 2:30 and could not really get back to sleep. Reached the test center 1/2 hour before. They had asked us to wait outside in our call until they called us. Test center was re-arranged with chair in waiting area kept 6 feet apart. Prometric personnel wore mask and a plastic visor over it. They cleaned door handles after each exit and entry. Capacity of exam hall cut by at least half. This time they did not do the photo and thumb print during check in. Gave us a scratch sheet and pen to take inside exam hall. Mask strictly enforced.

    I requested that I carry a wipe cloth in case my glasses fogged up and they refused saying it is not allowed. I did keep my mask up to the top of the bridge of the nose. I was concerned about not being able to see well due to glasses fogging but it was not so bad it affected exam experience in any material way. During the allowed 15 min. break after Tetlet 3 I wiped it well and rest of the exam was uneventful from that standpoint. I write this in such detail just to pass on my experience with those who are planning on taking the exam over the next few weeks with the masks on.

    Regarding the exam content itself , I have mixed feelings. I took almost 54 minutes for the 1st MCQ testlet. It could have been nerves or inadequate preparation resulting in less confidence attacking questions or whatever. I picked it up a little on the 2nd MCQ. testlet. I was focused on not running out of time and answering each question in sequence. During the BEC exam I had flipped to higher number questions within a testlet before revisiting the skipped question. I had done that in order not to linger too long on a question and potentially miss a question I could easily answered correctly. For FAR , I felt that would have been a distraction for me personally, so I stuck with the sequence. So by the time I got through first 3 Testlets and the break, I had just a little under 1 hr 45 minutes left if I remember correctly.

    I felt that Testlet 1 was hard and being in the thick of it, I was not able to get a sense of how many I got right. I am hoping that at least a couple of the ones I got wrong were pretest questions and do not affect my final score. One simulation was cash flow and I am sure I nailed it. I did very poorly on TBS #2 and that could well prove to be my undoing or may be not. One still hopes though.

    Clearly, I do not feel as I confident as I did after the BEC. But then it is generally accepted that FAR is probably the hardest section. I will find out in 2 -1/2 weeks if my worries were not warranted or I need to study smarter and harded. Thanks for listening.
    I will come back here in 2 weeks and post.

    BEC - 95 -Mar'20
    FAR - 88-May'20
    AUD - Planned July'20
    #3008259 Reply
    ssaetern
    Participant

    I took the FAR exam yesterday at a Prometric Test center in Northern Virginia yesterday. I originally wanted to take the exam on May 15 ,that appointment was cancelled, then May 19th in Washington DC, that I chose to reschedule and I finally I decided to take it anyway.
    There has been several posts in this forum about the wisdom of taking the exam at a test center in these times of COVID-19 and I will not get into all that. It is a personal choice as to what level of risk you are comfortable with without potentially endangering others around you. So that is that.

    This may be a long post and written with the intent to help other newbies like me. I just turned 50 and I mentioned previously my goals are very different from the typical CPA candiate. For me it is more skill-development and potential yet uncertain long term benefits by having this diploma that I cannot predict.

    My apoglogies if you find this post too long.

    I had passed BEC back in March – my first section and scored well. Used only GLEIM, so stuck with it for this section as well. I work in IT and this is my second attempt at the CPA exam having tried once back in 2004 and failed miserably.

    Preparation:
    I used GLEIM Premium. which served me well for BEC. Started studying around March 20 and faithfully followed GLEIM plan. Took the 4 hour long GLEIM full lengh exam rehearsal and scored a low 70. So a bit concerning there. I was finding it hard to remember and not get confused by so many exceptions or alternatives to the accounting policies. I stumbled quite a bit on Pensions, and Governmental accounting. Ended up having to repeat a couple of sections. After I got through all the sections per the GLEIM methodology, I did about 1000 MCQs in study session mode. Yet I was still not feeling confident going into exam day. The night before the exam, I ran through the ‘core concepts' summary for each chapter. in GLEIM.

    Exam day:
    I almost forgot to print the NTS the day before and I am really thankful that I got a reminder email from GLEIM about that. My appointment was at 0730. I set the alarm for 5.30 a.m but woke up around 2:30 and could not really get back to sleep. Reached the test center 1/2 hour before. They had asked us to wait outside in our call until they called us. Test center was re-arranged with chair in waiting area kept 6 feet apart. Prometric personnel wore mask and a plastic visor over it. They cleaned door handles after each exit and entry. Capacity of exam hall cut by at least half. This time they did not do the photo and thumb print during check in. Gave us a scratch sheet and pen to take inside exam hall. Mask strictly enforced.

    I requested that I carry a wipe cloth in case my glasses fogged up and they refused saying it is not allowed. I did keep my mask up to the top of the bridge of the nose. I was concerned about not being able to see well due to glasses fogging but it was not so bad it affected exam experience in any material way. During the allowed 15 min. break after Tetlet 3 I wiped it well and rest of the exam was uneventful from that standpoint. I write this in such detail just to pass on my experience with those who are planning on taking the exam over the next few weeks with the masks on.

    Regarding the exam content itself , I have mixed feelings. I took almost 54 minutes for the 1st MCQ testlet. It could have been nerves or inadequate preparation resulting in less confidence attacking questions or whatever. I picked it up a little on the 2nd MCQ. testlet. I was focused on not running out of time and answering each question in sequence. During the BEC exam I had flipped to higher number questions within a testlet before revisiting the skipped question. I had done that in order not to linger too long on a question and potentially miss a question I could easily answered correctly. For FAR , I felt that would have been a distraction for me personally, so I stuck with the sequence. So by the time I got through first 3 Testlets and the break, I had just a little under 1 hr 45 minutes left if I remember correctly.

    I felt that Testlet 1 was hard and being in the thick of it, I was not able to get a sense of how many I got right. I am hoping that at least a couple of the ones I got wrong were pretest questions and do not affect my final score. One simulation was cash flow and I am sure I nailed it. I did very poorly on TBS #2 and that could well prove to be my undoing or may be not. One still hopes though.

    Clearly, I do not feel as I confident as I did after the BEC. But then it is generally accepted that FAR is probably the hardest section. I will find out in 2 -1/2 weeks if my worries were not warranted or I need to study smarter and harded. Thanks for listening.
    I will come back here in 2 weeks and post.

    Did you feel Gleim prepared you enough for BEC? I’m worry about the I.T. portion. Thanks.

    #3008274 Reply
    CPA_VT
    Participant

    Absolutely, I feel GLEIM coverage is more than enough for BEC. In the actual exam, I thought I might get in the range of 75-80 but I ended up getting way more than that (actual score 95)

    I just happened to pick GLEIM Review going in and decided to stick with it , more so once I passed BEC with a high score. I have read in many places that the Review course you follow does not really matter and it is your preparation and how well we do on exam day. I feel like I am qualified to comment one way or the other only after passing all 4 sections.

    Also, I felt the Written Communication section is an opportunity to score free points. I feel like with some structure, correct and logical writing , you are bound to score well on the WC section. I did take it seriously and write as well as I could on the section,

    BEC - 95 -Mar'20
    FAR - 88-May'20
    AUD - Planned July'20
    #3021522 Reply
    CPA_VT
    Participant

    I have come back here to post FAR result I passed with a 88 and now moving on to AUD. Sharing my experience. After the fact, I can say with confidence that GLEIM prepared me more than adequately which I found out only after I passed. When I left the exam, I thought I was borderline because I blew one SIM section completely in the sense that I did not feel confident about any of the answers on one of the SIMs. I did manage time fairly well. Even though I took longer on the 2 MCQ sections than recommended, I was probably over-budget timewise may be by about 15 minutes. A couple of SIMS were on topics I was comfortable with, Journal entries and such and picked up some time. Even accounting for the 1 really bad SIM and 1 iffy SIM, I still finished with about 3-4 minutes to spare.

    I felt I was borderline to pass. It was not a comfortable experience with the mask on the entire time. The face mask fogged up my glasses but not to such an extent that it impeded my test-taking. They did not allow even a small towel to wipe the glasses.

    Study Plan Experience.

    I struggled with some chapters of the FAR study material on GLEIM. It made me repeat MCQs and SIMS on several of the chapters. On at least 4 -5 chapters I was forced to watch the videos. If there is one aspect of GLEIM material , I do not like it is the videos. I did not have time to listen to the audios.

    I took longer than prescribed time in all its Quiz and SIMs during the review. I struggled with not for profit and government accounting. In the final exam rehearsal I got a 73 and a lot of people in various forums have said that one experiences nearly 10 points pickup in the actual exam. That was the case for me too- FAR – Exam rehearsal 73 vs actual exam 88
    BEC – rehearsal 81 vs actual exam 95

    I was worried about FAR so I made time in the last review week to do over 1200+ MCQs from its question bank -which I did not at all do for BEC – in addition to the prescribed MCQs built into each chapter. In hindsight , I want to say it helped improve my speed and accuracy to some extent.

    Both in BEC and in FAR, the actual questions were not really oriented towards complex time-consuming calculations. I felt that I could get by if I understood the concepts.

    I look forward to preparing for the remaining 2 sections AUD and REG. I am staying with GLEIM as I have gotten used to that style and has worked so far. So I see no reason to change.

    Thanks to all.

    BEC - 95 -Mar'20
    FAR - 88-May'20
    AUD - Planned July'20
    #3023130 Reply
    Diesel
    Participant

    I just wanted to pop in and tell you CONGRATS!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your experience. You earned this win. So glad to hear your hard work and determination paid off. Good luck on your next 2 exams!

    AUD - 89
    BEC - 91
    FAR - NINJA in Training
    REG - NINJA in Training
    #3023274 Reply
    monikerncmonikernc
    Participant

    CPA_VT congrats! I wanted to let you know I completed my exams in my mid-50s, passed all my exams on the first try using NINJA and with the support of others on this forum, in 9 months from July 2015 to May 2016. I really enjoyed studying for the exams and learned so much more while doing so – I still miss the people I engaged with on here. Some of our posts were epic and hilarious. After years of frustrating delays and setbacks finally got licensed at a young and spry 61 this year on April Fool’s Day. Mine was a career change from IT into accounting and in spite of the time and money it has cost me I am happy to be part of this profession and will continue to work for many years to come.
    Good luck with your studies and I hope you reap the rewards you want from this. Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist.

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 76
    REG - 88
    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all first try! 2016
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    State of Colorado June 2020 - AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.
    #3023502 Reply
    CPA_VT
    Participant

    monikernc – Thank you! This has been quite an experience for me so far. I just got started preparing for AUD and I truly hope this goes as well as the other 2 two. I am still hoping to be done with the exams by October and just have to stay disciplined and on track. I feel like I am getting the hang of it now.
    So kind of you to offer to assist , I might take you up on it if I get stuck at some point during this process.

    BEC - 95 -Mar'20
    FAR - 88-May'20
    AUD - Planned July'20
    #3023556 Reply
    Tncincy
    Participant

    @monikernc, I welcome your comments. I have been at this on and off for a while now. I was thinking of giving up because I just can't get consistent with study. I know, I know there's no excuse if I want this bad enough. I could say no to all the interrupters, but I must admit it has been hard and costly for me. I recently turned 55 years old and was thinking there is no way I can enjoy a CPA career at this age, but seeing your post has given me a little hope. I am currently revamping my study strategy with the hopes of betting better results.
    Congrats CPA_VT, great challenge of discipline and determination. Good luck on the rest of your exams.

    It begins with a 75
    Been here too long as a cheerleader.....time to pass
    #3024642 Reply
    Island Mango
    Participant

    Congratulations. Hats of to us courageous middle age people. I too started my CPA journey at 50 yo. Roger was the reviewer I needed to finally get through. Passed my last section early last year after loosing a a credit & several fails. I just logged in my 2,000 hours and waiting for my license application to be approved.



    @tncincy
    Yes way! I'm in my early fifties & found a job 2 months after I passed. I know it's hard but you're already on the train so keep moving. I believe you'll eventually get there.

    AUD - 76
    BEC - 83
    FAR - 79
    REG - 76
    Dust yourself off and keep moving.
    #3024873 Reply
    monikerncmonikernc
    Participant

    Island…CONGRATS!

    CPA_VT..you’re doing great! Keep at it!

    TNCINCY…You were an active poster while I was studying for the exams in 2015-2016. I am not sure what is holding you back but suspect as you do that you are not committed to having the license.

    For me, I pursued it long after I realized how much of a detriment my age could be in this biased profession but the CPA is what I wanted, it was what I set out to do, and I wouldn’t stop until I attained it. Now I intend to work hard at it and be the best CPA I can be.

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 76
    REG - 88
    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all first try! 2016
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    State of Colorado June 2020 - AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.
    #3025359 Reply
    Tncincy
    Participant

    @monikernc, I appreciate your response, various things have happened since 15/16 so I don't feel too bad about that. My current hold back is getting into my studies and then have to stop. I have a hard time regaining momentum after pausing for lengths of time. I believe I have my schedule and family situated where they understand I am not available until after I take the test. Understand I am not looking for sympathy in anyway. I just appreciate not feeling like this is a young people thing. Those that study are passing. Seeing those passing remarks and posts gets me excited that I can too.

    It begins with a 75
    Been here too long as a cheerleader.....time to pass
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