In this SuperfastCPA podcast episode, you’ll hear how Mike started using SuperfastCPA with Becker CPA’s review course. He felt like the “mini sessions” using the SuperfastCPA study tools are what made the difference.
Table of Contents
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- Enter the free podcast giveaway…
- See CPA score release dates here…
- How to study for the CPA exams…
- 00:00 Introduction
- 05:30 Mike’s CPA Journey
- 08:48 Bridging the Gap Using SuperfastCPA
- 11:17 His Daily Study Routine
- 12:32 Studying on the Weekends
- 16:06 Flashcards and Note Taking
- 18:38 Actual Day of the Exam
- 22:08 Tips for Those Who are Still in the Study Process
SuperfastCPA Reviews: Mike’s Story
Mike: And then I had my, I had like an ex-, an Excel spreadsheet full of notes and have different tabs for each module, and it got out of hand, it got gigantic to the point where that was not helpful to me in my final review. But I found that note taking during the lecture, helped me stay on track and help me stay focused.
Cause without note taking I’ll just be, I’ll just be listening to it cause like I said, they, the lectures get, they get dense. They get very, very dense and they, especially once the examples start coming in and it’s, it’s, it’s hard to follow at some points. At least I personally, I definitely found. That’s kinda that I really didn’t take much flashcards and then my notes were, I know it’s where just to stay focused on that.
That was kind of that.
Nate: Welcome to episode 96 of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate and in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Mike.
So I recorded this interview with Mike close to two years ago at this point. And I’m not really sure why we never published it. There was, we did a few of these interviews in different batches and I switched the interview software we’re using a switch from zoom. And somehow it kind of fell through the cracks and then just this week, Mike emailed me and was referring one of his coworkers. So Mike is now all done with the CPA.
But this was our original interview from, I think, a year and a half or two years ago. So Mike is the author of the famous email. At least to me, this is probably my favorite customer email of all times.
Uh, he sent an email and here I’ll just read it. This is from, so April, 2020. So yeah, so it was two years ago. So Mike’s email says,
“I’m not sure who I’m speaking to but I hope this gets to the proper marketing team/ content team. I use this program with Becker and crushed FAR. I met a big four accounting for many of my peers failed on their first attempt but I passed. The only differentiation was I had your audio guides and study guide. I believe in this product for FAR and feel like more people should try it out.
Now it should be the time that you should run targeted ads for people studying for the CPA. Many individuals are losing motivation, due to tests being postponed”. So he’s referencing the, uh, the COVID year 2020 and a lot of testing centers obviously shut down for several months. He says, “You can run an ad campaign on Instagram and Facebook and stress how easy it is to supplement studying and how bite-sized the lectures are. This is the perfect time for people to pick up the audio lectures, follow them in the written guide and then make flashcards. Thank you for your amazing product. I will be purchasing for reg when I can afford it”.
So if you’ve been on our email list for awhile, you know that I use his email in our email campaigns over and over. I just found that really amusing because I appreciate the sentiment of what Mike’s trying to say.
Just being very complimentary saying, you know, you should really tell more people about this because this, your product really works. And so obviously, I believe that. But I just thought it was funny that he was telling us that, you know, you should really tell more people about this. So, obviously I agree with Mike.
The ideas or how to implement the strategies, it just makes sense. If you have mobile study tools, you can be taking advantage of all these little five to 10 minute gaps all throughout your day. And you’ll hear Mike describe in this interview, how that was kind of the key difference maker for him in addition to his main study sessions with Becker.
So before we get into the interview, I just want to mention two things. First, our free study training webinars. As you’ll hear, that’s what Mike started with. Essentially everyone you’ve heard on these interviews, that’s the first thing that they started with, with SuperfastCPA because in those training webinars, we walk you through the big picture ideas and strategies behind our study approach. How do you use your review course much more efficiently than the normal way of studying.
And, uh, you will just have several big light bulb moments or “Aha” moments as you watch one of these free training webinars. So you can sign up for one of those, the link will be down in the description of this episode or on our homepage at superfastcpa.com. The second thing is our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Powerbeat Pro headphones.
Kind of just on the idea of using our audio notes as much as possible. Whenever you’re doing other things like washing dishes, preparing meals, whenever you’re in your car, walking your dog. You can be racking up study time and exposure time. And this stuff just sinks deeper and deeper into your brain by listening to the audios over and over and over.
So that’s the idea behind giving away my favorite headphones each month. So the link to sign up for that giveaway is superfastcpa.com/enter or again, that link will be down in the description of this episode. So with that being said, let’s get into the interview with Mike.
Mike’s CPA Journey
Mike: I began my study process probably in about, uh, maybe it was October or so. Um, I, was I was given Becker by my accounting firm.
I, uh, I was going through that and then I needed a little something extra. So I, of course, for through that, uh, that YouTube ad I saw, I went to the, uh, I guess it was the SuperfastCPA like live lecture demo, and that I was thinking about. I was like, you know what? Like this, this would be nice as a little supplement because of the audio files.
Audio files seemed pretty light. I was like this, this might be what I like need as the extra push. Um, so once I actually gained access, I was kind of navigated through the app and I realized I could download the audio files, the audio files which was, that was, that was perfect. So I ended up downloading all of them and then, uh, all my drives to and from school, I’d be listening to, to uh, each audio file.
Uh, I tried to pair them with what module and chapter I was in with, uh, the Becker program. So it was kind of like reinforcing what I was already listening to but, uh, I found that the audio, the audio files were very light and they were easy to follow as opposed to a Becker lecture during a 30 minute drive would be kind of very dense and I kinda need the textbook, I mean, at least me personally, I would need the textbook to be following that as opposed to the, uh, the audio files from the SuperfastCPA app.
Nate: Nice. Yeah, no, that is the point that, um, because that’s exactly kind of what I experienced. I bought audio notes when I was studying and they were like the full everything.
So first of all, even over like the course of a few weeks, it would have been hard to get through them even once. And yeah, while driving, if you’re getting the full strength thing, it’s just, it’s just like a lecture and just starts. You’re not even hearing it.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a lot. It’s definitely a lot. I would, uh, I was, I guess I’ve found a little bit of success in, um, kind of just squeezing those audio lectures, wherever I, wherever I could.
I mean, as, as ridiculous as it sounds, I would listen to them. I was driving to, and from college, if I was, um, that was early for class, I would skim through the, uh, the actual audio notes that were all in the app. I realized-
Nate: Like the written?
Mike: Yes, the written one, the written one. So I could actually like read what I just heard and kind of like highlight if anything stood out for me to make a flashcard for some, for something that I needed to know.
Um, also I’ll listen to them in the gym too. It sounds ridiculous but like my all my free time was kind of like, how can I interject these and make this work? Yeah, yeah.
Nate: No, that that’s exactly what I found, uh, again, was just, just studying with my review course once each day. I was just felt like I wasn’t really learning stuff or forgetting what I studied even that morning or, and even those audio notes that I did have.
I mean, I was using them. They weren’t ideal or I didn’t really like how long they were but constantly throughout the day, instead of looking at ESPN at lunch on my phone, I would do questions or, you know, whatever. Yeah. Instead of listening to just music or the radio listening to audios, and that just kind of like bridged the gap.
Bridging the Gap Using SuperfastCPA
Nate: So one thing you said I wanted to go back to, um, when you said you started with Becker and you said you needed a little bit more, what was that? Was that just because you, uh, felt like overwhelmed with the Becker materials or?
Mike: I mean, personally, I, um, Becker provides you with flashcards. In my experience, I was given flashcards.
I wasn’t, I- I had reading through flashcards was, it was, it was not for me. It was simply not for me. Um, so I found that I needed like another way to review the material to make sure that, like I said, to reinforce it to really have something to drive it home and that this is what I found the, uh, the SuperfastCPA audio files did for me.
I kind of bridged that gap of where I would be using flashcards and reviewing material and driving it home. Um, that’s where these audio files came in.
Nate: Okay. And then what, so, so you started using our materials as soon as you started studying in general?
Mike: Just about.
Mike: And now I’m going through Audit. Um, only because like kind of Audit is like, kind of, cause I already took, uh, an undergrad audit and MBA audit so I really kind of comes natural to me plus I have work experience in it so far. Um, so I really, really barely going through any review course in general and kind of just going through practice tests and mock exams and kind of going through that.
But now it’s a struggle to schedule a test really. I’ll be honest with you. So now I’m kind of just in limbo now. So now I’m kind of thinking about starting REG and just kind of putting Audit off hold and you’re starting to learn new material. So I know REG is going to be an absolute beast so..
Nate: Yeah. Are you done with, you’re done with FAR? Is that what it is then?
Mike: Correct. Yes. I, uh, I studied for FAR for about maybe three months in total. That includes final review and practice tests and all that stuff. Um, it was, it wasn’t easy but I would have to say it wasn’t easy. It took, it took me um, took quite a bit of commitment and, you know, will power to delete Instagram, delete Snapchat, delete Twitter, a lot of weekends, you know, missing, missing out on going out and, and, uh, friend’s birthday parties and events and stuff like that.
But, uh, you know, it, it pays off. Yeah. It definitely definitely pays off.
His Daily Study Routine
Nate: Yeah. And that’s kind of just what it takes too. So what did a day of, studying look like for you? Were you, were you working full-time already, when you started studying?
Mike: I was not working full-time. I was actually a full-time student.
Um, so my day would normally consist of probably waking about maybe eight or eight or nine. I would study for, I would do a Becker review or do a Becker module, and then, I would be going to class on certain days. I’d be going to class and then listening to an audio, hopefully an audio file that matched up with what I just learned or learned from Becker to kind of reinforce it.
And then I’d do the same audio file from SuperfastCPA driving home again from college. So at that point, I’ve already listened to that, to that file twice. Plus I had the initial, first time I heard it in the morning and then I’d get home, do a little bit of multiple choice questions. And then I would do, if I, if I was up for do a second Becker, um Becker module and then kind of do more multiple choice questions.
And then the next day that was, that was kind of it. Next day, I restart the whole process, do homework at night or whenever I could really and I prioritize studying to be honest with you.
Studying on the Weekends
Nate: Yeah. Um, and then what were Saturday and Sunday, like, like what were you aiming for, uh, study wise on the weekend days?
Mike: I would let myself go a little bit because you know, you need some kind of certain time to just relax and rest. And then, um, so on those days I really wouldn’t do new, new modules. I would go over multiple choice questions and then reinforce what I’m not where I’m getting wrong way. It’s not sticking with the, uh, audio files.
Nate: Okay. Nice. Um, and then getting closer to, so, so I kind of tell people that, well, you know, this cause we had our videos but, uh, I’m not a big fan of like the full two week final review because if, if you’re kind of building in rereview to your day each day, you don’t need to like relearn everything by the time you get close to the exam.
W, what was your approach to, uh, the final review or the few days before an exam? Or I guess you’ve, have you only just taken FAR then?
Mike: I’ve only, I’ve only just taken FAR but I’ve been through the final, the final review process with Audit. You know, like probably by now about two times because my tests, I had to change my exam five times.
So I’ve been through the, been through the whole process for, uh, twice so, so far. I find that the, uh, the Becker final review is very solid. At least for FAR, it was very solid. Um, and then, like I had said previously really like I would just run through multiple choice questions and practice tests and then whatever I, whatever wasn’t translating from the final review to my performance in multiple choice or practice test, I would then supplement with the, um, the the SuperfastCPA audio files.
That, that’s what works for me. And that’s, I mean, maybe I’m just, you know, unique case but I, I, I passed with, you know flying colors and couldn’t be happier.
Nate: Nice. Yeah. And then, uh, people in your higher group or whatever it is, people were taking them at the same time. What, what was kind of everyone’s experience? Was it right around those same fail rates?
Like half of you guys passed and have you guys, um, failed?
Mike: I, uh, yeah, I had, I had a handful of, a handful of my peers, um, fail FAR the first time. I mean, it is an absolute beast of an exam. Um, but to that note also, no one else really had the, the supplemental audio notes and files like I had.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, the thing that does make sense is the more time you can just squeeze in each day, you know, the better you’re going to do. And-
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I honestly felt pretty ridiculous, you know, going to work out and listening to, uh, you know.
Nate: That’s brutal, man. Yeah. That was the, that was the one time when I would not, uh, I couldn’t listen to accounting like while I’m trying to work out at the gym. So I would listen to music then. So that’s uh. Yeah. That’s-
Mike: I honestly, I had, like, I made a made maybe like 30 minutes a day where I would just play video games and no matter like how busy I was, I would make sure that like I sat down, played 30 minutes of video games, listen to music, then, you know, talk to friends.
Then that was kinda my like daily social interaction that I could always rely on. It’s just kind of ridiculous.
Nate: No. I mean, I mean you know, you could that a strategy in itself. I think that is important. Yeah.
Flashcards and Note Taking
Nate: Uh, one other question I had was what was your system of taking notes or writing your own flashcards? Or did you do any of that? How did you do that part?
Mike: Um, like I previously said, I did struggle with reviewing flashcards. So, the very few flashcards I made, I knew that like I needed to review these. I am, I know nothing about them.
I can’t remember them. I’ve gotten a multiple choice question wrong multiple times or maybe I got a SIM wrong that, uh, I completely bombed. And I was like, all right, this is something I need to, you know, really nail down. Um, so. Uh, what I had a small deck of flashcards and whatever I did have it was, you know, the essentials.
Um, I felt like that really helped me out. Cause I know a lot of people have, you know, 500 flashcards or, you know, they do the Becker flashcards which is like, what looks like another 500 plus their own flashcards. So to me that was, that was just not the route that that was going to work for me. And then speaking to the note of note taking, uh, what I found works for me was I would listen to the Becker lecture and just take, just take notes to kind of stay focused and stay on track.
and then I had my, I had like an ex-, an Excel spreadsheet full of notes and have different tabs for each module. And it got out of hand, it got gigantic to the point where that was not helpful, helpful to me in my final review. But I found that note taking during the lecture, um, helped me stay on track and help me stay focused.
Cause without note taking I’ll just be, I’ll just be listening to it cause like I said, they, the lectures get, they get dense. They get very, very dense and they, especially once the examples start coming in and it’s, it’s, it’s hard to follow at some points.
Nate: Well, both of those things are really good that the flashcards that’s exactly what I tell people. It’s like, you don’t want to rewrite the lecture in flashcard form and just make flashcards about every single thing. What you do want to do is the things that you struggled to remember for whatever reason and that you personally struggled to understand, those are what you make flashcards about.
I mean, and that’s exactly what you just said.
Mike: Absolutely, yeah.
Nate: And then almost the kind of doodling very simple notes during a lecture, that’s, that’s a good idea. That’s a really good strategy to just like you said, it kind of keeps your mind locked in on what they’re saying.
Mike: Definitely. Definitely.
Actual Day of the Exam
Nate: Well that, uh, I believe, oh, last question is test day stuff. What did you, what were you trying to keep in mind as you went into the exam? As far as just like test taking tips, you know, timelines or what, what were your ideas on that?
Mike: Timeline wise, um, I had already ran through probably practice, practice exams and mock exams. So many times that I knew for a fact that I can get through the multiple choice in, you know, a reasonable, reasonable amount of time and still have plenty of time for the SIMs.
So honestly, I hadn’t focused any amount of, any amount of thinking, uh, towards you know, timing. It was kind of, if I was stuck in a multiple choice question, I would highlight it, go back to it at the end. And if I needed to guess on it, I made an educated guess and that was kind of it because generally, I can kind of narrow down two of the answers and make an educated 50/50 if I really needed to. But I didn’t need to do that too much on, on the exam.
Um, test day though, I actually had a little bit of, uh, almost disaster. Uh, I wrote down the wrong, I guess, like activation key. Cause I had multiple activation keys on my NTS and I was so nervous the day of the test, they give you a little post-it note and they say right before you go in and put all your, all your documents, all your, you know, your phone, everything into the locker and write down the activation key, um, onto the post-it note. And then you can go into your exam, go through the process, the fingerprinting, the whole nine yards. Um, I wrote down the wrong activation. I wrote down the activation key for Audit, I believe.
So I go through this like 10 minutes. They checked me patted down. They fingerprinted me though they do all this whole security process and then they let me in, I run and I’m like, oh my God, I started the exam. The timer’s going down. I can’t, I can’t login. I’m like, what do I do? So I sprinted back out and, uh, I explained the woman what happened.
And she, you know, gave me an express lane checkout. If you want to say, ran into my locker, ran back in, typed in the activation code and it worked. So I guess my nerves were at a 10 out of 10 and, uh, as simply puts the moral to that story is to take a deep breath, pay attention to what you’re doing. And I guess definitely double check the activation key before you go in because it sounds ridiculous
but if that timer would have went out, I’m not too sure if it would have been able to access the test.
Nate: Probably not. I mean-
Mike: I would have been horrible. It would have been horrible.
Nate: I’m surprised the lady, you know, kind of helped you out like that. They act like prison wardens in there. Like it’s kinda crazy.
Mike: Oh, the security is like 10 out of 10. You cannot mess around with that. But, um, I was literally like running from my locker back already. Like all I already, uh, opening up my pockets for her. And like, she was like, that makes you stick out your pockets and all that stuff like that. So trying to like process as fast as possible. Too funny.
Too funny. Test day, test day story.
Nate: Yeah. Well, and what you said before that, uh, I mean, again, that’s, I’m always telling people, if you spend enough time through the study process, just working questions over and over like you should, then the MCQs take care of themselves on test day. And that’s like exactly what you said so..
Tips for Those Who are Still in the Study Process
Nate: Yeah, I think we went through everything I had. Um, any other just, uh, over overall tips you’d have for someone that’s in the study process?
Mike: Um, maybe, I mean, it’s, everyone’s kind of struggling to schedule exams right now. Uh, I would say to just make a schedule and stick to it. And just keep, just, just keep pushing because you know that one day and know whether it’s going to be next week or a month from now, or even two months from now, we, you know, we all will be sitting down for the test and, um, better, better be prepared than not.
Nate: Right. Correct.
So that was the interview with Mike. I’m sure you found that very informative and helpful. He gave a lot of good strategies and tips and just insights he got as he went through the FAR study process. And like I mentioned in the beginning, he is now done with the CPA exams. So we will be having a follow-up interview with Mike now that he’s all done with the CPA. He’s been done for a while and, uh, after this original email, I don’t think we sent emails back and forth but apparently he just breezed through the other three and now he’s done. So, if you found this episode helpful, take a minute to send this to somebody you know who’s also working on their CPA exams. You might not give them a lot of thought but these interviews, if you listen to 10 to 20 of these interviews and we’re approaching a hundred, we have a lot of these interviews. If you listened to 10 or 20 of these interviews,
your study process will dramatically improve because you will be full of ideas of mistakes to avoid and the key study strategies that work that need to be part of your process. These interviews are extremely valuable for anyone trying to figure out their own study process. So don’t dismiss them just because they are free. These are almost just as helpful as our pro course itself.
So share this with someone you know who’s also working on their exams. If you haven’t yet, sign up for one of our free study training webinars. That is the first thing that you should do if you haven’t yet. And then you might as well sign up for our free podcast giveaway as well. Both of those links will be down in the description.
So thanks for listening or watching, and we’ll see you on the next episode.