AUD Experience: My Exam Strategy

15 Apr 2013


Clint is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

It seems like I had studied for months when in reality it was only 6 weeks. You would think that having less material in auditing would relate to more exposure and time to study. However, that was not the case.

I struggled the last two weeks to finish roughly 250 Wiley MCQs and thoroughly review all of the material. Nevertheless, I was feeling pretty confident going into the exam.

In my previous exam experiences I had never had to wait at Prometric for testing but when I arrived there were four people in front of me.

In addition, with the hot weather here in the South, the AC kept kicking on and off every few minutes, which took a while to accommodate.

I also remembered that I forgot a personal set of earplugs. All of these factors combined were minor annoyances but I don’t think they affected me after a few minutes to get used to them.

I think the best strategy that I use is that I will briefly read a question and if I am certain of the answer it is completed. If I’m able to narrow it down to two I will choose one, flag the question, and move to the next question.

If the question is confusing or I can’t narrow it to two it is simply flagged. Once I’ve gone through the entire testlet a first time, I can look at the number of flagged questions and re-read them which often results in me understanding the question better and recognize the answer. Typically, I will flag anywhere from 5-15 of the questions for each section.

To start the first testlet I had an easy question right off the bat. Yes! On the contrary, the next few questions were a little confusing at the first read so they were flagged. Once I had gone through each question I had only flagged 5 of the questions.

Overall, the testlet was relatively easy in my mind and I’m feeling pretty confident so far.

If the first testlet was a piece of cake the second testlet was a piece of tiramisu. It was complicated, confusing, and downright evil. These questions were no joke.

On the first go round I had flagged roughly 14 questions! That meant I didn’t have a good idea of those answers after briefly reading over the questions. I went through the flagged questions a second time and narrowed them down to about 8 questions that I honestly couldn’t narrow down to one specific answer.

Finally, I simply had to pick and answer and move to the next testlet. I honestly have no confidence in those 8 questions.

For the third testlet, I was relieved to find that the questions were moderately difficult in that I was not going crazy just reading over the question. I had only flagged about 10 questions on the first read through and then I felt more confident after re-reading a few of those questions and forming a logical answer.

So my testlets were Easy – Hard – Intermediate in my perceived level of difficulty.

For the simulations, I was relatively confident in all but two of them. I am generally good at conceptual application tasks so the first five were not that confusing. However, there were two in which I was limited to simple guesses on which answer to choose.

Finally, I decided to take about 15 minutes to research these two simulations in the authoritative literature. Lo and behold, I found answers to one of the questions in explicit detail while searching through the authoritative literature. I eventually found relative information for the other simulation.

Overall, I am feeling pretty confident about the exam considering all but the second testlet. I probably didn’t do well on that one but I knew quite a bit for the remaining testlets and the simulations.

My only concern is if I did so poorly on the second testlet that it leaves little wiggle room for the remaining parts of the exam. I can only wait for my score and get started studying for BEC.

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