2024 CPA Exams F.A.Q.s Answered

2024 CPA Exams F.A.Q.s Answered

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In this episode, Nate answers the most common questions about the 2024 CPA exams after the April 24th score release.


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Episode Timestamps

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 01:13 Test Dates and Score Release Considerations
  • 12:48 Which Discipline Exam Should I Take?
  • 16:07 Study Tips Based on the Exam
  • 19:22 Study Tips: Back to the Basics

Episode Transcript

Nate: Welcome to another episode of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. So in today’s episode, I’m basically just going to kind of give a rest of 2020 for outlook, or maybe some tips and commentary on the different discipline exams and score releases. Basically the 2024 format. Well, not just the exam format and the new discipline exams, but the score release format has really changed the strategy of when to set test dates or how, you know, what to do after you’ve taken an exam, if you should keep studying for the same one or move on to the next one, because it’s not just a couple of weeks to where you’ll find out it could be months.

So there’s just a lot of different factors that we’ll kind of talk through. And then, uh, just some general study tips because again another form of questions we’ve been getting a lot [00:01:00] is how to study differently for these different exams or for a specific discipline exam. So I’ve got some comments on that. So basically we’ll just go into my slides here.

Test Dates and Score Release Considerations

Nate: So some of the tests date and score release considerations. So starting with timelines for the exams. So what we’ve always told people in the past. And, you know, our whole approach is cutting out the fluff from the study process.

Our big claims are that you can move through the material faster. Take exams faster, pass faster. So that’s all true. However, It’s more important than ever. Whoops go back. Uh, it’s, it’s more important than ever to be really, really prepared when you go in to take an exam, because again, previously with continuous testing, you know, there was some, there was some argument [00:02:00] to setting dates and just going in, seeing how you do and kind of iterating from there. But with these now where you have to wait months for a score. You don’t want to do that. You want to be scoring, you know, on your re-review sets or like sets of 30.

If you’re familiar with our process, um, you want to be scoring at least in the eighties, if not 85 or above, when you take those practice sets. You just want to be as prepared as possible. And then, yeah, I never really liked this, but again, it can make sense, because if you, if you just have a specific window. A month or two from now where you can take an exam. Or, uh, the other way that this will happen is you take an exam. You’re not going to get a score for that. Again for two or three months. And so what do you [00:03:00] do next?

Well, if you start studying for the next exam, And you have to wait two or three months before you found out what even happened with that first exam you took, then your. Somewhat preparing for two or there’s at least the question. Should I be still reviewing for the one that I took, because maybe I failed it. And three months from now, if I did fail it, I will have forgotten everything.

So, again, it just, this whole format introduces a lot of new questions as far as like what to be doing. Okay. So as far as the timelines for the exams, I think, you know, in light of this, previously, we would say five to six weeks. Now maybe, what I tell people is more like six to eight weeks. Knowing the eight weeks is two months. And that just, that seems way too long to me still. But anyways, somewhere in there, somewhere [00:04:00] between five to seven weeks. So maybe you have five weeks of covering all the material and then a week for a final review or maybe it’s five weeks and then a two week final review. Or, uh, the other, the other version of this that we’ve, you know, told some of our customers or clients and stuff like that would be spend the first month, you know, studying. Now, these would be like new new customers, so they’re kind of learning our process, our study process and covering the material. But for the first month or so, maybe you don’t set an exam date. You just start working through the material, following the strategies. You’re, you’re trying to learn the material and kind of get your process really effective at the same time. So you study for a month or two. Maybe not two. You study for a month and see how far you get, as you know, [00:05:00] in the lessons in your review course, and then you set a test date based on that.

So if there’s 10 modules in your review course for that section and within a month you’ve gotten through, I don’t know, three or four modules. So you haven’t quite gotten halfway, but you know, in the last week or so you’re feeling like the process is starting to click and, you know, you could go a little bit faster. So then maybe you set your test date four or five weeks from that point. But that at least that way of doing it let’s you get a month in or three to four weeks into the material.

And just kind of see how it’s going before you set an exam date, which you will then either have to, you know, pay money to move back. Or, you know, the worst thing to do is people tell me this all the time though. I’m just going to go in and see how I do, uh, even I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail. It’s, [00:06:00] there’s no reason to pay $300 to do that. Um, anyways, so somewhere in there, you know, six to seven weeks or if you’re just starting on your first section, you spend a month studying to just see how it goes and then make a decision from there.

The thing that I would not do, and again, this happens quite a bit, is, uh, is schedule all four. And, and then you’re kind of locked into, like, if things go off the rails, life happens, I mean, any combination of things. And you’re forced to either, you know, just, like a, like an NTS’s is going to run out or something like that. Or multiple NTS’s are going to expire. And then you just have to accept that that’s going to happen. You’ve burned $700 for no reason. And you’re just choosing one out of the three you have scheduled to actually focus [00:07:00] on. So I would kind of schedule them one at a time or two at the most.

Okay, and that brings us down here. Tips on preparing for two exams at the same time.

Now fully studying for two at the same time, I would not recommend at all. Um, you know, you would not want to do a thing where you set, you know, like FAR, one day, seven weeks from now. And then REG like the next day, and then think you’re just parallel studying for two, like fully studying for two at the same time. That’s, you never want to be doing that. Maybe if you’re not working full time and you can do, but even then it would just be better to do, you know, three to four weeks on one exam. Take it. Three to four weeks on the next one and take it.

Um, where this makes sense is kind of the scenario I mentioned, where you, I guess the most common scenario would [00:08:00] be you’ve taken an exam. Or you’re going to take an exam and then you just know on these squirrely states that you’re not going to get your score for two months or more. So then you have to wonder what do I do, uh, after I take this exam while I’m waiting for two months? So, let’s say that you felt decent about the attempt.

Obviously, it’s nearly impossible to know just from taking the exam, whether you passed or failed. But if you feel decent, like there’s a reasonable chance I passed that, then I would definitely move on to studying for the next exam.

And so that would be, you know, your main study session, you’ve moved on to the new exam. So let’s say you just took FAR and then you start, you know, the morning study session, and the mini sessions throughout the day like our whole process and you’re moving on to REG. So you’re two hours in the morning would be REG following just the, you know, the standard study [00:09:00] approach. You’re fully studying for REG. Now the thing that you could add in to either keep FAR fresh or, and it’s never a bad idea because again, two months from now, if you do find out you failed it then you will have forgotten most of what you had studied.

And so you’re kind of starting over, so that’s never ideal. So an easy way to kind of stay fresh on the previous exam you took that you’re waiting on the score on.

I guess that the easiest, the most simple version would be to divide your mini sessions in half throughout the day. So when you’re reading our notes, taking our quizzes, maybe it’s like until uh, 2:00 PM I’m going to keep doing REG the new section. And then for the afternoon, all my mini sessions around FAR, just to kind of keep things fresh. And when you’re doing that, I would almost exclusively do the quizzes. [00:10:00] Just because they’re questions, they hit everything. Every five questions is random. So the quizzes are kind of the best tool for that.

Now, if you want to add in another step, that would be more effective, but it’s obviously more time consuming then, you know, you would still just be studying in the morning for your new exam like normal. Um, but you would do a set of 20 to 30 questions at night for FAR or whatever the previous exam you’re waiting on the score is.

So, roughly half the mini-sessions and then a re-review set at night would be real solid, you know, if not still improve where you were on test day, by the time you get your score release back or your, your score back. So that if you do need to retake it, you’re almost ready right then and there. And maybe you just, you know, do two weeks of full restudying, um, to get really prepared to retake it.

But anyways, so that’s, those are [00:11:00] just some things you can do when it comes to preparing for I guess preparing is not the right word. You’d be kind of waiting for a score on one, still trying to keep it fresh or slightly improve in case you need to retake it while putting in minimal time, because again, you don’t know, maybe you passed.

Um, anyways, so is that something you can do? And then I guess the question of, if this window’s coming up and let’s say right now, I’m in a window where I can’t take one of the exams I want to take and I’ve got to wait, so, but there’s 10 weeks until then or something. I still think it’s better to fully study for one and then maybe go down to this.

Even if you haven’t taken them both or you haven’t taken the first one. I still think it’s better to fully study for one each day. Get through all the material. And then kind of go down to that maintenance phase that I just talked about. [00:12:00] But yeah. Preparing for to where you’re going to take two exams really close together. And the preparation window includes both.

That’s just really tough to do well. In my opinion. So you want to avoid that if possible, but that is one way of doing it. I guess the main recommendation would be split the, the window in half and fully study for one then maybe take it down to the maintenance thing. I just talked about. And then fully study for the second one but that, that’s scenario is not ideal to like try to fully study and prepare for two at the same time.

So I would pretty much never recommend that.

Okay. Which discipline exam? We’ve been getting asked this a ton.

Which Discipline Exam Should I Take?

Nate: Okay. So we we’ve now had the first score release, which I, was just, let’s see, I think it was just for discipline exams, right? [00:13:00]

So, we got a lot of messages from people that passed ISC. ISC is almost purely conceptual. It’s all IT concepts, you know? But it is mostly purely conceptual. So, um, if you’re good at memorization or just making sense of concepts and reading a lot.

I think our notes cover ISC really well. I mean, again, the way we make our notes is we just go task by task down the blueprint. And, uh, directly address every little representative task that’s mentioned. And so along with those past comments on ISC, we did get a lot of comments that, um, a lot of what the notes covered people saw in the exams. But then, uh, the other thing we were hearing is that, [00:14:00] a lot of what, a lot of what people saw in the exam was not covered in their review course. So where these 2024 versions are new, especially these discipline exams. There is just this whole period of, what the review courses cover and what might actually appear on the exams. Now the only constant thing is the blueprints that the AICPA has provided.

I mean, I, I have those here. I could drag them onto the screen, but. nothing really show you on those. Um, anyways, I do think that all things being equal, the least amount of time, if you were starting from scratch, like bears zero somehow on the three discipline exams. I do think ISC. Is the easiest. So I’ll say that at least. Now, if you work in [00:15:00] tax and if you’ve taken REG or basically if you work in tax and you just feel pretty comfortable with, you know, the tax laws in general then TCP is a great choice.

Um, I think BAR is the hardest discipline exam pretty easily actually, if not the hardest exam. Um, audit didn’t really change whereas REG and FAR got some significant areas kind of chopped off and added to BAR basically. Which is why BAR is a tough exam. So, yeah, I would say ISC is the easiest. If you have direct experience in tax, Or you did well on REG or you took REG fairly, fairly recently or, uh, I don’t know, in the last year or so. TCP is basically REG part two. So, [00:16:00] so I would rank them ISC, easiest, TCP, and then BAR.

Study Tips Based on the Exam

Nate: Okay. So we’ve been getting asked this a lot. Not really this exact question, but the question of like, I’m going to take BAR, how do I study for BAR compared to FAR? Or I’m going to take iSC, how do I study for at base compared to the other sections? The answer is the study approach doesn’t really change. Well, it doesn’t change. I guess naturally you might spend more time, like let’s take IFC, where I said, it’s mostly conceptual. Still the primary thing you’d want to be doing is practice questions from your review course. And then of course our mini sessions thing where the rest of your day you’re using all of our different study tools at different times, listening to the audio notes, reading the review notes. Like I said, [00:17:00] our review notes and audios cover not just ISC, but all the topics really well because we, we directly use the blueprints. And we just go down the line topic by topic, they matched the blueprints exactly.

Um, but anyways, I guess naturally you might spend less time, well, you won’t be spending a bunch of time re-performing calculation based questions on ISC, for example. But, you’re primarily still working through questions, making sense of them, uh, making flashcards for things that you’ve missed 2, 3, 4 times. Just everything from our PRO course, all the PRO course key strategies just apply. The approach doesn’t really change, but I guess with either audit or ISC where, it’s mostly a remembering and understanding type tasks. [00:18:00] You would just naturally spend more time on concepts and memorization than you would on, you know, reworking calculation based questions, or, and, or simulations.

So the study approach doesn’t really change. The core basics of using the MCQs to inform, you know, what you need to know on a per topic basis and how the questions appear. How they’re worded, how the solutions work. Just really making sense of the questions. That’s still like your primary thing. And then with our mini sessions that doesn’t change at all. You want to be grinding through quizzes. Trying to cumulatively read slash listen through our notes at least once a week.

And that’s where all that, uh, just that repeat exposure. That’s what our study tools make it so easy to do. Or simple. And convenient. Cause you can do it as you go throughout your day. But it’s just that deep [00:19:00] leve- deep layer understanding, deep level understanding comes in layers as you do the mini sessions and just read the notes over and over.

Listen to the audios over and over. Take our quizzes over and over. So that just solves a lot of problems for you in advance by constantly doing the mini sessions and using our study tools.

Study Tips: Back to the Basics

Nate: Okay. So few study tips. Um, this always goes back to the basics. Okay.

I’m just going to reveal all these, because this is what I want to point out. Okay. So the big thing with our process and our strategies, like our PRO course.

Our strategies are what will help you be so much more efficient and effective when you study, which means you can literally spend less study hours overall and get better results than someone who’s just constantly watching and [00:20:00] rewatching lectures, right? However, the, your routine and the consistency has to be in place first. So, let’s use the, uh, trying to learn the guitar example. If you sit down to practice once or twice a week and then maybe, sometimes a week goes by you don’t practice at all. Your, your skills or just, hard, like never going to develop, right?.

You gotta be sitting down doing it each day for the actual skills. It’s like, you can learn the, what are they like, learn the scales, learn the chords. You know, you can like memorize those but you having like a practical command or a, uh, being able to actually play and do it well, and you’re like your muscle memory. That none, that will never happen unless you’re doing it every day. So, whoops. [00:21:00] So our strategies and the effectiveness of your, just basically how good you are at studying.

And that’s a very real thing, how good you are at studying at this process. Your routine and the consistency has to be in place. So that’s first. So the two hours in the morning and what I mean by how to tell is if, uh, because we hear this constantly. People like I’m just not a morning person. You, some, some form of just, I don’t want to study in the mornings basically. Studying in the evenings, you’re fighting yourself to sit down and do it to make time. The evenings are obviously when everyone’s at home, dinner’s happening, your people are trying to make plans.

You’re just fighting off endless distractions, but all that being said, If you can sit down and study each night and literally make it happen and it’s effective and you feel okay, like you’re not so tired from [00:22:00] work that you’re trying to even stay awake, let alone make sense of these questions and simulations in front of you. If that’s all working and you can be consistent and do it two hours every night. Great.

You know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t really, like in a vacuum. It doesn’t matter when you study. However, 98% of people, can solve all those problems for themselves, if they would simply get up and just do it two hours in the morning. Two hours in the morning. I won’t get into all of our strategies, but you can watch our free training to get an overview on those or, go straight to the source and just get our PRO course, or I would recommend our total bundle if you have all four sections left. Because the PRO course, we’ll teach you the optimal version of every aspect of the study process and how it all fits together. And the whole idea is to be layering advantages together. So that [00:23:00] every aspect of your study process is benefiting every other aspect of your study process. And then the other thing people don’t realize is when, if you have one big weakness in your, you know, all the different kinds of strategies or study methods you’re using.

If you have one big weakness, it’s going to kind of ruin everything else you’re trying to do. If, if you’re just, if you have no re-review process in place, even if you are making the time to study. And when you study, it’s pretty effective, you feel like you’re learning each topic. But then you get to the end of eight weeks and you’ve forgotten most of it. Then all you’ve done is wasted your own time. Right? So the re-review or the retention aspect has to be there. And obviously on the other end, if you just can’t get yourself together to study consistently every day, then your whole process is dead before you even start. So, all the little things need to be there. Um, okay.

So, studying in the mornings. [00:24:00] I would just say for most people, unless it’s physically impossible for you to get up at four if needed. I mean, that just might be what it takes, which it does suck but that’s exactly what I did. And a lot of people on our podcast eventually got to where they’re like, okay, I’m like BS’ing myself. I’m not consistent. I’m just going to do this once and for all. And they start getting up at four and that’s like the first domino to fall to them, finally breaking through and passing their exams.

So, whether it’s four, maybe you can get it done at five or you work from home and you don’t have to be online until eight then you get to start at six, whatever. Whatever that has to be, I would say for pretty much everyone, the mornings will work better unless you legitimately can make it happen each night and it’s effective. And it’s just working for you. That’s the big, uh, [00:25:00] that’s how to tell if, if you can actually feasibly study at night.

All right. During the main session, this stands for do what works, which of course is spending the majority of your time on MCQs and then simulations as needed or again, that’s we will talk more about that in our, um, in the free trainings, if you’ve never watched one of those or again, go straight to the source and just get our PRO course and everything’s laid out in the PRO course. And then throughout the day, I already went on a diatribe about our study tools and the, uh, the mini sessions, but that’s all that means.

So your main session, I guess to explain practically how this should be working. Your main sessions, where you’re doing 90 minutes of new material, doing the questions [00:26:00] first approach. Um, that is where you’re trying to get a practical understanding of okay. For this topic, these are the questions I’m seeing. And then you spend time reworking the questions. Making sense of the solution. You’re really trying to get clear on the what and the why. And so you’re, you’re directly focusing and spending time on test day context, right? And then. So, so that’s where that happens.

You’re spending most of your time where you can be sitting there fully focused in front of your review course, your main study sessions should be 90% just working through MCQs going lesson by lesson, and then you’ll do more sims on the weekends, but anyways. Then the mini sessions, they still add, they, they still add a lot of that, especially our quizzes, because our quizzes are, at the end of the day, just MCQs. They are simplified so that it’s [00:27:00] feasible to actually do them from your phone throughout the day. But, um, our review notes and audios, they, they help provide the, maybe some of the conceptual stuff that’s missing from the main sessions when you’re just doing questions. It just helps fill in a lot of gaps over time.

And again, the main idea with our study tools is that you’re working through the combination of the notes and audios at least once a week, if not twice. And over the course, you know, six to seven, eight weeks, that means you’ll be getting through all the material dozens of times. Because through the quizzes, through our quizzes, our quizzes are fully random and that’s by design. So as you just grind through quizzes each day, and then you’re also ending each main study session with a re-review set. So you’re constantly re-hitting all the previous topics. You’re hitting, you’re getting [00:28:00] a big picture understanding in advance as you. Listen through our audios or read our notes and, you know, you get out ahead of where you’re at in your Becker material, for example. And then our quizzes are just from all topics. So half the time some of the questions will be re-reviewed for you. Half the time, it will be, just okay, this is a question on something I haven’t covered yet. But as you take the question, read the explanation, you’re getting an understanding in advance. Just every single question, whether it’s in your main session or in one of our quizzes, well, I shouldn’t say a question. Any, any study session, uh, one little session of listening to one track of the audio.

I mean, whatever it is, it’s just one building block in your overall understanding of all the topics and the deep level understanding comes in layers as you do those mini sessions. You know, three, [00:29:00] five minutes at a time, maybe it’s 20 or 30 minutes of audio is while you’re driving somewhere in your car. Whatever it is.

All those little things, all those little sessions add up. And the study tools make it easy to fit in all this extra time without having to find that much dedicated, extra time to sit in front of your review course. So, I guess to point out the big benefit of this, first of all, is it works better than the traditional approach. Um, cause under the traditional approach, you go through each topic once, right? And then you do your final review. So essentially you’ve covered each topic only twice. So it’s really hard to have a deep level understanding or a practical command of the dozens and dozens and dozens of topics covered on that exam by only covering each thing twice.

Whereas with our approach, you’re hitting every topic 30 to 50 times [00:30:00] over the same six to eight weeks. But the big, I guess the attractive advantage, stop doing that, is, uh, if you do the studying in the morning, your main two hour session in the morning, and then the mini sessions throughout the day. You’re done studying by the time you’re done with work. So you have your evenings free to do the things you like doing. You know, just that whole thing that we’re always talking about. So that was pretty much what I had to cover on this.

Y. And, uh, I guess any questions you have on anything I mentioned. I will really try to keep an eye on YouTube, because I’m going to post this video on YouTube. So post your questions down below in the comments. Uh, whether it’s, I don’t know questions about the different discipline exams or I don’t know any questions you have on anything I covered here. But yeah, hopefully you found that helpful and I’ll end [00:31:00] this but we will see you on the next episode.

So thanks for watching.

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