CPA Study Vent Session

  • This topic has 8 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by Sam.
Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3096164
    JoeManco25
    Participant

    So I am about 2 weeks out from taking FAR, just got done with one of the worst month end close weeks in awhile, and missed 3 days in a row of studying as a result, so now my study schedule is completely out of sync. Its Saturday noon, I feel a little sick from the stress of trying to balance work, studying, and family life, so I am going to make a little vent post. I am hoping the result of this post and the feedback that will follow will help people who are in my current situation who really want to pass the CPA exam.

    So a little about myself. I am 30, have 3 kids under 6 years old, am the only one that works, and leads a corporate accounting/financial reporting dept at a private company. I really want to pass the CPA exam so I can continue to provide for my family and get ourselves in a better situation while starting to save for college. I also feel kind of stuck at my current role and don't think I can move up or increase my earnings potential unless I pass the CPA exam.

    So a little about my studying and exam taking. I have not passed any of the parts yet, I have taken FAR once, AUD once, and I am about to take FAR again. I have studied for 6 weeks now and am taking FAR in 2 weeks. I was using Surgent, but after getting extremely frustrated with going weeks without my trending score going up, I moved on to Ninja CPA MCQ. I have spent a majority of my time with MCQs for this retake because I had already gone through all the material with Becker and had no luck passing, which was very frustrating. I like the Ninja MCQs, but I am currently trending and averaging a 60%.

    So a few questions:

    1. What is the best use of my time in the next 2 weeks to be ready for the exam?
    2. Should I take the exam in 2 weeks or should I push it back?
    3. How many hours a day should I be studying?
    4. What should my trending score be? How do I know when I am ready?
    5. How do you deal with the fear of failing again?
    6. How do people with my current life situation manage their time when you have 2 weeks left to study?

    Other things to keep in mind: I have always been horrible at studying. I was always a last minute crammer in school and would always do very well just working textbook problems and reading my notes from lectures and hammering weak areas, but I never once felt that those methods work very well with the CPA exam. As a result, I am not great at time management, am easily distracted by things, and end up stressing myself out too much.

    Again I know that most of the advise on here is going to be all over the place, as most of us are in completely different walks of life, have different personalities, and different ways of learning, which is why I am struggling so much with finding a way to pass this exam in a way I feel comfortable with.
    I appreciate those of you that took the time to read this entire post, but I felt it was necessary to give more detail because I feel that it matters in answering a question. A recent college grad with no job or family is going to have a completely different answer vs someone who's been out of school for a few years with a family. That was one of the biggest reasons I decided to use Ninja, because it sounds like Jeff was in a very similar situation and can empathize and I respect that.

    Rant over. Back to hammering MCQs until my brain explodes.

    B -

    A - 63

    R -

    F - 63 (retake 9/2020)

    #3096254
    Mick
    Participant

    Hi Joe, our situations are little similar. I have three kids from ages 9-17 and got started on my career a little late. I work full-time in public accounting and have been trying to pass the exam on and off for the last ten years. I've found I have to give myself three months to study for each section. I try to do two hours a day during the week, three hours on Saturday, and Sundays off. The last exam I took was REG and struggled with it the prior three times I took it so I took a week off from work the week before the exam and spent all day reviewing. I take BEC next, my last exam, an plan on doing the same thing since I struggled with it before.

    I'm also not a good studier and get easily distracted. I've set myself up in a room with no TVs and little distraction from my family. I've tried the six week approach in the passed and found, at least in my case, the three month window has been more beneficial. It hasn't always been easy; I recommend finding a study habit that works best for you and try to stick to it.

    AUD 80*, 75

    FAR 74, 70, 82

    BEC 60

    REG 63, 65, 79

    * Lost credit

    #3096371
    waterwater
    Participant

    1. What is the best use of my time in the next 2 weeks to be ready for the exam?
    Alternate between batches of MCQs and SIMS. Use multiple chapters at a time for the MCQ batches to help you react & recognize what they are asking. I would hit at least one SIM for every topic, and do several ones on the topics you think will be tested (for FAR, I spent considerable time doing cash flow SIMs). Don't forget to practice 5-10 research SIMs. I would set aside an entire day to review government and nonprofits.

    2. Should I take the exam in 2 weeks or should I push it back?
    Wait until you get closer to the exam date. If you are feeling confident, go on with it. If you feel like you didn't get enough studying in, reschedule it (I think you can reschedule 2-3 days before and only get a $35 fee).

    3. How many hours a day should I be studying?
    As many as you can.

    4. What should my trending score be? How do I know when I am ready?
    I don't think trending score should dictate how prepared you are. When I get a MCQ wrong I read the explanation and mark the question to do later. When I come back I try to get as many of the ones I got wrong right again. Either way, as long as you actually understand why you got it wrong, it really doesn't matter that you got it wrong on your review course.

    5. How do you deal with the fear of failing again?
    Nothing will physically happen to you if you fail. It is all mental. There are things in this world where the consequences of failure are much, much worse.

    6. How do people with my current life situation manage their time when you have 2 weeks left to study?
    I can't speak directly to this, but I recommend taking time off of work if you can. I know NINJA has study plans to help those in your situation get quality study time in.

    REG - 91 (May 18 2020)

    FAR - 89 (Aug 24 2020)

    BEC - TBD (Sept 28 2020)

    AUD - TBD (Nov 13 2020)

    #3096800
    TTBT
    Participant

    I was reading your post and thought ” are you me?” haha
    I'm in a very similar boat and it's seriously been so hard.

    #3096869
    JoeManco25
    Participant

    @Mick I appreciate your feedback. I hope you are able to pass BEC and give your family an awesome Christmas to celebrate your success!



    @water
    thanks for answering my questions, that is the kind of advise I am looking for. I like your answer for #4, I will try not to use the trending score as the end all be all. I am trending 10 points higher than when I failed with a 63, so I am hoping that roughly a 75 trending score with close to a 70 average will be good enough. If i cant get there, I will probably move the test date another week or 2, but I would rather just get it done!

    @TTBT, haha. I know I'm not alone and I know there have been several that have gone through this, so I am just looking for support and a solid strategy on how to be successful at this. Water's suggestion is pretty solid, although with question #2, it's very difficult to know if I am ready. I am personally…. overconfident at times, so its hard for me to be objective with my readiness, which is why I like using trending scores and those kind of metrics to ensure I am ready. But I also dont want to take too long to study.

    B -

    A - 63

    R -

    F - 63 (retake 9/2020)

    #3096875
    Sam
    Participant

    I can't speak to your situation as I am closer to that recent college grad without a job or family (took 2 exams before starting work and 2 after), but a quick note on #4 – don't base your taking or not taking the exam yet on how you feel; any sane person feels ill-prepared going in and doesn't feel great coming out. I felt similar after all my exams but you can see how wildly my scores varied (seriously, it still doesn't make sense to me).

    Ultimately you know yourself best; if you're okay with committing more time to this, I might push the exam back, so you have a better chance of passing, which will give you a big momentum boost moving forward. On the other side of that, if you're gonna go crazy and not be much more productive if given more time, then take it in two weeks. Can't put it off forever; wherever we are with studying, we have to find a balance as with all things.

    Good luck!

    AUD - 75
    BEC - 90
    FAR - 78
    REG - 90
    You can and you WILL do this!
    #3100853
    CPA-Man
    Participant

    1. Pound MCQs mostly I'd say but at least familiarize yourself with sims on every topic so you can see what some of the possibilities are. I don't normally do that but did on my last exam and it felt like a big help.

    2. I'm always tempted to push back my exams, but usually talk myself out of it. I'd say give it a shot unless you're getting like 20-30% of your MCQs right or something.

    3. I feel like there is no “should” or no minimum amount of hours you should be studying. Just as much as your time allows as you sound quite busy. I used to say “I need to study X amount of hours” or “do X amount of modules” or whatever and was basically just stressing myself out if I didn't/couldn't do it for a day. I'd also say not to push yourself too far. Staying up all night to try and squeeze in more studying will just hurt you in the long-run in my opinion. If you start feeling too stressed or tired or distracted, I'd just call it a day.

    4. I really wouldn't rely on the trending score too much. I passed FAR with my trending score at like 55% and now I just use Ninja as like supplemental MCQ practice without even noticing my trending score. IDK I think it's better to just gauge your readiness on how easily you answer the MCQs. Like how long is it taking you to remember the concepts and apply them to the question, how quickly can you work through any computations, your confidence level when you answer, etc. If you're still racking your brain to answer most of your questions, than you're not ready I'd say. But again, there is a reason people like the trending score, so I'm probably in the minority with this.

    5. Just know the only thing you're losing really is money. And trust me I know that's “no big deal” (broke 20-something here) but it could be a lot worse. In the grand scheme of things, when you fail, all you really gotta do is try again.

    6. Can't really speak on that. Again, broke 20-something. It's hard for me to even say no to going out and stuff when I really need to study. I can't imagine how tough it must be to study when you have a family and kids that you can't just tell to screw off (or can you…no, no don't) like you can your friends lol.

    Just keep pushing. You've got this.

    FAR - 61, 77

    REG - 63, 60 (retake scheduled 11/20)

    BEC - 74, 88

    AUD - 1st attempt scheduled 10/20

    #3100901
    JoeManco25
    Participant

    So one thing I've learned about myself this week is that no matter how many MCQ's I do, I really need to find an effective way to revisit the concept so I understand why I got a question wrong. I am trending in the 60s now, which is a big improvement vs trending in the 40s a few weeks ago. I am about a week out, so now I am thinking continue to do MCQs, but also start revisiting weak areas either in the book, notes, or flashcards. I will also start hammering SIMs, I didnt want to do this too early. I find myself to be better if I get a 1000ft view on a particular topic so I understand the big picture so I can efficiently learn and be more confident with applying the concept. I work in Financial Reporting/Technical Accounting for my profession, so I definitely prefer the big picture vs being in the weeds. Another thing is, I am really feeling burnout from the MCQs and need a change.

    I guess my point is there is definitely not a one size fits all type of approach to this. I feel a bit more confident even though I might not be trending 80s on MCQs. Lets see how it goes next week. It really helps to talk through all of this.

    B -

    A - 63

    R -

    F - 63 (retake 9/2020)

    #3101729
    Sam
    Participant

    Glad to hear that, learning things about yourself and study habits is a huge help to studying. Everyone can provide tips and tricks and what works for them, but you know yourself best and that is what ultimately will lead to to succeed. Good luck!

    AUD - 75
    BEC - 90
    FAR - 78
    REG - 90
    You can and you WILL do this!
Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.