How Melodie Passed Her CPA Exams by Making Every Morning Count

How Melodie Passed Her CPA Exams by Making Every Morning Count

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In this SuperfastCPA podcast episode, you’ll hear how Melodie studied for and passed her CPA exams after deciding she needed the CPA in her career. One of Melodie’s main strategies was to never miss a morning study session, even on the weekends, and how that helped her quickly improve on the study material and her study process itself.


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Episode Timestamps

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 02:36 Why Melodie Dediced to Pursue her CPA
  • 04:11 How Melodie Found SuperfastCPA
  • 04:56 Grateful That She Found SuperfastCPA from the Beginning of Her Study
  • 06:27 Why Melodie Decided to Trust SuperfastCPA
  • 08:17 Watched the Free Training And Bought Everything After
  • 09:00 Took a While to Get Used to the Questions First Approach
  • 10:38 A Few Weeks Before Her FInal Review When Things Started to Click
  • 13:01 Passed Her First Exam Feeling 50-50
  • 14:05 Didn’t Pass All Four on First Try
  • 16:34 Studied for Two Exams at the Same Time
  • 17:54 Worked in General Accounting, Found Auditing to be the Hardest
  • 18:54 Having the Evenings Free
  • 24:22 Things That She Made Sure Not to Miss Out
  • 25:46 She Made Sure to Keep Important People in Her Life in the Loop
  • 27:37 Using the Study Tools to Study Throughout the Day
  • 30:17 How Melodie Would Learn from the Questions First Approach
  • 33:31 Why Melodie Trusted the Process
  • 34:57 Melodie’s Note Taking and Flashcards Process
  • 36:43 How Melodie Would Study on Weekends
  • 39:09 How Much Time Melodie Would Leave for Her Final Review
  • 40:11 Melodie’s Test Day Experience
  • 43:57 A Validation Indicating That You Know a Certain Topic
  • 45:47 Studying in Layers Helps with Retention
  • 46:46 Top Tips for People Still Struggling with the Study Process
  • 48:54 Suggested SuperfastCPA Strategy to Other People and Activities

Interview Transcript

Melodie: [00:00:00] Stay consistent every morning, you know, put the two, three hours away in the morning. That’s something that I’ve carried with me outside of studying for the CPA exams and, uh, has affected people around me, um, who are not studying for the CPA. They just were like, Hey, I’d like that, you know, you got up in the morning and just plugged it away every day, even on the weekends. Yes, every, every day. I’m doing it. You know, that’s where you’re going to see the results, is when you’re consistent. If you want it, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work. So, it’s worth it in the end, but put in the time. Be consistent. Don’t, don’t half do it.

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

So Melodie had a similar experience to what a lot of people go through. She had been out of college for multiple [00:01:00] years. I think it was eight years. And she had been doing bookkeeping and managing and things like that. And she just felt like she wasn’t able to get where she wanted to get in her career.

Logan: So she decided to go back to school to be able to sit for the CPA exam. And right as she was about to start the process or at the very beginning of the process, she found SuperfastCPA. So she used SuperfastCPA all the way from the beginning. And in the interview, you’ll hear her say how grateful she was that she found that because she’s the kind of person who definitely would have done the normal study approach.

She was okay with watching lectures and reading the textbook because that’s just what you did in school, right? But she was grateful that she was able to save so much time just going straight to the questions with SuperfastCPA.

The way she looked at it, she had already been doing this career for eight or nine years. She didn’t have time to waste failing exams for two or three years. She needed to pass these exams as quickly as possible. And she had also heard horrible stories from her coworkers that said they had spent a year or more not being able to spend time with their [00:02:00] family in the evenings.

And she also knew she couldn’t do that. So SuperfastCPA seemed like the best option. She has a lot of great tips and I think this interview is going to be super helpful.

Before we jump into the interview, just a reminder to everyone that we do have our one hour free webinar training on superfastcpa.com. Again, it’s only one hour and it is free and it will save you so much time struggling with your process just like it saved Melodie. We teach the key ingredients to passing the CPA exam and we teach you how to study effectively and efficiently. So definitely go check that out.

With all that said, let’s dive straight into the interview with Melodie.

Nate: All right.

Why Melodie Dediced to Pursue her CPA

Nate: So to start, to start with, let’s just go back to the beginning. Like, where were you at in your career when you started studying for the CPA exams? And what was it that made you want to get your CPA? Just back to the beginning of when you started working on the CPA exams in general.

Melodie: Right. So I was well into my career. I was about, you [00:03:00] know, eight years out of college. I went to college for, uh, business, uh, management. Um, just, you know, that basic degree, I kind of fell into the job that I was in and had been in there for about, you know, the time I’d been out of school. So eight years, eight, nine years, um, where I was a, bookkeeper, like a cash room manager.

So kind of already in the field, but I had just been feeling like I had topped out at what my job could allow me to do in terms of moving up and making more money and just advancing. So I went back to school. So I’d finished completing the coursework, um, in terms of the classes needed to sit for the exam. Um, and so I was pretty much at the beginning of studying for the, uh, the individual test when I found Superfast CPA on YouTube. So that’s where I was in my career, just wanting to advance and knew I was [00:04:00] kind of stuck in my position. So I just wanted to use this as an opportunity to advance myself, whether it be within my company or outside of it in my own career.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. It makes sense.

How Melodie Found SuperfastCPA

Nate: So, as you started thinking about seriously taking the exams, uh, you said that you kind of saw our ads on YouTube from the beginning. So you kind of started with our strategies or study tools?

Melodie: Yes. I found you guys kind of early on. Um, I was just, you know, plugging in, you know, on YouTube, like, study tips or what have you for this, uh, for the CPA cause I’d already been using, um, YouTube to help me through some of my coursework in college, um, in, in the classes I had been taking. So my YouTube algorithm had already knew. So it kind of, it always was already there by the time I was ready to start studying for the exams.

Nate: Okay.

Grateful That She Found SuperfastCPA from the Beginning of Her Study

Logan: So did you have it from like right from the very beginning, or did you kind of [00:05:00] study on your own for a little bit before, uh, purchasing SuperfastCPA?

Melodie: No, I actually, um, had it from the beginning. Um, I, um, and I’m grateful for that because I know it saved me time. Uh, cause I know who I am as an individual. I am very much by the book, you know, I have no problem studying traditionally the way that, you know, the teachers of the school wants you to study. So I went ahead and purchased, uh, I used Wiley and so I purchased the books and the flashcards and all that from Wiley and didn’t end up using it. So I’m grateful for that. Cause I would have gone the traditional way of going through the video, going through the study tips, and I would have wasted time.

Nate: Okay. So that’s an, that’s an interesting question because, um, a lot of people, I think the most common kind of pathway for someone to find us is, well, so sometimes people have seen our ads and maybe even [00:06:00] have watched the free training, but they kind of, if they haven’t started the CPA study process and gotten in several months into it, they kind of, operate under the assumption like, well, I have a college degree or a lot of times like I have two college degrees.

I know how to study. So they just start, you know, doing what you said you would have done the traditional approach, reading the textbook, watching every video.

Why Melodie Decided to Trust SuperfastCPA

Nate: Um, so I guess my question is without going through that and through trial and error, realizing why that’s an issue or, you know, why that’s quote unquote, the wrong way or the ineffective way, what was it that made you decide to use our strategies from the beginning instead of just starting that way?

Melodie: Because I felt like personally from, from my life and where I was, I needed anything to help me save time. I wanted to.

Nate: Okay.

Melodie: [00:07:00] Get, get past studying the traditional way. And, you know, the way, um, you had to advertise, you were like, Hey, you want to cut this time? You’re going to waste time this way. It was, it was very effective.

I’m like, look, I’ve already spent. You know, eight, nine years in this career. I don’t have two, three years to, to fail multiple times and then finally come back. I’m like, I’ll just give this a shot. Like, and it made sense to me, um, the methods. So I was like, Hey, I can do it. Like I might as well give it a try.

Nate: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, that’s, I mean, good for you for having that mindset from the beginning. Um, one way I describe it as a, like for me back 10 years ago, starting this business. It’s not just about, you know, writing these review notes, or there was all these things I had to learn, like setting up a website, uh, all the things with online marketing. And I quickly figured out there are courses out there that just someone who’s good [00:08:00] at what you’re trying to accomplish. And it will save you months of trying to figure things out on your own to just buy a course, you know, on setting up a server or how to build a website or whatever. So, yeah, I mean, they’re just, that’s a good mindset to have.

Watched the Free Training And Bought Everything After

Nate: So, uh, did you start by watching one of our free trainings? Do you remember?

Melodie: Yes, I did. I, um, signed up for one of the free trainings and, um, went ahead and, and purchased the package and just made the leap, just made the jump and was like, okay, I’m going to fully commit to this. Um, uh, because I had things in my personal life that, you know, I had plans and, you know, it’s like anything that can help me get there sooner, you know, I’m just going to go ahead and go headfirst into this, not going to, you know, get, you know, a course packet for just this one or just that one.

I’ll just get the whole thing and just go for it. Uh, so right after that two hour session, I just went ahead and purchased it, kind of got started.

Logan: That’s [00:09:00] awesome.

Took a While to Get Used to the Questions First Approach

Logan: Did you go right into watching the PRO videos after that? And kind of just, I mean, like you said, you just went straight into it. So, um, so I’m assuming you watched the PRO course videos and then. How did it feel getting into studying in that way? Like, did it feel hard to do it at first?

Like, because it was just so contrary to what you’ve done in the past, maybe? Or was it easy?

Melodie: So I did the PRO course, um, um, went through all those videos. Um, and when I got into studying, it was, yeah, it wasn’t necessarily intuitive to me. Um, I, I understood, um, but when it came time to doing it, um, It might’ve been a little bit harder for me to be like, okay, you know, I’m not, I’m used to getting, school comes to me easy.

Studying comes to me easy. I like, I liked being in school. Um, so when I wasn’t getting the answers right right away, I was like, okay, I just had to train my brain that it’s not about getting it right. It’s about learning these questions, knowing [00:10:00] what to look for, um, just getting familiar with the information.

You’ll get it right eventually, but that’s not, that’s not the focus right now. Um, and having to kind of just retrain my brain for, um, the study process at first was a little difficult. And, um, uh, later on, I guess I can get into, like, when I finally passed the first one or finally, when it clicked for me, I feel like it clicked a little bit later. Um, but when it did, it’s like, okay, I see, I finally see how this works. Um, but yeah, it didn’t come to me naturally, but I understood, um, what it was, what it was trying to do and just kind of stuck to it.

A Few Weeks Before Her FInal Review When Things Started to Click

Logan: Yeah, so I guess, like, that’s a great follow up question right away. You can just, uh, let’s just go straight into that where, so, you know, you started doing it and you mentioned that it took a while for it to click. What was the process getting up to that point of it clicking? And yeah, like how long did it take for it to click?

Melodie: Yes. So, um, you know, the process calls [00:11:00] to, you know, start with the questions first and know what, what the, um, what the examiners are looking for. What are they wanting you to really get about the, these concepts? And, um, so I would do the questions first and then go through the process lined out by SuperfastCPA. Um, but it wasn’t until I’d want to say like a couple weeks before my final review process where, um, I started, um, when I was doing like the 30 questions or the 30 multiple choice questions that I was starting to see the number, the, um, the percentage I was getting right finally go up. I was like I was staying faithful to like doing the two hours in the morning studying during the day but then it didn’t really click in terms of like, okay, my brain’s got this. I’m getting the numbers that I need to feel like I can pass it until later. Um, it, this took me a little bit longer, but I stayed doing the process in the [00:12:00] morning. Um, but yeah, I just kind of, kind of saw the numbers go from like, you know, 50 or 60 to like 70, 80, 90, um, um, when doing the 30 multiple choice questions at a time,

Logan: Yeah, that that’s like the perfect, uh, that’s that perfect example of that, you know, like it can be kind of like scary or discouraging, you know, going through those first few weeks where you’re like, I don’t know, I still don’t know that much. And there’s still so much information. But once you get to the end, and that’s what we tell people all the time, like you’re not really paying attention to those scores until right before the exam. And even then, it’s okay to be missing stuff because it’s better to miss it now than to miss it on the exam. Um, so I mean anyway, yeah, like it’s uh, it takes a while for it to start getting it, so i’ve always like think of it as like an exponential thing like it kind of is a slow build and then right at the end you start to see all of it like coming together, you know.

Melodie: [00:13:00] Exactly, exactly. That’s how it was for me.

Passed Her First Exam Feeling 50-50

Nate: And so was your, uh, so how’d the first exam go? Like, you start the process, study for a month or two, and then how’d the first exam go?

Melodie: The first exam, um, well, first off I passed, I did not expect that. Um, I came out of the exam feeling very 50-50. I think I actually posted on the forum like, I don’t know. I feel 50-50 about this. Should I go ahead and study for the next one or should I go back? I don’t know, but I hadn’t received my scores yet. Um, you know, I done the whole process, followed it as closely as I could, but I came out of there just unsure. Um, but I skated by with like a, uh, I want to say like a 75 or 76 or just a couple of points over what you needed. And I was like, Hey, Hey, that’s what I needed. I’m not stressing about how high it is.

I’m done. Uh, so it felt good. So it felt very, very validating to know that the process does work.

Logan: And sorry, which exam was that again?

Melodie: Uh, the first one I did [00:14:00] was FAR.

Logan: Okay. Oh, yeah, that’s great. Getting that one right out of the way.

Melodie: Yeah.

Didn’t Pass All Four on First Try

Logan: So after that first exam, did you just kind of keep going? Uh, like just keep doing the same process. Uh, were there any hiccups along the way? I mean, I rem, I think I do remember seeing some of your posts, but I didn’t, I should have gone and looked at it before this, but, uh, but yeah, like how did it go for the other three?

Melodie: So it wasn’t exactly a, um, straight, um, incline, uh, journey. It was not smooth the whole time, but I kept to the process. Um, so I definitely want to encourage people that, you know, it’s not necessarily going to be like, Oh, I passed all four first time through, even with this process, I used the process the whole time, but I still failed a couple of times and just kept plugging away and say, okay, what do I need to tweak?

Or maybe I just needed more time and just. If I’d had a couple more weeks, I would have really had it. Um, so I went from passing FAR the first time to then go into auditing, which is, you know, such a different kind of like.

Logan: Mm hmm.

Melodie: Conceptually [00:15:00] just how they work. Um, and it, it’s just something that I’m, I’m not as, um, comfortable with.

I’m very good with just like numbers. That’s why I got kind of got into accounting, but the way the auditing works, it’s just very different. It’s more, you know, uh, questions and more theory and that sort of thing. So I just had to kind of, once again, kind of retrain my brain to focus on it differently.

So I didn’t pass, I want to say I didn’t pass auditing the first time, um, but I just once again, when I didn’t get that passing score, I went back at it. Uh, um, I did, I think a couple of times studied two sections at a time. So when I didn’t pass auditing, uh, I was already studying for the next one and I just was studying both at the same time. Um, but the second time when I went in for auditing, I passed it. And just kind of kept plugging away. Um, so yeah, it was not smooth sailing the whole time. Um, but I kept to the [00:16:00] process and just, um, you know, they, they has videos on how to, you know, retake, how to tweak your process when you don’t pass the first time. Um, so I, I’m sure I looked at those and, um, I got two, by the time I, uh, took the two that I didn’t pass right away a second time, I passed them, but yeah, it was not smooth the whole time.

Logan: You know, that’s, that, um, and that’s, uh, I mean, that is just a very normal part of the CPA process. Um, and actually, I kind of want to follow up on a part that you said there.

Studied for Two Exams at the Same Time

Logan: So, what was your, like, how did it look like from day to day when you were studying for two exams? Like, were you splitting one hour this exam, one hour that exam, or like, how did that look?

Melodie: So I would dedicate the beginning part of the day when I was freshest to the new section, you know, start focus on the new stuff, um, the new material. And then, um, you know, when I [00:17:00] was using, um, the audio throughout the day, like so for our, for my drive to work, um, and walking into, I work, uh, I was working in the airports. Uh, so when I was walking through the airports or, you know, had any free time at work, I would just plug in the audio and listen to that, for the new section. And then the second half of my day, I would, um, review, review, um, the, the section that I hadn’t passed. I’d go back to the 30 multiple choice questions a few times.

So I would just split my day in the first part of the day would be the new one.

Logan: Okay.

Nate: Yeah. That’s perfect. Yeah. I can see all your posts on the forum now. So yeah, it’s, uh, yeah, that’s pretty cool. So you, I think based on your forum posts, you. You failed audit once and REG once, right? But that’s it. Passed BEC on the first try. Yeah. And then you ended with an 86 on REG.

Worked in General Accounting, Found Auditing to be the Hardest

Nate: And what do you work in again? General accounting.

Melodie: Yeah, general, general [00:18:00] accounting, like now I’m in a accounts payable, um, and before I was a, like, bookkeeping, um, cash, cash manager.

Logan: Mm-hmm.

Nate: So audit and tax are fairly foreign or like you never, you haven’t worked directly in audit or tax?

Melodie: Correct, correct. But tax, um, I think I just needed more time with that, but I, you know, just being familiar, having to do your own taxes, kind of having some idea with that. I think, uh, that was the last set of, um, classes I had taken before I started studying for the exam. So, um, it wasn’t as bad, but I think it was just like, I needed more time with that one, and I think I was studying a couple of sections at the same time with that one.

But yeah, it was definitely auditing was a lot more foreign to me than, uh, than all the other ones.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah, that’s a very common, if you didn’t start in auditing, then audit is a very difficult exam.

Having the Evenings Free

Nate: Um, so what about your, I mean, you kind of talked about this, but your day to day, [00:19:00] so you would study two hours in the morning. It sounds like you would kind of use the study tools on your phone throughout the day. And then would you just kind of relax in the evenings just to have a break or studying in the mornings kind of allowed you to do that?

Melodie: Uh, so, um, it definitely, um, increased as time went on. So what I mean is I would definitely, I would get up at, uh, five in the morning. I, you know, make my coffee, start up my computer, study for the two hours, um, get ready for work. Me and my husband would, um, commute together and, um, then at work, I had enough flexibility with my job to, you know, be doing 30, um, multiple choice questions on my computer or, um, be doing the, um, using the app to study or listening to the audio even at work.

Um, but I would still have that morning, the morning session set up, um, as, as prescribed. And then, um, you know, I would have free time at home. It [00:20:00] did allow me to have that free time at home to, you know, cook dinner or to, you know, hang out with my husband or watch a movie or what have you. I was, I was really grateful for because, um, you know, when I, before I even started out, I met a couple people who were giving me the doom and gloom about the exams and how to study, you know, I met one guy who said, you know, I have a wife and kids, but I told my wife, you got to take care of the kids.

And for a whole year after work. I would watch the videos and that was it. I would do all the studying and that was it. So my wife had to take care of the house and the while I studied, I was like, Oh, okay. So I can’t do that. I, and I, if that’s what it takes. I can’t do that. So I was really happy to have a way to study as needed, but then to have somewhat of a life, you know, have the evenings at home with my husband. Um, but as time progressed, I was seeing, um, I was seeing the, um, passing scores and I was seeing the progress. So I would get [00:21:00] home and start doing more 30 multiple choice questions or I’d study another section or, you know, cause I saw it just built the momentum and I just kept it going.

So it ended up rolling into the evenings as well for me.

Nate: Yes. And I like that. I like that you point that out the, uh, having success with it becomes very motivating because you’re like, okay, I’m I’m onto something and it just, it gets a lot easier to do the mini quizzes or wake up early to study just because you know, it’s working. You know, it’s, yeah, the mom, the, I guess both the momentum and the motivation just becomes so much easier when what you’re doing is working. And, uh, it does, it kind of makes you want to, like, I used mini quizzes on my phone relentlessly. I mean, they were from Wiley because obviously my own stuff didn’t exist when I took the exams, but I would just, yeah, I just loved that because it was very motivating to me. I just kind of viewed it as every mini [00:22:00] quiz might honestly be the difference between me passing or failing or every little mini session. So yeah, I like that you point that out.

Logan: And, uh, and I mean, it is a, it’s an awesome feeling to get that momentum where you almost just feel like, each day you’re just propelled through the whole day because you’re like, I can like, and it’s not even like a chore. Like, it’s just a part of your day and like, kind of like you were saying at the end, you were just like, well, I’ll, I’ll just do more like, why not?

Cause you were just feeling so good about it. You know? I mean, it’s a great feeling.

Melodie: For sure. For sure.

Nate: We, I mean, we mention this all the time on these interviews but if you’re putting in a bunch of time and then it’s not working then you start to question everything, you know, like why am I doing this to myself? This is miserable. And it’s like not even working. So, um, and I, I think that studying in the morning and just nailing that down. It’s also, I guess you didn’t [00:23:00] experience it the other way, but your study session is weighing on your mind all day during work, and just in the back of your mind, you know, that you get home from work, you know, You’ve got to fight off distractions and try to find four hours to sit down and study. Then your workday sucks. I mean, you’re just constantly, you just have this hanging over your head all the time. And, uh, it’s just very freeing and motivating to just do it in the morning. You know, it’s working. Um, and then from there, your, your day can kind of unfold normally, and it’s just not as stressful. So I guess I’m guessing you would say that, you know, you had to be disciplined. You had to get up early to study and make the time, you know, on a daily basis. But this whole process wasn’t a complete nightmare. Right.

Melodie: No, definitely wasn’t. I mean, it was a commitment for sure, but, um, it wasn’t as bad [00:24:00] as, you know, the people I had, um, met before I started who got their CPA, who had to pretty much give up their family life, their life outside of work to study. It definitely wasn’t that bad. So, um, you know, I, I knew what it was going to take and, you know, it, it was tough, but it was definitely worth it in the end.

Nate: Yeah.

Things That She Made Sure Not to Miss Out

Logan: And, uh, kind of along the same lines, um, and maybe you already mentioned this a little bit, but was there anything during this that you kind of made it a point to keep doing, like, not sacrifice, you know, you know, this process was time consuming. Was there anything that you were like, no, I have to make sure I keep this in my life.

Or, you know, so that I don’t go crazy or something like that.

Nate: Meaning like a hobby or.

Logan: Yeah. Hobby or family time or Yeah.

Nate: Yeah.

Melodie: Yeah. Gotcha. Um, I might not have had that, like that moment where I said, you know, later, you know, made a line in the sand like that.

Um, but I definitely just, uh, [00:25:00] I still made it a priority to, um, stay connected to my, my friends and family and, you know, still try to have time with my husband because, you know, You know, I can’t not do that or he would have something to say about that. Um, so I still, and it was helpful because in, you know, when I would get the not passing grade, those people are invested because I would be talking to them, letting them know what’s going on. They can encourage me like to get back in there and know, Hey. You’ve passed before you can do, you can make the adjustments and get back in there. Uh, so I would still, um, try to make time for friends and family or the people who are, you know, my support system to hold me accountable, um, and to, to, you know, be my support as they have been.

Nate: Yeah.

She Made Sure to Keep Important People in Her Life in the Loop

Nate: And, uh, were there any, I mean, besides, you know, failing the audit and REG one time, were there any big wrenches thrown into your study journey? That you had to kind of deal [00:26:00] with throughout the process, or was it mostly, was it fairly smooth as far as just making sure it happened each day or meaning you’re studying?

Melodie: Um, yeah, there was no big, uh, monkey wrenches thrown into, um, into my life. It might’ve been one day here or there where I didn’t get the session that I would have wanted. But I made it a priority, um, you know, no matter where I was that this had to get done. So nothing, nothing super big. I do remember, you know, uh, maybe I’d be visiting the in laws or, you know, I remember, so I’d have to tell them, Hey, I’m sorry. I got to take a couple hours. I got to study this. Um, you know, I’ll have family time after this, or there, I had a friend come from out of town. Went to the beach one day, brought all my study stuff with me and, you know, knock that out even with, with friends. Um, so I just, you know, made it work and the people around me knew that this was a [00:27:00] priority. Um, so whether or not they liked it, it was going to be what it was, so.

Logan: Yeah. Mm-Hmm.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. You just do what you have to. I mean, and, uh, again, I’m, I’m just assuming you’ll agree with this, but studying from your phone, you know, it kind of enables you to still be making progress and you can kind of go out and still do things or on the weekends, or if there’s like a weekend trip or, you know, you don’t have to like cancel everything. It’s the two hour session is easy enough to fit in, you know, no matter what else is going on. And then the fact that you can make up a lot of study time from your phone.

Using the Study Tools to Study Throughout the Day

Nate: Um, so it sounds like you use the study tools from your phone a lot to do that.

Melodie: I did, I did. Um, I would still like, I didn’t take any big trips or anything like that. You know, it was just maybe one day here or there where, um, it might not have been the, my normal format, but I, I think for the most part, um, even if I knew I was going to be [00:28:00] out for most of the day, I would just alot a couple hours before I left the house to get it in, um, to study those two hours.

So I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Um, so, but I would use my phone in the meantime, because it, um, you know, having access to the full program on my computer, it wasn’t quite the same as my phone. Um, but I, yeah, I would, I would do both. I would definitely be on my phone. I would, um, you know, use the, uh, the audio notes were really helpful too, and to kind of follow along with that, um, with, uh, I would bring, uh, the hand, uh, the notes and kind of follow along with the audio if I was, you know, traveling.

Nate: Gotcha. So were you, were you ever studying when we had the follow along notes in the app or you were, sometimes you would just do that manually, like play an audio and then follow the notes on the app?

Melodie: Yeah, that came, [00:29:00] uh, towards the end for me where, um, it had the update. Uh, so I was doing it manually for a while and then towards the end, I was able to use within the app following along with the audio and the notes. So that, that was helpful because then I didn’t have to, have to have the paper copy.

Logan: Yeah.

Melodie: But, um, yeah, from the beginning, at the beginning, I did have to do it manually. Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. So, I mean, again, I’ve said this a million times, but that’s why we made those as we kept hearing that, that people would do that. Um, play the notes, or I mean play the audios while they followed the notes. And, uh, I was like, that is, that’s a good idea. I’m sure we could make like one thing that just does those two things at the same time.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Nate: So, yeah.

Melodie: Yeah, it helps to have, um, like use multiple methods to get the information, you know, you’re hearing it and then you’re also seeing it, um, so that, you know, you can combine those and it just adds another layer.

Logan: Yeah. For sure.

Nate: Yeah. It [00:30:00] really kind of locks down your brain. There’s, I, I mean, I can’t describe why I’m not a neuroscientist or whatever, but something about hearing it while you’re seeing it kind of locks your focus. And uh, yeah, the, the follow along notes are just very effective. People use them.

How Melodie Would Learn from the Questions First Approach

Logan: So, um, I was just gonna ask, so kind of going to your two hour session, what was your. Method or process for, you know, you see a new question. You’ve never really gone over that topic before. How did you. Like dissect questions as you went to learn from them.

Melodie: Um, so at first it was kind of hard to see the connection, um, but I would follow the, um, the method of, you know, first, um, going to a section and going straight to the quiz at the end, you know, and going through it a few times and getting familiar with the questions. Um, and then, uh, I would go, [00:31:00] if I was, still didn’t get what the section was about, then I would go to the notes in the video to kind of help lock it in.

Like, okay, what is this all about? These questions, I’m still a little confused. Um, and then, uh, I would finish off my two hours with the 30 multiple choice questions from all the sections. Um, including the new ones, um, at the end, uh, but yeah, I would, I would use the questions to kind of look for, okay, what is the, what is the main focus, um, of this section?

What, what do I really need to get from this? And I understood, um, you know, when I would go to the notes or the video, how there was a lot of fluff, a lot of fluff to it. Um, that I didn’t need. Uh, but if I was really confused on, you know, and it wasn’t getting it, I might watch that video to just help. Uh, but towards the end, I started to see, um, where the questions were getting to the meat of what, [00:32:00] what, what was going to be on the exam, what they were trying to get across. Uh, but at first, you know, I would, I would reference that, but I would still use the questions first. Um, and use the videos notes as backup.

Nate: And so as time went on, you just kind of got to where you just kind of learned the process of just using the questions for the most part. So the last few exams, you weren’t watching much of the videos at all.

Melodie: Right, right. I wasn’t watching most of the videos cause I, um, uh, was understanding what they were looking for and I didn’t need to reference them and I had an idea. Okay. This is what this is what this is about. Um, you know, it was really more. So, um, the notes and videos were like, it was really confused.

I’d never and after looking at the questions still had no idea what I was looking at. But yeah, no, it’s, it became easier and I didn’t have to reference, um, those as I went along and it, things started to make sense in the, uh, in the strategy started to be more second nature to me.

Nate: [00:33:00] Yep. Yeah. It’s like anything else. You just start to get good at it, which I think that sounds weird to some people if they’re just starting, but you get good at answering questions or just. There’s a lot of nuances about that are hard to put in words, but you just get good at understanding a question, understanding what it’s asking and good at answering questions, which again is sounds obvious when you say it, but since that’s what you do on test day, that’s what you should spend, you know, 80 or 90 percent of your time doing.

Why Melodie Trusted the Process

Melodie: Yeah, that’s what really got me, um, to, um, trust the process was when you would, you know, pose the question, like, why would you spend, you know, all this time looking at videos and notes when, when you get into the test, you’re going to be doing multiple choice questions. And these big, you know, big problems, but it’s like, why would you spend your time looking at stuff that is not relevant to what you’re actually going to be seeing a test day? I was like, you know what, we’ve got a good point. [00:34:00] I don’t want to waste all this time with all this stuff that’s, that’s not helpful. So spending my time doing what I was going to see on test day, I really felt like, was the advantage. Uh, so, um, yeah, I would save the, the weekends to go over the, um, the simulations and to kind of break those down. Um, but yeah, I’d spend most of my time just going over the multiple choice questions in the simulations, um, and just use the notes and the videos for, for reference, if I was really lost.

Nate: Yep. That’s the perfectly, perfectly efficient way of doing it. Just kind of letting the questions inform what you need to know for that topic. And if you’re not getting everything from those questions, it’s like, what’s this little piece and find it in the textbook instead of starting with the video and the textbook that all takes three hours to get through. And then still you’re confused on the questions. That’s just the ideal way.

Melodie’s Note Taking and Flashcards Process

Nate: Um, so what was your [00:35:00] process for taking notes or flashcards for things that you continually kind of found confusing that kept coming up in the daily sets of 30? Did you take notes on those things or make flashcards?

Melodie: Uh, so for any multiple choice question that I just kept not getting, I would, um, I found a couple of apps. Um, with flashcards on them for the multiple choice ones that wasn’t getting, um, and then when it came to, you know, the bigger questions with the simulations and some of those bigger concepts that weren’t just going to be multiple choice, I got, um, physical flashcards where I would then take, you know, like a whole, um, concept and kind of break it down and, um, you know, kind of create my own notes. Uh, to to reference, um, on the weekends that I would focus on, but yeah, then I would have, um, you know, the SuperfastCPA app for multiple choice questions that have the [00:36:00] Wiley one for their multiple choice questions. And then I had, um, you know, an app for the ones that I knew I was struggling with, uh, those flashcards and different games to reference those.

Nate: Awesome. Yeah. Yeah. Again, it’s just this process of just being strategic about, okay, I still don’t know this well enough. And whatever that process is, writing it out. So you understand it or kind of diagramming, uh, a simulation or journal entries. Whatever, whatever helps you kind of personally understand a concept or journal entries or the types of questions you’re seeing. And I mean, yeah, that’s just kind of what, what the whole thing is about.

How Melodie Would Study on Weekends

Nate: Um, so what about the weekends? Would you study longer on the weekends or still just kind of do the two hours and that was it, or what was your weekend studying like?

Melodie: No, I definitely would take more time on the weekend. Um, I would want to say that I would have like two or three, [00:37:00] um, starting out, um, maybe like the first couple of sections, um, where I would do pretty much, um, the mo, a morning session, like the two hours where I would, you know, if there were, if it, if there was anything I needed to catch up on in terms of sections, in terms of like the timeline I had, like, uh, this week, I need to get through these many sections. There were any left, I would spend the, um, the first part going through the multiple choice, you know, like the morning session, and then I would spend maybe like an hour or so going through a set of simulations that the, um, Wiley had, and then I would start that over, you know, take a couple of hours break, watch a movie, eat, do whatever. Then kind of start that over, go through some more multiple choice work, do some simulations, take another break, get back at it, where I do some more multiple choice, do some simulations cause I had the time. Um, maybe I wouldn’t have, you know, do, uh, three or four sets every, you know, every weekend day, because maybe I [00:38:00] have something I’d go do, but I would take advantage of the fact that I had the whole day to do the simulations or do multiple sets of multiple choice questions and simulations on the weekends.

Nate: Yep. So basically you were always trying to, whatever you covered that week, trying to feel really, really clear about it. Maybe, I don’t know if you remember this idea specifically from the pro videos, but, uh, one of the key kind of ideas is never start a Monday behind, you know, so using the weekends to whatever you got to do to feel good about what you covered that week.

That’s what you do so that you’re not starting a Monday behind.

Melodie: Exactly, exactly. Yeah. Using, uh, using the weekend to catch up or using the weekend to dive deeper, you know, really work on those physical flashcards that I would make. Uh, to lay out simulations or, or to work on those multiple choice questions that I wasn’t kept not getting right. Um, [00:39:00] I would spend that time on the weekend.

So starting Monday, ready to go. I’m feeling pretty comfortable with everything that I’ve learned thus far.

Nate: Yep. Awesome.

How Much Time Melodie Would Leave for Her Final Review

Nate: And then, uh, so what about a final review? How long would you leave for a final review and how would you, what did your final review contain?

Melodie: Uh, so hopefully, uh, I think for most of the sections, I had two weeks where I would kind of, whatever my, what my weekend would look like would be my weekdays then. So I would still get up two hours in the morning. I would do probably two or three sets of multiple choice questions and then do some simulations in the mornings and then still throughout the day, go through multiple choice questions, listen to the audio, um, do little quizzes.

Um, All throughout the day. Um, but I would do that for a couple weeks leading up to, um, the exam.

Nate: Yep.

Logan: Yeah, that’s, that’s what I did. I left, uh, [00:40:00] you know, I felt like I, one week wasn’t quite enough for me. So I liked to leave those two weeks to kind of just make sure I’m like, really on top of it before going into the exam.

Melodie’s Test Day Experience

Logan: Um, and so just curious, like, as far as like test day experience. Um, getting into the exams, uh, did, did you have any issues with like time management or anything like that?

Or do you feel like, uh, you were pretty prepared going into the exams?

Melodie: Um, I felt like I did pretty well with time management. I was really blessed that like, um, I lived like 10 minutes from the testing center, um, that I used. So I didn’t have to worry a lot about, um.

Logan: Mm hmm.

Melodie: The, the commute to the center that I would use. Um, but you know, I, there were a couple of times where I felt like I, could have slowed down a little bit with the multiple choice, um, [00:41:00] and still had time for the simulations. Um, but I think that was probably just with the first exam. Once I had an idea, even though I knew what the test was going to have, once I actually sat through it and said, Oh, this is what it’s like. Okay, I can slow down here with the multiple choice and still have time for simulations.

Okay, I’m all right. I think I don’t think with any of the exams that I use the full four hours except for maybe BEC because I’m not a strong writer. So that took me longer to write out that. So that might have been the closest I came to using the four hours because I knew I was going to need the time. Um, so that one I probably spent through the multiple choices. I’m like, I’m this, these, each of these is going to take me a good 20 minutes, so.

Logan: Yeah,

Melodie: But yeah, yeah, no, it wasn’t too bad once I knew what I was facing that after that first time.

Logan: Yeah, I definitely felt like, uh, the first exam, like the testing experience, like not even necessarily the exam itself, but like the testing experience was the most [00:42:00] uncomfortable I felt throughout the whole thing cause I was like, you know, the headphones were annoying me and the being around all these people.

And anyway, yeah, like once you, and then once you get in and see the exam for the first time, that really, I feel like, helps you be more comfortable for the, for the following ones. Um, but you just kind of have to get in there and do it the first time to see what it’s like.

Melodie: Right. Trust that you’ve, you’ve put in the work, um, when it comes to it. And yeah, but yeah, the first time it’s just, you just got to kind of feel it out and then hopefully from there you kind of know what to expect.

Nate: Yeah, and I think, uh, again, I think you’d agree with this, but spending so much of your study time doing multiple choice questions, it makes the MCQs on test day, not nearly as big of a stressful thing. And I mean, the timing kind of takes care of itself or ideally. But it sounds like it did because you finished most exams with time to spare.

Melodie: Yes. Um, Um, you know, most of the, um, study [00:43:00] tools or the study programs, you know, your time, you have a timer. So you, um, as you go through the process with SuperfastCPA, you get faster with the questions. So, and that hopefully will carry into the test day. We’re not spending two minutes on a question.

You’re spending, you know, 30 seconds max on one question and you’re moving on to the next. Um, and hopefully a few of them are familiar enough that you’re like, Oh, I think I, they might’ve changed one or two numbers to make it different, but I remember this one. Click. You know, you know, ready to go. Um, so that you can manage the time better.

Um, so hopefully as you know, and I did see that happen for me, you know, you start off, you know, maybe it takes you 60 minutes to get through 30, but then at the end, you know, you’re knocking it out. 15, 20 minutes, you’re doing 30 multiple choice questions. So when you come into test day, you can kind of replicate that.

Nate: Yep. Yeah.

A Validation Indicating That You Know a Certain Topic

Nate: Um, well, I think, I mean, we’ve [00:44:00] kind of gone through everything. Was there anything else? I mean, any other study strategies that you started doing or maybe not even a strategy? Um, anything that just, you felt like really helped you through the whole process that we didn’t talk about?

Melodie: I would say the, the other thing that I added was, um, you know, the, the concept of, you know, if you can teach it to somebody else, Like, then you really know the concept, you know, what you’re talking about. So I remember using my husband or my best friend to, you know, I would break down, you know, a concept or the test in general, like, oh, okay, this is what auditing is about and breaking down what is.

Nate: Yeah.

Melodie: The process to them so that it really helped me understand, okay, this is what this is generally about. Or, you know, maybe one section be like, oh, I had to focus on this. And it’s about this. And if I can explain to somebody who has no idea, anything about accounting or numbers, um, and break it [00:45:00] down to them so that they understand, it just was another level of knowing, okay, I got this, or maybe I need to review this because maybe I don’t, I don’t know what I’m talking about, but that was another strategy that I used.

Logan: I was just gonna say that’s something that we talk about all the time. Uh, you know, even in your own personal study session, like talking things through to yourself out loud. It’s like a similar idea to writing things in your own words, like writing notes in your own words, because that process of breaking down the confusion and having to figure out how to say it in your own words really helps you to start making sure it clicks or like you said, makes you realize like, Oh, I really don’t actually understand this. Um, so I mean, yeah, that is something we talked about. So that’s a, that’s a fantastic strategy.

Studying in Layers Helps with Retention

Nate: Would you ever just by, I mean, when you’re sitting there studying, talk things out, out loud to yourself to try and like same idea, make sure you understood it.

Melodie: Yeah, yeah, I, I would in the morning sometimes, [00:46:00] uh, kind of talk it out to myself. Um, I definitely used, uh, I’ve bought super big, uh, flashcards that I would write it out, um, as well cause, you know, once again, for me, that was, um, two layers for me. I’m writing it out so I’m physically doing it, but then I’m also seeing it as I’m writing it and then I’m reviewing it.

So for me, that’s two layers. And for me, if I’d see it a few times, I got it. Like my memory is pretty, my short term memory is pretty good that if I see it a few times and I’ve written it out, it’s going to click more for me. And then you add in saying it, you know, talking to myself or, you know, explaining it to somebody else. It’s going to click more.

Nate: Yeah, definitely. All right. Well, yeah, I think we’ve kind of gone through everything.

Top Tips for People Still Struggling with the Study Process

Nate: So, um, the question we always kind of end with is what would be, even if it’s stuff we’ve already talked about, what would be your top three tips to people that are working on the exams and are still maybe struggling with the study [00:47:00] process.

Melodie: I would number one, definitely, uh, suggest people go ahead and if you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to get SuperfastCPA, get those products and, um, and join the community, I would definitely suggest you do it. You don’t have to struggle for six months, a year and, and, and, and then decide to do it.

You can be like me and just from the jump, join in, save yourself the time and energy. I would personally recommend it. Uh, number, uh, number two, I would say, even if, you know, from, from my own experience, even if you don’t pass, you know, I saw, I knew that the process works, I remember the day where it clicked for me and I was like, you know what, I know what works, I might not have seen it this particular day, but I’ve seen the progress. You know, one, one bad grade. Don’t let it stop you from thinking that, you know, Oh, this doesn’t work. Maybe you need to tweak a couple things. [00:48:00] Maybe you just needed a couple extra weeks. I’d say stick to it, you know, don’t, don’t give up on the process right away. And third thing is stay consistent, stay consistent every morning, you know, put the two, three hours away in the morning. You’re fresh. You don’t have to worry about it. That’s something that I’ve carried with me outside of studying for the, uh, Super, uh, for the CPA exams and, uh, has affected people around me, um, who are not studying for the CPA. They just were like, Hey, I’d like that, you know, you got up in the morning and just plugged it away every day, even on the weekends. Yes, every, every day. I’m doing it. You know, that’s where you’re going to see the results, is when you’re consistent. If you want it, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work. So, it’s worth it in the end, but put in the time. Be consistent. Don’t, don’t half do it.

Logan: Yeah,

Nate: Yeah.

Suggested SuperfastCPA Strategy to Other People and Activities

Logan: And I kind of want to, I mean, if it’s okay, can I ask what, what are you talking about when you say like, you know, [00:49:00] it’s affected other people, uh, and you’ve kind of carried it forward? Like, is there something else that you’re kind of applying those same ideas to now or that other people are applying?

Um, yeah.

Melodie: Yeah. So I, um, when I’m, uh, from my husband’s birthday last year, I, you know, he wanted to know how I passed, you know, the exams in under a year, I told him, you know, Hey, this is, this is the process I went through. Got up two hours early, studied throughout the day, you know, didn’t save it for after work. You know, it was kind of telling him the basic things, not the things particular to the exams, but just, um, things that you can use. No matter what it is, and he’s like, you know, I think I’m gonna use it, um, he’s like, I think I’m gonna try to do that try to get it, get it done in the morning He’s like, you know, I used to go to the gym in the morning and I saw results. So, you know, I think I’ll do that for, um, he was studying, I think, for some engineering exams, so I was like, hey, yeah, it worked for me, so I, you know, I suggest it for you, and then, um, after I [00:50:00] passed the exams, you know, my husband would hear me getting up and studying in the morning, and, uh, that caused him to get up earlier and go to the gym. And so it went from me being the only one getting up early to him, go getting up early and going to the gym. And then once I finished the exams, both of us were getting up two hours early, going to the gym before work. And so, you know, we were able to apply it to our personal life, just outside of me studying for the CPA.

Logan: I love that. That’s fantastic. I.

Nate: Yeah.

Logan: I felt the same way. I was like, I could do anything. I could do anything in two hours, with two hours every day. Like yeah, I love that.

Nate: Yes. And yeah, the two hours in the morning, it’s easier to be consistent. And then the power of consistency is, is just, you know, you have breakthroughs in the material itself, but also in your own process. And that’s really, really hard for your own study process to improve. If you’re kind of sporadically studying two or three days a [00:51:00] week, it’s just the, the progress is so slow, even if the amount of hours is the same.

Um, there’s just, there’s something about doing something every day. You get good at it so much faster or you start to understand it. Yeah. It’s just a huge, huge, distinction. So, okay. Well, I appreciate you doing the call Melodie. It was awesome to meet you and hear your story. You shared a lot of really good tips and congrats on being done. I’m glad you found us and that it helped.

Melodie: Yeah. No, thank you so much. It’s a pleasure. Um, I only get to see or hear you guys and um, more in person than just, you know, through the community, the forum or, um, just through YouTube. So I really appreciate you guys and the fact that I found you so early in my process and saved me so much time so I could move on with my career and my personal life.

Nate: Yeah. Yep. Awesome to hear.

Logan: All right, that was the interview with Melodie. I think it was awesome. I love that she was able to still spend time in [00:52:00] the evenings with her husband, watch movies, still have things that she liked to do, and she just stuck to the process. She didn’t give up and in the end, she didn’t waste two or three years failing exams. She crushed the exams, and now she’s done.

I think Melodie’s story is a great reminder that while the normal study approach is something that a lot of people just kind of assume is what they need to do. If you make your process efficient and effective, you can pass the CPA exams more quickly and not waste so much time so that you can still spend time in the evenings with your family.

All right, that is it. Just another reminder about our free one hour training webinar on superfastcpa.com. Make sure you go check that out and also make sure to leave a rating for this podcast in your favorite podcast app. This podcast is the best free resource out there for CPA exam candidates. Make sure you share it with whoever you know, who is going through the CPA exam process.

I’m sure you found this episode helpful. Thank you for listening or watching, and we’ll see you in the next episode.


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