How Jackie Got Re-Motivated by Simplifying Her CPA Study

how Jackie passed her cpa exams using superfastcpa

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In this SuperfastCPA podcast episode, you’ll hear Jackie’s story about being overwhelmed by the CPA study process to the point where she would go days without studying, and then how she simplified the study process to make it more doable on a day-to-day basis.

After making those changes, her study process started working better, it was easier to stay motivated to study, and she started passing her CPA exams.


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

Watch the interview on YouTube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 02:26 Jackie’s Stuggles Before Finding SuperfastCPA
  • 04:08 How Jackie Came Across SuperfastCPA
  • 05:13 SuperfastCPA Strategies That Helped with Her Study
  • 07:40 Why Jackie Decided to Pursue Her CPA
  • 09:15 Was Lucky to Have the Necessary Credits to Pursue Her CPA
  • 10:27 Receptionist to a Becoming a CPA
  • 11:59 Picking Her Main Review Course
  • 12:53 How Jackie Studied Before SuperfastCPA
  • 16:54 Got the Study Tips from the Free Training
  • 17:25 Instantly Felt Better About Switching Study in the Mornings
  • 18:32 Passed Her First Exam On Her First Try
  • 20:11 Just Show Up Even When You’re Not at 100%
  • 21:27 Consistency in the Morning
  • 22:30 Life Events That Made it Extra Difficult to Study
  • 25:14 Felt Like She Failed BEC but Passed Due to the Re-review
  • 26:08 Took FAR Last and Got Her Highest Score
  • 28:31 “I don’t really feel like I sacrificed much…”
  • 30:09 Gave Up Social Media
  • 32:45 Jackie’s Process for Making Flashcards
  • 35:21 How Jackie Would Study for Sims
  • 38:32 Jackie’s Final Review
  • 40:10 How Jackie Can Tell She Knows a Difficult Topic
  • 44:16 Top Tips for People Still Struggling with the CPA Exam

Interview Transcript

Jackie: [00:00:00] So, like I said, I was pretty delusional, like thinking that I could study after eight hours of work, that I could just like lounge on the couch and get it all done. Every time I failed, the mini quizzes, I just wanted to stop and so I’d stop like two, three days at a time and, doing the Superfast method, all this time, I can’t even imagine going like one or two days without studying because it’s just gonna fall right out, you know, of my brain. I would study like three days in a row. And then I would take three days off and then go back just because I just, I didn’t wanna do it.

Logan: Welcome to another episode of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Logan, and in today’s episode, you’re going to hear Nate and I talking to Jackie.

Now, Jackie’s story is pretty cool. Basically, she started out as a temp admin for a CPA firm and really liked it, really admired the [00:01:00] people and eventually decided to go back to school to finish her degree in accounting.

Eventually, she moved to South Korea with her husband because he’s in the military. And while she was there, she finished her degree.

Once she started studying for the CPA exam, she learned that it is not at all like studying for school and really struggled for a few months. She would sit down thinking that she would get a lot of studying done, but would only get about an hour or an hour and a half of actual studying in as a lot of people find out when they start studying for the CPA exam.

Eventually she found SuperfastCPA and was able to start passing exams.

And also was able to get hired on remotely back to the firm where she was an admin, now as an associate.

Her story is really cool, and I think you’re going to like it. Before we jump into the interview, I just want to give everyone one more reminder about the SuperfastCPA free training webinar that’s on our website. It’s one hour that will save you a ton of time. And we teach the key ingredients to passing the CPA exam.

The link will be in the description of this video or wherever you listen to the podcast. So again, make sure you go check it out.

Logan: With all that [00:02:00] said, let’s get into the interview with Jackie.

Nate: So I have your, you know, the first thing I kind of heard from you was your email just saying, thanks, your stuff helped me get through the exams. We’ll get to that, but we’ll just kind of start with some, basically two direct questions about SuperfastCPA or how, you know, you using it.

And then that’ll kind of give us more to go on for the whole, like your whole story type thing.

Jackie’s Stuggles Before Finding SuperfastCPA

Nate: The first question is, what were the main struggles you were having with the study process before finding or starting to use SuperfastCPA?

Jackie: Just the motivation I think was, um, most of it I had, I had purchased my study materials and I used Wiley too. Um, ’cause I coworker who had some success with it. I had bought it I think in June of 22 and by October I had only covered half of audit when I had planned to, when, when I bought it, I was like, yeah, I’m gonna, [00:03:00] I’m gonna just study every single day and I’m gonna get it all done by the time, um, I should add, we lived in South Korea at the time.

Um, and we, and we moved, we were planning to move back to the States in January of 2023. And I was like, as soon as we get back to the states, I’m gonna hit the ground running.

I’m gonna like just knock these all out but when I had only made it through half of audit, um, I, I, was kind of, um, just. I don’t know, demoralized a little bit, kind of not encouraged to work a full day of remote work and then get on, get on my study materials and do that. So it was kind of, it was really hard to, to develop consistency and, um, I think, I think if I would go back, I would, I wouldn’t have tried to start from scratch on my own.

I would’ve looked for people who had done it and seen what they had done because I was just following the [00:04:00] Wiley calendar and, um, watching the lectures, reading the notes, and then failing every quiz because nothing was sticking.

How Jackie Came Across SuperfastCPA

Jackie: So, um, so yeah, so it was, so honestly, when I, uh, I was on YouTube for whatever reason, one day and one of your ads popped up and, um. And there was a practice session starting in 15 minutes, and I’m like, okay, I’ll just, I’ll go and see what this guy has to say maybe. Maybe it’ll help, maybe it won’t and then just realizing, oh my gosh, I can do this in two hours. I can, I can knock it out before work. Um, just all the tips were super, super helpful.

So I’m super grateful.

Nate: Okay. Awesome.

Jackie: That I stumbled on it.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. We’ll get into all that. And then, so it sounds like, so a combination of things which are all very common. So trying to watch every video, read every chapter, was just so time consuming and even then it didn’t really translate to helping you [00:05:00] answer the questions.

So the whole thing was just demotivating. I mean, for obvious reasons. If you’re putting in that kind of time and it’s not working, yeah, it’s hard to feel good about spending that kind of time.

SuperfastCPA Strategies That Helped with Her Study

Nate: So you mentioned you watched the free training, so I guess the next question is just after the fact, what were the main things that SuperfastCPA helped you with in your study process.

Jackie: Yeah. Um, it was, it was having a structured, um, plan for every day. Um, and I think having that re-review for the last half hour of the two hour block really helped. And then, um, I mean re-review in general, the app, I had the app, um, with the review notes and um, the mini quizzes and the audio notes, and going back to that frequently throughout the day and knowing I didn’t, I didn’t have to sit at my computer for eight hours a day, um, [00:06:00] was a game changer for me. So, so those, so the two hour block, um, and, and using the re-review tools

Nate: Okay.

Jackie: Definitely helped me a lot, I think.

Nate: Yeah, it is much easier mentally to study two hours plus like the mini sessions as you go through your normal day versus having to sit with your review

course for four or five, six hours. Yeah, I mean, it

sounds obvious when you say it out loud. So you use the study tools a lot throughout your day then?

Jackie: Mm-Hmm.

Yeah. And I printed out the review notes and I would read those before bed as some kind of twisted bedtime story, I guess.

Logan: A horror story.

Nate: Well, yeah. It put me right to sleep.

We’ve, heard that from so many people that, uh, now we kinda recommend that like, I don’t know what else to call it. So, I just, I say like a bedtime routine. Sounds like I’m talking to my 8-year-old. But, yeah, reading the notes, well, the follow [00:07:00] along notes, you know, ’cause people would tell us over and over, they would read the notes and listen to the audios at the same time.

Kind of like you, the way you described it, some sick form of, torturing yourself. But so many people would mention that, that we just made it its own study tool. So the follow along notes, basically like read you the review notes. But yeah, we, we recommend that to just in general now that at bedtime when you’re trying to fall asleep, it makes sense ’cause it’s like an easy time.

Most people are on their phones again anyways and kind of the last thing you hear or see just a little bit more re-review or time put in. But anyways, yeah.

Why Jackie Decided to Pursue Her CPA

Nate: Okay, so let’s go back to the beginning then. Where were you at in your career, what made you want to do the CPA, when you started?

Jackie: So, um, couple years ago I kind of, uh, fell into a temp job working the front desk at a CPA firm. Um, and I, and I was in, I, [00:08:00] I had gotten my associates in accounting, but honestly, like even getting my bachelor’s in accounting, I didn’t know anything. You know, nothing like, school completely different from the real world. And so working the front desk, I was always talking to clients about their tax returns and stuff. The firm did some attest engagement, so like I was exposed to a lot, but I was a front desk, so I really didn’t kind of, I wasn’t really working on those I was working on client relations and um, it just got to a point where everyone around me, like people I respected, people I admired, people I wanted to be like, they were all CPAs. So I had saved up a bit at that point and I was like, you know what? I’m gonna go back to school. I’m just gonna finish my bachelor’s and see what happens. And um, then, uh, my husband’s military as I said, so we moved to South Korea and I wasn’t working the front desk anymore, so all I had to do was work on my degree. And then when I finished that, um, the firm hired me back as a staff accountant.

And so [00:09:00] now I work for them remotely. And um, so that was pretty much the motivation. It’s just everyone around me was encouraging and I really looked up to them. And, um, yeah, so that just really started me down the career path.

Nate: Okay.

Was Lucky to Have the Necessary Credits to Pursue Her CPA

Logan: Were you able to sit for the CPA exam with your credits you have from your bachelor’s degree? Because I, because some states

are different.

Jackie: Totally. Yeah, I, so since I had gotten my associates in accounting, I had all of those credits from community college. So I ended up having everything I needed without having to do a Master’s which was.

Logan: Oh, okay. So you had everything. Okay, okay.

Jackie: So I kind of, I had like front loaded it instead of having to go back and do the extra credits.

Logan: Yeah,

PA paid off in the end. Okay. That’s awesome. Yeah, ’cause some states they, like in Utah, I was able to sit for the exam before I had finished my master’s. I wasn’t able to be a CPA until I had finished my master’s, or at least done a lot of my [00:10:00] master’s. But I was able to sit, so that’s why I was asking.

Jackie: I was just lucky that like in high school I had no idea what to do and my mom’s like, why don’t you just major in accounting at community college and see where that goes? And I was like, okay, I guess. So I kind of just fell into a lot of this, but, um, the CPA exam was a different kind of thing.

It was the first thing that I was really, really having to work for. I feel like.

Track 1: Yeah. Everyone finds that out. Yeah.

Receptionist to a Becoming a CPA

Track 1: I was wanting to bring that up ’cause you said in your email. You helped me on my path from receptionist to CPA, so that I

was gonna ask that. So when you started that job, at that time, you had no intention of actually working in accounting or becoming a CPA.

It was just a, receptionist job at the time?

Jackie: Yeah, I mean, once I, once I got the job, I, I was pretty good at it. And being an admin, I honestly thought I’d probably be an admin for the rest of my life. I mean, it’s, it, I was good at it. It’s a fine job, makes a fine [00:11:00] living. Um, but, uh, working at a CPA firm, it’s kind of with a bunch of great people. Um, it just kind of made me wanna be one too. So, um, but it, I just, you know, uh, it, it’s been a really cool path, uh, from the front desk to

Logan: Yeah.

Jackie: Almost a CPA.

Nate: Yeah. The other day we talked to, a guy who was a helicopter pilot, like that was his, had a whole career of doing it, and then for various reasons, just switched over to accounting and like starting from the ground up basically with school and everything.

Jackie: That’s a pretty big change.

Nate: I know.

Yeah. Or way

back in podcast, there was a, US marshal who got his CPA when he was retiring from being a US marshal. Just a lot of pathways into it, I guess.

Jackie: As well, I mean.

Nate: Yeah.

Logan: It does seem a lot of people don’t plan to be in accounting, but then they end up in accounting ’cause it’s, you know, it can be a good career.

Picking Her Main Review Course

Logan: So once you got [00:12:00] started, you know, you were kind of like, I want to go for this. You got your degree. You said you purchased Wiley, right?

Was that from your firm? Like did your firm buy that for you or did you buy that on your own?

Jackie: I, I, I, I got it on my own.

Logan: Okay. Did you just Pick one at random or did you kind of do some research, to see which one you would like best?

Jackie: So I had two coworkers, um, who, uh, who said Wiley was, worked for them, worked pretty well for the review and, um. And yeah, I just, I didn’t do more research than that?

Logan: Yeah.

Jackie: I was like, it worked for them, so I’m gonna go ahead and do it. But I know everybody, um, I know everybody uses Becker also. I really didn’t have a real preference. I just to kind of get started.

Logan: Yeah. I, I was asking ’cause some people do like this super deep dive research,

But I mean, most people don’t. I didn’t, I had no idea what I was doing either.

How Jackie Studied Before SuperfastCPA

Logan: So you got your review course, and so you kind of mentioned this before, but how did that go at the [00:13:00] start? How long were you studying before you found SuperfastCPA? And it kind of clicked.

Jackie: So, like I said, I was pretty delusional, like thinking that I could, I could study after eight hours of work, um, that I could just like lounge on the couch and like get it all done. Um, and I, it just, every time I failed, uh, the mini quizzes, um, I just wanted to stop and so I’d stop like two, three days at a time and, you know, doing the Superfast method, all this time, I can’t even imagine like not going or going like one or two days without studying because it’s just gonna, it’s just gonna fall right out, you know, um, of my brain. And so I, that was about, that was June to October. So however many months that was, I was just kind of, I would do like. I would study like three days in a row. Um, and then I would take three days off and then go back just because I just, [00:14:00] I didn’t wanna do it.

Nate: Yeah.

Jackie: So, yeah, it was, it was a few months of doing that back and forth.

Nate: So you work all day. How long were you trying to study at night? During that period?

Jackie: Um, trying to study like two or three hours, but really, if I’m being honest with myself, I probably didn’t make it an hour, hour and a half. Just ’cause, just ’cause the lectures were boring and

Nate: Yeah.

Jackie: Yeah, monotonous.

Nate: Studying in the morning, like when your brain is fresh. I say this so much, I get sick of saying it, but it just solves a lot of problems. Even despite the best study strategies, you know, just from a mental bandwidth standpoint, you’ll get through more in the morning. Two hours in the morning is basically worth twice the amount of time at night when your brain is fried.

But then if you, are using straight to the point study strategies, like going into the questions first, not wasting a bunch of [00:15:00] time watching the lectures, you really are getting done more in two hours in the morning than someone spinning their wheels for four or five hours a night. Yeah.

Jackie: Yeah, definitely going through the multiple choice questions. I got everything I needed from those, you know, and when I didn’t, you know, when I needed the an explanation then I could go into the lecture. Like I remember having a lot of trouble with bonds like calculating bonds or property tax in REG, and those were the things that I needed to go back and watch the lecture for a step-by-step thing. But other than that, like you don’t need to waste time on the lectures covering vocabulary words or anything like that. Um, so definitely. Everyone should skip the lectures unless they really, really need that section.

Nate: Yeah, they’re kind of promoting this approach now. But also with the 2024 exams, There’s a lot more application on the blueprints now instead of remembering and understanding.

Jackie: It just makes sense.

Logan: Yeah, exactly.

Nate: [00:16:00] Right.

Jackie: You’re doing, you’re doing MCQs most of the time on test day. I mean, like you said, Nate, all, like you say all the time, you’re, you need to do what you’re doing all day long on test day. Like you need to practice that. You don’t, I mean, you’re not sitting there watching a lecture.

Nate: Mm-Hmm. Yeah. You just

get good at answering questions, and I think

that sounds weird to people that aren’t several months into the study process. Everyone operates under that same assumption, I’ve gotta know the base material, you know. I’ve gotta have someone walk me through a lecture.

Then I’ll be able to answer the questions, but that’s just not even the case. You can spend an hour or two watching the video and like you figured out the questions still, you have to go through that process of figuring out how the questions work, even if

you watch the lecture. So you might as well skip, hour or two and go straight to answering the


Got the Study Tips from the Free Training

Nate: Okay. So once you, watched our free training, and I’m guessing you bought the, [00:17:00] program or whatever. Did you go in and watch the pro course videos or was it mostly the free training? As far as the strategies?

Jackie: So it was mostly the free training, and then I listened to these podcasts and gleaned what I needed from there, from there, um, and I was able to get most of what I needed. And, um, I, I only got the study tools pack, um, but I think that that was pretty valuable for me, I think. Yeah.

Instantly Felt Better About Switching Study in the Mornings

Nate: And so you start studying in the mornings, I think you said. So you switched to studying in the mornings, doing this questions first thing. And how long was it before you felt like, okay, this is clearly working better than what I was doing before?

Jackie: Instantly I felt better about my, about my studying. Um, we were in the middle of an international move and like having that routine, like that non-negotiable, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna get up as early as possible to knock this out before I have to do whatever else. Um, it changed everything. Um, and [00:18:00] as soon as we came back, um, wait, as soon as we got back to California, I think I had a week and then I sat for the exam, you know, jet lagged and tired and living outta suitcases and, and I walked out and that was my first one.

And I felt, okay, we’ll see. Like I feel okay. It was audit.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Jackie: Um, and later in the year I was working on attest engagement. So, um, I felt pretty like, okay, but you can’t feel too confident, right?

Passed Her First Exam On Her First Try

Jackie: Um, and then the score came out a couple weeks later and it was a 79. And I was like, okay, this is like, this is working.

I’m gonna keep going. Um, I’m gonna keep going exactly like this. And then I took REG in the middle tax season. Um, but I, and so I was working 10 hour days, but I was getting up at like four in the morning, two hours, then you go to work, and then I was trying to take it, I think in five to six weeks or something.

So I’d come [00:19:00] home and I’d do like re-review, um, and then I passed that one at the end of tax season, like in the middle of busy season. So it, so having that routine really grounded me, I think.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. It’s, Yeah, and you kind of mentioned it earlier, studying a few days and then taking a few days off, which is also Really common because, you know, people are busy, most people are trying to study three, four hours after work

and for various reasons it’s just, it just doesn’t happen seven days a week if that’s what you’re trying to do.

It’s just a lot easier, two hours in the morning. But yeah, it’s hard to make progress with the material itself, but you also don’t really have breakthroughs in your own study process. But when you’re doing it every day consistently, there’s all these little nuances to, you know, answering questions, answering sims, making like an effective flashcard or your form of taking notes you get better [00:20:00] at it.

Like all parts of the study process are a skill. The routine that’s locked in. over time just kind of solves all that.

That’s a really, really good point.

Just Show Up Even When You’re Not at 100%

Jackie: And I should say, you know, it wasn’t. I wasn’t at a hundred percent every day. You know, some days like you’re there, you’re, it’s five in the morning, it’s dark, it’s cold, you’re alone and you hit a wall, you know? And that happened to me a lot. But I think, I think, I think it’s an atomic habits.

It’s like, just show up.

Just show even like just for a few minutes. Even if it’s, you know, even if you, you’re not all the way there today. Like, just keep going, like, you know, and just be there. And when you’re at a hundred percent, then you’ll absorb what you need. When you’re at 40%, at least you’re showing up for yourself.

Like you just have to do that every single day.

Nate: Yeah.

Jackie: Um, that you can, you know, but you don’t have to know everything. At the end of the day. You just have to get a 75, [00:21:00] like you can show up for yourself.

Nate: Yes. Yeah, I get asked a lot if you can still do this during busy season, and you know, of course I tell people like, I mean, yes you can, a lot of people have done it, um, especially just the two hours in the morning. It might mean waking up, it might mean waking up at 4:00 AM but to get this over with over, you know, a few months.

Most people would make that trade if they knew

for sure was gonna work.

Consistency in the Morning

Nate: So were you getting up at 4:00 AM kind of the entire time you were studying then once you switched to the mornings?

Jackie: Yeah. Four or five in the morning. Tax season was a little bit earlier, but you know, if I could recommend any, I mean, I wouldn’t highly recommend it, but if you’re a tax preparer and you can schedule REG for a little bit after April 15th, you know, and you’re doing tax returns all day long, you’re learning from other CPAs around you like take REG, or if you’re an auditor, you know, take audit after busy season. You might know more from reading all of the [00:22:00] work papers and all of that. I mean, it, it worked for me. It might work for other people.

I mean, it’s miserable, but you’re kind of getting extra study time with your work. So in that way you’re, you’re kind of building on your two hour block.

Nate: Yeah, yeah.

I would think it would help to study something that morning and then, you know, day by day or as the weeks go by in busy season, you’re probably seeing a decent amount of that, like in real life on the stuff you’re working on. That, that makes sense.

Logan: Yeah.

Life Events That Made it Extra Difficult to Study

Logan: You know, you passed the first two, what were some things like throughout the whole process, this could have been day-to-day things, or maybe even big life events. What were some things that kind of made it extra difficult at times to make sure that you were still studying and passing these exams?

Like what life events happened?

Jackie: Um, other than the move, I mean, mean, getting up early is hard enough, but like other than the move, you know, the first, uh, the first year moving somewhere brand [00:23:00] new is really, um, is the hardest.

I think. So, um, so, and I work remotely, so it’s pretty, pretty isolating, um, being in a new place and everything.

So, uh, but I combated that, you know, you, I joined, um, like a local yoga class and that, that gave me human interaction. Um, but yeah, just like getting to know our surroundings, um, while also flying back and forth ’cause I’m taking, I took the exam in California, so.

You know, moving back and forth, dealing with normal family things and then, you know, a full-time job. Um, but you know, it definitely could have been harder. I, we don’t have any kids and, um, you know, um, I’m not saying there wasn’t any struggle, but, uh, but I think I picked a good time to take the exam and nothing huge. Nothing huge other than the move came up. But moving, moving back internationally ’cause we spent. We spent the pandemic over in South Korea.

[00:24:00] So coming back to the States, it was a little bit of a, it was kind of like a blip, you know, but, um, but it was, you know, was just integrating with our new community here in Indiana.

Logan: You were able to manage it though. I think that’s one of the biggest benefits that a lot of people see from using the Superfast strategy is life is super busy for pretty much everybody. Like everybody has something that’s going on in their life or something comes up, you know, like an international move or whatever the case may be, but if you have that focus and that, dedication, you’re able to make it through pretty much everything. And

you were still passing your exams with, all this extra added stress. So, I mean, it’s just a testament that you can do it even if your life is busy, you know?

Jackie: Yeah. I mean, I think, I think to add to that, I mean, I think having that set part of my life, like maybe that was the only part of my life that was not moving, really helped too. Like I said, it was non-negotiable. Like, I gotta get [00:25:00] this done and, and I just, I wanted it to be over and then they changed the whole exam, so I wanted to make sure I did it by the end of the year. Um, so yeah, having, having the routine helped a lot.

Logan: Yeah.

Felt Like She Failed BEC but Passed Due to the Re-review

Logan: And once you finished REG, what was the process for the other two? You were done with tax season, so how did the other two exams go?

Jackie: Mm-Hmm. So after, so after that I took BEC, um, which was a, which is a lot of material.

So I took the summer and that’s what I covered. I took that in, um, I think I took that in August. Um, and, uh, I, I remember walking, that was the, that was the one exam I walked out and I was like, I totally failed that one. I like, maybe I did well on the writing, but like I totally failed it. Um, and I think it was just because there was so much information. Um, but somehow I, you know, miraculously passed it. And I was like, the only reason I [00:26:00] passed is because of the re-review. Like, that’s probably the only reason because whatever needed to be fresh was fresh in my head.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Took FAR Last and Got Her Highest Score

Jackie: So, but yeah, so that one, um, that one I thought I failed, didn’t, and then I took FAR at the end, which I think was to my advantage because I feel like covering all of the other ones before FAR helped me study for that. Um, and by that time my study routine was down. Um, I knew what I needed to do every day. Um, to get closer and FAR ended up being my highest score yet. So I just, I really think that like honing in on what really worked for me helped in the end, um, because I would do my two hour study block and I would do mini quizzes throughout the day. And when I did them, I tried to do them in sets of three. I tried to say, I’m gonna do three mini quizzes right now, but if I get five out of five, I’m gonna stop.[00:27:00]

So sometimes I’d only have to do one two. Like, so it’d be a little treat, but then I’d have to pull it out again later. Okay, I’m gonna do three, but if I get five out of five, I’m gonna stop. Um, and then I, I totally skip the TBS’s. Everyone needs to skip the TBS’s. You don’t need to do SIMS until your final review ’cause you only need to know how they work. Um, I, I only needed to know how they work, so I, I didn’t do those and I didn’t do, I didn’t do lesson assessments either in Wiley. They do these, um, like quizzes in between sections, but these didn’t have the explanations like you had no option to have the explanations. And I felt like that wasn’t helping me to go through the whole, um, MCQ without knowing if I got an answer right or So I totally skipped those two.

Logan: And so you finished FAR. When did you pass FAR?

Jackie: I took it, uh, first week of December and I got my passing score, the last score [00:28:00] release the year.

Logan: You did it right before the, the change. That’s awesome.

Nate: Oh yeah. Your email’s from December 28th. Okay.

Jackie: Right? Yeah. Yeah. I, I got that and I was just, it was a weight off. It was a weight


Logan: but probably like one of the best, I mean, it was, the score release was after Christmas. I think it was like one or two days after Christmas but still pretty good Christmas present.

Jackie: Oh my gosh. Yeah, it was the only thing I wanted it, I felt so bad that I wanted to skip over Christmas

Nate: Yeah.

Jackie: To get to the score release.

Nate: Right.

“I don’t really feel like I sacrificed much…”

Nate: Going back to your daily process, and so also studying in the morning. I mean, it let you kind of have the evenings off, right? Whereas before you were working all day and then trying to spend your whole evening studying.

Jackie: Yeah, uh, I, everything was pretty normal. I was maybe a little bit more tired in the evenings, but yeah, I mean, it was nice being able to, you know, I would listen to the audio notes while I cooked dinner, but I was still doing something I would normally do. Um, you know, I was [00:29:00] able to go, I was able to go to the gym and still do things on the weekends, you know, um, I didn’t, I, I didn’t really do any like recreational reading or I gave up like my favorite podcasts and stuff like that, but I don’t really feel like I gave, I sacrificed too much.

Still had a lot of fun.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, locking it in in the morning, like I said, it just, it allows you to do that obviously. I mean there is this aspect of like, I use my phone to study constantly ’cause I just viewed it as I will do anything extra to not fail one of these again, ’cause I failed my very first attempt.

Um, and that idea just made sense to me. I mean, I, you get the screen time report, even, even if you are legitimately busy, somehow you find four or five hours a day to stare at your phone. And for a few months, you just give up your favorite [00:30:00] phone time waster things, and I just like, to me that’s a small sacrifice,

I mean, you went four for four, right? Yeah. That’s awesome.

Gave Up Social Media

Jackie: It did. Yeah, and I, I, I gave up social media, but now I feel like it was one of the better things I could have done anyway. I mean, I don’t really use it too much anymore, but I would definitely get on there on like the CPA candidate Facebook pages, and I would see, okay, what are other people being tested on? Um, what tips do other people have? So that, so I felt like I was still using social media to like further my goal of passing the exam and just kind just focus. It’s a year struggles, temporary. Um, you can do anything for two hours. You can do anything for a year, you know, you can and it, and if it’s worth it to you, you’re gonna do that.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah, absolutely.

Logan: And when you’re seeing results too, you felt good. You were passing all of your exams, even with, you know, busy season and everything. So that just keeps you [00:31:00] motivated. It makes it a lot easier to go a full year, whereas, you know, if you’re going a whole year and you didn’t pass a single exam, that gets really,

Discouraging and just, it

feels like you’re walking through mud to nowhere, you know?

It makes a big difference to have that structure.

Jackie: Well, yeah, and there was also, there was also the thing I wanted to say was, um, people vastly smarter than me have failed this exam, you know, and I knew that going in and my scores, they weren’t like, I’m not a genius. I didn’t score in the nineties. I’m not getting that award or whatever, like, like, but supplementing doing the little extra work, I feel like was the difference between me failing one or two and clearing it four for four, you know, because my scores weren’t anything spectacular, you know? So you just need to tweak your study, your study routine. That’s all you need to do to get you over that [00:32:00] 75 that you need.

Nate: Yeah. It is, to a shocking degree. This is literally about your strategy, you know? Cause we’ve had people on the podcast that. We’re studying for 10 years and you know, maybe they would take exams, maybe take a year off. But like in general, they’ve been trying for 10 years to pass these, you know, and then they find us usually through a YouTube ad and, a few of those things just going straight to the questions, maybe making flashcards.

They get like one difference maker strategy. Then they just pass all four. So it’s like literally about your strategy.

Almost to a strange degree. Like that’s all it’s about.

Logan: Yeah.

And Nate kind of just barely mentioned this, you know, with the flashcards and everything.

Jackie’s Process for Making Flashcards

Logan: So what was your process for, you know, you run into a question that you don’t really know very much about, what was your process for making sure you could understand stuff and also, taking notes and flashcards, what did that all look like?

Jackie: Definitely. Um, [00:33:00] so when I would go through the MCQs and I would, you know, get one wrong, I would read the explanation, really try to understand it, um, not, not just skip over it. I’d really try to understand it and then try it again. But if there was a question that for some reason I kept getting wrong, um, you know, usually if something jumped out at me, the um, I would write it down.

I would have a notebook. And so as I was going through, I end the day with like a bunch of, a bunch of notes and, um, if there was one that was, and I’d usually flag them in the system too so I could come back to it. Um, but if there was something that I really felt needed to be on a flashcard, I’d circle it. And then at the end of the day, I’d put those on flashcards. Normally I would do this towards the end of, um, like closer to final review because at that point. If I still wasn’t getting it, then that was something I really needed to focus on. Um, so that would be, that would be, [00:34:00] uh, methods for flashcards because during final review I would do something kinda dorky. So I’d have all my flashcards made. I would usually use those, but I would do, um, I would do something, I called the 1 2, 3 method. So every day, uh, during final review, I would start with one TBS. Because all I needed to know was how they worked. I would get everything else from the multiple choice.

Then I would do 20 of my flagged questions. So these were questions that I was having trouble with, questions that I really needed to go in and dissect. And as I did those, I would go back into my notes, I’d go back into the lectures. And, and go into the little forums, explain, where the professors would explain the questions, and I’d really try to understand those concepts.

And then I would end with 30, a regular 30 batch of multiple choice questions

Logan: mm-Hmm.

Jackie: And then if I had time left over, I’d work on my flash cards, um, or, and do some mini quizzes. Uh, [00:35:00] but usually I didn’t have a lot of time left over because I spent so much time fleshing out those 20 flagged questions. And I think that really helped me leading up to exam day because I was getting those concepts that I had a really hard time with flushed out.

Nate: Yeah,


kind of a perfect, that’s a really good routine or a little method.

How Jackie Would Study for Sims

Nate: How would you pick the one sim you just literally generate one random sim or would you pick it from a certain topic?

Jackie: I’d, I’d, I’d make sure it was pulling from a pool that I hadn’t seen before. Um, and I wasn’t trying to spend a lot of time on these, so if it was like a huge, like document review simulation, sometimes I would skip it and generate another one. Um, or if I got like an authoritative literature one, I’d sometimes be inclined to take another one.

But usually I would just stick with one normal TBS, random.

Nate: And, and on that, were you trying to [00:36:00] fill it out on the front end and get as far as you can and then submit it? Or if it was confusing, would you immediately submit it and kind of try to make sense of the solution? Or how were you actually using that one sim?

Jackie: Definitely it was, it was one way or the other. Some days if I really didn’t understand it, sometimes I would just submit it or fill in what I could and then really try to understand it. Um, cause that’s another thing that was important that I learned from, you know, your trainings also is, um, you, throughout this process, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. You have to say,

Do I really get this? Do I really understand this? Or did I just memorize it?

Nate: Yeah, that’s a huge

Logan: Nate and I just talked about that.

Nate: Uh, we talked

Logan: on a video we did.

Nate: Yeah, that’s, yes. And uh, that’s one thing that, that’s why I don’t like, you know, some of these review courses are using what they call like adaptive, or some of ’em are starting to say they [00:37:00] use like AI in their system and everything to tell you what you need to know.

And I think questions that you’ve manually missed, I mean that makes sense. But when you do some little diagnostic quiz and you know, and then it just removes huge swaths of the material because of that one quiz. I think that’s a big mistake just because yes, you wanna manually cover every topic and you don’t really want to even rely on the software to tell you what you’re good at necessarily. Um, like you said, it’s, it’s getting to that spot and just knowing, how to tell if you actually know this or not, and that’s just a big, big thing, not lying to yourself. Yeah. We talk about that all the time.


Jackie: And taking out things that you, that you know, at one point could be to your detriment later. you have constantly be covering all of it, even the stuff you know, because, I mean, I took these, I took FAR two months ago [00:38:00] today and couldn’t take it again guarantee you.

Nate: Yeah, that is a great point. And you’ve mentioned it a few times, the constant re-review I was gonna say the, the re-review is, like the big secret to this. But I could say that about several big aspects. I think studying in the morning, the questions first, um, making your own flashcards, the sets of 30.

But yeah, the constant re-review again, just solves all these problems that are otherwise there that you don’t realize by the time you get to test day.

Jackie’s Final Review

Nate: So how long did you leave for your final review? You mentioned you did like a week of sims, or not even, what was your final review like?

Jackie: So I would try to cover all of the, all of the Wiley, um, modules, at least two weeks in advance of test day. Um, and then I’d start, then I’d start my 1, 2, 3 block, um, and my final review. And I would do [00:39:00] that every day. I’d do, I’d read my notes, I’d do the mini quizzes, listen to the audio notes. Um, and really, and really try to understand the concepts I had a lot of trouble with.

I, I mean, I, I brought it up before, but like during FAR I had a lot of trouble with bonds. Um, and so I remember spending a lot of time during my final review knowing how to do bonds or, um, getting familiar with the topics I knew I would see. Um, so normally it would be about two weeks of doing that.

Logan: So the 1, 2, 3, that took up your, pretty much, your whole two hours each day during those weeks of final review.

Jackie: Right, right. And sometimes it wasn’t even, sometimes I had less than 20 flagged questions, but because those last few pesky things I was having trouble with, uh. I was having trouble with them, uh, I’d have to spend a lot of time digging into the forums and trying to really understand it. That’s the key is truly understand the [00:40:00] topics that you’re having trouble with.

Nate: So if you could try to put that in words , cause when you mentioned that earlier, that’s what I was gonna attempt to describe, but I’m not sure I did.

How Jackie Can Tell She Knows a Difficult Topic

Nate: How would you get to the point where you felt like, I totally get this. In your head how you knew you had that for a certain topic or not?

Jackie: I, so when it, I think when it becomes like mechanical, I think that you, I think when you see that question and you know exactly how to map it out or you know exactly what is gonna be on the other side of that flashcard. Um, and when you can think about it in a way that you can put it in your own words and explain it to someone else, then you understand it. Um, but there are, I mean, the, the CPA exam covers so many topics, um, that there were a lot of pieces that took me a little bit more time articulate that, um, for these things. So, yeah, I, I also [00:41:00] remember during REG, like property transactions where you have to, um, you know, write out the whole formula, um, to understand what’s going on in, uh, in that world.

I would keep my notebook and I would just keep on writing it out over and over until I fully understood, what needed to be done. And, um, the words could be flipped around, the numbers could be different, and I knew how to get, how to get the right answer.

Or at least close to it.

Nate: Yeah.

Yeah. So even if I saw this, even if it was presented differently, I understand what’s going on here.

To where you feel like you could answer pretty much any question about it.

Logan: I was just gonna ask one last question before we do our, like, final question, I guess.

I was gonna ask how you managed, like the stress of being so busy and stuff.

Jackie: I’d like to say, you know, it’s, it’s not all about, it’s not purely about what, you know, I, at least for me, it wasn’t. I think if I were to [00:42:00] give some, some good advice to someone else going through this. Like, there are going to be those times where you hit a wall in the morning and you kind of, you can’t, you can’t hold onto your knowledge.

You have to draw strength and like motivation from inside because it’s such an isolating, um, it’s such an isolating journey. And uh, one thing that really helped me was, um, to develop like a mantra of sorts. Like, pick any quotes you want. Like for me it was like a handful of bible verses quotes that really motivated me that I could bring out during those times that I hit a wall. On exam day, walking into the test center when your stomach’s doing flips and stuff, just like, even if it’s just telling yourself that you believe in yourself and that like, like that you believe in yourself, that’s gonna be, that’s gonna make a big difference as well. Because you can’t do it if you don’t believe you can do it.

Logan: That’s a perfect [00:43:00] like clip right there.

Nate: Yeah.

Jackie: Well, and that might be, that might be a little hokey for people, but it’s

Logan: I, I, no, it’s true.

Jackie: I, don’t know. I just, you draw a lot of motivation and you have to draw it from yourself.

Nate: I say that all the time. Whether it’s like in emails or I’ve made mention it in videos talking about motivation or ways to, you know, actually motivate yourself. Probably does sound dumb to someone who’s just starting this and they’re like, okay, let’s just get into like, let’s just cover the material, you know?

But you have to get a few months in and kind of hit small walls or maybe even big ones, you know, have days that are tough to study or even weeks where everything falls apart before you understand that, okay, I’m gonna have to like, dig deep to do this and keep my head in the game day to day, week after week for months for this to work.

It’s a major topic, but then I would also say. That gets a [00:44:00] lot easier with all the stuff we’ve talked about. When your process is nailed down, you know it’s working, you’re still able to have kind of a balanced life. It’s not a complete nightmare. As long as you nail the mornings, the motivation much easier. So we’ve kind of gone through everything.

Top Tips for People Still Struggling with the CPA Exams

Nate: Was there anything else to do with your process and or the other kind of the last question we always ask what would be your top two or three tips to anyone who’s still struggling with the study process?

Jackie: I think we pretty much covered it all, but, uh, definitely switch to the mornings if the evenings aren’t working for you. Um, you can, like I said, you can, you can get up at 4:00 AM for a year. It’s not gonna kill you. Um, skip the TBSs, you don’t need them. Skip those AI lesson assessments.

You don’t need them either. You can get everything you need from the MCQs. Um, just, and then really try to truly understand, uh, what you’re getting wrong. And [00:45:00] then, and then just believe in yourself.

Nate: Awesome. Yep. Pretty much sums it up. So I appreciate you doing the call. We got into some really valuable insights I think. So that was good. I’m glad you found us from that YouTube ad or video and that it helped and congrats on being done.

Logan: Yeah, congrats.

Jackie: Thank you so much. I’m so grateful to you guys. Appreciate your time.

Logan: All right. That was the interview with Jackie. I’m sure you found that super helpful. I thought it was awesome because she was able to go from having very little experience in accounting, even though she started out with her associates, to working in admin, and then eventually to working as an associate and passing the CPA exam. I think it’s just a really cool journey and it shows again that no matter where you are in your life, you can pass the CPA exam, if you have the right study tools and the right study strategies.

Make sure you go check out our free training webinar on superfastcpa.com. Again, it will save you so much time and it’s only one hour long.

Also, if you liked this video, make sure to like it and leave a [00:46:00] comment.

And especially, share this podcast with anybody you know who is going through the CPA exams. This podcast is the best free resource out there for CPA exam candidates.

Thanks for watching or listening, and we will see you in the next episode.

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