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CPA preparation

This is in response to a recent comment asking about how I found time to study for the CPA while working as a full-time auditor. I didn't really have a set plan unlike some individuals. I didn't take the classes, but if a classroom setting helps you focus, then definitely go for it. I spent quite a few hours with the Becker cds, and this gave me more flexibility since I could study when I had time to. In a nutshell, I took about two months to study for FAR, and a month each for Regulation, BEC and Audit. I essentially got back from work around 7-7:30ish and either studied at a Starbucks, in my client location, at the library or at home sometimes. I aimed for about half a lecture a day and probably studied about 5 days a week. I lacked focus so it took me more time to study, so for those of you who actually can focus and not get too distracted, you should be in good shape. I did go out on the weekends to keep my sanity during the studying process, but I tried to stay away from the hangovers so I could get some studying done on the weekends too.
I took pretty much all the practice questions for FAR and tried to repeat the ones I answered incorrectly initially. REG wasn't as bad but a lot of people seem to fail this exam. I did take a couple weeks off (used up my vacation time since it didn't roll over - I am not a fan!)
for REG so that probably helped a lot. I studied for BEC during busy season and it was a little rough but we didnt work weekends that particular month so I tried to get a lot of it done then. BEC also didn't cover a lot of material so it was pretty manageable. I actually barely passed Audit, which is not really surprising since I didn't study much for it. One would hope that auditing for a living could help while taking the exam. I'll be honest though, by the time I was studying for the fourth section, I was mentally drained. I did not want to study anymore, so as much as it is good to finish your CPA as fast as possible, pace yourself. I hated studying for the last section.
Also, don't do a half-ass studying job, you don't want to fail these exams and take them again. Especially FAR, the prep book is like a encyclopedia. I'm not sure what the exact stats are, but I think only 25% of CPA exam takers pass all of them in their first try. So if you fail, don't be disheartened. Just hope you're not a horrendous client where you hit late nights every day. If that happens, you just don't want to study. And sometimes you have to put your foot down. I told my manager on this one saturday afternoon that I don't have time to work on this client today since I wanted to study for my exam on Monday. And she was actually taken aback by that. But they have to realize that they can't keep pushing us to get our CPA and at the same time make us work all the time without giving us the flexibility to study.
If there's anything specific you'd like me to talk about with regards to this, let me know. But that's about it, good luck to everyone studying for it right now.


Anonymous said…
Thanks for the entry! I was "that guy who asked."
ND said…

i just graduated, and is considering to start my career with the big4. I will also do my professional papers as well..

nevertheless, all the stories about pressures, late night works, travelling makes me wonder will i be able to juggle between work, study and life?

i know tht an audit background will help u alot in ur future career since i'm looking to work with big4 around 3 to 4 year tops.

hence, would really need your advice and experience on how should i juggle these 3 factors (life,work and study). is it really that bad?? honestly,i am quite scared because i'm afraid i can't handle the pressure. but on the other hand, i can't say much since i haven't tried it yet right? hehe

your advice on this matter will help me a lot =)
notfordisplay said…
Don't worry about it. It's very manageable. Just work efficiently so you can get out at a decent time. Set a study schedule at put in 1-2 hours a day during the week and a little more during the weekend and you'll be fine.
ND said…
thanks =)

that's a relieve to hear. I've decided to take on the challenge then! =) Anyway, I belive u have got ur CA then, does the qualification really helps u a lot in your career pathway?
notfordisplay said…
If you stick to accounting, absolutely. Regardless of what company you choose.

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