In this SuperfastCPA reviews episode, you’ll hear how Nick still had plenty of time to play video games with his friends while knocking out the CPA exams. Most CPA candidates think it’s impossible to pass the exams and have a life at the same time. Nick’s story will prove that’s not true, because it is very possible to pass the CPA exam while working full-time, and still have a life at the same time.
Table of Contents
- Learn our “ultra-efficient” CPA study methods here…
- Enter the free podcast giveaway…
- See CPA score release dates here…
- How to study for the CPA exams…
- 00:00 Nick interview
- 06:01 Doing the Normal Way and Discovering SuperfastCPA
- 09:55 Study Strategies that Made Sense to Nick
- 12:14 Nick’s Daily Study Routine
- 20:00 “This is just going to be like a Godsend…”
- 22:21 Rewatching Video Lectures and Applying it
- 24:18 Realizing the SFCPA Study Method “Clicks”
- 25:24 “Studying in the morning just made it so much easier…”
- 28:16 “You get your nights to do whatever you want…”
- 30:53 Study Routine on the Weekends
- 32:01 Having a Study Routine Saved Him from Feeling Confused and Overwhelmed
- 33:25 Taking Down Notes and Creating Flashcards
- 37:02 Listening to Podcast or Audio Notes During Free Time
- 39:32 Final Review Preparation Before the Exams
- 44:33 The Relief After Passing All 4 Exams
- 48:59 Nick’s Top Tips for People Currently Studying
SuperfastCPA Reviews: Nick’s Story
Nick: Yeah, exactly. It’s, it’s all about getting your study routine down. I don’t want to like preach to the choir here but I guess that’s the point of this. But I’m just getting your study routine down. Like another study, like a underrated study tool that I used was, were these podcasts. Like if you listen to these podcasts, people will give like, I that’s the whole point of those people give very good helpful tips.
So as long as you get your study routine down, It’s literally just a matter of you waking up and actually doing it versus like you sitting there and be like, oh my God, like how am I going to study this today? Or how am I going to study this way today? But instead you just have your routine down and then can you just wake up and you do it and then go about your day.
Nate: Welcome to episode 93 of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate and in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Nick. So Nick’s story, before he found SuperfastCPA is about two days long. He started the study process the normal way, trying to watch every video lecture, read every chapter and was kind of operating under the assumption that you’re just essentially supposed to memorize everything in the video lecture and the chapter for every topic in the entire review course.
So doing that process, it took him two days to realize, okay, this is going to take forever and not so much that, he just thought once he saw how much information was in FAR and then for each lesson, the amount of time it was going to take to cover the amount of material across dozens and dozens of lessons, 200 plus topics, it just seemed impossible.
But he started by listening to the first episode of this podcast and then he also watched the free training webinar. And as he watched the training webinar, point after point that we went through on the webinar just completely made sense to him, he had several “Aha” moments about comparing the strategies presented on the training compared to the first two days of what he had experienced studying in the normal way.
And so it instantly clicked. He got our package and five months later, he was all done with the CPA exams. So in this episode, you’re going to just hear him relate back point by point, strategy by strategy exactly what he did to pass the CPA exams in a five month period. And how he implemented our study strategies along with his Becker review course.
So before we get into the interview, I just want to mention two things first, the free training that Nick started with that I just mentioned, that I’m always talking about on all of these episodes, if you have not yet, that is the best place for you to start. So to sign up for one of those free one hour trainings, go to our website at superfastcpa.com.
It’s the main thing at the top of the homepage. Or you can just look for the link in the description of the podcast episode or the description if you’re watching this on YouTube. The second thing is our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Powerbeat Pro headphones to three random listeners or customers that have entered the giveaway.
The idea with giving away headphones is just going along with our audio notes. Audio is such a helpful medium because you can be listening to audio, racking up study time and exposure as you do all the little mundane things throughout your day where you can have headphones in, while you’re getting ready in the morning, while you’re driving to work,
whenever you’re in your car, walking the dog, working out all the different things when you could be listening to audio while you do other things. So to sign up for that giveaway, go to superfastcpa.com/enter or again, just look for the link down in the description of this episode.
So back to the interview with Nick, he has a ton of great insights and wisdom and strategies to share, so do not miss this episode. With that being said, let’s get into the interview with Nick.
Uh, so east, well, maybe not the east coast. Eastern time, where are you located?
Nick: Uh, I actually just moved to the Boston area with my girlfriend last week. So I was trying to set up an interview for last week and then obviously everything okay with moving and everything. So, yeah, I’m from the Boston area now.
Nate: Cool. So you’re not from there, where’d you grow up?
Nick: Well, I grew up a little bit outside of Boston. Um, I grew up around the Lowell Massachusetts, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s only famous for like the Lowell mills and all that. Um, and then we just last week moved to Somerville Mass, which is like right outside of Boston.
Nate: Cool. Awesome.
Nick: Yeah. I’m really excited.
Nate: Are you a big Boston sports fan then?
Nick: Oh yeah. Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, all that.
Nate: Right, right.
Nate: Okay. So, um, on your, uh, on the thing on the form, you- you said you passed in five months and right, that was you?
Nate: That’s awesome. That’s pretty quick.
Nick: So, first test, the last test was five months. I actually had, I know this is going to sound a little bit longer than you recommend them, but I did two months of studying for FAR just cause I have this weird situation where I was part-time for a year at my job doing an internship.
And then I had a bonus, the CPA bonus potentially, and that starts on the first day. You start full time. So I started studying in May of 2021. And I started full time in July of 2021. So, um, so I have like two months of like just pure basically pure studying for FAR. And then I finished, um, my last test in December of 2021.
Doing the Normal Way and Discovering SuperfastCPA
Nate: That’s awesome. Uh, so going to the beginning, did you- cause sometimes I would say probably 70% of our customers have started the process. They might be months into it, maybe even years before they come across our website or whatever they see. Uh, did you start with our methods from the beginning, or did you have a period where you were studying normally or?
Nick: So I had two days where I was studying the normal way and I had, so I obviously working out, uh, at a, I work at a, uh, accounting firm. There are other people going through the CPA process as well. And I had a bunch of people who were studying and they all had different methods of studying. And like most of them were, they studied the normal way, a hundred percent of the way they did everything the way Becker tells them to.
And I was like, okay. So that’s just how I have to do it. And then I did it for two days. And I was like, this is just not like, this is going to take me for ever. I don’t know like how I’m even going to, like, I had already scheduled my first exam for July. I was like, I don’t even know how I’m going to finish all this material in two months.
So then I was talking to one of my coworkers and she was like, she had used your materials before. And she was like, oh, just go check it out. Like he has a podcast, he has some YouTube videos. He has all this stuff. So then I listen to the podcasts. I’ll listen to the very first episode where you give like a general briefing on how the SuperfastCPA process works.
And then she said, oh, he also says like these webinars that you should do. And I remember it was 4:58 PM and the webinars started at five o’clock and I, I clicked on the link and I was like, there’s still availability for this. An I was like, well I don’t know what I’m going to do for the next hour but like, I might as well just see what this guy has to say.
And then you went through the whole thing you gave your spiel and I’m not want to like get hooked into things very easily. And like, I’m not going to lie. When I first heard the name SuperfastCPA, I was like, this is kind of like a gimmick. Like, I feel like this isn’t like a legit thing. And then everything you said during that webinar was exactly what I was talking to my dad about the days before where I was like, I don’t know how I’m going to memorize all this stuff.
I don’t even know how I’m going to remember it like eight weeks down the line when I’m taking my test. So you said everything that I needed to hear. And then yeah, I just bought it. I bought everything right after that.
Nate: That’s awesome. Uh, yeah, that’s funny. I, sometimes I slightly regret, you know, the name of the business just because, I hear that a lot, they’re like, just from the beginning, it’s just sounds like it’s too good to be true thing. And I’m like, yeah, I can kind of see that but anyways.
Nick: Yeah. And it’s not like super fast in the way that like you think it is, like people are like, oh, you used Superfast so you did the, you got through the exam super fast. And I was like, that’s not really like the point of it.
So, um, but I, I just thought the name was funny at first. And then I was like, oh gosh, I see what he’s talking about. But he’s like actually explaining it. Yeah.
Nate: Yeah. The webinar is, uh, that I mean, that’s why we eventually set that up is because it takes a minute, well, it takes like an hour to just kind of like, here’s probably where you’re at.
Like, you know, I’m not a fortune teller. It’s just, I’ve worked with thousands of CPA candidates. I can narrow down your struggles into like three main things. And like you said, most people they’re like, yeah, there’s that, there’s that there’s that.
Study Strategies that Made Sense to Nick
Nate: Anyways, so, uh, as far as the strategies, do you remember on the webinar what were like the top one or two ideas about how to study differently that made a lot of sense to you?
Nick: Uh, definitely the number one, I’m looking at my cheat sheet over here. I wrote a bunch of notes down. Uh, definitely the number one is like constantly studying because like I said, like especially with my case for FAR I had two months before I was actually going to take my exams.
And it’s really hard to retain information for two months. Like, all it made me think of was the classic scenario where you’re in high school or you’re in college and your teacher says like, oh, you’re going to have a cumulative final exam. And it’s like, I don’t remember anything that I learned at the beginning of the semester.
Like, how am I going to take an exam? But then it makes sense that I wish I could go back and do this, but if I had just been like constantly studying the material every day, then I easily would have remembered everything.
Nick: So it’s just like doing the mini study sessions every day and constantly studying every day, just trying to do like at least one thing every day was definitely the biggest, um, study tip that I took away from a webinar.
Nate: Yeah. Um, and that’s, that’s good because that’s, that’s different. Most people, the first thing they say is using the questions first. And that’s kind of like the big basis, but yeah, I would say there’s basically, uh, if, if I had to boil it down, it’d be like two things using the questions or the idea of like spending most of your study time doing what you’ll be doing on exam day.
You’re not going to get into the testing center and be goofing around with video lectures for three hours. You know, you’re going to see questions and SIMS and so you spend most of your time doing that, but then the other big thing cause I failed FAR once. And when I got in there, the first thing that clicked as I was going through questions was I was seeing a lot of relatively simple conceptual questions on topics I’d obviously covered, but just, you know, they ask it slightly tricky or just some minor detail that I just could not remember.
And so immediately I was like, okay, I need to be spending half my study time rereviewing everything I’ve been through. Um, yeah.
Nick’s Daily Study Routine
Nate: So when you say that studying constantly, what did a day of studying look like for you just from start to finish, including like using our study tools from your phone?
Nick: Yep. Um, I pretty much did everything you’ve said to do and it worked out perfectly. Um, so I wake up early in the morning which I did not want to do. Um, I woke up at 6:55 every morning so that I could start studying at seven o’clock. Um, and then I would study for 50 minutes and then I would do the 10 minute break like he recommended because like I can’t sit there and do CPA questions for hours upon hours.
I don’t think anybody can. Yeah. Then I take the 10 minute break until eight o’clock and then I would do a 30 question quiz and now it’s take me until like 8:30, 8:45 and then I would start working.
Nick: Um, and then during that study time in the morning, I would make sure that my phone was on the other side of the room.
I wrapped it in blankets so I wouldn’t hear any of the buzzing or the notifications or anything. Um, the only time I would really look at the book. So I use Becker and the only time I would look at the book or even like, I wouldn’t even touch the video lectures because they’re just so boring. But, um, the only time I would ever look at that stuff is if I really didn’t understand something, like if I had gone through the material and I had seen like, let’s say five or six multiple choice questions on the same topic over and over again.
And I was just consistently not understanding what it was saying. Then I would go back to the video lecture or the book or if it was like a calculation that like, I obviously just wouldn’t have known unless I read it. Um, and then throughout the time, if I was seeing those reoccurring topics, I would take notes on that.
I wouldn’t take notes on every little thing like you recommended because like thing I kind of just get bogged down in the details, which is like one of the things that I think I see people struggle with the most when they’re studying for the exam. They just get bogged down in all the details. Cause like, especially with Becker, they’re trying to make it, I don’t want to sound mean or anything but they’re trying to make themselves seem smarter, like just saying a bunch of accounting stuff that does not matter to you at all.
And like the other big thing that you would always say is just studying to pass. You’re not studying to, I’m just going to quote you. You’re not studying to do a lecture on this stuff. You’re just studying to get a 75. Honestly, at the end of the day, nobody even cares what score you get as long as it’s a 75 or higher.
Um, so I would just take like very general notes or if I was like consistently getting like one of the questions wrong, I would take a note on that and then later make a flashcard. Um, The one of the biggest changes to my studying method was talking while I’m studying. Um, I remember the first time my dad walked downstairs and he was like, what are you like, who are you talking to?
I was just like, I’m just talking to myself. Like, this is just what the guy, the guy told me to do this. I’m just going to do but it makes sense cause like, let’s say you’re reading something, you’re learning through visual. Let’s say you’re talking through something you’re learning through audio and then it leads right into like your audio notes where like it’s just another form of studying.
Um, and then, yeah, starting with the questions first. That was strange cause you never studied like that. You never studied going straight into the multiple choice questions. Um, so the biggest thing to adjust to was not getting everything right, right away because like you used them in most cases you use multiple choice questions as like an assessment tool.
Yes. Um, but it makes perfect sense in this case to use it as a studying tool because like you said, it, the multiple choice questions encompass everything that’s most important in the lectures or in the videos. Like they’re not going to, I mean, you’re going to have those like one-off questions that are just like random things that you don’t need to know.
But most of the time you’re gonna, um, probably just repeating everything you’ve ever said, but you’re just like seeing the same three or four topics.
Nate: Yeah. I love hearing you say all this, like I, can you almost memorize the pro videos. It sounds like which-
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been, uh, I’ve been telling everybody at work about SuperfastCPA and I feel like I’m just like a, a salesman for you at this point.
I’m just like giving the spiel and everything and everybody’s like, oh yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. But, yeah. And then, um, so I’ll do that like every morning. I would just go through, do my, uh, do my hour of studying, do my 30 question quiz. And then after work, I would go through that 30 question quiz, see what questions I got wrong, start reviewing that stuff and then make flashcards if I absolutely needed to. Um, that was definitely tricky to was not making a flashcard about everything ’cause like, I’m writing the notes down about general topics, and then you want to write a flashcard for every note that you write down but you also don’t want to do that because then you’re just going to get stuck in the same rut of like, oh, I need to memorize every single thing I made a flashcard for, which is just not correct.
Um, so yeah, so that’s my studying. And then throughout the day, I would do the mini, the mini sessions. Um, I have this constant routine of, I was start with five flashcards on Quizlet and then the next time I looked at my phone, I would do a five question quiz on the app. Now, the next time I looked on my phone, I would do a, uh, read five pages of the review notes.
And then I would just constantly cycle through that throughout the day.
Nate: That’s, okay. That’s such a good idea. I’m going to start telling people that cause I, when I answer that question, they’re like, how do I just use the study tools? Like, what’s the best like how many quizzes should I do a day or whatever.
And I’m like, uh, just, you know, when it makes sense to listen to the audios, you just do that. Like if you’re in your car or working out or whatever, if you can stand it. And then, uh, whenever you would look at your phone, just kind of try to do a 50/50 split but that cycle that’s just, uh, if you, if you get through your little cycle 10 times in a day, great. Some days it might only be five. But the, the thing that I’ve been telling people lately is that using all three, I guess in your case four, if you include your own flashcards, which is a good idea. Um, using all four resources throughout the day is dramatically different than just using one primarily, like some people mostly just listen to the audio is and never really used the other study tools. But, uh, it’s kind of like what you said with talking to yourself. I can’t, uh, intelligently described this, but you know, studies I’ve read with how our brain works when you engage different modalities, you know, it, there’s more, it’s just much much more effective than one, you know, you only use one method all the time when you’re trying to learn, you know, whatever this new topic is.
Nick: No exactly. I, I was just like, just like what you said, like you get different forms of studying. Therefore, you’re getting different forms of information and different ways of memorizing it. So like, let’s say you can’t memorize it, listening to audio notes. Like you can memorize it using flashcards. Like you wouldn’t have known that unless you’re using multiple forms of studying.
“This is just going to be like a Godsend…”
Nate: Yeah. So let me ask you about, uh, how you, it sounds like you. I mean, you even described, you even mentioned the, uh, the 10 minute break between sections of 50 minutes. That’s just like something I say, you know, a five second segment of one of the pro videos. So I wanted to ask you just how did you, when you bought the bundle, did you just sit down before you did another kind of CPA study session and watched all the videos start to finish or how’d you learn the pro material pro course material so well?
Nick: Um, so yeah, so I remember I started studying the normal way on a Sunday and I was like, oh, I’m just going to like, get ahead on all of this stuff. So I started studying on Sunday, Monday, and I barely even got through two modules. And I was just like, I don’t even like, it was like the basic stuff of FAR too.
And it was like the, um, but so Sunday, Monday, Tuesday is when I found out about SuperfastCPA. And then I was like, okay, I’m going to start studying this way next Monday. And then I know this time one of my friends who I recommended it too as well. Um, I was just like so excited to study which sounds like the nerdiest thing ever.
But I was like, this is just like the perfect way to study like, especially coming from like studying the normal way for two days, I was like, this, this is just going to be like a Godsend. Like, this is just so much easier. I don’t have to like focus for that long. It’s just way better. Um, So I started using it on like Thursday or something.
And I got through all the pro videos. I wrote down notes about everything. I rewatched the pro videos, I believe on that Friday as well. And then I had just started studying your way on Saturday. So it was just like, it was just a matter of getting through the pro videos. Cause it’s like, like you said earlier, like it’s not anything that you’ve studied like before. It’s just a completely different way of studying.
So it’s like something you have to get used to after. In my case, like 16 years of studying the normal way in school. Um, so it was really just a matter of getting through the videos. I didn’t think the videos were that complicated at all. I didn’t think any of the concepts were that complicated. It was just something new.
So it was, I would highly recommend going through the videos and then rewatching them.
Rewatching Video Lectures and Applying it
Nate: Thank you. Yeah. Well, you’ve already, I’m going to, you’ve already given me several great soundbites to where it’s not just me telling somebody this, but yes. So, and I was going to ask you that, if you remember specifically, was it like, things really clicked the second time you watched them?
Uh, cause I tell people that all the time. I’m like, okay, it’s kind of like when you watch a, I don’t know, a movie and you see it again and you see all these details you missed the first time. Do you remember specifically like things really clicking, watching it, watching them the second time?
Nick: It wasn’t necessarily watching it.
It was applying it. Applying it is where I found that it actually worked and it actually clicked for me. Um, I think you say it in the videos too, but like, it was, it took me like a few times of studying that way and the first couple of times, I’m like, I dunno, like I’m getting all these questions wrong and I’m getting discouraged but it’s like, but then like, I just have to like remind yourself, like I’m not, I don’t know this stuff. Like the whole point is that I’m supposed to get it wrong so that I can understand why it’s right.
Nick: Um, so I wouldn’t say it was necessarily watching the videos but definitely after a couple of times of applying the methods, I would definitely say it started to click for me.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And that was my next question. And again, that’s that’s the second part. I’m always telling people like, listen, take the time to watch the pro videos but then it’s like learning to ride a bike.
You take your little four year old you want to teach to ride a bike, you could have them watch a hundred videos on YouTube and it makes logical sense. You sit on the bike, you know, you do the pedals with your feet, but there’s this whole balance component that you can’t put into words, no matter how you try. They have to sit on the bike and just see how that actually feels. And, but then once it clicks, it’s like riding a bike is easy.
Realizing the SFCPA Study Method “Clicks”
Nate: Um, so, oh, sorry. So my question was, I think you kind of said it. How many days, or how many, how many weeks of applying the methods was it until you felt like, okay, I get how this works.
Nick: Okay. I would say definitely after the first week of studying. Um.
Nick: It’s like I said before, it’s just something new and it’s just like, anything else you do like, it was awesome just hearing you say the bike example cause I heard you say that like a million times. Um, but it was just like doing anything new. You’re not going to get it the first time. You’re probably not going to go through the second time or the third time.
It’s like, it’s going to take a repetitive process. I think the other reason it’s like, uh, a couple tries of studying is because again, when I was having to wake up early, and I hate waking up early. So it was like, I’m waking up early in the morning, I’m getting all these questions wrong. I’m like, screw this, I don’t want to do this anymore.
And then I’m like, nah, I gotta keep doing it because the other way is way worse. Like I’m not doing the other way. Um, so yeah, I would say like about like a week into it, it probably started to click.
“Studying in the morning just made it so much easier…”
Nate: Yeah. And, and, uh, you know, I know you said you only studied the normal way for two days but did you find it to be a, just a big relief to kind of have your, your big study session out of the way in the morning and then you could go to work and just not have to dread it all day?
Nick: A hundred percent. I, so I had also, I was doing, um, grad school classes at the same time that I was doing my internship. Um, and I would save all my I would try and do work on the weekends cause I had like free time. I had longer weekends, I was working part-time and then I was trying to do homework after work. And I was like, I don’t want to do this.
And yeah, studying in the morning, just made it so much easier cause like you say all the time, like you can, there’s so many reasons that could come up during the day to put something off, but there’s like almost nothing that can happen at seven o’clock in the morning. That’s going to really like ruin your study session.
Uh, it was funny because the only thing that I could think of was my dad. I used to study in my basement and my dad would work out in a little basement as well. And there was this like really like creaky rowing machine. And I was like, like, you have to not do that while I’m studying. Like, I can not focus at all if you’re going to be doing that.
And I was like, really the only thing. Nobody like your age is texting you at seven o’clock in the morning. Nobody’s up that early. Like nothing’s going to happen at seven o’clock in the morning. That’s going to deter you from studying, but like anything can happen from seven o’clock to five o’clock that’s going to deter you from studying.
Nate: Right? Yeah. Except for all the idiotic notifications from news apps on your phone, which going back to your point, uh, again, putting your phone across the room. I just, I love hearing that you did that because it does, it just makes a it really takes like 10 minutes. If you lose focus, it takes like 10 minutes to kind of look at your phone or whatever distracted you and kind of come back.
And if you’re only studying for two hours in the morning or an hour and a half or whatever, you just can’t afford, you know, like 10 minute distractions.
Nick: Yeah, exactly. Um, one of the things I wanted to bring up about studying in the morning as well, I forget what podcast it was specifically, but the, I remember one lady you interviewed,
she said that the key to her waking up early every morning was to do it consistently. So like, if you’re going to be waking up, like I would wake up at 6:55 every morning, and then if I had slept in until like nine o’clock or 10 o’clock or something on the weekends, then waking up at 6:55 on Monday was like impossible.
Um, so I would, I would let myself sleep in a little bit on the weekends. So like, instead of waking up at 6:55, I would wake up at like 7:55 or like 8:30 or something like that. So that it made it a lot easier to get back to the 6:55 on Monday.
“You get your nights to do whatever you want…”
Nate: Yeah. Um, it is, it’s just a, a kind of goes back to, I dunno, the general mindset is if you just kind of accept in advance that this is going to be hard, it’s like outside of my norm, but it will let me get this over with in several months instead of a year or more, you know, it’s just easier to accept that I guess or-
Nick: Oh, a hundred percent. And the other thing too about studying in the morning is that you get your nights, like you get your nights to do whatever you want. Like, my big thing was like playing video games with my friends.
So that was like, when I like saw how to study the nromal way I was like, all right, guys, I’m not going to be able to play video games for like seven, eight months. Like, I’ll see you when I see you. And then I started studying your way. And I was just like, every night I was like, you guys want to play video games?
You want to click the video games? So I was like, this is great. Just like having your nights. And then like, you just have to go to bed like kind of early cause you wake up early but like otherwise you get like way more time back in your day.
Nate: Yeah. I love, uh, I love what you’re saying here. So yeah, you, you did the process exactly.
You passed in five months. And you were playing video games at night every night. That’s a, that’s just like the perfect, perfect example of how this should work.
Nick: Yeah. Then the other thing is like, you shouldn’t be studying all day. You’re going to burn out. Like nobody has meant to study for two hours in the morning, go to work in accounting for eight hours every day and then study for five more hours at night.
Like that makes no sense. You’re just going to burn out super fast.
Nate: Yeah, I’ve had, uh, I’ve done a few calls, like somebody would email me and like, I’ve, I’ve had some like horror story emails. I never thought the, these exams could like affect someone this much. But if like their relationship is struggling because they’ve been doing this for years and they’re trying to study like literally around the clock,
so they go to work and then they come home and they tell their spouse or whatever. You got to watch the kids cause I got to study and this has been going on for years, you know? Like I’ve, I’ve gotten some horror story emails anyways.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, that was another great thing about like, my situation was that my girlfriend was like, every time was just like, now you like you go study, like we’ll do something after you study.
Cause like my study sessions are only two hours and especially on a weekend, like you still have like 10 hours left in the day to do whatever you want. So it’s just like having a support system there as well as definitely helpful for getting through the exams.
Study Routine on the Weekends
Nate: Uh, so I was going to ask about the weekends and you kind of just mentioned that as well. So you would just do the standard two hours and call it good? And it obviously worked out.
Nick: So I got to a point where well, humblebrag. But I would do, I could get through the multiple choice questions, like the new ones and like a minute, just like you recommend for like doing on the test. But I could do it in like a minute, because it was just like, again, I think you’re seeing the same topics over and over again.
And so you can kind of get through them pretty fast. Um, so like, I didn’t have to spend that much time, like extra time studying. Um, so yeah, like the weekends really for me were just about catching up. If I have like anything ’cause it’s like, I know another thing you recommended was, um, don’t start late on a Monday or don’t start behind on a Monday, uh, because then that obviously just throws everything off.
So like, you have to, if you’re not working during busy season, you have two free days of doing like all those studying you need to do. So, like, I would just wake up again. I would wake up like a little bit later on the weekends but then I would just study for two hours and then go about my day. Like it was just a regular weekend.
Having a Study Routine Saved Him from Feeling Confused and Overwhelmed
Nate: Yeah. Yeah, that’s again, that’s just a perfect example of the ideal and you kind of alluded to this but, and I’m guessing once you really got going, you just had this process down to where I’m guessing you would say the study process itself almost became easy. Like you still had to do it every day, but you just, uh, you didn’t spend a lot of time feeling confused and overwhelmed, is that accurate?
Nick: Yeah, exactly. It’s, it’s all about getting your study routine down. I don’t want to like preach to the choir here, but I guess that’s the point of this. But I’m just getting your study routine down. Like another study, like a underrated study tool that I used was were these podcasts. Like if you listen to these podcasts, people will give like, I that’s the whole point of those people give very good helpful tips.
So as long as you get your study routine down, It’s literally just a matter of you waking up and actually doing it versus like you sitting there and be like, oh my God, like how am I going to study this today? Or how am I going to study this way today? But instead you just have your routine down and then can you just wake up and you do it and then go about your day.
Nate: Yeah. Um, uh, I had one, something you said triggered a question but I’ll just move on to the next one. I’ll come back.
Taking Down Notes and Creating Flashcards
Nate: Um, so you would, you would take kind of general notes as you’re kind of trying to understand a new lesson and what you’re seeing in questions and that, that makes sense to do. But then you said you would hold off on creating flashcards for the sets of 30 primarily when you would see things 2, 3, 4 times and keep missing them, is that how you would do it?
Nick: Yeah, exactly. Um, my routine for taking general notes was if I had seen something at least three times in the multiple choice questions I was studying then I would write it down. Um, but that’s also a process of like, you have to remember what you’ve seen so far, but it’s not that hard because you can obviously just go back to the questions.
Um, and then yeah, exactly. I would go through my multiple choice, my 30 question multiple choices and then review it. And if I had seen the same thing that I had written notes about or if I was like consistently in getting questions wrong, then I would write a flashcard about it. And again, something you recommended but the big thing was writing it in your own words.
Don’t write it in, in my case Becker’s words cause it makes no sense. Like it’s all about like you repeating it back to yourself, you trying to explain it to yourself and then writing the flashcard. Like don’t write their definition. That’s why I never really liked their flashcards just because their flashcards were like oh, we have the definition or we have the term on the front but then the definition is like two paragraphs long on the back. And it’s like, how am I going to remember this? The only way to remember it is to do it in your own words.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you again for just, uh, reiterating. That mean and it just, the thing is all this stuff kind of just, it makes so much sense once you say it, right?
It’s like, it just makes more sense. If you’re trying to learn this difficult, dense technical topics, reading the professor’s explanation, I mean, at some point you have to write to try and understand it. But from there to get it in your own brain, it just makes more sense to come up with your own way of explaining it and writing that down.
Nick: Yeah. That was another big thing with your materials too especially the review notes was that you just simplified it. Like it’s really, some of the topics are hard. Probably I would say like 90 to 95% of the topics are not that hard. It’s literally just a matter of you understanding what they’re saying in accounting language and then putting it into your own words.
So like your, your review notes were perfect because it was like, you obviously weren’t saying this, but you were just like just, this is simple, stupid. Like don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Like, just know this and then just move on. Like, you don’t have to know all the little details, all the background of it. Just know this. So that’s what I loved about your review notes too.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, you probably, I’m sure you remember me saying this and those videos but a big just kind of learning, almost a learning hack that sounds dumb to say, but, uh, think about what the words mean, you know, like people get so caught up in, okay, this is the definition I’m like trying to just memorize these words.
But if you think about the meaning behind those words, it, a lot of this stuff just makes common sense. And it’s just, once you grasp that, it’s so much easier to understand because you’re understanding an idea that makes logical sense and not trying to memorize, you know, 100 words because of this definition or whatever.
Nick: Yup, a hundred percent.
Listening to Podcast or Audio Notes During Free Time
Nate: So the question I was going to ask earlier, just when did you, when did you make time to, because I do tell people, new customers listening to our podcast interviews, especially as you’re learning the pro uh, pro core strategies is just as important or just as helpful as the pro videos itself. Um, so when would you listen to those just when you’re driving or whenever you’d normally listen to podcast type thing?
Nick: Yeah. So I actually got a new car in May of 2021 as well, but like I was out driving that all the time. And yeah. I mean like you picture you’re getting your new car and you’re like listening to like your favorite music or whatever with all your friends. But I was just driving around by myself, listening to you talk and other people talk about their own CPA exam study methods.
But like I said before, I was working part time. So like I would also, I would have Mondays and Fridays off, so I would just, and it was nice outside. So I would literally just sit outside and listen to the podcast. I would sit on the beach and listen to the podcast is just like wherever I have free time to listen to something, I would just listen to the podcast or your audio notes.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And again, uh, I, I fully get, you know, obviously that doesn’t sound fun to anyone. Like I obviously understand that. However, it goes back to the idea of the more, the more, this stuff you can run through your head. I mean, the faster you’re going to get done. And I mean, anyone would, anyone would pay probably like up to a thousand dollars for every month they could cut off of their CPA studying, you know?
So yeah. It just, just makes it happen faster.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, like, that’s the other thing I tell people too about this process and another thing I see a lot of people mess up on and I’m just like, I’m preaching to the choir but like just because you’re studying a lot, doesn’t mean you’re studying right. And it doesn’t mean you’re actually dedicating yourself to the studying.
Like you could be studying for like three hours, but again, like you were saying earlier, like if you take like 10 minutes to look at your phone, every time it goes off then like you’re not actually study thing. You’re just saying you’re studying. Um, so it was all about like having a dedication and having a mindset that like, you have to get it done.
And then you never have to worry about it again.
Final Review Preparation Before the Exams
Nate: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Um, let’s see. So the last thing to ask about is, uh, your, how would you do the last few days before an exam or your final review, whatever you want to call that? How did you do that?
Nick: Yeah, so this was like the only way I really deviated from, uh, what you recommended. I would do the cram sessions. But I burn out very easily so I wouldn’t do it for like eight to 10 hours each day. Um, let me go back. I would schedule my tests on a Monday so I could have the weekend study. Um, and then Saturday I would do, I would do the two hour sessions. So I would do 60 multiple choice questions and five SIMS.
Um, and that would take up about two hours and I would do three on Saturday. And then I would spend the rest of Saturday reviewing those questions, saying what I got wrong, see what I could do better on. And then the rest of Saturday would be, uhm, reading the review notes. And then Sunday, I would only do two of the two of those two hour sessions.
And then I would do the big recommendation that I found on your podcast was the AICPA practice tests.
Nick: I would do that Sunday afternoon and then I would spend the rest of the Sunday just listening to your audio notes and like watching a baseball game, watching a basketball game or something, doing something like that, like relaxed before the test.
Um, but back to the practice exam, I believe I heard it on your podcast but I would like every single test that I took, there was at least one SIM and at least a few multiple choice questions that were almost the exact same on the exam. Like it was like, like almost the exact same, just like different numbers but like the question itself was the same exact thing. Sometimes even the format was the same exact for the SIMS.
Nate: Yeah. Then you’re talking from the AICPA practice exam, right?
Nick: Yes. Um, and then my big thing about the, um, cram sessions, wasn’t really the multiple choice questions. Cause at that point I’ve had a good understanding of like what topics would have multiple choice questions.
It was more about the SIMS. I didn’t really look at the SIMS until that weekend before. Um, sometimes even like the week before. Um, because I, I remember, I think it was on one of the pro videos but you said to just treat the SIMS like a multiple choice question because they can’t really ask some of the questions in too many different ways.
So it just made sense to like not, I know this is going to sound bad for some people cause they get hung up on the SIMS, but like I didn’t really harp on the SIMS that much. And I would say it worked out just treating them like multiple choice questions. Um, and obviously not getting overwhelmed by all the information that’s on the SIMS.
Nate: So meaning so when you would, when you would do the SIMS the last few days before an exam, you wouldn’t sit there and try to solve it all by yourself. You had no qualms about, okay as soon as I’m stuck, I just submit it to see how this works and kind of break it into its pieces type thing, right?
Nick: Exactly. It was just like the multiple choice questions. Like I, why would I get hung up about something that I’ve never seen before? So it would just be like, just submit it and then see what the answer is. And then again, talk yourself through logically why it makes sense. Yeah. Um, and then one of the other big things the week before, um, I would always give myself like a week of review before each exam.
Um, and during that I would, I wouldn’t be learning anything new. I would just be doing like sets of 30 multiple choice questions three times in that hour and a half morning study session. And then the other thing I found helpful, I didn’t buy any of the Becker books but the only books I did buy were those review books.
Because there there’s similar to your review notes. Um, and it sounds like it’s just like an overall view of everything that’s in each section. And then I would read through that. And again, that would just be like another way of learning stuff or like reviewing stuff. Instead of just only looking at your review notes, I would also look at the Becker review book and have like a second way of learning things.
Nate: Yeah. Um, is that, you mean, do they have like a cram course thing you can buy? Is that what you’re and then they have books that go with-
Nick: They have a whole course. I would just buy the book though. Just the book itself. Um, the book itself would walk you through the main points of each module of each section.
And then they had these like little questions at the end, multiple choice questions at the end of each section that you could go through as well. Um, but again, it was just like your review notes but just a different way of looking at it.
The Relief After Passing All 4 Exams
Nate: Yeah, and that makes yeah, makes complete sense. Um, so what about your, did you do anything big to celebrate or was it just the relief itself was being to passing?
Nick: I honestly, I think the fourth. Okay. But the first time I’ve literally almost passed out. Um, I have no idea. I got I think I got an 88 or something. I literally had to go off to my girlfriend and be like, what number does this say? She’s like 88. I was like, I can’t like, I can’t read right now. I don’t even know what this says, I don’t even know if that’s 88 is bigger than 75, uh,
Nate: On your first exam or your fourth one?
Nick: The first one.
Nate: Gotcha. Okay. You were just surprised your score was that high?
Nick: Yeah, I mean like each time though I would send it to my girlfriend or something and be like, what number does this thing? Like, it’s a bigger than 75? And she’d be like, yeah, obviously it’s bigger than 75. Um, but the fourth time, I think I literally just played video games that night.
It was just like, like you said, it’s just like a relief more than like, I didn’t really want to like celebrate. I just was like happy that I was done with it.
Nate: Yeah. The, the sense of relief is, is like a higher high than I don’t know, going out to a restaurant or whatever. I mean, and a lot of people do that, just whatever, but yeah.
Yeah. Going to play video games with that completely and, you know, it’s all over. That’s just, that’s the biggest thing is that feeling that it’s all over.
Nick: Yeah, exactly.
Nate: Well, we, yeah, we, uh, this, this has been, I’m going to refer people to this interview when they ask me about-
Nate: Anything to do with the pro videos or whatever. So I appreciate you doing the call, but I most, I mostly appreciate you, there, there’s a very, uh, I wish I could put numbers on this but when I do one of these interviews and I can tell that they have really like internalized the pro video stuff, then their story is pretty similar. Like they passed quickly or once they once they did watch the pro videos, they go four for four or something like that. Um, yeah, so that’s like, that’s the main thing I try to tell new customers is like, you might not want to watch four hours of me talking about the study process itself, but I promise you this will like lay a foundation that makes this whole thing easier.
And so, oh, sorry, go ahead.
Nick: I was just going to say honestly the, so like I said before, I listened with like a million of these podcasts to like figure out like how to do my study routine and everything. And like the whole time, this is going to sound like really weird, but one of my motivations was just like getting on this podcast and just like being able to see like my name, like on one of the titles of the podcast.
And I was just like, that’s what I want to do. I just wanna be done with it. And that’s pretty much like, I just thought about that like every day and I was talking to one of my coworkers when you emailed me the link to the, to do the interview. And she was like freaking out for me. And I was just like, I’m really gonna like fan girl out or something was like, I listened to you for what,
seven months? Just you talking to me through my, through my phone, through my headphones but I was just like, it just all came to fruition, like actually being on this podcast. So yeah, this is kind of my celebration for passing.
Nate: Yeah. Well, congrats. And that’s funny because uh, people have started say, I hear that. Like I, now that the podcast is like, I think it’s almost two years old or this, since we started doing interviews, but yeah. People I start I’ve I hear that now, which is funny and yeah, the, the idea that someone’s out there, like listening to me talk, oh my gosh. The audio notes just endlessly is kind of weird, but yeah.
Nick: I don’t want to be dramatic or anything, but you’ve changed like a lot of people’s lives doing this.
It’s like, it’s amazing to think about it’s like so many, like I would still be studying right now probably if I didn’t find a SuperfastCPA. So it’s like, it’s this dramatic, but it’s true. Like you changed a lot of people’s lives just putting out your own study routine which is pretty amazing.
Nick’s Top Tips for People Currently Studying
Nate: Yeah. I mean, that’s awesome to hear, so yeah, I appreciate you saying that and yeah, being a customer so, um, the, uh, the last thing I was going to ask or that I always ask, you’ve probably heard this is just your top two or three tips to people trying to figure this out still.
Nick: Yeah. Um, in terms of studying specifically, I would say learn how to answer questions. I don’t know, this is something you’ve talked about many times, but reading the question first and then going back to everything before the question really helps you solidify what is being asked, um, that is especially the case with FAR. The other three, not so much, but FAR is going to have like a paragraph and then the question.
So as long as you read the question, understand what they’re trying to ask you and then go back through all the filler information before that, then it’s a lot easier to do. Um, I know you recommend this. I would say using the CPA exam blueprints to see like how certain questions will be asked.
I forgot how it’s broken down into like four categories or whatever, but you would have like some questions would only be multiple choice questions. Some would only be SIMS. That kind of thing. I remember reading through it. I think it was for FAR. And reading through the exam blueprints and then seeing a SIM that I saw in the blueprints on my exam.
And I was like, oh, like I had already known this was going to be, this could be on here. So I’ve been studied this. And so now, like actually seeing it it’s way easier. Um, let me take, let me consult my notes. I have one more, oh, make your own strategy. Um, not everything is going to work like everything I’ve said today is not going to work for you.
So just make the strategy around. Take different ideas from different people. That’s the whole point of this podcast. Take different ideas from different people and you put them together into something that works for you and the studying will be a thousand times easier.
Nate: Yeah. That is a, that’s a great tip. And I’ve, I’ve been surprised how many again, now I’m getting people on the podcast that have spent a year of listening to the other episodes and that’s a very common thing is and you did it a couple of times where you’re like, there was one episode where I heard this and that just, I knew that would work for me or, and then the opposite is true, you know?
And then it’s a kind of, I guess the others version of that would just be somebody studying, pouring time into this kind of in isolation and what they’re doing. Like, they’re not even sure if it’s working or not. They’re just pouring time into it. And then the only way they know if it’s working is they spend six weeks and whether they pass or fail, you know? Um.
Nick: Yeah, I bring it’s kind of hard in that sense where like the first test it’s like you said, like, you don’t know if it’s actually working or not. And then, I mean, like once you got that first passing score, you’re like, oh, like I just got to do this again three more times then I’m done. Also another thing I would recommend is BEC is a lot harder than people make it out today.
Um, yeah, I have heard everything I’ve ever heard was it’s the easiest one. So I saved it for last. Um, that was not true at all. I thought that was the hardest one. It was, there was just like a lot of IT information that I had never seen before. So if you’re gonna take BEC anytime soon, definitely supplement something. IT wise.
Nate: Yeah. Uh, sorry, one officially my last question. So what you got an 88 on your first exam, what were you scoring on sets of 30? You know, right up before the exam. Do you remember?
Nick: Um, I remember the 30 question quizzes I was getting eighties to nineties every time. Literally the only reason I can get below those scores any time was because of like, if I had just gotten a random testlet that was like a bunch of one-off questions.
Um, everything else was generally in the eighties to nineties. And then the thing I tried not to get discouraged by when I was doing those 60 multiple choice, five SIM testlets was that my scores went down. But the only reason my scores went down was because I had never seen the SIMS before and usually I was just skipping them to see what the answer was.
Yeah. Um, so that was definitely something to adjust to, but like otherwise it was like the 80 to 90 and yeah, it was pretty much good to go. I would like understand that I knew most of the material.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s pretty reliable. Like those sets of 30, um, yeah, if you’re getting 80 or above, it’s like a pretty solid indicator.
And then the other thing that it, it just, you kind of alluded to this, it solves a lot of problems in advance doing those sets of 30 every day. You get quick at doing questions and then you’re, you’re good at answering questions which is actually really important, but it’s like this idea that no one talks about.
You should be good at what you’re going to try to do on test day. Um, yeah, those, those sets of 30 are very indicative of your exam score, I would say so. Yeah. All right, Nick. Well, again, I really appreciate you doing the call. These types of ones are my favorite where it just, uh, you were smart enough to watch the videos from the beginning and applied it and then made your own tweaks from that framework. And you were passing in five months while playing video games every night, that’s awesome, so congrats.
Nick: Thank you. Yeah, I mean the, the thing with like passing everybody was like, oh my God. Like, you’re so smart or whatever, and I was like, I didn’t do anything the SuperfastCPA guy didn’t tell me what to do so like, it was just a matter of like knowing what you were saying to do and then actually applying it. And I mean, it was literally all I knew and it’s just like, you formed everything for me. And then I just had to wake up and study, that was pretty much it. But thank you for everything.
Nate: Yeah. Hey, no problem. That’s, you know, that’s the whole point and, uh, yeah, these podcasts have been, they’re, they’re fun to do, like to get someone on. And because that in the past I would get, you know, I just get, thank you emails, which are cool but hearing someone’s full stories and sometimes there’s like a lot more of their story than their initial email or whatever.
Um, and yeah, and then there’s ones like this where it’s just kind of a, a showcase, I guess of like if you just apply the strategies, it just works.
Like I said, I appreciate it. I’m so glad it worked so well for you. And it, it was awesome to hear your story and it was fun to meet you and chat for awhile.
So, yeah. Thank you.
Nick: Thank you for everything. And thank you for inviting me onto the podcast, I finally got to seal off the SuperfastCPA method and everything, it was great.
Nate: All right. So that was the interview with Nick. I’m sure you found that very helpful and inspiring. If you just get your strategies ironed out before you start or wherever you’re at now, just make sure you’re using strategies that are actually going to lead to a passing score. Then you can have the confidence that every day of studying is time well spent instead of feeling more and more frustrated, the more the weeks go by.
So if you found this episode helpful, take a second to share this with someone else that you know, who’s working on their CPA exams because these interviews are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for people trying to figure out their own CPA study process. Thanks for listening. And we’ll see you on the next episode.