My FAR Experience

FAR – Believe the Hype

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This isn't my first rodeo and although I've sat for – and passed FAR before, that was two years ago and I didn't take anything for granted this time. All totaled, I probably spent over 100 hours studying and worked 2000+ MCQs. Still, I was surprised, but not overwhelmed by any means with what I encountered today.

For starters, FAR is a mile wide and an inch deep. I expected certain topics to be hit more than others. That didn't happen – it was a little bit of everything. I couldn't tell you one topic that I felt was tested on more than others.

My first testlet was cake. It was easy and the questions were a sentence or two on average – very easy on the eyes and self esteem. I was cruising. I have a terrible habit however of clicking the “next” button or whatever it is and going back to check to see if my answer was still there…or going back and recalculating the numbers again. It's a little obsessive-compulsive thing that I have going, I guess.

The honeymoon was short lived. The second testlet was murder and it was not pleasant. As a jaded veteran of this process, I knew I was doing well, so onward I marched.

Testlet three was pure misery. When I studied, I worked a lot of MCQs over just about every topic and every little exception or gotcha that I encountered, I wrote down in a narrative form that I would understand while reviewing 2 hours prior to my exam. It was this extra effort during my study process that got me through testlet three. It was slow going and difficult. I was also starting to tire about 70 questions in. The final 20 were a grind.

I didn't take any breaks and tried to keep pushing myself as I saw the clock winding down. I stumbled into sim one with 55 minutes left. Not good. I wrote the memo first after briefly holding my breath to see what sim I had inherited. I hit the memo and worked my magic there. The research didn't seem to understand my search terms. I probably would have had better luck using expletives. No dice on the research tab.

I did the tabs in simulation one and moved on to sim two with 20 minutes left. Yikes.

Just like simulation one, it was doable. I calmly knocked out the communication tab, cursed the research tab and didn't look at it and moved to the first answer tab and then crickets…

The instruction tab was very vague and didn't explain what I was supposed to do with tab one. I stared at it for five minutes, baffled, and then realized what I was supposed to do. The only problem was that I had two minutes left. I frantically filled in what I could, but time ran out.

All in all, I'm confident that I passed. I was prepared and I recognized the curveballs that they were throwing at me. Were parts of it frustrating? Absolutely. I felt better prepared for FAR than I was for REG and I worked harder at it. We'll see how this one goes. I have a habit of throwing “hail marys” on exam day, but this was not the case. I worked hard and probably put in 60 hours of studying in the past two weeks and gave it everything I could. I have no regrets.

With the exam fresh in my mind, my one piece of advice is to not sit for the exam unless you have exhaustively studied for FAR and have done it right. They test you on everything and a realistic timetable for studying is around 100 hours, give or take. Some pass with more, some with less. 100 hours seems to be the norm according to people that I know who have also taken it.

For the first time in a long time – I'm doing nothing for a few weeks. I'm assuming that I passed and I feel like that assumption is warranted.

Thank you for reading.

THE AUTHOR

jeff

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COMMENTS

20 comments on “FAR – Believe the Hype”

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. I had butterflies in my stomach as if I was taking the exam myself. Good luck on passing and please update and let us know how you did…

  • I took FAR earlier this summer and am now working on BEC.
    I know what you mean about staring at the second FAR sim and not knowing what they wanted me to do with the table they gave me.
    I stared at it 5 minutes too, but only had about 6 minutes left at that point and struggled to get it all filled in.
    Unfortunately I got a 73 on the FAR exam and so I will be taking it again.

  • What kind of work are you doing now?

    I work for an investor-owned electric utility. My job is a hybrid of accounting and finance. Working in a regulated environment is a new experience for sure. We use GAAP, but there’s also some quirky regulatory stuff as well.

    Are the simulations also adaptive?

    I don’t believe that they are. I also got some what one might call “pity sims” on REG and I scored well. My FAR sims weren’t difficult either. We’ll see, I guess.

  • I am glad you feel confident about FAR. You have worked hard on this and you definitely deserve to pass.
    What kind of work are you doing now?

    Are the simulations also adaptive? I took FAR on 10/24 and felt pretty good about testlet 1, ok about testlet 2, and felt like I took a beating on testlet 3… but when I got to the sims they seemed pretty simple. Now Im worried that I bombed on the MC and got the “pity” sims.

  • Do you recommend reading the wiley book before starting the lecture? Any other study materials I should use?

    No – I don’t see a need to read the Wiley book. The Yaeger instructors mine the Wiley book for info and lecture only on what they feel that is relevant to the exam. Three out of the four of them are also college professors and while Phil isn’t a college instructor, he has a PhD. They’re all CPAs and have devoted their careers to accounting and the CPA Exam, so they know what YOU should know. There’s no need to read the book if you watch the lectures, take great notes and work all of the assigned MCQs and take great notes over those as well.

    Do you have any thoughts about going into public accounting to get the license? I worked for two years in public accounting and have the experience req covered…I’ll just have my old boss from back in the day sign off on it. If I *didn’t* have it, I wouldn’t go back…I would make a lot less than what I do now as a beginner CPA, unfortunately.

  • When you pass the exams, what do you plan on doing career-wise Another71? Do you have any thoughts about going into public accounting to get the license?

  • Hi, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I hope you passed!

    I’m taking REG in a few weeks and I’m getting really worried. I see that you used Yaeger video too, I was wondering how you studied for that section? I read your post about using a legal pad and taking notes. Do you recommend reading the wiley book before starting the lecture? Any other study materials I should use?

  • Good luck! I just took this exam on 10/27. I got through everything with enough time, and pray that I am correct in thinking testlets 2 & 3 were harder than 1. I know I made some mistakes, but I am so hopeful that I passed. I honestly feel so burned out from studying that section, that I never want to do it again! Oh well, I know I did my best, so I will just have to wait to see. Anyway, on to Audit!

  • Good Luck! I am sure this is going to be it for you…the question becomes…whats next:)!

    Keep us updated when you receive your grade in December please.

  • I checked with the CPA-Exam.org website and BEC doesn’t use the Adaptive questioning that REG, FAR, and AUD uses. I didn’t think it did, but I wanted to double check.

    From the site:

    “At the present time, Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) does not follow the adaptive model, and is composed of testlets at the moderate level of difficulty only.”

  • I’m glad to hear that the more difficult the questions seemed, the more confident you were that you passed. I took BEC a couple weeks ago and felt very confident in the first testlet, not quite as confident but still pretty confident in testlet two, and pretty uneasy about testlet three. I figured I probably got 25/30, 22/30, and 20/30 on the MCQs. Hopefully that’s good enough for a 75.

  • It was just a NASBA rep that I got to give me some info. Through trial and error, I found an extension with someone helpful at the other end. 🙂

  • i’m curious what little bird you were able to talk to at NASBA about your other score, that would be a handy contact to have it would seem.

  • I hope you passed too! FAR is quite unpleasant, where just about anything and everything in the world shows up. Enjoy your time off – I’ve got fingers crossed for you!

  • Good Luck with the results… I am sure you passed it. I have two exam schedule this month… Nov 16 and 29th for REG and AUD… first two sections.. lets see how i do… really really nervous !!! Its so hard to concentrate.. grrr

  • Thanks for sharing! And good luck to you!!!

    My exam is in less than 2 weeks and I am starting to worry. I feel like I have so much left to go and not enough time. I have really started buckling down but I am finding it hard to concentrate. I hope this will be over for the both of us real soon!

  • Good Luck! I hope you passed too. Although if you did I guess I will have to find another blogger to share in my misery as I continue to struggle through.

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