September 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm #2694906
Today I found out I officially passed all 4 parts of the CPA Exam on the first try using Becker CPA Review! This post is to tell you about my experience and give some advice.
You really can't trust your “feeling” taking an exam, walking out of an exam, or if testlet 2 was “harder”:
(In order of taking my exams)
AUD: Couldn't distinguish if the 2nd testlet was “harder”, ran out of time, and bawled for 10 minutes in my car thinking I had failed.
FAR: Thought the 2nd testlet was “harder”, had HORRIBLE time management on my sims, panicked and submitted a blank sim, put a ton of 0s as answers in 3 sims, bawled after the exam and the next 2 days thinking there was truly no hope.
BEC: Couldn't distinguish if the 2nd testlet was “harder”, felt weird … felt pretty good .. didn't run out of time … sims were dare I say easy? No tears (shocker)
REG: Thought the 2nd testlet was “harder”, felt pretty good and almost confident .. definitely had to guess on some MCQs and sims, and again, no tears.
– I never used the flashcards, didn't think they were useful.
– Don't do the preassessments, they're a waste of time.
– Go through each lecture, skills practice, and MCQ. Save sims until later, 1 week before your exam.
– Watch lectures at 1.5-2x speed
– Do not get bogged down on small details!!!
– Complete Becker's Final Review before you take the first Simulated (mock) Exam (again, save sims for later). If you have time, take all simulated exams and use it as a tool to target your weak areas. Keep repeating MCQs in those weak areas (do not obsess over simulated exam scores). Also if you have time, type up a Google Doc of only the important takeaways from Becker's Final Review and use that as a study guide to read every so often and on exam day. Keep adding to this Doc with important things you seem to miss during your final review period.
– I did not like their Personalized Review Session. Instead, use Practice Tests and Simulated Exams to choose which chapters and modules you should work on and repeat MCQs or reread the book.
– Do the newly released AICPA questions
– Do the AICPA sample test
My timeline studying full-time (40+ hours per week of studying):
AUD: 6 weeks
FAR: 6 weeks
BEC: 4 weeks
REG: 5 weeks
– If studying full-time, try to complete 3 chapters per week and leave 2 weeks for final review (that should be plenty). Everything will come together and click during your final review time – I promise.
– Take FAR as either your first or second section! Do NOT save it for last because there is soooo much material and you will get so demotivated and frustrated.
– BEC was very easy in my opinion – don't waste too much time on Written Communication if English is your first language and you are comfortable with basic grammar and spelling.
– You don't need to memorize all the phase-out limits or know the various tax forms for REG. I think the most important numbers would be the Mom & Pop exception, and dollar amounts for different tax credits.
– Pick a “pump-up” song to listen to before you go inside! I recommend Eminem “Lose Yourself” 🙂
– Don't forget your ID or NTS (or scratch paper approval form and earplugs if you're bringing your own; email email@example.com and request scratch paper and pencil for the exam instead of using the dry-erase markers and laminated sheets)
– Leave your phone in the car (it's just easier when they question you and you'll be less tempted to check it)
– Do not wear any jewelry besides a wedding ring
– If you tend to play with your hair, tie it up!!
– Dress comfortably
– Eat beforehand
– Use the restroom before going through the security protocols
– Bring water, snacks, chapstick, lotion
– Time Management: PLEASE don't repeat my mistake and use your time wisely!! Do not spend more than 25 minutes on a single sim. Submit and move on.
– Enter 0s if you need to guess. Be careful to read the instructions and whether they want you to leave answers blank vs enter 0
– Try your best to only take a break when the timer stops
– Utilize the AL if you need to! You'll be surprised what it can help you figure out. But don't waste too much time using it
– Be confident!!!
To be completely honest, after taking all 4 sections and experiencing a variety of emotions and test-taking experiences, I will say that these exams are not that hard. If you put in the time and effort to study and prepare well, you should pass. I did terribly on FAR but still got a 78. After that exam, I knew I could pass each one. It's really not that bad. You won't believe me until you experience it for yourself, though. Best of luck! Trust the process!September 9, 2019 at 10:19 pm #2695233SilentParticipant
thanks for posting this, have one question. While videos did you bother taking notes or did you just watch the video's and do chapter assessment?September 9, 2019 at 10:30 pm #2695257TheeAccountantParticipant
You make me feel better while I’m waiting for my AUD score. I have passed three sections and only with this last one, AUD, did I very nearly cry in the car after. The SIMs killed me and I usually like the SIMs better than the MCQs. And I felt like the second testlet was hard, too hard! I had a third of it flagged. Maybe there’s hope! Congratulations btw!September 9, 2019 at 10:35 pm #2695260September 9, 2019 at 10:42 pm #2695266
@silentlooker That's a great question! I am a believer that writing helps with memorization, so I wrote down important notes after watching each lecture and marking up my book. However, if you don't have the time to do so, I don't think it's a huge deal. I think practicing MCQs and writing the reasons for which Qs you get wrong is a better and faster way to learnSeptember 9, 2019 at 10:45 pm #2695284
@theeaccountant Thank you!! I'm glad this post made you feel better. I agree with Bigstakk. Based on your other scores and your test experience, I think you will pass!! AUD sims were hard too in my opinion – lots of “could be” answersSeptember 10, 2019 at 6:51 am #2695881michParticipant
This is brilliant. Thank you for sharing.September 10, 2019 at 9:28 am #2696376CPAHOPEParticipant
Are you serious? You think the tests arent that hard. Its hella hard man, im at a point where my mind cant take this shit anymore… i hope you dont tell people its not hard when it is in fact very difficultSeptember 10, 2019 at 9:58 am #2696457Lindsey_p87Participant
Yeah I have to agree with CPAHOPE. I mean, these exams are passable, of course. But you say you studied for approx. 240 hours for FAR and barely passed? That's not indicative of an exam that's “not that hard”. Overall, I agree with your tips and advice though based on what I've seen so far (passed 2 and taken 3). I especially recommend getting the scratch paper/pencil letter from NASBA. I got it for BEC and it was a lifesaver – I hate using those freaking dry erase boards.September 10, 2019 at 10:01 am #2696460CP_AbadieParticipant
Your FAR experience is all too familiar…I just lived through this on Saturday. It's my last one too, and so I'm hoping that our shared misery is also shared joy! 🙂
Thanks for the awesome words of encouragement.September 10, 2019 at 10:12 am #2696493PCParticipant
“Exams are not that hard.”
“panicked and submitted a blank sim, put a ton of 0s as answers in 3 sims, bawled after the exam and the next 2 days.”
The exams are hard. The process is even harder. Some good tips in here though. Now I'm just pondering what my pump-up song should be.September 10, 2019 at 11:59 am #2696808September 10, 2019 at 12:02 pm #2696838
@cpahope I never said the process wasn't hard. Of course this entire journey is hell. I'm saying in hindsight after making so many mistakes on my exams and still passing, it's not as big of a monster as people think. I hope that clears up any confusion. You definitely need to put in the hours and effort to pass and that in and of itself is a challenge. I've felt like how you are feeling now, don't give up, keep studying and you will pass!!!September 10, 2019 at 12:06 pm #2696844ReckedParticipant
This was a good read. Agree with all points. Very helpful to those still in the struggle, good sound advice and pointers.
The exams all seem hard and insurmountable while you are taking them, but the point is that you can do it!
Don't get caught up in the words and miss the message.September 10, 2019 at 12:07 pm #2696847
@lindsey_p87 I never said the studying process wasn't hard. Studying for the exams is a HUGE challenge and you need self-discipline and to really commit to long hours of studying. I'm saying that after making so many mistakes and still passing my exams, in hindsight, I believe the exam itself isn't as difficult as it seemed. Glad you agree with my tips, scratch paper is a life saver! Best of luck on the rest of your exams, I'm sure you'll pass!September 10, 2019 at 12:10 pm #2696856
@ajabadie haha that's funny! I'm hoping for the best on your score release date! Also props to you for taking FAR last that must've been a challenge! Sending you good luck! 🙂September 10, 2019 at 12:14 pm #2696883
@a-crew-well This is exactly my point! I did all of that and still got above a 75. The exam will definitely take a mental toll on you. And the studying process is DEFINITELY a struggle. However, you can pass by making horrible mistakes so that's why I don't think that it's as hard as it might seem. I hope the clears up any confusion. Glad you like the tips and hope you find your perfect pump up song!September 10, 2019 at 12:17 pm #2696904September 10, 2019 at 1:29 pm #2697210Lindsey_p87Participant
@ThisisWILD I do understand what you're trying to say, but you literally said “these exams are not that hard”. I think that's what's rubbing a couple people the wrong way, because it's just honestly not true for most people. Doesn't take away from your overall post, and I absolutely agree with your overall message. Congrats again for passing, that is a huge achievement!!September 10, 2019 at 1:53 pm #2697249September 10, 2019 at 5:27 pm #2697846WarriorParticipant
Thank you for this topic. Much appreciate it. And conrgatsSeptember 10, 2019 at 6:36 pm #2698044
@zadonska I'm so happy to help! Best of luck in your CPA journey! Thank you! 🙂September 10, 2019 at 6:39 pm #2698050I can and I willParticipant
” I will say that these exams are not that hard.”
sure they are not that hard if you have time to study full time. Most of us out here are working full time difficult jobs and have families to support. I appreciate the look back and advice, and agree with a lot of it- but saying the exams aren't that hard can be quite triggering for people out here. It's a hard process especially if you work full time. If it were really not that bad- more people would do it and wouldn't come here for endless advice and support.
just saying.September 10, 2019 at 7:00 pm #2698074
@jkearns23 Again, (if you looked at my previous replies you would have seen I addressed this), I never ever said the process wasn't hard. OF COURSE the process is hard! I wanted to give up so many times! You're right, there's a reason why not everyone is a CPA and the passing rate is around 50%.
Again, I'm saying the exam itself is not as difficult as it may seem once you take it and see that you can still make terrible mistakes and pass. I am not trying to trigger anyone, I was trying to be encouraging. My mentors have also told me “the exams are not that hard” and I didn't understand what they meant until I took it. I commend everyone who is studying for the CPA and passing while working full-time and with families, including yourself. It seems like you're super close in getting your license, good luck!September 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm #2698089Jeff Elliott, CPAKeymaster
I took the “not that hard” line to mean “you can do it – stick with it” – especially after the follow-up comments.
Thank you for the great writeup and congrats on being DONE!
– jeffSeptember 10, 2019 at 7:38 pm #2698152MercenaryParticipant
I have to agree with watching videos at 1.5x or 2x. Do 1.5x for more difficult to understand things and 2x for the rest. Makes getting through videos so much better since they are more interesting as the content just feels so more tightly packed. Less getting distracted. Also makes rewatching videos more tolerable for when you need to review points, great for a way to do a final cram before exam day.
After being used to 2x now I cannot watch at 1x since it feels like slow motion. Too bad there wasnt an option to make class lectures in college go at 2x speed, I may have not felt class so dull.September 10, 2019 at 8:12 pm #2698257Biff TannenParticipant
I really like your idea of saving the simulations for final review week. I feel that it’s very easy to forget the little details that may come up in a simulation answer, and it may be better to incorporate the sims for final review week. Thanks for the tip.September 10, 2019 at 8:35 pm #2698290
@admin That's what I was going for! Thank you so much, Jeff! another71 has helped me so much throughout my journey!! Thank you!September 10, 2019 at 8:36 pm #2698293September 10, 2019 at 8:38 pm #2698296
Reflection and Advice After Passing All Exams (Using Becker CPA Review)
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