Success Stories

CPA Exam Success Story: Jennifer


I started my journey in accounting in college, but knew about the profession my whole life, as my mom is a CPA. Yes, growing up I always said “You are never home during tax season! I’m never being an accountant!”

My little brother and I always joked that we had a single-parent household; it just depended on which season it was and which parent we were referring to. My dad is a cattle farmer, so summer is his busy time and mom was off from May-September when we were little.

I started college as an HR major but that changed my first semester of college in an Intro to Business class. Our professor had us “fake fire” someone and I was paired up with a drama major! He kept going on about “I have 7 kids, my wife is bedridden with pregnancy with our 8th kid and she can’t work! You are going to kill my kids as I can’t put food on the table if you fire me!”

That was it; I was done with human resource major! I had a great accounting teacher and she made it so much fun. She was young and made me realize that the old stereotype of accountants were not the norm anymore.

There were times in college I would call my mom for our normal weekly chat and she’d say “I’m still at the office, are you sure you want to be an accountant?” There was no turning back, however. I was hooked!

I started my first job in tax in January 2007 and had two classes to take before I was finished with my second degree and become exam-eligible over a six week summer session. I finished those classes in June and started studying Auditing, as that was one of the classes I had just taken.

I thought to myself “oh this will make AUD easy!” Yeah right! I purchased Becker CPA Review's self-study, as that is what all my coworkers were using. We got a discount through our employer and I didn’t realize how many options of CPA review study material there was out there.

I thought I was prepared for Auditing, but instead scored a 67. Not horrible for my first test, right? I decided to retake it immediately and only studied the sections I had done poorly on. I scored a 60 on my 2nd attempt. Baffled and ticked off at Auditing, I focused on BEC which I decided to take in-between my first two Auditing exams and scored a 71 the first time around.

I decided to stick with Becker and took BEC two more times before passing it with a 75 in May 2008. I began studying for REG, which I thought would be the easiest one since I’m a tax accountant and I work with taxes everyday. After two unsuccessful tries, I passed REG on my third attempt and scored a 77.

Next was Financial Accounting and Reporting. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I took FAR in August 2009 and scored a 74!

I was already studying for Auditing again when I got my FAR score so I kept at it and took it in Oct 2009. Prior to scoring my 74 on FAR, I had switched from Becker to Bisk.

My next attempt with Bisk netted me a 73.

I found out about another71.com when I was waiting on my FAR score, which turned out to be the 74. The auditors in my firm told me about the site.

I had been trolling the forum there and love it! Jeff and Phil at Yaeger were offering a web cast about FAR the weekend before my exam so I joined Club 75.

Honestly, I thought “Hey I’ll get Jeff’s notes and be able to see the web cast for my 1st month free, get my AUD and FAR scores in December and be done!”

I got my next Auditing score as we were walking out the door to go visit my best friend in Dallas for the weekend in mid-December, it was a 73!

I was upset. I knew that I had just lost credit for BEC. I really didn’t expect much for my FAR score the next week. We went back to South Carolina for Christmas with my husband’s family. His grandpa doesn’t have internet and I couldn’t get the website to load on my cell phone.

I called my mom and had her check my score; I swear that was the longest 15 minutes to “just change my clothes and then I’ll call you back to check your score” ever!! I told her my code and she started screaming….and had yet to tell me the score! It was an 82!! I had kicked FAR’s butt!!!

Yes that made the 73 on Auditing hurt even more. I got my score report for Auditing when we got home from South Carolina.

It was such BS!

My scores were 76, 80, 80, 80, 74. I was in shock and complained to Jeff, my state board, and my bosses.

Nothing could be done so I rushed Auditing in Jan 2010 so I could take BEC in February and be done before tax season was over.

I stuck with Bisk again as it had helped me in FAR and I was close with AUD. I let myself relax and felt robbed so I didn’t study enough and scored a 67.

Embarrassing.

That was a week before I was supposed to take BEC but we had the huge snowstorms and the CPA Exam powers that be had expanded the window to include the first week of March.

I took full advantage of the situation and moved my exam to the last possible day of the extension.

I purchased the Yaeger Homestudy, as I was an avid Club 75 member and knew I needed something since it had been since May 2008 since I had passed BEC.

I loved Cindy Simpson and she was amazing. I scored a 75 during tax season!

So back to Audit for try number five. I was going to lose my Regulation credit April 30th if I didn’t pass Auditing.

I didn’t want to put more money into this exam so I went cheap and just bought the Wiley book at Barnes and Noble.

I scored a 71.

I then purchased the Yaeger Homestudy and took Audit for try number six in July. I had given up a float trip with friends 4th of July weekend but it was worth it when I saw that 78 on my screen!

I still had Regulation left, and thought I’d be alright with just the cram since I do tax everyday.

87!

After 18 exams, over $8,500 in exam fees and study materials, I can finally say I’m a CPA!

I learned that everyone learns in their own way so I can’t say I know that everyone will be successful using just one program.

My final success tool (that I wish I’d learned years ago) was Yaeger CPA Review with cpareviewforfree.com questions as a great supplement.

I succeeded with it as I learn well with a teaching method that is similar to college classes that I take notes and they use a white board.

I need to learn why rather than just memorization. If you're the same way, then maybe my story will help you.

-Jennifer

THE AUTHOR

Jennifer

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COMMENTS

6 comments on “CPA Exam Success Story: Jennifer”

  • Naysayers:Riding a bike is better than driving a car, right? I’ll assume your answer is yes. Let’s say, then, that a bike is a green idea to begin with.

  • As Jennifer’s mom, I can tell you that she has always had a fierce determination like no others. There just is no telling her that she can’t do something, and the whole family is so proud of her attitude in addition to her accomplishment.
    Way to be CPA!

  • I’m a friend of Jennifer’s and a fellow CPA. I’ve watched Jenny through the process of studying for the exams. Jenny is an inspiration on so many levels and her passing the exam was no exception. Celebratory shouts could be heard all across our city as we got the news of Jenny’s final, passing score! We are extremely proud of you Jenny and excited that all the hard work has paid off and will continue to do so throughout your career.

  • Jennifer,

    Congratulations on becoming a CPA. You’ve worked hard and you are an inspiration to me. Thank you for the advice in regards to Yaeger. I hope to follow in your shoes soon. Best of luck to you and congratulations again.

  • Thanks a Jennifer for sharing your story. I was at my lowest point before reading this. I am going to appear for FAR next week. This really feels encouraging. Thanks a ton.

  • Hello Jennifer thank you for sharing your study. You show that it takes courage and hard work to be able to succeed with the CPA. I am very happy for you and you should be very proud of yourself. I have thought of giving up on this journey. I took REG in summer and did not succeed. I am now preparing for FARE and thinking of retaking REG I switched from Becker to Yaeger and find it pretty helpful in understanding the concept. I pray that one day I can be a CPA. Good luck with everything!

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