How Tabitha Passed Her CPA Exams After Years of Struggling

How Tabitha Passed Her CPA Exams After Years of Struggling

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In this SuperfastCPA podcast episode, you’ll hear how Tabitha listened to this exact podcast for years while trying to pass her CPA exams, but she thought it sounded too good to be true. She finally decided to add SuperfastCPA to her CPA study routine, and a few months later she was done with her CPA exams once and for all!


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Watch the interview on Youtube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 00:00 Tabitha Interview
  • 01:02 Introduction
  • 05:14 Tabitha Shares How She Should’ve Bought SuperfastCPA Sooner
  • 07:20 How Tabitha Passed FAR After Four Tries
  • 11:08 Tabitha Talked About Her Best Investment
  • 13:17 How Tabitha Came Across SuperfastCPA
  • 14:29 How Tabitha Celebrated Passing and Future Plans
  • 16:17 How Tabitha Found Time Throughout the Day to Study With Kids
  • 18:00 The Big Change Tabitha Made With Her Study Routine
  • 20:48 What Motivated Tabitha to Not Give Up
  • 22:35 Failing Multiple Times Over Three Years
  • 24:29 How Tabitha Started Growing Confidence with the CPA Exam Material
  • 27:24 How Tabitha Improved Her Daily Study Sessions
  • 28:50 Tabitha’s Notetaking Process
  • 30:30 Tabitha Talks About Her Final Review Session
  • 32:06 Tabitha’s Test Day Experience
  • 33:35 How Tabitha Coped With Needing Eight Hours of Sleep Daily
  • 36:23 Not Wanting to Retake FAR is One of the Things that Motivated Tabitha
  • 37:20 Tabitha’s Top Tips for People Who Are Struggling with the Study Process
  • 40:15 The Reaction of Tabitha’s Husband on Passing the Exams.
  • 42:37 Tabitha’s Reaction After Passing Her Last Exam

How Tabitha Passed Her CPA Exams After Years of Struggling

Tabitha: I am a mom of three boys and I work full time and waking up early that is what I had to do. Because during the day you just have all those excuses all these are in your video as well. Like it’s all right. You have all these excuses, so just do it in the morning and get through the sessions and carry on with your day.

And so, you know, the first three times, I locked myself in the room and I like was missing their lives and I still failed. It’s like, oh my gosh. Like, it’s devastating, but yeah, just do it in the morning. And then you said those time wasters, every time you’re scrolling through your phone, just go through some questions.

I did that like every time before I did my feed, I just went through some questions and before I went to bed, I just did some questions and it’s just way more efficient.


Nate: Welcome to Episode 100 of the CPA Exam Experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. Now, I know you’ve probably heard other podcasts where they hit a big milestone episode, like 50 or a hundred. And uh, gotta admit, now that we’ve hit 100 episodes of this podcast, I feel the same way. It’s been a little over three years, I think, of consistently publishing these most weeks, we’ve missed a few.

But it’s been a ton of work, we have, you know, I did several solo episodes, but I think we have over almost 80 to 90 interviews published with our past customers. So I’m always saying, I think that we have compiled the most helpful free resource available anywhere for someone trying to figure out their own CPA study process.

Now, today’s interview is with Tabitha, [00:02:00] and her story, or at least a part of her story, is very relevant to this podcast. You’ll hear her describe this in her own words, but she listened to our podcast almost from the beginning. So for several years she liked the people’s stories about how they were passing.

Found it really motivational. But as far as the SuperfastCPA side, she was very, very skeptical. So she would listen to our episodes. She was working on her own on the exams, just kind of following the traditional study format. And after four attempts, she passed FAR. And then several more months went by and she started worrying about the 18 month timeline.

So at some point she decided, okay, I’m just gonna give this SuperfastCPA a try. And again, you’ll hear her describe this in her own words, but within a few months of that, she was all done with the CPA exams. [00:03:00] So you’ll hear her, uh, express that she’s mad at herself for not doing it sooner, but on that note, I wouldn’t tell everyone to just immediately go and sign up for our program.

I would tell anyone who is wondering how SuperfastCPA works, to start with one of our free study training webinars because for free, for an hour we walk through our specific strategies, how you’d use our study tools along with your main review course, whether that’s Becker, Wiley, Roger, how that all works so that you can see and make a logical decision based on, you know, the methods that we discuss on the training.

If does this make sense to me or not? So our free training webinars, you can sign up for one of those on our homepage at superfastcpa.com, or the link will be down in the description of this podcast episode or if you’re watching this on YouTube, it’ll be down in the video description.

So the other thing to mention before we get into [00:04:00] the interview is our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Power Beat Pro headphones. The idea behind the headphones is first, they’re my personal favorite headphones. I walk our dog every night wearing these, listening to podcasts, audiobooks.

But the idea is with our audio notes, especially if you are a podcast listener, you’ve probably heard dozens of people describe how helpful our audios were in their study process. And the nice thing about audio is of course, you can be listening, getting extra practice, exposure, study time while you’re doing other things.

Usually while doing normal daily tasks like preparing meals while you’re working out, going on a walk, whatever it is, driving in the car, you can just be hearing the concepts over and over and over. And it’s the same idea as pop songs that you memorize without even trying to. Once you hear things multiple times, they just get committed to [00:05:00] memory.

So to sign up for the free giveaway, that link as well will be down in the description, or you can just go directly to superfastcpa.com/enter. So with that being said, let’s get into the interview with Tabitha.

Tabitha Shares How She Should’ve Bought SuperfastCPA Sooner

Tabitha: I’ve been listening to you for- ever and before I even bought the item. And so when I bought it, I bought it right before I was going to take BEC.

Nate: Okay.

Tabitha: And I like listen to the BEC all over, like all of the studies material. Read ’em and listened to the audios, and I passed it. And I was like, oh my gosh, like this, this works. So I emailed you and just told you like, oh my gosh, I, I was so skeptical and, and I should have bought it years… Like when I first heard you, I should have bought it then. Then my journey wouldn’t [00:06:00] have been so long.

Nate: (haha) yeah.

Tabitha: But I, so I emailed you and I just said thank you and then right after that I scheduled the, the next two, like right after that. So audit and regulation. So one month at, one month each. So right after BEC, I took BEC in January, I scheduled auditing in February and regulation in March, and I just did the same thing.

I listened to the audio over and over and over again and listened or read the materials and I passed both of them. And I was.

Nate: That is awesome.

Tabitha: I was done and I was like, oh my gosh, like listening to you. I’m telling you, I’ve been listening and just been so skeptical for, I wanna say three years, cuz I was just so scared.

And then just back to back and, and just passed it and my journey is over. And so I was [00:07:00] just, just forever grateful and just mad at myself for not doing it earlier.

Nate: Oh, well that’s good to hear. Yeah. I mean, I don’t know, it’s one of those things where, uh, we hear that a lot. People kind of think. This just sounds too good to be true, you know, type thing and.

How Tabitha Passed FAR After Four Tries

Nate: So yeah, in your email, I’ve got it up here, so. Okay. So you passed FAR on your own, but after four tries. That’s right. So the FAR was the first one you passed.

Tabitha: Yeah, after four tries and I learned on my own, the first thing you said was, you know, just do questions like, that the first, you said, go, What are you doing on test day? You’re doing questions, so you need to be practicing the question.

So I learned that, I did learn that on my own, but I was getting like 73. and then I finally, I finally passed that. I finally got [00:08:00] over that hump and I was like, okay, that’s the questions.

But then for BEC, I took the practice exam. And I was take, and I was, I, I got a 72 on the practice exam and that’s when I was like, you know what, I’m missing something else that he’s saying. I don’t know what it is cuz I did the questions, but I’m not feeling good about the practice exam. So then that’s when I bought it and the the, the audio notes and the written notes just did it.

That’s that.

Nate: That just made the difference.

Tabitha: That was my missing link was that cuz listening it over in the car. When I was cooking, when I was doing my kids’ hair, I was just always just listening to it. And that repetition just helped. It did help a lot.

Nate: Yeah, it does. It’s uh, I mean it’s not even really my own idea really.

I just, that’s what I did. You know, If you’ve been, if you’ve heard a bunch of our podcasts, you probably have heard [00:09:00] this, but like I failed FAR on my first attempt and that was after studying like eight hours a day, just the normal way, watching every video, trying to do everything. And then I had started my first public accounting job and I just thought, okay, well I obviously don’t have eight hours anymore to study and that didn’t even work.

I studied from my phone really heavily, whether it was audio notes or little, uh, focus notes that Wiley had back then, or like Wiley had an app and even though, you know, they put in like full strength questions, so it’s hard to deal with on the app. That’s why ours are simplified so you can actually do ’em.

But anyways, I would just do that cuz it just made sense. Like, I don’t have eight hours to sit in front of my computer. I do have my phone all the time, so I’m just gonna use this to study and, uh, yeah, it just, you know, it helps you fit in a lot more study time, but then there is something to that, hearing the audios over [00:10:00] and over and over, you just.

Make more connections. Like every time you hear it, you make more and more connections and, uh, yeah. Even when people just add our study tools to what they’re already doing, that’s the typical thing we hear is like their next, their scores start going up by 10 to 15 points. Yeah. And so, that’s awesome that it worked for you. That’s, yeah, that’s great to hear.

Tabitha: Yeah. I said I’m just, I was just as bad at myself for not, not getting it sooner and they’re like, gosh, you know, when I, I did it back to back and, and I heard one of the, another lady you said you said her, her husband thought she was crazy for scheduling it back to back. And I did the same thing.

He was like, You don’t need to study like more. And I, I, I got it. I, I was like, I’m tired. I’m tired of this process going back and forth. And I think the thing about SuperfastCPA, yes, it sounds too good to be true, but it it [00:11:00] gives you the confidence. That’s, that’s the thing with me is it gave me the confidence and it just, it worked.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha Talked About Her Best Investment

Tabitha: It, and I, I, I’m just, I’m forever grateful. I am, I am. And the app, you’re exactly right. The app was, the Wiley app was just, it was harder. So I, I did never, I never used it. But another thing you said in your video was never miss a Monday. And I was like, okay, I’m never gonna miss , like, be behind on a Monday.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: Don’t be behind. And I just, I never was behind. I just, I stuck to it. And so it’s, I thought all those, those other people was crazy, but no, this is the real deal.

Nate: So, so the never missing a Monday. So you must have had our PRO videos, like our strategy videos as well. So you went in and watched all those.

Tabitha: I watched them all.

Yeah, I, I followed it. So I listened to the, the [00:12:00] free session. Uh, I listened to it the first time and, and it was like the questions, and I was like, okay, I’m doing that already. Like, okay, I’m on the right track. But again, when I, I didn’t do well on the practice exam, I was like, okay, I’m missing something else. So then that’s when I listened to it again, and I just saw the PRO and it was one time where you had 50% off and I was like, okay, I’m just gonna get it.

I’m just gonna buy it. And that was like the best investment ever. Just everything. And I just looked into all of the videos, the PRO videos you said do it beginning to end. So I just did it beginning to end, just listening to everything. And that was the best investment, best investment ever.

Nate: That’s awesome. And thank you for saying that. I, every time I can get someone to like say that, I just, I’m gonna save that clip because that’s. On the other side, that’s one of the things that I’m telling new customers the most. I’m [00:13:00] like, listen, I know you don’t wanna watch three hours about how to study, but this will, like the secrets to passing like fast and efficiently are in these videos.

Just watch the videos. So yeah, I’m glad you said that.

How Tabitha Came Across SuperfastCPA

Tabitha: Please do it guys, do it. If you want this as bad as I did. Just do it. And when you first hear it, it, it, your, your videos came up a lot when it came to YouTube. I was actually searching for, like, googling something that I didn’t understand in the material.

This is when I was doing FAR and I was listening to a, a video and on FAR, and it was actually the accruals and your video came up. That was when I first saw you.

Nate: Okay.

Tabitha: And then they, they just kept coming up and kept coming up and I’m like ok. And I’m telling you, I just, and then I was like, [00:14:00] okay, I’ll just listen to his, uh, I’ll just read his emails, I’m not gonna buy it.

And then I think it was just that, that desperation in January, I, it says you’re ready to be a, it was one of your emails and it said, being a CPA in 2022. And I’m like, this is it.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: This is it. I’m, I’m gonna stop playing.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: Just do it.

Nate: That’s cool. And now you are.

Tabitha: Now I am.

How Tabitha Celebrated Passing and Future Plans

Nate: That’s really awesome. Uh, and so, let’s see, so when did you get your fourth passing score? It must have been pretty recently, right?

Tabitha: Yeah I took it in March and got it in April.

Nate: Did you do anything big to celebrate?

Tabitha: I did. Well, I went out with my friends and everything, but I actually got a trip to Hawaii. That’s just celebration, I love beaches.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: And the relaxation. So have my [00:15:00] trip to Hawaii coming up in a couple weeks.

Nate: Awesome.

Tabitha: So that’s, yeah, I’ll celebrate and, and starting you know, my, I, my whole goal was to get a CPA so I can start my business and I just feel like I, I feel like I can do anything now.

Nate: Yep.

Tabitha: You know, after you conquer that, I can just do anything. So, about to start, you know, my business and, and yeah, do, do great things but.

Nate: Yeah. That’s exciting. That’s, that’s great. Uh, and it’s crazy how. You know, it’s, it’s just about the strategies, right? Because like you were trying, putting in a lot of work for three years, and then once you just kind of changed a little bit about your strategy, you know, just in a few months you passed them all.

Tabitha: Mm-hmm.

Nate: And so, uh, that’s, I, that’s like the biggest thing people should take away from these whatever podcasts or our course or whatever is it’s not, [00:16:00] these are not like IQ tests, right? It’s strictly a matter of your, your strategy.

Tabitha: Yes.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: Yeah. And that’s all it was. And, and a lot of people that you’re, these stories, I mean, I, I I’ve heard most of them.

How Tabitha Found Time Throughout the Day to Study With Kids

Tabitha: You know, I am, I am a, a mom of three boys and I work full time and, you know, waking up early that, that is what I had to do. Because during the day you just have all those excuses and all the branding, all these are in your video as well. Like it’s, it, it’s all right. It’s, you have all these excuses, so just do it in the morning and get through the sessions and carry on with your day.

And so I, you know, I locked myself the first three times, I locked myself in the room and I like was missing their lives and I still failed. It’s like, oh my gosh. [00:17:00] Like, it’s devastating, but yeah, just do it in the morning. And then you said those time wasters or, I, I don’t think that’s the word you said, but like, every time you’re scrolling through your phone, just go through some questions.

I I did that like every time before I, I did my feed, I just went through some questions and before I went to bed, I just did some questions and it’s just, it’s, it’s just way more efficient.

Nate: Yeah. Just, And it all adds up. Yeah. And so, you know, using those little, the, uh, mini sessions from your phone throughout the day, it helps you add in another two to three hours that you don’t have to find to like, sit, you know, instead of finding five hours to sit in front of your, your view course, that means you can’t be doing anything else if you’re gonna spend five hours, but this way, two hours in the morning.

You can still fit in another two to three hours, but just going through your normal day. And so, yeah, it’s just a lot more flexible. It’s a lot, it’s a lot easier to fit in [00:18:00] the time.

The Big Change Tabitha Made With Her Study Routine

Nate: Uh, so about that, did you always study in the morning or is that something you switched to after you watched the PRO course?

Tabitha: After I switched to the PRO course, I just made that commitment of just doing it in the morning so I changed my sleep schedule cuz I, I knew I needed eight hours. I always need eight hours of sleep, but I’ve just always been that way. So I was very strict about going to bed at eight and waking up at four because I knew that my kids get up and I have to start doing things at six, so.

Nate: Man, that’s early but yeah, that’s.

Tabitha: My two hours.

Nate: What it takes.

Tabitha: It is what it takes. And, and it’s like, okay, if I do this right, I won’t have to, you know, do it again. And that’s the thing. I kept doing it again. So, I got my four hours, four to six, uh, or my two hours, four to six every morning.

And then on the weekend I still did four to six, but I took a little [00:19:00] break. And I just like, when I felt like I was gonna get behind, I just did, you know, a little bit more session. So I did know more than four hours or five hours in the weekend. But yeah, that was something in the morning that I just, I just had to do and that was, it was hard.

Going to bed at eight is hard.

Nate: That’s, yeah, it is. That’s early.

Tabitha: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. Four o’clock’s early too.

Tabitha: Yeah. But I knew like they, they have to be at school what? At seven. And so I just, it’s always been like that where they have to wake up at six, so my day starts at six. So I knew it had to be the two hours early, but it’s over. I, it is like, I’m just, I’m just glad it’s over.

It’s the worst. I won’t say that. That is the best process. I hated the process. I hated the CPA exam. I don’t want do it again. [00:20:00] Yeah. I’m just glad it’s over.

Nate: Yeah. Well, and it’s, you know, the amount that someone appreciates being done, it depends on all these other factors. You know, like if someone’s single, they’re just outta school, they like live with roommates and they can kind of control their whole day and they can study and the CPA just really isn’t that big of a deal.

Like sure, they’re glad to be done, but it’s not like pure elation. Whereas like, you know, you worked on it for years. You have kids like a busy life and getting up at, I mean, you had to completely alter your schedule. And so yeah, it’s gotta just be obvious, probably like the biggest relief ever to be done.

Tabitha: Yes.

Nate: Yeah.

What Motivated Tabitha to Not Give Up

Tabitha: Yes, yes. And test anxiety and all of it. I mean, I overcame a lot. So yeah. It, it, it, it’s not just, you know, passing the CPA. I did overcome [00:21:00] a lot test anxiety, you know, just the busy life, but it’s, it’s something that I really, really wanted and really struggled to get and the disappointment and, you know, doing all of that bad, not bad, but wrong studying.

That’s not how, that’s not how I study and then still failing, but you put in so much effort to get that fail, you know, It’s just, it’s heartbreaking.

Nate: Yeah. So I was gonna ask you about that. What, uh, I mean, through those three years where you were struggling with the process, like what kept you going and made you decide, You obviously decided you weren’t going to give up, so like what was behind that?

Tabitha: I just, I’ve always been determined and nothing really easy has came from me like in my life. So I knew that I just needed to just keep doing it. I really wanted to be a [00:22:00] CPA for my goals, which is financial freedom. And in my, in my thing, financial freedom is having those different money stream. And I know CPA will do that for me, out of all the research, all like, everything that I’ve read, like being a CPA will help me with that goal.

Being certified. So just wanting it really, really, really bad and knowing that that’s going to be my key to that financial freedom just kept me going.

Nate: Yeah.

Failing Multiple Times Over Three Years

Tabitha: But it, it was, yeah. It, it, it’s those, those three years is just, you know, I only wanted to pass one, cuz my first time I scheduled all four at the same time.

And then, you know, not studying correctly, I bombed ’em and then I learned. Then I just only did FAR. [00:23:00] And like just locking myself in the room and doing all of that and failed it again. But I got closer. I got, I got in 73 and I was like, Okay. So then I was like, Okay, let me just practice questions.

So I practiced the questions but I was disappointed. So it was like another six months before I started again. Yeah. And then, I, I tried it again and I got a 73 and I’m like, What is going on? And so I just practiced again. I did it again and, and I got the 78. I was like, Okay. I passed it. I celebrated too long, so that was that whole year , but I knew that it was, It was gonna, I had 18 months.

Now I was like, oh my gosh. So I can’t waste any more time. So then that’s when I did the, the [00:24:00] BEC I was practicing the questions and I got my I did the practice exam and that’s when I was like, Okay, I can’t, I can’t waste more time cuz I don’t wanna lose that FAR.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: And so I was like, Okay, let me just see what I’m missing and, and that’s what it was, it was those, those, those, uh, other additional material.

Nate: The study supplements.

Tabitha: Yeah. That, that did it. That helped.

How Tabitha Started Growing Confidence with the CPA Exam Material

Nate: So one thing I wanted to ask you that you said earlier when you said it, uh, it just gave you confidence. What, what do you mean by that? Just when you started listening to the audios and reading the notes as well.

Could you tell a big difference? Like, I feel like I’m actually understanding the material now, or, or what was the actual thing that made you, that gave you confidence about?

Tabitha: Well, I would read the material. I understood the material. It did break it down like, [00:25:00] different things that I was missing in the Wiley material like, this material broke it down a little bit more.

But I started answering the questions correctly and I was like, oh, you know, the, the, when I do my two hour sessions, like my, my two hour sessions was getting better. And I was like, oh my gosh, like it is sticking because I’m answering the questions correctly.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: So it was like putting, you know, the two and two together, that’s what got me the confidence was actually answering the questions on the, I was getting another thing that you said, cuz I didn’t know what I should do with the question, but you said if I get a 70 or better, you’re doing good. I didn’t know, I didn’t know that until I, you know, was listening to your videos. , but I was getting 70 and then it went to 75 and then it went to 80 and I was like, oh my gosh, like this is.[00:26:00] It took.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: It’s actually, it’s actually working, but I thought seventies were bad because another, I think in the Wiley, they were saying that you needed to get like a 83 or 90 before you felt, you know. And I would, I was never getting there and I was like, oh my gosh, like I’m gonna just lose, I’m a, I’m gonna lose my credit for the FAR.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: Cause I was just never getting there. But after I was listening to yours and doing your questions, I was getting better at the questions and the scores on my two hour session. So that’s what, that’s what was building, building the confidence and, and that 70, because as you said, it’s okay because right before the test you said, you know, read the notes.

So I got there an hour before and I [00:27:00] read the notes and you were like, That’s gonna be another five to 10 points. And sure enough, some of those question. Was something that I read that, right before I, I took the test. Yeah. So that I knew that that was points. I was like, Oh my gosh, I got that point. Cause I know I got it right.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: So, yeah.

How Tabitha Improved Her Daily Study Sessions

Nate: That makes me really happy when some like, clearly you understood all the different strategies in the PRO course. Like I can tell by what you’re saying and, and then it works so well. That’s, that’s awesome. So the, in your two hour session, would you do the, you would end with the daily set of 30?

Tabitha: Yes.

Nate: Yeah. And so that’s a really good way of every day, kind of like seeing where you’re at. Is that, and that’s where you saw your scores improving, right?

Tabitha: Yes. Yes. So I, before, before I did that, I was [00:28:00] always getting six, like 63’s. Never, never really hitting the seventies. When I, when I got to the 70, I was like, oh, but right after that, I would get right back down to the 63.

It was just so frustrating. But, uh, what you said was like, just keep going because it’s gonna stick eventually and I did. I just kept going, but I was kept getting 63’s and not really getting, I will Google and no, if it was a particular topic that I just, I would try to Google it.

To see if I can find different answers. So I still use, use Google, but I also would go to your chapter and like put those two together and it just, it helped me understand the concept a little better.

Tabitha’s Notetaking Process

Nate: Yeah. And then what about, uh, flashcards or taking notes? Did you have some form of putting things that you struggled, struggled with in your own [00:29:00] words?

Tabitha: I did. I did not do it. I did it after I bought your material. But I didn’t do a lot because I kept finding that, he said, don’t write the whole thing. I was writing the whole thing. Like at, you know, So, I didn’t use it as much. I did do some of ’em, like a lot of formulas. I was doing a lot of formulas and trying to understand that, and I would read those at night.

But I, I wouldn’t say that those were as helpful for me because again, I kept writing too much.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: Doing the thing you were telling me not to do, but I was, I just kept doing it.

Nate: Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s good you figured out. I don’t know that you stopped doing cause, yeah, you, there’s kind of like two sides to that.

You want to, if a lesson’s new then all of it’s gonna seem difficult or new, you know, the first time you go [00:30:00] through it. So a lot of people have the tendency to basically rewrite the textbook, you know, just cuz they’re taking notes on every little thing.

Tabitha: Yeah.

Nate: And the, the best way is after those daily sets of 30, uh, if you have missed a question on a topic three or four times, that’s when it’s like, okay, for some reason I just keep forgetting this or something that relates to this framework or whatever, anyways. So, yeah.

Tabitha’s Talks About Her Final Review Session

Nate: And then what did you do the last, like how did you do a final review? Did you do the little weekend cram session before an exam, or did you give yourself a week for that? Or what was your process for that?

Tabitha: I tried to, you have suggested to go, you know, do it on a Monday and i, I scheduled them too late to where I couldn’t do a Monday. So I did on the weekend, do the cram [00:31:00] session. But I, I had to do my test on either like a Thursday, a Wednesday or Thursday, so that, so I did the cram session on the weekend, but on Monday and Tuesday I just, instead of just the 30 questions, I did it in the morning, but I also did it at night before I went to bed.

That went up until the test. To like, to keep it, to keep it current and in my, in my brain. I tried really hard to just do that Monday thing, but no, I, I studied a lot more and, and, and that cram doing the five, I stopped doing the study, the practice exams.

I just stuck to what you said, the 30 and then the five to seven? Yeah. And then 30 and five to seven and I just kept doing that Saturday and Sunday. And then Monday I was just doing 30 questions in the morning, 30 questions at night up until [00:32:00] the, up until the test.

Nate: Yeah. Yep. Well, and it works so.

Tabitha: Yeah.

Tabitha’s Test Day Experience

Nate: What about, uh, test day? Did you did you get through the MCQs pretty smoothly from all that daily MCQ practice in your study process?

Tabitha: Yeah, I did. I got through those pretty quickly, which helped with the.

Nate: The sims.

Tabitha: The sims because it took me every bit of those four hours.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: And it, it was mostly because of the sims, but because if I did not get through the questions, I wouldn’t have had time for the Sims.

Nate: Right.

Tabitha: So it was, it helped out tremendously, just getting comfortable with the questions. And then not second guessing myself cuz again, like I had the confidence. I knew I had, I knew I had the answer right. I was just, I [00:33:00] thought when I left I didn’t feel good because of the sims, not because of the questions.

I think the sims were just, they’re, they’re just horrible.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s really, uh, I mean that, that. That’s honestly like the number one test day strategy for, for the Sims is just leaving as much time as possible and then obviously to accomplish that, That goes back to your, your daily study process and just those daily sets of 30 just solve a lot of problems in advance.

How Tabitha Coped With Needing Eight Hours of Sleep Daily

Nate: Uh, one question I’ve got for you is how do you get your kids to bed before eight? If you were, if you were going to bed at eight, were you getting them like, fully asleep before that? Cause that’s, that’s an accomplishment.

Tabitha: No. So my kids are, I think another thing that helps is my kids were older, so my kids are 17, 13, and 10 now.

So [00:34:00] I just went to bed and they just knew not to bother me. Uh, they go to bed at at nine.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: So, and it, you know, during school time, so they had the routine already down. I got, I made sure I, I gave them everything that they needed before my eight o’clock bed time. But right after that I just went to bed and they knew to go to bed at nine and my husband made sure that they were in bed at nine. So I think that’s what.

Nate: Yeah. When you said that, I, that’s my, that was the first thing I thought of. Like actually going to sleep at 8:00 PM that’s possibly the hardest piece of your whole process.

Tabitha: It was. It was, it was, but I knew I needed eight.

If I did not get eight hours, I would not have been up at four.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: It that, that’s just proven. I tried to wake up at four before, and I just was not going to bed, [00:35:00] and, and I wouldn’t wake up at four. My alarm would go off and I’ll just turn it off. But I knew if I went to bed at eight, I got up at four, like the eight hours and, and it worked.

But no, that was hard, that was so hard. And my body got used to it. So when I was done with the test, I was ready for bed at eight and I was still waking up at four even though I didn’t need to. That took a couple months to get that out of my system.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. That’s, uh, I know you do get used to it and I’ve, I don’t know.

I, I went many years waking up at 4:00 AM. Uh, I started with kind of the CPA exams because that’s when I would study too. And uh, and I would tell people that at work and they’d be like, 4:00 AM I can’t, how do you get up at 4:00 AM? And I wouldn’t go to bed that early. I guess I was just getting like six hours, [00:36:00] five or six hours of sleep.

But. And then now my common time is maybe five or 6:00 AM It just depends. I don’t really use an alarm clock, but 4:00 AM just feels different. Like waking up at four is, if you’re not used to it feels like you’re gonna die. Yeah. And uh, yeah, four, four is just early, so.

Not Wanting to Retake FAR is One of the Things that Motivated Tabitha

Tabitha: It’s really, really, really, really early and it takes a lot of brain power and determination.

I just, I really wanted it. And I think passing the FAR and knowing that I did not wanna take that over again, helped out a lot. Like I did not wanna take that over again.

Nate: Right.

Tabitha: FAR was, I wanna say far was worse than all of them.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: And so I just, I didn’t wanna take it over again and, and time was ticking. 18 months go by really, really fast.

Nate: It does. [00:37:00] Yeah, I was just thinking that we kind of started this podcast doing these interviews in 2020 and that, that’s already a full two years ago. I just, It does, it just goes by really fast. Time or, yeah, a year, two years goes by really fast. And, uh, well, we kind of went through everything.

Tabitha’s Top Tips for People Who Are Struggling with the Study Process

Nate: So the question I always end on is what would be your top two or three tips for people that are really struggling with the study process?

Tabitha: So, my first tip is when you hear Nate, just get it. Don’t doubt it. Just get it. It will help you out tremendously.

The second tip is, you know, have that routine and just stick to it in the beginning. It is gonna be frustrating. You’re still not gonna do good in the, on the questions the first time, first couple times. It’s, it, but you keep doing it, it’s going [00:38:00] to stick. It’s just going to, it’s just gonna happen. Like your brain is just gonna turn.

And then three, just schedule them. You’ll get the confidence and just schedule them. Don’t wait months because you’re just gonna forget it. And then you gotta start the whole process over again. So, so just once you have, just trust the process. And schedule ’em and just do it. Yeah, it works.

Nate: Awesome. Yeah. So when you scheduled yours, uh, I mean after, and you said you scheduled like two or three in a row and you really did only put ’em four, like four or five weeks apart or a month apart, I think you said.

Tabitha: Five, five weeks apart. Yes.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: I did it. I did it January. Yeah, January, and then, so it was, I scheduled them, you know, according to the, [00:39:00] the testing schedule.

Cause you know, like what, whenever your score is, so whatever that, that last session is before the blackout date. I just, I scheduled it for that last day or that last week. So then I knew I was gonna get my score in like two weeks.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: And so it was like, yes, every five weeks. I just scheduled the last three and I took the last one, the end of March, and I got the score in April.

Nate: Nice.

Tabitha: Yeah, so it, It is all strategy. It is, and it’s all strategy. And that way I knew that it was only two weeks. I wouldn’t forget the material. So if I did fail I can just go and schedule it again. The good thing about the CPA now is you can, you don’t have to wait a whole another session, you can just reschedule it.

Nate: [00:40:00] Yeah.

Tabitha: So I knew after the two weeks, I wouldn’t forget it and I can just reschedule it, but I pass, I pass them. Like, I, I’m still as like talking to you. I’m like, oh my gosh. Like, I passed ’em.

The Reaction of Tabitha’s Husband on Passing the Exams.

Nate: Oh, you know what, I was gonna ask you this. So when you’re, uh, like from your husband’s point of view, so, you know, he sees you really struggle, work on these for years, and then all of a sudden you schedule all of ’em really close to each other and you know, he’s like, are you sure you shouldn’t space him out?

And then when you pass ’em all, like what was his reaction?

Tabitha: He was like, wow. So the first thing he hates when I spend money, right? So when I bought this thing, your material, not thing, Sorry, I don’t mean that cause this is amazing. But when I bought it, he he’s like, oh my gosh, I struggled, you know, for all these years.

He was, why would [00:41:00] this work? You know? . But then when he saw that I passed, he was like, oh my gosh. Like, okay. And then he saw it again and then he saw it again. So he, you know, when he things see things works, he tends to be like, okay maybe she’s onto something.

But no, he thought I was crazy the whole entire time even just buying it.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: So, but no, he thought, he thought I was absolutely crazy from, from the beginning.

And why would it work this time? Yeah. I mean, been years, years. That just the three years is what I was talking about but I, I started when I first graduated college, and I graduated college after my last son was born and he’s, he’s 11 now. So when I say I’ve been through this for, I’ve been through it for years.

Just gaining that confidence and then not wanting to do it cause I knew I was gonna fail. Didn’t know how [00:42:00] to study, you know, what worked, what didn’t work. I listened to people. You know, they never said what you said. They just said, just keep trying. Well, there has to be a strategy.

Nate: Oh, definitely. Yeah. That’s, I, that’s just like my biggest, uh, I don’t know, message to people is , most people just assume my only tool to like pass these exams is time spent. Just put in more time. But you can keep doing that and have it still not work. It’s about like what are you actually doing when you’re spending time.

Tabitha: Right.

Tabitha’s Reaction After Passing Her Last Exam

Nate: So, yeah. And so then was he super excited for you when you passed your fourth one?

Tabitha: Yes. Relief, relief.

Nate: Yeah, for sure.

Tabitha: But yeah, super happy because, and proud that I just didn’t give up. Most people would just give up. Yeah. Most people would just give up. I mean, but I didn’t give up and just super proud and super [00:43:00] excited and we’re going to, it’s me and him going to Hawaii together, so I think it’s just, it’s time well spent.

Yeah. Yeah. And, and my my kids when I locked myself in the room, they, they remember that, even though that was a long time ago. They remember that. And I say, you guys remember when I locked myself in the room studying for a test? I said, I finally passed. And they were like, you passed, oh my gosh, and they were just so excited.

Nate: Yeah.

Tabitha: Excited for me. But all they remember is me locking myself in the room like, mommy wasn’t available. That’s all they remember. So, and then now I was at the computer and you know, they were asleep but they didn’t understand why I was going to bed so early. And I’m like, cause I have to get up early cause I have to study.

So that all together, they were just super excited for me. So the whole, my whole family is just, [00:44:00] very, very excited that I did it.

Nate: Yeah, that is awesome. Doing it with three kids, that’s just, that’s a totally different thing because it’s, uh, yeah, it would just, like when I was studying all, all that I had to sacrifice was kind of like my free time basically, or like, you know, okay, you don’t get to play as much video games anymore.

But you know, kids, you can’t just turn ’em off or you know, they’re just always at you and like, yeah, you just physically have to wake up two hours before they’re gonna wake up. Like that’s really the only way you can do it. So, yeah, it’s a huge accomplishment. So yeah, congrats again. That is, it’s awesome.

Tabitha: Thank you.

Nate: All right, so that was the interview with Tabitha. I’m sure you found that very motivational and inspirational, and of course we discuss a lot of the actual tactics. So if you have not yet, please take a second to leave a [00:45:00] rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to these podcasts. It helps other CPA candidates find us so that they can use these to their benefit as well in their study process.

Also, if you found these episodes helpful, take a second to share this with a friend or a coworker who’s also working on their CPA exams, because if you’re an avid listener, I’m sure you would agree that these episodes across all the different stories. These really are the most helpful free resource that is available anywhere for people trying to figure out their own CPA study process.

So thanks for listening, and we will see you on the next episode.

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