Rob is a new NINJA CPA Blogger.
Hello fellow CPA Exam Takers,
My name is Rob; Im a 43-year-old happily married father of two living in a town approximately 30 miles north of Boston.
Since 1989, Ive made my way through the ranks of accounting jobs: A/P, A/R, staff accountant, Senior Staff Accountant, A/P Supervisor, General Accounting Manager, and now Global Finance Manager.
Ive been told that if you wanted to advance your accounting career, you need a CPA license.
So after years of not wanting to invest the time or effort into studying for the exam, a chance meeting over a game of pickleball put me on a path that Im not still not sure where its leading. Whats pickleball? Its like tennis, but the court is smaller, you use paddles, and the ball is similar to a wiffle ball.
A few years ago I was considering sitting for the exam and evaluating CPA review courses. I hadnt yet made up my mind, when at a Thursday night game of pickleball, I was paired with a guy I had never met. As it turned out, he works for a review course!
While Im not into the supernatural, I took this as a sign that I should take the CPA exam. So I bought the entire product line.
Now, armed with materials, I sought the advice of others who had taken the exam for guidance. Unfortunately, all had different advice, so I decided to start with FAR based on the fact that it encompasses the most material and is generally considered the hardest section.
Since I dont have an accounting degree (undergrad and masters both in business), a lot of the material was new or something I had seen years ago but havent used in my career (like bonds or non-profit accounting). Along the way, I discovered Another71.com and was happy to meet and read about others who were in the same situation as I was.
After a couple of stops and starts, I got on a schedule and completed all of the DVDs, a ton of MCQs, and a lot of simulations. I took the exam and did not have a strong feeling either way if I passed or not.
When my FAR results came, my score was FAR from passing (pun intended). It was a like a kick to the gut, not that I failed, but by how much. People I talked to said I would feel worse if I scored a 74, but I didnt agree.
At least with a 74, you were in the game; with my score, I wasnt even in the ballpark. I reached out for advice and was told, Maybe FAR was not the place to start; try BEC to build some confidence. So I started on BEC.
From the outset, BEC seemed easier corporate governance, project management, and economic theory were all things I was familiar with, but then theres cost accounting, which Im not so familiar with.
So I again watched all the BEC DVDs, did a ton of MCQs, and studied practice essays. I was nervous, but I felt ready on exam day. But I failed miserably again. So I started BEC again and got on the ELL (early, lunch, late) study schedule.
I was awake most mornings at 5am and studying until 6am, studying at lunch time, and ending the day with more studying, but I failed BEC again and added only three points to my previous failing grade.
Something was wrong; I couldnt understand why I wasnt able to remember what I had learned and recall the concepts on test day. I went for neuropsychological testing and was diagnosed with ADHD. It made sense: I was losing focus when I would try to study for more than an hour, and I wasnt retaining anything I was studying.
After a break while trying to figure out how best to study with the ADHD diagnosis, Im about ready to start BEC again. What will be different this time? Im working with a coach, and I will have medication that will help my memory and my focus. Im hoping the medicine will have the same effect on my CPA scores as PEDs did for A-Rods batting average and home run totals!