How Ebony Stopped Watching Lectures and Passed Her CPA

How Ebony Stopped Watching Lectures and Passed Her CPA

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In this SuperfastCPA podcast interview, you’ll hear how Ebony improved her study process and passed her CPA exams after cutting out video lectures.

Ebony found that video lectures were not helping her pass her CPA exams, so she stopped watching them and used other resources and study methods to help her focus and understand the material.


Master your study process by attending one of our free study training workshops: https://www.superfastcpa.com/study-secrets/

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Watch the interview on Youtube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 00:00 Ebony Interview
  • 00:55 Intro
  • 03:34 Ebony Talks About Where She’s From
  • 05:14 Talks About How She Found and Got SuperfastCPA
  • 07:11 Mapping Out Her Study Schedule
  • 07:59 The Time Ebony Studied the Normal Way
  • 10:25 Studying Constantly But Still Failing Exams
  • 11:51 Ebony Changed Her Study Process Three Times
  • 17:01 “BEC Is Not the Easiest Exam…”
  • 20:22 How Studying At Night Worked for Ebony
  • 21:30 Ebony Was Able to Free Up Time With Her Study Routine
  • 25:12 Ebony’s Learning Process for Topics She Struggled
  • 27:14 How Ebony Would Do a Final Review Before an Exam
  • 29:31 FAR Is the Only Exam Ebony Did Practice Sims
  • 30:46 Doing a Lot of MCQs Prepared Ebony for the SIMs
  • 32:18 The Key Strategy That Helped Ebony the Most
  • 34:21 Ebony’s Top Tips for People Struggling with the CPA Exams
  • 35:26 The Top Benefits Ebony Got from SuperfastCPA
  • 37:14 Outro

Interview Transcript

Ebony: So I was doing something on YouTube one day and your ad popped up. I can’t remember exactly what the ad said, um, but you offered the free webinar?

Just for like study tips. So I listened to that webinar and I was like, well, I mean what I’m doing is not working. I’m bored out of my mind. It’s taking me forever. When I previously did it, I failed doing it that way. I was like, so let me try a different way. And when you said, you don’t have to watch the lectures, my mind was blown cuz I was like, well, how am I gonna, how am I gonna pass if I don’t listen to them?

But when I took that, stop watching the lectures, that like freed up so much of my time. When you said you could still have a life and pass the CPA exams. I was like, no way.

Like how​


Nate: Welcome to episode 105 of the CPA Exam Experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate, and in today’s interview you’re gonna hear me talk with Ebony.

So I really like Ebony’s story and she is one of the exceptions to where she primarily studied at night. As you know, I always talk about how you need to be studying in the mornings, but the big caveat is if you’re consistently studying and it’s working, you know, it really doesn’t matter when you study, it’s just that when you account for, you know, your brain being fried from working all day and then having to fight the distractions that naturally happen in the evenings, it’s just for most people, so much easier to just do it in the morning.

However, in this interview, you will hear Ebony detail, you know, her reasons for studying at night, and just that it, it did work. So a lot of you will find that pretty interesting. And she just has a ton of great tips and insights to share about her own breakthroughs throughout the study process.

So before we get into the interview, I just wanna mention two things. First, our free study training webinars. That is the place you should start if you have not seen one of those. That will, on its own, transform your study process and instantly make the time you do spend with your review course much more effective and much more efficient.

You can sign up for one of those trainings with the link down below in the description, or you can go to our main site at superfastcpa.com, and it’s the main thing at the top of the homepage.

Those trainings are one hour, which are completely free, and it’s one hour that you can invest that will literally save you months and months of time and frustration.

The second thing is our podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Power Beat Pro headphones to people who have entered the giveaway, you just need to enter your name and email address whether you are a customer or a not yet customer of SuperfastCPA. The reason for giving away the Power Beat Pros is that they are by far my favorite headphones that I’ve ever had. I’ve owned every high end pair of wireless headphones, and they are the perfect headphones.

But the main point being, using our audio notes. Audio is such a great medium for learning something because you can be listening, have headphones on while you’re doing normal stuff around the house, in the evenings, while you’re getting ready in the morning, while you’re taking your dog on a walk, while you’re at the gym, and obviously whenever you’re driving.

So the link to the giveaway is at superfastcpa.com/enter or again, that link is also down in the description.

So with that out of the way, let’s get into the interview with Ebony.

Ebony Talks About Where She’s From

Nate: Yeah. So have you listened to any of these? Do you kind of know how these go?

Ebony: Um, I listened to a few of them, so I kind of know you’ll ask questions and then I’ll, you know, provide answers, talk about my experience and, you know, study methods.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we’ll basically just have a conversation about your study process.

Ebony: Okay.

Nate: And you’re all done, correct? You’re done with.

Ebony: Yes. I passed off four, yes.

Nate: Awesome.

Ebony: Yes.

Nate: Congratulations.

Ebony: Thank you.

Nate: Um, are you, so you said that’s why you chose to live there, are you not? Where are you from originally?

Ebony: I’m from, uh, Lynchburg, Virginia. Oh. Have you heard of that?

Nate: I mean, I’ve heard of it. I’ve never been to Virginia, I don’t think.

Ebony: Oh, okay.

Nate: So how, how’d you end up in North Carolina?

Ebony: Well, I’ve always wanted to live in North Carolina. Um, and my boyfriend, he is, uh, he lived in Burlington, North Carolina and so I ended up getting a job in here so it just kind of worked out at the time. And then, um, I left that job and then my new job is in Raleigh, so I just kind of stayed in this area.

And I, I kinda like the area. It’s not too big and not too much cuz I’m from a small town. Lynchburg is a small town, so I kinda enjoy it and I kind of wanna stay here, so.

Nate: Awesome. Yeah, I mean, I’m from Idaho originally, but I live in Salt Lake, so I’m from a real small, like everyone’s a farmer and from know where I’m at.

So yeah, and I grew up telling myself like, I’m not doing this. I’m gonna work in air conditioning.

Ebony: Right, I understand.

Nate: Yeah.

Talks About How She Found and Got SuperfastCPA

Nate: Okay, so. Just from what you put on the floor. So you’re, you’re one of the customers that, uh, never emailed me previously as far as I can tell. You just apparently had our program and did it and passed and yeah. Is that kinda what happened?

Ebony: Yeah. So I was doing something on YouTube one day and your ad popped up. And I just, you know, it caught my attention cuz it was talking about the CPA and I was about to start, back up the process, so I was like, oh, let me just hear and then, um, I think it, I can’t remember exactly what the ad said, um, but you offered the free webinar?

Just for like study tips. So I listened to that webinar and I wrote down all the notes and stuff and I was like, well, I mean what I’m doing is not working. I’m bored out of my mind. It’s taking me forever. When I previously did it, I failed doing it that way. I was like, so let me try a different way. And when you said, don’t, you don’t have to watch the lectures, my mind was blown cuz I was like, well, how am I gonna, how am I gonna pass if I don’t listen to them?

But when I took that, stop watching the lectures that like freed up so much of my time. When you said you could still have a life and pass the CPA exams. I was like, no way. Like how can I do this? Like this is not possible. So I, you know, took your advice and then I was like, well, I mean this is great, like information.

So I went ahead and purchased the, you know, your study materials, your supplemental material. And I actually found a lot of use from those, um, especially the notes. I think that’s kind of what I used the most because you summarized everything like so perfectly where it’s like I didn’t have to sit there and read a book, cuz that’s not something that I wanna do either, is read chapters or chapters about information that’s not relevant to that exam. Um, so those notes really summarized everything.

Mapping Out Her Study Schedule

Ebony: Um, and I kind of have like OCD, so I, you know, mapped out my little study schedule. Um, actually have an example. If you can see it.

Nate: Oh, wow.

Ebony: Yeah. So I mapped out a study schedule, that’s what I would do first. And it kind of like, just would see like how many sections I could get done in a week and stuff, and just kind of like stay on that path.

And then I would also, I had Becker as the main, um, you know, multiple choice questions, simulations and things like that. So I used Becker and I would go through and kind of write down each section, um, like how their sections were mapped out. And then I would go and find the pages to your note, um, and just write it beside those.

So then I would wake up, read those notes, and then go and take the multiple choice questions.

Nate: That’s awesome. Yeah. That’s good to hear.

The Time Ebony Studied the Normal Way

Nate: So, uh, so the next thing I was gonna ask was, so apparently you’ve had a period where you just started studying what I always call the normal way, where you’re watching every video and reading the chapter.

How long did you, uh, do that?

Ebony: So I started really, I started in 2017, was like doing the CPA venture and stuff. Um, I think I took FAR once and audit twice. And so that was probably like maybe a year that I was doing it the normal way. Of course, I failed. Um, and then I started right after tax season in 2020. It was about, um, beginning of April, that’s when I started.

And, um, you know, of course Covid hit and stuff like that. So I was kind of unsure of, you know, Prometric being open and things like that. Um, so I would say, It was probably maybe a month. It may, it was probably a month.

Nate: Okay. But before you went, you studied a year, took three sections, and that’s when you were kind of just.

Ebony: Yeah, I took a break. I was over..

Nate: Yeah, studying a lot, but it wasn’t working. Yeah.

Ebony: Watching lectures, I wasn’t really focusing on the multiple choice questions. I was literally just watching lectures and writing notes and that did not help. And it also might have been, you know, I bought the cheapest of the cheap study material cause I didn’t know what I was getting myself into at the time.

So that could probably have, you know, a little bit to do with that. But I definitely think that, you know, your material and even your webinar really is, what like brought me home and then like your material on top of that, changing my study habits. I think all of that really like played a factor. Cause even if I got, I bought Becker because that’s supposed to be the, you know, best study material out there for you to pass.

But I don’t feel like I would’ve passed if I just would’ve had Becker.

Nate: Yeah. I mean you’ve probably would’ve figured it out eventually, but yeah, it’s, uh, it’s all about your strategy, you know?

Ebony: Yes.

Nate: Cause we’ve had people that were working on the CPA exams for five years, 10 years sometimes. And once we, they kind of just, it’s the strategy, get their strategy figured out, they’ll pass in six months or four months or something. So, yeah. Um, so just reading on your, the little thing you submitted.

Studying Constantly But Still Failing Exams

Nate: So you said I was overwhelmed and exhausted so, how much time were you trying to study each day that first year where you were trying to just use everything in your course, watching videos and taking notes?

Ebony: That first year, um, the job that I had, I was able to kind of like study some on my job. Um, so I was probably spending like over four hours a day. Um, even on the weekends, like I would tell my friends, “Hey, I can’t, I can’t do anything this weekend cuz I, you know, I gotta study.” And they’re like, well, you know, you gotta study all day and I’m like, you just don’t understand the process.

And then for me to like continuously fail and fail and fail, it was, it was very frustrating. It’s like, what do you like, what am I doing wrong? That, you know, everyone else seems to be passing and doing stuff, but I just can’t get it. And I had a friend at the time that, you know, me and her would talk and it was just like, what are we doing wrong here that we can’t seem to pass?

Like there must be something that we’re doing wrong.

Nate: Okay. Yeah. And that’s, uh, you know, it’d be one thing, right? If you were putting in all that work and you were passing exams, right. But yeah, it’s extremely hard if you’re just feeling like you’re pouring in all this time, missing out on stuff and you, you know, it’s not working like obvious.

Ebony Changed Her Study Process Three Times

Nate: So you watched our free training and then you, did you go straight to kind of that study? Not obviously the strategies, but the, uh, format as well during the day, like two hours in the morning or what did your day look like after?

Ebony: So it’s funny that you asked that question, um, because I thought, you know, it would work.

I thought that the way that I, you know, study for REG, it’d be the same way that I would study for all of them. I actually changed my method of studying probably maybe three times. So, uh, REG was the first one I took. Taxes what I do all day, every day so, of course, that one was like a smooth transition, but again, I, I had never taken that one before, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.

Um, so I just kind of, I woke up early for that one. I read the material, I did the questions for the section, and then I think, I think it was like maybe every other day I did instead of 30 multiple choice questions, I did sets of 15. So I would do like 15 in the morning or 15 at night or something like, I would have what I call a recap day.

And that day would be solely just for me to recap on stuff that, you know, I’ve learned, you know, in the prior days and then also the prior sections that I learned and that’s kind of how I did REG. I also had just gotten a new job when I started REG studying for that. So that was something else I had to factor in.

And then, um, also living in, um, North Carolina, but all of my stuff was associated with Virginia. So I still, you know, was trying to like play, what, that is still the case. I just kept everything in Virginia for that reason. But, um, so it’s just a lot of different factors that played into the REG part. Um, but like I said, I do that one every day, all day.

So I did pass that one on my first try, which made me hopeful. So I’m glad I took that first. FAR, I failed the first time after 2017. I failed the first time I did, well the second time technically that I took it. I passed on the third try. Um, that one, I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get up. I tried to wake up early in the morning, I would fall asleep.

I wouldn’t wanna get out of the bed to read the notes. I would lay in the bed and read the notes and then I would fall asleep. I would get up to try to read the notes in. I just couldn’t do it. So I stopped trying to wake up early to do that one. Cause I was like this, it’s wast, I’m wasting my. So what I would do is, I set an alarm every night I would come home after work. Um, eat dinner, watch tv, relax for a minute, and then it was like maybe seven 30 or eight o’clock, my alarm would go off. And I would study from like eight to 10 30 and then get in the bed and stuff like that and go to work the next day.

Um, oh, I meant to mention for REG, I did listen to the audios, uh, on my way to work, but for FAR, FAR I only listened to a few of those. Again, like I said, the main thing I used for Superfast was like the notes, like they were the most helpful piece for me. Um, just because you summarized everything, cuz I don’t, I don’t wanna read, you know? 15 page chapters. You made it clear, you made it so I could understand it.

You made it so I could just like, just apply it to the multiple choice question. And then, you know, focusing more on the multiple choice questions. Like if there was something that I was like, okay, I know this, I understand this. Let me skim this, you know, the notes section really quickly. Let me go straight to the multiple choice cuz I know, you know, that’s what I need to focus on.

So I got a 72. That second time? Well, the first time in this section of studying, I got a 72. So I felt hopeful cause I was like, you know, I’m not far off and need to study a little bit more. So I didn’t even start all the way over. I just picked up where I left off and I think it was like maybe, maybe a couple of. No, no, no. I did wait a couple of months. I waited a couple of months, um, maybe like a month or two cuz I took it right before tax season really started in February. So I retook that one in February, cause I think I found out in January, I think. Sorry, this has been a while ago. I think I found out in January and then I took it again, um, in February and I passed at that time.

So I don’t think I started over cuz I was waiting to get my score back and so I just kinda recapped on everything that I had already learned and stuff like that. And just went through multiple choice questions each night. I was still doing it at night and then I passed up FAR. Audit, I had already taken that two times back in 2017, 2018.

So I really wasn’t worried about that one. I think that was the shortest amount of time that I studied the least amount of care that I had. Like that one was super easy. So I passed that one on this first, first try this, um, this time.

“BEC Is Not the Easiest Exam…”

Ebony: And then BEC, everyone lied to me. They said it was the easiest. I don’t know why I’ve struggled with BEC, I took that four times but I finally passed.

Um, I was about to hit my, um, 18 month mark. On the fourth time, I did pass it. I don’t know, I don’t know why it got me the way it did. Um, it probably, you know, had a lot to do with either stuff that I had going on, but that one, I, I had to go like deep into your notes. The audios, the mini quizzes, the Becker notes, the Becker lectures.

I don’t know why it took me out the way it did. I finally passed it on the fourth time, just in enough time. I was so happy about that. But, um, that one was multiple study methods. Multiple tries, me changing things up. Um, I was just really trying to like, figure out what I was doing wrong on that one, cuz that’s supposed to be the easiest.

But like I said, I kind of like switched up my, most of them were done. I studied at night cuz I couldn’t get up and if I could pass FAR studying at night, I was like, you know, I could pass the rest of the studying at night. So that was kind of the way that I had to like fluctuate, um, on, you know, my study methods.

But I just tried to figure out what, you know, worked for me for this particular section and just kind of like, run with it.

Nate: Yeah, I mean, I, I hear that a lot. That BEC is surprisingly hard for a lot of people, so.

Ebony: It, it was terrible.

Nate: You know, they keep adding in. There’s more and more IT stuff as time goes on.

Stuff that, uh, it used to just be like an exact summary of like, if you do accounting in school, you have like the business core where you’ve taken Economics and managerial accounting. And it was like an overview of that. But now there’s just a lot of, uh, IT and IT control stuff and all those, the COSO framework and everything.

Ebony: That I think that’s really what like, got me because it was like, I would study, I would, you know, multiple choice questions I had, like, what I would do is I would take the 15, uh, the set of 15 multiple choice questions.

And I would do like sets of five, and then I would like average up my scores. And if my average score was over a 75, I would be like, okay, I’m good on, you know, I’m good and I feel good to take the exam. And so when I was doing that, you know, using the Becker quizzes, I was averaging over the 75, I was averaging, you know, 80.

And then I get to the, and I’m like, I’ve never seen any of this. Like I don’t even know like where to start to answer this question. Cause I’ve never, I never read it. I never seen a question like it. It’s just something that, you know, I had to guess.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And then, I mean, you won’t have to worry about this cuz you’re all done, but in like 2024 there, you know, changing it to where you can take like three different versions of BEC, I think something like that.

Ebony: I read that and I like, literally was just like, thank you God.

Nate: Yeah, I know. Serious. Um, that’s funny.

How Studying At Night Worked for Ebony

Nate: Uh, so yeah, so just to comment on the night studying, like what I always tell people is, uh, like if you’re, if it’s working and you can consistently sit down and study at night, then great. I mean, it really doesn’t matter when you study. It’s just for most people.

They’re like battling themselves after they’ve worked all day. And just kind of sitting there like a zombie cause their brain is fried. But for some people it works fine, you know? And like yeah. So it sounds like you were one of the exceptions.

Ebony: Um, yeah, I was kind of shocked cause usually my brain definitely works better in the morning.

But once I tried it, cuz I was just, I wasn’t going to meet my, like deadline to take the exam and stuff cuz I kept falling asleep in the morning. So I was like, let me just try it and see, and when I tried and see, you know, I made a 72 doing it this way, let me, you know, continue to do it. And if I pass FAR, the one I was most nervous to take, like I’m sure I’ll be able to pass the rest.

Um, you know, doing it at night too. Just, you know, setting the alarm, making sure I stuck with it and just being disciplined honestly.

Ebony Was Able to Free Up Time With Her Study Routine

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Um, you did say, and I was still able to have some type of life. How did, how did that work if you were studying at night?

Ebony: So at night, um, so when I would get home, um, me and my boyfriend, we like to watch TV and eat dinner together and, you know, sometimes talk. So I would have like, maybe like an hour to kind of do that. Um, so that, you know, that’s all I really needed. Just a little downtime and then, you know, get right back to it. But on the weekends, that was like the most important thing for me, like I know, you know, a lot of weekends I was like, no, I need to study.

But like if there was something that I really wanted to do or if I wanted to go home and see my family, or I wanted to see my boyfriend’s family, like I was still able to do that because, I didn’t have to spend, you know, all day from when I wake up at nine till when I go to sleep at, you know, 11 on the weekends, just studying back to back to back.

Like if there was something I wanted to do, okay, wake up at nine, study for a few hours and then go do what you wanna do. And then, you know, you have Sunday where you can do the same thing. And then, um, you know, there was off days I had, holidays and stuff which kind of helped. But any days that I had like a full day to study, I definitely used it.

Like I would do the weekend, like if I had a full day and I didn’t have anything planned. I made sure, you know, reading the notes, getting the quizzes, making sure I was sticking to my study schedule. Um, so that was the nice part because like when I did it back in 2017, I didn’t have any you know, real free time cuz like, I felt like all I should do is watch these lectures and study.

But with, you know, me just kind of minimizing the lectures, reading the notes, and then going straight to just taking quizzes. I can take a quiz anywhere. Like I can go to my friend’s house and I could take a quiz, on the road, I quiz. So like that made it easier instead of me like sitting there having to listen to this lecture and stuff like that.

So it just kind of like minimized study time. It made me feel. It didn’t make me feel like, you know, if I don’t study, I’m not gonna pass. I felt like, oh, you know, if I miss a day, I’m okay.

Nate: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And it is really nice to have stuff on your phone. Like there’s been, yeah, there was, there was one interview, uh, I think it was pretty sure it was John.

I think we’ve had a few Johns on the podcast, but one of ’em, he said that, uh, he was wanting to pass the CPA. It started getting really important for his career. And, uh, when he would get home, like he had a new baby with his wife and just could not get himself to just spend his whole evening after work, like studying.

Ebony: Right.

Nate: And so then he came across our stuff and just got the idea that you can do a huge amount of studying from your phone. And so he would strictly study from his phone. He like commuted on a train in Chicago. And, uh, said he almost exclusively studied from his phone and like passed all four. And, and that’s one of those things that I wouldn’t like, recommend that to everyone.

Like, yeah, you can’t just pass from your phone but he did. And so some of these stories I hear surprise me about the ways people did things. Yeah, it’s funny.

Ebony: Definitely.

Nate: Um, so going back to what you said, so your, your process, if you were sitting down for a new lesson, you would find that section in our review notes and read it to get like an overview and then just go into the multiple choice.

Ebony: Yes.

Nate: Okay.

Ebony’s Learning Process for Topics She Struggled

Nate: And then what was your, did you have a process for flashcards or some form of taking notes on things that you struggled?

Ebony: Yeah, so when I would read your notes, I would kind of like take notes based off of that. Um, so I would have like my, what I call initial notes, which were from your notes. And then when I got into the multiple choice questions, um, I would like take notes based on how I learned from that.

Cause like when you answer the question, it’ll come back with, you know, kind of like a little short. So if it was something that I didn’t fully understand, I would kind of like make an, a point to understand it and take a note on it. Um, I didn’t really use flashcards at all. It was just more so like notes. And then I had what I called, um, the multiple choice question notes, and it was just me kind of like writing down keywords.

Um, I don’t know how to explain it. Kinda like making like little mnemonics almost, um, of stuff just to kinda remember the stuff and make it make sense to me. Um, so that was kind of my method. And then like the day of my exam or the day before my exam, I would read through all of my notes. And then the day of my exam, I would read through the ones that I kind of like picked out as, you know, you need to remember this type of stuff.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah, that’s the general idea. I mean, it doesn’t really matter if it’s flashcards or notes, but some, some form of, you kind of said it perfectly, almost writing stuff in your own, not your own language, but uh, yeah, just so it makes sense to you personally, to the point where it almost wouldn’t make sense if you handed it to somebody else, they wouldn’t know like what you was talking about.

That’s like the best. Yeah, that’s when your own notes are really powerful is, I don’t know, just in your own..

Ebony: Like getting somebody else’s spreadsheet. Like it makes sense to, you know me, but if I give it to you, you might not, you know, follow it the same way that I do or like it the same way I do.

Nate: Yeah.

How Ebony Would Do a Final Review Before an Exam

Nate: Um, and so you kind of just mentioned this, but what was your, how long would you leave for a final review and, and what would you do during that period? Right before an exam?

Ebony: So I like to have two weeks before the final exam to just do straight recaps. Like, like at that point, two weeks before my exam, I wanted to be done with every section cuz I have OCD and I like to go through every single section, make sure I answer all the questions.

Um, so I would like to have two weeks before, sometimes it got down to the point where it was only like a week before. Um, but I felt like the recaps, uh, were so important. So that was another thing that you pointed out to me. I was just, you know, going through all the sections and then at the end, you know, trying to recap everything that I’ve learned, that’s too much.

You need to keep doing the recaps, like on a, you know, you say daily basis, I did like a maybe weekly or biweekly or, um, not biweekly, but semi-weekly basis, um mm-hmm. . And that really worked for me. And then like the last two weeks before the exam, or the week before the exam. Like, all I was doing was multiple choice questions.

I was still writing notes, uh, reading notes, just going through all of the questions, you know, multiple times, making sure that I understood those all. Um, so I definitely would say I did about two weeks before. Um, and then the night before, I think the night before, I didn’t like do too much. I would just kind of like, read the notes a little bit, maybe take two quizzes.

If I got like eighties on those two quizzes, I would just put it to the side and kind of relax my brain so it was like not over studying. Um, and that definitely is something that I tend to do. So I would say about two weeks was the best timeframe for me to do the recap, and then I would take the time from when I took the exam.

Um, to the time of starting up a new one, I would definitely wait until I found out whether I pass or not. So generally between that time it was about a two to four week window and then after I found out whether I passed or failed, I would start up like the week after that.

Nate: Okay. Yeah.

FAR Is the Only Exam Ebony Did Practice Sims

Nate: Um, and then you said you didn’t really do practice sims, is that what you said?

Ebony: Yeah, FAR was like the only one that I actually did, um, the sims for. I think, I think I did them for FAR just because FAR is just a different beast in itself. So I wanted to make sure I was like extremely prepared for that one, but it wasn’t like a, a lot of them, I think that was, I only did the sims like during my two week period. I really only focused on the multiple choice questions, which was something else that you kind of pointed out during your webinar that I never realized before was I’m not gonna ever see the same sim on the exam as I would see on the study material.

So why waste my time? You know, why waste my time practicing something that is not gonna be, you know, the same on the exam, but the multiple choice? Doing those over and over prepared me better for the sims than me actually doing the sim. Yeah.

Nate: Yep, that’s exactly right. And I’m guessing, uh, with all that MCQ practice, the biggest thing for test day is just leaving a bunch of time for the Sims because again, they’re gonna be different than what you’ve seen.

Doing a Lot of MCQs Prepared Ebony for the SIMs

Nate: So having a bunch of time to kind of sit there and not feel pressed for time while you read the documents and try to figure out what it’s asking you. Was that kind of the case? You got through the MCQs pretty fast.

Ebony: Yeah, the goal was, I think it was like, you know, it was around 30 questions, um, each booklet.

So it was like, you know, try to only spend 30 minutes on the first booklet, 30 minutes on the second booklet, and then you’ll have the rest of your time for the sims. Most of the time I got caught up on that third booklet right before, you know, the 15 minute break. I don’t know why, but that’s usually where I, I don’t know if it was, maybe I got, you know, I was getting to the point where I’m like, okay, I need a break.

But I always will get caught up there and it’s like at some point it’s like, okay, just make a decision and move on so you can get to the next booklet so you don’t run out of time. On FAR, the first time I took it within this timeframe, um, I think I came up, I was about 10 minutes off, um, from my four hour mark.

So that was kind of scary. So, and, but I did fail that one, but when I did it the second time, it didn’t take me as long. It only took me a little over three hours.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. That seems to be a big indicator. Um, when someone finishes early, there’s, it’s usually a pass, you know, unless it’s like, right.

Someone finishes the whole thing in two hours and then they score like a 30, you know, that’s like those two different things. Yeah. Well, okay, so I think we kind of went through everything.

The Key Strategy That Helped Ebony the Most

Nate: Was there anything else in your process that you felt like was, uh, like really helped you? Any other strategy or resource you used that we didn’t cover?

Ebony: Um, no, for me, like mapping it out and just having the study schedule, you know, created ahead of time, kind of sticking to it. Um, ahead of time finding the, you know, pages that relate to your notes, to the section that I’m going to go over for today. Took away from me, like, you know, took away from my time on that day to actually study.

I think that that kind of like gave me more time to study so I didn’t have to go search for stuff. So just kind of being organized I think kind of really helped a lot as well with, you know, all of your materials and all the great tips that you gave. I’m really glad that, you know, I did listen to that webinar.

Because it really changed my perspective. I don’t think that, you know, I mean, eventually I probably would’ve passed it, but it, it is a relief and it’s a lot off of my plate and my shoulders to have passed it. It’s something that I’ve been wanting for a long time and to have achieved something like this feels really amazing.

So I do wanna say thank you to you, Nate, and SuperfastCPA for, you know, putting that ad out there, letting me see it, and then, you know, creating something like this for us CPAs to have, to use, um, and to give us a different perspective, cause you know, that that really helps and goes a long way. So thank you.

Nate: Yeah, I appreciate that and it’s, it’s awesome to hear that from, So, yeah. And congrats. Congrats on being done. Um, it is, it’s a huge accomplishment and especially when you can kind of do it and you have the process nailed down and it’s like, I always say, it doesn’t like have to take over your life.

Ebony: Yeah.

Nate: You have to put in the time every day, but it becomes this thing that’s just slightly annoying instead of like devastating.

Ebony: Right.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. I appreciate hearing that. Um, I appreciate you taking the time to do the call.

Ebony’s Top Tips for People Struggling with the CPA Exams

Nate: I think you kind of just covered this, but the last thing I always ask is what would be your top, like two or three tips to people that are really struggling with their study process?

Ebony: Um, definitely don’t waste your time listening to lectures. Focus on the multiple choice. Like if you don’t do anything else, just do multiple choice question. Um, number two, make sure you’re in the right mind, state of mind. I think that that was one of the reasons why, you know, in 2017 it didn’t work out for me as well.

I wasn’t ready to be dedicated. You got to be dedicated to definitely do it. And number three, just, you know, really find what the method that works for you. Cuz you know, just because I tell somebody else that’s worked for me, it might not work for them. But definitely take different tips and try different tips, try different methods and be open to try different methods.

Cause I think, you know, you’ll find your method and it will lead you to success.

Nate: Yep, yep. I agree. Okay. Yeah. So, uh, let me just ask one feedback question.

The Top Benefits Ebony Got from SuperfastCPA

Nate: What would you, if you had to sum it up, what would be like the top two benefits you got from adding SuperfastCPA? Or I guess whether it was the strategies or the um, study tools, what were the top two benefits you got?

Ebony: Definitely, definitely doing away with listening to the lectures. I know I keep saying this, but that was like one of the major things that helped me. Um, and number two was your notes provide like a huge summary factor. Um, and then also wanna mention like, listen to that, I don’t know if that webinar is still the same.

Nate: Yeah. Oh yeah. It’s still

Ebony: there.

It needs to be listened to before, before you do anything cuz it will change your entire CPA study journey. I’m not kidding you, I was skeptical at first cause I was like, oh, is this really gonna work for me? It works. You need to listen to it. It works. It works.

Nate: Yep. Yeah. Well thanks for saying that.

Yeah. It is funny how even just a shift in your perspective, like people have told me just the word re-review. As soon as they heard that, they’re like, oh my gosh, that makes so much sense, cause you know, you cover 200 topics, right? And then normally you would just leave it behind, like lesson by lesson.

You don’t look at it again. Um, you’re just re-review…

Ebony: That’s definitely how it was too.

Nate: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then just, uh, spending your time doing what you’ll be doing on test day, you know, sounds so obvious, but just that one shift. Yeah. It’s like, makes such a big difference.

Ebony: Yes.

Nate: Yeah. Okay. Well yeah, I don’t wanna take up much more of your time, so I appreciate you doing the call. It was fun to meet you and chat in person.

I mean you too,​


Nate: So that was the interview with Ebony. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did actually talking with Ebony. That was a fun interview and she just had a lot of good stuff to share.

If you found this interview helpful, take a second to share it with someone you know who’s also working on their CPA exams. Because hearing all these experiences about what they were struggling with, the breakthroughs they had and how it led to them ultimately passing their CPA exams, these interviews are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for people trying to figure out this process themselves.

So tell someone you know who’s working on their exams about the podcast, and thanks for watching, and we’ll see you on the next episode.

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