In this SuperfastCPA podcast interview, you’ll hear how Chad originally had no intention of taking the CPA exams, and how that all changed after seeing one Youtube ad.
You’ll hear Chad’s journey to figuring out an effective CPA study process, and how taking the exams has changed his career trajectory.
Master your study process by attending one of our free study training workshops: https://www.superfastcpa.com/study-secrets/
Enter our free monthly podcast giveaway: https://www.superfastcpa.com/enter
- 00:00 Chad Interview
- 00:31 Intro
- 04:10 Done with Three Out of Four Exams
- 05:10 How Chad Found SuperfastCPA
- 06:35 Chad’s Talks About His CPA Journey
- 09:27 What Made Sense in the Free Webinar
- 10:52 Chad Experience With His First Test
- 13:06 Changing His Study Process After Failing the First Time
- 15:37 Failed FAR again and Finally Passing His First Exam
- 18:13 Using Another Supplement Material to Help Understand Difficult Topics
- 19:39 Passing Audit and BEC
- 20:43 Chad’s Daily Study Routine
- 22:28 Chad’s Study Routine on Weekends
- 24:25 The Time Chad Realized He Needed to Do Practice Sims
- 26:23 How Chad Would Constantly Review Throughout the Day
- 29:36 Constant Use of SuperfastCPA Materials
- 33:50 Chad’s Process for Learning Topics
- 36:06 Chad Uses the Same Method for Learning Sims
- 38:13 Learning Process for Difficult Topics
- 41:53 Chad’s Test Day Experience
- 46:29 Chad’s Top Tips for People Still Struggling With the CPA Exams
- 53:06 Getting the Most Out of Your Review Course
- 56:41 Outro
Chad: Without seeing one of your ads I would’ve never done the CPA exams. I had no intention of doing them whatsoever, so, just again, wanted to reiterate. Thank you so much. Uh, you guys, your videos gave, gave me the confidence that I could even have a chance to do this, you know? So, like I said, no intention whatsoever, so, completely changed my mindset. Completely changed my mindset.
Nate: Welcome to another episode of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA, I’m Nate and in today’s interview you’re going to hear me talk with Chad.
Nate: So Chad’s story is interesting because he had done accounting in college but several years into his career, he wasn’t even working in accounting, and he wasn’t ever really considering doing the CPA exams, but he saw one of our YouTube ads and just thought, okay, well, if this can be easier than the nightmare that I’ve heard it is, I’ll give these a shot.
Nate: And so now here he is on the podcast. Uh, at the time we recorded this, he was done with three and just have one left. So in this interview, you’re just going to hear Chad’s process of studying, working through the exams when, you know, he didn’t have a huge incentive to at work, and didn’t know anyone else that was going through the process at the same time, and just how he went through each exam and figured out his process to where he’s now consistently and reliably passing his exams.
Nate: So before we get into the interview with Chad, I just want to mention two things. First, our free training webinar. You will hear Chad mentioned this as well. This was the first thing he saw from SuperfastCPA and kind of got him convinced that maybe these don’t have to take over your whole life and made him decide to give it a chance to try and pass his CPA exams.
Nate: So these are one hour webinars where we just walk you through our core study strategies so that you can evaluate for yourself if this whole thing makes sense, and by the end of one of these trainings, you will be able to understand why our process is so much more effective and so much more efficient for getting your exams done without it taking over your whole life. Especially if you’re a busy professional who’s working full-time and trying to get these exams over with at the same time.
Nate: So the link to the training will be down in the description of this episode, whether that’s on YouTube or in your podcast player.
Nate: The second thing is our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Power Beat Pro headphones to three random people who’ve entered the giveaway. It’s just your name and email and that link will also be down in the description.
Nate: And with all that out of the way, let’s get into the interview with Chad.
Nate: Where you located at?
Chad: I am in, uh, central Ohio. So, uh, I’m in the Grove City area pretty close to Columbus, so.
Nate: Okay. You a Bengals fan?
Chad: I, I mean, I was rooting for him last night, but it’s not my team now. I, I am a, uh, I’m a Patriots fan actually.
Nate: Okay. Yeah. Interesting, interesting year for the Patriots having, uh, Patricia call plays out of nowhere.
Chad: Yeah. I don’t know what we’re doing. I really miss Tom Brady, so.
Nate: Yeah. That’s funny. Um, so have you listened to many of these episodes or do you kind of know how these go?
Chad: Yeah, man, I got borderline obsessed with listening to these, so I think I’ve listened to every single one of them, so.
Nate: Okay, awesome. Yeah, so I mean, uh, we’ll basically just kind of start from the beginning and talk about your whole study process, and I’ll just kind of ask questions along the way, but yeah, it’s pretty casual.
Nate: So, um, yeah, before we kind of start on that, I mean, do you have any questions for me or anything?
Chad: I don’t think so.
Done with Three Out of Four Exams
Chad: What is your, uh, timetable for regulation? What do you say? About six weeks? Six, seven weeks?
Nate: Yeah. Anywhere from like five to seven weeks, I would say. Is that your last section?
Chad: Yeah, so I’m, I’m feeling pretty good about it right now.
Chad: I don’t have a test date set. I was gonna buy a, uh, NTS next pay check and then, uh, I’ll probably set it for about a month out. So I’ve been working through the material for about two or three weeks, so.
Nate: Okay. Yeah. Um, yeah, I mean, you’ve passed three. What, what were your kind of timelines on those?
Chad: Yeah, so, um, FAR took me a while, uh, I, I guess before we even get into all that, I just wanna say thank you to you and your team. Um, without seeing one of your ads I would’ve never done the CPA exams. I had no intention of doing them whatsoever, so. Um.
Nate: Oh, really?
Chad: I remember when. Yeah. None whatsoever, so.
How Chad Found SuperfastCPA
Chad: When, uh, when I graduated, I, I think I had several people ask me, you’re gonna do those?
Chad: And I, all I heard was how daunting they were. I was like, man, I just, I just got outta school. I’m not trying to, uh, go into this right now. I, I really never had any intention of doing them, so. But, uh, the whole, uh, working from home, covid, I mean, I had a, uh, had a job where I could get most of my work done pretty quickly.
Chad: And you know, when you have free time, you just go down the rabbit hole, YouTube and up pops one of your videos. I start watching it and I’m like, oh, okay. So, uh, the videos really gave me the encouragement that I could do it. And then obviously you get into the process and you realize, oh, this is really hard, so.
Nate: That’s funny. Yeah, I don’t hear that that often. That, uh, you know, you, you obviously someone would’ve had to have had the background or like to be able to kind of take the exams. You can’t just take someone who wasn’t even in accounting and pull ’em in and say like, yeah, do your CPA. So you kind of, you went through accounting. You kind of knew that it would be a good idea vaguely to do it, but you just kind of weren’t planning on it. And then you saw one of our ads and just were kind of saying like, it doesn’t have to be at a complete nightmare. And that’s basically what got you started?
Chad: Yeah, pretty much.
Chad’s Talks About His CPA Journey
Chad: I mean, uh, I work for a, uh, Midwestern National Bank out here and, uh, I was in a position where I could move up, but it wasn’t necessarily in that department and I really had the mindset I wanted to move up in the bank within accounting and, uh, it just never worked out that way.
Chad: I tried applying for a few jobs and did like at accounting firms, just didn’t happen. So, in the bank I held an internal audit role and learned a lot during that experience. I didn’t want to do audit though, after that I was like, yeah, I’m good. But, uh, then, uh, I come across one of your ads.
Chad: I, I start looking for jobs. I’m like, I really need to get in the accounting field where I can get some experience. And, uh, I was able to land a job, express to ’em I’m studying for the exams. I’ve been working there since last June, so learning a lot for sure. It’s kind of like when, when you think about it, I, I was out of the whole accounting space since I graduated.
Chad: I was just working in a job at the bank. I wasn’t necessarily using what you learned in school, so kind of start from square one. Some of the stuff was, was still fresh in my mind, but, um, well, not fresh, but I, I recalled some of it, but a lot of it was like, oh man.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah, it definitely is. Um, and it’s also, it’s kind of weird because the CPA exams, it’s, the way the material is, it’s very specific just to the CPA exams.
Nate: Cause I’ve talked to a lot of people that are like, uh, a few times like an audit manager, like very experienced in real life audit. And they just really struggle with the audit CPA exam. Um, they’re just, it’s like specific to these exams that you really just have to, like everyone, no matter their background, has to study the CPA material specifically.
Nate: You can’t just rely on your background to come in and take these, but yeah.
Nate: Well, um, oh, and I was gonna mention, I, we have like a one second delay, so sometimes I’ll start saying something and you’ve already started and so that’s just gonna happen. So I apologize in advance.
Chad: No, it’s all good.
Nate: So, okay.
Nate: But, uh, um, okay. Oh, go ahead. Go ahead sorry.
Chad: Oh yeah. But no, uh, yeah, just again, wanted to reiterate. Thank you so much. Uh, you guys, your videos gave, gave me the confidence that I could even have a chance to do this, you know? So, like I said, no intention whatsoever, so. Completely changed my mindset. Completely changed my mindset.
Nate: That’s awesome. And now you’re just, now you’re just one away, so, yeah.
Nate: Uh, let’s, let’s go back to that.
What Made Sense in the Free Webinar
Nate: So you see one of our ads, um, decide it’s a good idea to try it out or whatever. I guess let’s just start with that. So the ad obviously leads to our free one hour training, and so you watched that and it just made this seem doable to you or what kind of pulled you in?
Chad: Yeah, I would say you’re just those random YouTube videos popping up, I think you, I went down the rabbit hole. I watched a ton of them before I got into the one hour webinar and, uh, I, I kind of got the gist of, of, uh, what it was. I was like, this makes so much sense. And, um, and then I get into the webinar, listen to it, take notes, and then, uh, at that point I, I did a lot of research on what review course to get and all that good stuff.
Chad: And, uh, finally bought a review course and immediately put the strategies to work. , I’ve had you, I’ve had your materials since the beginning, but it wasn’t as smooth as some of your other customers, unfortunately, but, uh, I think part of that was me trying to SuperfastCPA-ish it, you know, it it, if that makes sense.
Chad: I was like, uh, all right well, I, I know he says the key ingredient is taking some notes but I’m gonna, I’m gonna be on this podcast and talk how I didn’t take any notes and that just isn’t the case.
Nate: Yeah. That’s funny.
Chad’s Experience With His First Test
Chad: But, um, yeah, I, uh, I think I got the materials in April of last year and, uh, I sent my test date for FAR on, um, it was in June.
Chad: And at that point, like I was feeling really confident going into the exam because everything you were saying on your videos, like you’re scoring above eighties on your MCQs, like towards the end, you’re, I mean, you’re in a pretty good spot, so I felt pretty good, but obviously going into these, you have no idea what to expect if you haven’t taken one of them.
Chad: And, uh, I get in there and it’s just like, did I even study for this? Like the questions were outta left field. I was like, what? I, I, I was, I don’t know. I’m, I know there’s some people that have that experience, other people that don’t, but I totally did. I was like, I, I was clueless on some of the stuff and, uh, got into the simulations and that’s where I really realized I needed to work through those a little bit more because journal entries and all that good stuff, they, I, it, it just hadn’t clicked for me yet.
Chad: And I was, I remember leaving that exam, I, I finished like a half hour early, but it wasn’t like I knew that like, oh yeah, I passed. So like, uh, maybe I did, but realistically I knew I didn’t and, uh, get my score back and it was a 56. And, um, people that don’t really know around me, that don’t really know how the scoring system works, like, oh, you were pretty close. I’m like, no, no I wasn’t , but I had some work to do.
Chad: So I went back to the drawing board. At that point, I wasn’t really listening to your audio notes a hundred percent yet. I, because I was working from home half of the time, so I wasn’t listening to them. I was doing your mini quizzes, but I felt like, like I had a lot of free time during work when I was working from home, so I was like, oh, I’ll just use the review course.
Chad: So, which makes sense. But in the same sense, I think seeing the material in a different way definitely helps. That’s why your quizzes are, I, I can get through your quizzes like 10, 15 questions in like five minutes. It’s, it’s nothing. Mm-hmm. once you really get into the study process.
Changing His Study Process After Failing the First Time
Chad: But, um, yeah, I went back to the drawing board. At that point, I’m working at the accounting firm I am now, and I have about a half hour commute, so it’s when I really started putting, uh, the audio notes to work every single day. Every time I drove somewhere. I got, uh, I, I was starting to memorize some of the, some of the things, like I’ve heard people say that in the past.
Chad: And, uh, I, I, uh, what I did redo this time, the second time I took FAR was, uh, I practiced the simulations a lot and I know a lot of people can get, by not doing that, I’m not one of those people. I have to. I, I practice those kind of like, I did the multiple choice questions and yeah, I think you do get to a point where you’re memorizing them.
Chad: But in the same sense, if you can sit there and sink through, okay, I understand this, I understand that, but I’m not a hundred percent sure about how I’m getting to this answer. Once you get to the point where, you know most of it, I think you’re good. So, but I, uh, practice the sims just like I did the MCQs.
Chad: And then, uh, another thing, sorry, I’m all over the place, but, um, I had Roger’s CPA. Oh, okay. I had, uh, Roger’s CPA and, uh, the, the review course is, is awesome. It has all the material you need, just like any other review course. But, um, what I noticed is you really need to figure out how to use it and obviously your method is question first approach, and I was doing that.
Chad: But what I realized during the first time I took FAR, when I was generating my sets of 30, I was getting a lot of the same questions over and over again. And it wa and it wasn’t just like kind of the same, we’re we’re talking identical questions. I probably saw, their section on derivatives was very small, and I think I got a question or two on derivatives every time.
Chad: It was like, I know these, like the back of my hand. I don’t need to see them. And, um, I, uh, figured out, okay, I’m doing, I, I gotta figure out how to get exposure to everything. So I know a lot of review courses will go module by module and Rogers isn’t set up that way. It’s more, they have like for FAR, for instance, it has 22 chapters basically.
Chad: And what I would do is break it up. I got to the point where I was doing three sets of 33 for FAR. So basically I broke it up, 7, 7, 8, and that, that’s, that’s what I did each and every day. And, uh, I would do the missed questions along with the simulations.
Failed FAR again and Finally Passing His First Exam
Chad: And then, uh, so we’re still going into my second attempt at FAR at this point. I felt pretty good about it going, I, I felt more confident this time and, uh, I get in there. I, it’s not like I was clueless the first time. Like, oh yeah, I know this. Like, I, I felt really good going outta there. And then, uh, I think I only had to wait a week for the score and, uh, I wake up the next morning, like 5:30 all, all excited to see it.
Chad: Got a 74 and I, it was, it was encouraging, but it, but it’s a heartbreaker in the same sense. But I improved my score by 19 points. I’m like, okay, I mean, I, I’m right there. I’m on the right track. So immediately got another NTS to do it again, like I think within two weeks. And, uh, I, uh, got into the exam center and for whatever reason, the exam was a lot more difficult.
Chad: This, this second, the third time I took it and uh, I think, uh, I got really discouraged while I was in the exam, like, I’m gonna fail again. And that, that’s half the battle. If you have that mindset when you’re in there, you’re gonna fail. But, um, if you can stay positive, you give yourself a chance. But, um, I left that exam that third time thinking I bombed it.
Chad: And uh, I was just like, I don’t even, like, at this point I’m in a pretty dark place through the CPA exams. I’m like, I’m putting so much effort into this and it’s just not coming together.
Chad: And, uh, I, uh, get my score back and I didn’t do as bad as I thought, I didn’t pass, but I got a 70. I’m like, okay. I mean, you, you’re right there.
Chad: You know the material. You just need a little bit more. Um, and then when I first started the process, I bought a NTS for both audit and FAR, and my audit NTS was running out, so I had to switch. So I just took, uh, that question base approach. I did the best I could. Ended up taking it. Got a 69. and, uh, I mean, pretty good.
Chad: But I, I, I only gave myself like three or four weeks to study, so I was like, okay, a little bit more. I’ll, I’ll pass that one. But the beast for me was FAR and then fourth time, um, I think I took another three weeks to re-study and I was finally able to pass with the 81. And seriously, one of the happiest days of my life.
Chad: I , I, I was so excited to pass the exam. Yeah, so I, I obviously haven’t passed the fourth one yet. I don’t know what my feeling will be with that one, but that first one, I mean, it, it was, uh, yeah, so it was awesome. So passing that first one, I was like, okay, all this, all this was worth it. I’m gonna pass the other three now.
Chad: I mean, I gotta keep the momentum going, so.
Using Another Supplement Material to Help Understand Difficult Topics
Nate: So you did, uh, so you passed FAR and then, uh, retake, audit, pass that, and then BEC, I’m guessing.
Chad: Yeah, that’s pretty much how it went. And another thing I didn’t mention when I was going through that, um, have you ever heard of a universal CPA? They’re kind of a new review course.
Nate: Yeah, I have. I don’t know much about it, but I mean, I’ve come across it.
Chad: Oh, okay. I gotcha. Well, with the Roger questions with FAR, I think it got to the point where I’d probably memorized 90% of the questions, but also I was able to work through ’em. But. I went ahead and I did a free trial with them, and their review course is pretty affordable.
Chad: Not, it’s not thousands of dollars, we’re talking a few hundred dollars or you can pay for it by the month. But, um, they have little lecture videos for every single, multiple choice question. I don’t know and know if you knew that about them, but those little videos really helped a lot, just like on some of my struggle areas.
Chad: Like for instance, I knew leases very well with FAR but business consolidations were difficult for me. So on those questions in there, I watched every one of their little videos for each question and made sure I understood every piece of it. And then that really helped me understand. So, but yeah, that I used them for, for FAR as well as Roger.
Passing Audit and BEC
Chad: And then, um, I did the same thing for audit and kind of used both review courses. I was able to pass the second time around audit. I, uh, got a 79. I thought I did better than that. Honestly, I thought I did. I thought I did a lot better, but I was like, ah, it’s passing score. It doesn’t matter. . And then.
Chad: And then, uh, BEC I was able to pass the first time with a 81, so that, that one was the, the mirror, the material with BEC is challenging but I, I don’t know. When, when I first started it, it was overwhelming and then two or three weeks in it was starting to click. So it wasn’t that bad at the end, but yeah. They all present their own challenges, I guess.
Nate: Yeah, they do. Yep. I, over the years I’ve talked to people that, you know, any given one of the four was just like extremely difficult for some reason.
Nate: You know, it’s so, it just totally depends. Um.
Nate: And so, you know, like I said, I’ve talked to tax people who could not pass REG that kind of a thing. It just, sometimes for some reason there’s just something about it.
Chad’s Daily Study Routine
Nate: Um, so what would a, what would a day of studying look like? Did you try to follow our format where you do two hours in the morning and then the mini sessions throughout the day basically?
Chad: Yeah, pretty much. Um, I would get up and I’m still doing it right now. I get up at 4:00 AM every day. Um, what I’ll do is I’ll go, I’ll, I’ll go about 50 minutes and then, um, I will, uh, stop, make breakfast, um, um, drink a cup of coffee, get out the door, and then I will get to work early and I’ll get another hour in before I really start work.
Chad: And then, um, throughout the day, I mean, my boss is cool with me just having the review, like I can have it up if it’s like, if I have nothing to do. We’re encouraged to study, but some of these, some of these, uh, I could get through like a universal set of questions in like five minutes or something like that.
Chad: So I always have it up in the background, like I got a second. Do, do a set of questions. But, um, I also would, uh, I have downloaded your, your, uh, your notes to the desktop, so I have that up on my computer. And every hour I’ll make myself read five to 10 pages and then maybe do two mini quizzes real quick. And then, uh, I’ll just try to practice that each hour, so.
Chad: Try to get, I, I think my, like right now with regulation, I think there’s like 165 pages of the notes. So I’m trying to get through the notes once a week right now, and then closer to exam time when I know my test date for sure. I’ll probably get through ’em two or three times a week, so I’ll up the reading then.
Chad’s Study Routine on Weekends
Nate: And then what about on the weekends? Uh, do you just try to do it in the morning so you can just be done for the day type thing?
Chad: Yeah, a hundred percent. Um, 4:00 AM every day through the week. Uh, it takes a lot out of you, but, um.
Chad: I, I, yeah, so I will, I’ll, I’ll allow myself to sleep in until like 6:30 and, um, I’ll get up, I will go for about two hours.
Chad: I’ll, uh, take a break, eat breakfast, maybe go run, do something like that, and, um, come back, go another hour and a half or two hours. And it depends, like if it was, if I’m like in the review stage, like I know I’m gonna go take the test in two weeks, I will, I’ll go for six hours on the weekends, I’ll just go three sets of two hour sessions.
Chad: I’ll do it all in a row because it’s, that’s a lot to do it all in a row. It, it can be draining, so. My goal every time, like on the weekends, is be done with it by like three o’clock in the afternoon. Honestly, I’d like to be done by one. It’s just a matter of did I get up in time to do it, so. But yeah, I, uh, I, I definitely study a little bit more on the weekends, but at, at the beginning when you’re in this process, I’ll say it’s really difficult to do that because it’s, I don’t know if you’re not used to it yet, or the whole mind state. I’d rather be doing anything than this. And, uh, I, uh, you, you get to the point where I don’t say you enjoy it, but you get to the point where it’s just like, I don’t know, you feel like you’re getting good at something, so it’s easier to do, so.
Nate: Yup, definitely that sense of momentum. I tell people that a lot, like this’ll really suck in the beginning but if you can just get to the point where you feel like you’re making progress and moving forward, it just gets a lot easier.
Chad: Yes, a hundred percent.
The Time Chad Realized He Needed to Do Practice Sims
Nate: Um, so after you, so you take, took FAR those few times, realized you need more practice on the sims, once you realized that, how did you add in sims to your daily process?
Nate: Just for, like the remaining sections or when do you do practice sims? How do you use ’em? That whole thing.
Chad: Yeah. So that second time I took FAR is when I really put an emphasis on practicing the sims, because that first time I took FAR, I think you, I I, I got a little false belief from the interviews of everybody.
Chad: If it comes easy to you to do the simulations just on test day, awesome. But I, I was, I’ve, I’ve listened to the interviews. Well, they’re doing it like that. I’ll be good. I, I, I could just glance at ’em and I’ll be all right. That that was not the case.
Chad: So, um, I, I really focus on those that second time on FAR and at that point, what my process was, was basically what you recommend for, uh, that final review, the, the, the cram session.
Chad: But I like, obviously I couldn’t do it six hours like each, every day through the weekday. But what I would try to do, I would go, for FAR what I was doing, I, I’d do three sets of 33, and at that point I knew the material pretty well, so I was getting through those very quickly. Um, I was able, like when you’re reviewing your questions, I think you can identify which ones, like, I know that, I know that, I know that I don’t really need to read it.
Chad: I, I know how to do that. And then there’s other ones you need to stop read it and if you got it wrong, take a note, do something like that. But, um, then what I would do is just, I’d probably do five to seven. I pretty much what you recommend. I, I just work in five to seven and then, uh, I would just do that every single day.
Chad: On the weekends I would repeat that two hour block, two or three times. And, um, that, that’s kind of just what I did.
Nate: Yeah. Okay.
How Chad Would Constantly Review Throughout the Day
Nate: Um, and what about a, uh, a final review? Like how long do you leave, like a week or two before an exam? Once you’re through all the material, or how do you treat a final review?
Chad: Well, what I’ve been doing since I’ve discovered Universal was, um, I learned the material in Universal.
Chad: I, I’m, I, and I’m reading your notes, I’m taking your many quizzes, but that’s primarily what I’m using to learn the material because, uh, of their little lecture videos and stuff like that, I don’t sit there and watch like a 20 minute lecture video or something, but their, their videos on their MCQs are no more, the longest one I think I’ve seen is like five minutes. And, um, I’ll learn the material in there.
Chad: They don’t have as, they don’t have as many questions as what, uh, Roger does. So it would probably take me, I don’t know, for BEC I got through all of their material in like three weeks, maybe two, two or three.
Chad: And then I went through all of the Roger questions, like, and basically what I was doing was going, uh, just doing 10 at a time, just fitting ’em in whenever I could. Basically, it, it wasn’t like I, I wasn’t trying to speed through the lessons, but I wanted to see them at least once. And then, um, by the time I got sold to material in both courses, what my strategy was, was, uh, I would do.
Chad: For BEC, I like, like I said, with FAR, you gotta break it up in Roger because they don’t do module by module, they do the chapters. So, um, to ensure I get exposure to everything, there was eight chapters in BEC for instance. I would do four sets of 31 throughout the, like I got to the point where I was doing ’em that quickly and then I’d work in simulations. And um, throughout the rest of my day I’d always have, at my work computer, I’d always have, um, I’d have both review courses up, like in, in case I got downtime, and if I did, I would just generate a set of questions, get through ’em in like five to 10 minutes and just keep on constant exposure. Read your notes.
Chad: That that’s kind of what my strategy was. And there at the end, I just, I would try to get, I wasn’t really going by hours. I was going by how many questions can I do? It is basically what I was trying to do at that point.
Nate: Okay. Yeah, that’s a good, uh, yeah, a few people have mentioned that and I, that is kind of a, a good approach instead of, cuz it, if you get off track or whatever, it’s easy for two hours to go by and you didn’t really do anything.
Nate: Um, whereas number of questions worked through is like, you know, concrete, like, okay, I worked through 60 questions, so I know I did something. Yeah, that’s a good idea. Yeah.
Chad: Yeah. And I know a lot of people, um, like when, when I started at my job, I started in the middle of summer. It’s kind of the downtime in the firm.
Chad: So I had some extra time during the day, like if I didn’t have anything to do, that’s all I was doing. But at that point, I’d covered the materials so much. It was just like, it was just constant repeat coverage.
Constant Use of SuperfastCPA Materials
Nate: Um, so in the beginning, or you kind of mentioned earlier, you weren’t using our audios that much in the beginning, and then in your, uh, your note on the form to sign up for the interview, you said, I use ’em when I run, do all kinds of stuff.
Nate: So you use the, you do a lot of the mini sessions now it sounds like.
Chad: Yeah. I have your material on pretty much constantly. Um, every day in the car, um, I’ll listen to it to and from, I, some days, there’s days where you’re just mentally done. And if I listen to it, you, you know, it’s going in one ear right out the other.
Chad: It’s just like I, I’m listening to it, like, I think it has happened to me the other day. I was like, I didn’t catch a word of what that, that part was. So, I mean, but I do what you say, just kind of keep on re-listening. I go through all of them. It’s not like I go look for one specific section. I just keep on getting coverage over everything.
Chad: Um, When I’m running, I will have them on. You kind of zone out when you run, so you’re not gonna get constant. But if you can stay somewhat focused, you can, you can pick up on a lot of things, especially with REG, what I find when you’re talking through, uh, like basis examples and all that stuff, what, what if I catch it from the beginning, I can sit there and walk, work through it in my head while I’m running.
Chad: So I was like, oh, okay, this is good. And then, uh, if I stop running, I have to deal with myself. You have to take five mini, you have to do a mini quiz if you don’t get at least four outta five right. You have to take another one until you get four outta five right. That, that’s what I do.
Nate: Nice. That’s funny. But yeah, that stuff, that stuff’s totally, uh, I mean, yeah, I would do stuff like that with myself when I was studying.
Nate: Um, though I used Wiley and, and back. Back then, their app was awesome cuz it was super simple like ours, they had a five question, just one button, do five questions. Now it has like a thousand options. It takes like two minutes to even set up a quiz in their app. But anyways, um, I would just grind through quizzes on my phone and, uh, if I got a text from someone, I would force myself to, you know, do a mini quiz before I read the text.
Nate: Or like you said, , you can’t just do it all the time cause it’s, you know, it gets just, you just can’t do it all the time. So if I really wanted to like, read ESPN or something at lunch again, I would be like, okay, I’m gonna do at least three mini quizzes first. Then they’ll, during lunch I’ll let myself like, read stories on ESPN.
Nate: But yeah, just having like a check mark, something built in where you’re forcing yourself to do it before you do the, your favorite time waster type things.
Chad: Yeah, a hundred percent. Even last night, during that game, like any, any time it went to a commercial, I, I, I’d try to get through 10 or 10 or 50 questions real quick.
Chad: There’s a lot of background noise, uh, cause I was watching with a bunch of people, but, um, yeah, I was, that’s what I was doing. It, it’s become like a, I don’t know, you, you’ll find one of those, those apps that’s just like, it’s, it’s an addicting game. I, I’ve, I’ve kind of adopted that with this at this point.
Chad: It’s just like, I’m gonna do questions and you get to the point where you memorize them. But I think if you’re able to identify where, uh, you, you understand why they’re correct. I, I mean, it’s definitely beneficial just to, it’s not gonna hurt to keep looking at it, so.
Nate: Right. I get asked, I get asked that a lot.
Nate: Um, and it’s usually from people that are just starting to study and it’s like something they’ve heard, like you don’t want to just memorize questions, so they’re like worried about it. And, and I’m like, well, okay, if you get to the point where you’ve memorized all the questions in your review course, you’re actually in a really good spot.
Nate: And I mean, all you have to do, even if, even if you’ve seen the question, is just conceptually talk it out to yourself. Like, okay, I know this is A, not just because I’ve memorized it’s A, but like, because of, you know, this. And then it’s just that repeat exposure, just uh, I don’t know, re- reaffirms it or whatever. So.
Chad: Yeah, for sure.
Nate: Let’s see, we’ve gone through most things.
Chad’s Process for Learning Topics
Nate: Um, so what, so when you’re doing the questions, you’re doing MCQs, do you, um, just kind of like your actual process for like when you’re using Universal to use their MCQs to learn a topic. If it’s calculation based, do you stop and try to reperform it on your. On paper or in Excel or what’s your actual process when you’re going through a new lesson with the MCQs?
Chad: Yeah, so I never actually, uh, did questions, the paper on the calculation based questions. I got to, um, I would rework it after I saw how to do it. Like I would basically, like when I was first starting with Roger or Universal, it doesn’t really. I would, uh, if I didn’t know the answer, you just click it. If, if you don’t know the answer, don’t waste your time.
Chad: And then, um, you’ll, uh, you’ll see how they calculate it and then you kind of just look at it and then you go back, hide the solution, try to redo it, and then if you can’t do it, do it one more time and then move on. And then, um, that, that’s, that’s pretty much what I did, like that was very beneficial with, with BEC, all this formulas. I really thought I was gonna have to memorize all of those and you don’t, because if you do enough questions, you’re gonna see the formulas put to work enough to where you’re just gonna know them. And, um, I, uh, pretty much just, if I got a question wrong, I would sit there and rework it or, um, nah, that’s pretty much it.
Chad: Yeah, I mean, I, I would always rework the problem when I was learning how to do it. And then you get to the point where you could just look at it and you’re like, I know what the answer is. I mean, I’ll rework it for, just to do it, but I know how to do this, so.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s a good explanation. Um, I just, I like asking that just to hear people’s different versions of how that actually works.
Nate: But yeah, that’s the basic, basics of it like, read the question. If you have no idea, you don’t waste your time trying, like staring at it. Submit it, see how it’s done, then hide the solution, try it. If you can’t do it or you get stuck, let yourself see it until you can do it from start to finish on your own. I mean, that’s basically how I would explain it, so.
Chad Uses the Same Method for Learning Sims
Chad: Yeah, I think that’s really important too with the simulations. Uh, it’s, it’s especially how long those are. I mean, I got, I mean, when I was trying to learn those, I, I would just, I just immediately hit submit. I didn’t even read the, the question a lot of the times cuz I’m like, I, I’m not even gonna take the time to read this because I, I had no idea how to do it.
Chad: So, um, but uh, yeah, I just immediately submit it. And then, the simulations helped me understand the journal entries. So it, it, finally, that’s when it clicked. I think when I got to the point where I understood the journal entries very well or FAR is when it started to come together for me.
Chad: So I was able to sit there. I would, I, I would, I would write out journal entries, but not like the numbers I would just write down. Okay, it’s gonna be AR, it’s gonna be AP, it’s gonna be AP, it’s gonna be the plug of additional pay capital,] anything like that. But, um, yeah, I just, uh, submitted it. As soon as you see it and you’re kind of clueless, I mean, don’t waste your time because I mean, you got a limited amount of time to do this, so.
Nate: Right. Yeah. And you can save so much time by, I mean, like you said, especially in sims, reverse engineering from the solution, cuz it takes a lot of time. If you’re looking at a sim with like eight exhibits that you can click on and open up, um, it takes a ton of time to even try and figure out, okay, where were, where are they even pulling these numbers to for me to even attempt to answer this?
Nate: And if you just look at the solution first, you cut straight to seeing where they’re getting it. And then when you reperform it, you know, over time by then on test day you’re just a lot faster at that instead of struggling on the front end for no reason when you’re in the study process, yeah.
Chad: Yeah, a hundred percent.
Nate: Um, so earlier you said, uh, you were like going to super fast, the Superfast approach by not really taking notes or anything. So that’s, that’s my next question.
Learning Process for Difficult Topics
Nate: What did you eventually, what did that turn into for you doing flashcards or, um, traditional type notes?
Chad: Yeah, so I, I started with, uh, with flashcards in FAR and, um, I, I’ve always had a hard time putting things in my own words, so I would write it like word for word, but in the same sense like, for me, like a very difficult topic in FAR was the statement of cash flows.
Chad: For whatever reason, it, it just didn’t click and I’ll get the same questions wrong over and over, so I would rewrite every single time I got it wrong. I’m like, you’re gonna make yourself understand this because you keep on missing it. You just need to, you just need to take a step back and understand why you’re missing this and like sit there and read the solution until you understand it, and, um, that helps. But it wasn’t like I went back to the flashcards either. It’s not like I would look through them after I made them. Um, I may do that the weekend of, but I wouldn’t say that was a main part of what my re-review, like my final review was. Like I have a glance through them, but I think writing it out for me did help.
Chad: Like when you put pen to paper it, for what, for whatever reason, it, it helps you remember it. I don’t know why that is, but that is, that is what my process was for FAR. Audit I started it a little bit like that, and then eventually I just went to traditional note taking, like in a notebook and I would just write out stuff.
Chad: And uh, I would mainly take those notes too when, uh, I was doing my daily sets of 30, especially at the end, because at that point, you, you’re kind of, I, you’ve been able to identify what you know and what you don’t know and um, yeah, I would just write it down every single time I missed a question unless it was one of those questions where like, I, I know the answer to that question. I just read that wrong, or something like that, so, um, but if there was any shakiness when I took a question on one of those sets of 30, I would make sure I marked it and I would go back, do you really understand that? Or do you need to write something down about it?
Chad: And then that’s what I would do.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And I, I do think that’s, that’s kind of the main idea, like it’s easy. Read an explanation and think it makes sense, but then if that’s taken away, can you actually, could you like turn and teach it to somebody else? You know, actually pull it outta your own brain.
Nate: And I, writing it down kind of forces you to do that. Um, but that’s what a lot of people have said. Some people use their flashcards a ton that they made other people just kind of made the flashcards or the notes and think that just the act of writing it was kind of the big thing that helped ’em cement it in their head.
Nate: So yeah, like once you’re passing sections, it’s like however you’ve come to that, where you’re starting to pass, you know, that’s what your process is that works, so. Whatever it is.
Chad: Yeah. Yeah. Because, uh, yeah, when you’re not passing exams, it can be pretty, pretty discouraging. But, um, when, uh, once you. Once I passed that first one and then I wasn’t sure if I passed audit and I was, I was pretty ex, I was really excited after that.
Chad: I’m like, okay, I, I got the ball rolling now and passing one. The first time I took it was really encouraging. I’m like, oh, finally. I don’t have to retake one, so.
Nate: Yeah. Um, alright, well, I, we’ve kind of gone through everything I normally ask about. Um, what would be.
Chad: Oh, test day you wanna talk like how it went through?
Chad’s Test Day Experience
Chad: Yeah. So test day, um, I took my time on, on FAR because like the calculation based questions for whatever reason I was, it’s, it’s kinda like when you’re in grade school, you want to like, it’s a two plus two that, that equals four right. Let me, lemme plug that in a calculator. But, um, I, I took my time. I, I worked through the calculation based questions.
Chad: Like if I, if I knew I knew how to do it, I would sit there and I would make sure I got it, got it. Correct. Um, any conceptual questions, it’s, if I thought I knew it, go ahead and answer it. And, um, pretty much. Like that. That’s pretty much how, uh, what I did. And then my goal, every time I took an exam, every time I had taken an exam is be done with the multiple choice questions by two hours and 15 minutes.
Chad: Realistically, I’d like to have two and a half hours, but, um, I, I, the daily sets of 30 go a lot quicker than what it does in the exam for me. Then now they do still do go quick in, in, in exam day. I, I, I just feel like I’m being extra careful when I’m in there.
Nate: Yeah, yeah.
Chad: To make sure I’m getting it correct. Um, for so FAR used up all the time. And, uh, it allowed me plenty of time to get through the simulations. I mean, I was still submitting a test with like five minutes to go, but I mean, I, I was take, taking my time, making sure I got it and, uh, felt good about that one. Audit, you know, with as conceptual as it is, I, I feel it’s very much, you either know it or you don’t.
Chad: And I’ve worked through those questions so fast. I, I think I got through both sets in maybe 20 minutes and of what I did, I went back and looked at ’em again. Like cuz I had, I knew I had time, so I would go ahead and, uh, re-look at ’em, make sure. I, I, I, I rarely changed an answer, but I, but I think I might have changed one or two where I’m like, oh, okay, I’ve read that wrong.
Chad: I’m glad I went back and looked. And then, uh, BEC kind of the same deal because they got a lot of conceptual stuff in there as well. I mean, their calculation based questions are a little bit tricky, so you take some time but I had enough time to go back and re-review those questions too. But if I was anywhere close to my mark where I was like, okay, you’re, you’re finishing this section in an hour.
Chad: You don’t really have time to review, review this, you need to just move forward, so. Probably, I, I know a lot of people, like if you go back, you’re gonna second guess yourself. But it it, in my, my opinion, like if you have time to do it, you, you can, but I think you. You, you need to be honest with yourself, like, how much time do you think you’re gonna need the simulations, so.
Nate: Yeah, definitely the timeline. Cutting off to leave enough time for the sims is obviously huge and a lot more valuable than checking three or four answers and, and then leaving yourself an hour for the sims, so.
Chad: Yeah. Like BEC, uh, the, I think, yeah, the written communications are last. On that last one, I think I submitted it.
Chad: It was like 20 seconds to go. I was like, oh man, I, I mean, I, I, I, I felt pretty decent about it, but, uh, I was like, okay, you, you’re cutting it pretty close, man.
Nate: And with, with those, cuz I get asked those, asked about those a lot and I don’t, I don’t have a ton of advice for the written communications. I always say, you know, maybe practice a few, like the three days before an exam. And then the main thing you’re trying to do is just write a coherent, logical response. That’s pretty much my tip. That the, so like how did you practice for those? Or what’d you do to prepare for ’em?
Chad: I never practiced one. I would read it, I would read an answer, maybe they provide, but I went in there with, um, like I had a format I was gonna use.
Chad: I was gonna be, I would address whoever they’re, whoever I’m addressing. And I would highlight three points I wanna make. I’d read a paragraph about each point, and then you have any further questions, please contact me. Thank you. And that, that’s kind of what my, it is, it is pretty straightforward and stress about ’em too much because from what I researched, it wasn’t a huge deal.
Chad: They just wanna see if you can write, uh, coherently, so.
Chad: The topics you get, I mean, I, I feel like you have a general idea about most of them. You may not be a, you may not be an expert in them, but I think you know enough to where you can, you could come up with two or three things to talk about.
Chad: So I wouldn’t stress too much about it if you’ve covered the material.
Nate: Right. Yep. That’s, yeah, that’s basically what I tell people.
Chad’s Top Tips for People Still Struggling With the CPA Exams
Nate: Alright, well, um, so last thing I always ask, what would be, even if it’s stuff we already covered. What would be your top three tips to people that are still studying, trying to figure this out?
Chad: Yeah, so I might have more than three, but I, not too many, but the first thing I would say is, um, do not schedule more than one at a time, unless you’re a hundred percent confident in a timeline, because that really screwed me up when I had to switch. I, I, if I didn’t have to switch to audit, I never would have, I would’ve just stayed with FAR until I passed it.
Chad: But, um, it, at the beginning, you have no idea. I, I just went with two. But in my opinion, you, you do one at a time and, uh, after you get your first NTS you can get your next one in like, you get it the next day after you apply for it. It’s, it’s not like you have to wait a super long time. So I would do one at a time just to ensure, like, you don’t have to go away from one section because your NTS is gonna run out.
Chad: Um, the second one is learn how to use your review course. Obviously your whole method is based around the questions. Um, but for me, right with, with Roger, he has all the material in there, but if your review course is just generating the same questions, I mean, you’ll, you’ll start to pick up on it. But the first time I took the exam, I didn’t think anything of it.
Chad: I’m like, oh, okay. I mean, this must, this must be important. That’s why they keep on giving me the questions. So it gave me a false sense of confidence going into that. And then, uh, depending on your personality, I don’t know. I mean, I know a lot of people are, have an easy time with the simulations. I am not that person.
Chad: Practice the simulations until you understand them. I mean, you don’t wanna spend too much time on ’em, but I mean, I, I feel like if you’re doing really well on your multiple choice questions and, you could probably take a day from doing as many MCQs and maybe spend most of your your day studying simulations until, until you can work through them.
Chad: I, you know, you know what I mean? I feel like, uh, I feel like that could be beneficial if you, if they’re just not clicking for whatever reason, because that, that is the experience I had. They were not clicking. Um, so just taking the time to really work in simulations. Um, and then don’t hold yourself to your, like, to your review course just because you’ve already bought it and you don’t think there’s a, I mean, I, I bought it, so this is, this has to work cuz it works for, it worked for everybody else.
Chad: Um, Roger is great and they have all the material you need to pass, but Universal, you had to, combined with your stuff as well as Roger kinda paints the whole picture for me. It’s really helped me and, uh, their, their stuff with, uh, the material they provide, the way they present it, it’s very much like yours where it’s just concise to the point.
Chad: They’re not putting in a bunch of fluff in there, you don’t need to know. So, uh, I just think their material’s great combined with yours. Um, keep a positive mind state when you’re in an exam. Do not get negatives if you get negative, take a second to take a deep breath, and then what? Even if it takes five minutes, take a second.
Chad: Because if you, if you’re, if you have a negative mindset, you are not going to do well. So on the last section, I just took that pass. I started to get like that because I got a couple of, uh, couple of questions where they were, they were challenging. I was sitting there, I was like, oh, okay. It’s fine. Just, just take a second.
Chad: I mean, even if you don’t know for sure, just take an educated guess. Move on. I mean, because there are questions like you a hundred percent know, questions you’re pretty sure on. And then there’s questions like, well, that could go either way. So keeping that positive mindset I think is really important. And then, uh, the last thing would be fully dedicate to the process and be disciplined.
Chad: You, I mean, if you want to pass and using, get ’em out of your life. Like my, my initial thought was not to study through tax season, but I’m like, well regulation, this is, if there’s one I’m gonna study during tax, this makes sense and I want to be done. So I am going to sleep less and do what I need to do to pass it and hopefully be done and I can have my summer to where I do not have to worry about these exams anymore.
Chad: So, um, but I, it’s really important you’re disciplined. Don’t miss a day. I mean, I know a lot of people talk about missing days, like just because life happens. Even if you could do mini quizzes or something like that, do something every day. Um, personally, I, I don’t think I’ve taken days off of doing questions since I’ve started the process, except for like, when I’m in between waiting on a score.
Chad: But even then, I’m, I’m studying for it as if I didn’t pass just in case I have to go again. You know what I mean? So, but, I would say those are my main tips.
Nate: Yeah, those are, those are all good. I, I, I like the idea of you don’t take days off and if, if things do fall apart as far as your main study session, you just do something, like you said, the, you can always do, you know, you always have your phone, everyone always has their phone. You know, you can do something throughout the rest of the day.
Nate: Um, one, so I was gonna comment on that, the thing with Roger, where you had to like learn how to use your review course and uh, that’s something that hasn’t really been brought up before, but that is a good point. Like you kind of have to learn the, the nuances of like your own review course. And I think probably what’s happening is, you know, if you’re kind of doing our approach and you’re jumping straight into the question, in their software.
Nate: It’s not like checking off, okay, he watched the video, he read this part of the chapter, so I’m gonna keep giving him this, uh, these questions cuz this lesson isn’t like complete yet. Maybe something like that. And yeah, you just, and then I know in Becker there’s random settings or personalized and uh, a few of our, like my one-on-one study clients were telling me.
Nate: They had to kind of figure out how to actually use that to be shown all the questions cuz they were having the same thing where they just kept getting shown the same questions every time. They took a random set of 30 and they had to figure out like to leave certain chapters out and use the personalized setting.
Nate: Or there’s like the nuances within your review course. Anyways, that is a good point.
Getting the Most Out of Your Review Course
Chad: And like, uh, like going back to that with Roger, when I first started, I would gen, like if maybe I didn’t get through all the questions in, in a chapter, but I covered it, I would generate a set and I would get a bunch of questions I hadn’t seen and for whatever reason, that’s super discouraging because you’re not gonna do well if you haven’t seen the questions before. So, um, I learned like, okay, only do what you’ve covered. Like, like the way their review course is set up. I can see what I’ve used and what I haven’t used and, um, yeah. I’m not sure exactly why it does it the way it does, the way the way it does.
Chad: Cuz for Roger, I went through everything and, uh, it would just generate the same questions. But, uh, with, uh, universal, the way they’re set up, it’s, I think it’s more of a traditional way with the modules. And what I do there instead of generating a set over everything, I go chapter by chapter and just generate 25 and that, that’s what I do for, for their review course.
Chad: I just go 25, 25, 25.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s actually kind of what, uh, the way I tell people now to do a re-study is kind of that same thing, a chapter by chapter. Just so you know, in one study session you’re getting MCQs and sims from the same chapter. And then also, like you said in your top five tips, uh, doing the sims, I think there’s a lot of synergies between, you know, doing MCQs and sims, like doing sims on a topic can really improve your MCQ performance and I, and vice versa. But I do think it’s important to do both. Um, yeah.
Chad: A hundred percent. So, yeah. Um, yeah, the combining, like figuring out the review course for me was one of the key aspects in this, because if I would’ve just kept doing what I was doing, um, I wasn’t gonna pass because I was gonna get the same questions over and over.
Chad: So, figuring out, I, I, I don’t think any anybody, like, I did a lot of research on this. I was like, is there anybody else that experiences this? Unless, unless they’re going through every, every chapter of the 22 and forum, like I don’t have like, who has time to do, generate 30 questions over each of those. I’m not doing that.
Chad: So, um, like you just have to figure out how to break it up or whatever. And even in your sets of breaking it up, I think it, it’s also important to, uh, mix up how you’re doing it because you can select whatever chapters you want. So don’t always do the same seven with the, with, with, uh, same group, switch it up or whatever.
Chad: So you’re getting it a little bit different.
Nate: Yep. Yeah, those are all good tips. Um, and the, and the mindset thing take, just taking a breath, taking like 30 seconds sitting back in the exam itself, if you’re starting to like freak out or get, uh, discouraged. That’s a really big tip.
Chad: Yeah, a hundred percent. I think, I think uh, positive mindset is very important for this.
Chad: It’s really hard some days, but it’s very important.
Nate: Right. All right, Chad. Well, yeah, I appreciate you taking the time to do the interview. Um, we, yeah, we’ve basically gone an hour, so I don’t want to take up much more of your time, but I’m glad, I mean, like, uh, I don’t hear that that often, so I’m glad that even our ad kind of motivated you to start the process and you’re, you’re almost done.
Nate: So that’s awesome to hear.
Chad: Yep. Thank you so much. I do appreciate everything you guys do. So I, I, I’m looking forward to when I can post to the forum and say, I’m done.
Nate: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, definitely let me know.
Nate: All right. So that was the interview with Chad. I’m sure you found that very motivating and informative. He shared a lot of really good tips about how to improve your own study process.
Nate: So if you did find that valuable, please take a second to leave a rating in the podcast app, where you listen to this or, you know, like the video subscribe on YouTube, all the normal stuff. And then the biggest thing would be to share this with someone, you know, who’s also working on the CPA exams because these interviews are the most helpful free resource available anywhere if someone is trying to figure out their own study process.
Nate: So thanks for watching or listening and we’ll see you on the next episode.