DONE! I finally defeated the CPA Exam!

08 May 2013

NINJA CPA Review, NINJA Hall of Fame

Serena is a NINJA CPA Blogger.

Halleluiah—I’m DONE!

After 20ish months of fighting this beast, I have finally defeated the CPA Exam. But I don’t think I could have done it without the help of you all on Another71.

I will admit, I may have only started one discussion thread ever, and definitely don’t contribute as often as many of you, but I do lurk around the site and read a lot of everyone’s discussions. And of course, I am all over it on score release day.

Apologies ahead of time, this post is a little lengthy, because I want to recap my exam experience for those who may not have been following from the beginning.

I started studying in August 2011 and started with AUD. I joined A71 but hadn’t started using any of the NINJA materials; I was using a study software that basically is just a test bank that adapts to your learning and tests you more heavily (with explanations) on things you aren’t scoring well in.

It worked for me and I passed AUD on the first try with a 77. Yippee! Unfortunately, the next test was not so easy. BEC took me two tries, my first try getting me a 72, so for the second try, I got the NINJA package and started blogging here. Success! I passed the second try with a 79.

Now REG was a whole different beast in itself. I still used my test bank and supplemented with the NINJA Notes, Audio, and Flashcards, and the first try came in at a 71. I tried to move onto FAR, but then once I got my score, I switch back to REG.

I really hadn’t gotten deep enough into FAR for it to affect me, and I really didn’t want to forget anything I may have learned about REG. Round two: 74. YIKES! Well, I added some points, but not enough. This time I had to keep pushing on to FAR, and my 18 month window was coming to a close.

I studied my ars off for FAR, making sure to really stick with weekend marathon studying and the ELL method. I drank way too much coffee, and blew off any and all social events. Come to think of it, this is what I did for each of the sections I had passed. When I didn’t do this, I ended up failing.

I took FAR April 6, and had round 3 scheduled for REG on April 18th—TWO days before my AUD score would expire. There would be no messing around. I then had less than two weeks to cram and really delve into my problem areas: secured transactions, Uniform Commercial Code, and Estates/Trusts. Of course I still practiced all the other areas to make sure they stuck, too.

I guess that method worked, and my scores for FAR and REG came out on Friday—which was the most nerve-racking day ever, with AUD, FAR, and REG all riding on the line. If I failed both, I would basically only have one test under my belt.

I kept telling myself, of course I really need to pass both, but if for some reason I don’t, please please PLEASE let me pass just ONE, because if I fail both, I really don’t think I have the strength or desire to continue on with the CPA exam.

Actually, I not only told myself this, I told my husband, my friends and my family. I was honestly considering making a career change if I failed REG for the fourth time and didn’t pass FAR.

Maybe marketing? Copywriting looks like fun…

If you saw my post in the score release thread, you will know that I got a 79 on FAR and … an embarrassing 75 on REG. I added one measly point, but it was the point that counted. So here we are! I’m going to go ahead and stick with this career choice after all.

Every time I watch the score release threads on the Another71 Forum, I become a little jealous of those who actually score in the 80s or better yet, the 90s. Of course, when I present my CPA license to employers or clients, no one will ever ask what scores I got, so it doesn’t really matter.

But being a straight-A student all my life, it’s a little hard to swallow that none of my scores were above the 70s. Because to the rest of the world, a 75 is “average.”

I’m sure many of you feel the same way, so here’s a more positive way to look at it: these tests are so incredibly hard that even when you score in the 70s, you busted your butt to get there, and it’s a passing score for a reason – we are still qualified to have the public’s trust.

So in a nutshell:

Listen to Jeff. You have to get serious to pass and commit the time. The sooner you realize this and DO IT, the sooner you will be done. Use the ELL method (which is FREEEEEEE!!)

Invest in the NINJA notes, audio and flashcards. These seriously made the difference and helped me understand much of the material. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need the big name expensive study material to pass. I didn’t use ANY videos. If you work enough MCQs, you will learn what you need to know. Buying the NINJA 10-pt combo + a less expensive study material is still cheaper than some of those packages out there.

Remember that the test is not impossible to pass, and even if you get a 75, you are still just as qualified as the person that scored a 91. And if you don’t feel you are—there’s always CPE to help you get there! Not to mention, it is your professional responsibility, too.

Thank you everyone for following along on this journey, and I look forward to reading (and contributing) on the forum. And most of all, thank you Jeff and Another71 team! Now it’s time to do this ethics exam and submit my application to be a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Caaaaaaaliforniaaaaa (read in the voice of the narrator of “the Californians” on SNL).

Best of luck to all you future CPAs!


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