Study Strategy on the Eve of My FAR Exam

10 Feb 2014


Tori is a NINJA CPA Blogger.


I am writing to you on the eve of my 3rd attempt at FAR. I am so nervous about my performance. I have put in a lot of effort to get ready for this section and I still am not sure I have done enough. There are some things that worked to my advantage for this section.

For example, about 2.5 weeks ago, one of my firm's partners stopped by my cube and asked how things are going. Essentially, I asked for some time off to study and ended up with a modified work schedule (2-3) days per week.

This has been a major advantage in terms of studying, because as I'm sure most candidates are aware; it is really hard to get in quality study time when you are working 6 days a week 10-14 hours a day. I really feel like the time was used quite productively and hope that my efforts pay off.

I have been actively pursuing these exams for over 2 years now, and as much as it sounds crazy, I learn something new with regard to study strategy with each section I attempt.

For example, a few weeks ago I was really overwhelmed with the breadth of material to be covered in FAR. Having worked in management for a while, I know that large tasks no matter how daunting can be accomplished in small pieces. So I took this strategy straight from Jeff's podcasts about 20 question practice sessions in the Wiley online test bank.

However, I didn't just take small bites. I started by assessing which topics have the largest volume of questions (presumably the highest concentration on the exam) and just started knocking the sections out, 20 questions at a time. Keep in mind that every time I miss a question, the answer explanation is added to my notes.

After each 20 question set where I score less than 75 I retype my NINJA Notes, and pick another 20 from the same topic, until I am scoring the above 80 threshold on the practice sessions.

Now one thing makes me nervous about this. I clearly have been short on time, and as exam day looms nearer, this strategy certainly was modified. The last time I took FAR (in November) I really stuck to my guns and didn’t move on to the next topic until I felt proficient in the current one.

I switched into “Running out of time” mode and started really plowing through the practice questions. My strategy here was to really expose myself to as many topics as possible in the short amount of time remaining. I don’t know if this is going to work, however, in crisis mode you have to use your judgement and hope for the best.

Well, Im going back to the Wiley test bank now. I will check in when I start prepping for AUD next week. Oh and shout out to fellow NINJA Blogger Ben who just got some great news about his REG Score! Congrats Buddy!

Have a great week,


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Ashley 10 years ago

I'd like to hear what Jeff has to say about exam crunch mode. I'm taking the FAR exam at the end of this month, and there were a couple sections that I missed a couple weeks ago, and instead of working through them and staying behind, I just jumped over them and picked up where my study program said I should be. As the exam day approaches, is rushing through those videos to get that exposure to the material, better than reviewing trouble areas? How do you weight the two? Review topics that are familiar and beat them to death while ignoring unwatched topics? Or glance over non-reviewed material so it becomes slightly known, and cut back on studied topics?