Video: CPA Exam Study Motivation

11 May 2011



Let's talk about CPA Exam study motivation for a minute. I asked people on Facebook what do they want to talk about today, and there was a common theme among several suggestions, and it involved recovering after failure on the CPA exam and possibly some CPA Exam motivational quotes.

That's kind of a timely topic because some of the recent guest bloggers that I have, they've been talking about failure and inevitably there's the anonymous troll who comes along and hides behind their IP address and mocks everyone because they passed the first time and even had time to work out and all that stuff, but what they didn't mention was that I didn't see anywhere where they had a family or kids or little league, so well done on passing the CPA exam with nothing else going on in your life, but anyway …

Prianca asks “how do you recover from a 74,” pretty much, and I know a 74 quite well. I like 74 so much I scored it twice on regulation and my second 74 cost me my financial accounting and reporting credit and one more “point” and I would've been a CPA on my second 74 but instead I lost my FAR credit and I was back to only having 2 sections passed.

Now, at the time I wanted to throw my laptop through the wall, which was actually a valid consideration because it was an Acer and I bought it in 2007, so number 1, it was an Acer. Number 2, it was old, but anyway, I saved it and so it's sitting over here in a duffle bag. It's been long since replaced by a MacBook Pro.

Anyway, how do you recover from a 74? Well, you have … Or a 71 or whatever it is, you basically have permission to sulk for a week or so and then after that you have to decide, “Okay, am I going to hate the AICPA? Am I going to blame everyone except for me? Or am I going to own this and change whatever needs to be changed? Do I need to start getting up at 5? Do I need to stay up an hour later? Do I need to stop drinking on the weeknights? Do I need to stop going out with friends at lunch?” Of course, how many of us actually are friends with our coworkers? But anyway …




Some adjustments definitely need to be made, and hopefully not at the expense of family or loved ones, and so pretty much usually something needs to change. You need to study harder or you need to switch your review course or … Man, a lot of times, people need to work just more multiple choice questions. What happens is they go through the review course and they watch all the videos and they think that they have to check off every video on the list, which is important, but always multiple choice, if you're in a time crunch, always multiple choice questions trump any video, and often times people don't do enough multiple choice questions.

They get to the end of their study session. “Oh no, I have 3 days left,” and so then they watch some more videos or something instead of working questions. You really need to leave a solid 2 weeks before your exam to review and just work a ton of questions. That's the most important thing is multiple choice questions.

Laura wants to know more about my exam progress journey. She said people can read about it but it's kind of … There's been so many blog posts since then. It's kind of hidden, and so she wanted me to talk about my exam experience. I started way back in 2005 and I kind of piddled around for a couple years. I would literally study the week before the exam, go in and take it and fail.

One time I took auditing without even studying and, I mean, I didn't do too bad, I guess. I still failed it, but anyway, I realized that if I wanted to be a CPA more than playing Madden football on PlayStation 2, back then, then I needed to make some changes, and so I did. I got a good review course, I studied my butt off and I passed.

From 2005 through 2008 I piddled around with the exam, drug my family through it. I did get out of a lot of family reunions. I mean, 3 years of family reunions? I think the testing fees are almost worth it, but I hope my wife never sees this. In 2008 I got serious and I just started passing and I knocked it out. I overcame those 74's on reg and it's done, but there was a time when I had to ask myself, “Is this really worth it?

Do I want to actually be a CPA enough to get up in the morning, to study at lunch, to study late at night, to give up some of the stuff that didn't really matter, like sleep?

I decided, yes, it was worth it. I'm sure there were plenty of family members who didn't think I would ever pass, and I questioned it at times too, and for all of the internet haters who question whether or not I am actually a CPA, ta-da. It says I passed the exam anyway, but, yep, there it is. There she is, and that's a hundred dollar frame, by the way. I went all out with the framing.

Oh wait, here, I'll grab my AICPA dealio while we're doing show and tell. If you join the AICPA, you get this big boy, so anyway, the question is, is it worth it? It absolutely is, and what it does is it gives you instant credibility in any time you walk into a room and people talking about accounting or economics or business. You might not know a lot about the topic but the fact that you're a CPA, people instantly assume that you do, which is kind of cool.

Just don't say too much and then they'll know you don't know anything about anything. Any job application, any resume, any interview, you get put to the top of the list if you have your CPA designation, and it's something that no one can ever take away from you, unless you do something unethical, which I don't recommend doing.

Is it worth it? It absolutely is, and if you're struggling, if you have a 71 or 74, hey, I've been there. If your family's sick and tired of you studying, I've been there, and I can tell you that the sacrifice is worth it, and so keep after it. Do not quit, okay? That's all I have for today. Thanks for excusing the backwards hat and the t-shirt and even my ghetto little headset here. I'm sure the sound quality isn't perfect but I lost my other microphone, but that's how it goes. I hope this has been helpful to you.

Stick with the CPA exam.

Never give up. Those haters out there who are giving you snarky advice about taking the CPA exam when they've never actually taken it, ignore them.

Oh – and that jerk in the office who passed all 4 in a row and never failed an exam, forget him or her. No one likes them anyway. 😉




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