How Ekta Passed Her CPA 6 Months Faster Than She Planned

How Ekta Passed Her CPA 6 Months Faster Than She Planned

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In this SuperfastCPA podcast interview, you’ll hear how Ekta super-charged her study process, and passed all 4 of her CPA exams 6 months faster than she originally planned.


Master your study process by attending one of our free study training workshops:

Watch the interview on YouTube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 02:11 Ekta’s CPA Journey and Initial Struggles
  • 04:30 Putting 8 Hours of Study and Not Translating
  • 05:36 Know What Study Method Works for You
  • 07:01 First Thing That Caught Her Attention from the Free Training Webinar
  • 07:44 Waking Up Early Made A Big Difference
  • 09:38 Wrote Down Notes Her Own Way
  • 11:46 How Ekta Used Flashcards and the SuperfastCPA notes
  • 13:19 Making Effective Flashcards
  • 16:17 Take Time to Adjust to the Questions First Approach
  • 20:07 Got Both the PRO Course and the Study Tools
  • 21:26 Didn’t Have To Study for 8 Hours After SuperfastCPA
  • 23:47 The Benefits of Switching to Studying in the Mornings
  • 25:51 Daily Activities While Studying for the CPA Exams
  • 28:21 CPA Exam Timeline
  • 30:23 Getting Much Better Results Studying for 2 Hours A Day
  • 32:06 Emphasizing Understanding Why An Answer is Wrong
  • 35:40 Getting Used to Constant Re-Review
  • 36:52 Ekta’s Study Process for Task Based Simulations
  • 38:12 How Ekta Planned Her Study for the CPA Exams
  • 39:02 Using Her Main Review Course to Set Up Review Questions
  • 42:34 Making Flash Cards Made a Big Difference
  • 44:30 Did Her Flashcard Reviews in the Morning
  • 45:32 Motivation and Dedication is the Recipe to Success
  • 46:44 Getting Her Accounting Degree (Again), In The United States
  • 50:57 Top Tips for People Still Struggling With Their Study Process
  • 52:48 Having a Roadmap for the CPA

Interview Transcript


Ekta: so I was very grateful for that. Yep. Because you have already mapped everything. Like, I don’t know how you came up with this strategy, what happened, but it works like magic and thank you for coming out and like being there because if that, if, if that video would not have come to my attention, I would still be studying for my CPA exam and this is like I had written in my diary, I had like a goals sheet where I’m like, okay, I would be done by December 2023. And I was so happy to go back and put it in there that I’m done by June 2023, like six months before that.

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 us talk with Ekta.

So Ekta has kind of a classic story where when she first started studying for the CPA exams, she was just assuming [00:01:00] that she needed to watch every video lecture and read every word and every chapter in the textbook. And basically memorize everything in both the video and the text. So studying took a huge amount of time.

She was studying six to eight hours a day, and even after all that, it just wasn’t really working. So at some point she saw one of our YouTube ads, watched our free training, and, you know, of course, now she’s on the podcast, having passed her exams. She has a ton of great info and tips and strategies to share.

So before we get into the interview, I just want to mention the free training. So if you’re wondering where to start with SuperfastCPA or maybe even the CPA study process in general, then one of these one hour webinars will save you months and months of time and frustration. After watching one of these, you will have the key strategies to implement in your study process, doesn’t matter what review course you’re using, to make your study process much more effective and [00:02:00] much more efficient.

So that you can be sure that you’re not wasting hours, weeks, months of your own time.

So with that being said, let’s get into the interview with Ekta.

Ekta’s CPA Journey and Initial Struggles

Nate: So before starting to use SuperfastCPA, what were the struggles you were having with the study process or what was difficult about it? Just what was studying like before finding and using SuperfastCPA.

Ekta: So, my story with CPA, like, it’s, it’s very, I, like, it’s, it was my childhood dream to get into this profession because my dad is an accountant. So, like, since childhood, I was, like, wanted to be, like, into this profession. So I grew up in India, right? So there it’s chartered accountancy. But then things change. Um, I moved here in United States and, um, I, had to pursue like change everything and be like, okay, I cannot like give up my childhood dream.

I have to do something about it. So I mean, yeah, I mean, so if you are [00:03:00] that much determined, like it’s people to say that it’s easy to pass because okay, you have that much amount of motivation. Well, I was wrong because the first time I tried to pass the CPA exam, but the traditional method, I failed with 56 and that was FAR.

And, um, I would say I was studying more than eight hours a day and that’s like constant three months. So after that, if you fail, like, I’m like, okay. And then. Um, the story of like, I have a neighbor and he’s like, when I told, like, we were just discussing and he’s like, oh, my cousin, one was also doing CPA and he left it in between because it’s very difficult.

So that story flashed on my mind when I feel I’m like, does it like, is it true? Like, will I have to like drop off? And I was like very much discouraged with that. So, yeah, I mean. I don’t have a very good story with the first time I started my CPA, but, um, the fact that, uh, it’s very funny because, [00:04:00] um, I have, I saw your video even before starting for the first time.

I literally have notes in my diary that, okay, this is how he mentioned and I’m gonna do it, but it seems so easy, right? So I’m like, if I’m having that much amount of time in my day, why would I go and take a shortcut? I mean, go to the long way and I failed.

Nate: Gotcha. Okay. So so basically you were just doing everything. I’m just guessing if you were studying eight hours a day, you are watching every video, reading every chapter.

Putting 8 Hours of Study and Not Translating

And I guess it’s a good question to ask like if you were doing all that, why do you think it was not translating? You know, like why wouldn’t that work if you were putting in that much time?

Ekta: So I feel like when I read the textbook and while I’m listening to the lectures, it made sense to me. But as soon as I go to the questions, I feel like, oh, I don’t remember, um, doesn’t make any sense and get them all wrong. So I had to go back, right? [00:05:00] So I’m going back to the same chapters or lectures and taking notes.

And I feel like even after eight hours of work, I’m still at zero. Like not progressing at all. And I, I don’t know why I just blindly followed the same thing. I’m like, that’s fine. I’m putting eight hours a day and Becker provides you like, for like how much hours you studied throughout the day. And I used to feel like good with that.

Oh, it’s okay. I studied good enough, you know? So that doesn’t work. Yeah.

Logan: That’s like the quintessential story right there. Like just, that’s exactly what I think a lot of people go through.

Know What Study Method Works for You

Ekta: I feel like you have to be very mindful while you’re studying for your CPA exam because something that works for me might not work for you like you might be a person who learns well with the audio, but then I’m a person, I’m very visual person. I need to like if it is written and I see it. It’s like kind of engraved in my brain, so I have to be very mindful.

Second time when I started, I was like very [00:06:00] mindful. noting down what works for me, what doesn’t. The first time I’m like, oh, it’s okay. Like just, just follow the process and you would be done. Well, no, it doesn’t work that way.

Nate: Well, I think what you described is, well, what you described is very common. But, when you say that you would watch the video, read the chapter, look at the questions and they didn’t make sense, so then you would go back to the chapter in the video again, I think that’s what a lot of people don’t realize is that, being able to answer the questions and understand and work with the solution and just make sense of the question.

That’s like this skill set on its own that you have to go through whether you’re watching the videos or not. So yeah, and then therefore that’s why it saves so much time to go straight into the questions. Because if the several hours of reading and watching didn’t help you answer the questions. Well then just skip that part, you know?

And [00:07:00] go straight to the questions.

First Thing That Caught Her Attention from the Free Training Webinar

Nate: So I guess that would take us into, once you, what was the first thing you saw? One of our free training webinars?

Ekta: Yeah, it was like, why are you constantly failing? Or, yeah, the, the heading said that, why are you constantly failing? What are you doing wrong? It had like, um, filter and three steps MCQ review. Yeah, it might be, it might be old. Yeah. But yeah. So I clicked on that. I, I, like the first time I watched and then the second time after failing, I came back and watched it like two, three times.

And I’m like, this makes so much sense. I don’t know why I did not like started from the beginning doing this, but you learn from your failure, you know?

Logan: Mm hm.

Nate: Right. Yeah. That’s yeah. Totally natural.

Waking Up Early Made A Big Difference

Nate: So what were the biggest differences then from eight hours a day and it’s still not working? What did you change, that did start to work?

Ekta: Yeah. So, while I was studying 8 hours a day, um, it’s like, I was [00:08:00] new, I was an associate. I just started working at one of the big four, but as soon as I was hitting to the second time I was taking it, I was into my busy season. So I have lost that eight hours of gap. I was working from home. But even then, like there was a lot amount of work there.

So I cannot like, um, shuffle work and like study. So I had limited amount of time. So, um, that’s the big difference. And thus, I would say the change that I made was come, like constantly by directly going to the multiple choice questions. Um, I was waking up earlier in the morning before I used to study late night.

Um, I changed that completely. I felt like I’m not a morning person, which, um, I was wrong. I switched it to, like, waking up earlier in the morning. I feel like it took me one week to get used to that schedule. I just, uh, pushed myself that, no, this is like, this is what I’m going to do, like for one week. It took me one week for what you say to get that click, um, [00:09:00] to get into that routine, to see how this multiple choice questions work.

Because if you don’t do it for a week, it doesn’t make sense. Like there is a certain way you have to do it like, certain amount of time to make sure and take notes, like, how are you going to take notes, um, before I was more concerned about getting a right answer. I would just guess and be like, if I get it right, I would be like, so happy.

Oh, I guessed it right. And not worrying about. Yeah, I mean, not worrying about why that happened or why the other options were wrong or right. You know, the second time now I’m like, very much focused since I’m only doing multiple choice questions.

Wrote Down Notes Her Own Way

Ekta: Um, taking my notes. I took my notes in a certain way that is like in a question format.

Um, so it used to have like, uh, what is a deferred revenue? And then I would answer it in my own words. Um, it’s very easy to just copy pasted what Becker is telling you, but you have to like force yourself to write it in your own words. Otherwise, It doesn’t work, um, [00:10:00] didn’t work for me. The other thing I did was I used to review those flashcards like every day, literally every day.

Because, um, if I try doing it once a week, but then if you do once a week, I feel like my brain is too tired to go back and review all those piles of flashcards. So I figured out, like, it’s not going to work if I’m going to review it once a week. So my study session would be morning I used to wake up, the first thing I used to do is like just review my flashcard, so that’s out of my way because that’s the boring task for me. Then I would go to the new session like the new multiple choice questions And then the cumulative 30 questions, but I feel like that has changed completely.

Um, the 30 cumulative questions I remember I even did before when I was studying the traditional way. I never got above 55 maybe. And later on when I switched it within a week, I was seeing that like I’m getting 75, 80, which made me like more, um, [00:11:00] positive about it. Like, okay, this is perfect. Like this is working.

So I mean, like, I’m just gonna do this, you know.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: That’s awesome.

Logan: There’s a lot of things that you talked about right there. My first thought with that was like the vast majority of people, like even if they think they’re a night person, like you were saying, they can become a morning person, even if it’s just for this study process, because it’s just the reality that again, for most people, when you wake up, after you’ve gotten a little bit out of that grogginess, that is when your mind is most fresh, you have all your energy, all your capabilities.

That’s the best time to study to, get all that information in your head. Just like that you said that because you’re like, I didn’t think I was, but turns out I could be, and I think that’s the case for almost everybody.

How Ekta Used Flashcards and the SuperfastCPA notes

Logan: And then, you kind of said notes and you kind of also said flashcards. Were you doing both? How did all the notes and flashcards look?

Ekta: Yeah, I’m sorry. Maybe I have, I must have confused with the terminology, but I only used flashcards. Not, uh, yeah. [00:12:00] The notes, I did it for my final review. Those were the printouts from the SuperfastCPA package, but those were in my final review, like final last three days. just going over those notes, because I feel like when you’re doing multiple choice questions, there is a lot of information in your brain.

And then at the end, if you’re reading those notes, all those informations are now arranged in a chronological order. So it would help you, it helped me during my exam. So, um, that’s how I did. Yep.

Logan: And with the flashcards, were you using digital, physical flashcards? What did you use?

Ekta: So I used a physical flashcard because, um, as I said, I’m more of a visual person. So when I write it and I see it, um, it helped me. So I just took like written notes, like written flashcards. Yeah.

Logan: Cool.

Nate: And you described that really well. You can be making flashcards or notes and just literally rewriting like what’s in front of you and a Becker [00:13:00] solution. But that’s like, I don’t know, that’s like me copying a hieroglyphics, like I have no idea what it actually means, but I can copy it.

But where you force yourself to put it in your own words, it’s just that process of, do I really grasp this or not? And if you can’t put it in your own words, you don’t really understand it yet.

Making Effective Flashcards

Ekta: Yeah. Um, and I, yeah, there were, there were many instances where I read the question and I feel like, okay, I understand it. I got it. And then when I try to put it on my notes, I’m like, I cannot move my pen, you know, I’m like, okay, how do I put it this? How do I put this? And then that’s when you are kind of brainstorming.

Okay, maybe this, maybe that. And then that’s how you learn. I would say that helped me a lot.

Logan: That’s one of the best ways to learn. There’s two things that we mentioned a lot to people is that where you’re like sitting there kind of like wandering through the confusion for a while, trying to think of a way to make it make sense to yourself, and another good way. And I don’t know if you [00:14:00] did this, what is like talking out loud to yourself?

Ekta: Oh yeah, I did that. I recorded myself.

Logan: We’ll talk about that in a second then. Cause you really. You don’t realize it, but when you are trying to explain something to somebody or, you know, yourself, to, it forces you to think okay, like how can I actually articulate this? And yeah, those are some really great ways to actually make something make sense to yourself instead of like, we were just saying, just copying and doing what they were saying.

So you said you recorded yourself? So what did that look like?

Ekta: Oh, yeah. Um, so yeah, I mean, I wanted to make sure that I’m able to explain because I guess it was, um, operating lease, leases were very difficult. I felt like they were the most difficult for me because operating and financing now I’m trying to differentiate between both. So I felt like if I record myself, I would try to feel like, um, just portrayed like I’m explaining it to someone and then when I played again I’m listening to what I’m saying and I’m like, oh that doesn’t make [00:15:00] sense or I have more questions on those So I would go back and you know, kind of like dig in more so kind of like just putting my base together. So I did that for the topics that were very difficult, especially leases and other so me I did that for those.

Nate: That’s a good idea. You explaining it out loud, but then re-watching it and then you’re even seeing it from kind of a different angle once you watch yourself try to explain it. Yeah. When you say you were studying eight hours, but you were working, like you were fitting in eight hours and working full time?

Ekta: Um, so, so when I started, um, they did allow us to work during work hours. So I can put in the hours for work hours. Um, but considering the fact that there is no client work, um, at that point of time, but then January hit in and then I’m like, okay, now I’m getting all this client work and stuff.

So I have to figure out a way to like, kind of, you know, [00:16:00] um, study in the morning or at night. So yeah, so eight hours was like what, yeah, I was working, but it was like I was able to put in some hours during my work time to study.

Logan: That makes sense.

Nate: Quite a bit.

Logan: You work in taxes, right?

Ekta: Yeah, right. Correct, yes.

Take Time to Adjust to the Questions First Approach

Logan: So once you started with SuperfastCPA, were there any challenges that you kind of had to still overcome or figure out as you went through your process? Were there any roadblocks that still happened?

Ekta: I feel like the first week, um, I was still struggling to finish up everything in two hours. Um, I feel like the new multiple choice questions, I was taking way too longer and I feel like that’s okay. Like you don’t have to worry about you taking too much of time, like 10 minutes per multiple choice questions.

That’s completely fine. You are still building up, you know, so if you feel like you’re taking too much of time on one multiple choice questions at the beginning, you might be like, oh, how I’m going to cover all the [00:17:00] syllabus if this is how long it’s going to take. But as you do it, you would be way quicker because now you know what exactly or what information you are pulling from. The first time it would be difficult. It’s not like it’s not has clicked to you yet. So you have to do it at least like multiple times for you to get used to it. But once you get used to it, it’s like very easy and small.

Nate: Yes. That’s a great distinction.

Logan: Mm hmm.

Nate: Yeah. That’s a thing we’re always trying to explain because the short version of our approach is constantly be doing multiple choice questions, get through as many as you can. And I think sometimes people take that the wrong way as far as, well, it’s more important to just get through a ton of questions, but really it’s the, it’s quality over quantity.

It’s exactly what you said. If for any given lesson, if you sit down, you have 90 minutes and you have 50 questions in front of you, it is still way more beneficial to only get through 10, but [00:18:00] really understand everything in those 10. And most of the time, even from really understanding those first 10 or 15.

You’ll kind of have everything you need to answer the rest.

Ekta: That’s correct.

Nate: It’s a, it’s a huge distinction. Yeah. Really making sure how a question works before moving on. Cause it’s really, you just have to invest that time once. I also think people are afraid of confusion. Like they do not like when they get to a hard problem and they see the explanation.

And it’s like a wall of text with all these calculations and they just think I just don’t even know how to make sense of this. And that’s where like the video lectures are comforting in a way because it’s, fairly easy to understand or just watch a video and so, you know, it’s easy to think, okay, this is not that bad.

this makes sense as they explain it. But like you said, then when you see the questions, the context is different. You have to push through that [00:19:00] confusion topic by topic to really get it. Humans hate that. We do not like feeling confused, but

Ekta: Oh yeah.

Nate: That means you’re. You’re doing something right to like, feel confused and then push through to where it makes sense.

You just have to do that.

Logan: That’s something that we’re constantly explaining to a lot of people. It’s okay to kind of front load your study session, where you’re spending a lot of time on the first few questions, really trying to understand it.

There’s a video on the PRO course of Nate, going through some FAR questions, and it’s a long video cause he’s trying to really show the process, but he takes like an hour, hour and a half just to do like 10 questions. But then the last hour, he does like another 20 or something like that.

Cause once he got that beginning, it just goes a lot smoother from there. Anyway, I know we kind of hit that subject a lot, but that is something that is misunderstood a lot with the planting the seeds process,

Nate: And the alternative is, okay so you clicked through the 50 questions, you saw them all. But you didn’t [00:20:00] really learn anything, you know, then you’re just back to wasting your own time.

Ekta: The traditional way.

Nate: Yeah.

Ekta: Correct. Mm

Nate: Uh, okay.

Got Both the PRO Course and the Study Tools

Nate: So what I was going to ask you, so you have the, you had the PRO course, so you went in, I’m guessing the first thing you did was go in and watch those.

Ekta: That’s correct. Yeah. So, um, so there is like two I guess PRO course and then the other which comes with notes. So at the beginning, I yeah, yeah. So I got confused and I just got that. And I’m like, Oh, I want like full package, you know, like I want everything. Um, so yeah, I did. So if when I was trying to add the other one, it was even like, um, charging me something.

So I like Um, I just emailed the same email that was the help desk email and they were able to package it together. So like, I felt like that was really nice. Yeah. So, um, yeah, I mean, it’s easy to miss mistake like just getting one part, but then, um, if you feel like you need both, like it’s easy to package them together.

[00:21:00] I did exactly the same thing. Um, I needed both because I wanted, definitely wanted access to those videos. But then the other thing was I needed access to notes and, um, the app most importantly, because it had the five questions. So that was like the best thing. Yep.

Nate: Okay. I could tell with some of the stuff you’re saying that you had watched the PRO course and really you were clear on how we explain the process in the PRO course.

Didn’t Have To Study for 8 Hours After SuperfastCPA

Nate: So once you watched those and you switch to the morning, was that kind of your main study session was now just the two hours a day?

Instead of trying to get in six or eight hours.

Ekta: That’s correct. So, um, I decided, like, morning session used to be my, like, the main session, I would say. I’m studying, I’m reviewing, I’m basically doing everything that I’m supposed to do. At the beginning, it was not two hours. It was more than two hours, as I said, because I’m still going through those questions.

So it took me three hours. [00:22:00] But then throughout the day, I used to make sure that whenever I have chance, you know, like between the meetings or if I’m going downstairs to have my lunch. Um, as soon as I take my phone, so here’s another thing I did. I removed all the unnecessary applications from my phone.

And it’s very easy to get distracted when you’re trying to study. There would be a thousand things that would pop up and be like, Oh, do this, do that, do this. So as soon as I took my phone, now there’s no other apps. for me to, you know, kind of entertain my brain. So by default, I would be like, okay, SuperfastCPA and, you know, do five questions.

So that really helped. So, yeah. So as I said, yeah, the morning was the main session. And then if I have time during the night, like after dinner, I used to, uh, make sure that I’m doing one or two task based simulation. Again, I’m not trying to get anything out of it. But the reason I was doing that was when I took the took my first attempt, I felt like I was [00:23:00] struggling reading the questions as you said, as soon as I saw like a huge questions or many exhibit, I used to panic.

And now I’m not reading the question trying to, you know, kind of fill in the blanks that, oh, I need to do it quick because I’m running out of time. I don’t know. That used to be something that, um, I was not able to read the questions, um, like patiently. I get impatient and like be like, oh, this is too big for me.

So I just wanted to be in a practice of reading big questions and like kind of, uh, comfort myself that it’s okay if it is big. Most of the information is not needed, but you need to read the question. So that’s why I did that during the night, just like 30, 30 minutes or so and then again like 10 or 20 cumulative questions if I have time, otherwise morning session was mostly what I did.

The Benefits of Switching to Studying in the Mornings

Nate: Nice. So that, that alone, did that just make your life easier? Basically, instead of work and then study for six or eight hours, it was just done in the morning. And [00:24:00] besides the little half hour evening thing, you could just kind of relax and be normal at night.

Ekta: That’s so much true because once the bigger chunk like I would say study the boring part is out of your way throughout the day, you feel more fresh, you feel more energetic, you have time for other stuff. I felt like the first time when I was studying I was kind of like not in a good mood. Depressed always thinking about did I studied enough?

Oh, I need to go back. But now I knew okay I did good the end, I end with 30 cumulative questions. And as soon as I see 80 or 75, I’m like good for the day. Next, I’ll like, I’ll just close my books and then, uh, uh, go to it tomorrow. Like, so I felt like that was really helpful because it made me more confident.

Um, before I was like, as I said, not in a good mood. Um, don’t like talking to people because now I’m just thinking about exams. So I feel like the morning session, once you’re, you’re [00:25:00] doing it this way, it makes your life so easy. You don’t even feel like you’re preparing for CPA. So yeah.

Nate: Yeah. I think there’s kind of this idea that If your life isn’t a complete nightmare when you’re studying, then you’re not doing it right, you know, or people just assume this is what it’s going to have to be. But I mean, yeah, it really doesn’t, it requires the discipline.

So yes, you’ve got to go to bed on time. So you can get up early.

Ekta: Mm

Nate: Yeah. It’s maybe not fun to get up at 5 00 AM, but it is just so much easier to do those two hours in the morning and it’s, it’s more effective. You feel better. You don’t have it weighing on your mind that, okay, after this 10 hour work day, I still have to go home and study for six hours.

It’s just so much easier.

Ekta: hmm. That’s correct.

Daily Activities While Studying for the CPA Exams

Logan: And I had a kind of a follow up question with that. I guess it’s two questions. So what time did you wake up in the morning to be able to make sure you had time? And then after [00:26:00] work, this is kind of more broad. Was there any hobby or activity that you made it a priority to keep a part of your life?

You know, even though you were busy with CPA and work and everything.

Ekta: Yeah. So I used to make sure that I wake up in the morning, like five. Um, so I’m a kind of, yeah, I’m kind of person, I, I like to get ready, like, Take shower stuff like and then sit to study so and then I used to, I used to do this to like make my bed and stuff like that just to feel like peace of mind. I don’t know.

Now I don’t do it anymore, but, but it did help. I don’t know how it’s related, but you feel like ready. Okay, you’re doing something, you know, so yeah, I feel yeah, so I did that like wake up five, it took me 30 minutes to get ready and stuff and then start all my morning routine of study session and then at night, yeah, I mean, I go to gym, so I did not like, I used to make sure that I’m going every day, did not miss out on that, [00:27:00] so like before dinner, going to the gym was one another thing.

Besides that, yeah, I love watching TV, so we like making, making sure I’m watching all those Netflix series that are going on, so yeah.

Nate: What are some of your favorites? We should ask that to people. I always want to know like, what shows do you watch?

Ekta: Yeah, so, um, during that time, I guess I was watching Suits, um, yeah, on Netflix. Yep. Um, so that, that is a long season itself. So yeah, um, maybe 30, 40 minutes every day. Yep. Did not miss out on that.

Nate: And at the same time, to get up that early, you also kind of, you had to have like a routine to get to bed at a certain time. Right.

Ekta: Yep, that’s true. Um, but as I said, you just have to do it one week and then everything falls into place. You don’t have to like do it, do anything different to follow it. But like, if you be disciplined for one week, like, I feel like you would [00:28:00] be able to do it. It’s not, it’s not that difficult, but you need to be like, you have need to have that willpower or like, uh, do it every day. Otherwise, if you miss one day, then I feel like, yeah, you will just keep falling back, back, back, and then you won’t be able to come back on track. So, yeah, it’s really important not to miss out on any day.


Nate: Yup.

CPA Exam Timeline

Logan: We kind of talked about this at the beginning, so you know, you had those three months where you were studying FAR, you failed once or twice, and then once you had SuperfastCPA, what was the timeline like after that? Like did you fail any exams? You know, when did you pass them? Like what did that look like?

Ekta: Yeah. So, um, yeah, I failed for first time. And since I was putting too many hours, I’m like, if I do the next time, I don’t want to fail or I want to make sure that I’m doing something wrong. It’s not like I’m not capable of passing. There is something wrong or not the correct strategy that I’m using.

[00:29:00] So yeah, as soon as I started using the CPA, SuperfastCPA, I passed them. So I don’t even count the first three months of January and I was done in June. So one month. Yeah. Yeah, within one month, I was, yeah, and I did, uh, in between I did failed REG, um, I got 74, but yeah, but I was not even expecting 74. To be honest, I was like, um, after coming back from the exam, I remember we had a flight to Canada because we were visiting, we were having some, uh, a family marriage, uh, one of my cousin was getting married.

So I’m like, in my exam, I was doing the task based simulation, I literally came to a point, I’m like, I’m not going to pass this exam, why not just leave this task based simulation, I’ll just come back and give it again, you know, but I’m like, no, I’ll just fill in the blanks at least, and I got 74, just imagine if I would have like focused more like 100%, maybe I would have gotten 75, who [00:30:00] knows, but yeah, I mean, at that point I’m like, this method works like magic, you know, if I can get like 74 coming out of the exam feeling like I only get, I’ll only get 50.

I mean, that’s something I was like really happy, even happy to get 74 because I was not even expecting that, you know, so I took it again just in a week and got 87. So, yep.

Getting Much Better Results Studying for 2 Hours A Day

Nate: Comparing to when you were studying, you know, again, eight hours a day. And then you switch to this where you’re only spending two hours a day and you’re getting much better results was after that week when it started to click, like you said, where you just kind of amazed how much easier, wow, this really can be relatively simple.

Ekta: Yeah. Absolutely. Because before I am doing lectures, I’m going through text. So each lecture is like 60 minutes, more than that. Plus if you go through the textbook, it’s more. Now after that, you’re going through the multiple choice question. [00:31:00] And then as I said, you don’t get anything. So you go back to the textbook.

So, I mean even eight hours would be less to finish one module if you go with that speed. So yeah, I mean, um, just, if you’re just doing multiple choice questions, say one module would have 30 or 40 questions so. Even there’s those 30 and 40 questions. Maybe only 25 of the questions are coming from different sources or different materials and the rest are just repetitive.

Just asking the questions differently. So if you focus on one multiple choice questions very in detail, you are tackling it five or six multiple choice question in one multiple choice question. But it’s very important for you to ask yourself, okay, why this option is the option and the others are not, and going back and finding, okay, what does the terminology on those options mean and where are they coming from?

So that’s what I did. So, I mean, if you do one multiple choice questions with [00:32:00] a hundred percent detail, you are already tackling the other questions that would be coming further.

Nate: Yeah.

Emphasizing Understanding Why An Answer is Wrong

Nate: So where did you get the distinction from? Cause you said again, first time you were kind of just trying to get the answer right, like just trying to see it correct on your screen, even like clicking until it showed it was right. And then that distinction of, no, I need to understand the why behind this.

Was that something you got from the PRO course or when did you realize that difference?

Ekta: So that’s something, um, I did that because now I was thinking like I’m only doing multiple choice questions and yeah, I’m not going through the textbook. So if I don’t understand the question, maybe I’m losing like most of the stuff if I don’t make 100 percent out of just the multiple choice question that I’m relying on, it doesn’t make any sense for me to just do multiple choice question then I’ll just go [00:33:00] back and study the whole textbook, you know, so that’s where maybe it was due to fear that I’m just doing multiple choice questions. I had to be accurate and be detail oriented about the question that I’m reading. That’s why I started doing it. But yeah, I mean, uh, when yeah, so going through the multiple choice questions was easier but then I was also fearful what if I miss out on the other material and they asked me a question from that you know so making sure that the question, only the question that I’m doing, I’m doing it at 100 percent. So yeah.

Nate: Yeah. It’s one of those things that makes sense when you say it out loud, like obviously you want to understand the why behind the question, but it’s very, very common. Like you described in the beginning, people just kind of want to, it’s kind of like they want to see their dashboard in their review course, be all green, a hundred percent.

And that can, you can get that without really understanding the material [00:34:00] you’ve gone through, which again is just kind of a form of lying to yourself, you know? Yeah.

Ekta: Plus, um, there I don’t know if you guys know about it like they say there is a Becker bump of 15 to 20 points so even if I got like 60 percent I’m like oh there is a becker bump you know I passed

Nate: Yeah. That’s funny.

Ekta: But that’s not true.

Nate: Right.

Logan: that the, like, Becker, like, practice tests and stuff are harder on purpose so that you shoot for 75 on that and then you’ll get higher on test day.

Ekta: Well, the first time I did, I did, uh, went over the exams that are in there, mini exams, which are like the actual exams. And I guess I got 60. So I was like, so happy. I’m like, Oh, I’m going to pass this. And I got 56. So it doesn’t work. The next time when I did the Superfast way, I’m like, I’m not going to waste four hours.

Like I did none of them.

Logan: Mm hmm.

Nate: Yeah. I mean, right. And then the daily set of [00:35:00] 30 kind of Logan’s going to be sick of hearing me say this, but cause I say it on every interview, but it just, it solves so many problems in advance. Did you know that’s what I was going to say?

Yeah. Logan. Cause I say that I ended up saying that on every interview, the daily set of 30, it just helps you with obviously the re-review hitting the topics you’ve been through already.

So instead of slowly forgetting everything, you’re slowly improving on everything, but it also just helps you with time management and you just get good at answering MCQs so that on test day, everything just goes smoothly without you having to really think about it or watch the clock. It just solves a lot of problems.


Getting Used to Constant Re-Review

Ekta: The other way I think it is like, um, when you are in like when you’re taking the exam, every question is going to be from different material or different source. Now the first time when I took it, it was really difficult when I used to click on next and the question would come up from different source for my brain to pull that information [00:36:00] because I was not used to taking those cumulative exams on everyday basis. But now, since I’m used to taking those 30 questions, it was so easy for me, even during the exam, it felt, it felt like I know this. You know, very easy. Like one after the other different question from different source.

It’s okay. My brain is already trained to, you know, pull that information. So yeah, it was very easy. So 30 cumulative questions is like, um, should not be missed out on the way you tell, like those three have to be done in a certain way in order to see results. If you miss out on one thing, then this doesn’t work.

So yeah, I, I would repeat the same thing. Yeah.

Nate: Yeah.

Logan: Yeah. The 30, it trains you. It trains you to think in the way the exam will be. And you know, that’s just, that’s part of the battle right there.

Ekta’s Study Process for Task Based Simulations

Logan: I actually kind of along that same, practicing for the multiple choice, what was your strategy with the sims? Like, how did you [00:37:00] study those?

Ekta: So I did not do sims while I was studying throughout like when I’m studying the new first time while I’m looking at the material for the first time, because at the end, I realized that the task based simulation, it’s not confined to just one material. It’s like an overview of like, once you have an overview of all the chapters, it gets very easy to solve those sims.

So, I did them at the end, like once I’m done with everything, while I’m doing cumulative questions, I used to add two task based simulations along with that cumulative review, just so that my brain is trained to, you know, after doing 30 multiple choice questions, to read those task based simulations, um, just to train my brain, but yeah, I did not focus much on task based simulation because as I said, if you are doing multiple choice questions in detail, task-based simulations is like a bigger chunk of multiple choice questions because you are also just putting in the information in there.

It’s just that [00:38:00] there’s a huge amount of information, but if you are thorough with your multiple choice questions, you, it would be easier for you to even do your task based simulations.

Logan: Yep. A lot of people have said that actually recently. It’s a very common trend.

How Ekta Planned Her Study for the CPA Exams

Logan: How, what was your, how long was your final review? Like where you

Ekta: Um, mm-Hmm.

Logan: Started incorporating those sims?

Ekta: Um, so once I’m done, so as, as I said, like it took me one month for each of the, um, uh, chapter or subject to get over. So how I did was I used to have like a board right in front of me. So I used to have rows and columns, dates, and then which day I’m gonna do with chapter. So I used to make sure that at the, the last week.

I’m all I’m going to do is like final review. That’s when I used to add start adding the task based simulation because obviously the last week I’m already done with all the multiple choice questions. So now it’s just like a re-review. So that’s when I used to incorporate task based simulations in my, um,

Logan: [00:39:00] For that last week. Okay.

Ekta: Yep.

Using Her Main Review Course to Set Up Review Questions

Nate: So, as you go through the questions each day and then the daily set of 30, by the time you got to the final review, were you trying to have answered every single MCQ that Becker had? Was that something you paid attention to or not really, as long as you did the daily set of 30?

Ekta: You mean like going over all the multiple choice questions that were in the Becker?

Nate: Yeah. I think like, you know, as you go in and set up your daily set of 30, have the chance or the option to be like fully random, personalized, or unanswered questions, meaning like you haven’t seen em?

Ekta: Yeah.

Nate: Was that something you paid attention to or

Ekta: Oh, yeah. So yeah, I did. So, uh, Becker has personalized and random. So my everyday cumulative would be random because random is like from all the chapters, it would give you random questions, but then if you pick personalized, it would only give you those questions which you have struggled at some point or you [00:40:00] did not got right at the first point, first place.

So for the last week, while I’m doing the 30 accumulative random question, I would also do personalized questions because now I’m learning my weaker area. So, um, yeah, so I did, I did put that into my last week’s review to ensure that even my weaker areas are covered. Uh, but then again, I used to trust Becker on the, on those questions.

I did not go in personally picking a chapter. Okay, this chapter, I know, I don’t know, so I’ll only do questions from here. So in that case, I would only, I would trust Becker more because they know how the syllabus is. They know which chapter is more like important. So I feel like if you just trust the questions that Becker is providing you rather than you going by yourself and doing that chapter.

So say, for example, I was struggling with construction, construction in FAR so I don’t even remember I was getting any questions from construction. But then, uh, [00:41:00] later on after I was done with my exam, I was going over this with one of my associates who was taking FAR exam. And then he’s like, how about construction?

I’m like, I don’t remember getting any questions from construction. And then, uh, that ticked me. I’m like, yeah, see Becker is smart, like you have to trust whatever questions the Becker is providing. Just don’t go by yourself thinking that, oh, I don’t know anything from construction, so I’ll just do construction today.

Like you’re just wasting your time. So yeah, maybe you’re doing something that’s not even like exam oriented or something like that. Not saying that you should completely ignore it. Like, but, um, trust the questions, cumulative and personalized questions that Becker is providing you.

Logan: Yeah. I would say one of the most important parts of final review is that cumulative so that you’re not like getting used to any particular subject only, but that is a great idea to not only do cumulative, but also, start, focusing on some of your weaker areas so that you’re just kind of getting it all together right at the very end.

Nate: [00:42:00] Yeah, that is a good strategy. Just alternate like set of 30 random set of 30 from your personalized. The other thing though, is like doing flashcards from the beginning on the things that you just find difficult or hard to understand, that also goes a long way by the time you get close to the exam, you’ve taken a lot of the hardest stuff for you personally.

You’ve put it in your own words and then committed it to memory by reviewing them each day. I mean, I’m guessing you would say the, like the flashcards were just a huge difference maker, right?

Making Flash Cards Made a Big Difference

Ekta: They were they were because in this case I am reviewing the whole stuff every day, right? So what am I gonna lose? So I was, did not even felt that anxiety that I’m having exam today compared to the first attempt where I felt like I forgot everything as soon as I enter entered the examination hall now.

I’m like did I studied for this exam? I felt like I’m not even prepared like first question and I feel [00:43:00] like everything just vanished off of my brain. So, um, yeah, but the flashcard reviewing the flashcard every day, I feel like you are re-reviewing the material every day. So how are you going to forget it?

You know, so I feel like that was very, very helpful to me.

Logan: Mm

Nate: On that note, about how many flashcards did you make per exam?

Ekta: Um, so it depends, so I remember I had a lot with FAR, maybe this much with FAR, but it’s, yeah, it’s just because, um, there were, like, it was huge, and then I did not want to miss out on any of the important stuff, and I felt like, oh, this is important too, that is important too, but then, having that much pile of flashcards doesn’t mean that I reviewed all of them.

I had like two piles. One is like really important and now I know this is something I’m struggling. So I’ll just go over those, not like all of them. So that’s how I like differentiate it too. [00:44:00] But at the beginning, yeah, it’s very easy to put in everything. But again, I would say once you start putting it in your own words and you do cumulative questions, now you know, okay, you’re just reading the question and in your mind. You’re like, okay, I know the answer so next flashcard, next flash card, so you don’t have, yeah, you don’t have to like, it feels like that’s too much of flashcard. But, you know, exactly like, okay, I know about it.

So, but just re-reviewing it. Yeah, it’s really important.

Nate: That’s a huge piece.

Did Her Flashcard Reviews in the Morning

Nate: So where you had physical flashcards and maybe you said this, and especially if you have like this many, I’m guessing you weren’t carrying those with you every day. Like when would you review your flashcards? Was that at home at night?

Ekta: in the morning, the first thing in the morning, because, uh, I know, yeah, I, I’m a kind of person, like, I would hate, I don’t know why, I hate going and reviewing the same thing. I feel like, oh, I already studied, why should I go back and study? Like, re-review it. I know it. I know it. Your brain would force you not to [00:45:00] re-review it, but like, that’s why, that’s why I wanted to make sure that I’m reviewing it the first thing in the morning so that I don’t have to worry about it.

So I don’t delay it. The other thing I found out was like, um, this, when I started BEC, BEC was, um, second exam that I took after FAR, um, initially I started taking notes in a notebook, but then I was too lazy to even open the notebook. So I’m like, okay, this is not working. So let me go back to the flashcards.

Logan: Mm-hmm.

Nate: That’s funny.

Motivation and Dedication is the Recipe to Success

Logan: I mean, your process was obviously really good because of how well you did. Is there anything else that you wanted to say

I mean, we’ll ask our final question, you know, like your top tips, but is there anything else you wanted to, to bring up?

Ekta: I mean, like, I would really want to say that it seems easy when Nate would say that just follow this step, the three steps, and you would be good to go. Yes, it seems easy, but comes along the [00:46:00] consistency, like you have to be consistent with that. I remember, even though I say that it was a smooth transition, yes, from eight hours to two, uh, reducing it to two hours.

It seems like very easy, but even then I had to force myself every day to wake up and like, just console myself that, okay, it’s gonna get over one day, like, you will be done one day. So it’s really important to be motivated. Just don’t think that, okay, this is a shortcut and it’s easier way. So maybe it won’t work for me, but it’s not a shortcut.

Like, uh, you have to be consistent. You have to do it every day. You have to discipline yourself. So, yeah, I mean, that’s, um, that’s what I

Logan: I guess that does bring up one more follow up question.

Getting Her Accounting Degree (Again), In The United States

Logan: So how did you stay motivated? I know that, in the PRO course, there’s that like motivation sheet. Did you ever feel that fill that out? How did you stay motivated?

Ekta: Yep. Um, I did fill that out in my first try when later on, I thought that, oh, I’m not gonna like [00:47:00] it’s, I’m not going to take the shortcut. But, um, yeah, I mean, uh, the, uh, the motivation for me was, um, it was my childhood dream. And this takes me back that, uh, after I immigrated to United States, I already had my bachelor’s degree.

And, uh, If I had to do CPA, I needed a US accredited degree. Now I go to a university and get my degrees evaluated thinking that I would at least get 50 percent and I’ll go one more year to university and I would be done. Well, no, they only gave me 10 credit hours. So eventually I had to redo my bachelor’s just to sit for a CPA exam. So, by getting the NASBA approval that you are an eligible CPA candidate was like half success for me. But, yeah, I mean, there was a point when they told me that it’s just 10 credit hours. I was, like, debating, like, do you want to do this? What now? Like, do you want to go back to school and redo your bachelor’s?

And [00:48:00] then, uh, while I was thinking, a thought came to my mind. I’m like, 10 to 15 years from now, I don’t want to regret thinking that I had time and I did not do it. So, just that thought, I’m like, okay, let’s do it. So, went back to university, so did four years of college just to get NASBA approval.

Nate: Yeah.

Ekta: So that itself is like a big motivation.

So if, yeah, so I mean that, that’s the whole story behind it. So for me, CPA is like not just CPA, it was like a childhood dream. So sometimes I’m like, okay, I feel proud of myself that I did went back to school and did everything all together just to get cPA before my name or after my name. Yeah.

Logan: That’s incredible.

Ekta: Yep.

Nate: That was the big thing for me too was, and I didn’t have anything like that, but that was the constant thought in my mind. Like I did a master’s degree just to qualify to take these exams. I’m [00:49:00] not doing anything else till I pass these and get this over with. Cause when it came out of my masters, a lot of people that I got hired with, you know, their kind of attitude was I’ll probably wait a year or I just, I want to have a life for a while. And to me it was just hanging on my head or it felt like someone’s stepping on my neck or just wanted to get them done no matter what. So yeah, that’s always what I thought about. Like I’ve put, if you count both college degrees, I mean, I’ve put like a hundred thousand dollars behind just taking these exams, so.

Ekta: True.

Logan: So you had to get the bachelor’s here. You said you were immigrated from India, right? Was it four years of school there too?

Ekta: Uh, it’s three years there.

Logan: So, okay, so seven, seven years of school.

Ekta: Oh yeah, that’s correct.

Logan: That, that is dedication. That is, that, that’s pretty awesome. Congratulations.

Nate: So growing up, your dad was a chartered accountant in India then?

Ekta: So, wait, so that is another [00:50:00] motivation. Because I remember, um, I used to see him, like, on Excel sheets and numbers and, like, you know, kind of get excited. I’m like, oh, he’s always working, you know. So I’m like, Dad, I want to be like you. He’s like, don’t be like me like he’s, he, he introduced that term to me, like charted accountant.

He’s like, people, people like me will work for you just for your signature. And you will have people working like who will do the actual work. So, um, and even in my school, I’m like, well, people were like, teachers would ask, what do you want to be? I would be very proudly I want to be a charted accountant, not even knowing what that is, you know, so.

Nate: That is hilarious. Yeah. I was going to say, I’ve never heard someone say that like it was my childhood dream, to be in accounting, but I mean, that’s cool. I mean, if I had followed my dreams, I’d be in the NBA and in the NFL, but, uh, it’s not possible. Yeah. That’s a, that’s cool.

Top Tips for People Still Struggling With Their Study Process

Nate: So we kind of went through everything and you kind of hit on this, [00:51:00] but even if it’s stuff we already talked about, what would be your top three tips to people that are, you know, maybe in like the first phase that you were in. Trying to do too much and the study process isn’t working, what would you say to them?

Ekta: I would just say that trust this process, um, do it for a week or two and see like map your progress because if you think this doesn’t work, yeah, definitely you have to find other ways, but at least do it for two weeks and then map your success like where you stand because I was able to see the difference just in one week.

Like in one week, I was starting, I started getting 75, 80, even 90 and when I saw 90, I was like over excited, jumped out of my chair. I’m like, oh my god, I never got 90, you know? So I’m like, This is it, but you gotta trust the process. Like, if you don’t trust the process, um, even if after that you feel like you’re not doing good, maybe go back to, uh, re-review, like, [00:52:00] how you’re doing your multiple choice questions.

Maybe you are just more confined on getting the right answers and not knowing why that answer is right. So, maybe going back to how you’re doing it. Um, also, like, making sure that you’re taking the notes correctly, not just copy pasting the Becker information that is out there. But yeah, I mean, if you follow that all through, there is no way you can fail, I would say.

Nate: Yup. Yeah. When you’re combining all these, strategies that just work layering all these advantages, it really is hard to go wrong so, yeah. It was fun to hear your story. I think we covered a lot of good stuff. This will be a really good interview and, I’m glad you found us.

I’m glad everything helped and congrats on being done.

Ekta: Thank you so much.

Having a Roadmap for the CPA

Ekta: Yep. Um, I wanted to add on that. Um, so it’s like you have already framed out how to pass the CPA exam. Now that I’m done and trying to figure [00:53:00] out in my personal life, how I be disciplined. I don’t have any roadmap, you know, and then I’m going back and thinking about, see, there is already like roadmap out listed there.

It’s so easy to pass the CPA exam. But now if you’re trying to do something else in your life, there is no roadmap. You have to start from zero and like put in everything by yourself. So passing a CPA exam is not a difficult task because like you have listed everything out there. So you just got to follow it compared to anything else that you would be working on where you have to like, from scratch, start from zero.

So I was very grateful for that. Yep. Because you have already mapped everything. Like, I don’t know how you came up with this strategy, what happened, but it works like magic and thank you for coming out and like being there because if that if if that video would not have come to my attention, I would still be studying for my CPA exam and this is like I had written in my diary like when I [00:54:00] would be done of my CPA exam that was the end of last year. That is December 2023. So I had like a goals sheet where I’m like, okay, I would be done by December 2023. And I was so happy to go back and put it in there that I’m done by June 2023, like six months before that. So, I mean, it was yeah. Yep.

Nate: That’s awesome.

Ekta: So thank you, like, just wanted to thank you about that, like, you have it all there.

We just gotta follow it.

Nate: Yeah, that’s good to hear. Uh, that’s going to be a great little clip. I’m going to use that clip you just said a lot because yeah, I wish I could just convince everyone to, A watch the PRO course videos and then, B Just implement it for a few weeks. It’s kind of like the riding a bike. You’ve probably heard me say this, but, you could show a kid a thousand videos on how to ride a bike.

And it’s pretty simple. Sit on the bike, do the pedals, but until they [00:55:00] try it and feel, you know, the whole balance thing and tip over, it won’t click. So it is, it’s kind of that two part process. Watch the strategies to see what they are, then implement it until it clicks in your own head. And then it’s just relatively simple.

Yeah. All right, Ekta. Well, thank you again. That was awesome.

Nate: So that was the interview with Ekta. Like I said in the beginning, I’m sure you found that very informative and helpful. She just had a ton of great insights and wisdom to share about all parts of the study process and a lot of the mindset and daily routine aspects.

So if you found this episode helpful, or these episodes in general helpful, please take a second to share it with someone you know who’s also working on their CPA exams. And it would be really helpful if you left a review in the podcast app where you listen to these, or if you’re watching this on YouTube, take a second to like the video, subscribe to the YouTube channel, and leave a comment in the comment section about one tip or [00:56:00] insight, anything you gained from this interview with Ekta.

So thanks for watching or listening and we’ll see you in the next episode.

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