is this NORMAL? am I studying right??? Help please
June 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm #171981
Ok guys, I am new to this forum in terms of posting but have been coming here to look around for the better part of a few months. I graduated in May with 150 hours and began studying for the CPA exam this week (Tuesday). I am using BECKER self study for Audit, and my NTS is finished. I am taking AUD in July 27. The way I've been studying so far is watching and following along with Tim Gearty's lectures including all the underlining and highlighting and then tackling the homework questions for each particular subtopic of chapter 1. Today I am redoing all of the homework for chapter 1 without lectures to see how much I know vs how much I memorized. It can be hard sometimes bc I feel I might be memorizing the answers or that I know them now but will forget them by tomorrow! Anyone else feel this way?
Also upon doing the MCQ for the first times overall, I'm getting around a 55-65%. is this normal or should I have cause for concern? I'm sorry if I sound paranoid, just want to finish this exam and get it out of the way for the rest of my life.
Anyone have any input? I'd really appreciate it!June 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm #352767
anyone? pleaseJune 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm #352768
I would not underline/highlight. Instead, actually take notes. Taking notes, reviewing those notes, and later re-writing those notes is the key to passing.
At least in my 1/2 experienced opinion!June 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm #352769
I'm with renee on not highlighting, my favorite Jeff quote (paraphrased) is that you won't understand the material any better by making it a pretty shade of pink. I wrote and rewrote notes.
Initial scores in the 50s and 60s are pretty normal. You'll keep doing sample questions and see improvement every day leading up to your test.June 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm #352770
I echo taking notes – I feel like I started knowing more of the audit section when I started doing note cards. Thankfully audit was my first section and I am going to use this approach going forward and will be taking and re-taking notes on all future sections!June 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm #352771
I would say the comfort zone for MCQs should be low 70s after you study the materials. To avoid memorizing the questions, make sure you studied (read the book and watch the lectures) first before practice the questions. However, don't panic if you get low scores at first since you are new to this. Once you get a feel of this, you will get better and better.June 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm #352772
I didn't take audit yet, but if you're just watching the videos then that might not be enough. I read the book, then I watched the lectures. After that I did the multiple choice for all the sections. During the lectures focus less on the highlighting and more on understanding.
Memorization is kind of a problem, but it can also be a good thing. Just make sure to memorize and understand why the choice is right and the others are wrong.June 9, 2012 at 3:06 am #352773
I am also using Becker and currently studying for AUD. I actually do the highlighting mentioned, do all the MCQ's after each section, and then write notes after the chapter is finished. The highlighting reminds me what was deemed important to know during the lectures to help me know which notes might be important. I don't write everything that was highlighted, but try to condense, if possible. Having gone through the MCQ's first also gives me a taste of what types of things would be important to write down. I also then do flashcards so that I have quick review available to take along with me. Also do the progress tests at the end of each chapter, which bring back questions from the previous chapters.
I agree that low 70% is a better comfort zone to be in on the first time through MCQ's, but don't panic as this is your first time at this stuff. It takes some practice and familiarity, and be very careful when reading the questions. Take your time and don't rush through them. Many times it is only the way the question is worded that will trip you up.
By the way, I think it is typical to get through a chapter feeling like you have it down pretty well, only to forget most of it by the time you get through the next chapter or two. Don't sweat it – it should all start to come together better at the end when you are doing final review. Good luck!June 9, 2012 at 5:48 am #352774
The material in auditing lends itself to be made into flash cards. These are a huge help and can be studied several times a day. A good tip is to get a phone app so u can study anywhere.June 9, 2012 at 10:12 am #352775
I would usually not worry about redoing questions the first time around. Instead I watch all lectures and then began doing all questions of over and over and over again. It's ok if you memorize some answers but just try to also know why it's right vs wrong. This is your first exam so you may not believe it but the mc are the keyJune 9, 2012 at 11:36 am #352776
I haven't gotten my score back on AUD yet, so this might be worthless information. But I will relate it to FAR and REG which I did well.
I did exactly what the course guides and instructors recommend. I highlighted, reviewed my notes, then took the MCQs on. What I missed in the first go around, I went back and reviewed that section of the lectures, wrote some of my own notes, and then went back and redid the questions.
I made sure that I got 100% the first time through, but my initial scores on FAR were in the 60's and 70's, with a few outliers. There were a couple of sections in FAR where my initial scores on the homework were 40's!!!! (I was panicky).
However, I went back, studied the bad parts (and reviewed the good parts) and did the questions until I could go through and get a 100%. The memorizing questions got me so I decided that on the ones that I had memorized the questions I would explain why the right answer was right and why the wrong answers were wrong to myself before I clicked the answer.
I really think that last step helped immensely. I was a good student during undergrad, but I did this same sort of thing. I found that explaining (even when I was the one I was explaining it to) really helped. Find someone that will let you explain the material.
I found highlighting and underlining worked well too when I did my final review. It doesn't help you learn it any better the first time, but it gives you a focus for your review work. It also was amazing how much of the highlighted material actually ended up on the exam…..
The Becker folks have been doing this a long time. They have it down to a science. Do what they tell you, to the letter, and I think you will do well.
That being said, I wish I had known about the Ninja Notes, etc. before I started this whole process. I think it would have helped and maybe saved me a little money.June 9, 2012 at 11:42 am #352777
A few more things:
With regards to MCQs, before Regulation I was hitting high 70s, low 80s. Before BEC, it was more like low 70s. I did memorize some of them, but I made sure to know why the right answer was right and why the others were wrong.
Flashcards are great. I actually write mine out because I find it more effective if I can separate them into know and don't know while reviewing them. Actually writing them out was better for learning as well.
Finally, after I finish a section (comparable to a chapter), I make sure and review that information daily while moving onto the new. Jeff recommends watching all the videos and taking notes before doing the MCQs. It depends on what will work best for you.June 9, 2012 at 11:48 am #352778
I think Renee and my experience is interesting. I don't use flashcards at all and I highlight like a crazy person. She uses flashcards and doesn't highlight. Our scores on REG were similar. That goes to show you that what works for ME might not work for someone else. Learn how you learn, take as much advice as you can get, and STICK TO YOUR PLAN.
Just remember, there's a bunch of us pulling for you and with enough dedication and determination, YOU WILL PASS THESE EXAMS.June 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm #352779
I agree about finding out what works for you and sticking to it. I tried to change my methods at the beginning while studying for FAR (based on the NINJA suggestions), and it wasn't working for me. So, I went back to the way I had handled the other sections.June 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm #352780
I don't quite get this “notes vs. underlining” why are notes so much better?June 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm #352781
For me, underlining is passive and note-taking requires me to really process the info.June 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm #352782
Agree with ReneeNC. Although I do both, actually writing the notes makes you have to think about what you are writing. Highlighting can really be done with your mind somewhere else, although my highlighting guides me as to what may be important stuff to write down as I do my notes after I am completely done with the chapter (good review). Then again, it makes a difference as to what type of learner you are. I am very visual and somewhat kinesthetic, so writing it down really helps me internalize it. If you are typically an auditory learner, just listening and re-listening to the lectures or some other audio may be the best.June 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm #352783
Wow, thanks for all of the great feedback guys! I'm glad to be a part of this community! I have a lot of great advice and information to take in.
I purchased NINJA Notes for AUD and now have that along with Becker self study and Becker flashcards. I plan to start Chapter 2 Becker on Monday and do that for 3 days then go to chapter 4 for the final 3 days of next week. (2 chapters a week as recommended).
Wondering in terms of notes, should I write the NINJA notes down or the notes from my becker book?
This is going to be quite a path, but I hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it's all said and done.June 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm #352784
I bought a whiteboard when studying AUD. I used it as I watch the videos. I went back and pretended I was teaching it from the book. It's a little weird, but if you can teach it, it'll help out tremendously. This doesn't replace note taking. You'll still have to do that, so just rewrite the ninja notes by hand.June 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm #352785
i learn best by rewriting notes. i write down the explanations to all of the MC questions that I get incorrect the first time around. It may be slow, but it works. I am also using Becker and I find Tim's highlighting to be useless because he basically makes us highlight the entire book. also dont worry about the % correct you get on the MC the first time around. It means nothing, as long as during your final review you are scoring in the 80%s.June 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm #352786
In my opinion, you've got to figure out how you study and learn best, I changed the way I studied for this exam a few times in the beginning but eventually you figure it out. I also study with Becker. I watch all the lectures and do the highlighting, and then do the multiple choice afterwards. And don't worry, I would say my homework scores the first time around were right around that range. I wouldn't worry about redoing them again until it gets closer to your exam, then redo them all. I also had SEVERAL questions on my audit exam that were the exact same as the becker questions, I could not believe it. Anyway, as long as you study hard, you'll be fine. Make sure you nail down the multiple choice, as long as you do okay there, you should be good to go! Good luck! 🙂June 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm #352787
I did the highlighting with some notes on the side. I got ~50% on mcq first pass. I worked and reworked the mcq's until I knew them inside and out.
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