BEC Exam: The Unlikely Saboteur

22 Apr 2013


Haley is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

Hey all, it’s been a while! And boy, do I have a story for you today…

Like many of you, I am nearing the end of my CPA journey. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can envision myself being DONE – no more missed events, no more notecard-making, no more agonizingly waiting for scores.

I have completed three of the four sections (FAR, AUD, and REG) and took my fourth today. I’m not going to lie, though…this may not be my last rodeo with the one they call BEC.

Between my Masters program, my business fraternity, my far-away family, and all the other life-things in between, it was not only hard to fit studying for BEC into my schedule, it was hard to stay motivated. I am starting to feel unfathomably exhausted.

It didn’t help that everyone kept telling me that BEC was the “easy” section and that I should just stop worrying so much about it. And I figured they were right. I mean, it has like a fourth of the material that FAR has, and I passed that. I figured they were right, and went with that.

Unfortunately, I must admit that I did not adequately prepare for BEC as a result. While I started looking at the material about 5 weeks ago, I BARELY hit the ground running until about 5 days ago.

Against the advice of both NINJA and my review course, I did not do non-stop MCQs. I did maybe 75% of the ones in my materials, if that. I didn’t really read the answers to the MCQs, either.

I literally just pored over the notes section of my book and made 500 notecards I didn’t even end up using. My only saving grace was the NINJA Audio, which may have been the one useful thing I did for this section.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to be negative. I am writing this because I do not want you to underestimate BEC. I have named it the “Unlikely Saboteur” for a reason: while it may seem small and harmless on the outside, the random, disconnected sections will mess your mind up quicker than you can say “process costing”.

Moreover, the test itself is a mixed bag. You’re either going to get a bunch of questions on a topic you like, or a bunch on one you don’t.

Here are some other tips I have for BEC, while I’m here:

    • Once again, I HIGHLY recommend the NINJA Audio for this section. Some of the stuff (ex. regarding interest rates) is weird and not super-intuitive; the NINJA Audio was amazing for clarification on these.


    • Do NOT get caught up in all the equations for the exam. It is far more important to understand the conceptual reasoning behind why certain ratios/equations/methods are used or how certain happenings will affect said ratios/equations/methods.


  • Do not waste time memorizing material for the writing section. Focus on becoming a grammatically sound, coherent writer and let your knowledge of the MCQs guide the content of your essays.


I’ll report back on how I actually did in a month. For better or for worse, this’ll be interesting.

Keep rockin’ it!


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