January 2, 2020 at 4:14 pm #2870028krstnamParticipant
It's taken over 3 years and 15 trips to the Prometric center with 6 passing exams and 9 failures, but I finally passed. I found out in November that I passed and I'm still in shock that it's finally done.
Maybe my experience can help others pass, so here it goes:
1. These forums are great, but don't take everything you read as golden. Just because somebody was able to score a 98 on the exam, doesn't mean their study methods will work for you. If you aren't passing the exams, think about it – are you avoiding the one area that you know is difficult? Are you doing a half-way job in certain areas because you aren't liking them? Have you memorized answers and aren't learning? These are all things that can affect you. Cranking out 1000s of MCQs WAS NOT my key to success even though that seems to work for everybody else.
2. Each exam is different and for me each study method had to be altered a bit. For REG and BEC there was a lot of straight memorization – studying for memorizing and studying for conceptualization is different. I have a desk job so each week I would make a notes page and set it as my wallpaper at work – that way the weekly notes were in my face all day. And if I was on a boring phone call, I would glance at my notes for review.
3. For actual studying – I would do 5-6 days of new content then one day of review. When I got about 2/3 through the materials, I would switch to 4-5 days of new content, then two days of review. My pass rate statistics improved when I used this method. On review days I tried to focus on the areas I liked the least.
4. It's really luck of the draw with the exams. I've both passed and failed exams where I skipped full content areas. I've gone super deep with one content area just to find the exam only had one or two questions in that area…There is no way to know what questions you'll get so study everything.
5. Don't ask stupid questions like “what area do I need to know”. You need to know all the areas which are in the AICPA blueprints.
Good luck to all those still studying. If I can do it – somebody who took over three years, 15 exams and out of college for 13 years, I'm confident anybody can!January 2, 2020 at 7:54 pm #2870472jdParticipant
Sounds like an amazing story. Congrats. I like your first point, I 100% agree. I hate to say it, but most average candidates probably have nothing to learn from people who score in the mid to high 90’s. The best advice I received (and actually helped) were from candidates who may not have passed all exams the first time.January 2, 2020 at 9:12 pm #2870640YerevanParticipant
You’re my f***ing hero. Congrats! Taking AUD and BEC soon.January 2, 2020 at 10:47 pm #2870784ArmocpaParticipant
@Yerevan goodluck my fellow Armenian!
I would recommend starting with FAR first before the rest. That was my biggest mistake…January 3, 2020 at 11:10 am #2871735aaronmoParticipant
Congrats for persevering…I doubt I could have done that.
One of the challenges to the CPA exam is that it tests different skill sets in different areas. I found accounting to be like that in general…tax is essentially a process map with concepts behind the process. Audit is more directly conceptual, especially on the exam. It's more like a legal framework. FAR tests raw, bloody memorization in a lot of cases.
Also agree on the learning/study method differences…what works for me would not work for others, and vice versa. I am not at all visual, so visual learning doesn't work for me. Memorization is harder for me, while concepts are easier…so I have to spend more time drilling things than some others, but less time understanding it.January 3, 2020 at 11:46 am #2871810Lindsey_p87Participant
Wow, amazing journey. Congrats on passing!! I completely agree with all your points. Point #2 about the wallpaper is a great idea! I wish I had thought of that while I was studying.January 3, 2020 at 12:45 pm #2871885TuggaParticipant
I must commend you for your perseverance. Great job!January 3, 2020 at 2:42 pm #2872098TncincyParticipant
Thank you for your encouraging words of study advice and exam success. I was going to give up all together after failing so many times,but just can't do it. Becoming a CPA is my dream and I'll have to do what ever it takes to pass. I have my notice for Far, and am hoping to get a seat mid Feb or early March. My main problem has been not giving enough time to study. Panicking, then just winging it for another dismal fail. I am doing an assessment of what I do know and continuing from there. I realize there is no EASY way to pass but to study. I'm all in.January 6, 2020 at 3:09 pm #2876706FutureCPAParticipant
Thank you for being so honest about your process.