Taking the CPA Exam with Kids

Hi. I need some advice. I am using Wiley and I am getting good scores on the software, but am not passing the exam. I watch the lectures and do the MC questions and SIMS. I am pressed for time as I have 2 young kids and work FT. Any study tips you have that you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! - Kris H.


They say if you can teach it then you truly understand it. It's possible you've started to remember at least some of the answers but aren't completely grasping the why or how. I know how you feel, 3 kids, 1 FT and 1 side business but they only way I've passed and have gotten past that 75 was to review the answer keys and jot down VERY short notes, as if you were only able to glance at them for a presentation. Then act it out as if you're teaching it. I know it sounds silly but if you catch yourself unable to take a small tidbit of information and explain it to someone who doesn't understand, even if that person is fictional, then you haven't fully grasped it. I passed REG after 2 attempts bc I like taxes lol, but AUD took me 3 tries and I just passed BEC on my 4th, 4th attempt at FAR next week and I can tell you that, for me, I didn't pass until I wrote down small notes and pretended to teach someone. Also a BIG difference is I've taken off the day before each exam and spent the whole day doing this. It's made a tremendous difference. Then on test day I get there by 9 after dropping the kids off, grab breakfast and a snack (to eliminate unnecessary breaks) and review those notes in my car until my test at 1. But when I review, I briefly explain it, I do NOT reread the notes like a zombie. That won't help. Doing this is hard, add kids and jobs and you'll think you were crazy lol! - Tara C.

Read more…

CPA Exam Overwhelm

This is my first time studying for & taking FAR.  I am SO overwhelmed. It’s like everything is going in one ear and out the other and I’m not absorbing anything.... any suggestions on how to tackle this?  I’ve taken AUD & REG, failed with a 70 and 66. I had already scheduled FAR so I’m going to focus on that for now before my NTS expires. I didn’t feel this way studying for the other two so I’m just wondering if I should tackle it a different way. I would watch the lectures (in 2x speed) for the entire section using Becker and then go through the MCQs and SIMs for that section before moving onto the next. Of course I missed some and had to take notes but I feel like with FAR I am at a loss with the material completely and I’m not grasping anything. - Raelynn K.

Read more…

Study Plan Talk - All Sections

Drop those study plans & tips like their hot!  See you in the comments ;-)

Carve out times dedicated for exam studying. Above all, practice, practice, practice MCQs and Sims until you're sick of them. That's the strategy I'm going with, anyhow. I'm currently in the phase in Wiley where I'm going through each lesson and trying to get a 75 or more in three tries. If I can't understand the material/MCQs in the assessment enough to get above a 75 in 3 tries, then I have moved on from it. Will return once I have completed all others and identified the struggle areas. - Amanda W.

Read more…

Choosing the Best Study Materials

As you can imagine, this is a big, BIG question at the study groups.  I'll be dropping member's feedback here ... check out the comments and feel free to contribute!

(via Amanda W.) Honestly, I think any of the major providers work, the more important thing is your study strategy and the time dedicated. Practicing MCQs and Sims more than anything else, vs. focusing on reading and memorization, etc.

I think practicing MCQs and Sims is a better use of your time than reading and memorizing, at least for FAR because of how much material you have to go through. Best, then, to get self-study material that will allow you to use something like a Study mode (where, after finishing a single Sim or MCQ, even if not done with the set, you will see an answer and explanation). Any that don't allow that are fine if you can take 1 question MCQ or sim with them. The important thing is immediate feedback, which fosters immediate/faster learning.

But, again, it depends on what you want to be your main method of tackling the material. How soon do you want to feel like you're "getting" somewhere. How you want your study objectives organized. What "extra" stuff you want the package to have to help you with your method.

As you can see... it's complicated. I know where you're coming from, though. But honestly, you can succeed with any major CPA package... it's how you use the resources that matter, more or less.

(speaking so big and confidently even though she hasn't even taken the exam yet and is totally not ready for this, haha) - Amanda W.

Read more…

Disheartened I'm not making progress

Hi guys, I am looking for some help and advice. I took FAR for the first time in June and scored a 63. I was very disappointed but was determined to study for the next exam and push through and get a 75. I really did think this was attainable even though I work full-time, because I do you study every evening and every weekend.  I just got my score this week for my second attempt and I only made a 66. I was disheartened because I thought if I did not pass I would at least score in the low 70s… Does anyone have any advice they are willing to share with me? This is the last section I need to pass to obtain the CPA certification. That makes it extra disappointing. Thanks in advance! - Kait W.

Read more…

The Uniform CPA Examination® consists of several question types that test the knowledge and skills required of entry-level CPAs. You can familiarize yourself with the format and functionality of the exam by practicing with the sample tests for each section and reviewing the tutorial topics, which are found under the “Help” button within each sample test. - AICPA

You can find the sample tests and tutorial topics here: 

CPA Exam Sample Tests and Tutorial Topics


Read more…

Here's some feedback to help you answer this age-old question ... how do your practice / mock exams measure up to the actual exam?  I'll include some general information here in the post and as I run into review provider specific information, I'll post in the comments.  Feel free to contribute to this set of "data".  

Remember, the best a preparation software can do is a raw score. The CPA exam is not a raw score test. So while doing “really bad” is not a good indicator of material knowledge or comfort, I have known people to pass while scoring high 60’s and low 70’s on practice exams. Prep material also is bad at grading SIMS. - Damon B.

The actual exam score depends on how everyone else does during the window that you take the exam - the score you get on your review doesn’t reflect how you will be graded. - Omar F.

I've heard from someone that the Becker SIMs are harder than the actual exams. This is from a student who passed all 4 parts of the exam on the first try, and one woman who had just taken an exam and she reported the same general feel.  As the chairman of my accounting department said, "We prepare you to run a marathon, even though the actual race is much shorter." ...that's probably not the exact words, but you get the idea. - Amanda W.

Read more…
Email me when there are new items in this category –
Join CPA Exam Club Plus (CEC+)

Access Over 550 CPA Exam Resources
Notes - Downloads - Flashcards - Videos
All Sections Included - Cancel Anytime!