Archive for the ‘CPA Exam Prep and Progress’ category

CPA Exam Is History

October 24, 2009

Hey Friends,

I’m done with the CPA Exam ! I passed the final section (87 on AUD), which means I’ve been able to move on with my life and focus on work, family, fun, and frugality. Good times, eh?



Finishing, Waiting, and Changes

August 12, 2009

Lots of things are changing.

CPA Exam: I took the fourth and final section of the CPA exam! Now I’m just waiting to find out the results of the last three. Here are my scores and score predictions based on how I felt coming out of the exams:

FAR – Prediction: 85, Actual: 95

REG – Prediction: 75 (this could easily go either way, as I mentioned in a previous post), Actual: ?

BEC – Prediction: 95 (maybe this is an overly generous estimate, but I felt better about this than FAR), Actual: ?

AUD – Prediction: 82 (I’ll be surprised if I don’t pass, but it’s certainly possible), Actual: ?

According to Jeff over at, score reports are predicted to be released fairly soon for Wave 1, which, for me, means I’ll probably see my BEC score within the next few days and REG at the beginning of next week.

Unfortunately, AUD will be Wave 2, so I won’t know how I did until mid-September.

That means I have no more CPA exam studying! It has been a serious chore for the sheer quantity of information covered. If I don’t pass any of the sections (REG?), it should be much easier to study the second time around just considering my familiarity with the topics. I certainly hope I passed all of the sections, but I’m not overly worried either way.

Moving: Saying goodbye to friends is proving to be more difficult and saddening than ever before. We LOVE our friends and don’t want to admit that we’ll probably never spend much time with many of them again. I’m confident we’ll make new friends where we’re moving, but that does little in terms of comfort.

Graduating: I’m within days of finishing my master’s degree! It’s just two final exams away, after which you may call me Master frugalCPA.

Money and Getting Out of Debt: I’ll soon be making money. It’s almost unreal, Friends! TheFieryOne might be even more excited than I am! We have over $30,000 in school loans. We’ll both be working full-time, so we should be able to get rid of our debt fairly quickly (possibly even during 2010). I’ll definitely document the journey.

A New Career – As you know, I’m super excited about starting a new career as an auditor at a “Big Four” firm! I’m curious to meet the people I’ll be working with, and I’m looking forward to being part of a team.

More Time for Future Posts Such As: Score results, ways I can start my career on the right footing, our choice of apartment, things I learn at work, business book reviews, and more.

What? I’m Not Special?

April 8, 2009

I’m still waiting to get my notice to schedule to be able to schedule my CPA exams. For some reason I thought it would be a quick turnaround time despite the 6-week expectation set by the NASBA website. I guess I’m not special after all.

I have a friend who just finished passing all four sections of the exam. I’m very happy for him. I want to be him. At least to the extent that I’d have already passed the exams. He told me that the CPA exam (as a whole) is not as difficult as the GMAT. I found that interesting because the CPA exam requires you to know much more specific, detailed information. It’s also encouraging.

In looking over the review books (I almost wrote “reviewing the review books” but decided against it), I noticed that studying for the exam is going to be a lot like just reviewing everything I’ve learned as an accounting student. The books are laid out as outlines of all of the most fundamental (and sometimes advanced) accounting information under each topic matter. Interestingly, I actually look forward to reviewing most of what I’ve learned. It’ll be a nice way to kind of top off my educational experience and have everything at the forefront of my mind when I start work as a Big Four associate.

My study program begins next Monday (the Becker software helped me set up a strict study schedule based on my proposed exam dates). For now, I’m purposefully limiting my blog posts to CPA exam-related material to avoid it becoming a distraction. Once I finish my last exam I’ll continue blogging about all kinds of things.

As far as current major career and educational goals go, finishing my grad program and studying for the CPA exam are it.

Waiting for My NTS

March 20, 2009

Last week I sent off my CPA exam application, and now I’m waiting (the estimate is not longer than 6 weeks) to receive my NTS (Notice to Schedule), which will allow me to schedule the four parts of the exam.

I’m planning to do Financial at the end of May, Audit at the beginning of July (every third month is an off month when nobody can take any of the CPA exam sections), Business and Economic Concepts toward the end of July, and Regulation mid-August.

I’ll be taking a few last classes over the summer, too, so I’ll be one busy studier. But from what everybody tells me, it’s definitely worth getting the CPA exam finished before you start working full time.

I’ve cracked open my Becker review materials and have been impressed by the content, the organization, and the way it’s very much catered to helping people develop and stick to their own self study program. That’ll be the key for me – sticking to a well-developed self-study program, even when I’m starting to feel burned out.

Monday marks the beginning of my self-study program. Wish me luck!

Review Materials Shipped!

February 11, 2009

I just received notice that my CPA exam review materials have been shipped. That was FAST! Am I strange for being so excited?

[Update: A huge box of Becker goodies arrived on Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry, Becker. I will be yours for many, many an hour.]

It Begins – CPA Exam Prep

February 11, 2009

At the end of 2007, after postponing my scheduled GMAT date several months, I finally took it. Sadly, I hadn’t used the extra months to study more faithfully, but The Fiery One told me to just take it. She didn’t want to waste another $55 on rescheduling fees, and the worst thing that could happen was I’d have to retake it again later.

Happily, I scored a 740/800, which was better than the 710 I predicted for myself. My GMAT experience was a far cry from my ACT experience, when my actual exam score (29) was lower than my practice score (31). I had been told to expect a two-point increase from practice to actual, so I was quite disappointed. So much so, in fact, that I had something to prove when I took the GMAT (especially considering The Fiery One had scored a 32! But that’s a story for another day), and I felt somewhat vindicated when I walked out with my shiny 740 (which I later found out was less shiny than several of my good friends, but that’s okay. I’m sure they deserved their even-more-shiny 750 and 770).

It’s not my test-taking skills that worry me about the CPA exam, though. It’s a different kind of test than I’ve ever taken, and has much more specific content. I won’t be able to pass each of the four sections unless I have genuine accounting knowledge, or at least CPA-specific knowledge. What worries me about the CPA exam is that I know I need to be very dedicated and focused as I prepare for each section, and yet, after failing to study well for the GMAT, I know I get burned out fairly quickly.

The exam is getting closer. I’ve even started doing actual to-do items in preparation. Yesterday I:

1 – Ordered my undergraduate transcript to go in my CPA exam application package (I had ordered my current graduate transcript a few days ago).

2 – Emailed my academic advisor requesting an explanation of one of the application documents (the application process is impressively nitpicky and apparently unforgiving, so I’m making sure to do everything with exactness).

3 – Ordered Becker’s self-study CPA exam review course materials. It’s a pretty expensive package (somewhere in the 2-3k range?), but, thankfully, my future employer paid for it.

As far as review courses and costs go, I’m not sure if I would sign up for Becker’s review course materials if I had to foot the bill myself. One of my friends saved a couple thousand dollars by using Wiley review books instead. He didn’t think Wiley was amazing, but when he passed three of the four exams (he just took the fourth, so we’ll find out how he did in the next month or two) he didn’t complain a bit.

Fortunately, Becker’s costs were sponsored for me. If I don’t pass, however, I’ll have to pay for any additional review courses or materials myself, and my company won’t reimburse the exam fees a second time either. I imagine the review materials I receive this first time around are somehow time-stamped, since I think I only have 12 months to use them. Needless to say, I’m intent on doing my best the first time around.

Most people I know have gone with the self-study CDs rather than the live classes or online materials. The live classes sound interesting, but the CDs are 100% flexible around your own schedule, and they contain all of the lessons (videotaped) that are presented in the live classes or online. Plus, my schedule doesn’t fit any of the live class schedules, so the choice to do the CDs was pretty easy for me.

The only downside to the CDs is the self-study part. I know I’ll get burned out at times, but I’ll need to somehow push through and continue studying. I’m extremely motivated to pass all four parts of the exam this summer before I start working full-time. So I’ll need to keep things in perspective even when I’m totally sick of preparing, and somehow harness all of my motivation into effective, consistent studying.

I’ll definitely document my preparation and progress here. I’m not asking for so much. Just a shiny “Pass” on each section. Encouragement will certainly be welcome!

First things First

February 7, 2009

One of the great things about the personal finance blogging community is how excited everyone is about earning and saving money. I love reading all of the tips and successes shared by so many enthusiastic people. Recently I’ve been particularly aware of posts about alternative income, and have been brainstorming how I might make some money on the side.

I asked The Fiery One what she thought about it, and we had an interesting discussion about some of my strengths, skills, and experiences. In the end, however, we decided it’s just not the right time for me to pursue alternative sources of income (or any sources at all, sadly).

I’m 7 months away from a master’s degree, and I’ll be taking the CPA exam over the summer as I finish my last classes. I’m very invested in successfully completing both of these rather important to-dos, so for now, I’m going to quell my money-making excitement in favor of mastery and CPA examery.