How Hannah Passed the CPA Exams Studying 2 Hours a Day

superfastcpa reviews how hannah passed her cpa exams

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In this SuperfastCPA reviews podcast episode, you’ll hear how Hannah realized early on that the normal or traditional way wasn’t working for her. She came across our free training webinar, followed our study strategies, listened to the podcast and figured out her new study process.

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Episode Timestamps

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 07:11 “I just kind of jumped into it without knowing anything…”
  • 10:22 Hannah’s Study Routine in the Mornings
  • 11:41 Using SuperfastCPA Study Tools Throughout the Day
  • 15:24 A Few of Hannah’s “Aha Moments”
  • 17:51 How Hannah Structured Her 2-hour Study Session
  • 20:00 “I never really used flashcards but I did like write out notes…”
  • 22:25 How She Used Practice Simulations
  • 25:38 Her Actual Test Day Experience
  • 29:13 Studying on the Weekends
  • 31:06 How She Scheduled Her Exams
  • 34:24 Mega Cram Session Before the Day of the Exam
  • 36:52 Rewarding Yourself After Passing the Exams
  • 38:38 Study Tips for People Trying to Figure Out Their Study Process

SuperfastCPA reviews: Hannah’s Story

Hannah: So I would just be like I wouldn’t study in the morning, I would just study whenever. Like if I had free time, I’d be like, oh I have to study.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: So I’d like go watch a lecture and be like, okay, I’m good. And like, I wasn’t really retaining anything. And then I would take lots of days off.

Cause I didn’t really know any better. Like I just kind of jumped into it without knowing anything. And so I didn’t have a set game plan. So I think that really threw me off. So, yeah, once I like listened to your information session, I was like, okay, I need to like figure out when I’m gonna study and like the two hours and all that and then schedule my test so like I have to study

Nate: Mm-hmm

Hannah: in order to make my test day.

Nate: Welcome to episode 97 of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate. And in today’s interview, you’re gonna hear me talk with Hannah.

So Hannah is just finishing her master’s degree but she is already done with all four CPA exams.

So Hannah’s study journey story is pretty straightforward. She started studying the normal way. Did that for about two weeks, she realized it wasn’t really getting her anywhere or paying off, that it was a lot of time and effort put in for very little results.

She came across our free training, watched the free training, got our study tools, and from there would just study two hours in the morning following the study strategies and she’s passed all four sections doing that exact thing.

So in this episode, you will hear the specifics of how she did that. All the different details, the study techniques, how she would structure the two hour morning sessions, how she would study on the weekends and all the little insights that she got from implementing the strategies and passing all four over the course of several months while she was still in her master’s degree.

Before we jump into the interview with Hannah, I just wanna mention two things. First, the free training webinar. So as you’ll hear in Hannah’s interview, she watched our free training webinar once took the ideas or the strategies from the free training and use that to pass all four sections studying just two hours a day.

So, if you have not watched one of those free training webinars yet, that is the best place for you to start. That’s the first thing you should do to get familiar with our study strategies and why our study process is so much different and more effective than just following the normal study approach. The link to one of those trainings will be down in the description of this episode. You could also do it at our main website at superfastcpa.com.

It’s the main thing at the top of the homepage. The second thing is to enter our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Powerbeat Pro headphones. The idea behind giving away the headphones is that first, these specific headphones are by far my favorite headphones that I’ve ever used. The second main point is goes along with the audio notes.

The idea being that whenever you’re doing other things throughout the rest of your day, you could be listening to audio notes, racking up extra study time, building extra exposure and familiarity with the concepts, making more connections with the material, it just pays off. The more time you spend exposing yourself to the CPA material, the better you’re gonna do on test day. And audio is one of the easiest ways to find extra time to study because you can be doing other things while you listen to audios. So to sign up for that giveaway, go to superfastcpa.com/enter or again, that link will also be down in the description of this episode.

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

so, all right. So on here you said, “I followed the study process of Superfast. Just studied using the multiple choice. I didn’t watch any Becker lectures or read the textbook. Passed all four using this technique”. Awesome. So, uh, I guess my first question would be did you have a period where you just studied kind of, you know, I always say the normal way just where you were trying to watch your video.

Hannah: Yeah.

Nate: How long did you do that?

Hannah: Yeah, what, so I got, I took audit first. I got through about halfway and using the normal way, using Becker watching the lec- lectures and all that stuff.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: And then I was like, this isn’t working. Like I was watching the lectures and like highlighting the book and I’m like, what’s the point of this? Like the, the person giving the lecture, he would just read the book word for word and I was just like, this is pointless.

I can do that myself. Yeah. And I’ve never like been one to highlight things when I’ve studied before. So I’m like, why am I doing this?

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And yeah, I would. Like I was not motivated at all ’cause I wasn’t really retaining anything. And so I would like, I went home for a bit ’cause I’m originally from Michigan.

So I went back up there to visit my family and I like brought my textbook ’cause I was like, I’m gonna study and I just didn’t open it one time. So I lost like a week and a half of study time just ’cause I wasn’t motivated at all. I was like this isn’t working. I need to find something new.

And so I’ve seen your ads on YouTube pop up and they’ve popped up for me like back when I was a junior in undergrad before I really even was thinking about taking the CPA exam and I was like, what is this? Why am I, why do I need to know this right now? But, so I had seen you for a few years and then finally I like listened to the whole thing and then joined one of the like informational sessions.

And I was like, this makes sense. I think I’ll try this. So I got like the just the audio notes and the review notes, that package. And just started doing that and yeah, that was about halfway through audit. And I’ve used that ever since.

Nate: Nice. That’s awesome. Uh, so first question that comes to mind is, uh, so yeah, so you, you see our ads for years, it sounds like.

And then, uh, you start the study process and that is one thing I think it’s hard for people to like until you’re a few weeks into the study process. And you see what that’s actually like, it’s hard to maybe understand like, okay, I, I need like a, like a strategy here because just watching every video, this is just kind of not. Is that kind of how you felt?

Hannah: Mm-hmm.

Nate: Like you didn’t, it didn’t really click why you might need some or why maybe our strategies make sense until you tried it the, the normal way?

Hannah: Yeah. Cause I was because like I had friends who were taking it and stuff and they used Becker from work. And so I was just like, okay, we must have to follow this method of watching like the hour long lecture.

And then you do all the multiple choice and all the SIMS which are just impossible ’cause I had no idea how to do the SIMS ’cause I really didn’t know the information.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: So it was just like, I felt horrible ’cause I was like, I don’t know how to do these. How am I supposed to do ’em on test day?

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And so, yeah.

“I just kind of jumped into it without knowing anything…”

Nate: Okay. Yeah. And uh, so when you say you were doing it that way, you’re watching the video following along highlighting, um, was that kind of how you knew it wasn’t really doing anything it’s because then you’d go to the practice problems and you still just had no idea how to do it? Or, or what about that form of studying made you think that this isn’t like this isn’t working?

Hannah: I think because yeah, I would go to the multiple choice and I wouldn’t really know anything, even though I’d read the section and listened to the lecture. And also just ’cause I didn’t have a set study plan really ’cause I was like, oh I can just like, if I just watch the lecture, do the multiple choice and do the SIMS like I’m, I’m good.

Like I’m studying that’s the technique.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And so I’ll be able to pass if I just watch all of the lectures and all that.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: So I would just be like, I wouldn’t study in the morning. I would just study whenever. Like if I had free time, I’d be like, oh I have to study.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: So I’d like go watch a lecture and be like, okay, I’m good. And like, I wasn’t really retaining anything. So yeah, it was just like, and then I would take lots of days off.

Nate: Yeah. Okay.

Hannah: Cause I didn’t really know any better. Like I just kind of jumped into it without knowing anything.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: I had gotten the materials and like just started and I didn’t really think about like, okay, how much time should I be spending studying?

When should I schedule my tests? Like I just started.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And so I didn’t have a set game plan. So I think that really threw me off. So, yeah, once I like listened to your information session, I was like, okay, I need to like figure out when I’m gonna study and like the two hours and all that and then schedule my test so like I have to study

Nate: Mm-hmm

Hannah: in order to make my test day.

Nate: Oh, gotcha. Yeah. That’s a big thing too. Yeah. And you know, everyone, everyone kind of has that has to kind of figure that out, you know? Like you said, you start, you start the process but you don’t really know. You don’t know what you’re doing from like a study strategy standpoint.

You also don’t really know what you’re doing from like, like you said, you, you really have to kind of like block in like, okay, if this is gonna work, I like this has to happen every day. I’m gonna do this at the same time. Um, did you switch to the mornings? Maybe? It sounds like.

Hannah: Yeah, I did. Yeah. I would get up at like 6:00 just ’cause I felt like if I set my alarm for 6:00 and just got up and started studying right away, then like I didn’t even have to think about it.

Cause if I wouldn’t set my alarm, I’d get up and like kind of take my time and then be like, oh, I guess I should go study.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: But if I just like got up and started studying, then it would, it would go a lot easier.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny ’cause that’s just a lot of stuff that sounds so obvious, right? It’s like, sounds so basic.

But at the same time, again, most people have to try like kind of flail around for a few weeks before they realize, okay, this, I, I have to be like disciplined in every little segment of this. So this isn’t gonna, this isn’t gonna work.

Hannah’s Study Routine in the Mornings

Nate: Um, yeah, so you’d get up at 6:00. What was your, uh, were you working at that time? Had you like you been outta school for a while?

Hannah: No. So I was, yeah, I was in the master’s. I’m still in the master’s program, but-

Nate: Oh, right.

Hannah: But when I started studying for audit, yeah.

Nate: That’s awesome.

Hannah: I’m gonna be graduating in a like three weeks. Yeah.

Nate: Awesome. Well, congrats on graduating and being done. That’s awesome.

Hannah: Yeah. I’m really excited. um, yeah. So when I first started studying for audit, it was the summer before I started my first master’s classes and I was like, I’m gonna get audit done before, like the semester starts and it just didn’t happen.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: But so, yeah, so I was just a full-time student.

Nate: Cool. But again, uh, like you said, getting that out of the way in the morning and then obviously it doesn’t matter if you’re working or if you’re getting your master’s just first two hours of the day, getting it done is so much easier.

Hannah: Yeah.

Nate: And it works better and then you don’t have to think about it all day and try to figure out, you know, in the afternoon or the evening, I’ve got all these things going on.

Maybe I’ll study when I get back at like 10 o’clock tonight and you know, that never happened.

Hannah: Mm-hmm.

Using SuperfastCPA Study Tools Throughout the Day

Nate: Um, yeah. What about let’s see, so that was your mornings then you’d kind of do your classes or schoolwork all day. Um, and then you, would you use our study tools throughout the day kind of like the mini sessions idea or how’d you do that?

Hannah: Yeah, so I would do the two hours in the morning and I would, I kind of based it off of the multiple choice in Becker. Like if one section had like 50 or more multiple choice, I would just study that section that day and, and then do like the 30 review. But if there are a few sections that had like, cuz there’s a few that have like, like five multiple choice or 10 multiple choice, I would do like three of those to just get up to like 30 or 40 multiple choice learning new questions.

And, and then I would do the review. So that’s kind of how I based it. And I could kind of, I would go through and look at all the, the modules in Becker and see how many multiple choice they had and kind of base off my days. So I, I could then like see when I would be able to schedule my test.

So that’s how I did that. And then I would do the review notes. I would read a few pages. I would also read a few pages of the section I was about to study in the morning just to kind of get it in my brain. Yeah. Cuz I hadn’t seen it at all and that helped. And I would also use like doing the multiple choice.

I would kind of go back to the review notes at the same time and like kind of look for the answer I guess. But I would like read the section and kind of like, it would stick in my brain.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And then I didn’t really use the audio notes as much ’cause I like if they were separate from the review notes ’cause I found that I would kind of, I wasn’t really listening all the time.

I’d kind of tune it out sometimes.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: And then have to like focus on listening to the audio notes. And it’s kind of hard for me when I can’t see like what you’re saying. So I would, I would only really listen to the audio notes like if I went on a walk or, or if I was driving to school. and then I would use them.

I would listen to the audio notes while I read the review notes and that just, I could listen if I did that at the same time, I could listen to them at like two times speed.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: But still be reading them so I could get through it a lot faster.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And that really helped. And then I did the, the multiple choice questions. Not a lot, but every once in a while I would do those.

Nate: Yeah. Just right, whenever it made sense. Um, yeah, a lot, so a lot of people mention that and we are, we’re coming out with a new study tool that is that where it’s, uh, essentially like a video where you’ll hear the audio but just see the words of the audio note or, well, I guess yeah, the review notes on the screen at the same time.

Yeah, because we hear that from people constantly. Is that something that you just came up with or did you hear that from one of these other interviews? To, to read?

Hannah: Yeah, I heard it from the other.

Nate: Okay.

Hannah: Yeah. And that was just something, I, I guess I had heard it and then just started doing it because sometimes I would, it helps me to like, if I’m just reading the review notes to read it out loud and that seems to work ’cause like, I don’t know.

I guess reading it in my head sometimes doesn’t work. Yeah. And so I like to read it out loud, so, but then my voice would get tired so I’d be like, okay, I’m just gonna listen and read at the same time.

Nate: Yeah. I mean, it’s tr well, when I recorded those stupid things, I like it ruins my voice for like a week afterwards.

Yeah. I have to like space ’em out. Yeah. It’s a lot of, uh-

Hannah: Mm-hmm

A Few of Hannah’s “Aha Moments”

Nate: I mean, hours of talking, I guess. Uh, so one question I have is, so, okay. When you started studying audit the normal way, even though you were doing, you know, you’d watched the lecture, then do the practice problems and then switching to this format where you’d go straight into the practice problems. In your own words, why do you think that worked better?

Uh, ’cause you know, what I mean is like essentially either way, once you get to the practice problems, you still don’t really know it until you jump into the problems, but was there something from our free training that clicked to where that made more sense or why, why do you think it worked better for you than what you were doing before?

Hannah: I think because you mentioned that the, all the multiple choice, even if there’s 60 questions or something, they only really have a few topics. And I have noticed that when you are going through the multiple choice, sometimes you get five questions that are the exact same question, just like one word is different or a few of the numbers are different. And so I think that really helped just to narrow down your study.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: Because if you are just going through the whole textbook, it’s like this thick.

Nate: Right.

Hannah: For FAR something.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And you have, they make it seem like you have to know everything and then you get to the test and there’s like, 20 questions on leases or something.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And it’s like, okay, I didn’t have to know like this one random thing but I think that really just helped to narrow my, or fo- like my focus on what I was gonna study.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And yeah, it just made it less daunting, I think because like when you open the textbook, it’s like there’s every kind of everything you have to know is in there. But you get to a multiple choice and it’s like three topics.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: So I just didn’t look at the textbook again. I was like, I guess everything I need to know is in the multiple choice.

Nate: Yeah. I mean, right. Yeah. So I mean obviously, I agree with everything you said. I just, for the sake of people listening to this, I just wanted to hear it in your own words or how you understood it.

But yeah, that’s totally true.

Hannah: Mm-hmm.

Nate: Obviously the, yeah. You, you go through the pages in the textbook and they have flow charts and all these complicated graphs and stuff. And then like the questions are never really that detailed. So it’s-

Hannah: Yeah.

How Hannah Structured Her 2-hour Study Session

Nate: One of those things. Um, okay, so you would, so how would you structure your two hours in the morning when you would your main study sessions? Like how would you structure ’em?

Hannah: So I would some, some days, some days I wouldn’t but I would look at the review notes of the section.

Nate: Okay.

Hannah: And, and then I would start with the multiple choice of that section or sections and just base it on really just on how many multiple choice were in the section ’cause I’d

I felt like if I did one section that was 20 questions I could do at least one more or two more depending on how many and so I would do it that way. And I would go through multiple choice and I would just write out the notes. Like I would write out answers in my, I just had like a notebook that I wrote out the answers of some of the questions, not all of them ’cause some of them I already knew just based on my classes but I would write that out.

And then when I would get through enough multiple choice, it would usually be around an hour or so an hour, hour and a half just doing the studying off the multiple choice and writing out notes. And then I would do the 30 question review from all the previous sections.

Nate: Nice. So you just remembered all that just from the, the free training you just watched that one time and just kinda memorized the format and you that’s just all you use?

Hannah: Mm-hmm. And then yeah, and then I listened to the, I listened to the podcasts a little bit,

Nate: oh, that’s right.

Hannah: So every time a new one came out, I like watched it right away.

Nate: Gotcha.

Hannah: And yeah. So I got some tips from that.

Nate: Yeah. Now, right. That’s I guess if you listen to a bunch of these, you can kind of put the pieces together, cuz we kind of talk through the process over and over. And I mean, I tell, I tell new customers, you know, listen to the podcast as well because that will make all the ideas from the pro course like really sink in ’cause you’ll just hear ’em and you’ll hear people’s like kind of different interpretations of it, which I think helps.

Hannah: Mm-hmm.

“I never really used flashcards but I did like write out notes…”

Nate: Uh, what about, so you mentioned a notebook, so was that kind of your way of things or topics that you found confusing at first? That’s how you put ’em in your own words or did you do flashcards as well? Or how’d you do that part of it?

Hannah: So I did flashcards for FAR but I found that I, what really like it wasn’t writing it in my own words that I actually just copied it from my notebook to the flashcards. And then I found that I never really looked at the flashcards again.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: So I was like, okay, well I’m I, I guess I shouldn’t waste time like rewriting them.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: But I would just, so I guess I never really used flashcards but I did like write out notes.

Nate: Yep.

Hannah: When I was going through the multiple choice. And then when I was doing like the review or anything like that, if I was stuck on a question, I would flip back to my notes and like read through that area. And that would just kind of gimme a refresher.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And I don’t think it really matters, you know, like the, the format, whether it’s flashcards or, you know, standard notes it sounds like it’s just some form of writing things down as you go that are either confusing to you or things that you, you know, a lot of times you’ll read an explanation and then something will click from like, okay.

On these types of questions, that finally makes sense. And so you like write that down. Stuff just stuff like that.

Hannah: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I had always, I’ve never really been want to use flashcards. I’ve always just written stuff out in a notebook. So I guess that’s just what I’ve been used to and that’s what work.

Nate: For sure, yup. And, and that’s kind of the common thing I’ve got from these interviews is in college and stuff, I never took, I never took notes or did anything. So when it came to the CPA exam, at some point, that ideal was like, okay, I’m gonna put this stuff in my own words and just the digital flashcards, which I would then have on my phone wherever I was made sense, but I had never done anything previously.

And then on all these interviews, it’s kind of just what, what always worked for the person. Whether they were a big note taker through college which that’s what it sounds like. So yeah, like if you’ve already have some proven system you’ve used like, just do that same thing. Just some version of writing out things in your own words.

How She Used Practice Simulations

Nate: Yeah. Uh, what about the, so you would do the multiple choice first, the set of reviews, 30 or a set of 30 to review. And then when would you use practice SIMS in your process or how’d you, well, yeah. How did you use practice SIMS?

Hannah: Yeah, so I saved those until my review, so I would, I didn’t do the weekend cram ’cause I felt a little nervous doing that just ’cause it seemed like only, I know it, it probably works for some people but I wanted a little more time to review, I guess, just so I could feel really prepared. So I would spend about like four to five days doing a full review and I would kind of or longer if I think I did longer for FAR ’cause it had more modules. So I would do like, I would study like one module a day.

So like one whole section, however many like subsections were in that I would study that and I would do just like constant repeat 30 multiple choice of like random. And then I would do like the, the ones that Becker has. That’s like set just for you. I can’t remember what it’s called. But so I would switch to get like different multiple choice question.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: Questions and that, and then, so I would do two sets of like 30. Well, and then after that I would do a few SIMS. So I would just kind of start from the first section and just go through those Sims if I could. If there were a couple that weren’t exactly, exactly like the same format, I would skip it.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: But a lot of the time I wouldn’t really fill it all out. I would kind of fill out what I could and then I would go watch the video and see what they did.

Nate: Yeah, no, that’s, I mean, that is, that’s like the way of doing it. Um, so so you really wouldn’t do any practice SIMS until that final, like week before your exam, basically?

Hannah: Yeah.

Nate: Okay. Yeah. And that’s, um, several people, well, again, if you’ve heard all these interviews, that’s a pretty common thing that I’ve, I don’t know that make, that just works for some people. Um, and then other people are just terrified of the SIMS and can’t imagine, you know, like not doing them until like the week before. Like it’s just one of those things that you find what works for you but-

Hannah: Yeah, I think that’s another reason why I didn’t do like the weekend cram because I hadn’t looked at the SIMS before so I just felt like I needed more time to look at the SIMS and then just get a lot more multiple choice done. I probably did like a few hundred multiple choice a day. So I think that really helped because I could get through them really fast.

Nate: Yeah. Yep. And that, that’s the thing again, I’m sure you’ve heard me explain this but the, uh, doing the multiple choice in those sets of 30, just solves so many problems in advance for test day because you get so fast at the MCQs and you could make the argument that the SIMS are just kind of like MCQs, you know, just in a little bit different format.

Her Actual Test Day Experience

Nate: Um, so it just really prepares you just doing sets of 30 every day. And then, so, so what was your test day as far as like timing? You probably got through the MCQs really fast and just had tons of time for the SIMS so you could just sit there and kind of figure ’em out.

Hannah: Yeah. So I, for audit, I think I got through the multiple choice in about an hour.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: And then, so I had the three hours for all the SIMS.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: Which I think I had 45 minutes remaining so I could have used more time but same thing for FAR, really I think it took me like maybe an hour 15 for the multiple choice. So I was still like pretty good because sometimes Becker or other places say like, don’t take more than two hours for the multiple choice.

I’m like, two hours for the multiple choice? That’s a long time.

Nate: Right.

Hannah: So I’m like, okay, I feel better about an hour 15 so then I had the rest. And I, I actually, FAR was the only one that I went to like the very last minute I was like, I had like filled it all out but I was still just kind of looking it over.

I think I had like two minutes left. And that was the only one that all the other ones I had about 45 minutes to an hour left, but FAR was the only one.

Nate: That’s-

Hannah: And, and then for REG and BEC was pretty much the same as audit, like an hour or so. And then the rest persons-

Nate: That’s pretty fast like to have an hour left but again, that’s that on all these interviews, anyone who said that, they like almost always end up passing. That just seems to be a very good indicator of if you finish the full test like early, whether it’s five minutes or just finishing is, uh, seems to be an indicator that like you probably passed. I don’t know, just from doing-

Hannah: Yeah, but it’s funny because I, I feel, I guess I kind of rushed through the test and after every test I always came out feeling horrible and then, and then I would pass all of ’em.

So I don’t know. I guess something worked.

Nate: Nope, for sure. It, it is, it’s hard to know like, yeah. And then you have weeks to wait and so you just sit there and think about it. Like some days you might. Yeah. And, uh, so, so you went four for four. Is that?

Hannah: Yeah.

Nate: Nice. Congrats. Sounds like you crushed the exams.

Hannah: Thanks.

Nate: And it wasn’t, uh, yes, you would essentially study two hours in the morning. And so, I mean, the study process to you just once you kind of got this process down, just didn’t really seem like this huge taking over your life nightmare. It was just kind of nailed the two hours and that’s it.

Hannah: Yeah, basically like it sometimes we would have friends come and visit and I would just still get up early and study before anyone else really got up.

So even if we had someone, friends visit or family, like I could still study. And then I would just do the questions or like read review notes throughout the day. Yeah. I, I didn’t really, like it wasn’t crazy how many times I like read the review notes and all that stuff but I did do it enough times to like actually to make the process work.

Nate: Yeah and when another thing a lot of people say is, is what you said. They’ll, um, kind of just read the section in our notes before they jump into the lesson in Becker or whatever review course they’re using just to get like a big picture overview mm-hmm so, yeah, that’s another thing a lot of people say.

Studying on the Weekends

Nate: So what about, how did you study on the weekends then?

Would you just do another two hour session or maybe four hours or what’d you do on the weekends?

Hannah: Uh, it was, so the weekends were basically the same. I didn’t really study anymore. I would just do the two hours in the morning and then review throughout the day.

Nate: Nice. Yeah, it makes sense.

Hannah: So I mean, if I had studied more, I might have been able to finish the test like earlier, but I, I guess I didn’t, I don’t know.

I, I mean, I had like 18 months of you know, I was only in school so I was like, I have plenty of time using this method. I know I’m gonna have plenty of time. Yeah. I actually took like after I passed FAR, I- I took it the first week of December. And so it was right around finals week. So then I went home back to Michigan for a few weeks in December and I actually just took like that month.

And then the next month off, before I started studying from the next one which is, which was REG because I just, I just knew, I was like, I’m not gonna study over the Christmas break.

Nate: Mm-hmm .

Hannah: And so I might as well just say, I’m not gonna study instead say, instead of saying I will study and then feel bad when I don’t.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: Cause I just knew I wasn’t going to. Yeah. So I just, I just put, put it off and took a break and that really helped.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And that is good. Um, again, that’s just one of those things that all these people I’ve interviewed just have totally different, uh, ways of like after a test, some people would take two weeks off and just to them, they just had to, or other people would start studying for the next section like the next day.

I mean, this is just one of those that whatever works best.

Hannah: I had done that for audit. When I finished audit, I started setting for FAR right away. So then when I got done with FAR, then I took that break.

How She Scheduled Her Exams

Nate: Yeah. Um, and so how were you setting your test dates or, I mean, how far apart were you setting your test dates usually?

Hannah: So for audit and FAR, I didn’t schedule my test until I was probably like halfway through the material and then I was like, okay. So it’s taken me this long and I have this much left so I’m gonna schedule it for that date. But then for REG and BEC, I kind of, I went through the multiple choice questions each section and like kind of did a game plan every day.

And I, and so it took me six weeks for REG from like when I first started to test day and then four weeks for BEC doing the same thing. So I just kind of based it off the sections in the multiple choice and like a week or for review and yeah, I just did that. I don’t know.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: I was like, I’m just gonna schedule it like a few weeks out and then I just have to make that date right.

Nate: Yeah, that’s for me, that’s just how it worked. I- it’s hard to, I don’t know. I just like having the sense of pressure like, okay, I know this is the date. So I’ll work backwards and every day matters because it’s hard to like feel the pressure if you haven’t set a test date yet. Um.

Hannah: Yeah, ’cause then I would, if I had my test date set and I didn’t wanna pay like 30 bucks to change it.

Yeah. I was like, I’m not doing that. So then I would just, I was like, I have to study every day and if I missed a day then I would just like do a little bit more the next day. So I didn’t feel too bad about missing a day because I knew I could just I can make it up any other day.

Nate: Mm-hmm . Um, and so you’re done with all four before you even finish or graduate from your master’s. Is that common or are you one of the only ones who’s have done that? Who’s who has done that?

Hannah: No. Well, I have a few friends in the master’s program that are done as well. I think they graduated in May but they were all done before too. Hmm. But every like everyone, I, everyone I meet like at my, at my job where I’m gonna start in the fall or like internships or anything like that, they’ve all told me to take the test before I start working.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: So that’s why I do it because everyone I heard from that is like trying to take the test while they’re working. They’re like, it’s not working. Right. Like they have no motivation. They have no time. So I was like, well, I have like I have, I’m lucky enough to not have to work during my master’s program.

So I figured since I have so much free time outside of classwork, that I might as well take the test and get it over with.

Nate: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s so awesome to just be done before you even start working. Yeah.

Hannah: Yeah.

Nate: That’s I mean, most, I, I would say most people, I mean, in my master’s degree, I don’t know if Utah was like different or, but nobody did that.

Maybe we just were all. Hmm. I don’t know, but I just know for sure, like no one was done with the exams or no one was even studying during our master’s. Um, anyways. Yeah. That’s cool. So let’s see.

Mega Cram Session Before the Day of the Exam

Nate: What about your, so you mentioned your final review you take about a week and then so anything on I mean, so the, let’s say the last day before an exam, did you do anything different or just the same thing? You were just finishing each module like you said, kind of reviewing each module and right up to test day. Nothing different on the day before exam?

Hannah: Yeah. Not really. I, so I basically took your strategy for the weekend cram and just put it into a week long. Yeah. And then, so you said to do constant 30 questions, two sets of 30 questions and then do SIMS so that was basically how I just formated the whole week, except I would go module by module and sometimes it would be two modules a day, depending

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: Like I think for and FAR for government there were like three modules for government. I think I did those all on the same day ’cause they’re all related to the same thing. So that’s how I could get through some of it quicker. So for the, I, I would schedule it on like a Monday or a Tuesday if I could. So like Saturday and Sunday before the test, I would basically just do like a full review, basically like the cram-

Yeah.

But like a little less ’cause I had already studied the modules up to that.

Mm-hmm

So I would just do the same thing except like a full review of everything.

Nate: Okay. Nice. Uh, what-

Hannah: But I wasn’t spending like 10, 12 hours a day doing it. Maybe like six.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. No that, and that’s, that’s funny ’cause that’s kind of what I tell people. Or sometimes people email me and say, I have all day every day to study. Um, how should I just study 12 hours a day? And I always say like, no, if, if you’re really like nailing and you can focus during these two hour sessions, I would do like three of those two hour sessions like kind of like six hours. I feel like after six hours in one day, it’s kind of like diminishing returns. So-

Hannah: Yeah, I knew I wouldn’t be able to just sit in my room for 12 hours and do it. So that’s kind of why I decided to take the full week to review.

Nate: Yeah, no and that, that is a good idea. Uh, and a lot of people do that as well. They take the, the cram session idea and just apply that to sometimes two weeks. Two weeks, one week. I mean, whatever.

Hannah: Mm-hmm.

Rewarding Yourself After Passing the Exams

Nate: It’s probably better honestly to do a week, I think. I need to add that in a note to like our pro course. Um, so the date we’ve kind of gone, went through everything. Did you do anything to celebrate when you got your fourth passing score?

Hannah: Um, not really but I’m going home in August to visit my family so that will be fun. And I, when I first started studying, I was like, when I get done, I’m gonna buy myself like a work bag like a nice work bag.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Hannah: So I did, I purchased that like last week. So I’m excited for that to arrive.

Nate: Yeah, that is-

Hannah: That was kind of my, like thing that kept me going.

Nate: Yeah, for sure. I, I, a big believer in that. Um, did you, did you ever hear me talk about that? The like set some reward for yourself where you’re going to? I don’t?

Hannah: Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Nate: I mean a lot of people that’s not like a novel idea. Obviously a lot of people have some thing they’re gonna buy themselves with their bonus from their firm.

Oh, that’s a question did, so yeah. Since you’re done before you even started, do you get a bonus from your firm or is it like you finished so fast that, how does that work? Are they still gonna give you the bonus?

Hannah: No, I do. I do get the bonus. I made sure to ask them because I, I wanted to get it done before I started. So I, I asked them and was like, do I still get the bonus even if I finish before I start working? And they said, yes.

Nate: I mean, I would assume, you know, like they would love it if their new associates aren’t messing around with studying. So it’d be worth it to them.

Hannah: Yeah.

Nate: Awesome.

Hannah: Mm-hmm.

Study Tips for People Trying to Figure Out Their Study Process

Nate: Well, yeah. So, uh, thing I always end with is if you had two or three tips, what are your best tips that you would tell people that are trying to figure out their own study process?

Hannah: Yeah. So I would say listen to the podcasts if you can ’cause I think that really helped me to stay motivated. Cause if, if there was a day where I would didn’t really feel like studying and the podcast came up on YouTube, I would go listen to it and I’d be like, okay, I know this is working for these people and I’m using their same technique.

So it’s gonna work for me too. So I think that really helped with my motivation and just also learning new tips from people. Basically everything I learned was from the informational session and then listening to all the podcasts. And then, so I got all these great tips and then I just kind of formulated it to what, what I like to do.

And then another one is definitely study in the morning. I think that just really helped just to get it over with as early as possible. And even if you don’t like getting up in the morning, I would say just set an alarm and right when you wake up, just start studying.

Nate: Yeah.

Hannah: Because I think it just really helps to not have any distractions. Otherwise you’ll like, think about something else or do something else and then you won’t wanna study. So I think if you just get it over with in the morning, that’s a good strategy. And then another one is like, just if you need a break, just take it. I think it like this strategy helps you pass the test so fast that you don’t really have to worry about the 18-month window to pass all four.

So, I mean, I don’t know if I would recommend taking like a month or two but you could if you want, but yeah, just after you take a test just take a week or so, or just however long you need to kind of like relax and then get back into the mindset of studying for the next one.

Nate: Yeah. And I, along with that, what you said earlier was really good. Just, uh, I, you, you were going to Christmas, I think. And you just decided I’m just upfront. I’m not going to pretend that I’m gonna study. I’m just, I’m taking these two weeks off or whatever it was, three weeks. Um, I think that’s a really good idea because whatever it is about how our minds work, if you are, you’ve said you’re gonna do something and then you don’t.

Yeah. You, you just are really hard on yourself and it’s just so much easier to just-

Hannah: Yeah.

Nate: Okay. I’m giving myself this two weeks where I’m just not gonna study and that, that is the plan to not study. And then when it, the two weeks over, it is easier to be like, okay, now I’m back on. So I like that, uh, distinction. That’s a good, that’s a good idea.

Hannah: Yeah. That really helped. Yeah.

Nate: Awesome.

So that was the interview with Hannah. I hope you found that very helpful and informative. So, if you did find this interview helpful, please take a second to share it with someone else who you know who’s also working on their CPA exams because these interviews are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for people trying to figure out their own study process as you heard Hannah describe on her interview.

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

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