CPA exam

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CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Sat May 19, 2012 8:55 am

Anybody here studying for the CPA exam? I passed BEC in February and just took FAR yesterday. I think it went ok, but it was a lot more material than BEC.

Regulation is next, probably in August!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby MoneyTalks183 » Sun May 20, 2012 2:22 pm

I am. Passed BEC and taking FAR on May 31st. Taking a break from studying as we speak.

To keep this personal finance related, study materials are not cheap! I have Becker paid for but I would recommend anyone who wants to take the test to look at the Wiley Test Bank which can be obtained for about $200 for all 4 parts with a discount code. It won't teach you the material but it will give you a treasure trove of problems to work on.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby Juniormint » Sun May 20, 2012 2:35 pm

Me too. Have taken FAR, REG, and AUD so far and passed all. Now working on BEC and for some reason, even though it's the shortest and seems to be easier, I hate the studying process for it. Maybe because I've literally haven't had a break ever since I started my CPA exams and I'm sick of not having a life, but we must preserver. We're almost there!

REG was my favorite so far, which was odd since I was convinced before starting the exams that I did not want to go into taxation for a career since I hated all my tax classes in school. Now, I re-thinking my future plans. I loved the REG exam, it was more client orientated where as everything in school was more focused on internal taxation of different entities (not bad) but missing the client aspect of it. Honestly, I fallen more in love with tax now that I find it more applicable to real life and real life situations. Being in school at 18 and never having done my own taxes, learning about taxes was horrible since I didn't have a proper point of reference. Now that it's more applicable, it's fun and it leaves me feeling good.

Good luck with all your exams everyone.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby EagertoLearnMore » Sun May 20, 2012 2:40 pm

What would you suggest doing to study? There are courses offered by Becker as well as buying books and studying on your own.
Is one way better than the other? Are there online study guides for CPA exam as well?
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Re: CPA exam

Postby Juniormint » Sun May 20, 2012 3:12 pm

EagertoLearnMore wrote:What would you suggest doing to study? There are courses offered by Becker as well as buying books and studying on your own.
Is one way better than the other? Are there online study guides for CPA exam as well?


I took the live-class version of Becker and I definitely recommend taking them. It is expensive, there is no doubt about it, but I think Becker was essential to my success. First, the material you get in Becker is up to par, totally what you need to study for the exam. The sample questions, final exams, tests, and simulations look just like the CPA exams you take and so you're not shocked when you first take the test, that plus a lot of of the questions were similar if not exactly like that on your problems. Becker works tireslessy to update all your software, questions, materials and so you're up to date on all your materials.

I took the live-class version (Saturdays for eight hours) mainly for the motivational aspect. By taking the live classes, I was forced to keep up with the reading and do the homework before the class met again so I wasn't putting things off and I wasn't prolonging each test. Each class section is about a month long with fifteen days until the next section begins. That was the time I gave myself to study and take the exams and not get behind because it is extremely easy to get behind. The teachers are also spectacular, they're all CPAs out working in the field, they have great experience, and they know the material like the back of their hand. They tell you which areas to really focus on and explain things differently from the book which makes certain areas faster to grasp than if you read the books. They also show you how to approach the questions and not get distracted by the amount of information in the question. A lot of the CPA exams is learning just how to read the question and answering it without getting distracted by the numerous amount of information they put you in to trick you or get you distracted. Some people work better by themselves and don't need the live-class version and if you're disciplined and you know that you can study and keep up by yourself, you don't need the live-class version, since it is more personal preference than anything. What they teach you in class is exactly what you get in CD-version.

As far as how I personally approached the exams. For each section, I first read each chapter in it's entirety and answer the questions (not worrying if I can them wrong or right) just to get through the questions. This takes time, there are lots and lots of question and they take hours to answer. I do this for each class, staying a step ahead of the section we cover. Once the class is over, I then re-read the chapters again as boring as it is, then re-do all the questions. Then I start testing myself on the little quizzes until I get them right. After this, I just start doing the questions over and over again until I'm getting 100% on everything. I don't take the final exam until two-three days before actually sitting for the exam. I just work on all the problems other than those. I probably do the final exam about two times, three if I have the time then review what I'm not comfortable with and whether I'm ready or not, sit for the exam.

Each person is different to their study habits. I study 7 days a week with no break. Monday's through Fridays when I work, I study no less than 5 hours a day usually till midnight once I get home. Saturday are my eight hour classes and I just attend the class and take the rest of the evening off and Sundays, I study about 6-8 hours. It's hard, especially when you work, have class or a family, but there is no other option unless you give yourself more time. I doing each test in a month and half. You have to spend at least 30 hours a week studying minimum and when they tell you that you won't have a life, It's true.

If nothing else, read your material and do all the question over and over again. Good Luck.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Sun May 20, 2012 7:03 pm

EagertoLearnMore wrote:What would you suggest doing to study? There are courses offered by Becker as well as buying books and studying on your own.
Is one way better than the other? Are there online study guides for CPA exam as well?


I'm studying with the Becker material. As others have noted, it's expensive but over the course of your career, the 3-4k are in my view a great investment. I initially thought about attending some classes, however I do now everything in self study. With the Becker books I also got DVD's with lessons, however the guy literally reads the book and tells you what to highlight, which for me is a complete waste of time.

I have fairly demanding job (and a toddler at home), so I don't have that much study time. I do maybe 4-5 hours during the week and then another 4-5 on Saturday. In the 2-3 weeks before the exam I study more.

For BEC I studied 7 weeks and passed with 90. For FAR I gave myself more time (10 weeks) and took the exam last Friday. I was also able to study more at work. Pretty sure it went well. I'd rather pass the first time I take it rather than rushing it.

I'm surprised how many people start the process of taking 1 or more exam but never actually finish it (I've met several at work). It's certainly a commitment so good luck to all who are in the process of doing it!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Sun May 20, 2012 7:04 pm

MoneyTalks183 wrote:I am. Passed BEC and taking FAR on May 31st. Taking a break from studying as we speak.

To keep this personal finance related, study materials are not cheap! I have Becker paid for but I would recommend anyone who wants to take the test to look at the Wiley Test Bank which can be obtained for about $200 for all 4 parts with a discount code. It won't teach you the material but it will give you a treasure trove of problems to work on.


Good luck on the 31st!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Sun May 20, 2012 7:10 pm

Juniormint wrote:Me too. Have taken FAR, REG, and AUD so far and passed all. Now working on BEC and for some reason, even though it's the shortest and seems to be easier, I hate the studying process for it. Maybe because I've literally haven't had a break ever since I started my CPA exams and I'm sick of not having a life, but we must preserver. We're almost there!

REG was my favorite so far, which was odd since I was convinced before starting the exams that I did not want to go into taxation for a career since I hated all my tax classes in school. Now, I re-thinking my future plans. I loved the REG exam, it was more client orientated where as everything in school was more focused on internal taxation of different entities (not bad) but missing the client aspect of it. Honestly, I fallen more in love with tax now that I find it more applicable to real life and real life situations. Being in school at 18 and never having done my own taxes, learning about taxes was horrible since I didn't have a proper point of reference. Now that it's more applicable, it's fun and it leaves me feeling good.

Good luck with all your exams everyone.


Well done with passing the 3 exams. I found BEC fairly easy. FAR was much more material, but ultimately it covers a lot of topics I deal with at work, so it was interesting to study (with the exception of government accounting!). I'm pretty sure Audit will be the toughest part for me.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby juventussoccr » Sun May 20, 2012 7:35 pm

I used Yaeger self study DVD's and they worked great for me. As long as you set a plan on how much you're going to study each day, you'll be fine. I normally watched the DVD's throughout the week and then did a whole bunch of problems on the weekends.

Also, as a sidenote, I worked in a tax firm where we mainly do returns and no audits, and my best score was on auditing. Guess what my worse score was... REG! haha Anyway, I probably thought I knew everything in REG since I dealt with it on a daily basis so I didn't study as much. Good luck on everything!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby Tyr0ne » Mon May 21, 2012 12:33 am

EagertoLearnMore wrote:What would you suggest doing to study? There are courses offered by Becker as well as buying books and studying on your own.
Is one way better than the other? Are there online study guides for CPA exam as well?


The general consensus at the CPA firm I work for is that materials are kind of secondary to individual effort. I used Roger CPA Review, which is half the price of Becker, and his materials were more than enough to pass all on the first go. I think Roger CPA may be local though, but the point is, I think you are fine with a cheaper alternative as long as you put in the hours.

Also, I would highly recommend CPAreviewforfree.com. It is 100% free and I used it as a supplement to my Roger CPA. All it is is hundreds of multiple choice questions in testlets of 20 that you can either do by topic or randomized. It's a nice change instead of doing your textbook material questions twice and still provides explanations for each answer
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Re: CPA exam

Postby jared » Mon May 21, 2012 11:37 am

Congrats to those that have passed some or all sections! Good luck to those with upcoming exams!

I am just starting the CPA Exam preparation process. I've chosen the Northern Illinois University CPA Review (http://www.cpareview.niu.edu) "correspondence option" for my review program along with the Gleim Test Prep Software and Simulation to supplement. I hadn't heard of the program until I visited a CPA exam forum (another71.com). It's not as popular as some of the big names (Becker, Yaeger, Roger, etc.), but I've heard some very good things from people who've used it. I just received the materials Friday. I haven't opened them yet, so it's obviously too early for me to form an opinion either way.

I'm planning to take the exams in the following order: FAR, AUD, REG, BEC. I hope to take and pass all sections by the end of the year.
Last edited by jared on Mon May 21, 2012 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ObliviousInvestor » Mon May 21, 2012 2:28 pm

tycoryj wrote:Materials are kind of secondary to individual effort.

Agreed.

I went through the process last year and after all four sections (that is, at the point where it's no longer helpful) I decided that my favorite method was Becker textbook, followed up with Wiley for questions. But for FAR I used nothing but the Wiley textbook (~$40 if I remember correctly) and did just as well as I did on the other sections. FAR did take more study time, but that's probably due at least in part to the fact that FAR has more material (or, it did as of last year).

Good luck to everybody with exams coming up. :)
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Re: CPA exam

Postby MoneyTalks183 » Mon May 21, 2012 7:40 pm

Thanks everyone for the support.

The most important thing in my opinion is simply the amount of time that you're willing to put in. I do the live classes on Sundays, which is about 8 hours and I study roughly 3-4 hours a day during the week. When I'm reviewing for the final it's pretty much studying non-stop.

As long as you have access to the basic material and a large multiple choice test bank, you have all the materials you need to pass.

I'm a big proponent of doing as many multiple choice questions as you possibly can. There's a huge difference between reading over the material and actually applying it. Also, I would recommend that people take their own notes. I have found it to be much more effective than just mindlessly staring at the professor/screen and highlighting.

Good luck to everyone!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby billern » Mon May 21, 2012 8:10 pm

I'm happy to say that I passed the exams at the end of last year. Getting through the tests was a huge relief. For me, the trick was to just force myself to start by scheduling the tests. I'm a procrastinator so having 4 to 6 weeks of evenings to study (ie: not during busy season) was really as much time as I would use. I ended up paying to sit for a couple sections more than once but it got me through the process more quickly.

My S/O, on the other hand, needs more time to study and was unable to study enough with her commute. She is now studying full time and expects to get a good job closer to home after she passes her tests! The value of the license is worth much more than her lost wages while she studies.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby TigerNest » Mon May 21, 2012 9:56 pm

I plan on taking REG/AUD in August. I'm only using Wiley. Keep us posted on how it goes!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:00 pm

MoneyTalks183 wrote:I am. Passed BEC and taking FAR on May 31st. Taking a break from studying as we speak.

To keep this personal finance related, study materials are not cheap! I have Becker paid for but I would recommend anyone who wants to take the test to look at the Wiley Test Bank which can be obtained for about $200 for all 4 parts with a discount code. It won't teach you the material but it will give you a treasure trove of problems to work on.


MoneyTalks - did you get your results yet?

Got it this morning and passed FAR with a 87, big relief!!!

Audit is next, any tips from people who passed Audit? Seems to be much less material than FAR.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby dsmil » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:15 pm

I used the Wiley cd-rom testbanks and Wiley books, and passed last fall. It was definitely an effective and cheaper way to do it since I'm not a good listener. You can only re-sell the testbanks on ebay and make decent money back. I'm an auditor in public accounting and my order from hardest to easiest was REG, FAR, AUD, BEC.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:32 pm

Studying for Audit now, exam in 4 weeks.

Have to say that the study material is extremely boring, no calculations, only concepts :twisted:

Hope my fellow CPA bogleheads are doing well in their studies!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby Pacman » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:38 pm

Do you want outlines that I used to pass Audit?
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Re: CPA exam

Postby MoneyTalks183 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:18 am

I'm happy to say that I passed FAR. Honestly, what's keeping me going for the last two sections is the thought of having to take FAR again. Ugh.

On to audit, I'm taking it this Friday! If you could send me the outline, that would be great. I would love to look it over as a final review.

With audit, I found that the hammering multiple choice questions is more important than BEC and FAR, at least when it comes to comprehending the material. I learned that there's a certain way that the test creators think, and its not always logical or seemingly justified. There are "rules" that they go by and the more questions you do, the more you'll be able to pick up on them. Let's hope I've picked up on enough by Friday!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:11 am

MoneyTalks - how did the exam go?

Taking it next Saturday, will be glad when this one is over!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby hlfo718 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:31 am

Took the exams over ten years ago. It was a pain at the time since I studied after work and spend about 6-8 hours every sat and sun so I missed the football season. Looking back it was well worth the time.

Good luck to you all.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby MoneyTalks183 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:16 pm

Hey ge1,

Audit went... I'm not sure. Test comes back in a couple weeks but something about the test really threw me off.

Studying for REG now but I've had barely any time to look in over. Finding out that I passed Audit might give me the mental push I need to cross the finish line but right now I'm languishing. My schedule changed dramatically so now my only studying comes in very early mornings and on the weekends. Hoping I can just get it over with but I definitely don't have the ability to go through the all-encompassing study sessions like I did before.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:33 pm

MoneyTalks - did you get the results?

Thankfully I passed Audit. Actually had my highest score yet (94), which was odd as I didn't have a good feeling after the exam at all...

Started studying for my last section (Reg) today. Not motivated at all, but I'll give myself time and at least this is the last one!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby deathb4disco » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:15 pm

Good luck to you on the exam! I passed it almost twenty years ago. What a mind-crushing experience that was!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby abuss368 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:14 pm

ge1 wrote:Anybody here studying for the CPA exam? I passed BEC in February and just took FAR yesterday. I think it went ok, but it was a lot more material than BEC.

Regulation is next, probably in August!



Many moons ago I passed the exam. No way would I ever go through that again!

Good luck and congrats!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby XtremeSki2001 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:43 pm

Taking classes so I can sit for the exam - should be interesting!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby cheesepep » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:30 am

Can anyone tell me or please post a link the steps needed to take (from the very beginning) of someone who wants to take the CPA exam? Assume that I have a non-accountancy degree and no accounting experience, but otherwise has a 4-year degree and wants to take it in CA.

I cannot find anything clear to me (maybe I'm just new to these things).

If I take "makeup" accounting classes at a university, how do I know which ones to take for the exam?
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Re: CPA exam

Postby XtremeSki2001 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:44 am

cheesepep wrote:Can anyone tell me or please post a link the steps needed to take (from the very beginning) of someone who wants to take the CPA exam? Assume that I have a non-accountancy degree and no accounting experience, but otherwise has a 4-year degree and wants to take it in CA.

I cannot find anything clear to me (maybe I'm just new to these things).

If I take "makeup" accounting classes at a university, how do I know which ones to take for the exam?


FWIW, I'm in your boat. No undergrad degree in accounting and no accounting experience, but I have a 4-year degree.

http://www.dca.ca.gov/cba/ and http://www.cpa-exam.org

Basically, before 12/31/2013 the following requirements apply for the California CPA:

A bachelor’s degree;
24 semester units in accounting-related subjects;
24 semester units in business-related subjects (accounting courses beyond the 24 required units may apply toward the business units);
Passing the Uniform CPA Exam;
Two years of general accounting experience supervised by a CPA with an active license; and
Passing an ethics course.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby dziuniek » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:50 pm

I'll only be starting taking exams next year. Not looking forward to it.

I've heard your study materials don't mean nearly as much as individual effort, has that been the case for most?

Also, any tips? :)
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Re: CPA exam

Postby Cuzz35 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:59 pm

dziuniek wrote:I'll only be starting taking exams next year. Not looking forward to it.

I've heard your study materials don't mean nearly as much as individual effort, has that been the case for most?

Also, any tips? :)


I am right there with you. Planning on starting in May. I also start working full time in January so we'll see how that goes.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby hillman » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:24 pm

My advice for everyone taking the exam: respect it but don't fear it.
I finished the beast in 2010 (passed the first time on all parts, W00T W00T, sorry for boasting), and the number one stumbling block I saw among my classmates was letting the exam overwhelm them. There is a tremendous amount of information covered by the CPA exam so you have to figure out the best way to study for it, for you. Find a system and stick to it. I used the Becker Self-Study program and cannot praise it enough. The program is not cheap, $3000 I believe, but membership in some state CPA societies will get you a hefty discount, and you should be a member of your state's society anyway. Between the video lectures, workbooks, and study software you should be able to identify your weak spots and strengthen them. If you go the Becker route and find it doesn't explain things well enough, and their are some topics it glazes over, Wiley should be able to fill in the gaps (Wiley's FAR book was actually a text for one of my classes).
But back to my first point. The exam is completely doable. If you're sitting for the exam it means (in my state, at least) you've completed a significant portion of your college education and have been exposed to the material and you can do it! Also, it isn't a matter of being 'smart enough.' As is always the case, I was surrounded by people that were much more intelligent than me, but they allowed themselves to be psyched out by the exam. They allowed themselves to become overwhelmed by the volume of material and to forget they knew fundamentals. And they failed. You can do it and good luck!

Also, anything over a 75 is wasting points. :D
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Re: CPA exam

Postby dziuniek » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:09 am

Thanks for the tip!

I'm easy-going by nature, probably too much so at times. :)
I guess I won't be overwhelmed.

Oh and congrats!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:01 pm

Completely agree with hillman: I use the Becker material and the books and CDs with homework are excellent. They teach you exactly what will be asked at the exam. And I didn't even attend any classes or watched any of the lectures you get from Becker as well. Just a matter of being disciplined. I guess a good % of people taking the exam take a gamble and don't study entire chapters / topics for whatever reason.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ge1 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:41 pm

Sorry for resurrecting this old thread, but I finally got my license yesterday (yeah!) and good luck to everybody currently studying!
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Re: CPA exam

Postby ObliviousInvestor » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:32 pm

ge1 wrote:Sorry for resurrecting this old thread, but I finally got my license yesterday (yeah!) and good luck to everybody currently studying!

Wooo! Congratulations!! :sharebeer
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Re: CPA exam

Postby Dan999 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:50 am

Congrats.
That is a major accomplishment and be proud of yourself.
I got mine in the mid 70's and it was such a feeling of accomplishment.

Go celebrate and brag a little. Many take the exam year after year and never pass it.

Dan
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Re: CPA exam

Postby deathb4disco » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:03 pm

Dan999 wrote:Congrats.
That is a major accomplishment and be proud of yourself.


Ditto.

I passed it about twenty years ago. It's great to get that behind you. Celebrate! :sharebeer
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Re: CPA exam

Postby Cuzz35 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:12 pm

Congrats!

I just started studying for FAR. Taking it May 31.
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Re: CPA exam

Postby MoneyTalks183 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:25 pm

Ge1,

Congrats on your license! I passed all the last one a little while ago but I need a couple more months of work experience to get the actual license.

Bravo!
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