How to study for FAR
March 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm #167519
I am taking REG on 5/29 and FAR on 8/2. Assuming a few days break in between to charge my batteries and sleep, I will have almost 9 weeks to study for FAR.
My typical study plan for AUD and BEC was to read the entire Wiley or CPAExcel (mostly Wiley) book and take notes. Then I would work the Wiley questions as I went along in the chapters. When completely done with the first pass, I typed the hand written notes (it is a great tool to help with memorization). Last, I would work MCQ's and/or SIMS until my eyes bleed, at least twice through the lot of the questions. That worked amazingly well for AUD and looks to have worked equally as well for BEC—next week will tell.
On one hand, I don't want to change a working system but on the other, the book for FAR is 1,000 pages for CPA Excel (not sure how long Wiley's book is). I do have the video lectures from CPAExcel for FAR but do not want to waste time watching someone unless there's value added. I learn more via note taking than lectures (unless there's some magic to the CPAExcel lectures).
How does one most effectively study for FAR?
Thanks!March 2, 2012 at 6:00 am #331704
I'm studying for FAR too. I just got started, so can't give you any make-or-break advice.
I've read on these forums that it's highly recommended to do lots and lots of practice questions, so that's what I'm focused on now.
Also, Jeff (owner of another71.com) suggests writing your notes over and over again. I actually did that in my last few college courses and it works great.
I haven't started doing it with my FAR studies yet, but I will. It sticks in your brain differently than just reading the material.March 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm #331705
Well I spent all of January and February preparing for FAR and I took the test this past Monday and I felt like I was really prepared after taking the test and unlike most people the Sims were exteremly managable (long to complete but I knew what I was doing). So here is what I can share after my ordeal with this beast.
I watched the Yaeger lectures and I watched all of them before working any multiple choice. They do go over several multiple choice questions during the lectures. The problem with this is that there are 15 dvds on this course and I actually found some of the methods that Cindy used a lot harder for me then what the book demonstrated for solving certain problems. Other times though there were some great nuggets of wisdom that I found helpful, especially with the cash flow section. If you're going to watch the videos don't concentrate too much on taking extensive notes at that time, just blast through them and pay really good attention. I made it through the 50 hours in about two weeks which was hell.
I think the what helped me progress at the fastest rate was working the wiley online testbank (won a key here on A71!). It's really convienant when you are just trying to practice and get a knowledge of the material to have a explanation right there after you work the problem instead of having to flip back and forth to the answer solution. A lot of things that I misunderstood in the videos were a bit clearer after working the problems. I did all the MCQ's for each chapter taking notes as I went along. After about 3 or 4 chapters I'd do a mini quiz from the previous chapters I had studied with about 20 questions to make sure I was retaining something.
After working all the chapters I worked several of the Sims and then after that I did simulated test after simulated test. Along with all of this I re-wrote my notes a couple times and cleaned things up so that they were understanable.
I do have to say though that I work in government in the finance and work a lot with bonds and the CAFR so a lot of this stuff wasn't really hard for me to get a handle on.
Hope that helps.March 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm #331706
Excellent thank you folks…I may hit you up for those notes Dporter thank you for the offer. Funny, I did the same thing for a colleague here at work with my Auditing notes. His wife is not being supportive so his time is very limited to study.
I will have to take a good long look at the FAR book for Wiley and CPAExcel. If there are long computations and other items that take up many pages, it may take some of that length away. I'll also see what the lectures look like from CPA excel.March 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm #331707
I just took FAR in February after studying with CPAExcel and a review class at my university. I think I did really well, but we'll see next week… Anyway I'll share how I studied.
Basically the way I handled it was to go topic-by-topic answering all of the questions in CPAExcel, If I got less than 90% or felt like I didn't know the material well, then I would study the book. Otherwise I would just see the explanations and redo any I missed. If you're already proficient with the topic, there's no use wasting time reading that book. I didn't really use the video lectures. If you do it this way, just make sure to leave yourself time for a more comprehensive review the last week or so before your exam and utilize the EQ/TBS tutor function and maybe take a simulated exam.
I really liked CPAExcel. I felt it prepared me pretty well for FAR. Regardless of how you study, if you master the questions in the review you should do fine.March 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm #331708
Did you previously use something else besides CPAexcel before you started using it? I have been using Becker and just can't get past FAR and have a friend who switched to CPAexcel and then passed. My concern with switching is I don't want to waste time reading/watching lectures since I already did that with Becker. Do you think the MCQ in CPAExcel are workable without reading/watching lectures? From what you said, it sounds like you had previous exposure to the material and jumped right into the MCQ.March 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm #331709
No, CPAexcel is the only review software I've used, so I'm really not sure how it compares with Becker. I did a lot of the MCQ without reading the book, and hardly ever watched the lectures. The book is pretty good, but I didn't find most of the lectures very helpful. I'm also in a review class at my university that is integrated with CPAexcel, so that really helped with my ability to jump right into the MCQ.
The explanations for incorrectly answered were also very detailed, so I'd say they're probably workable without reading/watching the lectures. There are ~2000 MCQ for FAR in CPAexcel if that helps you compare.March 4, 2012 at 12:07 am #331710
I am taking my first session/exam on April 28 and i haven't really started studying yet due to full time work, family and tax preparation business. I am currently using Yeager self study program that came with 4 wiley books which is over 1100 pages each and also came with a USB lectures that have unlimited access and wiley test bank. I really appreciate all the feedback and study plan that you guys have shared. What i have done is watch the video and read the book after each module that i watched. Good luck to all of us.March 4, 2012 at 12:21 am #331711
I would recommend making a formula sheet and a journal entry sheet and study them on a regular basis and especially right before the exam. This will definitely help you with SIMS and most likely with some MCQ's as well.March 4, 2012 at 12:47 am #331712
FAR is the only exam I had to take multiple times because I didn't want to spend a lot of time studying. FAR is very broad and not very deep, and the depth of the Wiley book is absurd compared to the exam itself. I would shoot for a very high level cursory understanding of everything with a deeper focus on the topics that are heavily tested like governmental & nonprofit and financial statement presentation. This is what worked for me and I passed with an 82 (on my fourth try, so I had a pretty good idea what was on the thing). I've only tried the demo, but I think CPAExcel (with or without the lectures)would work better for FAR because of it's structure vs the Wiley book which sucks in my experience.March 4, 2012 at 2:58 am #331713
Sounds like good advice. I've used the Wiley text together with CPAExcel to pass Aud, Reg & BEC but it's tougher to read for FAR. The Wiley book is very detailed and it's written in a wordy and passive voice.
My approach with the other exams was to read a section, take a few notes and then do the proficiency questions and exam questions in CPAExcel. For FAR, it may be more efficient to work in CPAExcel and use the Wiley book as a supplement for the more difficult chapters.March 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm #331714
Get Wiley focus notes instead. The book has an enormous amount of information that is not tested on the exam.March 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm #331715
I like apbandj's idea as well and would also recommend that.
Just got my score back of 87 on FAR so I definitely stand behind my advice above.March 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm #331716
@cpapending – I love your quote and your enthusiasm! I just found out I failed my second of two exams, and am feeling a little down. It doesn't help when I see that a lot of people on here pass everything first try. Then I have to remind myself that it's only two and people like you are my hero! Thank you for being an inspiration! And I will take your advice on typing my handwritten notes! Can't believe I never thought of that!
@dporter – I may have to hit you up for those FAR notes as well, thanks!March 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm #331717
@apbandj..can you further elaborate on your exam study sheet and especially the journal entry sheet.March 13, 2012 at 2:54 am #331718
@apbandj, wow, what a score!! I am so impressed! So how do you like Yaeger and how did you review? Did you do a lot of MCQ'S and did you finish the videos? I am only on Module 9D and i am getting nervous and stress out.March 13, 2012 at 11:41 am #331719
I like -apbandj's- advice above. FAR sims are mostly AJEs…so know them well. I also agree that knowing AJEs will help with some of the MCQs. During my third FAR exam I wasn't tested heavily on ratios – but that doesn't mean someone else won't be.
And READ THE QUESTION and ANSWER WHAT IS BEING ASKED. It's easy to read the question and miss the point. It's also easy to read the question and answer it like you would in the “real world” – but you need to answer it using what you are taught in your study material.March 15, 2012 at 2:47 am #331720
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