June 29, 2019 at 12:34 am #2514987
Okay I'm gonna vent here because I feel so dejected about this test. I've been studying since early 2017 (so over 2 years now) and am approaching senior at a Big 4. I tried to pass before I started working, but was unable to despite studying many hours per day. So I've had the super fun (not) experience of studying while working full time. I've finally managed to pass Audit and FAR (after multiple, multiple attempts), and just found out I've failed REG again for the third time. I used to be so full of hope but I've entered into this awful state of mind where I am so depressed about this test and about myself. I'm currently trying to get a LOA to study since my REG scores are just getting worse, but my company is making it super difficult for me and saying that it's not allowed, which I can't understand. I've entered into this state where I just feel so bleak all the time and I'm just so burned out. But every time I try and take a break I'm haunted by this fear that my tests will start to expire before I can pass all of them. I've gotten so sensitive- any time I hear about someone passing a test like the CPA or the BAR I legitimately get so angry and want to throw things (and I'm not an especially angry person). I used to vent about the test to my friends but now it's just embarrassing because it's literally been over two years of having this conversation and being stuck in this cage. And thinking about studying on top of being a senior makes me lose sleep at night. I can't even relax anymore and I'm always so down and so angry. But I'm a super perfectionist so I'll never live with myself if I give up, especially after passing two parts which took me so much time. Sorry for blabbing but I just need to vent. Any advice/ words of encouragement?June 29, 2019 at 7:35 am #2515212TryingParticipant
All I can say is how much I understand what you're going through. I have only attempted FAR once after MUCH time and dedication only to get a 72😭. That was in March. I am just now getting some motivation back. I know working plus studying must be insane. I'm a stay at home parent and trying to find time/motivation after bedtime is not easy. As much as this just truly is awful you have to keep going and just do what you can. Like you said, you've just come too far to stop. I have a ‘type a' personality as well and also feel like I can't walk away from this test until I pass even though I feel pretty miserable. What are you using to study for REG? Can you switch it up? Im sorry I don't have much to encourage you but please know I empathize and really hope you can get some study energy back!
Truly best of luck to you!June 29, 2019 at 11:33 am #2515494
@Alpal617, It is certainly understandable how you feel. Many of us have been in your shoes. Some of us have been trying for 5 years or more. So it's not abnormal if you don't pass on the first try. Try again even though you feel miserable. You get over it, buckle down and study. You'll get to those anxious spots where you can't rest and you really want this over with. But the only thing you can do or should do is calm down, make a new study schedule, stick to it, take the test again and see what happens. The one thing I do know is you learn from each time you fail. whether procrastinating and not studying for real, or just didn't do enough or more than enough to pass. If you can pass two parts, then you can pass four. If you can pass far then you can pass the whole thing. So many have been stuck for years on far. I think it was a post that someone tried 18 times or more. So really, You can pass. It will take some time, but you can do it. You can even try bec and go back to reg. All the other things still apply, forget the Saturday relaxing, or the Friday night movies with the family. Forget what the co-workers are doing with their family. Forget about who passed before you. You can do it. Take a deep breathe, regroup and get going. Pass this test so you can get your life back. I would like to hear about your progress so please post to your study group and tell us how it's going. When its all said and done, encourage the rest of us that are still trying.June 29, 2019 at 2:44 pm #2515737
@Can't Fail- Thanks for the reply, just knowing that people empathize and understand is the most comforting! I'm using Becker, so it's a good program but almost too detailed so I think I get too hung up over trying to learn everything (typical type A personality as you probably understand haha). I'm going to try taking a new approach and drill out practice exams over and over instead of trying to get so in depth in all the individual lectures. We'll see how that works out. Good luck to you as well- If you can get a 72 on FAR you can definitely pass (you can see that I got a 72 right before I passed- if I can do it you can DEFINITELY do it!) 🙂June 29, 2019 at 2:50 pm #2515740
@Tncincy- Thank you thank you! This is what I needed to hear. I think I get stuck in my own head and get down that I've taken it so many times, but it's so good to remember how common it is for people to fail multiple times. I'm gonna use the link in your reply and create a schedule and really hit this. I'll update too! Best of luck to you as well, we're all in this together!June 29, 2019 at 5:41 pm #2516001KeepPushingParticipant
You know how right before the sun comes up its the darkest time of the night? Similar to that I think is this test. You are half-way there!! already passed the statistically hardest one to pass as well. Don't give up. Those failed attempts are only the battle, but you will win the war! you can do this. Keep Pushing. We all know what you are feeling. God bless you and I hope you feel more motivated!July 3, 2019 at 1:24 am #2526774yfzParticipant
I am sorry to hear about your situation.
I first had a motivation problem when I started studying for FAR. Then I went to see an academic coach on our campus. She gave me 3 suggestions, which worked pretty well for me. Not sure if any of these worked for you, but here are what she suggested.
1. Find a small study group – I persuaded 3 other people I knew from my undergrad accounting class to study the CPA exam with me. It just felt so much better to have someone who is going through the same process as I do. We met once a week, and whenever I felt like I can't do this anymore, my study buddies kept reminding me that I am almost done and once I am done, no more accounting exams!
2. Find a reason why you have to pass the CPA exam – I am an international student with an average GPA from a tier-2 school. And I don't get a chance from the regional CPA firms as most of them don't sponsor the working visa. So if I want to work in the U.S., my biggest chance would be the big 4. And passing the exams will largely increase my chance of landing an interview with the big 4 (well, not sure how true this statement is, but I just kept telling myself that).
3. Find a friend or family member who knows nothing about the CPA exam, but is very supportive – I remember I was extremely anxious when I was waiting for my scores for each exam. One family member said, “what could be the worst thing happen? You fail, you learn from it, you retake it, and you will pass.”July 3, 2019 at 9:04 am #2527287jombeParticipant
I hate to be an ass, but CPA exam isn't rocket science.
If you are not passing w/ your real life experience and ungodly hours of studying, there has to be something wrong w/ your study pattern.
1) Are you actually spending “quality” hrs of studying? Any distractions while you are studying? How many quality hrs are you putting in a day?
2) How many MCQs & simulations are you doing per section? I averaged about 2,000+ MCQs & 100 simulations per section.
3) Are you covering all the topics laid out in the Blueprint?
4) When you get a question wrong, do you make sure you have full understanding of the explanation?
5) What scores do you get when you take a test exam? Toward the end of my studying, I generally didn't get more than one or two question wrong out of 100 from randomly selected questions from the test bank.
6) How many pages of notes do you have before you go and take the exam? I mean the notes you review right before you walk into the testing center, not all the notes you've taken since you started studying. Is it multiple pages? That would indicate you don't have enough study materials retained.July 3, 2019 at 9:25 am #2527380TommyLParticipant
Have to agree with Jombe. Studying for the CPA is not just putting in the time, but also finding what study method works for you and make the necessary adjustments. My first test was FAR and I barely made it. Right then and there I know my strategy didn't work because I put in almost 5 months into it. For AUD, BEC & REG I made the adjustments (for example: making flash cards, hand writing notes, supplementing NINJA, review sessions before bed), and not only did my scores improve, but I was able to study more efficiently and have more free time to de-stress.
Take a few days to relax, then find out what works for you~ Best of luck!July 3, 2019 at 9:33 am #2527395Biff TannenParticipant
Money is the motivation $$July 3, 2019 at 10:14 am #252748874phoenixParticipant
Sorry to hear this. I TOTALLY FEEL YOU. I went through a dark spot for MONTHS…..I have taken SO many of these dang tests I have lost count. Honestly it's because I don't understand the material and have not dedicated enough time to understand it super well. I have one test left, but my process has been 3 years. It is brutal. I am also about to be a senior. I started opening up about my struggles to my team members and family more. Everyone is very supportive. I also set boundaries at work (when I can) i.e. leaving at 5pm some times to study. My anxiety this past year was debilitating, a lot of it around the CPA, and I am now on medication and in therapy to get through it. It's not just the test itself that drives you crazy, it's the work / life balance, too, the depression of failing, the utter hopelessness. Your mind plays tricks on you, and you feel very alone. You're NOT!!!
When does your next test expire? I don't see anything wrong with taking a month or two month break from studying. Your mental health is worth more. I had a test expire and it was not the end of the world. Repeat after me – failing is not the end of the world. Each time I failed, I learned so much more when I re-studied. It is making me a stronger CPA candidate even though it has sucked sooooo much. And my friends are not embarrassed of me even though it's embarrassing to say I failed. Instead they admire that I keep going. My dad keeps saying “If it makes you miserable, quit and don't worry about it.” But I am determined. He also says, “This must be the HARDEST TESTs in the world if YOU can't pass” because I have never reallly known struggle before like this.
Good luck to you. The road is not easy, and I am glad you posted.July 3, 2019 at 12:45 pm #2527968Giant$Participant
@AlPal617 easier said than done but don't stress too hard. Plenty of people would kill to be in your shoes. The CPA exam can be passed by anyone. Many people can't even land a Big 4 interview. Keep your head upJuly 3, 2019 at 2:43 pm #2528223PuppykoalaParticipant
@AlPal617 sorry for your experience.
What I found most efficient with Becker is reverse studying. After going over the materials once (first run of study) and summarizing the high level key points from each lecture (2nd run of study), I just hammer MCQs, accomanying with a couple of SIMs each time. Those practices are my reversing back to the materials and connecting dots. I'm studying REG now and my trending practice score is over 85. I have no experience in tax whatsoever so the amount of content is overwhelming but by keeping reversing back, I'm getting more exposure on those unfamiliar topics and knowledge points. During each practice test (50 MCQs + 2 SIMs), I mark out the ones I'm not certain about. My answers could be right, but without understanding it, I'm just guessing. Those questions are absolutely worth studying again, along with the wrong ones. By using this method, I can see and feel improvement each time. IT'S AN IMPORTANT CONFIDENCE BOOSTER.
Hope you find your rythm in tackling CPA exams. When I took FAR I was full time working as well so I get what you feel right now. Now Im full time studying and waiting for my fisrt BIG4 gig to start in a week.
Good luck to you!July 3, 2019 at 4:05 pm #25284811rightanswerParticipant
Man, sorry for your struggles. I felt that way after my first FAR try, when I thought it was so hard that I would never pass. I literally didn't know what I was going to do with my life at that point.
But when you are down, the key thing to remind yourself is to not get too emotional. Emotions positive or negative won't help you pass this exam, to pass you need to understand the materials. And honestly, you only need to understand it enough to beat 50% of your fellow test takers which is far from an impossible task.
Think about good things in your life, or just stop taking passing the test so seriously would relax you and get you out of the negative cycle you are in. With a renewed attitude, critically assess your strengths and weaknesses, then re-read the study materials, do MCQ / sims where you are weak until you feel comfortable.
What you have is a test-taker's mental block, when you reorient yourself you'll be okay.July 3, 2019 at 8:06 pm #2529078Biff TannenParticipant
It’s not the end of the world. In the grand scheme of things, the big 4 stamp on your resume will take you further than the CPA exam. The CPA exam is just a book exam. Anyone with half a brain can pass this exam. All it takes is dedicationJuly 4, 2019 at 9:39 am #253044074phoenixParticipant
For those who are saying “anyone with half a brain can pass this exam” or “this exam is not rocket science” – your comments are insensitive and invalidate the feelings and experiences of many individuals taking this exam. Please watch what you say, those who are struggling are not going to gain any motivation or feel better about themselves if you say things like that. It is actually pretty rude and plays down what others are struggling with and experiencing. That is not helpful and you actually come across as an internet troll. Please just refrain from making those comments…..July 5, 2019 at 8:29 am #2532858Me.Participant
Hello Alpal617, I understand your frustration, I spent 5 years and about 20 exams to finally pass in 2018, I took me 4 times to pass REG and then I lost it trying to pass the others. I don't think my family thought I was going to pass! When I first started the exams I was working on my Masters, working full-time and just wasn't a good combo for me. I decided I wasn't going to let the exam win! For me copious amounts of MCQ's worked and if I had a weak area I would read the book on the subject as I found there would be information in the book not on the MCQ's but on the exam.(I didn't take notes I just read the material). I started with Gleim then moved on to Wiley. To be honest I found Ninja MCQ's to be the best value. For FAR it was also copious amounts of MCQ's and I would read the book on the weak areas and review journal entries if applicable. Also in the final year of sitting for exams I realized if I took an evening off from studying to go to the movies or eat out it wasn't going to keep me from passing, I think I needed those mental breaks. Getting that final passing score is really an amazing feeling! I think I would have regretted it if I had not continued. Just realize it is a journey of perseverance. I know at least 5 people who gave up after trying the CPA and now regret it. It was definitely worth it for me both personally and professionally. I was working Government which required a CPA for promotion but it was a toxic environment and needed to leave. I moved states and was able to land a position with a 15k increase in salary thanks to the CPA. And no one asks you how many times you sat for exams…Another 71 is a great forum. I know that it also was helpful for me. I hope this gives you some encouragement and know that it is really more of a test of perseverance. Best wishes!July 5, 2019 at 12:06 pm #2533503JodieParticipant
I totally agree with 74phoenix, if anyone who doesn't want to encourage us here, please leave us alone, no need to put us down further. Some people are smarter than others in absorbing materials, it's the fact. people like me are slower. We might have to read a page 10x in order to understand. So what? but we need some fighting spirit and encouragement to continue the battle. Yes, half the brain or 1/4 the brain, doesn't matter as long as we have support around us to fight this exam. That's why we are here, to support each other.July 5, 2019 at 1:39 pm #2533827Jimmy DuganParticipant
Sorry to hear about your troubles. I read one of your comments above where you talked about not needing to get into every nuance of the lectures like you have been. This X 1000. Since you've already studied a lot, spend almost all of your time doing MCQ's and sims. If you don't have Ninja, I would pay the monthly fee and get it until you pass. Use the test bank and build up a couple hundred questions, then use the reports to find out where your weak areas are. Study those areas like hell. I promise, you can pass.July 10, 2019 at 1:28 pm #2547108
Thank you everyone for the uplifting responses. I've read through everyone's advice thoroughly and it's so so helpful. I'm so appreciative for this forum because this is honestly the support that I (and everyone else) needs to pass the exam. After taking a couple weeks off I actually feel so much more rested and motivated. I'm gonna utilize the advice I read here and pray for the best 🙂July 18, 2019 at 3:55 pm #2565633lurking_CPAParticipant
Alpal – It took me more tries than you over 4 years overall to pass. The first year I had a NTS with every section and dramatically bombed all 4 in a row and gave up outright on the exam for a whole year. The 3rd year i kicked it into high gear and passed by year 4, but my family and friends doubted me too because it seemed like for a big chunk of my adult like all i was doing is “studying” and failing.
I realized what my problem was never developing good study habits in college. I was always able to “cram” or find shortcuts to getting good grades. The CPA exam experience was awful, but a great humbling experience which finally taught me “how to study”.
Not everybody's individual CPA journey is a straight-line, but guaranteed when you figure it out and finish up by any means possible – third best life event after the birth of my son and marrying my wife LOLJuly 19, 2019 at 12:15 pm #2568279
@Lurking_CPA, I appreciate your comments. I have been trying for a while to pass the cpa exam. The part that is so true is spending so much time studying and failing, and family and friends doubting my competency. When I turn down gatherings, lunches, and coffee dates they kinda say stuff like: “you sure you will make a good CPA, if you ever pass? It can't be that hard.” They don't know what this exam entails and the commitment involved. I sometimes wonder if they will they be happy for me when I finally pass. I am going to pass, it's a lonely road, but I am going to pass. I am also making myself study and stop looking for short cuts. I have found too many times that it is too much information to simply cram. I hope Alpal stick with it and anyone else needing motivation. This forum is really a good place to be when needing motivation. Yes, you get comments from those that seem to have it all together, but some of us need a little more or an extra push of you can do it.
Keep studying hard everyone.July 19, 2019 at 2:42 pm #2568615jombeParticipant
If what you guys want is sugar-coated encouragement that doesn't address the actual issue behind why you guys are not passing, please let me know upfront. Didn't realize there were this many people on this forum who would get offended at “this isn't rocket science” comment.July 19, 2019 at 2:59 pm #2568645Jimmy DuganParticipant
Wholeheartedly agree with @Jombe
Nobody insulted anybody. There is a difference between saying someone is stupid and saying this isn't rocket science and the individual may be taking the wrong approach to studying. The latter isn't insulting, it's just the truth. It's good to have some “oh gosh I'm sooooo sorry” every once in awhile to pick you up, but it's also a good idea to get some insight from someone that's been successful on the exam, something you can yourself use to be successful on the exam.July 19, 2019 at 4:47 pm #2569020TommyLParticipant
Some people respond better to tough love, some don't. It's always good to have a mixture of both in the forums!July 19, 2019 at 5:57 pm #2569167
I appreciate sincere helpful encouragement. Yes, judgement is necessary to get it in gear to pass. But failing doesn't and won't ever feel good. Am I looking for feel good on the forum? No. I am doing what I know to pass and am looking for a better or different way when I don't pass. I am not looking for anyone to feel sorry for me because at the end of the day I must study if I'm going to pass. What's wrong with keep going? or try again? It helps too. By no means am I or anyone on this forum an IDIOT. We can read, we will study and we will pass. Maybe it's easier for some than others, but it is nothing wrong with encouragement to try it again.
Please don't start a senseless word war. We don't need it.July 20, 2019 at 11:56 am #2570793FutureBoomer CPAParticipant
I believe that if a person really wants something so badly, they will find a way to conquer it. Becoming a CPA has always my dream since I received my first undergraduate degree from the Philippines in 1985; I was 19 years then.
Now that I'm in my early 50's, it hasn't changed much; I am still pursuing it, not only the US CPA designation but my Canadian and Filipino CPA designations as well.
So, I'm currently back to school, trying to get my Canadian BBA-Accounting undergraduate degree from a reputable Canadian college. Also, at the same time, using Wiley for MCQs/Sims test bank, and Becker textbooks; I am scheduled to write next month for my BEC.
Finally, some of us have different priorities and becoming a CPA is not an easy task; I am one living proof of that. However, our motivation will get us through; how badly do we want it. I am a “die-hard” type of person; to live until 100yrs is a long journey, I might as well get my long-term dream of becoming a CPA!:)July 20, 2019 at 1:06 pm #2570964Jeff Elliott, CPAKeymaster
I shared this on facebook…several people left some encouraging feedback:July 21, 2019 at 9:23 am #2572536B4BeanCounterParticipant
Every time I feel discouraged, I just look at the quote I have in my signature!July 21, 2019 at 3:34 pm #2573151
@jeff- thanks for sharing! The encouragement is so helpful.
@Tncincy- totally agree with you!
@B4BeanCounter- Great quote I like that a lot 🙂