June 12, 2019 at 1:30 pm #2472558
I've been thinking about this a lot. We're all making sacrifices in order to pass this exam, but how much is too much?
I was pre-med for nearly 7 years (bachelors and masters). I sacrificed WAY TOO MUCH back in college and while I was studying for my MCAT (med school entrance exam). I now look back with regret as all those sacrifices weren't necessary. I missed out on so much and I definitely could have engaged in more life and gotten comparable scores.
Fast forward to now and I'm doing the same thing all over again. I come on here and read how people are sacrificing spending time with family, friends, hobbies, etc.
It makes me think how much of this is necessary. Is literally putting all of life on hold necessary to pass this test or can we engage in at least a few things and still pass?June 12, 2019 at 1:38 pm #2472564
I don't think putting life on hold is necessary to pass. I started taking Jiu-Jitsu 3 days a week (1.5 hours on Tuesdays,Thursdays, and Saturdays) and my wife and I had season passes to a local theme park/water park during the year I was taking exams (we went at least one or two Saturdays a month). I was also able to maintain going to the gym to lift weights an hour or two each day (Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays). I was able to pass all four in 14 months and only failed one of the exams. This was also while working full time.
So I would say it is definitely possible to pass and not sacrifice your whole life.June 12, 2019 at 1:52 pm #2472579
I get you. I prefer not to sacrifice that much, to be honest. It keeps me sane! It's more of a mental game to me. Taking me a while to get the passes but it's worth it so I can take days to relax after work or a day on the weekend where I completely do what I want to do. I travel, cook, etc. I spend time with friends and go to those birthday parties. I could sacrifice a bit more, but I hope I can look back and see that these years were not just my CPA years.June 12, 2019 at 1:57 pm #2472639
Not sure about the MCATs, but from my experience studying for the CPA does not mean you have to put your life on hold. I worked a full time job whilst studying and still managed to have gatherings with my friends and family. Of course it is nowhere as frequent but enough to catch up. If studying for the exam is taking up all of your time then we need to re-evaluate our strategy and look for inefficiencies. For example, after studying for FAR i noticed I don't do well with reading because I zone out and end up wasting a bunch of time. For my next 3 tests I only listened to the lectures, did flashcards, and tackled the MCQs. I was much more efficient, less stressed, and my grades improved.
Hopefully this is what you needed to hear. Also remember, a 99 is the same as a 75. You aren't going to get paid higher for better scores. You should try your best no doubt, but this is not a test for perfection.
Btw why are you taking the CPA if you already passed the MCATS?June 12, 2019 at 2:05 pm #2472666
I worked full time during the test and occasionally took a weekend off to spend with family. During FAR I studied everyday. For AUD I took off two FULL weekends. For BEC I took off once for three days straight. In my final push for REG I didn't take any days off and I ended up taking the test with full blown pneumonia…I only passed because I work with tax everyday. The key is to recognize the exam is a marathon…it's only natural you'll need a few water breaks.
As David Bowie wrote: “I know when to go out, when to stay in…get things done”.
Good luckJune 12, 2019 at 2:07 pm #2472669
I guess it's all a trade-off. I went pretty hard at it for 5 months (the first 3 especially). I guess it's not to say I didn't do anything social, but it was a huge cut back from full-time student to full-time working, grad student, and sitting for the exams. To me it was worth it to be moderately inconvenienced for a short period of time versus minor inconvenience over a long period of time. I guess it all depends on the circumstances though.June 12, 2019 at 2:31 pm #2472732
Thank you all for the input.
I agree that grinding away to the detriment of everything else isn't healthy and can be counterproductive. Old habits die hard though, and I find that I have to make an effort not to sacrifice everything as I did in the past. Guilt creeps up too; if I'm doing something fun I occasionally struggle with the feeling that I should be studying. I guess this is something I just need to work on, stepping away and relaxing and not taking things too seriously. I've already given up a lot for the sake of passing this exam, but there are a few things I do not want to sacrifice. Great to see that many of you are maintaining a life and still passing.
Tommy, I didn't pass the MCAT. I love medicine but not getting into medical school turned out to be one of the best things as I'm in a much better place in life now. Funny how life works!
Chandler, this is a perspective I've considered although you managed to get it done in 5 months haha.June 13, 2019 at 11:23 am #2474757
I didn't have much of a throttle, I'm sort of all or nothing, so I went hard but knocked them out pretty quick.
I tried to keep up with some other activities such as going to the gym a couple times a week and seeing family (Friday nights and Sunday dinners).
I would be lying if I said the CPA exam wasn't all consuming for me, I completely get the guilty feelings when not studying. There was no such thing as sleeping in. As soon as I woke up I felt that need to open the books to not waste any time, but that allowed me to have the evenings off. Sacrifices are necessary, but if you stretch the exams to a year or 1.5 you will more easily be able to fit all the things in to your life to maintain some sanity. Keep on the grind, IT IS WORTH IT!June 13, 2019 at 12:22 pm #2474934
Your input is always appreciated Recked. Exam time frame is definitely stretched to 1-1.5 years haha, hence why I was wondering if going full throttle and sacrificing everything was the right approach. Maintaining at least a few extracurriculars is necessary for me. Battling with the guilt is a whole other issue 😛June 13, 2019 at 12:23 pm #2474937
When I started I was eager to get the exams done. I sacrificed so much time with my family. I would work 12 hours at the firm, then come home eat dinner and get to studying. Of course I only played myself because I ended up burning out really hard. I passed 3 parts, failed the last, and then could not sustain the studying and working stress to go back pass the expired sections. So they all expired.
Now I work in industry, come home and have dinner with my family, spend time with my kids. Then start studying after they go to bed. On the weekends I study early mornings so I have the rest of the day to do whatever. Only exception is when I'm in my final review phase which is about 2 weeks. You have to tell yourself to make time otherwise you will end up putting much into this.June 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm #2475006
It all depends on what works for you. If you are trying to bang these out in few months, yeah, there'll be sacrifices you have to make unless you are super smart like some people on this forum.
If you are more like me, an average Joe, who spent about a year and a half to pass all four exams, you CAN have a life.
I used to study 3-4 hrs a day on the weekdays and took most of the weekends off. I did up my study hrs 2-3 weeks right before the exam, but I still at least took Sundays off.June 13, 2019 at 1:04 pm #2475102
Of course this comes with some sacrifice, but I would never tell anyone to study every waking hour they aren't working, and generally don't believe that many people do. Put in a couple of hours a day, two larger sessions on the weekend, and that's about it. If that amount of time makes it seem like you are giving up too much, then this may not be the thing for you. I say that with all sincerity; I've written several times about how the benefits just don't outweigh the costs for everyone, and that's okay.June 13, 2019 at 1:17 pm #2475129
I passed them all in a 5-month span. I spent a week in Disney, went to a weekend bachelor party in the French Quarter, stood in a wedding, and some other stuff that I'm sure I'm forgetting. All while maintaining a full time job with a wife and 2 kids at home. I sacrificed a lot to pass, but I definitely didn't stop living my life.June 13, 2019 at 4:28 pm #2475645
Bhunt815, you're quite the inspiration haha!
Thanks to everyone for chiming in. I definitely don't feel like I need to put my entire life on hold and my study schedule is similar to what many of you follow (an hour or so during weekdays and two large sessions over the weekends with most nights off). I guess my biggest issue is feeling guilty about not studying when I step away which made me question whether or not I should be sacrificing more, hence this thread. I guess that's just internal issues that I need to work on.June 14, 2019 at 9:22 am #2476710
I originally planned for the exams to take about a year, but once I got wrapped up in it I couldn't back down.
I would shoot for about 20-25 hours a week. Usually getting about 2 hours a day, and 10 hours on the weekends, some more, some less.
I could “justify” taking the nights off because my brain just would not function properly at the end of the day so I figured it would cause me more harm than good to try and keep on that solid grind after work.
The EA exams were exactly opposite. I was studying for those after work 3-4 nights a week and then doing about 5 hours each day on the weekends split into 2 hour blocks, max.
I was doing maybe 10-15 hours a week on the EA grind and found that to be more manageable, but it would never cut it for the CPA unless I stuck to the year time line.
Quality over quantity, and know your limits. Bad study time is of no benefit to you, so let your mind be at ease when you know you've reached your limit.June 14, 2019 at 9:30 am #2476737
I started my CPA exam journey while I was finishing up my MSA program in January 2018. My wife and I also found out that she was pregnant so I literally had to pass the exam before the due date and my job starting around the same time. I didn't put my life on hold, but I did make some sacrifices as I needed to stay consistent with my study plan and put hours into studying. There was no summer break. There were no weekends going out with my friends/family unless they were previously planned a long time ago. Like a lot of forum users said, I didn't put my life on hold 100%, but I did make sacrifice here and there to get this exam finished for which which I'm so glad I did before starting my career with the firm I'm with right now because studying for this exam during busy season or just during work days would have this public accounting experience a lot more challenging.
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