CPA Exam Strategy

Get Your 2010 CPA Exam Survival Guide

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 June 2010 Special: FREE CPA Exam Survival Guide

Recently, after discovering another71.com, I read the book that this website offers, “50 Things You Must Know About The CPA Exam.” … I think the book and the website address some good questions that the websites from NASBA or the AICPA fail to make user-friendly. Ultimately I felt less fearful about the exam knowing that so many other people have gone through and are going through the same things as me.
– Valbona Bushi, Ohio Society of CPAs CPA Exam Blog

Why Should You Read This Book?

This book was written for candidates by someone who understands the ups and downs of navigating the computerized CPA Examination. There is a lot of advice floating around out there about the CPA Exam, but it is mostly written by people who have never actually taken the computerized version of the Exam. They simply apply their experience with the paper and pencil version of the exam and rely on second-hand accounts of what the computerized examination is actually like. I know and understand the frustrations and struggles that candidates go through on today's CPA Exam because I have been there myself.

Since I started another71.com, I have conversed with thousands of candidates both through my site and e-mail. What I have found is that candidates have many questions surrounding different aspects of the CPA Exam that have gone unanswered. I know this because month after month and testing window after testing window, I see the same questions being asked over and over.

This book answers those questions. It is a collection of the most-asked questions that I see on a regular basis. I have also included some additional pieces of information that I think will benefit the people who read it.

It was my goal to put together a quality resource that will help keep candidates sane through an exam process that could be described as anything but transparent. I hope that I have succeeded in this and that this book helps you in your journey to becoming a Certified Public Accountant.

Jeff Elliott, CPA

Editor, Another71.com

Table of Contents

Introduction

Study Strategy

  1. What section should I take first?
  2. How do you rank the exams from hardest to easiest?
  3. I'm thinking about buying some used books from 2007. Any advice?
  4. My 18 month window is coming to a close and I'm about to lose credit for one of my passed sections. What if I take my exam, but don't get my score back for several weeks? Will I lose my credit?
  5. I can't pass BEC! What should I do?
  6. Information Technology is heavily tested on BEC and I hate it! Any tips on how to study for IT?
  7. What was the main difference between your back-to-back 74s on Regulation and your 92?
  8. I can't pass Auditing! You're not an auditor how did you pass it?
  9. Did you memorize the different audit reports in order to pass Auditing?
  10. What are the areas of FAR that you think makes candidates stumble on exam day?
  11. Do you have any nuggets of wisdom aside from the usual mainstream advice?
  12. I've heard that they are changing the CPA Exam starting in 2010. Should I wait to buy my review materials?
  13. What is the best way to study for the CPA Exam with audio lectures?
  14. I bought a cram course. When is the best time to watch it?
  15. I'm going through my review process and scoring low on multiple choice questions that I was scoring in the 80s and 90s on just a few weeks ago. Any advice?
  16. What is the best strategy for scheduling an exam?
  17. How long should I study for each section?
  18. I'm getting ready to take my first exam. Can you walk me through what I should expect?
  19. What is the best approach for attacking simulations on the CPA Exam?
  20. I didn't finish my second simulation and left several tabs blank. Can I still pass?
  21. I couldn't get my research tab to work! I thought I found the right text to insert, but the computer wouldn't accept any of it. Will this hurt me?
  22. My exam ended before I could click DONE on my last simulation. Did my answers get saved?
  23. I had computer problems during my exam. What should I do?
  24. I finished Auditing with 30 minutes to spare. Should I be worried?
  25. Shouldn't BEC be the easiest section of the CPA Exam? It's only 2.5 hours and is basically a rehash of everything we learned in college, right?
  26. How many questions on the CPA Exam are pre-test?
  27. Is BEC adaptive? I swear the questions were getting harder each testlet.
  28. How do I know if I'm getting the hard testlets?
  29. Does your performance on the multiple choice questions have any effect on the simulations that you get?
  30. I just took my exam and found it to be pretty easy. Should I be worried?
  31. If I have to guess on my exam, what strategy should I use?
  32. My boss keeps telling me how easy I have it now that I can take the CPA Exam on a computer. Is the exam easier than it used to be?
I don't know if you did your own editing, but this booklet is very well written. It seems to have a lot of good advice for those who plan to take the exam, or are in the process of taking their review course. If you're in a large state, you should look into the possibility of joint venturing with an attorney to do a similar book for the local bar exam.

– Judge William J. McVittie (Ret.)Purchased book for family member studying for the CPA Exam

Score Reporting

  1. What is the difference between the AICPA release and NASBA release of exam scores?
  2. I see the term NASBA state on your website. What does that mean? How do I know if I live in a NASBA state?
  3. I sat for my exam on _______. When can I expect my score?
  4. What time of day do scores come out?
  5. I didn't get my score in Wave 1, but I took my exam early in the testing window. Does this mean I'm borderline or failed? I'm freaking out! Please help!
  6. My friend and I sat for the same section of the exam on the same day, at the same time, in the same testing center, yet she received her score in Wave 1 and I didn't. How can this be?
  7. I scored a 74. Should I appeal?
  8. I had to re-take a section and my old score was there online yesterday, but it's gone today. What does this mean?
  9. My diagnostic report says that I am comparable or stronger than the average passing candidate in all areas except written communication where I am weaker. If I am comparable or stronger in 90% of the exam compared to the average passing candidate how could I have scored a 73?
  10. I received an advisory score and I PASSED! It's not going to change, is it?
  11. I passed my final section of the CPA Exam. When will NASBA send me a confirmation letter?
  12. I failed again and I'm thinking about throwing in the towel. I've been at this for too long. I hate this exam.

Ethics Exam

  1. How do I know if my state requires an ethics exam prior to getting my certificate?
  2. I just sat for an exam. If I pass, I'm done. How long do I have to wait before I can take my state's required ethics exam?
  3. My friend is an AICPA member and can buy the course at a discount. Should I order it through my friend?

Certification and Licensing

  1. I just passed my final section! I'm DONE! Can I call myself a CPA?
  2. I have my certificate, I'm licensed, and I'm done! (Right?)
  3. Should I expect to get a raise or be promoted after passing the CPA Exam?



THE AUTHOR

jeff

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