Mark is a weekly NINJA CPA Blogger.
Well the planets must have been in line because I passed FAR with a 79!
It's been eleven months, seven exams, countless early mornings and late nights, but this NINJA is finally done!!
After back-to-back 71s on REG in November and January, I was able to rattle off 3 straight passes. Beating BEC, REG (finally) and most recently FAR. Since I won't be writing blogs anymore, I thought I might share some things I've learned along the way.
Find out what works for you. This will most likely take a couple attempts, but it's important to figure out in order to use your time efficiently.
I see a lot of threads on the forum asking what method works best, or how should I study for this part or that part. Well, everyone has their own learning style. So what works for one may not work for another.
Don't cut yourself off from society. I did this on my first attempt at FAR and it made me a nervous wreck….and obviously it didn't turn out well.
Balancing work, study and play is possible and making time for friends and family will help keep you sane. I found that if I was able to get a few hours of studying done in the morning that I didn't feel as guilty if I went out with friends later that night.
If you know you have something coming up on the weekend, plan ahead and get a little more done during the week. Don't change your plans because of the CPA exam, change the CPA exam to fit your plans. You'll be much happier this way.
Get into a routine. I think the saying is something like it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well take those 21 days and put them to good use. Once I fell into a groove, I used the exact same schedule every week until I passed the exam.
Cramming long hours one day then skipping the next will do nothing but frustrate you. Get a plan and stick to it.
Do something everyday. Even if it's only 30 minutes. The CPA exam is all about short-term memory. If you stay in the material every day you'll be able to recall what you've learned, and eventually all the pieces will fall into place.
Repetition is the key to success. Answer as many Wiley MCQs questions as humanly possible. Even if you think you know the topic, or have seen the question before, keep at it. I think this helps you spot trick questions on the exams.
Also, talk it out. Tell yourself why the answer is correct and the others are wrong. I wrote out notes as if I were teaching the topic to someone that knew nothing about accounting.
Finally, stay positive! Keep telling yourself you can do this. If you get down on yourself or feel defeated, then you've let the CPA exam win. You are smart enough, the exam is passable and nothing is impossible.
Take this with a grain of salt, because like I said, this is what worked for me. I also want to say thanks to Jeff and everyone in the A71 community. Without knowing it you've played a huge part in my success and I'm forever grateful.
NINJA blogger, over and out.