Tori is a NINJA CPA Blogger.
It has been a while since I last checked in and wanted to give everyone a status update. The last 2.5 months have been quite busy for me, as a matter of fact, I sat for 3 sections since mid October.
As for the outcomes there has been some highs and lows, however I am pressing on.
For starters, I sat for REG 2x since the last time I wrote. Great news there, is that I passed REG. Granted it may have been my 4th attempt, but a pass is a pass. The only problem with this great news is that it came as I was quickly approaching the expiration of my passing audit score.
To cut to the chase, I took FAR (potentially my last section) with a little under 4 weeks from the date I sat for/passed REG. With the impending expiration of my AUD score, I feverishly spent all non working hours studying and preparing. I was even encouraged by the management at my firm.
Right after I received the news that I passed REG, the partners asked how they could help me to get through FAR, and granted me about 3 PTO days right in the middle of busy season, as well as a pass from working on the 2 weekends leading up to my exam.
Now I know everyone who works or has worked in public accounting knows this is a very generous amount of support to receive, and I really wish it had been enough. Sadly, I received a failing score on FAR, last weekend. There seems to be a little silver lining here though.
I took a calculated risk in the methodology in which I prepared. I certainly played non stop NINJA Audio, and wrote and rewrote my NINJA notes. However, instead of blitzing through the material, I chose to stick with a topic until I accomplished a certain proficiency level (80% correct /30 question set of MCQs) before moving on to another topic.
This strategy has worked for me for every section I have passed, however, the factor that was different this time, is well, the time factor. There simply was not enough. With less than 4 weeks of prep time remaining, working/commuting 12-15 hours a day really depletes the time available to study/sleep/eat, etc.
So as I opened my status on my state boards website and saw the score report, I was immediately briefly disappointed. Then when I saw the comparison by testing area, I was shocked to see that I only had 2 categories of MCQ where I was weaker than passing candidates, plus a weaker in the simulations of course.
My take away here is that I clearly did not get through all the material. I was not even halfway done. Now I know from personal experience, and the experience of fellow CPA candidates, that if you are weaker in the simulations, it is nearly impossible to pass the exam.
So, what does that mean? Would you spend more time on practicing for the simulations? I certainly will not. My strategy that has worked for all sections I have passed (3 passed- 1 Expired=2 current passed sections) is to work every single MCQ. Even if I have seen the question and know the answer by heart, every time I see the question in my 30 question study sessions, I work out every step with a pen and paper/calculator.
BTW, Who loves the new calculator in the exam? I do!
This was a key strategy for me especially when studying for BEC, and for that dang AMT calculation for REG. So when it came time to execute in the simulations, the combination of knowing how to calculate a solution, as well as ensuring I obtain an 80% or more proficiency in my practice MCQs, I felt like I have been more than adequately prepared for the sims.
So what is next for me? I am still in the middle of busy season. I still have to sit for and pass 2 sections of the exam, FAR, and AUD (expired). What does the time frame look like? I would love to be done by the end of the next testing window. I plan to sit for both sections in Q1, 2014.
This will provide some cushion, because my next section will expire in May, 2014. I would really rather not lose a section, ever again. I have already printed my new application to the CA state board. Once I receive my next ATT, I will go ahead and pay the fees for FAR and AUD.
I plan to sit for FAR as soon as my NTS will allow me to. It usually takes about 4 weeks for the process here in CA, so I am thinking in the first week or two in January will be a good time to shoot for. Then I will take AUD near the end of the window. I will go ahead and schedule both at the same time.
So, now that everyone is up to date on the saga of my CPA exam journey, how are things going for you all? I want to say congrats for everyone who passed a section or passed their last section recently. For those who ended up on the wrong side of 75, I want to say I understand what you are going through. Just persevere.
Maybe, consider NOT even taking a few days to sulk when you receive the bad news. Just use the rejection as an opportunity to light a fire within yourself? Literally, after I saw my score, I apologized to my husband, created a new state board application and got in the shower to get ready for work. When I got to the client, I told my supervisor the bad news, and then told her I plan to sit for 2 exam sections next quarter.
Moral of the story here, is that I am determined. I will get over this hurdle in life, and be able to gloat to the rest of the world, that I did it.
One day when I can shout from the rooftops that I slayed this beast called the CPA exam, I will. I will not let the AICPA beat me, I am fixed and determined. For however long it takes, I will not let a quarter pass where I do not attempt a section. This will be the year I win. I will be a CPA!