How Felicity Passed Her CPA Exams by Having a Written Plan

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In this episode you’ll hear me speak with Felicity, who is now a CPA, about how she used a detailed written plan to pass her CPA exams. This interview is full of CPA study tips and strategies, but there’s three specific things to listen for:

  • How Felicity used a detailed written plan on paper to keep herself on track
  • How she used the SuperfastCPA review notes & audios in her daily study process
  • How her “final review” evolved as she went through the 4 CPA exam sections

Podcast Transcript (Note: This was auto-generated and might have some errors)

Welcome to Episode 32 of the CPA Exam Experience podcast from SuperfastCPA CPA. I’m Nate. And in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Felicity. She is a SuperfastCPA customer and she’s now a CPA. And there’s three things that I want you to listen for in this interview with Felicity.

So like the other interviews, we cover basically all parts of the study process. But three things specifically that she talks about that were slightly different or just really good ideas. Three things to listen for. So first, how she wrote out an actual plan on paper. You know, most review courses have, you know, a study planner. But she took it a step above that. And you’ll hear her describe, you know, what she put down on paper, how she planned for how she broke it apart and then how she used test dates with that plan and how it just kept her very motivated and on track. They made it easy for her to stay on track and know exactly where she was throughout the process. And then the other thing is how she used our review notes and audios in her study process. She did it a little bit differently, similar to basically that in that she used them constantly, like a lot of the other interviews and our customers do. But some specific ways in which she used them. And then the third thing would be how her final review evolved throughout the four sections. So for her first section, she left about a week to do a final review. And then you’ll hear her just walk through how that evolved as she learned about her own study process and what she did or didn’t need as part of her final review and how she shortened it. Basically, just how that process evolved for her as she went through the four exams. Now, before we get to the interview, I just want to mention again, if this is the first thing you are listening to from us or if you haven’t done this yet, the best place for you to start with. Superfast CPA learning some of our strategies is watching the free one hour training where we will walk you through our study process from start to finish. That is also where we give out the biggest discount that we do on any of our products. But you have to be on one of those trainings to see how to access that discount. So those trainings are about an hour long. The key idea with those trainings is you’re going to learn how to have the perfect two hour study session. So using your current review course, you’ll use it a little bit differently. And what you’ll learn is how to have a two hour session where you’re getting more done than what most people do studying the normal way in four or five hours. So to register for one of those trainings, go to our Web site at SuperfastCPA Wacom. It’s the main link on the top of the home page. Or you can text pass. Now, as one word, two four four two two two, and we’ll send you back a link. So with all that being said, let’s get into this interview with Felicity.

Are you. I can’t remember. I look at the little notes you guys leave before I get on here. Are you all done?
Yeah, I’m. I have my CPA license.

Nice. How long have you been done?

So I finished all the exams last December, and then with California, there’s a lot of extra things you have to do.
And so I finished all of those extra requirements and I got certified and licensed in March of this year, 2020. OK. Right before Copan.

So you didn’t have to take any exams wearing a mask or anything?

No. Thankfully, no.

Yeah. That would have been. That would be tough. Yeah.

OK. So how did the study process go for you? Did you just get a review course in the beginning and then just start going through.

How Felicity Got Started

Yes and no. So actually kind of what happened was so I moved out here after graduating from BYU.

And so I started out with Bekker and I took my first two exams with Decker. And so I took B.C. first and I took audit next. And then after those two, then I was I well, then the Bekker program was over, basically. And so I had to figure out next steps of what to do. And my employer didn’t compensate anything. So I had to pay for everything out of pocket. And so that and that I saw SuperfastCPA GPA.

I was reading different review courses and trying to figure out where to go, what to do. And I had the two hardest exams left, drag and far. And I am a tax accountant. Why work in the tax industry? So I thought, oh, Raichlen shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but especially with all the new T.S.A. addition and everything with that, I thought, you know, I need to just have something where I feel like I can fall back on. And so I think I reached out to you actually or to someone on your team when I was looking for different products or different review materials and you guys suggested wildly. And so I jumped on that and I did Whiley. And then I also got the SuperfastCPA CPA bundle for just rank and file. And when I was just when I was using Bekker, I basically just read through all the materials. But it was hard to have there wasn’t any sort of note packet or anything like audio to close in to what my commute to and from work. And so that’s what I loved about the SuperfastCPA program, was because there is all those notes that I could print out and then the audio program that I could listen to and in my car. And every morning I would listen to the podcast on my way to work. And then I did. And then which was nice because it was basically an overview of all the notes and what I had had gone to my local FedEx Kinko’s and print it out. All of the notes and got as far bounded and it was like two, but it was so nice. And I just carried that literally everywhere I went. And so I never had a spare moment. I just would crack open that notes page. And especially if I had just gone over a certain section and widely, then I would go over that note section through the SuperfastCPA program, and it really just helped solidify a lot of the different aspects of each section that I was learning. And what was nice is that a lot of it was reviewed since I went through BYU this program, but there was a lot of things I’d forgotten in the two plus years. Yeah. It was a really nice overview and it was to the point, which was really nice for me since I didn’t have a lot of time. I was working full time and you know, it’s in and out a busy season and I’m just trying to get these exams done. And so every lunch break I had, I was I was literally sitting outside on a picnic table reading my CPA notes, books. And so that was pretty much my process I. I think, thankfully, I was able to pass all my exams the first time, which was a miracle.

Yeah, that’s nice. Yeah. So you actually when you’re saying you’d carry it around during the day, you weren’t using the app, you were carrying around your actual note, the review notes you had printed out.

I had both. So am I physically had the book just because I’m I’m more of a visual person. And so I’m highlighting and making my own little annotations in the margins. And so during lunch, I was reading the notes just as a as a printed out and then. But before and after work. And even sometimes if I could during work, I was listening to that to the audio part on that.

Yeah. I think it helps a lot. I mean, I did the same thing. I didn’t have obviously our notes are, you know, the superfast CPA thing. When I studied.

Using the SuperfastCPA Audio Notes

But I did the same thing like I had audio notes from another provider and they were super long. They were hard to get through one time. So that was one of the things that I you know, when we did start making these, that was one of the main points, is make them fairly easy to, like, get through. So you can do it over and over. And then the same idea with the review notes, like you said, is to make it succinct, but still have enough info that it’s actually helpful, not just really short. Bullet points. Anyways, I just think study and throughout the day, all day, always keeping this stuff on your mind. The constant rereview makes it hard to forget.
I completely agree with that. I think that was what was the most helpful is that I would just start the ardeo from the very beginning and then just as it played, just continue on and on. And the more I heard it, the more I just kind of reaffirmed all of those notes in my head. So then when I got the test, I thought, oh, yeah, I totally know this. So it was it was helpful to us to keep it on repeat. And it really it really helped. And I thought initially it would take a lot of time. But the more consistent you are, the easier it is.

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. It sounds you know, it sounds boring or not very fun to not only do your main study session once each day, but then to just whenever you’re in your car, be listening to CPA stuff or when you’re on your phone, be reading it more and more. But it’s just kind of the thing I was asked people is, OK, how bad do you want to pass these things if you just make this all consuming for a shorter time period? It’s easier to pass instead of having this just drag out for two or three years. What about your main study sessions? When did you do those? Each day because you’re like you said, you’re busy, you’re working. When did you fit those in? And did you just kind of study the traditional way by watching the video lecture, reading the chapter, then doing the questions? Or how do you do your main sessions?

How Felicity Did Her Main Study Sessions

Yeah. Good question. I study at night just because I for me the morning is when I can exercise and I’m if I can’t get my exercise and then I feel like I can lose my sanity pretty quick. And so the only time I had to study was after I got home from work and I usually would plan about two, two and a half hours every night to study. So for me, after getting home from work, making dinner and talking for like five minutes to my husband, then I would then I would start work or start studying. And so from like seven to nine thirty, and I had to have a cutoff time because if I didn’t, I could study all night. I didn’t make sure that I could get sleep or else I couldn’t study the next day. So I just did two to two and a half hours every night, Monday through Friday. And then on Saturday, I would probably study six to ten hours. And just that’s kind of mine. It was my job, basically, and it just happened on the Saturday, too. But then Sunday was my absolute day of rest. I didn’t study or didn’t do anything on Sunday and but Saturday, depending if we had things going on, which usually we did it because I was so focused on studying and that was my only day of pure study. And so I would literally just lock myself in the library or on my dining room table and just study for six plus hours every Saturday. Something that actually really helped me. Wish you see my main program with Wiley and Becker as well. Was I? I would take all of the sub sections and subsections and write them out. And so then. I had a visual representation of how far I was, and so I would write each section. And then within each sections, how my chapters vary. In each section. And then after high. And I never watched the videos. I only read. And then they just kind of skim Sabriel. The lesson. And if there is something that I didn’t understand, then I would go back and reread it. But I would just skim through the notes. The the videos were a little too long and dragged out for me. Yeah. And so. And that’s why it was helpful to have the SuperfastCPA audio, because that was really engaging. For one and two. It was easier to understand than watching all these lecture videos because I had that in college. I want that again.

Yeah. And so. So I just skim through the notes, the chapter, and then I would take the multiple choice questions afterwards. And if I didn’t pass any or if there were anything, any questions that I just had no idea what it was, then I would mark those down and I would take notes as I read of things that I thought were interesting or things I didn’t know. And so that way I kind of added supplemented those to their print out notes from SuperfastCPA so that I could make sure there was. If there wasn’t, if there were something I didn’t understand, then I would have some physical pinpointing reference to go back to seconds, say, OK, go back to this chapter and study this section again, because I had never seen it before. And so I typically just spent most of my time just on the multiple choice questions. And during my studying, I didn’t have a lot of time to go through all the simulations. And that’s why something I should have spent more time on. But I would do the simulations after I had done all of the chapters and had done all multiple choice questions, that if I had enough time, I would go back into the simulations. So I said I spent the most of my time to skimming through the chapters, taking the questions, and then just retaking all the questions again, you know, doing these interviews.

It’s interesting because all you guys describe the way you did things, you know, slightly differently. But the general there’s also like three key things that pretty much every person did that that ends up passing. And you kind of described him. It’s you know, you first of all, you have to go through the material once, so you have to get through it all, obviously. And then, you know, you instead of watching every lecture, because what we tell people to do is go straight to the questions and then you want to when you come to something you don’t know, then you go deeper on that or find that in the in the chapter or watch the lecture if it’s an entire topic. You just have no idea of anything of that. Then watch the lecture after you’ve looked through the questions. But that’s more or less what you were describing. And it makes a lot more sense to do that so that you’re not spending these huge amounts of time watching hundreds of hours of video lectures and getting way too much information that you probably won’t even be tested on. You are going straight through. And then the other thing that the third thing is when you didn’t understand something, you wrote it out. And obviously, if you are taking notes on it, it’s kind of in your own words. Yeah. And that’s another big thing we we tell people to do is like you should be making flashcards or taking notes, but not on everything. Like you’re not trying to rewrite your textbook. It’s just the things that you personally don’t know or struggle with.

Felicity’s Note-Taking Process

So, yeah, that’s something that actually helps me a lot with that in particular was I would after I wrote my own personal notes, after going through a chapter. I would if there was something that I knew I would forget or knew that I didn’t understand, I would dogor that page cause I had a notebook exam. And so I I’m a dagger that page. And then to me, just looking at my notebook, if I had certain I would have certain pages dogeared that I knew that I had to go back and look at that because I was something either I didn’t understand the first time or something I had never seen before. And I did the same thing with my printed out notes to us. If there is something that I wanted to make sure I reviewed over and over again, I would dogor the page.

And what was your process for, like your final review? Did you do a big two week final review or just the last few days before an exam? Just really cram extra or what was your process for that?

Felicity’s Final Review Process

It kind of depended on each exam. My first one I spent about a week reviewing. I tried to take. Each one in about a month. And so I just would cram as much as I could. So my first one, I, I spent a whole week in review and just went through all of the material again.

I took every single multiple choice question and Bekker again. And so then I had gone through all the much like all the all the multiple choice questions, at least twice and then progressively in each exam. I did it a lot myself and a review. And so getting down to my last one, I just pushed to finish all the material before I took the exam. So I just made sure that I had gotten through all the material. And then the biggest thing I did for reviewing or just preparing myself right before the exam was going through the simulations. That was to me an indication if I really understood everything, this because the simulations are a lot more intuitive, I think, than the just the questions themselves. And they require a lot more analytical thinking. And so if I could get through the simulations and figure out the answers to those that I feel like I had a good understanding, and if there was certain simulation questions that I didn’t understand, then I would. That was a subject that I knew I I needed to review multiple times before the exam. So I think, long story short, my refined our view is just based on the simulations.

And does that mean going through every simulation in your review course for that section?

Yeah. Wow, that’s a lot of work. How long did that take? Usually a couple days.

Just because I sometimes I would just do one simulation per each chapter and call it good just because I didn’t have the time.
Yeah. So again, then that’s that’s close to what I tell people with the if they ask how do I prepare for the Sims.

Again, there’s no point in if you open up to practice sim and again you know what it’s like, fairly simple. You just don’t waste your time exonerating the ones that are hard to you and dissect those and like figure them out, make sure just get to the point where you can’t answer them. Yeah. Sounds like basically what you did.

Yeah. And then that there is some questions or simulations that were easy or if I obviously knew it then I would pass it and go to the ones that did it now and spend the majority of my review time on those.

Nice. And then what about your anything. Any. I mean you went four, four four. So what were you trying to keep in mind on test day or. I don’t know what we’re just some of your things you were trying to keep in mind or any tips you have on test day specifically?

Felicity’s Test Day Tips

Make sure you eat a good breakfast.

I feel like as silly as it sounds, I feel like it really helped just because I mean, you gotta make sure that you take care of yourself first, because then if you don’t, then your mind’s on different things and you can’t concentrate. But I don’t know that for me, a friend of mine always told me, don’t study the day of the exam because your mind is already so full of information that you’re trying to push things into a at the last minute. Chances are it’s not gonna stick. And so if there’s information or things like you feel like you aren’t going to miss, try to make sure that you study those things within the week before the exam and then the day of the exam, I would just listen. I for me going to the exam. I had to drive about 40 minutes to the exam center, which maybe isn’t a lot of time for some people, but it was kind of a long time for me. And so I just made sure I had some type of calming music so I could just calm my nerves. And and I prayed a lot. My go to is just a lot of prayer and making sure, you know, I took care of myself beforehand so that I could concentrate on only my test and not on my stomach or whether I showered that day or, you know, all those little things. I feel like, you know, you wanted just to vote 100 percent of your attention to that exam.

Because if you don’t, then there might be things that you know that you’ll miss if your mind’s, you know, bombarded with other thoughts. So I know that might not be the answer you’re looking for, but that’s kind of what happened to me.

Well, no, actually, you know, because I basically ask the same questions to each person, and that’s kind of the overriding. Sir, for test day is staying calm, not freaking out, and it just kind of all goes into the same pot. You know, it’s basically taking care of yourself along the way, being if you’ve done a good enough job studying so that you’re not feeling like you don’t have these overriding thoughts of this exam is just going to wreck me. Yeah, but you can get through them all. Multiple choice questions quickly. If you’ve spent a lot of time working the questions like the multiple choice really shouldn’t be that big of a deal. If you want to have plenty of time for The Sims, I mean, like eating breakfast, multiple people said getting a really good night’s sleep, you know, like the basics, just it all is kind of the same idea.

And I also liked how you said you made sure that you worked out all the way through. You know, maybe not. It’s not like everyone needs to work out. I mean, I do think people should, you know, but besides that, the bigger picture is that you have just a successful daily routine that you stick to. It’s the same every day. That’s really the big thing, I think.

One hundred percent. If you don’t have the small things in place, then things look at where proportion really quick.
Yeah. Nice. OK. So the last thing I ask really is basically any big tips you would give to people studying anything we didn’t cover or just what were your biggest two or three biggest things that you thought helped you?

Yeah, something that a lot of that I tell my friends who are starting the CPA exam is I tell them to have a plan first and foremost.
If you don’t have a plan and if you don’t set a schedule for yourself on when you want to take the exam and how long it’s going to take for you to study all the material beforehand, then chances are you’re going to get to that exam date and you’re not going to have studied half of the material. So my big my biggest push is that like for me, it helps me personally to write out every section of the material and then every chapter so I could physically cross off each chapter as I went through it. And that might not work for everyone, but it’s nice to have an actual plan because if you have a plan, it helps you to be accountable to yourself. And that way you can get it if the exams and you can make the progress that you want to see in yourself. And so I have a plan. I feel like that’s it. It’s a basic idea, but it really makes a huge difference. So having a plan and then sticking to the plan, there’s a lot of times when at night I just did not want to study or really go to the beach on Saturday or something and are actually like spend time with my husband because he’s sitting on the couch watching sports. So, yeah, but I just I had a vision that I wanted to complete all four of the basic fams, and if I didn’t have that vision, I would not have had the motivation to do it. And so having a plan and then sticking to the plan and having that vision of seeing yourself complete all four exams and surviving and and being able to stick to that vision and that goal, because you can lose it really quick. But if you keep seeing yourself as having that day in mind when you want to be done, it makes a huge difference.

So, yeah, I could not agree more with those points. In fact, like in our strategy videos, one of the videos, like the first video is about finding your way. Like figure out get really clear why you’re doing this. Why why are you going to mess with this in the first place?
And then I tell people you should I think you should set your test date and like, pay for the pay for, like, put it in stone, so to speak, and put pressure on yourself, you know, like that. People just tend to figure things out. When you put pressure on yourself and then every single day matters.

Basically, all those things you just said, yeah, I always would schedule my test date before I started setting and then I would after I knew my test date. Then I would create my whole plan of how much to study every night and what to study every night and weekend. And if I got to the week before the two weeks before the exam, I wasn’t ready unless I only happened did this for two exams. But then I would extend my date. But that was only because I personally didn’t feel ready. Then I would revamp my plan so that I didn’t do that again. Because you don’t want to pay extra on top of what you’re already paying.

Yeah. All right. Well, I think that was really good. We we kind of went through everything. So I appreciate you being willing to do the call. I think these are really helpful. Well, we get tons of feedback on that from these interviews that people just love listening to these people find a certain one helpful for them personally or whatever. So, yeah. So I appreciate it.

And congrats on being done. That’s awesome. You’re so excited.

Did you. I know you told me this, but I already forgot. It was just earlier this year. You found out you were done with the fourth one.

You said like March, last December, last December, best Christmas present I could ever hope for. Yeah, definitely. That was like top three days of my life for sure when I found out I passed. Well, I was nice to meet you. Yes, me too. Yeah. Congrats again on being done. It was fun talking with you. Thank you as well. Enjoy your time. All right. Have a good one.

All right. So that was the interview with Felicity. Like I said, I’m sure you found that very helpful. If you did find that helpful, please take a second and leave a rating and review in the podcast app wherever you are listening to these interviews. We put a lot of time and effort into these. These is one of the best free resources anywhere online for people who are trying to figure out their own study process. And it’s just what we hear a lot from people that email us about these. Is it really helps them with motivation to just hear how somebody, you know, hears someone’s entire story and how it part of their story. They were in the same situation somebody is in right now and how they figured it out got through the remaining sections and now they’re done.
So please take a second. We’ve a rating in review for the podcast and share it with someone who is also trying to pass their own CPA exams. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you on the next episode.

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