DONE! A NINJA Graduate’s Final Thoughts on the CPA Exam

Farah is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

I found out that I passed all four sections of the CPA exam, and amazingly on my first try!

This has been quite a learning process, to say the least. Hopefully, people will benefit from what I have learned about the CPA exam as I went through it, and my observations of other people who are planning to sit for the exam…

The exam is about hard work, and the effort you’re willing to put in to pass it. I knew going into this that it would take a lot of time and effort.

If you’re not willing to put in the work and think you’ll breeze through it, then you need to readjust your perspective. Nobody is immune from failing this exam.

It’s really easy to procrastinate because of demands for your time. This is where time management comes in. Study when you get a chance.

For example, get an app to review flashcards, or listen to the NINJA Audio when you’re driving or working out. I prefer being able to study for blocks of time, but I adapted because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to set aside blocks of time to study once I started working and attending graduate school full-time.

You need to be flexible and adaptable.

Don’t put it off – get the CPA Exam done. Many people told me to take the CPA exam as soon as possible after graduation. I took it as soon as I got my 150 hours, even before I graduated with my master’s degree.

I know a lot of students who are graduating in May 2013 and starting work in September or October. My advice is to get your transcripts sent to the state board of accountancy, apply to take the CPA exam, order your CPA materials and take off May/June, while your application is being processed.

Then once you get your NTS, study and take the exam in July and August. Treat this like a full-time job. With all the people who are taking the exam that have full-time jobs, families, attend graduate school, etc, your chances of passing it are higher if all you’re doing is studying during the summer.

Yes, life happens. But if you literally have nothing of utmost importance going on, why not pass the CPA exam? The feeling of accomplishment and knowing you can put this exam behind you will definitely compensate you for your time.

Choose the right study materials for you. It doesn’t matter if someone used a particular review course and passed if that course’s format doesn’t address your studying style. Don’t ask everyone for their CPA materials just for the sake of having a variety of materials. It’s like taking the same Intermediate Accounting II class, at the same time, but with 3 different professors.

You need to select the teaching style that works for you, not what works for others. This advice does not pertain to supplements such as audios, flashcards, smartphone apps, etc. It pertains to the core CPA exam preparation materials like recordings and textbooks.

Choose one core preparer, and then supplement it to your heart’s content with NINJA notes, NINJA audio, Wiley MCQs, and so forth. I used one core preparer and supplemented it with the NINJA Audios, Notes, and Flashcards. This approach worked for me and helped me pass all four sections.

Surround yourself with positive people. I had a great CPA study buddy, and the community is very supportive. You need to find people who actually want you to succeed, and you’ll be able to tell who they are very soon in the process.

You also need to develop a thick skin because unless your friends have gone through or will go through the exam, they won’t understand the time and dedication it takes to pass it. I’ve heard comments ranging from, “You should know this by now,” to “All you do is study, the material must be really tough for you.”

With work, graduate school and family, from the time I applied for the exam to when I took my last test, my CPA exam schedule spanned 6 months. I spent about 4-6 weeks studying for each section, drilling through MCQs, TBS and the written communications.

It has been a rough time, but I accomplished my goals with the support of amazing people.

For everyone who is taking the CPA exam, I respect you for your perseverance and dedication. We are all striving for a worthy goal, which will provide ample returns in the future.

To my fellow NINJAs, I am happy to say that this NINJA has graduated from the CPA exam process!

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