Holding out Hope: Not Giving Up Before REG Exam

Patrick is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

My kids and I had a little contest yesterday to see who could score the highest on a random sample of 20 REG questions out of the Wiley Test Bank. I scored 20%, my 5 year old son scored 15%, and my 7 year old daughter scored 40%!

As improbable as a passing score seems right now, I have not given up. I once read a book on quantum physics that made my head spin but was nevertheless a fascinating read.

One theory stuck with me: if you were to walk into a wall enough times, eventually, there is a chance that your molecules could re-arrange themselves and you could pass through the wall. Not probable, but still possible. That, and the fact that my daughter scored a 40% gives me hope, but it will take a miracle.

I'm focusing mostly on tax still and it is somewhat coming together. I listen to the audio program every morning and in the car. I've abandoned the video lectures in favor of the NINJA Notes and Wiley Test Bank.

One technique that has really helped me, is to pull all of the formulas out of the NINJA Notes and re-create them in an excel spreadsheet with actual formulas and numbers built in. This forces me to actually think about and conceptualize the calculations.

I then print these spreadsheets and use them as a quick resource for working MCQ's. While I don't have the calculations memorized, I feel like I'm making progress.

It has also been helpful to compartmentalize my review. Again I'm focusing on tax right now so instead of working MCQ's on all tax-related questions, I'll focus on a specific area like partnerships or individual taxation. I do 30 questions at a time, referring back to the spreadsheet that I created as needed.

When you review all tax topics together, it's easy to get certain treatments confused between partnerships, corporations, and individuals. I know I'll need to distinguish these eventually, but I think this is the best way to start out. I wish I would have used this approach sooner.

If the Wiley Test Bank is anything like the exam, I think the NINJA Notes have enough information to answer most questions in the exam. In other words, if I truly understood everything in the notes, I think I could pass. The topics not covered by the notes appear random and obscure, and I think I can pick them up through repetition.

I've been listening to a lot of Cinderella lately, to stay energized. I'm not ashamed to admit that they're my favorite band of all time, and that in the 80's, I secretly wanted to be David Hasselhoff.

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