The CPA Exam: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Dale is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

I have to tell you, studying for the CPA exam… it's been a real struggle as of late. I study the topics, answer the MCQs and start over working to add points on the next go round.

I have to constantly remind myself that I have embarked on a marathon, not a sprint. I have to master all of the information because while passing the exam is important, being a highly knowledgeable professional after the exam is equally if not more important.

My high school kids school year is winding down, one of which is graduating so there are decisions to be made in the midst of celebration. My college kid's year is winding down and there are the decisions for next year like where to live, what to take and when so they can graduate on time. Then there has to be time for marriage, work, personal life and balance.

Point is, without much effort, study time can get derailed and any progress and momentum I built is lost and I feel like I have to start all over. For me, that's a terrible feeling. I read the blog threads written by many that have taken the test more times than I have and I see they struggle too.

I read in their posts that they get frustrated, aggravated and discouraged just like I have been. Some have contemplated career change, some question whether they have made the right choices to pursue this career path, and I'm certain there are a number that have quit trying without writing anything about it.

So for me, I am comforted by reading about the struggles of others to accomplish this goal. I feel better knowing that there are many that have felt the same way I have and do. And reading about those struggles that ended in success gives me strength to continue on. A heartfelt thank you to all that never gave up and serve as an example to me that difficult isn't impossible.

I have a friend that was in nursing school years ago that was stressed out about an upcoming pharmacology exam. It was pass or fail…they either got a 100% or they failed. She told me about the exam and how they protested to the professor's choice of grading and the about the response which made perfect sense…”How would YOU like to be the patient who trusted your life to the nurse that got an 85% on their meds exam?”

That one exchange puts a new perspective on this quest I have undertaken and while I am not dealing with physical life or death issues as my friend the nurse is, I deal with clients that have received IRS notices almost on a daily basis.

In my experience, there is not one other piece of mail found in the mailbox that creates emotion and fear that an IRS envelope does and to them, the client, it's a life or death situation and they look to a knowledgeable professional to help get the IRS “off their front porch” so to speak.

I am thankful for and impressed by the NINJA products simply because they are pragmatic and straightforward providing immediate feedback about my strengths and weaknesses which allows me to zero in on what I need to really focus and work on to master and identify those areas that need only maintenance to keep fresh in my mind.

I have used the NINJA Flashcards religiously at the baseball park, the gym, in the car while I am sitting in traffic…anywhere I can find a free minute or two to do a topic. The clear and simple language of the flashcards and notes has really helped me make the best use of my time, such that it is, to drill into my mind the necessary information to pass the exam. And it does so without any fluff, just crystal clear easy to understand language applied to sometimes not-so-clear topics.

I'm not expecting 100%'s on the exam but am certainly shooting higher than the 75…

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