Suffering from CPA Exam Burnout? How to Make a Comeback

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Suffering from CPA exam burnout? In this coaching call, you’ll hear me talk with April, who is really struggling after multiple failed CPA exams in the low 70s. In this call, you’ll hear the CPA study advice I give her on how to turn her process around, mostly by making it a lot more simple.

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CPA Exam Burnout Interview Transcript

Nate: Welcome to episode 83 of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate and in today’s interview, actually, this is going to be a recording of a coaching call that I did. So I got an email from one of our customers and she was really, really struggling, was getting very frustrated and overwhelmed because she keeps getting in the low 70s on some of her sections and she’s had a few exams lapse at this point.

And when I got on the phone with her and heard what she was doing really it just sounded to me like she was making things more complicated than they needed to be.

Once we get into the actual call, you’ll hear her describe all the things she was doing to try and track her progress and make improvements. And that kind of stuff does make logical sense, to get really nitty-gritty and try to track every little topic and how well you’re doing on every little topic. However, as you’ll hear, I just kind of told her that, “I think you’re making this more complicated than it needs to be, and you’re spending valuable time doing all this tracking. Your time would be better spent really simplifying your process and going down to really just the three key steps from some of our other videos on how to study for a retake”.

So, if you are listening to this, and you’ve really struggled with spending a lot of time but not really getting the results or maybe you failed the same section a few times, I think you will find this episode really really helpful.

So with that being said, now we will get into the coaching call…

CPA Exam Burnout Coaching Call with April

April: Um, so, you know, I didn’t, I followed your method not as intensively for Audit and REG. REG went better for me because I’m in tax. I’ve been in tax for five years, so that one I passed on my first try, it took me twice, but I got a 73 the first time and then, you know, took it again back to back kind of with REG and passed those both. Unfortunately, you know, then with BEC that one is a little harder for me, but I actually ended up like really enacting your method.

For the other two, I did, like, I would go through your notes to make flashcards and things that I didn’t really know before based on my material, but, you know, I really drilled it for BEC but what I did was I set up an Excel file and I know in one of your podcasts, you had said how there are people that said that they like, kind of like earn their evenings by doing like maybe a whole, like a hundred MCQs a day or something.

So I liked that idea and I wanted to do that for BEC, so I had like a column for all my tests, like one through, you know, whatever, put my percentages of what I got basically. And then I put out each chapter and subchapter. I saw my percentages worked for those, um, my scores or whatever. And then I would just try to improve on those.

So I’m like, all right, this one’s a little low, let me work on these. And I went section by section. Would do all my incorrects the next morning and then update my scores and see how I improved or, you know, if I declined in any areas, whatever. So like all right that worked for me, you know, I know I barely passed, you know, I got a 76 but I’m like, you know what, that’s fine.

Like, I’m going do the same thing for FAR. Um, obviously a lot more intersections than BEC, I think there’s like seven chapters. Um, and compared to like, you know, 20 so it’s a lot. And then I was like, you know what? I really am scared about this test. I’m going to do it like on steroids, so I did like 200 questions a day, and then it all of a sudden worked itself out to like three, almost 300 questions a day.

“I was obsessed and absolutely miserable…

I was just obsessed and absolutely miserable cause I was just like just and it just, I, you know, was slacking in work, cause I was like, I just want to do well. Like I just I want to do everything in my power to do well on this and then I started color coding based on like percentages like if it was above 75, I’d give it a green.

And orange was like, you know, so I want to make sure I cleared all the red ones, like, you know, work my way up and I’m like, I just want to like start the test with all higher scores. Um, I didn’t fully get around to that but I’m all my scores were really high. Um, and like overall like my last few, you know, like the week leading up to it, I was getting like 80 high 80s, 90s in all my practice tests.

And so…

Nate: Once the practice tests meaning what? If you get an eight, like a full practice exam in your review course?

April: Um, it would be, it would be like the 30 multiple choice. Yeah. Um, and so I’m like, all right. I feel like I feel pretty good, you know, and, you know, I would work also instead of just doing a full overall, I would always do overalls, but I would also hit the sections that I was really lacking on.

So I kind of improved my scores. Um, So, yeah. I mean, that’s how it ended up getting so high. Cause I was like I’ll do my standard like 33 or whatever twice. And then I’m like, all right, now I’m like, I got my incorrects to do. I got like review of these sections to make sure I can keep up these scores and percentages.

Insomnia from stress and overwhelm

And um, so all of a sudden I was getting up to like 286 a day and I’m like, oh my God, like I was just exhausted. Um, I had horrible insomnia, like I couldn’t sleep. So I was like, I had no sleep and I’m like, alright, I know you’re supposed to retain the most for you’re sleeping and I can’t sleep. I mean benadryl used to knock me out, but I could take a benadryl and probably go run a mile around my block.

Like I was like, it didn’t work, like it was miserable. So I just think I was really anxious and just really, it’s just anxiety of it all. It was just horrible. So…

Nate: Yeah and that can be, you know, really detrimental on its own. So how’s the timeline working out right now? Like you you’ve had two that’s lapsed, right?

And then how close are you to losing the, the one that you currently have passed?

April: Um, I’ll have a full 18 months cause I just took BEC. I did I took it at the beginning of February. So I have like a lot, I’m not worried about that one lapsing, I’m planning on finishing this as soon as possible. I think that’s like the most, I think that was the added factor for this was the time constraint of knowing that, all right like I knew REG was going to lapse on the 13th of February. So I took my exam on the 11th and I was like, okay, this is my last chance. And obviously now the fifth is when Audit is going to expire.

There’s no way I’m physically be able to do that like so I know that’s going to expire. Um, but the, uh, I’m not worried about BEC cause that one, I now, now at the 18 months, I’m not taking any breaks from this like I did before. The only area I don’t think I practiced as much in is maybe the SIMS but, I don’t know if there such thing as over studying. I think maybe I might’ve overdone it.

“You’re making this too hard…”

Nate: So one of these calls that I did it was this this lady that runs a hedge fund. So she’s super smart and she was just trying to get the CPA, you know, to just add even more credibility to her, whatever her career or whatever. So I got on the call like this and she explains everything she’s doing and she pulls out these like multiple notebooks.

She’s made notes of every little thing and I was like, “Okay, listen. You’re making this too hard. Like, that’s the biggest problem. You’re making it too hard”. So like the first thing I would say to you after hearing that is I would actually stop meticulously tracking your scores in every little area.

I would do like, so you can interpret this however you want, but this is what I would do. So at this point, the nice thing is every section you’re going to take is now a retake correct? Yes. Okay. So you’ve been through everything like however you did that originally you’ve been through everything.

“I guarantee you’ll pass if you make this simpler…”

So which one are you going to go into next, FAR?

April: I’m gonna do FAR, yes, cause it’s like super fresh.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And what’d you score on that?

April: 73. So, I mean, I’ve been increasing each time. I’m 58, 65

Nate: With the 73, I guarantee you you’ll pass if you’ll just make this simpler. Here’s what you need to do. When do you study? In the morning?

April: I mean the last time was literally obsessively from 7:30 to like 10 at night. So like, I mean, I would take breaks obviously to work, but like I was just I know the whole two hours in the morning but I was like I’m going to do this all day. So I’m going to like over do it. So, I mean, I can definitely, probably start my mornings at like, you know, since I worked from home, it’s so much easier.

I mean, I start taking my days, workdays at nine. So if I start at seven, I would have the two hours, so…

Nate: Okay. Have you seen the, the YouTube video I have on like how to study for a retake?

April: I think I have watched it before but it’s not completely fresh and exact at all.

The 3-step CPA exam retake process

Nate: Yeah. So I’m basically just going to give you that but there’s just three steps basically.

So when you study, you can view your study windows in like a two-hour block. So if you just want to do one in the morning and then if you really want to do another one in the evening, that’s fine. But the two hours in the morning just make that kind of your focus.

And that should be two sets of 30 multiple choice just pulled from everything. Don’t go on specific topics. Don’t try to pull up questions that you’ve, you know, that’s, it’s all questions you’ve missed. Don’t worry about any of that. It’s completely cumulative, random from the entire section. So you’ll do two sets of 30 and then just one set of five to seven practices SIMS.

April: Okay.

Nate: And that should be roughly your two-hour morning session. So After you take each set of 30, you’re going to review it, review your answers, obviously. Read through each explanation even the ones that you got right. Like you look at it, if you got it right because you actually knew it then great. That’s it.

A lot of times, you know, there’ll be maybe 2 or 3 per set that you possibly kind of guessed on and it was right. And just kind of make a mental note of that and like, “okay. I understand why that was right even though I basically guessed”. And then the ones you get wrong strictly off of again, get rid of your Excel sheets and everything strictly just from your own memory.

If you come to a question that it’s just something that you actually struggle with. And you routinely miss questions on that topic or it’s hard for you to remember a certain type of journal entry confuses you or whatever it is, something that you just personally struggle with. That is what you in the sets of 30 is where you take the time to explain it back to yourself until you get it.

However you are confining yourself to the explanation, just for that one single question. So what I mean is a lot of people will, there’ll be reviewing and they’ll see a topic that’s like that, this one question and they’ll think, “Oh yeah, this whole topic I just struggle with”. So then they’ll go on this like five-hour deep dive or spend a bunch of time on that one individual topic.

“Confine yourself to the explanation provided…”

And don’t do that. Just confine yourself to the explanation provided for that one single question. Even if it’s on a broader topic that you struggle with in general, just talk the explanation that you’re looking at back through to yourself until you understand it and like make just a quick flashcard on that.

Then when you do the five to seven practice SIMS, you’re not even really necessarily trying to complete them all like in test format. So these are a little different than how you would do the 30 multiple choice. You click through the seven, let’s say seven. Click through the seven SIMS, go to the hardest one first for you, whatever for you personally.

You can try to fill it out but as soon as you’re stuck. So what I’m saying is anything that you can kind of, you want to take the time to understand what it’s asking, where you look through the little exhibits if it’s one of those complicated ones. And then fill out anything that you can actually just do, but as soon as you are stuck, you want to submit it and look at the explanation.

How to strategically break down SIMs

And then the way that I explain SIMS, you’ve probably watched the pro video on this is, you want to find the SIMS that are hardest for you, and then you look at the explanation and you do that same exercise. You take it piece by piece. If it’s one certain journal entry, you explain that to yourself.

Like okay, when this type of a transaction happens and there’s this thing, this is the entry, and this is why it hits these two accounts. Then you’d make a little flashcard for yourself. So you’re trying to break those complicated SIMS or even if they’re not complicated, if it’s again, something you struggle with, you’re trying to take, break the SIMS into pieces and then explain those pieces, get to where you can explain each little piece back to yourself.

Um, And then, so that’s step one and two, step one is just the two hour format, two sets of 30 that are random from everything and then one set of five to seven practice SIMS. And that step two is just the review, flashcard process for just things that you keep coming across that you keep missing.

You know, if you’re reviewing the set of 30 and it’s a question that you missed because you read it wrong, that you’re pretty comfortable with the topic, you don’t need to spend the time to like write a flashcard. It’s just you know what, what these are like yeah, that explanation kind of confuses me, but just explain it back to yourself but confined to the explanation on a per question basis. So you’re not going to go back to the full lessons anymore. Like with the 73, like, I, I guarantee you, if you do this for, have you set a test day for this?

April: I haven’t. I went in, uh, you know, after I was all upset yesterday and stressed, I was like, no, I’d better be calm.

Because the first time I was like I’m going to quit. I can’t do this anymore. And I’m like, no, I’m not. I put myself through so much right there’s no way. So I’m like, yeah. And I went and I applied for FAR and REG because these are the only two I can right now since Audit didn’t technically lapse yet, even though I will apply for that one.

So I haven’t gotten the like payment coupon to pay for the actual test.

How long to study for a failed CPA exam retake

Nate: Yeah. So whether it’s, I don’t know, three weeks, like I would probably set this three weeks away, three weeks, four weeks, like max, cause you don’t want to do this for any longer than that. I would probably say three weeks. Okay. So that’s so that’s step one and two step three, is be very diligent throughout the rest of your day, about the mini sessions.

Do not skip “mini-sessions”

And so again with those, this is a maybe there’s like three steps within step three. You want to use all three study tools at different times throughout the day, just because, I can’t explain, I’m not like a brain researcher but using all three throughout the day is significantly more impactful. It just helps you make connections through different, uh, I don’t know, different modalities almost like you’re hearing the audio notes at some point, you’re reading the review notes at some point, and then you are taking the little quizzes at some point.

April: Right.

Nate: So you said you worked from home. So I would just try to find, or like make opportunities to do those. Like, some people have said they, they’ll set a timer on their phone every hour or every two hours to like, say, read 10 pages in the review notes or take a quiz or, or whatever, or the other way that people do it is if they get a text,

or they want to just do the mindless scrolling for five minutes. Just kind of take a mental break before they do that they force themselves to either take a quiz or read a few pages in their review notes.

April: So they kind of like earn their phone time.

Nate: In little five minute segments or whatever.

April: All right. It’s like the mini-quizzes I can use probably like your, your app that have for like the questions and just do like five minutes or five questions and like, just, yeah. And then just do some audio…

Nate: but alternate. So when you’re, when you’re doing things where you’re looking at your phone, Try to just make it 50/50 between doing quizzes and reading the review notes, and with the review notes and audios, you want to start from the beginning of FAR and just, and just work your way all the way through.

It’s just like the 30 questions. You’re just trying to get repeat exposure from beginning to end over and over and over on everything. You’re not trying to worry about weak areas that’s a, that like makes sense. It’s counterintuitive but you will score higher by constantly doing random stuff from everything.

April: Yeah. And I can see how that makes sense too cause it’s like I really, you know, there was certain things that I really wanted to focus on this time around. I like really, really drilled the statement of cashflows. I’m like I gotta prepare this whole thing. I got to know how to do it front and back. And I didn’t get a single question at this time.

So I’m like that works. Yeah. And I’m, unfortunately, in one of the states that doesn’t show you what the weak and strengths are. They don’t share.

I really don’t have that. So I just have just go. I did notice that multiple choice got harder which I’ve heard that that means you’ve done well. And I would like flag each one that I was not a hundred percent sure on and count those as wrong in my head. So I’m like, all right, well, right now I think I even have like a 79 or 80, you know based on how well I, you know, I’m counting these as wrong, even though I’m pretty sure I got them right. And then with the SIMS, I had two research questions that I know I got right. You know, so I’m like probably one of those is throughout but then I got like a diluted EPS and like I just want to check cause I knew how to do it.

But in the authoritative literature, he did the exact example problem, like number for numbers. I’m like, “Oh, I know I got that right”. Like I remember like I sat there for 10 minutes. I’m like, “Is for real? Like how lucky was this?” I’m like blown away that I didn’t pass. I was like, it must have been just, I mean, obviously it was just one little thing but I’m like you know, the SIMS I really like, I felt really good on it. I mean I had some that were a little hard but I mean it must’ve been just one freaking thing. I just…

Nate: Yeah, the 73/74 on a different day would be a 75 or 76. You know, like if one SIM goes the other way or whatever but so that’s, that’s why I’m saying anywhere from like a 71 to a 74, just doing this for three weeks.

I say this all the time in emails. I’m like, if you will do this, even though it sounds almost too simple like guarantee you’ll pass.

And then yeah, the last thing I just, I don’t know if you, everyone has times where they could be listening to the audios. I’m just saying, build that in as well. So that you’re using all three, whether you go on runs, walks, workout while you’re making meals, just have headphones in like whatever.

“Should I listen to the audios even while working?”

April: Do you think that like really sinks in when you’re not 100% focused on it? Like if I were to be listening to all I worked, is that even useful? Cause like, is it because I’m not like fully it’s there in the background or something like that, but if I’m trying to like work, like, is that even a good idea or is that okay?

Nate: I’ve had people tell me that they do it when they work but I mean, unless someone’s mind is different than mine, like it’s specifically talking about work. I would kind of be like, yeah, that’s not, that’s probably just more distracting if you’re trying to work than anything.

April: Yeah even I’m fully listening cause even with like, I was out I’m like, there was like a time where I was like, I’m going to fall asleep to like your audio and to see if it’s just like sips into my brain. And I’m like I don’t think it works out.

Nate: I’ve had people say that too. Um, if you can stand this, so an interview that I just did that’s going to be one of our podcasts. It’s not published yet. But this dude was saying that like the, the game-changer strategy for him, even though he had our study tools, he wasn’t really using doing the mini sessions thing but he was following all like the main, the strategies in his main study session and then he got like a 72 and a 73. And then he started really focusing on the mini sessions and it just, then he scored like an 85. And…

April: Wow. That’s the one thing I’m not doing. I’m not doing mini sessions cause I’m like, I’ll just do a huge session all throughout the day. You know, we’re doing this stuff. So I think it was overwhelming.

Take a complete mental break at night

Nate: Yes. So two things, this will be easier. I mean, this I’m sure this sounds easier than what you were just trying.

April: Absolutely, yeah.

Nate: And having a complete mental break, I think is important where you’re just constantly stressing about it around the clock and yeah, probably I think it is possible to like study too much. The last thing I was going to say, so the thing that this guy said, I think his name is Richard.

To end his night, he would start an audio track because the audios essentially followed the review notes, the audio version, he would start the audio and then pull up the review notes and read while he listened like going word by word basically. And, uh, a bunch of people have told me that over the years, that that just kinda like locks in your focus and just, I dunno, it’s just twice as effective as reading or listening separately.

So I mean if you can stand it, do that for 20 to 30 minutes. Just last thing before you I mean, whenever you do it, maybe before you go to bed or right after work or while you’re eating dinner or whatever. But that’s just kind of maybe another thing. And then the thing you can do when you’re laying in bed is reviewing your own flashcards.

If you do these digital apps like BrainScape or Quizlet or something, or even if you’re writing them in person, I guess if you’re at your house, you’d have the physical flashcards, just whatever your format is. A good thing to do in bed that’s not too mentally intensive is just reviewing these flashcards you’ve written in your own words.

So as you do this for two or three weeks or three or four weeks, you’ll end up with, I mean, you’re not shooting for a certain number of flashcards. I would say that after every set of 30, you may be have three to five flashcards to make maybe. Five would be a lot but maybe five. But you do that twice, you know, two sets of 30 every day for a few weeks, you’ll have maybe 50 to 60 flashcards and those should be things that you’ve struggled with, but you’ve put them in your own words. And as you’re reviewing those, those are incredibly helpful and that’s a much more effective way of working on your weak areas.

Then all this, all this intense tracking you are doing yeah. That’s the whole thing.

April: And as You feel like you mastered them, do you toss any out? Like, you know, or just keep them all in?

How to use flashcards

Nate: Well, what do you use for the flashcards? Do you use an app?

April: I started using Quizlet for like, I would just take notes on everything I got wrong and then put it into Quizzlet at the end of the night. And I mean, I guess that kind of helped me see on those app but normally I just read everything on, um, like physical flashcards but I could always like maybe I can enter them in my phone and maybe like reentering something that I wrote down might kind of like…

Nate: The reason I ask is when I was doing it, I was using BrainScape back in the day. And you could like rate flashcards on a color scale like green means you got it. Red is like I missed it just now. And then as you keep doing the decks, it just more frequently shows you like the red or yellow or orange flashcards. And if you rate something as green where you’re just like, okay, this is finally clicked.

I know this. You can rate it as green and it will show it to you maybe once every 20 flashcards or something.

April: Quizlet didn’t really rank on. So like, I think, well, I might be misusing it. Maybe there, maybe there is a way and I wasn’t doing it right but I’ll try BrainScape to see if maybe that’s, I can rank on my way.

Nate: Yeah. I mean, you could kind of do that with physical flashcards, you know, like set one aside and just if you end up with whatever 20, 30 flashcards, maybe make piles of like these ones at this point I know really well. And you maybe review those like once a week or something and then you keep your active pile of like these are “iffy”, and that’s the ones you keep going through each night.

I mean, you can get pretty close to the same function.

April: Yeah, that makes sense and definitely, I think, you know, part of it as I might’ve just really exhausted myself. I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep, which is crucial. You know, eventually I was able to get prescribed a sleeping pill but they were like afraid because like I think almost common ones or whatever.

Ambien, um, symptom could be memory loss. So they’re like,

yeah. They’re like, “no, don’t do that” and so what will you give me? Like, you know, and so, um, they gave me

Nate: Do you use headspace?

April: Um, I started Luna which is kind of similar but like I’ve done like so I was trying everything but for some reason the Luna cause it’s like I don’t know if you’ve ever used that or seen what that is but it’s like more like, like they tell a story, but you have to like interact with the picture.

But I think it just kind of like takes all your focus off from like all the other crap going on. And so, but that helped me and then, you know, I was taking like a sleeping aid that didn’t have a memory loss as a side effect. Um, but it’s still like, I wasn’t getting great sleep. And so I think I was just running myself ragged and I think that’s probably what was my downfall then.

And yeah, I think having a time constraint was even a huge pressure for me too. And now that I don’t have that, I think maybe it should be a little bit easier. And then doing it this way I already feel like a huge weight off my shoulders. Cause I’m like, this is something I can do. And like, you know, I won’t have to do all day and I won’t encroach into work where I, you know, lose focus on work and you know, so this is.

It makes me feel a lot better. Something I definitely can do. If I can do 300 questions a day, I can do this more effectively. And then would you recommend since it’s been, you know, 18 or so months since I’ve taken Audit and REG, how long would you give, would you tell me like, I should give myself for these because they don’t have like a time constraints.

I can book them later but I don’t want them to take too long but you know, if I don’t have to.

Nate: I would, I would essentially even on those to follow this same format, if there’s really something like I dunno like audit reports maybe, uh, if there’s really something that’s really broad conceptually but it’s like one topic and it’s kinda difficult, you know. On one of those two sections maybe like watch a video here and there but primarily follow this format.

Um, but yeah so as far as the timeline like maybe four to five weeks or five to six, I would say five to six weeks at the most on those other two. And then on the weekends, if it’s like the two hours is one block, I would just try to do at least two so four hours and maybe six. Six hours is a lot but it’s not like a crazy amount.

April: Yeah. Yeah.

Nate: And then do you have our pro course videos?

April: I do, yeah.

Set your test on a Monday

Nate: So the other thing would be when you do set these test dates, I would try to set these on a Monday. It’s not like Monday’s important. It’s just that for most people you would have the Saturday and Sunday to kind of do our mega cram session thing which is just this same format but for like eight hours those last two days just to fill. Again, just fill your short-term memory with as much cumulative practices as you can.

This will be hard to go wrong like doing that for three weeks. Again, if you can get two days off of work or whatever, it doesn’t matter the weekday, but Monday just makes it easier for most people because then you’d have Saturday and Sunday. And then anyways, go back and watch that mega cram session video.

But it’s pretty much just the same format and yeah, if you really feel like you want to study more you know, you could try to do another. Two hour block in the evening but I would tell you just from the stress and anxiety.

Like don’t stress yourself out over that idea. If your evening frees up and you’ve got nothing else to do like you might as well type thing.

But what I was going to say is if you nail the two hours in the morning and you do the mini sessions throughout the day, just to allow yourself to feel good about it and completely disengage and just know that you’ve nailed it for the day and not have any ideas of, ” I need to keep studying” or don’t stress yourself out if you’ve nailed like the basics because the basics will work.

April: Okay. All right. Thank you. Yeah. Cause I think I just get myself so worked up and still overwhelmed but I’m like, “oh, if I do all of this so like you know, drill is so hard then like there’s no way I won’t pass”. I was like so shocked when I open the score. But yeah, I think this is definitely going to work and I think I need to distress as much as possible.

So I think not overwhelming myself. It’s going to be the best. It’s going to be the key stuff.

Nate: Yeah. Well, I’m excited to hear how it works cause I’m pretty, pretty confident it will work. I mean and then if you pass FAR you know, like your path done again and it’s just, you can do this again or BEC and REG, it’s just, you said you work in Tax, right?

“It’s a huge self-esteem blow…”

April: Yeah, I work in tax so REG is going to be no problem. I don’t think like, you know, five years ago I didn’t pass it but there was so many other factors involved. It wasn’t about knowledge. And I think that’s what I have been kind of like putting my self-worth, equating that with how well I’m doing. So it’s a huge self-esteem blow.

Cause I’m like, “Oh, I’m just not good enough”. And I’m like, you know, I’m not smart enough. And I know in reality I do know everything. And I’m like, if you sat on my couch and watch me take this test, you know, Proctor, like I can do it here. Like, you know, but when it comes to that day, it says I can’t do it.

Like I’m going to do it in my sweats and like, you know, at my house you know, I won’t cheat, you could watch me do it. I think if I actually enjoy it again, but I mean, I hated it when I was doing it sometimes. I was so miserable.

So I think when I actually started to enjoy life a little bit, this could help a lot. So, um, I appreciate your advice. Cause I was really like, I don’t know what to do

Nate: Well so on that note, I would again, I don’t know what you do in your free time. Like if you like going to the gym or running or something, something active, I would say, but I would try to work that back in, in the evenings because that’s just a huge, you know, again, I’m not a, not a doctor but they all talk about how

that’s just, it like physically releases stress to like workout or do something active. And if you’ve just, you know, haven’t had time to do that for this long or whatever or doing it more limited than you have been, like build that back in. That’s like just as important as studying. As long as you are doing this three hours in the morning, some form of being active is just as important.

April: Yeah. And that was a something I put on a back burner. I’m like, I don’t know how to do that. So yeah, I think for sure. Yeah, I definitely will do that and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Cause I was like I wasn’t going to give up. I know that eventually I would have come around to it cause I’m too stubborn for that.

But I was like really ended our replays yesterday. So thank you for responding to me. I was like, it’s a long shot to see if like you would even respond to my, I don’t even have time to do that.

Nate: Well, I know you’ve sent me emails before I get so many fricking emails.

April: Yeah, here it is. I’m gonna giving this like novel but I’m like, I just want to like give you all the background and like, you know, this situation.

How to solve exam anxiety in advance

Nate: So one thing that we’re really helped with the exam anxiety on test date is as you’re doing these sets of 30, when you start, have you ever timed yourself just when you’re at your house, normal studying, how long does a set of 30 take you?

April: I mean, no, I feel like it kinda depends. And then I’m like, if they’re longer problems, I just let the clock run for whatever like its set is. But I still, I don’t do where I go back. I look at questions every time I’m done with the question, I look at what the answer is. That’s probably not the best way to do it. I need to do it just like you were saying like review that at the end.

You know, and just kinda just go through because I don’t really know. I wasn’t planning at a timeless time though. I had like 15 minutes left.

Nate: Okay. So you’re probably in the right range. But what I was going to say is as you do these sets of 30, first of all, some people get stressed out about just like their metrics on a daily basis when they’re studying at their house and it’s like, “Hey, this isn’t the real test”.

Like this doesn’t matter but just to work on this. So set a timer for 45 minutes per 30 questions and just try to be done answering questions by the 45 minutes. And if you are consistently doing that, then work, then set it for 40 minutes. And what you should try to get to is like 30 to 35 minutes.

And if you’re able to do that and just you’re doing these two sets every day, then on an exam day, you’re just naturally going through move through the questions faster and leave yourself more time with SIMS. Because that’s really like the best overall tips for the SIMS is to leave as much time as possible.

April: Yeah. Cause there were a few multiple choice where you get that like, I get that panic feeling or my taste is bad. I’m like, “Oh my God. They’re like, I don’t know this”. And like they were running out of time. So I think, yeah, I think working on just like making sure I can get through those as soon as possible is definitely gonna help me too.

Nate: Yeah.

April: Um,

Nate: and then just happens to be your exact situation. If you listen to the podcast episode with uh, Cody, I believe. He had three lapse, and then like he left it alone for a few years cause that was just, he was so upset about that. And then eventually like came back and he just, he posts in the forum.

He probably won’t now cause he’s now done but he went through your things. Passed three, they slowly lapse cause he couldn’t pass. I can’t remember which section but, and then left it alone for two years, completely started over. And in your case, you’re not completely starting over. You’ve got BEC done.

You’ve got a 73 on FAR which again, I’m saying, I guarantee you, you pass it this next time by doing this.

April: Okay. Yeah. And I, I like listening to those, like sometimes when I need a little motivation. So when they come in, they come in through my email when a new one is posted.

So I’ll definitely, I was like, well, I’m looking forward to delete all of these cause I’ll be done. But it’s like, “Nope, not done” so but yes, I still have them all in my thing when I don’t listen to it right, I keep in there. So I’ll, I’ll look for this and, um, that’ll probably give me a little bit more motivation too so.

Nate: Yeah. That is that’s everything I would tell you so…

April: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

Nate: yeah. Do you have, I mean, any questions on anything I’ve said?

April: Um, no, I’ve made sure I took a bunch of notes and I’m gonna definitely like I feel like everything’s really clear. I’m going to definitely apply this and not overdo it. So yeah, I feel really good and I’ll definitely keep you updated as this time goes on. Um, I mean, once I get my payment coupon thing, I’m gonna look it for three weeks from now. And so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Nate: Nice. Alright. right. Well, yeah. Um, I’m pretty sure. Well, I’m more than sure if you just do this, keep it simple but like execute that format and then take a mental break at night, do something. I mean, it’s not like you got to go start exercising every night. I’m just saying like do things that you enjoy.

Maybe some time that’s active exercise, whatever or a series you’ve wanted to watch. I mean just like do things intentionally, still go to bed on time. So you can nail the morning, you know. Everything affects everything, but it doesn’t have to be 24/7 CPA studies like yeah.

April: Yeah, I can’t thank you enough. So…

Nate: Okay. Yep. We’ll be in touch. So good luck with everything and yeah, I hope this helps. I mean, it will, this will work.

All right. So that was the coaching call. I hope you found that helpful and insightful and whether you’re working on a retake or not, there is a lot of wisdom or there’s a lot of progress to be made by keeping your study process simple as long as you were doing the things that matters. And as you heard me kind of circle back to and reiterate several times in the coaching call, you really want to focus your efforts and spend your time doing what you will be doing on test day. And then do not discount the mini sessions. So you nail your main study session, whatever that happens to be, but then studying from your phone in small chunks and using all three study tools in different sessions throughout the day. So try to have sessions where you listen to the audio notes, have sessions where you read the review notes, and have sessions where you do mini quizzes on the app.

You want to be using all three resources at different times throughout the day because using all three, you are using different study modalities, it hits your brain, has a slightly different effect on your brain and your memory, and it helps you make connections and really assimilate the information in your mind much, much better than just doing one long study session all at once each day.

So, if you found this episode helpful, please share it with a friend or someone you know who’s also working on their CPA exams. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you on the next episode.

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