How Janice Passed Her CPA Exams Using Questions First

how Janice passed using SuperfastCPA

Share This...

In this SuperfastCPA podcast interview, you’ll hear how Janice came back to the CPA exams after a 10-year break, and passed them in less than a year.

This second time around Janice used completely different study methods, and got through the exams quickly and efficiently, and in this interview you’ll hear how she did it.


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

Enter our free monthly podcast giveaway:

Watch the interview on YouTube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 00:00 Janice Interview
  • 06:14 Being Done With All Four CPA Exams
  • 07:18 How Janice Started Her CPA Journey
  • 09:29 How Janice Found SuperfastCPA After 10 Years
  • 11:23 Using the Questions-First Approach
  • 16:41 Weaknesses of the Traditional CPA Study Approach
  • 20:23 Strategies for Time Management with CPA Study
  • 25:19 Why Janice Studied Differently for FAR
  • 26:47 Janice’s Daily Study Routine and What Worked
  • 28:01 Losing a Week of Study and Scoring 74
  • 30:39 Getting Back on Track After a Setback
  • 32:18 Taking a Month Break and Passed After Studying for a Week
  • 34:22 How Janice Was Able to Review and Pass in a Week
  • 36:29 Janice’s Study Process for Learning New Topics
  • 39:39 Using the Academic Support Feature in Becker
  • 43:27 How Janice Improved Her Note-Taking Process
  • 50:49 Using Writing to Retain CPA Exam Topics
  • 54:37 Using the SuperfastCPA Review Notes
  • 59:07 Janice’s Final Review Process
  • 01:05:48 Confirming Your Study Process Is Working
  • 01:07:06 Janice’s Top Tips for Those Still Struggling With Their Study Process
  • 01:15:07 Top Benefits from Using SuperfastCPA
  • 01:19:27 Outro

Interview Transcript

Janice: I was just like, like mouth agape, eyes wide, like, I did it. Like, you know, it was, it wasn’t anything I thought I would cry or something, but I was just like, that happened. I, I’m, I’m done. Like I’m done. Um, it was, and then I danced, you know, had a little dance party after, I think it was like 10 or midnight or something.

Janice: Um, yeah, it was a journey. And really.

Nate: Welcome to another episode of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate and in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Janice. So in Janice’s story, she started the CPA about 10 years ago when she was just out of school, she was working at a big four firm working a lot of hours working on really big clients and she just never fully got into the study process.

Nate: And then, changed jobs or her outlook kind of changed to where for a few years, she felt like she probably wouldn’t need the CPA. Then it got to the point recently where she changed her mind back to needing the CPA. And she researched online. She found Superfest CPA or saw one of our ads. So she watched the free training before she started studying again.

Nate: And the ideas on the training, the different strategies made a lot of sense to her. And from there, she got our program applied the strategies, and now she’s on the podcast. So you will hear the things she learned from this time around passing the CPA exams really quickly, spending less time overall studying, making the study process easier compared to the first time around where, you know, she was following the traditional study method where she was trying to watch every lecture, read the chapter, etcetera.

Nate: So before we get into the interview with Janice, I want to mention two things. First, the free training webinar. So like pretty much every other interview, with Janice, that’s the first thing she saw from SuperfastCPA. And if you’re wondering where to start, or even wondering about SuperfastCPA, that is the best place for you to start because in a one hour webinar, we walked through our core study strategies.

Nate: So the six pillars or the six key ingredients for a successful CPA study process, that is much different, will save you time and is much easier, once you get the process figured out compared to the traditional study method. So the link to that training will be down in the description of this episode, both on the podcast version and the YouTube version.

Nate: The second thing is our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Power Beat Pro headphones to three random listeners who have entered the giveaway. It’s just your name and email, and again, the link to that will also be down in the description.

Nate: So with that out of the way, let’s get into the interview with Janice.

Nate: Let’s see. Pacific Time. Where are you located?

Janice: I am located in Los Angeles, out in California. Nice.

Nate: Have you ever been to Salt Lake?

Janice: I have, yeah. Um, I’ve done a lot of skiing out in that area. Skiing and snowboarding.

Nate: All right, sweet.

Nate: Yeah, me too. Um.

Janice: Do you ski or snowboard?

Nate: Ski. Well, I snowboard, I always snowboarded since high school.

Janice: Okay.

Nate: And then, uh, a few years ago, probably five, five or six years ago, I just switched because I kept thinking these, like three things. I hated getting stuck when it was flat. Um, I liked the idea of like pointing forward instead of twisting, looking forward.

Nate: And uh, what was the other thing? Just having to sit down every time you get off the lift, you know?

Janice: That’s fair.

Nate: To strap in.

Janice: Um, I.

Nate: So you board, I guess I’m guessing.

Janice: Yeah. I figured out that system. I don’t sit down when I strap in. Um, but I wanted to try Alta. Alta. Um, I think that’s just the full name in, in Utah, but they only allow skis or skiers.

Janice: And so I was like, all right, well I’m gonna put on some skis and check it out. And it was really cool. I saw a lot of people, um, a lot meaning like four or five people skiing with their babies, like either in front or in the back. Just going on the beginning around.

Nate: That is so crazy.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. Like what if something?

Nate: I don’t know. I, I mean, I’ve seen people doing that. Um, yeah, it’s like a religion. It’s like the second predominant religion here, just skiing. Um, yeah, but I’ve seen that and I, I mean, I would never do that, so.

Janice: Yeah. I don’t think I could either. Definitely not snowboarding.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. The other thing was I felt like I was pretty good at snowboarding, but I would still just catch an edge once in a while, like on relatively flat ground and just bang my head off the ground, you know, and.

Janice: Oh no.

Nate: With skiing, I just never crash. I mean, I don’t do anything risky. Um, I don’t go off jumps, you know, I’m not getting paid to ski, so I don’t do anything.

Janice: Right.

Nate: Risky. But uh, yeah.

Janice: I mean, to be fair, you are facing forward like it’s totally natural. It makes sense. Probably the easier of the chew to pick up if it’s your first time, but, um, I totally get that.

Nate: Yeah. And then, I don’t know, I like, I know there are types of snowboards and everything, but I got, um, I learned to ski on just some basic skis and then I bought some expensive, like powder, all mountain skis.

Janice: Oohh.

Nate: And that was, it was insane how different that is. Um.

Janice: Yeah. I bet.

Nate: Whereas, you know, I upgraded, upgraded snowboards through the years and it was always kind of just the same thing.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Anyways. All right, we’ll, uh, yeah, we’ll move on.

Being Done With All Four CPA Exams

Nate: So your, your little message was really enthusiastic that, uh, SuperfastCPA was hands down, what made this all work. And then apparently when you posted this, you had only passed two, but now you’ve just, in the last month or so, you’ve gotten back two other scores.

Janice: Yeah. Um, I’m almost.

Nate: So you’re all done?

Janice: I’m all done. I’m in the process of getting the actual license. Um, yeah, but I’m done. I’m done with the exams.

Nate: That’s awesome. Well, congrats.

Janice: Thank you.

Nate: Yeah. Um, so yeah, so we’ll just go, I guess, small time out. Have you listened to any of these other interviews? Do you kind of know how this goes?

Janice: Totally.

Nate: Okay.

Janice: I have probably all of them I wanna say. Um.

Nate: Okay.

Janice: So, yeah, very good resource.

Nate: Yeah, it’ll be exactly like those. Once we’re kind of talking, we don’t edit much from like the middle, the actual conversation. So if you’ve listened to previous ones, that’s exactly how this will go. So, uh, so yeah.

How Janice Started Her CPA Journey

Nate: So let’s just go back to the beginning. So when you started, did you have a period where it was just the review course doing things like the normal way, um, did you do it like that at all?

Janice: So, If we wanna go all the way back to the beginning, I actually initially started this journey almost 10 years ago now.

Nate: Okay.

Janice: Um, my first job out of college was at a big four firm and of course they pushed getting the CPA really anywhere, um, you know, if you studied accounting, they highly encourage you to get the CPA. So I did start working on that. Um, then, and it was very. It was very hard for me just because the client that I was on was one of our biggest clients and I really, I was there from, you know, 8:30, 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM, 10:00 and then like almost midnight during busy season.

Janice: And everyone in my start class actually that was on that client actually kept pushing out their exam. And at one point I just wanted to take it to see what it was like. And I believe that was REG. Um, and I did study the normal way, way back when, um, definitely is a totally different way from what I’ve studied now versus then it’s, they’re polar opposites, I feel like, because, you know, which makes sense. When you graduate college, you’ve taken these classes, you’ve been guided through these lectures, through the curriculum in a way that you know the teacher provides. And then for the CPA, you’re on your own. You get your own materials, you gotta figure it out. And, you know, I just kind of applied it, uh, then when I first, when I first graduated, and it just wasn’t working for me.

Janice: Um, I found that I enjoyed working with smaller clients, um, you know, more privately owned, uh, companies, which I was able to kind of pivot and focus on. And, and the message that I got from each, um, manager I’d, I’d worked with since then was you don’t need your CPA. Um, you’re not in public accounting. You don’t need it.

Janice: You don’t need it.

How Janice Found SuperfastCPA After 10 Years

Janice: So fast forward 10 years, you know, I’m like, it makes sense for me now. Um, and in terms of studying now, I, I started with REG again, actually, and I think, I wanna say I did start with the lectures. I started with the lectures, um, and I was like, you know, I, I wanna go about it a little differently this, this time around.

Janice: Um, it’s not. It’s not something that I wanna have to repeat. It’s not something that I wanna have to like miserably go through. And I wanna say that I had remembered seeing SuperfastCPA or I think when it, when I just started it, I was thinking of all of the materials, potential materials that were out there.

Janice: I thought of Superfast, Ninja, Becker, you know, whatever it was. So I started doing my research about maybe one week into studying. Um, by the way, I had just start, uh, I had just decided on getting my CPA not even a year ago.

Nate: Okay.

Janice: Um, so the research was really, really quick. I was like, I wanna get this done like ASAP.

Janice: I don’t want this.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: You know, dragged out. So I found SuperfastCPA. Um, I actually looked at the webinar and it made just so much sense, and I think from having the 10 year period or so in between working at different companies, you know, having different tasks and responsibilities and, and kind of being strategic about my time and then, you know, working with other people, managing other people, it just made so much sense.

Janice: I know for a lot of people it does, but for me, I was like, this is. Why didn’t I see this? You know, when I was, uh, when I first graduated, I think this would’ve been really helpful. I bet some of the people that passed probably found SuperfastCPA and I just didn’t know it at the time.

Using the Questions-First Approach

Janice: Um, and so I went from looking at the lectures to switching over and looking at the questions first.

Janice: And I think for REG, that was my first one. I looked at the, the multiple choice que. That was really awkward for me just kind of looking at the question, trying to figure out what the answers are, and then, you know, throughout the other three exams, figuring out that it’s okay to get those questions wrong at the, you know, on, at the onset.

Janice: Um, I learned a lot from the explanations for REG, for FAR, that was a totally different story. FAR, I, I used Becker. I felt like the explanations were a little bit lacking. They had the calculation, but it’s like, okay, well where did this number come from? I used academic support a lot for FAR. Um, but just going from the webinar and going through the questions first. You know, trying to figure out what, what it is that I’m trying to learn, and then falling back on the lectures to see, to get more exposure really. If there’s an area that, you know, I, I wasn’t really grasping. That’s kind of when I went back to the lecture.

Janice: Um, the actual lectures, not the ones where it’s underlined and highlight in circle. Um, and it was really helpful that way. I think for REG, I passed that one on the first try. Um, And I was using the multiple choice or the mini quizzes from the SuperfastCPA, um, app, and that was really helpful.

Nate: Okay. So, um, if you remember when you watched the free training and you said, you know, this makes so much more sense. Do you remember specifically what the different strategies or just what your, uh, like “Aha moments” were watching that?

Janice: Yeah, it was, three. I remember there were three points, one of which being, you know, like the multiple choice, going through the questions first because, oh, the “Aha moment” for that was what are you spending your time on the exam doing?

Nate: Yeah. Yeah.

Janice: The answering question. And I was like, duh, we’re not watching lectures. And I’ve seen so many people, you know, in, in forums or their Facebook groups talk about, you know, I’m not understanding the lectures, or I don’t like the lectures. They’re really boring, let’s say for one specific material.

Janice: And you know, people start looking for supplements. They want the lectures, you know, more engaging, blah, blah, blah. And in my head I’m like, wow, that is so much time spent just on the lectures. When you’re ultimately going to be answering questions on the exam. And so it made sense that you wanna get the exposure to that.

Janice: And then it also made sense that, um, or rather how people maybe had gone through taking the exam so quickly, just forego the lectures altogether. Um, and of course that that might depend on your materials that you end up purchasing, making sure that they have, um, good explanations so that you can learn from them.

Janice: But it was just polarizing, I think, you know, from my initial experience right out of college to, you know, now, and I just, I couldn’t believe that like, it was simple, um, simple to do. It was just a matter of committing to it. And I was actually passing. I was, you know.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: Like that was a huge deal for me.

Nate: Yeah, definitely. I mean, um, yeah, there’s several things I could comment on, but, uh, I guess first the, yeah, that idea of, okay, what do you do on test day and then work backwards from that, you know, that as soon as you hear that, it sounds so obvious that.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: It’s almost, I don’t know, too obvious to point out, but that’s not how most people spend most of their study time. Um.

Janice: Yeah. I almost wrote in my little note, I was like, it was stupid obvious, but I was like, I’m not gonna write that. But it’s so obvious that almost, you know, you know, I just. It was, it was an “Aha”, but also like, “Duh moment”. Um, and I’m sure that’s because, you know, for a lot of people when, when they first come across, um, SuperfastCPA, maybe it is their first time taking the exam and, and they haven’t had the exposure to it or they have, and then, you know, it depends on where I think people are coming from, which makes it that much better.

Nate: Yeah. Um, yes. So that happens sometimes like. I can tell usually from support emails, if someone hasn’t even started the process. And they’re, they’re like, so wait, you’re saying don’t watch the lecture? How can, I mean, what if I get the questions wrong? You know, like, and yeah. It’s just, okay, well you’re not, you’re not in the testing center right when you’re studying, it doesn’t matter.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: You’re using the questions as a learning tool, just like you are, or you would be the textbook. Like if you’re reading the textbook, you don’t have any ideas of, oh, how am I doing? Or, I can’t get this wrong. It’s just.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: You’re just using it as a learning tool and uh, it’s the direct context that you’ll be seeing on test day.

Nate: So, anyways.

Janice: And I can attest to that for sure. Yeah. Yeah.

Nate: Um, so, okay.

Weaknesses of the Traditional CPA Study Approach

Nate: And going back to when you first, first started, I’m guessing you would, you know, watch the lecture, read the chapter, and it even then it probably felt like you’re spending all this time and you still just felt confused. Is that why it was such a big difference to just learn from the questions?

Janice: One, yes. Um, again, right out of college, right were used to as students going, sitting in a lecture physically, uh, nowadays online. So going through a lecture, maybe reading from the textbook, taking notes. Um, and then preparing for whatever exam is next. And so really I just applied that to, um, studying for the CPA exam, which I’m sure a lot of us have.

Janice: And I think that the number one thing for me though, was just the lack of time. So begrudgingly trying to get myself to go through the lectures, um, and then for whatever reason, not really grasping it. Or maybe, maybe just, I’m zonked out by the time I get to the lectures and, and I’m not really retaining what I’m learning or what I just heard.

Janice: And I actually remember, I think I went through an entire notebook of just my notes. Um, pretty sure it was REG that I took at the time. So I went through an entire notebook of, you know, just taking notes in a way that I could understand, maybe remember, I wanted to remember a bunch of stuff and then today, I think I used half a 70 page notebook for all four exams. Like after going through the, um, the, the, not, not only the webinar, but the, I purchased, um, the, the mini course and whatnot. I, I was like, I changed the way that I went through my notes or took notes rather, um, which was super helpful in audit.

Janice: That was the, th the third one that I took. So I’d figured out, um, my process throughout. But going back to when I first took it, it was just, it was just kind of miserable. I was like, why am I doing this? Um, and I really just didn’t have time. And I think if I knew that there was a way to be strategic about it, rather than just go through what they tell you, I mean, you’re really setting up your own class schedule because this is self-study. You’re purchasing your own materials. You don’t have a teacher that’s gonna take you through, okay, the lectures, this is what you need to do week one, make sure that we get through this course. Like they do that for you.

Nate: Right.

Janice: And now we’re being thrown into the CPA exams and studying for it.

Janice: We gotta do that for ourselves. And I think that’s probably the hardest part. Um, not the exams themselves, which may be controversial, but I think the hardest part is setting that, um, those, those study lessons for yourself in the beginning and then sticking to it throughout your journey?

Nate: Yeah, absolutely.

Nate: The, I mean, you’ve probably heard me say this a million times, but this whole thing determines or as determined by your daily process. It has very little to do with the exam day or, I mean, there’s nothing you can really do on exam day. To really like change your score that much, right? It’s like, yeah.

Nate: However prepared you are obviously is determined by the last six weeks or whatever of what you did every day. Um.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: There’s nothing magical you can do on exam day itself to score 10 points higher. So, um.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: So, okay.

Strategies for Time Management with CPA Study

Nate: So you said, you mentioned time was like your biggest issue in the beginning.

Nate: So did you, uh, well, I guess first, did you, did you have our PRO course videos? So after the webinar?

Janice: Yes.

Nate: You went in and watched these videos that walked through the study process in more detail?

Janice: Yes. Sorry, that’s what it’s called. The PRO course videos. I did go through those. They were very, very helpful.

Nate: Okay. Yeah. Well, yeah, good to hear. Sounds like it worked. Um, so did you adopt the, like the two hour morning session then?

Janice: I did for, um, so for REG, I did. For FAR, I had to do it a little bit differently because the material, so many topics, the material is different. There are, I think you’ve mentioned like 200 plus topics in there.

Janice: And as I’m going through, I’m like, oh my gosh, he was absolutely right. There are so many topics in here. And so for that I actually did, um, I did the two hour in the morning and then, uh, cuz I did have a life outside of, um, this, the studying for the CPA for the first two exams for sure, for the last two.

Janice: Um, I kind of did it a little bit, did differently. But for REG and FAR I, um, I did do the two hour chunk in the morning, that worked for REG, that was all I needed. For FAR because it was so many topics. I did, um, I ended up doing. I wanted to get three more modules. So I did the two hour in the morning, and then I believe it was Monday, Wednesday, I would do, um, one module in the morning, one module in the afternoon, so that my evenings would be off Tuesday, Thursday.

Janice: I would just do the two hour chunk in the morning and then, um, I would climb in the evening. And that was also my social hour, my fun, my fun time. And then, um, Fridays was opt, uh, was up to me. I would definitely do the two hour chunk in the morning if I felt like I wanted to get through, not another module I would in the afternoon, otherwise it’s chill.

Janice: Um, and that was for, for FAR, there was a lot more to understand, a lot more calculations, you know, setting up journal entry. So I decided that that’s what was going to work for me. Um, and I think I had about the same amount of time, in terms of weeks for both. Um, but I definitely broke it out differently for, for the two.

Nate: Okay. So, okay, so on with Reg, you did the two hours in the morning and then you would kind of use our study tools or the app throughout the day?

Janice: Yeah, I used the mini quizzes the most.

Nate: Okay. Yeah. And so then you’re basically done by the evening, so you can just do whatever. And then with FAR you said, you basically did two hours in the morning and then just, uh, like an hour at night?

Janice: Yeah, yeah. Like right after work in the afternoon while I was still like, I made it kind of part of my work day versus.

Nate: Okay.

Janice: You know, okay, I’m done with work, um, I’m done with work and now I have to do this. So it’s like not technically done with work, it’s the end of the work day, but like, I’m here for another hour and then that way I could really transition into just enjoying the evening and not feeling like, oh my gosh, I have to go back and study again. Um, mentally it was really helpful, I think. Yeah, it was really helpful.

Nate: Yeah, that’s a good idea. I guess. So obviously you were back in the office or I mean, you’re working at the office while you’re doing this?

Janice: So I’m actually remote.

Nate: Oh, okay.

Janice: Um, but I’m very good about like separating the time that I set aside for, for studying.

Nate: Gotcha.

Janice: Um, because you know, I got, I gotta do my work. And so I think having that separation and not feeling like I’m studying all day. Cuz I tech, I guess, you know, really if you’re working remote, you could do the hours in the morning, something maybe for lunch and then be done with the day or some, you know, something in the afternoon or whatever.

Janice: But then it just gets, um, mixed throughout the day and like, are you really studying at that point? You know, if you’re going between work and studying, or are you really retaining anything at that point? Um, so I, I made it a point to just do the two hours in the morning, have my workday, and then the hour at the end, um, the additional hour at the end I made as quote unquote, part of my workday.

Janice: But that was set aside for studying.

Nate: Gotcha. Yeah, I, so yeah, you just, you’re done with work, but you’re still sitting there at your desk. You go straight into that last hour and then you can step away and just be like, yeah, I’m done with work and study.

Janice: Yep. Exactly.

Nate: Yeah, it makes sense. Yeah. And it does, uh, uh, like you were mentioning, just being very intentional about, this is study time, like this is what I’m gonna focus on for this hour or whatever, and then, this is work time.

Nate: And then if you’ve nailed it for the day, then you’re done.

Why Janice Studied Differently for FAR

Nate: So the next thing I was really gonna ask you was, uh, just, so with FAR two hours in the morning, one hour in the evening.

Nate: What were you actually doing for the two hours? And then the one hour after.

Janice: I was focused on learning, getting through each of the modules, cuz I realized, you know, um, going into FAR that there’s many, many modules. Um, and so I was like, okay, the only way I’m gonna get through this is to really, um, assign, basically assign myself an outline, right?

Janice: Because in, uh, in college you don’t. Your, your teacher does that for you. Your professor does that for you, you know, lays out the outline and everything and, and you’re guided through the class, the lectures, you know, the materials and everything. So really I was doing that for myself, um, for FAR because I noticed that it was a lot more topics than in REG.

Janice: And so I said, okay, I think I gave myself an extra week or two on top of REG, I think I may have taken seven weeks for REG. Um, and so for FAR I realized that there was an extra, I think two more, um, units in the back, at least under Becker. So I was like, okay, I need an extra week or two to get through those.

Janice: And then getting into the material, I realized, oh, um, there’s a lot more topics than I expected, so I need to actually break this down a little bit more.

Janice’s Daily Study Routine and What Worked

Janice: And I focused on learning in the morning. And then if there was kind of a, cuz you know how there’s some modules that are just like 15 questions or whatever.

Janice: Um, you kind of get an idea of, of like what’s important based on the number of questions there are, how long the lecture is. And so for those smaller modules, I would assign that to the hour in the afternoon or evening. And then, um, otherwise I would do, that was when I would do the 30, um, question.

Janice: So in the beginning I did the 30 multiple choice questions, cumulative review, and then toward the end I actually did it a little differently and it worked really, really well for me which was just, um, 15 multiple choice questions from one whole, uh, unit and then 15 multiple choice questions from the same unit using “Adapt2U” under Becker.

Janice: So it’s just like, instead of random, it’s personalized to you. Um, and that worked really, really well. It worked great for BEC, which I had less than three weeks to study, um, the end of it all because, because my NTS was expiring.

Losing a Week of Study and Scoring 74

Janice: Um, yeah, but going back to FAR, I actually lost a week of studying. I lost my review week because I had to travel, um, for work and, which is a bummer cuz my first go, I, I, um, I had a 74.

Janice: And I was really bummed about it cuz I was like, oh, that review, like I laid it out really, really well.

Nate: Yeah, that totally made the difference. Yeah.

Janice: I was like, oh that made the difference. Um, and I actually didn’t move on even though I knew my process for REG, updated it for FAR. I actually didn’t move on to audit cuz I just felt like.

Janice: I don’t know. It just did not feel good. I think I was almost really frustrated in the exam, probably almost in tears. But then I realized they recorded it or like they watch you and I’m like, you need to get yourself together. Cannot be doing this in the middle of the exam. You need to get the, you haven’t even finished the second, uh, what is it, testlet, you gotta get through the simulation.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: Yeah. So it’s like you gotta hype yourself up in the middle of, of the exam when you’re feeling this kind of way. Um, And so, yeah, did not feel great about that cuz I was just like, oh, I had, you know, I, like, I lost that week. I really needed that week to review. Um, but I also, I, I think I went through the, uh, the stages of grief, like angry, like you’re in denial and you’re like, you wanna, uh, contest the 74.

Janice: Cause it’s like, is it really like, could I, you know, but I learned that it’s not like, it’s really not worth it. Um, especially when you can just jump back on and do it again. Um, you know, it costs a lot of money to even to contest it. You’re waiting for them to do it. And I don’t think they even. I think they just recheck it.

Janice: Like they don’t even do anything extra.

Nate: Did ba-

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: They basically say like, we don’t, we don’t make mistakes, so you can contest it if you want, but they say something like, we’ve changed, you know, we’ve changed a score twice in our entire history or something like that. Like, yeah, yeah. So basically it’s not worth it.

Janice: And I think that was because it was before, uh, the, the scores were reviewed, like computer, uh, by computer or something. So it’s like a lot more, um, effective and efficient. But I ended up, um, cuz I told my manager and um, his manager was like, oh, can’t she contest it? Like she should do it, you know? I was like, I went through the whole thing, like denial.

Janice: I was angry. I was like, what the heck? Um, but then, you know, I, after accepting it, I realized, you know what, it was really just that one week. Like, it’s nothing, you know, it, it’s fine. She 74, she’ll get it on the next one. Not a problem.

Getting Back on Track After a Setback

Janice: So, um, and that’s the other thing too, I think is important to do for yourself throughout the exam is being kind to yourself and say, and telling yourself, you know, you have the tools, um, your material SuperfastCPA. You have the tools to be able to pass the exams. Now you’re going to use ’em and do your absolute best and be proud of yourself for even getting there. I think that’s really what happened after my little, uh, my little tantrum over here. Um, I think that was really helpful in getting back on track for FAR.

Janice: Um, you know, I, I, I did go through the process. I did quote unquote grieve. It’s like, it was really, um, it was not fun. So I took a little bit of time off and, um, you know, spent some time with my friends, my family, and then I, I reminded myself like, you did your best, you know, just take another week and then retake it and you’ll be fine.

Janice: And I think I gave myself one week cuz um, in, so in California you get nine months on your NTS. I signed up for all four. Don’t recommend for most people, but for us, we get, we do get nine months. I planned on being done, I plan on aiming to be done in six months, but I gave myself nine months and I was really diligent about sticking to that schedule.

Janice: So, if, you know, if you’re not like that, do not recommend. Um, and I think other states have only six months, so. That’s my little caveat, but, uh, I decided to jump back on onto FAR.

Taking a Month Break and Passed After Studying for a Week

Janice: Did it, um, did the review in a week. Did feel very nervous, you know, unsure of myself for a moment, um, as we all do probably before the exam.

Janice: But then I was like, you know what, you’re gonna do your best. You prepared yourself. You did, you know, you did the work you’re learning. And by the work I don’t mean, you know, you put in the hours. I put in focused work. Um.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: I was, I was there to focus on understanding leases, um, for FAR the different types of leases, all of those questions that can come up on the simulation.

Janice: Um, I put in focused work and, you know, I, I went into the exam. That day. What I did on that day, I decided to skip the first question because the first question on, on the first go really took me up. So I was like, I’m just gonna skip the first question. They probably do that for us, right? Like a little something, something to throw you off.

Janice: And so, so I skipped that and then I went through, and then I came back and answered the question. And um, you know, I ended up passing. It was, it, I was like, wow. Like I did just need that extra week. Um.

Nate: Yeah, that week.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: How long was your, you said you took a break after getting that score, like finding out, you got a 74.

Nate: How, how long was your, uh, break you took?

Janice: That break was about a month. Um, about a month I would say. And then a week.

Nate: And then you came back and just studied for one week?

Janice: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Nate: And it all obviously came back and, and then some.

Janice: Yes.

Nate: Within a week and you passed?

Janice: Focus, I’m telling you.

Nate: Yeah, That’s pretty good.

Janice: Focused studying.

Janice: Um, yeah, I.

Nate: Did you have to work that week though?

Janice: Oh yeah. I was working full time.

Nate: Okay.

Janice: I think I gave it that one week. I gave it the time in the morning and then more time in the evening. But I did give myself like, the hour or two before bed to actually relax and um, and then go to bed. So I didn’t, you know, do it all day.

How Janice Was Able to Review and Pass in a Week

Janice: But one other thing, you know, with FAR, and I hope this helps other people, but when I got, so in California we actually get our score reports whether or not we pass or fail. So I get to, to see both.

Nate: Okay.

Janice: Um, which I think was really cool because I’m looking at my score report. I see where, um, I was weaker.

Janice: And I felt so bad about not spending more time on government. And then I get my score report and I look, and I did. I did okay. I did comfortable in that area. And then I look at the weight and it’s only five to 15%. And when I saw that and I look at the other areas that’s like, I think the highest one was like 30 to 40% makes up this one area, and that was one of the weaker areas.

Janice: I was like, oh, okay, this is, this is weighted. So this one week, going back to the focus, studying focused, you know, strategic study, studying for that one week I decided to focus on the highest weighted area, which was, you know, whatever area that was, select transactions under FAR. Um, and then the second most weighted area, cuz clearly I was okay with government.

Janice: Um, and so I focused on those two areas. And I got stronger in the highest weighted area and then comfortable in all the other areas. And I actually got weaker on, on government, um, you know, for my passing score. But I noticed that like focusing on those areas, cuz I only had one week I needed to get back on the other two before, um, my NTS expired and I wasn’t stressed out. Like I had, I had, uh, contingency plans for those, um, if that did happen. But I realized, you know, going back to that strategy, like looking at your score report, seeing, you know, what’s, what’s heavily weighted, um, and focusing on those areas cuz I was weaker in those areas.

Janice: And so, um, I did that for audit. Can’t really do that for BEC cuz it’s all, even pretty, even, um, between all of the topics. But it, it worked, it worked for me. So I had that part of my review process.

Janice’s Study Process for Learning New Topics

Nate: Okay, so in that week, um, or just kind of in general, just for the benefit of people who listen to this. So let’s say, I guess again, in any topic, so when you’re starting on a new topic and let’s say one of the more difficult topics, that’s pretty involved. So you start with the questions. You go through, you know, whatever it is, you try to answer it. Mostly though, you’re kind of learning from the solutions.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Um, if you’re not getting everything you need from covering the questions, then you would go back to the lecture at that point.

Nate: But then you have things, you know, what you’re trying to learn. I mean, I, I guess just describe your process for a new topic. Start, uh, start to finish your, like when you said your focus learning, just what would you do for a new topic? Start to finish?

Janice: I would go through the multiple choice questions.

Janice: Most of the time I would try to answer them, but sometimes, cuz I noticed that especially for multiple choice questions where they give you 50 questions. Um, You start to see like the first 20 cover a specific topic, the next 15 cover a different topic, and so on and so forth. And so I would kind of try to see what they’re asking, take the explanation with a calculation or whatever, apply it to the next question and kind of just build on that.

Janice: So my learning was happening in the multiple choice questions. Um, and, um, I, depending on how many, cuz some of, some of the questions have like 60 plus questions, so, you know, I don’t have, I mean, 60 questions if you did a minute of question, that’s an hour minimum, which we’re not doing if we’re learning.

Janice: So, um, I would kind of look at the topics that were in there, and then do questions from each of those areas and learn, get, uh, learn from the explanation because really, again, going back to what you’re doing on exam day is answering questions and to be able to answer your the questions you need to.

Janice: Not only understand the topic, but first and foremost you need to understand what the question is asking. You need to be able to read it and understand what the question is asking within, you know, seconds basically. Um, and then know what to do to be able to answer those questions. So that’s really what I was looking for when I was going through the multiple choice questions is, was, um, what is the question asking?

Janice: Like, here’s the format and I know some, uh, some people say, look at the, the call of the question, you know, what is, what is the final sentence in that question? What, you know, what are you looking for? And then get the information, you know, FAR tends to be, um, long-winded question and, um, and so I’m, I’m kind of looking for those little things in the question.

Janice: And then anything I wasn’t really, um, understanding, assuming the lecture wasn’t, you know, 90 minutes, I would go to the lecture. Um, and then just having that exposure, hearing it a different way cuz you know, you’re reading the questions, you have it in your own voice, reading it, however, hearing it from somebody else can help.

Using the Academic Support Feature in Becker

Janice: Um, but I will tell you for FAR, I used academic support extensively, I think twice. I, I, um, accidentally found a mistake, you know, I was like, oh, I’m not understanding this. Is this correct? Am I, you know, I thought it was the, oh yes, that is, you know, we need to update that. Thank you. Um, so utilize, like you have all of the tools at your disposal.

Janice: You have your materials, you have, you know, SuperfastCPA within your, the materials that you choose. You have some sort, hopefully some form of academic support. I know that people, um, wanna use the forums and the Facebook groups, but I found that using academic support, it was, it’s tailored to you and they get back to you pretty quickly.

Janice: I’ve gotten answers, you know, in an hour or less. Um, so I highly recommend using that. And then.

Nate: Sorry, is that so, just I’m, I think I know what you mean, but.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Is that a Becker feature where you can just submit a question in one of their instructors? Explains it. Is that what that is?

Janice: Yeah, that’s correct. So.

Nate: Okay.

Janice: If I’m in a multiple choice question and I’m like, so, uh, in FAR, for example, I got pretty frustrated just because for some of the explanations it’s just a calculation and for some people, you know, make sense, that’s fine. But for me, I wanted to make sure that I understood where each number was coming from.

Janice: Cuz every once in a while, um, there’s a number in the calculation that has the same two numbers and the explanation. But they relate to two different things. So you’re like, which one is it? You just wanna clarify. Um, so I, I would just email in, in, um, in terms of Becker, I would use the academic support just to email.

Janice: And it’s really, um, easy because you’re in the question. You just click that button and because you’re in that question, it’ll submit that question like you don’t have to.

Nate: I see.

Janice: Say this is question number. So and so, um, super easy. So it’s a great resource in, um, in Becker for anything that, you know, if you’re struggling to understand something, um, or if you, sometimes explanations have, like this explanation, um, answers the question in this way with this calculation and this explanation answered the question in a different way, but it gets you the same answer.

Janice: And so figuring out, okay, which one is more natural for me to use, and then maybe noting that, um, for calculation specific question, um, was a way that like, I, I could pull some of that information throughout and it wasn’t. I’m not taking notes at that point. I’m literally just applying it and seeing if it makes sense as I take the information from the explanation and apply it to the next question.

Janice: Okay, I see what they’re asking. That makes sense. Now I can go through the question quickly and understand what they’re asking and I know the calculation now and I’ll apply it. Um, so that was the bulk, I would say, of my studying. And if I still wasn’t getting it, I would actually go to the simulations first, not the lecture.

Janice: So, um, I went to the simulation for that specific module to see if, you know, um, listening to it and figuring out how, like the step-by-step process. Um, if I can make sense of that and apply it, then I feel pretty good about, you know, not having to use the lecture, cuz that makes sense. Um, cuz they include the explanation, like the written explanation and a video explanation, um, which, which tends helpful.

Nate: The Skill master.

Janice: Mm-hmm. The Skill Master videos.

Nate: For the Sims. Yeah.

Janice: Exactly.

Nate: Those are really good in, in Becker, I, you kind of mentioned it, but other people have flat out said it, they’re, they’re lectures where it’s just a voiceover of like highlighting the textbook. Not like super helpful, but these skill master videos are good.

Janice: Yeah, definitely.

Nate: Anyways, um, okay.

How Janice Improved Her Note-Taking Process

Nate: One other question I had about something you said, you said your first time around with REG 10 years ago. You filled out a whole notebook of just, I mean, just notes.

Janice: Just, yeah.

Nate: On, on, on REG. Um, and then this time around, less than one notebook for all four sections.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: So what, what led to that? Or like what did you do differently? How’d you come up with the new note taking process or, and why was it so much, uh, more concise, I guess.

Janice: Yeah. Um, just, I guess the theme, uh, here was the focus, um, you know, being intentional about the notes that you take. Or at least for me, cuz I am a reader writer.

Janice: Uh, that’s how I learn. I, I need to read it. If I write it down, I’ll remember it. So, and I think that’s why I took so many notes so, so many years ago was cuz maybe I felt like if I wrote it down, I would remember it. But this time around, and I think it was after, uh, either the PRO course or the webinar, um, where you covered like taking, making flashcards.

Janice: Um, for me the equivalent was taking note that that was my flashcard cuz I was really, uh, specific or rather really intentional about what was allowed to go in the notebook, I guess you could say. Um, because I just wanted the one, I wanted to be able to go back and reference it during the couple of days leading up to the exam day. And I figured out that that process by my audit exam, um, you know, I used, I used my note taking to, if I ever needed to make something make sense to me. So like lease, uh, lease accounting for example, was probably one that I, I needed to write out and make sense to me. Um, you know, how I wanted to do the calculation in a way that could move me through the calculation and the question quickly enough. Um, because like we just don’t have that kind of time to go through all of, all of the calculating, right?

Janice: And so, um, what I ended up doing by audit. Um, I would take, like there’s SSARS and like, uh, all of the different, um, attestation requirements, you know, and, and so what helped me was just to separate it, see it visually, okay, this is, this is, um, attestation, this is not a test service, services. Um, seeing it like that, and then a couple of other notes that I just wanted to remember because honestly, I think audit is a reading comprehension exam more so than the others. You have to really read the question and then, because you, you might know the material very, very well, but, um, you know, just reading the question, I mean, how many times have we read a question and we’re like, oh, this is the answer, but actually it’s not.

Janice: And then we realized, oh, I, I misread that. Um, so I think audit is one of those exams that’s like reading comprehension. So I really focused on, um, being clear about this is what this is, these are the acronyms, this is how I’m gonna remember them. And I had one page after I had my notes, I might have had like four pages of audit notes.

Janice: I had one page of like, everything from those other notes that I wanted to specifically reference for my audit exam, um, before I went in. And I did, I looked at those notes before I went into the exam, and I think three or four questions were on that. And I actually had one simulation that had I not read that beforehand, I would’ve been like, oh, what was it again?

Janice: You know? And I realized, oh my God, like that was my highest score. Um, I realized that having that in front of me in a clear and concise manner, easily digestible on exam day. Probably made the difference. Um, my simulation score was the strongest there. I thought I wasn’t good at simulations. Um, after seeing my REG and FAR passing scores, I was like, oh, I suck at simulations and I’m going through all of ’em.

Janice: And then for audit and BEC, I actually just went to the simulations for like supplemental. Um, I, I, I ended up being more intentional about those and yeah, just a couple of those notes on, on that review page for me for audit, uh, was really, really helpful. Same for BEC, I only had, I had less than three weeks, um, for BEC I, I had, um, I had lost my dog and to cancer and I had to really, you know, take a step back.

Janice: I went and I went through a real grieving process at that time. Um, and I had to take a step back and that’s why like I was running against time at the end of it all. You know, like with my NTS expiring that I was like, I gotta do it. It worked really well for audit. Um, I found out doing the 15 multiple choice question from one module, uh, random, and then 15 multiple choice questions from the same module, but, uh, “Adapt to you”. So like, personalized question was my 30 cumulative MCQs, you know, I would see what I needed to work on and then kinda look at what was, um, the focus based on the AICPA blueprint, um, and then get intentional about understanding the material from those areas.

Janice: And I just, I, I can’t believe I, I passed BEC with less than three weeks to study.

Nate: Yeah, that’s pretty good. And I was gonna say, you must have, well first of all, sorry to hear about your dog. That’s sad.

Janice: Thank you.

Nate: Um, yeah, cuz it was only a month ago, I sent out the email about, you know, signing up for the podcast if you passed recently and you had so.

Nate: You must have gotten a score back right after that and then.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Taken and gotten your score back in BEC in the last four weeks, basically. Right?

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: You’ve barely got your fourth score back.

Janice: Last week.

Nate: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So you’re still riding the high of, you know, being done.

Janice: Yeah, I had a, I had a dance party after I found out like, running across, I have um, what do you call it? I have hardwood floors, so I had socks on just like sliding across. It was great. It was great.

Nate: That’s funny. Uh, my daughter was doing that last night sliding like six inches. She was like, watch this. Anyways. That’s hilarious.

Janice: So much fun.

Nate: She was doing that just last night. Yeah.

Janice: Yeah. Highly recommend each score a little dance party.

Nate: Um, so let’s see what else. Uh, so you said again with your, your notes, basically what you’re saying is um, cuz yeah, the way I explain it in the PRO course is flashcards. That’s what I used and everything. But really the key is you’re taking things and you know, I say the like capturing the understanding.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: You’re trying to, okay, what is this really about and how can I kind of translate this into my own way of understanding, and you were just doing that with, with notes, you know, you, you had your own process of doing exactly that same idea, even though it wasn’t.

Janice: Exactly.

Nate: Flashcards. Yeah.

Using Writing to Retain CPA Exam Topics

Janice: Yeah. I tried, I actually tried it using, um, the BrainScape. Um, but again, I think because I’m a reader writer, like that’s how I learned. Once I write it, I will remember it. Um, and I do that like with people’s names too. If I write it, I know sign language. So like if I write it quote unquote in the air, I’ll remember, I’ll remember the name. Um, And I think that’s what worked for me in terms of like flashcards, but using, uh, my notebook.

Janice: And I, I really can’t, like, I really, I take a lot of notes and I did 10 years ago and now I, I, it’s really weird to see that I, this person who’s an avid note taker didn’t even use up half her notebook. Um, you know, for all four parts. So, um, if I feel like if I can do it and you’re like an avid note taker, if you’re just really, uh, intentional about what it is that gets to be in that notebook because you’re going to hopefully refer, uh, back to it, um, in the, in the days leading up to the exam day.

Janice: Yeah. And you just, you just don’t have time to flip through so many pages to remind yourself that that just gets a little overwhelming. Um, as I’m sure it was for me when I, when I first, my very first time starting so many years ago. Um, and then going back to it, like, especially for audit, like I remember looking at my notes that day.

Janice: It was just one pages, one page, sorry. And, um, literally I think I, I must have had three or four multiple choice questions relating to those. And then I had one simulation and it was my highest score. So, It’s helpful.

Nate: Yeah. I mean, no, it’s, it’s really valuable because, you know, if you think about it, it’s the stuff that comes easy for whatever reason, like the lessons that aren’t that difficult or you do some questions on it and it’s like, okay, I get that.

Nate: There’s no reason to really take notes on it. So you mostly are hopefully only take notes or make flashcards on things that you kind of struggle to remember or understand, and that’s why you’re taking notes.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: So by the end, your notes or your flashcards kind of contain your, uh, high leverage areas. I mean, everything else that came easy to you, you kind of have it.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: And you’ll do well in it. And so yeah, looking at that, the last. Two days, or I would always go to the testing center like two hours early and just do my, my high priority decks.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Like three more times. And like you said, I would just always see five to 10 questions, um, that I had just seen in the car because of those flashcards. So yeah, it’s worth a lot.

Janice: It’s good stuff. I mean, honestly, that’s probably, that probably could be worth, you know, five or 10 points right there. Just doing that, being able to do that and not have to flip through so many pages to, to get through all of that. And it’s not, it’s also, I wanna say that it’s more than just, you know, there to help you memorize it is truly there to help you understand and.

Nate: Right.

Janice: You know, separate information that might be confusing, that might get mixed up. That’s really what I was using my notes for, um, my notes or flashcards for, was being able to separate out information that I may have, uh, actually misunderstood or, you know, thought, oh, I thought it was this, but apparently not. Let me get the right one down and make sure that I have it, um, so that I can remember it for the exam and not get that mixed up again. Really easy to do in, um, in audit with the SSAR, and SSAE, like that’s probably where a lot of people get tripped up.

Using the SuperfastCPA Review Notes

Janice: And, and I know, um, you know, I started using the, um, the outlines more for audit and BEC and I think that was really helpful, the outlines in the, um, in the Superfast app and it was being, cuz at that point I was actually matching up what I was learning with the AICPA blueprint, which is how you have it, um.

Nate: Yeah, that.

Janice: Set up in the outline. So that was actually really helpful. Um, and I realized that, you know, you’re just saying, make these, make it make sense to you. Um, you know, it’s not a matter of memorizing for the sake of memorizing, but if you think through the questions, if you think about, um, what the information is saying, you know, you can kind of figure out, like sometimes you have to make an educated guess on, on the exam.

Janice: And I’ll tell you, I’m, I made a lot of educated guesses on BEC, um, you know, to, to really utilize the time, um, for the simulations and the written communication. Cuz that was, that was, that’s a new, um, the way that I’ve broken up, broken out is different from the other exams. So I was like, I need to get through the, the multiple choice questions so that I have enough time for the simulations and, and the, um, written communication.

Janice: And I think I submitted it with like 10 seconds left to go. So I was really glad I gotta make the educated guess and go. And sometimes when you walk through these, um, questions and, and come up with an answer that makes, potentially makes sense. Sometimes you have only a little bit of time to make an educated guess.

Janice: And again, going back to gotta do your best, you have all of the tools, um, you know, at your disposal, use them. Trust that you’ve given it your best and really be proud of, of the work that you’ve done to get there. Whether or not you get a passing score, um, it’s hard work and not everybody will understand what you’re going through.

Janice: Um, you know, maybe some people won’t support you through it, through, through it out, through it all. So it’s, um, you’re your biggest cheerleader and, and your biggest motivator. So it’s, um, it’s a journey and I think having SuperfastCPA really, really helped me. I’m done. Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. Well I’m happy to hear that.

Nate: Yeah, it’s, that’s awesome that you’re, especially the BEC to fit within your nine months NTS, you just, um, went for it. And obviously you were just at that point, I’m sure you were just thinking, well, I’m just gonna take this because.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: That’s the last few days of the nts and we’ll see what happens.

Janice: Yeah. I’m also, it was a different strategy for that one too. And, you know, hey, some, some of the processes will work for some, um, exams and maybe not for others, depending on, you know, the timing. I know some people have busy season, some people, you know, life happens, right? So, um, figuring it out along the way is also part of this journey.

Janice: Cuz again, this is self-study. You are coming up with your own curriculum and it’s up to you to stay committed, um, and be consistent with it.

Nate: Yeah. And it, that is, uh, that is something that’s just, people don’t really think through all of that. Like you said, when you, when you’re in college, you show up two to three times a week.

Nate: A professor is kind of guiding you through the material, um, coaching you on, here’s what’s gonna be on this quiz, or like whatever. And with this, it’s not only do you have to learn all the material yourself, but just the whole discipline, like how you set up your day when you go to bed.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Kind of like determines if you can even get up and study or you know, there’s all these things. It kind of just has to be. Um, and like our approach, our big claim is like you get your evenings back, you know?

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: But that requires like a highly disciplined approach, starting at the very beginning of the day, two hours in the morning.

Nate: Do your little mini sessions on your phone, and, uh, more or less you can be done and at least have a few hours every evening to take a complete mental break. But getting there kind of requires that you, you kind, you have to nail it each day.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: Yeah. Consistency is key.

Janice’s Final Review Process

Nate: Um, so your final, final review, how long would you say, I know you said you saved two weeks for FAR, but then one week got cut off.

Nate: Was two weeks kind of your final review that’s kind of what you would aim for on each section?

Janice: Actually, no. So I didn’t know about the final review. Uh, for REG, I actually just had two or three days. And cuz I realized too late going back into the Becker, um, course, it’s like you, two weeks before the exam take this, uh, simulated exam.

Janice: And I was like, oh, um, it is two days before my exam. I gotta take this right now. Um, and so I did. And even like for someone that may run out of time, like I highly recommend just submitting the simulated exam, going through the questions like, if you don’t have time to do it, yeah, submit it. Just go through the questions and try to an maybe like, cover, cover the, the answer and like try to answer it yourself. Again, having that repeat exposure is, is like, it really can be the difference between, you know, passing and not. So, um, for REG, I had days. For FAR, I lost my review week. I actually gave myself, uh, just over a week, but I wanted to review, uh, government, um, and then by the time, yeah, and then I found out that I, I had work travel, so I lost that week.

Janice: Um, but honestly for the retake, having that one week I think was more than enough. It was, it worked out really well. For audit, um, that was, I wanna say also about a week. And then, um, for BEC I actually studied from the final review, and then I really did. First week I did final review, and then second week I did multiple choice questions in the, in the format that I did 15 and 15 per module.

Janice: And then focused on the areas that, um, were heavily weighted based on the AICPA blueprint. And then the week of the exam, um, I did, I did more of the same, focused on those, those, um, what is it, the corporate governance, like the one with all of the crazy acronyms really long. 17 principles, whatever.

Janice: Uh, and.

Nate: Oh. Yeah.

Janice: And yeah. And, um, Yes, COSO ERM. Um.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: And then I, so yeah, so I went back and made sure to have that down cuz I just didn’t wanna try to sit there and remember in the middle of the exam. Um, and then I also went through a couple of simulations. I know that ratios was a big thing. I, um, I actually used a, um, so like Universal CPA has a, uh, exam day like, this is what tends to be covered. And so I just used it the week of my review, um, and I noticed for BEC ratios were covered. So I was like, okay, I’m gonna do simulations on that, make sure, and I got a ratio, uh, simulation on my exam. Um, so again, going back to being really intentional and focused on what it is that you, you study, I mean, you have, again. You have all of the, the resources at your disposal. It’s not about, you know, consuming everything that you possibly can with the, you know, the materials, the supplemental material, you know, and if that works, like that’s great. Um, but I think again, going back to what you’re, what you’re trying to do is understand it, um, understand the material and be able to apply, um, your understanding and your knowledge to, to the exam.

Janice: And if not, being able to have the confidence, um, and trust within yourself to make an educated guess. Cuz we don’t know everything, but we gotta try, we gotta keep moving forward.

Nate: Yes. And I would say that, uh, when you spend most of, again, when you spend most of your study time doing what you’ll be doing on exam day, you just get good at.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Those things. MCQs and sims. And then you just have a lot higher, when you do have to flat out guess, you’re just, you’re odds are higher just because you’re, I don’t know, there’s just little things, little nuances you pick up on doing so many questions.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: And that being like where you start with each lesson.

Nate: Um, the other thing I was gonna say is, I can just tell you were very strategic. You would just think strategically.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: About every little thing, like doing the questions or when you would do sims, which sims you would do. Looking at your score report or the blueprints, what’s more heavily weighted and when it came down to it and you had to make decisions of like, okay, I can study this or this? This is 10% of the exam, this is 30% of the exam or whatever.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Um, yeah, that’s just another big point that, uh, is hard to, I guess, be strategic is a good tip, but it’s very vague. But when you’re strategic about every part of the study process, you just gain all these little advantages, you know? Whereas again, I think just kind of the traditional study approach, that’s why it’s so easy for some people to put in four or five hours a day for months and they’re still failing cuz it’s just, you know.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Press play on the video. Yeah, you, I guess technically you can say you’re studying, but it’s, it’s not very strategic or it’s not very high leverage to do it that way, you know? Um, yeah. And that’s just something everyone has to kind of figure out is taking the, just being proactive every hour that you sit and study, like what’s the most strategic, highest and best use of my time based on where I’m at, what I need to cover, what I’m still struggling with. Yeah. That’s just, uh, I mean, you gave a lot of practical tips on how to do that.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: But yeah, that’s, uh, I can see why you passed hearing you talk about how you studied.

Janice: Yeah, I mean, you, you planted the seed in, in my head and I’m sure you’ve done that for many of us. Um, and again, it’s a matter of figuring out what works for us. Cuz every, every si, everyone’s situation is different. Um, and I’m, I just can’t believe it’s like, I’m actually, I was actually passing, I’m like, hey, I’m doing this now.

Janice: Why was this so hard 10 years ago?

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Okay. Sorry, I was gonna ask you that. I know we’re past an hour, so I’ll, we’ll wrap this up.

Confirming Your Study Process Is Working

Nate: But, um, yeah. So you had your first, first attempt to kind of compare it to when you watched our webinar, watched the PRO course videos, and then you started studying. Did things, did the whole process click for you relatively quickly, or was it your, until you got your first passing score that it kind of confirmed, okay, this, this works.

Janice: Yeah, I think it was the first score cuz uh, you know, I’m sure, I’m sure we all feel some kind of way after leaving the, the testing center, you know, whether it’s like, oh, I definitely didn’t pass, or I think I passed.

Janice: Um, I think for me, my first attempt was, I really don’t know. Um, and I think after getting that passing score back, I was like, okay, so this works. Um, you know, let me, let me apply it to the other ones and like I will be done. I literally again, decided, to even take the CPA not even a year ago. And I can’t believe I’m here just over nine months later and I’m done.

Janice: Like, this works. It works.

Nate: Um, yeah.

Janice’s Top Tips for Those Still Struggling With Their Study Process

Nate: So going along with that, so the last question I always ask is, um, I’m sure we already covered these in at some point, but what would be your top three tips to people that are, you know, still trying to nail down a, an effective study process?

Janice: Yeah. Um, I would, number one, from my experience, I would say assess, assess your situation, your environment.

Janice: Are you set up for success? Because I was not 10 years ago, um, in my situation, having to work those 10 to 12 hour days, I, I really wasn’t. Um, and that’s okay. You know, the CPA will always be there. You wanna make sure that you have your, um, you know, your biggest cheerleaders after yourself of course. But having that support, um, you know, sharing with the people that should know or need to know, right?

Janice: Hey, I’m studying for the cpa. Um, you know, I, I really wanna focus on this. This is important to me. And if it’s not your time, that’s okay. I, I feel like I, I improve. That, um, right out of college was not my time. Um, and I’m here now and I’m, I’m glad I, I decided to do it now cuz I don’t know what that would’ve looked like then.

Janice: Um, but it’s, it’s okay. It’s okay to wait. Um, you know, if, if you’re pushing and you’re not at least accepting the process, not necessarily enjoying the process, you should enjoy passing though. Um, but take a moment and, and make sure that you’re set up for success first and foremost. I, I would, you know, we’ve got, we had the pandemic, um, I’m sure lots of people recently had layoffs, like, it’s okay to take a break, you know, assess, um, when is it good time for you to take the exam.

Janice: So I would say that that’s my tip number one. And then, um, my second tip is, is if you can make a plan and stick to it. That, I think is a huge differentiating factor in passing, uh, between passing the CPA exam and not. I’ve seen some people, uh, you know, kind of, and, and sorry, in my, um, when I first started 10 years ago, oh, I study kind of whenever, and I see, look, now looking back like that was not going to work.

Janice: Um, again, you are your own professor. You are making your own curriculum. This is self-study, so it will help you, um, in staying consistent and committed to learning the material, getting yourself set up to pass the CPA exam because I think I. Once you utilize your tools and you’re strategic about it, and you stay committed to, um, your, your own curriculum, your own outline, um, I think, you know, that that really helped.

Janice: Like I had to switch it up for each, each, um, exam. And yeah, not every, the first process that I had for REG would not have worked for BEC. Um, so in the same way that you work out, you do it every day, you find a plan and stick to it. Um, it’s not gonna happen overnight, whatever your workout goals are right.

Janice: Same thing for the CPA. Um, and then I know I mentioned a couple of tips earlier on being strategic about, um, you know, utilizing those resources and tools. Um, so like some of the multiple choice questions, splitting it up, looking at the AICPA blueprint and seeing what’s heavily weighted, I think can really help with, um, you being focused in your strategy and especially during review week.

Janice: Honestly, I think that’s probably what helped, um, looking at the AICPA blueprint for each exam and seeing what’s heavily weighted and maybe utilizing, um, your review week to focus on those heavier weighted areas. Um, cuz I, I found that that’s what’s the most tested material, right, going into exam day.

Janice: Um, and then my last tip I would say is having, having, um, having the right mindset, being kind to yourself as you, you know, go through this journey. I think having, after, after failing FAR my first time, right? Um, I bought these little stickers that said, um, I’m going to pass all four parts of the CPA exam.

Janice: And like there was one sticker that had like little box boxes. I was like, I checked for REG and I, I’m like, I’m gonna do it for FAR. Gonna do this for audit, gonna, you know, so having those little things that when you’re unsure of yourself, you can just look at. Um, I think I wrote. A few times throughout my journey, like I am a CPA, um, you know, and I have passed all four parts of the CPA and it feels incredible, whatever.

Janice: Now being on the other side, it just feels like unbelievable, you know? Yeah. Um, and actually saying that, right? And I will say as part of mindset, skip the first question. If you’re stumped on exam day, If you feel like, oh my gosh, I didn’t study this, or whatever, just skip the first question. I’m pretty sure that they throw the first question as like, you know, let, let’s, like, they’re just like, let’s see what we can do, you know?

Janice: Um, see if we can throw off these candidates.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: I think it helped me. Um, yeah, so those are all my tips.

Nate: Awesome. Yeah, and I, I really liked what you said. It just, uh, Just very focused, intentional studying or it’s like, it’s, it’s like work. You know, you’re, yeah. If you’re doing this correctly, you should be active.

Nate: You should hardly ever be sitting, just staring at your computer for longer than like three minutes at a time. Um, you’re either working problems or taking notes on something or reworking a solution. It’s kind of hard to go wrong if you’re like, actively forcing information into your brain, um, every hour that you study, you know?

Janice: Yeah. I liked what you said about making, making the material makes sense to you. Um, you know, the way that one professor or one lecturer might explain the material or whatever, or in the explanation right, may not make sense to you. I think that’s also another one I wanna throw in there is make it make sense to you.

Janice: If you can explain it to someone else and they can understand it, it makes sense to you. You’ll be able to utilize it for the exam. And I think you’ve mentioned that in the PRO course, especially going over the flashcard. Um, that one’s, that one’s a good one. Really good one.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Kind of like you said with your notes, it’s just this process of when you come to something that’s challenging for you to understand, if you can get it to where, yeah.

Nate: You can put it in your own words. Or another way of saying that is if you could turn and teach it to somebody else, yeah. Then you kind of have it. And that’s what you make flashcards on or diagram and you know, your notes or however you do that part, but it’s, uh, yep, just the process of taking challenging things and understanding ’em to where you could explain it to somebody else.

Nate: That’s huge. Yeah. And that just unlocks your ability to answer any questions you might see about that topic. Um, obviously.

Janice: Definitely.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: I feel like we’re on a journey of becoming, uh, as much of an expert in the area as possible.

Nate: Right.

Janice: Just enough to pass the exam though.

Nate: Yep. Study to pass. You’re not, yeah.

Nate: Yeah. You’re not getting a PhD.

Janice: No.

Top Benefits from Using SuperfastCPA

Nate: Um, so one, so, sorry, last question. One feedback question. What was your, uh, what was the overall most helpful thing about SuperfastCPA and kind of adding it to your study process?

Janice: Hand down the multiple choice. Um, going through the multiple choice questions first, like from day one, when you do that, you are applying what you’re learning in real time.

Janice: And then by the end of your study, um, session, um, you know, over however many weeks for whatever CPA exam, now you can just read the question and apply your knowledge and get it done and move on and have all the time in the world to be able to do the, the simulations. I think going about it that way is what really unlocked, um, probably even my thinking about the strategies, like what que there’s so many questions. What questions do I cover? What in the world do I do with my, um, review week? Um, I think that’s what really, really helped. And then having the exposure throughout the day, using, um, using the app, like going through the mul, uh, the mini quizzes and then, um, referencing the outline.

Janice: For REG, I used the audio notes a lot. Um, and then for FAR I went through the outline. For audit and BEC, I think I, it was just outline and then mini quizzes throughout. Um, I think again, because I’m a reader writer, that’s what worked for me. I know one other thing I recommend is like knowing how you best learn if you’re a visual learner, if you’re, uh, I guess kinesthetic, like if you need a workout while studying or whatever.

Janice: Uh, reader writer, right. Use, um, the tools that make sense for you. But yeah, the question, going through the questions first, and like learning from the explanations and the simulations, I was like, oh my gosh. Yeah. Why aren’t we studying from this? Should we even have lectures anymore, right? Um, that’s what unlocked it for me.

Janice: I think.

Nate: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, the, the strategy is the overall biggest thing, and then I think our, our study tools just kind of help you implement some of those strategies, but.

Janice: Absolutely.

Nate: It’s definitely, yeah, this is just like a black box, endless material to learn with your, the time constraints or whatever.

Nate: How you do your day is up to you, so.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: It’s all about being strategic. Um.

Janice: Definitely.

Nate: Yeah. All right. Well, sorry we went over, but I appreciate you taking the time to do this. Uh.

Janice: Definitely.

Nate: It was really valuable. And yeah, just like you listened to the other episodes, this will be a really valuable episode for, you know, some percentage of the people that listen to this will just directly connect to some of your ideas, so.

Janice: Hopefully.

Nate: And I’m, I’m glad you found us. I’m glad it made a difference and congrats on being done.

Janice: Thank you. I’m done.

Nate: Yeah, it is awesome. I wish I could relive that feeling. It was like three months where I was like, just tangibly, uh, not, not high, but like a tangible.

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Just sense of relief for months.

Janice: High on life.

Nate: It was just awesome. Yeah.

Janice: Yeah. I just couldn’t believe it. I, I was just like, like mouth agape eyes wide, like, I did it. Like, you know, it was, it wasn’t anything I thought I would cry or something, but I was just like, that happened. I, I’m, I’m done. Like I’m done. Um, it was, and then I danced, you know, had a little dance party after, I think it was like 10 or midnight or something.

Janice: Um, yeah, it was a journey. And really.

Nate: And it’s almost almost weird the next few days to not study, you know?

Janice: Yeah.

Nate: Cause it’s, it becomes like a big chunk of every day and then it’s, you just not, you just don’t have to do it. It’s almost weird for a while.

Janice: I’m saying yes to more things. Yes.

Nate: Yeah.

Janice: I’m saying yes to all the things. I’m like, yeah, I can.

Nate: Yeah, for sure.

Janice: I can do that now. So, it’s been great. Thanks.

Nate: That’s awesome.

Janice: Thanks for all the tools.

Nate: Yeah. Yep. I’m glad it helped. It’s, I mean,


Nate: All right. So that was the interview with Janice. I’m sure you found that very informative and motivating, and just to see how simple, this process can really be and how quickly it can work once you get your daily study process and the study strategies figured out.

Nate: So if you found this valuable, please take a second. Share it with someone else you know, who’s also working on their CPA exams and it would really help if you took a second to find the podcast in apple podcasts or wherever you listen to this or on YouTube, leave a rating and review. Of course, if it’s on YouTube, the best thing you can do is like the video, subscribe to our channel and leave a comment about one takeaway you got from this interview with Janice.

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

Other Posts You'll Like...

Want to Pass as Fast as Possible?

(and avoid failing sections?)

Watch one of our free "Study Hacks" trainings for a free walkthrough of the SuperfastCPA study methods that have helped so many candidates pass their sections faster and avoid failing scores...