This is Varshitha Nadipineni, and I passed my CPA Exam with the latest score release, and this is my attempt at trying to explain what worked for me in.
1. First things first, do not get intimidated by the course material. Agreed it is bulky and has massive amounts of information to get through. But you definitely went through most of it at some point, while getting your accounting credits.
2. Keep looking out for differences between IFRS and US GAAP, try to note them down in one place to look at a glance and to avoid confusion.
3. Governmental accounting is one such topic, which most of us, being international students, may not be aware of. Never, go to the exam without knowing this topic. Generally, if it gets tested in MCQs, the questions will be pretty straightforward and easy points are up for grabs.
4. Since this is a calculation-intensive subject, try to work out the sums (including MCQs) on excel and make this a habit when you are preparing. Helps you to quickly check your answers before submitting your test-lets, rather than using the calculator again to re-compute everything from scratch. This helped me finish the exam in time and also spend some extra time on the SIMS I was struggling with.
5. Understand the call of the question in SIMS and don’t try to do your calculations by just reading the question. Use the FASB standards for your benefit, if you are confused or maybe just to make sure you nailed your answers.
6. I made a huge mistake by blindly going to the exam (for FAR), without actually sitting through Mock tests and just reviewing the questions, due to some time constraints. I did manage to pass the exam in my first attempt, but I highly recommend that you sit through the exam. Helps you to concentrate better and helps you manage time on your actual exam. Corrected this for my other exams and it helped me a lot.
7. Try to test for FAR as your first paper. It takes the most amount of time to go through. So it definitely helps that you will not have to fit in preparing for this, once the 18-month window starts
1. Make sure that you make a note of all the formulae and know your concepts well. It’s just not remembering the formulae, make sure you understand the logic. Financial ratios are a recurring topic in BEC, AUD as well as in FAR.
2. Practice written communications. Go through the skill master videos on how to frame these communications. Even if you are completely lost on the subject asked on your exam, try to follow the pattern and give your best understanding of the topic. Just don’t think of it as something you need for the exam. It definitely helps you prepare Memos and communicate with clarity in your professional journey.
1. Make sure you can answer any basic question, no matter how it is asked on the exam. Be it property basis, S-Corp, C-Corp or Partnership basis. This is definitely the most frequently tested topic and has heavy weightage both in MCQ’s and SIMS.
2. If you are facing difficulty in retaining business law, try to take it towards the end of your Regulation preparation It stays fresh and you don’t have to worry about forgetting it while trying to tackle other areas.
3. SIMS allows the usage of authoritative literature. While practising, try using the AL to cross-check your answers. It helps us to efficiently use the AL and also helps you review your answers before you press submit.
1. Understand the reports clearly. Make your own tables to note down the differences between various reports we issue and make sure you know them inside out.
2. Also, make sure that you are familiar with the general text of every report, enough for you to identify what kind of report any given text relates to.
3. In Professional ethics, you generally get straight forward questions. Do not lose these easy points.
4. Read and re-read each question on the MCQ twice. First, recognize if the question is about Issuer or non-issuer before you try to answer it. It is essential to note the differences in audit procedures and reporting when dealing with issuers and non-issuers.
1. Just listening to the lectures doesn’t help. Read through the textbook fully and make your notes.
2. Do not get carried away while making your notes. You will end up having another copy of the textbook if you do. Just make crisp summaries which you can go through. Throw in flow charts or diagrams if that makes you remember better, especially for procedural topics.
3. Always note down any new points you come across when solving MCQ’s and SIMS. This nitty-gritty may, at times, help you more than the text in the chapter. Skill master videos as well are great to cement the topics firmly in a precise manner.
4. Even if you have done MCQ’s, revise using the unlimited practice tests. They give you the test feeling as you won’t be able to check your answers immediately. Take these tests in the exam pattern; it will help you to sit through a four-hour exam as well as revise it module wise.
5. At the end of the day, try flipping through the pages you read that day and try to remember the points you studied earlier under each topic. Flashcards are another great source to help with this quick revision session.
6. Take the Mock exams after one round of revision. And review your weak areas. Try to sit for these tests during the timings you booked for your actual exam. It helps you to mentally focus during the time as our study timings may be different from test timings.
7. Have a credibility partner even if it’s just to push you during your downtime or to help you look at your progress from a different angle.
8. Never leave any part of the syllabus. You never know what will get tested in your exam. Be familiar with the terminology.
9. One other thing that helped me was Becker’s Facebook study groups. Keep looking at the questions and if you can just try to answer them. When random topics pop up and are being discussed, it helps me revise. Some of the members are super helpful, and the files section has really good notes in excel, which the authors have published. They can help you if you do not have the time to make your own notes.
Hope all of this is of some help. Feel free to reach me out on LinkedIn if you need any help. I will try my best to help out with whatever I know.
It’s a lot of ups and downs, frustrations and emotions, but it’s all definitely worth it.
All the Best with the prep and Happy Studying!!
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