When More Study Time Isn’t the Answer: How Thomas Passed His CPA Exams

How Thomas Passed His CPA Exams Using SuperfastCPA

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In this SuperfastCPA podcast episode, you’ll hear how Thomas kept thinking he just needed to study more and work harder after failing a few CPA exams. He finally realized he needed a change, and when he tweaked some of his study strategies, he started passing, with a lot less study time involved.


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Watch the interview on YouTube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 0:00 Thomas Interview
  • 03:45 Thomas’ Main Struggles Before and How SuperfastCPA Helped
  • 05:33 Thomas’ CPA Journey
  • 06:49 Studied 8 Hours a Day Before Working Full Time
  • 07:34 Barely Passed After 18 Months with the Help of SuperfastCPA
  • 08:18 How Thomas Studied Through That 18 Months and Test Timelines
  • 12:35 Thought That the Review Course Alone Would Be Enough
  • 14:26 How Thomas’ Dad Came Across SuperfastCPA
  • 15:25 Started Passing When He Started to Really Use SuperfastCPA
  • 17:54 The Realization of Not Using the PRO Course Properly
  • 18:36 Switched to Questions First and Why It Works
  • 20:31 The Shift in Thomas’ Study Process
  • 24:27 Thomas’ Note Taking Process
  • 25:38 When Thomas Would Use the Flashcards to Study
  • 27:08 Wished That They Specify Exactly the Weak Areas
  • 28:32 Thomas’ Motivation to Keep Going
  • 36:20 Studying in Chunks Throughout the Day Made a Big Difference
  • 39:58 Why It Didn’t Work Studying 8 Hours Compared to When He Was Working
  • 45:10 You Need to be Honest When Learning
  • 47:26 How Thomas Would Tackle the Sims
  • 48:42 Thomas’ Final Review Process
  • 50:29 Took a Sabbatical to Finish His Last 2 Exams in 11 Weeks
  • 51:36 How Thomas Studied During His Sabbatical
  • 52:52 Passed the Last 2 Exams on 1 Score Release
  • 54:14 How Thomas Found Out He Passed His Final 2 Exams
  • 55:16 Having so Much Time After Passing the CPA Exams
  • 56:57 How He Used the SuperfastCPA Notes
  • 57:57 Top Tips for People Still Struggling with the Study Process

Interview Transcript

Thomas Interview

Thomas: [00:00:00] And audit just kept kicking me, and especially when I was down, it just kept kicking me while I was down. And, uh, I started work and I probably took audit maybe three or four times before I even started work. And, uh, I ended up taking audit 10 times and so I was just lost.

Um, I was, cause I was like, Oh, I passed FAR. Like there was that mindset where like, Oh, if you pass FAR, you could pass everything.

So not that I changed my approach. I think it got worse where I just started getting more insane. Like I was just like, let me just hit more hours. Let me just, you know, I redo the whole course again.

I, I don’t know what else I was supposed to do. Um, so I didn’t really have a process down, so that kind of got me through that 18 months before I started working where like, I didn’t really have a process.


Nate: Welcome to another episode of the CPA Exam Experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate, and in today’s [00:01:00] interview, you’re going to hear us talk with Thomas.

So as you’ll hear in the interview, it was actually Thomas’s dad who saw one of our YouTube ads and thought it sounded like a good idea, and he purchased it for Thomas. And then, because in the beginning, you know, it was something his dad was telling him to do. He thought all he needed was his main review course, which he had and so he never really even looked into the SuperfastCPA, program or didn’t really use anything from it. And then before he knew it, I think a year or 18 months had gone by and he had failed some exams. He was studying a ton of hours and it just wasn’t working. So he came back to SuperfastCPA, watched the videos, started implementing our process and then started passing his exams.

So in this interview, you’ll hear Thomas just talk through all the ups and downs and what he learned from all those ups and downs. So he has a lot of really good insights about spending a lot of time [00:02:00] studying and talking about the specific strategies he was trying, you know, studying anywhere from four to eight hours a day.

And even when that wasn’t working and then being able to look back and see why that wasn’t working, and the strategies he implemented instead, that were working when he started to pass his exams. So there’s a lot you can learn from Thomas’s interview.

Before we get into the interview with Thomas, I just want to mention our free webinars. So these are our CPA study strategy trainings where we walk through the key strategies that every successful study process will have some version of.

You’ll learn how to find the time to study, even if you’re extremely busy and currently struggle with sticking to a routine or finding the time to study. You’ll learn how to build re-review into your daily process so that instead of slowly forgetting all the topics you’ve previously covered, you actually improve upon all the topics as the weeks go by. Then the other thing is you will learn how to study [00:03:00] very very efficiently, so that you can literally spend way less hours sitting in front of your review course, but be getting better results from less time sitting in front of your review course. So that makes it much easier to stay consistent. So as you can see, those things all blend together and benefit each other when you know how the whole process is supposed to fit together. So the link to that training will be down in the description of either the podcast episode or this YouTube video.

So with that out of the way, let’s get to the interview with Thomas.

Nate: So we’ll just kind of start with like a direct question about pre-SuperfastCPA after SuperfastCPA. And then from there, we’ll kind of go into your, your whole story. So, um, basically that’s the question.

Thomas’ Main Struggles Before and How SuperfastCPA Helped

Nate: Like what, what were your main struggles with the study process before finding and starting to use SuperfastCPA?

Thomas: Uh, so I spent a lot of time just wasting, uh, wasting time. Uh, so you had your review [00:04:00] course and there’s just so much to get through. Uh, and then Superfast kind of nailed on hot topics. Uh, you know, just quick refreshers. Um, I love listening to the audio. Just whenever, like driving, uh, during work, um, and then like, even if I had a quick break, I’d do the quick, uh, quick, uh, five question quiz. Um, and like, I just tried to change my mindset because I was using, uh, Becker and, uh, there’s just so much material there that you kind of fall into that trap. It’s like, Oh, I have to sit down at a desk and study. Whereas like, no, like you could be on the go studying and you know, you’re always learning. Uh, whereas you don’t need to be sitting down in a perfect environment trying to study.

So that’s how Superfast helped me change my mindset to, you know, every, every second of the day you could be learning, um, so.

Nate: Awesome. Yeah. I mean, I mean, I love to hear that. That’s uh, it just [00:05:00] makes it easier to, I mean. It’s versus sitting there for five or six hours. You can just be going through the rest of your day and still fit in that same amount of study time for the most part.

Thomas: Yeah, exactly. Like it’s kind of random. I mean, you could be out on, uh, getting lunch or dinner and be sitting, waiting for your table to get ready. And then you just, Oh, let me just do a quick quiz, you or, uh, you’re sitting in traffic. Someone else is driving, of course. And then you’re, doing, uh, you’re doing a quick quiz, doing some audio.

Um, so that, it was really helpful. And then you’re doing it right on your phone too.

Nate: Yep.

Thomas’ CPA Journey

Logan: And be, so like before SuperfastCPA, were you doing like the typical approach? Like, watch the lecture, read the notes, then do the quiz, like, was that what you were doing?

Thomas: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. So my journey, I was like, I’d started right out of college. So I was like, Oh, I’ll just treat it like a full time job. I’ll do eight hours a day and I’ll go through the whole course. And then I was like, wow, like, you know, I don’t think I’m ready for, to practice simulations yet like I’m, I have, I have no, not like I have no knowledge. [00:06:00] There’s no, like I, do you throw me into something and there’s no foundation there.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Thomas: So I was I just felt myself wasting a lot of time and then the whole Superfast mindset of like just practice, practice, do questions, do questions and you know listen to audio and obviously you have your notes for stuff that you might feel like you need to remember. Um, so that that’s how Superfast help change that because eight hours a day is tough.

Logan: Oh yeah.

Thomas: Especially when you’re, especially when you’re not getting passing results, you know.

Nate: Yeah. The motivation gets real hard if you’re putting in a bunch of time and effort and it’s still not, it’s one thing if it’s working, right. But you have this sense that all this time is not really, like doing anything, then it’s real hard to keep doing that.

Studied 8 Hours a Day Before Working Full Time

Nate: Um, let’s see, so what did an average day, you mentioned eight hours.

So were you, did you have a break between finishing your masters and starting like your [00:07:00] first big job and where you were studying all day?

Thomas: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I had, uh, graduated in 2020 and I didn’t start my full time job until, uh, January of 22. And so I was like, oh, I could hit the ground running and pass all four exams, first shot. And, you know, everything sounds like really good. And then you start, start doing it and it’s like, Oh, you start failing a couple and not that I got lazy.

Like I didn’t get lazy. I just kept going, but my whole process didn’t work. And then that’s where I found Superfast. And I was like, Oh, I got to change my process.

Logan: Mm-hmm.

Barely Passed After 18 Months with the Help of SuperfastCPA

Thomas: So funny story, I started thinking that, Oh, I would have four exams passed. I had one passed and that was like a

two year, almost, know, 18 months span where like it would’ve worked out perfect, but nothing’s perfect. So, um, that’s when Superfast really helped me out when I was working and I was trying to study also, I was like, okay I, I’m at work. I have a quick break like, let me, let me do [00:08:00] something. Let me study quick. And, uh, one of those things where you don’t need to pull up on your work computer. And like, so then people don’t think you’re working.

Um, you just, you know, take a break, take a walk, go outside and, you know, have a lunch break or something. Um, so that’s how Superfast really helped me.

Nate: Yeah. Okay.

How Thomas Studied Through That 18 Months and Test Timelines

Nate: So, so an eight, 18 month period where you’re trying to study all day, every day. And how did the, uh, were you just going on the same section or just what happened over the 18 months?

Thomas: So 18 months, right? So, uh, I started with FAR and I failed FAR a couple of times. Uh, and then I ended up passing FAR, um, actually on my fifth shot and then I got into audit and for reference, I’m in tax, so audit’s not

Logan: Yeah.

Thomas: Yeah.

So it’s like, you know, night and day. So I was like, Ugh. So lemme get audit done.

And audit just kept kicking me, kicking me, and I, especially when I was down, it just ki, kept kicking me while I was down. And, uh, I [00:09:00] started work and I probably took audit maybe three or four times before I even started work. And, uh, I ended up taking audit 10 times and yeah. Uh, so I was just, I was just lost.

Um, I was, cause I was like, Oh, I passed FAR. Like there was that mindset where like, Oh, if you pass FAR, you could pass everything.

So not that I. changed my approach. I think it got worse where I just started getting more insane. Like I was just like, let me just hit more hours. Let me just, you know, I redo the whole course again.

I, I don’t know what else I was supposed to do. Um, so I didn’t really have a process down with the audit yet. So that kind of got me through that 18 months before I started working where like, I didn’t really have a process. Like I’m not wasted. I, I, I don’t want to say wasted time, but it was just time not. Well spent like was studying, but like I wasn’t seeing results. Um, cause I just, you know, I, I thought I had a process with FAR, but it just didn’t carry over to the next [00:10:00] exam. And, uh, that was just, uh, painful for me to go through cause it was like, you know, what do you, what do you do? Uh, so once I started working, I ended up passing, I started work in January of 22, so I got right into tax busy season.

So I was actually still taking audit exams during busy season and I was failing by, you know, two, three points. And I’m like, Oh my God, what’s going to get me over, what’s going to get me over the hump. I got a couple of 74s, a couple of 73s, a lot of seventies. What’s what’s, what’s going to get me over this hump.

And so I was going crazy cause I was working and trying to, uh, get used to a new job, uh, busy season.

Logan: Mm-hmm.

Thomas: Uh, I ended up passing audit six months into my job in June. And so I had two exams passed, but it was almost a year later. Um, I passed FAR in January, uh, of July of 21. So I almost was almost a year later [00:11:00] between

my, uh, passing.

So then I was competing with the 18 month rule, which now they just changed right?

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. It just added a year or maybe even more.

Logan: I think it’s total 30 months.

Thomas: 30

Nate: 30 months.

Logan: I, I think, I don’t think all states have like applied it yet, but I think it’s like, it’s inevitable. Like it’s gonna happen.

Thomas: Yeah, it’s going to happen, which is good because the 18 month rule, like you have people, they pass three exams and they lose one. And then I, okay, I’m just going to stop, which

I wouldn’t recommend doing. I mean, you did all that work, just keep going. Um, so I was just like, ah, I got two exams left to pass in, uh, three or three or four months. So I ended up taking a sabbatical from work to pass BEC and REG. And, uh, I ended up passing, passing those three months. Um, Which during the sabbatical, so that was helpful. But by that point, I was like, okay, I, I don’t need to be wasting time on, on [00:12:00] silly things like, like, uh, lectures, like I watched a lecture, but I didn’t need to keep rewatching them.

Like that was helping me. It was the practice. Um, and then I really liked the audio notes from Superfast. Cause I literally no joke had those on repeat, like all day, um, especially when you’re working cause you know, you have headphones in all day long, at least for me. So I had, I made it educational.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah.

Thomas: So I had Nate’s voice all, all day.

Nate: Man, that’s a lot all day, every day at work. Holy cow.

Thomas: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. Um.

Thought That the Review Course Alone Would Be Enough

Logan: At what point, so, you know, you took FAR a whole bunch of times. You took audit a whole bunch of times. At what point in all the process did you get Superfast? Like, like when was that?

Thomas: So I honestly, I had Superfast at the beginning, um, but I didn’t really value it. Uh, I was just thought that my, review course was to end all be all.

Um, and it’s actually my dad that was, [00:13:00] uh, we saw, he saw Nate’s YouTube ad. And, uh, he was like, you gotta get it. You gotta get it. Cause he saw that it’s like, you have 18 months.

Like before I started working at the, uh, at that point, he’s like, he’ll help you. He’ll help you. And, you know, you never listen to your parents.

You always take what they say for granted. Um, so I, I had the program. I just, I wasn’t utilizing it cause I was just so overwhelmed with all the information that I was out there.

Uh, so at that point I was trying to weed out what I didn’t need. Um, like with all the review courses cause it’s like, Oh, do I choose Becker? Do I choose Roger? Jaeger? What, what’s my main review course. Um, and then you have all those, uh, supplements. Um, so it’s, and then you have a bunch of different people.

Oh, this worked for me. This worked for me. And I was like, you know, I really thought Becker was the end all be all, but it’s, it’s not. Um, it’s great program, but it’s just, there’s a lot of information to, to weasel your way through and navigate. And, [00:14:00] uh, um, you definitely need something like Superfast to, to help.

Logan: Yeah.

Thomas: Yeah, it’s just, it’s overwhelming and you know, you’re trying, you’re at that point where you graduate and it’s like, uh, do you really want to be studying all day?

And it’s like, you know, can we get this done quickly? Um, so I was like, Oh, Becker, let’s, let’s, let’s go. And, uh, it didn’t work out. So I was like, you know, dad, another one for you man. Told me so.

Logan: Yeah

How Thomas’ Dad Came Across SuperfastCPA

Nate: Is he a, is he a CPA?

Thomas: So my dad’s a financial planner, uh, CFP, uh, his brother’s a CPA, um, and then his uncle’s a CPA also.

So he wanted to be different and that’s why he went with the CFP route. Um, so he thinks he’s a CPA, but.

Nate: Yeah. was just wondering how he, uh, how he saw one of our ads cause it’s typically like, they’re like intent based, you know, the way you set it up in the ad interface.

Thomas: Yeah.

Nate: But that’s closely related enough. Maybe that was part of like the [00:15:00] targeting. I don’t know, but yeah,

Thomas: Yeah, I mean, it worked. It worked because he I mean, he does a lot of tax preparing, uh, to, to more circle, um, service his clients. Um, so I don’t know if maybe he was listening to it, something related with tax, uh, new update in the industry or something, that’s how it came up. I, I’m not sure, but, uh, it came up and I’m so thankful it did.

Nate: Yeah.

Started Passing When He Started to Really Use SuperfastCPA

Nate: Uh, so, so yeah, we’re, we’re in there did you, I mean, so you had, you had our stuff from the beginning, what finally changed to where you did start using it and when was that in your process?

Thomas: So, I mean, I was, I was like I was really under utilizing, utilizing it. I was probably doing five questions during breakfast, five during lunch, and then five during dinner. And that’s when I was doing. uh, so 15 questions a day, as you know, is nothing like that’s just a warm up,

Nate: Yeah.

Thomas: When I really [00:16:00] hit the ground running, like, and I started passing exams, I was probably doing over 200 multiple choice questions a day.

Um, and that’s a mixture of with just Superfast and Becker. Um, I wouldn’t say, and I also started to learn that I wouldn’t, you shouldn’t say, Oh, I’m going to do eight hours today. Uh, you, I, I started to set like, okay, I want to do a hundred multiple choice Becker questions and that’s day for Becker. And then the rest was Superfast or something and then notes and then go out and get your mind off of it, go for a run or do something else, uh, burn some energy. So it was at that point, um, I, probably, once I started working full time, so probably a whole year that went by, um, that I was like, oh, I, I’m really not using this product right. Um, so I started doing more questions on the go. Um, more questions whenever I can, and then just having the audio notes all the time and I even printed out.

That’s a great feature that you have. [00:17:00] Being able to print out the notes because then I was marking it up. Um, and when, I don’t even want to say this cause I hate when my dad says it, but when, when the notes were available for me, cause it makes me sound old, but it was maybe a year ago, the notes were probably 80, 90 pages. And I know now they’re probably 300, um, just cause all the

Logan: We have expanded a lot. Yeah. Mm

Thomas: I was like, I had him, I just had it down to a T. Like, I was just like, all right, I have 10 pages a night to read. And then once you read it the first time, you just were reviewing stuff that you didn’t know. And then probably once a week reviewing the stuff you knew or you were comfortable with.

Um, so I kind of was just making piles with paper of the topics that were comfortable to me. And then, and then regardless every day, I just kept having the loops of audio on just, and that’s, that’s what helped me.

The Realization of Not Using the PRO Course Properly

Logan: Did you have the pro course or just the study tools?

Thomas: Uh, I believe it’s the PRO. [00:18:00] PRO’s top of the line one?

Logan: Yeah. PRO where he like, yeah, the videos where he explains it to you.

Thomas: Yeah. Oh Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s what I had. So yeah, I didn’t, I, I, I just was just started jumping into the questions, like the, the content related to CPA exam, not listening to Nate showing you how the course works. And then that’s when I kind of realized, Oh, actually I’m doing this all wrong.

Cause then I was like, that was actually a day after I got my results back and I failed. I was like, Oh, let me, let me, let me regroup here. And then I was like, I’m just been doing this all wrong. Um, so.

Switched to Questions First and Why It Works

Nate: So, you went in and watched the PRO videos and that’s where you kind of changed to the question first approach.

Thomas: Yeah, oh yeah, yeah.

Nate: Yep. That makes it a lot easier.

Thomas: A lot easier cause you’re under that mindset. I was like, Oh, let me, let me do the lecture and then let me take notes. And, but you’re taking notes and stuff that you don’t really know, or maybe you do know, but you don’t know how to apply it to [00:19:00] a question, so

Nate: Yeah.

Thomas: That’s, you know, that was the biggest misunderstanding for me.

Cause it was just like, it’s same thing in school. Like they teach you something and you take a test on it right away, but you’re learning something maybe a month or two months out and

Logan: Mm hmm.

Thomas: One time, it’s, it’s It’s not really sustainable to keep that knowledge. Um, so that’s why the whole practice first approach really, really helped because I don’t, I don’t know where I would have be without that, that shift.

Logan: Mm hmm. Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. Uh, the interview we just did earlier today, that’s what she was saying. Uh, very similar, actually. She was, when she first started, she was studying like eight hours a day. She’d watch the whole video, read the chapter, get to where she felt like she understood the lecture and the chapter really well, then go to the practice questions.

She still couldn’t answer them. So she thought, well, apparently I didn’t understand the video and the chapter well enough. So she’d go back, you know, do it again, come [00:20:00] back to the questions. It’s still not making sense. So that is a big distinction, no matter what you’re doing with the, the lecture or the, uh, chapter. You still have to go through that process of working through the questions, feeling confused, wrestling with the solution. Like the questions are the thing, you know, and it’s, that’s what you do on test day so yeah, it’s.

Thomas: Yeah. And that was like, I made the most sense. It’s like practice what you do on test day. yeah, you’re right. I don’t notes on test day, like

Logan: Yeah.

Thomas: I answer questions.

The Shift in Thomas’ Study Process

Thomas: Uh, so what I, what started shifting for me was I started taking notes on the questions I was getting wrong.

Logan: Mm-hmm.

Thomas: And those explanations started to come out key.

Like, that’s when you realize what you knew, what you didn’t know. Um, because you’re able to, you’re kind of able to narrow it with audit at least. You’re able to narrow it down to two answers. ah you know, uh, at least like with REG and FAR, like you’re even, I guess, BEC. They’re, you get a number.

Uh, [00:21:00] so you missed a calculation or something, but with audit, it’s so, you know, you miss a word and you’re completely down the wrong page.

Nate: Mm hmm. Yes.

Thomas: So, um, that’s

Logan: Audit is unique like that.

Thomas: It’s very unique.

Logan: So conceptual that, and everything sounds the same, like, like when I was recording the audit, the audit audio notes, um, I felt like I was just saying the same thing over and over and over again, but it was slightly different. Like just, just this slight difference and yeah.

That, that audit can be really hard to remember all those small differences ’cause it all sounds so similar.

Thomas: Oh yeah. And it’s so frustrating.

Nate: Yeah. Especially never working in audit. Audit is, yeah, it can be very difficult because you don’t have that like context having worked in audit. Um, I think audit can easily be the hardest exam if you didn’t ever work in audit.

Thomas: Yeah. And then like, if you, and I found this with me, like you look at the clock and the kind of other misconception [00:22:00] that, uh, big course review courses give you, uh, like Becker, like you’re, you’re competing with the clock only if you allow it though. So like, like they kind of give you a framework of where you should be in the exam based on the time.

So, you know, with testlet one, for example, there, you know, you should be like 40 minutes on it, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. So if you’re trying to stay on that tight structure, you start rushing and audit is not something you want to rush through because it’s like those key words that are like pick the best available or like the least likely.

So if you miss that then you you screwed up the whole question so I kind of liked what, you know, Superfast offered was like, you do 5 questions and however long it takes you, takes you.


Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Thomas: So that’s, that was like, my biggest struggle struggle on it. I was like, oh, you know, I’m supposed to be somewhere else on the test right now and I’m not.

Nate: Okay, I [00:23:00] see. Yeah. So you’re constantly worrying about where you’re at time wise with each little testlet instead of just really focusing on each question.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Thomas: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I mean, I think that’s why I was failing by a couple of points here and there. And I just, like, I, I knew I, it was like, I knew I knew the knowledge. Like, once you start failing that many times, I was like, Oh, let me change how I review this. Um, But like, you know, you, you don’t need to fail. You don’t need to redo the whole course again. Uh, so it was just like, let me keep practicing just questions, questions only. And at that point I was just doing only questions like that’s no notes, just all questions. Um, so that’s kind of how I passed audit with it being so tricky.

I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t give that advice to anybody like, oh, you know, worry about worry about the clock. Don’t like, don’t worry about the clock. Um, and just do as many questions and read slow, read [00:24:00] carefully. Um, because, you know, it shouldn’t, it shouldn’t really be that hard. Uh, but only if you make it. And I think like, that’s kind of what the big review courses throw at you.

They, they give you a lot of this information. You kind of have to weed through it and, you know, I get it. They’re covering their backs, but, um, it’s, it’s, tough. it’s, tough. So Superfast was really, really helped narrow down top, like hot topics I’ll call.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Thomas: Yeah.

Thomas’ Note Taking Process

Nate: And, uh, you mentioned writing out like why you were getting things wrong. Was that just normal notes type stuff or were you making flashcards out of those or what did you do with those? Did you like save those to review them later?

Thomas: Yeah, so if they were like a big topic, I would make a flashcard, um, and just keep reviewing it. Um, like if it was something that, uh, offered various different, um, areas, um, then I would just kind of write it in a journal and just, you [00:25:00] know, but like, if it was one topic that I just kept getting wrong, it was just flash, I put it right on a flashcard and then I would add, cause like some, some, um, some questions, it was like, there were like step one, step two, and like a bunch of other areas in there that I was like, okay, this, this has to be, uh, this has to be a flashcard.

Um, and then, other than that, I would put, if I, if they weren’t in a flashcard, it would be in that journal that I would kind of read like a book, um, just when I got tired and just kind through, oh yeah, I remember that question. That’s why I got it wrong, um, type of thing.

Logan: That makes sense.

When Thomas Would Use the Flashcards to Study

Nate: Then reviewing your flashcards, did you do those more in your final review or were you kind of just ongoing reviewing those day to day?

Thomas: Yeah. I mean, I, I kind of wanted to start the day just like as a warmup to review some flashcards and maybe close the day, like reviewing, um, going through some flashcards. um, Like with BEC, I found flashcards [00:26:00] really helpful, uh, so like I was reviewing those all the time, um, but with the others, probably first thing in the morning and first thing at, like, before I went to bed, um, and then really intense when I was, uh, two weeks before my exam, probably maybe four times a day, because like I, they weren’t, they weren’t a thick stack, but they were just, um, I don’t know, maybe 25, 30 flashcards, so

Logan: Okay. So you really narrowed it down to like the, just like, um, not, not a ton, but just like these really specific, like, I, I don’t know how to do this thing. So like, um, okay. And did you a physical stack? That’s what it sounds like.

Thomas: Yeah. Yeah. I had a physical stack. Yeah.

Cause that, that way, like actually when I went to the exam, cause the whole mindset was like, before you get to the exam in your car, I would just flip through them quick.

Um, okay, I know this. And there’s kind of like a mental, uh, self esteem boost. Like you’re sitting in your car.

Yeah. I got this. Like, I know what this says. I [00:27:00] wrote it.

Um, You know, that type of thing. So that’s why I kind of tried to only make it on a flashcard. If like I getting it continuously wrong.

Wished That They Specify Exactly the Weak Areas

Thomas: And then, um, I kind of wish, uh, the exam kind of, you know, the, the blueprint that they give you, if you fail, um, it’s not very helpful.

Um, in my opinion, so I kind of wish that like it helped narrow it down because like could be getting it wrong on your software, like on your study tools. But in the exam, you could be getting it right. And it’s like, okay, well, what am I? What don’t I actually know?

Logan: Yeah. It’s like, it’s just broken up into like the areas, but it does not, individual topic, essentially. All it says is weaker.

Thomas: Yeah,

Logan: And it’s like, well, okay.

Thomas: Yeah, of course. Everything should be

Logan: there.

Thomas: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah and then I’ve talked to people that have failed, maybe this happened to you, but you know, that failed the same section multiple times and their score report is like vastly different every time. Just because they’re only [00:28:00] organizing it down to four areas or four five content areas. Yeah, so.

Thomas: Like, yeah, that, that, that really bothered me. So I was like, wait a second, like, how, how could it go from stronger all the way to weaker? And then either weaker all the way to stronger. I, I don’t, yeah, or you, if have like four, like say like three out of the four topics are all stronger and you get one comparable, he’s like, I still fail.

What, what, what just happened?

Logan: Hmm.

Thomas: So that drove me nuts.

Thomas’ Motivation to Keep Going

Logan: So, so through all this, you know, uh, you’re, you’re in the, you’re, you know, what kept you motivated through all this? Like, uh, how did you keep going? Uh, you know, after all the, like, you were failing a whole bunch at first, and then, and then you did pass, but yeah, what kept you, what kept you going?

Thomas: A lot. Uh, I mean, uh, people think I’m crazy, but I figured, first of all, I went through four years of school, four years of school, got [00:29:00] 150 credits. All in preparation for this exam and I wasn’t going to let them fail me Uh, so I was like, all, that’s a lot of money to throw at a degree that, that the end goal is to get the CPA. And trust me, there’s a lot of things that you could do with just an accounting degree, but they kind of put it down your throat. Like, Oh yeah, you got to get your CPA through college. And I think now that I have it, I feel, uh, like val, like, uh, Like, I completed that goal, but of like, oh, yeah, my professors, I got the CPA, but there’s other people that just you don’t need it.

Um, but they kind of gave you that impression that you do need it. So, like, I was like, I want to prove them wrong. I want to get it type of thing. And I, you know, my 4 years of college wasn’t a waste. Um, and then the whole other thing was like my dad, we have fam, like people in the business that like, you know, my dad’s not a CPA but his people, people are like, Oh yeah, my, my accountant, my accountant, he’s, he doesn’t want to be known as that just he’s a tax preparer.

[00:30:00] But, um, I wanted to be able to fill those shoes of, okay, I could step in and I’m actually a CPA now, uh, in family business type of thing. And, uh, that’s, that’s what really kept me going.

Nate: Yeah. I, it’s kind of just, there’s no downside. Well, the downside is the studying obviously, but once you it, it just kind of, it unlocks all the benefits. Like you said, the CPA or accounting’s somewhat unique in that all the college that you do is really just to qualify to even take these exams. It’s exactly what you said.

That idea drove me nuts. That exact idea.

Thomas: Yeah, because I was like, Oh my God, like, if I, first of all, you’re a freshman, sophomore college, like, what the heck is a CPA? Like, you, I know, you know it, but then it’s like, Oh my God, like, why can’t I just do that now? Like, can’t, can’t these intermediate accounting tests count for the CPA?

Nate: Right

Thomas: They’re hard enough. Um, and then you’re like, what are you talking about? [00:31:00] I have to go through a whole another year or two years or three years, Some people take a long time. I mean, for me, I think it was almost three years. Um, I was going crazy. I was just going crazy. Um, but it was all for just cause I wanted it. Um, and I wasn’t going to let someone else fail me.

Like, I didn’t know those people grading my tests. Um, they didn’t know me personally. Um, so I wasn’t going to let them determine my future. Uh, just failing tests because, you know, you get so many people, like I said earlier, you know, you’re racing against an 18 month window and pass three exams and you lose a credit.

Like, I can only imagine what that pain is like. Um, yeah. and then, you know, you what, then you’re really chasing your tail down a down a, a rabbit hole there. It’s like, what, what, what do you do? Um, so I just tried to stay focused and stay determined, um, and not let someone else determine my outcome. Uh, especially when [00:32:00] I knew senior year, I’m like, okay, I’m gonna take the CPA, I have a job at a public accounting firm, not big four. Um. But I have a public accounting job that the whole point of being a CPA is to be in public, serve the public. And I think if you don’t, um, have that, like you’re, and you’re in public accounting, it’s, you know, you should probably, I dunno, like it’s not, you could use your, you could better serve your accounting degree elsewhere. Um,

Nate: Yeah.

Thomas: That was just my philosophy and I

Logan: And you will be limited.

Thomas: Yeah, you’ll be limited. It, I mean the whole, it’s a certified public accounting, um, certification. And if you’re in public, then I, I, I think you need it ’cause it levels the playing field, uh, just in the industry. And then where you go from there is, you know, how good of a worker, how many clients you bring in.

And, you know, if you have your masters and you, then you move up. But, um, I think they. I don’t know. I, that was just my philosophy and that’s why telling myself and [00:33:00] whether it’s true or a lie, I just, that’s what helped me get me through. I was if I want to be in public accounting forever, to, I have to get the CPA or else I’ll be the first cut or whatever fired, or, you know, I have to go somewhere else, I have to go private.

And those people in private, they make really good money and they have great careers, but, uh, I just realized, I just felt. I knew I was going to be in public for my whole career and I needed that. I needed it.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. That’s, uh, yeah. And I was going to say, well, before Logan asked that, I was going to, I was going to ask something like, like, how did you stay positive? Or I don’t really like how motivations classified as like positive or negative. Really? It’s more because I was, I was similar to you. I wasn’t like, come on, Nate, you can do this.

I was like pissed that I, uh, I kind of used, I guess, a negative mindset to, to push myself through it. Cause I failed FAR once and that was after kind of doing things the [00:34:00] normal way, studying like four or five hours a day. Um, and yeah, I just use that same idea. I mean, whatever you can latch onto to keep yourself going, it doesn’t necessarily have to be like positive mental attitude.

I mean, whatever gets you to sit down each day and study, study. You whatever you can muster to do that. That’s really all that matters.

Thomas: Yeah. Yeah. I like, for me, I was just like, I never failed anything before in my life. Like I, everything that I did, I was able to control. And like, this the grading process, the Prometric, um, you know, process, like, those are all things you don’t have control over. And, uh, I wasn’t going to let that determine my outcome.

Uh, so like that, you know, when you fail, there was like definitely that anger when you get the score or the anxiety waiting for the score to come out. And, um, then the couple days after just be so angry that like, okay, well, how am I going to [00:35:00] do this? And then by the third day, I was like, I have no choice.

Like I, I, I’m not turning back. And so I kind of that anger to fuel as motivation. And then, uh, you know, the process started to get comfortable. It was just started to be normal. Like once you’ve kind of break, started to break that like, Oh, I have to sit down and study when you stop making it like a chore and you just start doing it.

And that’s like Superfast, like it was just, I was always in my pocket with my phone. Like it was always there so it didn’t feel like it was a chore. I almost came enjoyable to a point where it’s like, okay, I’m, I have, I have to study or I, you know, let me just do some questions quick. Um, so that’s what helped just keep me going.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Nate: Yeah. Several good things right there. The, uh, embracing that, embracing or accepting that this is what this is going to require day to day, week to week. It makes it a lot easier to then make it a habit. So yeah, that’s a good [00:36:00] point. You just have to, you have to just accept what it’s going to be.

And then, even still though, you know, if you’re nailing, you’re studying in the morning, kind of the whole thing we talk about, you do two hours in the morning, you can study throughout the day on your phone. And then in the evenings you can still kind of have your evenings to yourself like normal.

Studying in Chunks Throughout the Day Made a Big Difference

Nate: Um, yeah. Is, is that how you, did you switch to do in the mornings and just two hours a day?

Thomas: Yeah, so I, I’m so happy you mentioned that ’cause I would’ve just overlooked it, um, when I started working full time, like, I started waking up earlier. I mean, not, I see crazy people. They w, they’re up at like, they’re, they’re waking up early is like 4, 3:30, 4:30 in the morning. And like, well, I, it’s not me, but I’m probably, you know, good, maybe a six 30, get two hours of solid studying and before work, you know, before, you know, getting to work for nine and then. Do something like an hour during lunch, and then maybe an hour or two, um, before I [00:37:00] would leave work, like I would be off the clock, you know, five o’clock, do two hours, come home, and then it’s seven o’clock, and I already did maybe four or five hours, and I’m just getting home to enjoy my night, you know, type of thing.

So that’s kind of what helped me, uh, get through it all. Yeah.

Logan: So, so you were doing the two hours and were, when you mentioned all those, you know, four or five hours, is that all Becker or are you including some like just reading the review notes and stuff, and stuff like that in there?

Thomas: Yeah. It was a mixture of, uh, doing some Becker questions and then reading some audio or, um, some of the Superfast notes and then listening? to the audio and the car rides back and forth and then.

Logan: Okay.

Thomas: all day long. And then I would just do those questions. And then the question, like the, yeah, I had my evenings, but like, that’s when I would just, I’d be on the couch and there would be a bat and like a Knicks game or something on a basketball game.

Um, and I would just, [00:38:00] you know, have the Superfast questions, um, going in. And that’s when I’d probably be able to knock out maybe 50 or 60 questions, you know.

And, uh, well, like while watching a game, which kind of seems weird, but, um, there’s a lot of like commercial breaks and stuff like that, where you knock out some questions and actually be focused.

Um, and then even like basketball, like it’s a perfect opportunity. Like, you don’t need to see someone watch, shoot a free throw, you know, like perfect time to do some quick, like quick questions.

Nate: I was just going to say like the end of NBA games now with the whole fouling thing. It’s just like borderline unwatchable. It drives me nuts, but

Thomas: It’s nuts. Yeah, perfect time to study the last two takes a half hour. Yeah, or even baseball like I’m a big Yankees fan too, but it’s like, you know. You could hear the sound of the bat making contact with the and then I’ll look up quick but you know, them pacing around the mound and stuff like that, you know, who needs to see that?

Nate: [00:39:00] Right. Yeah. Uh, right. There’s a, we get asked that a lot. Like, how do I fit in these, these mini sessions as much as you say? And, uh, you know, you, you, you can create opportunities to do it. Like you said. Um, at work, even you can, like, it’s normal to take a break, like leave your desk like once every hour or two hours, you know, so you like, you can find or make opportunities to do them.

And then again, most people kind of sit and do mindless stuff at least like an hour a night. I mean, maybe it’s just like realizing it, but there is a lot of time. It’s it’s the whole screen time thing. You get your screen time report. Even if you’re busy, you see this thing. That’s like you found six hours a day to stare at your phone somehow,

Thomas: Yeah that. Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great point. hm.

Nate: Yeah. So you can be using that time.

Why It Didn’t Work Studying 8 Hours Compared to When He Was Working

Nate: So one question I had [00:40:00] was, uh, when, when you were trying to study all day, like all day, every day, and then, uh, versus when you started working full time, but you were doing this more structured thing, the two hours in the morning, and then you kind of had the main, the bulk of your studying done by the time you got home from work.

I mean, did, was it less stressful? I’m guessing the period where you were working even, but studying in the morning and then kind of having your evenings to relax somewhat was less stressful than the time where you weren’t even working, but you were trying to study all day.

Thomas: Yeah, because I was able to I felt more Like it was okay. I went to work. Uh, I got some studying in and now it’s just all bonus time. Like I can do whatever I want. Uh, and obviously when you’re getting closer to the exam, like that, I would be studying.

So you’re kind of doing more hours, uh, during that, during that time, but you didn’t feel like you needed to be studying. Whereas like, uh, if you’re treating it [00:41:00] like a job, like eight hour day, at least I was like, okay, it’s nine o’clock in the morning, I have to be studying and five o’clock gone. But then it’s like, you know, you’re, you kind of, but by the time five o’clock is starting to hit maybe even 3:30, 3 o’clock, it’s like, uh, you know, you’re starting to check out.

Um, so that’s like a big bulk of your day where you feel like you didn’t really accomplish much because like, yeah, you get through a lecture, a couple of lectures, do a couple of questions. Like, yeah, you might show a hundred percent completed, but you didn’t, you know, learn anything. Um, at least you, you, you thought, um, you just got through it.

So like that, that, in its own was a win. Like I was working, I got through material, but I was understanding it. Um, whereas like before eight hours a day, I was just like, Oh yeah, I gotta get through it. And then the real kicker was like, you get through, you get through the whole Becker course and you take that mock simulated exam and you bomb it. Like, whoa, like, I [00:42:00] completed the whole course. What does this mean? Um, So like that whole, like, you know, working full time and having that structure, you just, that whole mental win of like, I got something done that was also studying, working. I had a great lunch. Uh, got, got, I got outside, um, where like, you know, I was, you’re walking, you’re, you’re studying eight hours a day.

You’re waking up from your bedroom. Maybe you’re going a foot towards your desk at your, in your bedroom, or you’re coming downstairs to your basement. You’re not, you’re not getting anything, um, you’re not, you’re not, you’re like, I, I just didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything, like, you didn’t even change your clothes, you know, it’s just like, Oh, you know, but like when you get out, you go to work, it’s just like, it’s like those mini wins that you kind of lost cause like the whole COVID thing kind of put people in, I think at least myself, like I was 2020 graduate. And then I just went right into studying and I was like, you’re not leaving the [00:43:00] house. Um, so I think that whole thing too, like getting away, getting back into the office. Leaving your house, um, that was just so much, made life so much easier then the whole exam process seemed better studying, processing better. Um, just with that alone, like it just had nothing to do with any review courses or anything. Just get, get out, um, do something. Uh, like you, you take for granted, like those little things of like getting your car driving or walking to your office, the walk from the parking lot to the office, like that’s huge, um, whereas before you just really didn’t think much of it. So how that my mindset started to shift when I started working. And I, that whole eight hour a day thing just was, some people do it. And I, I so jealous, I guess, and applaud them. Um, cause like my girlfriend passed eight, uh, four exams, studying eight hours a day before she started working. And I’m like, ow, um, but [00:44:00] it worked, it worked for, so that’s kind of why I felt like I had to do it. Um, but it just, it just didn’t work for me. And I know it doesn’t work for a lot of other people, so.

Nate: So one thing you said earlier, I was going to comment on was, uh, so along those lines. You said at some point you started, uh, making like, like a number based goal. Like instead of just tomorrow, I have all day, every day to study, like whatever that means, you know, versus I’m going to answer, I’m going to work through a hundred MCQs today, you know, that’s two totally different things.

Like you said, it’s really easy if kind of your whole approach is unstructured or just not strategic. It’s easy for these video lectures to just expand and take half of that time or more before you’re at, you know, and you’ve, you’ve spent, maybe you had eight hours to study, but you spent maybe an hour or two on like the key thing, [00:45:00] which would be the questions.

Um, whereas the, uh, the number based, what is that called? Like setting benchmarks to hit is much more effective. Yeah.

You Need to be Honest When Learning

Thomas: Yeah, uh, like was because you know, you’re, you’re sitting through a lecture and half of it, maybe a lecture could be two hours long and half of it. You’re just like, all you keep hearing is underline this box that circle that and like, what, what, what, is that?

And then you get lost and like, okay, I did eight hours today, but all I remember is box this, circle that, underline this and it’s like, what, what.

Nate: A great point, you know.

Thomas: What just happened. Um, so.

Logan: We’ll.

Nate: Yeah.

I mean, that’s something I rant about all the time is, and we talk about is

Logan: Mm-hmm.

Nate: Be honest with yourself. Like is every hour you spend, are you, are you getting closer to being able to like answer the questions on test day? Or are you really just pretending? Are you just telling yourself a story that you’re studying?

Thomas: Yeah, it’s a little, it’s like a lie that you’re telling yourself like, yeah, [00:46:00] I got through the lecture and like, you know, maybe halfway through the lecture because it’s so, it’s so long, you’re pausing it and you’re just getting up and going to the bathroom. Well, guess what? On exam day, you can’t just get up and go to the bathroom, you know, or get up go check your phone.

Like, you know, there’s a whole process, like you have to finish, like get to a checkpoint. Um, yeah. And so that’s what like the lecture doesn’t really teach you. Um, I, I think honestly, like as a benchmark, maybe review courses, they should just like start you off with like a mock exam so that you kind of know that structure of like, okay, like you have, you know, you got to get through 36 or probably, yeah, 36 questions.

If about audit, uh, and. Then you then you could go to the bathroom or something. Um, but knowing that if you do that, it’s counting against your clock on your exam. So, um, That’s kind of, you know, like that was a big [00:47:00] culture shock too. It’s like, what are you talking about? I can’t just get up.

Cause like a lot of this self study, self learning. And it’s like, Oh, I’m not going to, I could just pause it. I’ll pick up later or something. And that’s not, you know, so why the whole like.

Nate: Yeah.

Thomas: Yeah, I’m going to get through a hundred questions and I’m going to sit down before and not, not get up until I get through a hundred questions.

And then maybe you review it at a different time, but.

Logan: Yeah.

How Thomas Would Tackle the Sims

Logan: So with your a hundred questions, what wa, like, kind of going along with that, so you were doing lots of multiple choice questions, what was your strategy for the sims? Did you also do a lot of sims or was it mainly the MCQs?

Thomas: Yeah, so I don’t want to, I don’t want to forget about the sims. So I, um, I was getting, I was really focusing on the multiple choice questions, but then I would say daily, I would probably try to work in at four Sims throughout the day. Um, just so that, like, I didn’t, I didn’t, forget, like, the structure and, you know, that type of thing. Uh, even though like [00:48:00] sims, when you’re randomly generating them through the review courses, like they’re kind of just random. So like some, like I knew like, okay, this is, I’ll just skip this. Or like, this one’s just too outrageous. Like, like the construction, um, revenue recognition in FAR and stuff like that.

I was like, you know, they’re not going to ask a SIM on this or something, something that I just thought like, Oh, I don’t need to, I don’t need to do this. Or like, there’s some sims in Becker that are just like completely outrageous. I’m like, you know, this is not, this is not helping the, uh, the topic here.

This is not helps, uh, solidifying the knowledge. So, um, I would just skip it, but I wanted to keep at least four sims a day to just, to not lose touch, I guess.

Logan: Yeah. That makes sense.

Thomas’ Final Review Process

Logan: And I mean, if you were doing so many questions a day and you were also trying to do sims every day, did you really have like a final review or did you just kind of like get through all the material and then take the exam pretty soon after, like, what was?

Thomas: Yeah, yeah. so, so, uh, I [00:49:00] mean, I failed every exam once, uh, at least once. So, like, the whole, like, to answer your question. Yeah, it was probably like, the whole thing was reviewing.

Um, like, I got through the material and then I did it within, I don’t know, maybe a, for a month, and then I left like two weeks for review and then I failed.

So maybe I was rushing my review phase and, or maybe I was, I was probably wasting time on my initial learning phase. Cause I, I, I just felt like I needed to get through the lectures. And if I didn’t do that, then I felt like, um, I didn’t, I didn’t accomplish anything. So I, like, I needed to see the a hundred percent completed.

Like I did everything in the course and like, I needed to see the a hundred percent and now Becker offers like exam day ready. Like I needed, I needed to see that. Cause it was like, it was like, okay, I’m, I’m, I guess I’m ready. Like the thing says I’m ready, but I guess subconsciously you knew you weren’t ready.

You know, it was one of those weird things. Um, cause like when I, when I [00:50:00] failed and ready to go restudy. It was like, Oh, I, I’m just reviewing everything. Like it’s, it was a different mindset. And then the thing said that I was, um, exam day ready. So you’re building more confident. I thought I was building more confidence by, uh, knowing that the review course was a hundred percent completed and I was going through, going through it.

Um, and then weeding out what I didn’t know, uh, or verse what I didn’t know, um, what I did or did know first, what I didn’t know.

Logan: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Took a Sabbatical to Finish His Last 2 Exams in 11 Weeks

Nate: Uh, and how long was your, your work sabbatical to finish those last two exams you mentioned.

Thomas: Yeah. I did, I did a three month sabbatical. So it was, uh, it was about 11 weeks. Yeah, about weeks. So just shy of three months but yeah, um.

Logan: You finished your last two in those 11 weeks?

Thomas: Yeah, finished my last two within those time, within that time. And I actually, um, I felt, I, I, it wasn’t one of those things where I went back to work knowing that I passed, uh, my last two, I went back to [00:51:00] work and I’m like, they’re like, Oh, how was your sabbatical?

Did you finish the exams? I was like, I don’t know. I’m waiting for scores. I’m waiting for scores. I failed. I took them. I failed too. I know that. Uh, and then I retook them. Uh, so I’m, I’m waiting. And so like that, that process was nerve wracking. everyone you’re going back to work and I was like, how did it go?

I was like, I don’t know.

Logan: Yeah.

Thomas: But it was also rewarding cause I found out I passed two exams in the same night and I was like, yeah, I’m done and sabbatical was worth it. Um, that, that was a glorifying feeling, but sabbatical was helpful.

Logan: Yeah.

How Thomas Studied During His Sabbatical

Logan: And were you studying all day, every day during the sabbatical?

Thomas: I was just cause I felt that time pressure. Um, but like, again, I had, was able to balance, like, I was like, I wasn’t doing just eight hours straight. Uh, it was more of like, okay, let me go, let me study. I’ll go for a run. Come back, study, maybe grab lunch and then take the afternoon to go do [00:52:00] something and then review at night. Um, so like, it wasn’t like an eight hour type of thing.

Um, but it was just like, I needed the sabbatical just because I felt that time pressure of the clock didn’t want to lose an exam and it just kind of worked out where the sabbatical was in the fall where like tax accountants really aren’t after October 15th or kind of, you know, waiting for, uh, 1099s and January, January 1 to be there. So I was like, I was like, this is a perfect opportunity for me not to waste time at work and just, you know, get the exams, um, done, even though I had that structure of like two hours before it just felt like, uh, one less thing, one less thing to worry about work.

I got, I don’t need it in my life. Um, so that’s kind of why the sabbatical helped a lot, but I kind of, I kept that structure of like, you know, not eight hours straight like that was nuts.

Logan: Yeah.

Thomas: Yeah.

Passed the Last 2 Exams on 1 Score Release

Nate: So you had a score release where you got the two scores and then, so you went from basically had two [00:53:00] done, you knew you had taken those during your sabbatical and then all in one score release, you found out you were done.

Thomas: Yeah, I actually got it was a year. I got some notification It was a year ago. It was like a year ago yesterday. Maybe so last February I got score and it was I found out I found, I passed two in that same night and that was That was unbelievable because you were like halfway done and then to being done and I was like, oh wow.

Logan: That’s awesome.

Thomas: Granted, like is, you know, all I need, like I failed 74, 73 in the last, the last two.

So like, not that you know, you’re going to pass because you never know how you feel walking out of those things. But, um, just having, seeing the past scores and going from 50 percent to 100 percent was probably the best feeling like that made the whole process worth it. I guess was like, oh, you know, like, I don’t know if that happened for you guys, but to. Two exams in the same night, but I, I, it was like the best feeling.

Logan: Oh, yeah.

Nate: I actually might’ve

Logan: an

Nate: had that

Logan: feeling. Yeah. You, you did have it. I know you, I’ve [00:54:00] heard your story before.

Nate: Because I retook, I did my FAR retake and the normal audit exam, like seven days apart or something.

So I must’ve had that one score release where I got two scores. Yeah. I don’t remember it specifically, but I must have, anyways.

How Thomas Found Out He Passed His Final 2 Exams

Logan: What, what did you, uh, what did you do to celebrate? Did you do anything big to be like, I’m, I’m done?

Thomas: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so like at that point, like I couldn’t even look like it was really nerve wracking. Cause it was like, I either, if I fail one of these, I lose an exam. So I’m still at the same spot,

Logan: Yeah.

Thomas: I’m still 50 percent done. So I couldn’t even, I couldn’t even look at the computer. Like I couldn’t sign in.

I couldn’t do any of that. So it was actually my dad that did that for me. He did it. like, am I reading this right? Am I reading this right? It has got to be over 75. And I was like, are they both over? And he’s like, I don’t know. You tell me they are. They are. And I was like, Oh my, like, it was felt like a Superman.

Like I lift him off the ground. Like, you know, he’s my dad. I know I could do that. So, um, that was [00:55:00] kind of. I guess like that night. Yeah. And then, you know, a couple, a couple of nice dinners to celebrate, but you know, nothing crazy like going on a vacation or like that, you know, but you know, we did celebrate a couple of nice dinners, a couple of nights out of, uh, lots of, lots of drinking.

Nate: Yeah.

Having so Much Time After Passing the CPA Exams

Nate: How was it? Uh, was it almost, not almost like for me, it was straight up weird to not have to study just all of a sudden, cause it’d just been such a routine. Was it weird for a few months to not study?

Thomas: Honestly, it still feels weird. Uh, like I still feel like I should. Oh my God, I’m not studying. I don’t know what am I doing? Or, oh, I could actually watch a basketball game with no interruptions, or I could watch a baseball game or something like that. Like I was, it just still feels weird. Um, so, it’s like a good weird feeling though.

Like now I could invest my time in something else. Um, you know, like doing, doing landscaping or stuff like that. Like, you know, personal things like, uh, taking care of your house, [00:56:00] stuff like that, that like, Oh, I’m paying someone to do this. I could do it myself, you know?

So kind of opened up some free time like that and, and money.

Like, I, I, I’m, I could. I don’t need to be sitting at a computer all day long, like, because, you know, you’re working in public accounting, sitting on a computer, studying, and it’s nice to actually get out and do things, um, with that free time.

Nate: Yeah. Um, yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah. I mean, especially, you know, when you had like low lows for a long time, you know, you were working on the exams for years to, yeah, in one day, find out that you went from two done to four done. And then you’re just, you’re done done, is probably, uh, yeah, just a crazy feeling.

Thomas: Yeah, it was, it was awesome. Yeah, I still, even now, I’m like, ah, should I be studying? I have nothing to study.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: Pick a new certification.

Thomas: Yeah, I guess so.

Logan: Yeah. Yeah.

Nate: Um, yeah, well, I think we kind of went through everything.

How He Used the SuperfastCPA Notes

Nate: Was there anything else in your process? [00:57:00] Any other, I don’t know, study methods that you used or maybe that emerged later on that really worked for you? Or did we kind of talk about everything?

Thomas: Yeah, I think probably everything was covered. Uh, I mean just taking your own notes, even though the notes out there are so valuable. Um, but like even and taking your own notes could just be mocking it up, mocking up like your, your, your notes and like, Oh yeah, I know this or like, Oh, let me just add this in quick.

And then there’s maybe a quick, um, mnemonic or something quick just to remember that, uh, specific thing. Um, so I, I think like that’s a big misconception too. Like people have review notes and they think, Oh yeah, like these, these can help me, but I just, the whole, um, flashcard, my own flashcards. Um, and everything else I use as a guide to help solidify, like what I knew versus what I didn’t know.

Um, I, I would just, that was a big key for me and it could be for someone else. Um,

Nate: Okay. Yeah.

Top Tips for People Still Struggling with the Study Process

Nate: So, I mean, we did cover [00:58:00] everything, but last question anyways, um, what would be your top two or three tips to people that are still struggling with the study process? Or maybe what do you wish you would have known from day one that you could have told yourself to save yourself a bunch of time?

Thomas: Yeah, I mean, I kind of wish that I knew that, you know, the review, your review course was an end all be all, uh, trying to balance work, life, studying, like, you know, you definitely have to balance, um, like we’re in a profession where like things balance and you’re doing all these things like a balance sheet, like, assets equal liabilities, you know, like it’s supposed things are supposed to balance and you’re doing all these crazy things and you’re devoting a hundred and ten percent to studying like you’re, you’re going to drive yourself crazy.

Um, so, you know, definitely balancing work, life, study, anything. And then, um, the end, your review course and the end all be all. And then the third, just, uh, make it fun, make it, make it a routine. You know, don’t make such [00:59:00] a, such a chore. Um, and just, you know, break it up, break it up. So I don’t know, for me, it was just taking a break, going outside, going for a run. And I’m not even a runner just, you know, doing, yeah, you know, like do something to burn, burn some energy. Um, so.

Logan: Yeah. Those are great.

Thomas: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And I, that’s another thing, like studying from your phone just kind of allows you to, I think we already talked about this, it’s just, it’s so different accumulating four or five hours, you know, with a shorter main session, and then your phone versus the same four to five hours all done in front of your review course. Uh, it’s just very mentally draining. You have to fight yourself every day to sit down and do that whereas, there’s just not a huge dread factor to answer five questions on your phone throughout the day.

So it’s easier. Yeah.

Thomas: Yeah, exactly. Like the whole productivity, you just feel like you’re productive. Like did something, um, [01:00:00] whereas you’re just spinning wheels. Like, I don’t know, it kind of gets you to a certain point and, you know, you don’t want to be there. Just keep spinning, spinning, and spinning. Um, so your phone’s there and just use it, you know, stop with the social media, you know.

Logan: Mm hmm.

Nate: You’re already, well, you’re already using it. That’s what I’m always saying is like, you do this anyways. Like you you’re, you’re staring at your phone all day anyways.

Just help yourself out.

Thomas: Put the Superfast app right next your Instagram or Facebook app and just click, click the Superfast one instead, you know, um, like that type of deal, like you’re already doing it. Uh, so if you find time to look at social media, you can find time to take a couple take take a quick quiz, you know?

Nate: Yep. Exactly. Well, thanks Thomas. I, that was a, that was fun hearing your story and uh, I’m glad you found us or no, your dad. I’m glad your dad found us.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: That’s fun. Um, but yeah, I’m glad everything helped, uh, after a journey like [01:01:00] that. And congrats on being done.

Logan: Congrats.

Thomas: Yeah, thank you. Congrats to you guys, too. This is a great program and, uh, it’s a tough journey to, uh, to go down, but it’s probably the most rewarding thing that I’ve been able to do so far in my life, so.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: That’s the other thing. Once you’re done, it is, there’s just this big, uh, just a huge, I mean, cause it is a huge accomplishment and we’ve gotten it or we’ve talked about that on a few interviews recently where it’s uh, like most adults, you know, you get through school. Well, if you went to college or not, but something that requires like hours a day for months on end of this thing that you don’t really want to do, like not, not very many people do something like that.

Whether you want to call it like to themselves on purpose, but yeah, it is. It’s just, uh, you learn a lot about yourself or gain a lot of perseverance skills, focus skills, I mean, whatever you want to call it, but it is just a [01:02:00] big accomplishment.

Logan: Mm-hmm.

Thomas: And I, oddly, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I don’t know. It’s just, it’s awesome. It’s awesome feeling being done. And you know, once you just kind of trick your mind into making it normal, it’s a game changer. Um, so now just trying to help as many people as possible. Uh, no, I, I obviously to the extent that you guys do, I mean, you’re touching many people.

I’m just touching my circle of friends at work and you know, you guys do this type of thing, but, you know, like I said earlier with my dad, you take the people you see every day or those close connections for granted, uh, you know, kind of in one ear, out the other. Um, but I’m so happy. I listened to him on this because me to meet you guys. And really, I don’t know, help me get done. Like, I think it was a big factor in contributing to my, uh, success.

Nate: Yeah. I mean, yeah, it’s great to hear. I hope it was. And yeah, it’s, uh, it’s just really awesome to be done and it’s awesome to hear people’s full stories like that. I mean, especially [01:03:00] where you were like the discipline and the hard work was never the issue. You know, you were doing it like eight hours a day and it’s just coming across these small tweaks that just.

Thomas: Yeah.

Nate: Change everything.

Thomas: Yeah.

Nate: So that was the interview with Thomas, I’m sure you found that very helpful and motivating, and you probably got a lot of insights about how you can avoid big mistakes and do things more effectively and efficiently.

If you did find this episode helpful, please take a second to review the episode on your favorite podcast app, where you listen to these. Or if you’re watching this on YouTube, you know, like the video, subscribe to the channel, leave a comment in the video about something you got or like one takeaway you got from the video.

And most of all, take a second to share this with someone, you know, who’s working on their CPA exams, because these interviews collectively really are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for trying to figure out how to study effectively and [01:04:00] pass your CPA exams when you’re working full time.

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

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