How Ivy Passed Her CPA Exams After the Philippines CPA Exams

How Ivy Passed Her CPA Exams After the Philippines CPA Exams

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In this SuperfastCPA podcast interview, you’ll hear how Ivy passed the CPA exams after moving to the U.S. from the Philippines and all the challenges it presented.


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Watch the interview on YouTube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 00:00 Ivy Pineda Interview
  • 00:58 Intro
  • 03:22 Ivy’s Brief Background and CPA Journey
  • 05:04 Finding SuperfastCPAand What Clicked in the Free Webinar
  • 06:42 The Reason Why Ivy Pursued the CPA License
  • 09:10 How Ivy Started to Study for Her CPA Exams
  • 11:40 Using Every Chance to Study Using SuperfastCPA
  • 12:59 You Don’t Need to Overthink When Planning to Take the Exams
  • 16:14 Ivy Had to Make Sure That She Always Had a Productive Drive
  • 17:12 Took FAR and Got Lucky With the Sims
  • 18:21 Having Less Than a Month to Study for REG
  • 21:06 Taking REG Retake Before Her NTS Expires
  • 22:16 Feeling Emotional Finding Out That She Finally Passed
  • 23:39 Finally Promoted to A Manager
  • 25:30 Ivy’s Learning Process for Topics
  • 26:44 Ivy’s Note-Taking Process for Understanding Topics
  • 30:28 Ivy’s Final Review Process
  • 32:30 There’s Never Going to be a Perfect Situation to Start Studying
  • 34:12 You’ll Need to Change Mindset When You Do Decide to Study
  • 35:40 Things That Surprised Ivy When She First Moved to the US
  • 38:47 Ivy’s Top Tips For People Still Struggling With the CPA Exams
  • 40:42 Ivy’s Daily Morning Study Routine
  • 43:23 Ivy Recommends SuperfastCPA to Her Friends
  • 45:04 Outro

Interview Transcript

Ivy: Yeah, I’m just trying to understand the concept, not memorizing it. Cause I think one problem that I had, cause I’m kind of perfectionist, that’s the reason why I’ve been procrastinating the CPA because I was trying to find the perfect situation for me.

But, and then I realized I will never have that perfect situation.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So I just, I just had to find my way in order to study. And then I had a boss, I asked him about, can you advise me on what to do? Cause I really need to do this CPA, but I’m also working long hours every day. And he just said, just don’t overstudy.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: Do not overstudy. And then, yeah, that’s what I, I didn’t over study.


Nate: Welcome to episode 110 of the CPA Exam Experience Podcast from SuperfastCPA, I’m Nate. And in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Ivy.

So Ivy is originally from the Philippines and she is a Philippine CPA. And then at some point she came to the US on a work exchange program and a few years into that, her firm told her, you need to get the US CPA before you can really move on in our company. So she started that process.

So in this interview, you’re going to hear her whole story about how that all worked. And of course, she came from a completely different foundation being from the Philippines as far as, you know, accounting and tax rules. So she wasn’t only learning the CPA exam content which people from the US struggle with really badly, obviously. She had a whole different foundation and then had to, you know, figure out how to pass the US CPA exams on top of that.

So in this interview, you’re going to hear how she did that. What wasn’t working when she started the different struggles she had, and how she figured out a study process that helped her learn the material quickly enough to pass the different exams, just her whole journey of figuring out how to pass the CPA exams and what she learned along the way.

So before we get into this interview, I want to mention two things. First, our free study training webinars, that’s the best place for you to start. If you’ve never watched one of those, we will show you in one hour, how to dramatically transform your study process and make it highly efficient and highly effective. And you will hear Ivy mentioned that. Like pretty much everyone else on these interviews. That’s the first thing that she came across from SuperfastCPA.

So to sign up for one of those free webinars. You can go to the link down in the description of this episode, or just go to our homepage at superfastcpa.com and you’ll see it. It’s the main thing on the homepage.

The next thing is our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Power Beat Pro headphones to three people who have entered the giveaway. It’s just your name and email. And again, that link will be down in the description of this episode as well.

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

Ivy’s Brief Background and CPA Journey

Nate: What was the, how’d you get into studying for the CPA exams? Did you do a master’s in accounting and then you just knew that was the next step?

Ivy: Uh, yeah. Um, actually I wanted to share a brief background about myself.

Nate: Yeah, let’s do that. That’s great.

Ivy: Um, I moved here to the United States five years ago. I’m originally from the Philippines, and then I work in EY Philippines for about six BEC seasons, and I got an opportunity to work in Chicago.

And I grabbed that opportunity. That’s why I’m here.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: And then since we’re using the PFRS, my license will not be acceptable here in the United States. And that’s the reason I had to do the CPA again here in United States.

Nate: Gotcha. Okay.

Ivy: So I really did not immediately work on my CPA thing because I think I just needed a break from, I just got up from EY and then started working here and it’s really a big change for me.

And then, but then at some point I realized I really need to do it cause I will not be moving forward if I wasn’t a CPA here, so. But it wasn’t really an easy journey for me because I was adjusting here from one country to another. And then I’m still adjusting at my work, though I’m very experienced. It’s really different when you’re like, working on a, a different country now.

Finding SuperfastCPAand What Clicked in the Free Webinar

Ivy: So that was 2017 and it took me 2021 when I really started doing it. And I.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: Yeah. And I happened to, um, discover the SuperfastCPA, I think from one of the YouTube, there’s a commercial thing there and then I saw, okay, I’ll, I’ll, cause there’s an ex, um, I mean, um, a free seminar, I think.

Nate: Yeah, a free webinar.

Ivy: Yeah. And I watched that and I think I followed the advice there. You said that It’s better to study in the morning. Especially now I’m working, I’m very busy and, cause when you study in the morning, whatever happens during the day, at least you did time for studying.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So that really helped a lot. That was like my style. I always tell that to the other staff who was also struggling that it’s better to start in the morning and then start working. And then even though you’re, you’re really tired at end of the day, at least you already studied.

Nate: Yeah, exactly.

Ivy: Yeah.

Nate: That’s a huge thing. It’s, uh, and it sounds so obvious, as soon as you hear it, you’re like, okay, that makes so much more sense to do it in the morning before the whole day starts and you start getting emails and texts and everything. And, and like you said, no matter what else happens during the day you’ve already done it. So it just, it’s locked in. It’s already done.

Ivy: Yeah.

The Reason Why Ivy Pursued the CPA License

Ivy: Um, I think one reason also that really pushed me is because my, my boss, the managers and the partners are really like, Ivy, you, we cannot promote you if you’re not a CPA I know you’re technically good. It’s just the policy is you need to be a CPA.

And I, I respect that policy actually. And then I know, I know I have to do it. It’s just, it’s just not, this is just not a test of your knowledge. It’s like perseverance. You’re motivating.

Nate: Yeah, exactly. Right.

Ivy: You have, you have to be motivated and it’s really not the same when I was way back in the Philippines, like 10 years ago, I graduated 2011, I started right away with the review school and that was a, a different journey for me.

It was easier for me because I just graduated and the study is still fresh on my mind and I don’t have to worry about work. But that journey that I had here is different. I was working. I had a lot of responsibilities. I’m on a different country and then I have to study so that’s, so much to take, but.

Nate: Right. And even, even for people you know, here that like, you know, grew up in the United States. The, the CPA exams, it’s very different than anything like from college.

Ivy: Mm-hmm.

Nate: Um, it’s just there’s so much content that’s tested. And in college, you know, you show up, there’s like a professor kind of guides you through the material for the semester, cause you just show up two or three times a week.

Um, and then the CPA exams is a harder exam than anything you’ve done in college and you’re completely on your own to study for it. And it’s just this mountain of information you have to learn. And so, yeah, it’s uh. It’s just a really hard thing.

It’s just totally different type of a thing.

Ivy: That’s true, because when I was still studying my CPA in the Philippines, I was in a review school and there’s a professor, instructor. And now here I, I studied on my own.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So you just have to be disciplined.

Nate: Yeah, definitely. And, and that’s, that’s arguably, that’s kind of the hardest part.

How Ivy Started to Study for Her CPA Exams

Nate: Um, so when you started studying for the CPA, what happened exactly? Did you, did the firm buy you a review course and you just started going through the lessons? Or when it, when you first started studying, what was it like?

Ivy: Um, so the firm doesn’t pay the study materials for you. So I personally paid for whatever I, materials that I use, including the SuperfastCPA. I invested on that.

Um, so I already have the review materials, like in 2018 already.

Nate: Okay.

Ivy: But I didn’t, I wasn’t really focused, I wasn’t really motivated until pandemic hit, you know, you were just staying at home. And then I, I, I attempted to study, uh, that was 2020, but then it was also stressful at work, it’s pandemic. I have to go to field work and you, you’re worried about this pandemic thing.

But I, I already scheduled my exam. I had a, an exam in 2018, but I didn’t take it. So that was a, I wasted my money there.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So by 2020, July, I like, I paid my NTS I have a schedule and I selected FAR and audit to start with. Way back, I only selected FAR to study, but I think that I, I, I really did not do it. It’s just.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So I had a friend he said, um, if, cause I’m having a hard time committing to it, so why not start with audit? Because I’ve been in the industry for a decade now, so why not, uh, start with something that, you know you’re really good at. And it’s, they said it’s easy because it’s audit. So I started, so I think that was around 2021 already.

And my NTS is expiring on April, so I think around February, okay, I have, I have to do it. And then I have a book actually and then, um, I read some chapters there because I have to refresh about audit opinions and technical stuff there. But in terms of, I think I skipped a chapter there because I already know that process cause, because of my experience.

Using Every Chance to Study Using SuperfastCPA

Ivy: And then I also use a lot of your, the SuperfastCPA, I had that on my phone and also on my iPad. So every time I need, have like a waiting time, like waiting for someone to, yeah, waiting for the Uber, waiting for, you know, at the doctor’s appointment waiting. Well, on the waiting room, I, instead of like doing Facebook or Instagram, I open it up.

I try to answer as many multiples I, that I could. And then I also read some, the notes. I, there’s a notes here in the SuperfastCPA. I read that. So that really helped me a lot.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: And then in the, in the bus when I, before I was living in the city, I always took the bus. I always have to make sure I listen to the lessons.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, and that’s the thing. It’s, uh, it’s just convenient, right? To like use your phone to study, cause there’s a lot of time each day, like travel time, waiting. There’s a lot of waiting just whether it’s the grocery store or like you said, the doctor’s office, waiting for an Uber. Um, yeah, just having study tools on your phone just makes it easy to just fit in a lot of extra study time.

Um, yeah. And yeah, go ahead.

You Don’t Need to Overthink When Planning to Take the Exams

Ivy: So I think. And I didn’t take my FAR exam, so that expired again, but I think April. That was April, I think around May. I, I know that, I knew that I passed the, the audit because.

Nate: Okay.

Ivy: I, I am very confident about it because the first time I sat on the exam and took audit, it was, it was really, maybe I was just overthinking about it, but when you, you’re there, it’s like, oh, I can do this.

Why, why did I take a lot of time studying?

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: Yeah. You just have to think as an auditor. And, and then, um, I applied again for, uh, the next three subjects. I said, I’m gonna, schedule the next three subjects. So I will be motivated, I will be more disciplined. So I decided to took BEC next because it’s, some of the lessons in audit are somehow related to BEC.

So, but I didn’t take the exam until September because again, I was busy again at work. And then that was the time when I was, I also got busy trying to look for a house. So during weekend instead of studying, I, I did that, the, finding the house for me because I didn’t wanna stay in my apartment.

During the pandemic, you were always staying apartment and it’s always, there’s a lot of noise that you don’t want anymore cause it’s distracting me and my work and my study. So I think by September, I took the BEC exam, I moved to my new house here in the suburbs. And then the following month, I checked the score and, and I got, I, I wasn’t really expecting cause BEC was, you, you never know what to expect.

Um, I don’t know if I’ve really passed or failed, but I just did my best. And then when I took, um, check out the website and then I saw my score and then, oh my God, I passed. I even, I even like shouted. I, because I was in the, I was at field work. I was in the hotel.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: And then I was in the lobby and then someone look at me like, what’s happening?

Nate: Oh, that’s funny.

Ivy: I go through my stuff. Oh, I passed my exam, congrats. Okay, I have two more. And then, so that was Sep, that was October when I knew I passed. And then okay, I gotta work on the two more subjects cause I was planning to finish it by, within 2021.

Nate: Oh, okay.

Ivy: But it, due to work and sometimes it’s just really hard to, to move forward.

But I know, um, I just have to. Um, keep going. I know I’m not that fast, but I, I just know that I have to keep moving. I, I’ll know what, I will finish this journey at one point.

Ivy Had to Make Sure That She Always Had a Productive Drive

Ivy: So I took the next subject FAR. That was December 31. That was New Year’s Eve.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So I was in, in the testing center, everyone celebrating and I was just there I had to do, uh, work on my CPA thing. So at this point I was, uh, traveling from, um, the suburbs to the city because that’s where my office is located. So during those travel time, I, I only play the SuperfastCPA in my car. I have to make sure I, I have a productive drive.

Nate: Yeah. So you listened to our audio notes just over and over and over then.

Ivy: A lot of times.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: Yeah. And then there’s some point that I can follow whatever you say.

Nate: Yeah. You basically had it memorized. A lot of people have said that.

Ivy: Yeah.

Nate: That’s funny.

Took FAR and Got Lucky With the Sims

Ivy: And then so New year, so I, I was really quite confident on the FAR because I thought it was going to be hard because there’s a lot of, of it, it composed of 10 subjects, I think 10 subjects.

I didn’t really read the whole book. I just, I just focused on the topics that I wasn’t really familiar with, like business combinations and leases, because those are the topics that I don’t encounter most of the time. So, but then I took it and I was, I had a simulation about cash flow and I was, hey, I’m good at this.

I always do this. I was so happy I had that calculation.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: And then by January I thought, uh, I didn’t remember when they’re gonna release the score. And then one morning I checked the schedule at the NASBA website and they said, oh, they’re going to release it today and then, okay, I’m gonna check my score and then, okay, I passed.

Nate: Oh, that’s awesome.

Having Less Then a Month to Study for REG

Ivy: And then, yeah, and then one more subject to go, REG. And then my NTS will be expiring February, so I only have one, less than a month to study REG. But I, I try to finish, um, this, because my, the tax regulations is different from, um, in the Philippines in here. So that’s really like fresh to me, like new to me.

Yeah. So I try to finish the book for tax. I didn’t really read the, the law subject because they’re really similar from what we have studied. I just did like multiple choice practice in the law subject. And then, so I wasn’t really, I wasn’t really ready, but I said, I just have to take it cause you never know I might pass or not.

I wasn’t really ready that time. Oh, so I took it because NTS is gonna expire anyway, so I I, if I retake it and I’ll have to pay again and then I didn’t really, I didn’t pass the REG, so I got 70 , but I was, wasn’t really feeling bad about it because I know I just studied really short.

Nate: And that’s still, I mean, that’s really close to 70.

Ivy: Yeah, I was pissed. I got 70.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: And then, uh, that day that I know that I didn’t pass, I, I immediately applied for my exam cause I wanted to take it like within two weeks. So that was March. And then I had a lot of pressure on me because in the office they’re all, they’re all waiting for my, my CPA things.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: It’s cause they wanted to promote me so eyes, all eyes are on me. And then they were also sad about me not passing my last subject. And then, yeah. But there’s a funny thing about when back, way back in December 31, I just took the FAR exam. I was driving back to, to the suburbs, and then there’s a digital, like a billboard says CPA.

Oh my god. That’s my sign.

Nate: That’s funny.

Ivy: That was so funny. Yeah. So going back, so my boss said take my time. If I’m not ready, just take a little more time to study because I have an, uh, internal project at the firm about the training stuff. And I also have deadlines, so I have to keep it with all of those things and then, okay, I’ll take some time. I will, I will study.

Taking REG Retake Before Her NTS Expires

Ivy: So I just did the final review thing. There’s a final review book, and then I also have this index card for the four subject. I have index cards that I just use flash and then. Okay, by April, make it or break it. I have to take it.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: To take it. I wasn’t really a hundred percent again. Oh my God, I’m back against taking the exam. I’m not a hundred percent, but I have to take it. And then I, I went to Prometric, like, I wanna make sure this is, will be my last time that I’ll go here. I don’t wanna go back here. So it was, I was able to, I’m, I’m more confident compared to the first one.

So, but I wasn’t really a hundred percent that I’m going to pass, but I’m just gonna do my best. And then at the end of the exam, so I did, I did this thing that we have this superstition, you have to kick the the chair. I just slightly kick it because I don’t wanna be looking weird. And then, okay, this will be my last exam.

Feeling Emotional Finding Out That She Finally Passed

Ivy: And then, so around May so I was in the field work, I was in safe to be, I was at the hotel at night and the NASBA, they, they tweeted, they’re gonna release the, the scores tonight. And I was like, oh, okay. I’m, I’m gonna stay up until I, I, I see my score and then it’s already 12 midnight. I still, I don’t have my score.

Oh, my, I’m gonna sleep. I couldn’t sleep. This is the final one. I have to know whether I did it or not.

Nate: Yeah, I know I’d be hard. Yeah.

Ivy: And then I, I think I woke up around six. The first thing I did, I went back to my laptop, I checked my score, and then I saw, i, I finally passed my last exam. And then I was very emotional.

I, I felt this sense of relief finally. I already, I’m already done with this. And then the first thing I did is I, I texted the special persons that I wanted to inform. Oh, I already passed my last exam and I also informed the partners.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: And then they were all happy about it. And cause finally this is the last thing that you did and you’ll get promoted.

Nate: Yeah, exactly. That’s awesome.

Ivy: Yeah.

Finally Promoted to A Manager

Nate: And so did you get promoted pretty much right away once you were done?

Ivy: Yeah, a week after that they talked to me and they said, okay, we’re going to promote you to manager now.

Nate: That’s awesome. So that’s what I was gonna ask. So you’re a manager then? Yeah. Nice. That’s a huge promotion. That’s awesome.

Ivy: I’m already doing the managerial role. Just that I don’t have the title.

Nate: Yep, exactly.

Ivy: Yeah. And I also wanted to share, I had this business card with me, it says my name, and then while I was studying in REG. Okay, I wrote down my name and then US CPA and then slash my position, and I put manager.

And then once I got my promotion, I, I posted like a comparison of my new card because they already, they gave me right away my new business card saying manager, CPA manager, and next to that is the, the thing that I slashed out and it, that was like my manifestation.

Nate: Yeah, that’s awesome. Uh, yeah, that’s a, yeah, that’s a huge accomplishment.

So, yeah. Congrats on being done. Um, yeah, and that’s a cool story. So, so when you, when you would study, uh, when you’d get up in the morning and study, what would you actually do? Did like, did you have our pro course videos? Like the strategy videos or just our, just the study tools on the app.

Ivy: Oh. I use, uh, use the app, the multiple choice and the review notes here.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: That you can download.

Nate: Okay.

Ivy: So I just focus on that.

Nate: Okay.

Ivy’s Learning Process for Topics

Nate: So when you would sit down in the morning for your main study session with your review course. What would you actually do? Just you’d just watch the video lecture, go through the practice question, just kind of do whatever the review course had you do.

Ivy: Oh. It depends on the topic so, I mostly read it cause I don’t wanna watch videos. I think it, I’m more faster when I’m reading it and I could retain it more when I’m reading it.

Nate: So you’d read the text then, like the textbook?

Ivy: Yeah, but, but not like for detailed.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: Like most of, just the topics that I know that I’m not familiar with.

Nate: Okay. So, so you would kind of just skip. So if, if you looked at a lesson title, um, like, I don’t know, some.

Ivy: Like cash? I would skip that.

Nate: Okay. Because you’re like, I know that inside and out. There’s no point in me reading this. Or you would just skip sections. Gotcha. Yeah.

Ivy: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. And being at kind of the manager level, you know, that makes sense.

Like being in public accounting, you’d be very familiar with a bunch of parts of like the whole financial reporting process.

Ivy’s Note Taking Process for Understanding Topics

Nate: So, um, and then you mentioned note cards. So you would make like note, uh, you mean flashcards, right? Just note cards, flashcards.

Ivy: Yeah. I, I mean, uh, I bought this index card and then if like, there’s a keyword and, or like, I want to illustrate cuz I’m a visual learner. Like, I like to illustrate things so I could be able to understand it more.

Nate: Gotcha.

Ivy: And I, I use that like, like my final review, okay, I wanna see my index cards. Yeah.

Nate: And so for some things you would take notes on the cards or you’d put a definition. Sometimes you’d actually. make like a drawing it sounds like.

Ivy: Yeah. Drawing.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: Yeah.

Nate: Okay.

Ivy: Illustration.

Nate: Yeah, cause that’s what I tell people. Uh, to make flashcards for things that you struggle to understand. You sit there and kind of explain it back to yourself until you understand it, and then write it in your own words, whether that’s like a drawing or just some little, uh, you know, whatever it is.

You write out a paragraph. A little drawing. So, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And so, so then I’m, I’m assuming you would just use those as part of your final review, just review all of your own note cards. Right?

Ivy: Yeah. So before my, my exam, so, um, for example, my exam is in the afternoon. In the morning I would scan my, my flashcard.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: And I, while, while driving to the Prometric Center, I would listen to the app again.

Nate: I see. Okay. Yeah. And so that’s, uh, yeah, that’s kind of just a perfect example. Um, you know, our, that’s what our study tools are for. Like they’re right on your phone, in the app. They’re short enough, so, so you would listen through the audio notes from start to finish, just over and over again, right?

Is that kind of how you would use it?

Ivy: Yeah. Yep.

Nate: Yeah. And that’s the idea that they’re short enough that you can listen to the whole thing per section in like three or four days, maybe like an hour a day, or half hour a day. And, uh, it just kind of helps listening to it over and over just kind of helps the content sink in from what you’re doing in your main study sessions.

Ivy: Yeah. Yeah. Like planting like a seed and then it will, you, at some point you will remember it and, yeah.

Nate: Yeah, yeah. No, I mean that’s, that’s exactly what I, we tell people. And did you use our review notes? Would you read those or did you mostly use the quizzes and the audios?

Ivy: Just more of the quizzes and the audio.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Different people just kind of use different, uh, study tools, just depending on. How they learn, I guess. And the, the audios are just, you know, the audios are just so easy to use whenever you’re in your car or when you’re doing other things. You can put headphones on. It’s just, and do other, yeah, like walking your dog, I don’t know if you have a dog or exercising or whatever. But yeah.

Ivy: Mostly during my drive.

Nate: Yeah. Just commuting time.

Ivy: Yeah. And, um, before I, I get to sleep, if I couldn’t sleep. I check the app again. Try to, uh, answer.

Nate: Because it’ll put you to sleep?

Ivy: As many multiple.

Nate: Yeah, it’s true. There’s nothing more boring than, uh, yeah. Trying to look at CPA questions while you’re trying to fall asleep. That’ll put you to sleep fast.

Ivy’s Final Review Process

Nate: Um, what about, uh, I was gonna ask you about your final review. So how long would you save for your final review? Like two weeks or so?

Ivy: Um, I was only, I was able to do the final review on the REG thing when I did the, I, I work on the final review that I have. But I didn’t like for the other three subject, like, okay, this will be my, no, I, I wasn’t able to go back to the lessons. I just have this index card with me and then answer multiple choice as many as I could.

I don’t have like a formal, okay, this is my final two weeks. Nope, I didn’t have a test.

Nate: Yeah. Now and that’s kind of what, so, so from our, uh, from our free webinar, did you take the, you know, we talk about the strategy of doing a daily set of 30 questions that’s re-review. Did you do that through your process or you would just go through the topics once?

And then basically not really look at it again until, until test day. Or how did you, how did you stay, uh, how did you retain, or how did you work on your retention of all the topics you’d been through?

Ivy: I just, when I’m run, reading the, the topics that I need to, uh, to read and I, I did, I just did a lot of MCQs, not so much about simulation.

I’m more on, because when I did the simulation of my, um, I tried to do like at least two and then try to more on understanding the concept.

Nate: Yep.

Ivy: And then lots and lots of MCQ. Lots and lots of multiple choice.

Nate: Yeah. No, I mean, again, that’s right. That’s basically right from our, our strategies is, uh, I think 80% of doing well in these is just getting really, really good at just doing a ton of MCQs.

That’s pretty much. pretty much the whole thing.

Ivy: Yeah. I’m just trying to understand the concept, not me memorizing it.

There’s Never Going to be a Perfect Situation to Start Studying

Ivy: Cause I think, uh, one, one problem that I had, cause I’m, I’m, I’m kind of perfectionist. That’s the reason why I’ve been procrastinating the CPA because I was, I was trying to find the perfect situation for me.

But, and then I realized I will never have that perfect situation.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So I just, I just had to find my way in order to study. And then I had a boss, I asked him about, um, um, can you, can you advise me on what to do? Cause I really need to do this CPA, but I’m also, um, working long hours every day. And he just said, just don’t overstudy.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: Do not overstudy. And then, yeah, that’s what I, I didn’t over study.

Nate: Now. Okay, so, so what you said that’s, that’s such a good, uh, I, uh, like a mental outlook is like, the situation is never gonna be perfect. Like no one is ever gonna hand you, you know, an uninterrupted four hours a day to study. Like life’s gonna go on, it’s gonna be busy.

Things are gonna happen. It’s just never, like, situation’s never gonna be perfect. Yeah. That’s just such a good, uh, well, I don’t know. That’s, I mean, everyone needs to hear that no matter what goal you’re working on.

Ivy: Yeah.

Nate: The situation is just never gonna be perfect. You just have to start taking the steps.

Um, and, and like make time like whatever it is you’re working on, you just have to figure it out. Right. That’s like the whole thing.

You’ll Need to Change Mindset When You Do Decide to Study

Ivy: Yeah. And I was, um, afraid to fail. I think that’s one reason also. But then I failed on REG and I was surprised that not feeling so bad about it because if I didn’t change my mindset, I would be very depressed just having that one exam I failed because way back in college I was very perfectionist. I always wanted have perfect score, but that did not work, um, on, in this current situation.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So I have to change my mindset.

Nate: Yeah, yeah. No, and that’s always, uh, you know, I, I tell people that too. Like, listen, you, you know, you could fail an exam, right?

Like that’s, that’s in the, uh, realm of possibilities. It’s just, it’s not that big of a deal as long as you’re putting in the time and always improving your process. If you fail a few sections, I mean, you will get there. It’s not the biggest deal, but, but like you said, that stops a lot of people from even starting, like thinking that I might, you know, I might, what if I fail an exam, uh, that’s gonna be embarrassing, or, you know, it just, but really it just doesn’t matter.

Ivy: Yeah. Yeah. I just realized it, um, too late, but then I finally did it.

Nate: Yeah. I. So, so when you moved here, did you move over here by yourself?

Ivy: Yes.

Nate: Yeah, that’s a lot.

Things That Surprised Ivy When She First Moved to the US

Nate: Uh, what was the, uh, like off the topic of CPA, but what was just, what did you think of the US when you first moved here?

What were, were there any culture shock things or things that surprised you that you didn’t know about the US before?

Ivy: Um, I actually, um, watch a lot of Western movies. So that really helped me like set my mind on what to expect here.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: So I think more, the difficulty is more on, uh, the communication because even, um, we’re using English, um, at school, at work, but I think our English is too formal sometimes. And then at the same time I have a different accent.

Nate: That’s funny.

Ivy: And people here talk different.

Nate: Yeah. That’s funny. Yeah, because a lot of times, like the Filipinos I’ve talked to, that’s uh, yes. You learn very formal English and then you get here and you know, it’s just, it’s not like that at all. Like no one really speaks formally, ever in America.

Um, where, where in the Philippines are you from?

Ivy: Um, I actually grew up in, uh, Isabella Philippines, but I, when I, I studied and worked at Manila Philippines.

Nate: That, okay. You’re from Isabella, like on Negros Occidental.

Ivy: The north. Uh, no, it’s Isabella, like on the north side.

Nate: Okay. Okay. So the big Isabella. Okay, because yeah, anyway, I’ve been to, I’ve been to the Isabella that’s like out in the middle of nowhere in, uh.

Ivy: Oh wait. I think that’s on the south part. I’m on north side.

Nate: Yeah, that makes sense. There’s probably several Isabellas, right? In the Philippines. I mean, there’s like 200 islands, aren’t there?

Ivy: I, Isabella is the, it’s just one province. There’s, I don’t think there’s another Isabella province.

Nate: Not, not a province, but little town.

Ivy: But a town, but a town probably, but I’m not sure where.

Nate: No, I, I know there’s one on, uh, next to Cebu, or not Cebu, um, Bacolod.

Ivy: So did you like the Philippines?

Nate: Yeah, it was I mean, it was crazy like the driving , the, uh, the traffic and you know, basically no traffic laws. Driving was wild. Yeah. Yeah. It was cool though.

Ivy: So that’s one main, one main different thing about in the Philippines, traffic is like, it’s almost normal , but here there’s not much traffic, just a little traffic and everybody gets stressed what, this is just normal to me.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Driving was just, yeah. As soon as we left the airport driving. It was wild, but it was, it was awesome. It’s a cool place. Super pretty. Um, yeah, it was awesome.

Ivy: Nice. It’s a paradise.

Nate: I mean, yeah, it is. Um, well, yeah, so I think we kind of went through everything with the, the CPA.

Ivy’s Top Tips For People Still Struggling With the CPA Exams

Nate: So what’s, the question I always end with, what would be your top three tips to people that are still working on their exams or they’re still really struggling with the study process.

Ivy: I think the first thing is to have the right mindset.

Nate: I agree.

Ivy: You cannot control the external things, but what you control is your mind, yourself. Just have this right mindset. Not everything’s gonna be perfect. There’s a lot of ways that you can do this. Just have to have the right mindset.

And then second, I think is do not overstudy. Do not make it hard. Just focus on the topics that you are not really familiar with. Especially for those people who are like me, they’re already working and they’re having a hard time finding the, enough time to study, just go study. And then the third is, I think you just have to find or the right study habits cause we all have different, uh, learning style.

You can be, you like doing the index cards or like doing a lot of MCQs. Yeah, just find the right study habit. And of course, try, uh, the SuperfastCPA really helpful.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate you saying that. Yeah. I think the, the studying throughout the day on your phone just makes sense because everyone has a phone.

You know, you look at your phone a hundred times a day and it’s just, instead of having to find four hours a day to study, if you’re really busy, that’s a lot of time to, to find in addition to your work day. So like a shorter session. Well, I didn’t even ask you that.

Ivy’s Daily Morning Study Routine

Nate: So you would study in the mornings. How long would you study? Would you just try to do two hours?

Ivy: Um, one to two hours. Depends because sometimes I just have to, uh, um, work, um, ahead of time cause I have so many stuff to do.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: But I try to make it at least one to two hours every morning. I, I, I’m the first one in the office, come in and then while waiting for others, and there’s no distraction. I just try to study. Focus.

Nate: Okay, so you would, okay, so you would get up, travel to the office, listen to our audios on the way, and then do your actual kind of main studying at your office? Okay.

Ivy: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I think on weekends I try to study, but I also have, I also wanna have time to relax. I don’t really like full study at the weekends, I try to do some stuff, personal stuff, relax, chill some, just a little. Sometimes I have to work.

Nate: Yeah.

Ivy: And then do a little study. So, but I did canceled a lot of events like birthday thing, so, I just, study, stayed at home. If I don’t study or work I wanted to rest.

Nate: Yeah. No, and that’s, that is a huge thing. And that’s another big benefit of studying in the morning, right? Because you study in the morning, you work all day, you do the, uh, the mini sessions like with our study. So really you’ve done maybe three or four hours of studying and then in the evenings you have time to kind of take a break or have downtime, whereas if you just go straight to work and then try to study at night, your whole life is work and study and you never have time to rest or do stuff you like doing.

Ivy: Mm-hmm. Yeah. That really worked for me and I’m now a morning person.

Nate: And before you weren’t? Yeah.

Ivy: Not really.

Nate: No. That’s funny cuz a lot of people on these interviews say that. They, through this process, they get converted to like being a morning person.

Um, cause just, they just see the, if you have something extra you’re trying to work on it just, it’s easier to do it in the morning cause then you’re not having to fight distractions all day and uh, and then you’re done by the time you’re done with work, you can still have evenings to like, do stuff you like doing or just relax. Yeah.

Ivy: Yeah. That’s true.

Nate: Awesome. Well, alright, Ivy.

Ivy Recommends SuperfastCPA to Her Friends

Nate: I’m glad you found us through that YouTube ad and, uh, that it helped a little bit. Helped you with the audios.

Ivy: Yeah. I will rec, I’m, I’m recommending this to my, some, my other friends.

Nate: Awesome.

Ivy: But I, I’m not sure if they bought it because they wanna save money…

Nate: Right. I know. It’s always that thing, like, I think a lot of people think, I’m not spending any extra money on these. But then a few months into it, people probably changed their minds.

Like, okay, this is not working and I want to get these over with as soon as possible. Um, but if you, so I would, I would say if you do recommend it to people, give them the link to our, uh, to the free training, the free webinar, cause that’s kind of the best, you know, it’s free and that’s just real, an overview of how it’s all supposed to.

instead of, you know, telling someone, yeah, go buy this. Like, no one wants to hear that. You know, I think the, the free training kind of makes it make sense or they see how it would work. Plus we just give a bunch of strategies on how to, how to make your review course, uh, more effective anyways. So, yeah, I appreciate you doing the call. People find these really valuable. I’m glad you found us. Glad it could help. And congrats on being done. That’s awesome. That’s a huge accomplishment.

Ivy: Thank you so much. Uh, thank you for having me. I appreciate this. Sharing my journey. I really hope that I could inspire other people like going through the same struggle, working, and then have to study.

Nate: Yeah. It is, it’s a huge accomplishment and it’s,


Nate: All right so that was the interview with Ivy. I’m sure you found that very helpful and informative. And if you did, please take a second to leave a rating and review in iTunes or wherever you listen to these podcasts or like, and subscribe the video on YouTube. If you watch these on YouTube.

And then also share the episode or the podcast in general with someone, you know, who’s also working on their CPA exams because these episodes, these interviews with successful CPA candidates and exactly how they pass their exams. These are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for someone that’s trying to figure out this process on their own.

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

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