In this SuperfastCPA podcast interview, you’ll hear how Torre passed his CPA exams quickly and efficiently by committing to the daily process. In the beginning, the process was uncomfortable, and some of the study methods were counterintuitive for Torre, but once everything “clicked”, his daily process became simple and formulaic, and pretty soon he was done with his CPA exams once and for all.
Master your study process by attending one of our free study training workshops: https://www.superfastcpa.com/study-secrets/
Enter our free monthly podcast giveaway: https://www.superfastcpa.com/enter
- 00:00 Torre Interview
- 01:05 Intro
- 04:56 Using SuperfastCPA Strategy to Finish School
- 06:10 Choosing a Review Course to Go with SuperfastCPA
- 07:19 Adopting the Learning Process of Questions First Approach
- 10:44 Something Torre Would Tell Himself at the Beginning of His Study Process
- 11:31 The Time It Took for Torre Adjusted to the Learning Process
- 13:12 Torre’s Daily Study Routine
- 17:25 How Torre Would Study Throughout the Day
- 20:00 Torre’s Study Routine on Weekends and Free Time
- 22:12 You Need to Take Action to Remove Distractions
- 25:16 Torre’s Final Review Process
- 29:46 How Much Time Torre Would Leave for Final Review
- 33:10 Gauging How Much You Know Through SFCPA Strategy
- 35:33 Take Control and Trust the Process
- 37:46 Getting Used to the Study Process Through the Last Exams
- 41:46 How Torre Studied for the Practice SIMs
- 45:40 The Feeling After Finally Passing the CPA Exams
- 49:14 A Realization Torre Had Throughout His CPA Study
- 54:59 Torre Recommended SFCPA to a Colleague
- 56:46 Top Benefits Torre Got from SFCPA
- 01:00:27 Outro
Torre: Because even I, I think, like I had listened to all your videos, I listened to the, the PRO videos, um, and you still don’t get it really.
Torre: Like you’re, you’re, you’re still so stuck in your old way of thinking and studying. And, and so it really does take, like in the beginning, pay close attention to what the process should be.
If I could tell anybody listening to this, listen closely to the instruction, and then build your, your daily process so it reflects what he recommends and, you know, tailor it to how you study, but then like, just commit to it. And, and don’t stress about like, if everything’s perfect, just go and then like two or three weeks in, like we’re saying, you’re gonna figure out like, oh, okay, I know what we’re doing here.
I can adjust but for the most part, just commit and don’t overthink it. I think that’s important because you’re not gonna get it right away. It’s just
Nate: Welcome to episode 108 of the CPA Exam Experience Podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate, and in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Torre.
So you will find Torre’s study experience very relatable because even as he started with SuperfastCPA, he had some of the most common concerns or common obstacles that people run into, even with our study process. Because for a lot of people, one of the main things I hear is that it’s very hard for them to go straight to the questions and go through a lesson and, you know, score really low because of course, it’s your first time seeing the questions and going straight into the questions, of course, you’re not going to be scoring very high.
And, you know, even though in like the PRO videos and in the free training, we explain that as you know, you’re just using the questions for a lesson as a learning tool, just like you would the video lecture or the chapter, you know. If you start watching a video lecture, you don’t have any notion of, well, how am I doing on this video lecture? Or if you read the chapter, you wouldn’t think, you know, how am I doing on reading this chapter? You’re just using it as a learning tool, so you’re, you’re open to learning, whatever it is, you’re reading or watching.
And so the mindset shift is just that you’re using the questions, as an even more direct path to exactly what you need to know for exam day. Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself here. The other thing that you’ll really like about Torre’s interview or his story is, as we start talking about the different strategies, he kind of has this philosophical way of explaining the different study strategies and, uh, I’ll leave it at that for now, but you’ll see what I’m talking about. Which is to say, I think he makes them very understandable or very uh, relatable.
So before we get into the interview with Torre, I just want to mention two things. First, the free study training webinars. That is the place that you should start if you’ve never watched one of those. That is the best hour that you can invest in your CPA study process. Unless you’ve already mastered the CPA study process.
So that’s a free webinar that we will walk through our core strategies so that you can see, okay, does this logically make sense to me? And by the end, we will see how this can save you so much time and effort and energy and frustration. So to sign up for one of those trainings, go to our homepage at superfastcpa.com or the link will be down in the description of this episode.
The second thing is our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Power Beat Pro headphones to three random listeners who have entered the giveaway. It’s just your name and email, and that link also will be down in the description of this episode.
So with that out of the way, let’s get into this interview with Torre.
Nate: Have you listened to many of these interviews? You kind of know how they go?
Torre: Yeah, yeah. I have. Um, yeah. I, I, when I was, uh, going through the studying process, I think I listened to every podcast that was available. So, yeah, you’re, you’re kind of looking for, you know, how’d you come across this? And then what was it like studying with SuperfastCPA and, um, fortunately I had SuperfastCPA from the beginning, so.
Nate: Yeah. We’ll just, we’ll kind of go through everything and it doesn’t need to be specifically about how good SuperfastCPA was or anything. Just, just your whole, uh, process.
Torre: Yeah. Cool.
Nate: So I have. Um, one of your po- well, your, your posts saying I’m done on the forum. Yeah. And then down below you made some comments about two specifics but, uh, we’ll get, we’ll get to that.
Using SuperfastCPA Strategy to Finish School
Nate: Maybe I, we’ll start from the beginning so, so you said, you had, you had found us before you really started the full process then?
Torre: Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, end of 2020 was when I was gearing up to get started studying the, the CPA exams. Um, and I think it was probably either YouTube or Facebook came across an ad for SuperfastCPA and it was like, okay this guy, the way he’s explaining it, that sounds very logical, and like a great way to study rather than what I had been reading on, you know, like Reddit of how painful it was to go through the process.
So yeah. And actually I was still in, I was finishing up my units, but I needed for the 150 at the time. And so I actually kind of used your method to finish up some of the classes I, I was taking to, just kind of work on looking at it differently, starting with the, the questions first. Um, and so I just think, you know, the way you teach it is so good and so helpful for really any study process.
Um, yeah. Made, made the end of school a lot easier, which was cool.
Nate: Awesome. Well, yeah, I appreciate that.
Choosing a Review Course to Go with SuperfastCPA
Nate: Um, so did you start by, so you saw an ad, did you watch the free one hour training thing?
Torre: Yeah, I think I, yeah, I watched it a few times cause I wanted to kind of absorb it and, uh, I think I reached out to you and was just checking in like with which, uh, study course to use.
Um, and then I think I purchased it in kind of November or December of 2020 and then, uh, started the study process in 2021. Right in the beginning. Yeah.
Nate: And what review course did you get?
Torre: I went with Wiley based on, uh, your recommendation, I think you had mentioned that you had done Wiley.
Torre: And it was one of kind of the, the cheaper options. So I figured if I was gonna be using your method, um, and I’m kind of focusing on the, the questions first approach. I’m, I’m not necessarily worried about like how good the lectures are or kind of the extra features. So I just figured Wiley made a lot of sense. Yeah.
Nate: Okay. Yeah. So, uh, so I guess, yeah, you don’t really have a before story where you were studying the normal way or anything.
Adopting the Learning Process of Questions First Approach
Nate: So, so you, to your post here, you said, uh, and I wanted to ask you about this because this is probably the most common, well, I think there’s like three or four. But this is one of the most common things people run into. So you said first I had to really force myself to answer questions incorrectly when going through the material in the first 90 minutes.
It was so counterintuitive. Anyways, just kind of expound on that, how you kind of learned that process and yeah.
Torre: Yeah. Just, yeah. So I guess, you know, growing up my study process, I didn’t really have a study process. I think I was just, I, weird enough, I was just one of those kids that like, you, you kind of got it right away.
And so I had never really, even in college developed much of a, like personal study habit or study process. And so, and for me it’s always like, I never want to, I never wanna get questions wrong. I never wanna fail in a test. And so you’re, you’re, when you’re going through this questions first approach, you, you teach us to let go of getting the answer correct. Like that’s not necessarily, when you’re doing that first uh, 90 minutes, you’re not really worried about getting the question right, which is so hard to wrap your brain around if you’re the kind of person that’s like, I always want to get the question right. You know?
So it, it really took, like, it was weird. It almost took like a, um, you kind of had to humble yourself to go like, you know what, this isn’t, it’s not about me getting it right and like boosting my ego and thinking like, oh, I don’t, I’m pretty good at this. It’s like, no, you just need to get your brain engaged with what the question is asking, and then if you don’t know, take a swing and then see what the answer is and understand the connection between the answer and, and the question.
So that was counterintuitive. And I think even through the whole process, there were times where I was, it felt like I was battling myself, uh, of like, okay, I need to step aside , and I just need to go through the process. And every time I would like set my own, you know, ego aside and just get to the question and, and try to go for understanding of what the question was asking.
I always got through the material faster, but I, and it would slow me down if I was caught up on like, well I want to get 80% on this, you know, this quiz so that I don’t have to go back and read the material or, or do the quiz again. Um, but if I was just kind of focusing on like what your method teaches, which is just understand what the question is asking, and then let’s look at the answer and let’s connect the dots. Um, the process went by faster, so yeah, it’s, it’s funny that you kind of have to, um, you kind of have to battle yourself on those, on that question part of it, the, the question first approach.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. That’s, it’s just a very common, uh, thing that comes up in emails constantly just different versions of that. They’re like, well, when I go through the questions, I’m only scoring a 50 in a, you know? I’m like, yeah, okay. I know it’s, it doesn’t matter. You’re not, you’re not testing right now. It’s, you’re strictly, you should be unattached to, shouldn’t even look at the outcome.
Like you’re not, yeah, you’re not using it as a, it’s not evaluation. You’re, yeah. You’re using these just like the video lecture as a, as another like learning tool.
Something Torre Would Tell Himself at the Beginning of His Study Process
Torre: Yeah. If I could tell myself anything going back, if, if I could tell myself from the beginning, don’t worry about the percentage on those, on those quizzes as you’re going through the daily lessons, don’t even stress about that.
And in the beginning it’s gonna look ugly and just be like, okay, great. This is the process. I might get like a 50 or even less. And that’s okay. Yeah. As long as in that 50 you’re, you’re identifying the questions you need to work on and going back over them, uh, whatever your process is. And then you’re gonna, like you say, you’re gonna see them again in those 30 question quizzes at the end of your study process in the morning.
Um, you’re gonna see them again for the next however long you’re studying, couple weeks. So don’t stress about it.
Nate: Yep, exactly.
The Time It Took for Torre Adjusted to the Learning Process
Nate: So how long would you say it took you to kind of get used to that? Was it just the first two or weeks or so?
Torre: Yeah. I mean, probably first two or three weeks you’re, you know, you’re scoring so low and you’re kind of questioning like, does this really work?
But to be honest, like the podcast helps so much cause you hear everybody explain the same thing of like, no, in the beginning it sucks. And then as you go through the process, you start to go like, oh, I’m getting these quizzes. I’m getting better, the 30 question quizzes and then the quizzes on my phone throughout the day, I’m doing better.
So something’s working here, even though I’m still getting like fifties on, uh, the lesson quizzes, it, it’s not a problem cuz I know I’m just focusing on the things I can control, which are the inputs and then the results work themselves out over, over time.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And I would say, well, and I do tell people this, the, even the daily sets of 30, for like the first two or three weeks, it’s kind of the same thing. It’s pretty relevant what you’re scoring on those cause it’s all new. Um, and by like week three you’ve probably been through, I don’t know, depending on the review course you’re using, like a third to maybe a half of the material and you’ve been taking those daily sets of 30, maybe at like the halfway mark of your study plan, you kind of start to pay attention or you know, okay, I’m getting in the sixties, so I need to improve on this or whatever. But even the sets of 30, the first few weeks, you’re still just in the learning phase really.
Torre: Right, right. Yeah, that was definitely my experience.
Torre’s Daily Study Routine
Nate: Um, and so, so, so what did a day of studying look like? Did you just follow the format exactly? Two hours in the morning and mini sessions throughout the day?
Torre: Yeah, I would say, um, for the most part that’s what I did. I, I set aside the morning and like you said, um, I, I found it beneficial to get up at five and start my process at at five. Um, just knowing, um, I work in tax at a CPA firm here in Irvine and knowing like the rest of my day is gonna be tough, and so I’m not gonna wanna go back to this at the end of the day.
So knowing like this is my priority, number one, I wanna get to this the first thing and, and just get started with it. So usually I would spend about two hours to two and a half hours. Um, and then, you know, depending on which exam I was in, I was more disciplined or less disciplined. But that was, that was my goal always to hit that two hours or two and a half hours in the morning.
And then, um, like you model, I would work through all the lessons for that day based on the, the study plan that Wiley would build out for me based on when I was gonna take the test. That was an important part too. I scheduled my tests ahead of time. Um, I did move a couple tests throughout just based on like, I also, I was just starting in this tax firm so you know, doing tax prep was pretty much brand new to me. So yeah, I was kind of doing two new things at once. So there were a couple tests I pushed back, but for the most part, that was my goal. I, I set the test and it was like, let’s, let’s make sure I’m getting in all the lessons each day to be able to hit that goal of taking that exam on that specific day.
So that’s, that’s what I did. So I did the two hours in the morning, the first 90 minutes, I’m working through the lesson quizzes. If there’s a trouble spot, like where I’m scoring really low on that quiz, I would use your study notes for that section cuz your study notes explain it really well. And then if I needed additional um, explanation, I would then look at the Wiley, um, ex, ex explanation, the chapter, uh, that was always just, I mean, so, so dry.
So usually if I was there, it took, took a while to get through, but, um, then at the end I would, like you said, I would do the 30 question quiz. And I remember actually in the beginning, I think you’ve mentioned this before, but I did start with like 15 question quizzes at, at the beginning just because it took me so long and I was building up the kind of the habit of like one question per minute kind of thing. Um, cause in the beginning you’re just like, you’re staring at some of these questions and it’s just so confusing and painful. So I cut it down to 15 for maybe like the first two weeks or so, and then I would up it to, to 30. So that was my process.
And then I did use your, uh, your app for the quizzes, the five question quizzes throughout the day. And what I did is I actually set up in my, um, in my Reminders app on my iPhone, I set up a CPA exam study list. And so each day I had, um, I had to get through all the lessons in Wiley, and then I had to do the 30 question re-review quiz, and then I, I listed out six, um, six, five question quizzes throughout the day that I would do, and then I would also have myself read five pages of study notes or listen to the study notes through the app for like 10 minutes.
And so I want like, my goal was I wanna check all these off every day. Um, and most days, most days I hit it. Um, but just having that, those reminders and I had ’em set up to go off, like to remind me at certain times of the day when I knew that’s when I should do my third five question quiz of the day.
So I would take a break from work and do that five question quiz. And so that was, that was really helpful just to keep you on task.
Nate: Yeah, I like that. Um, building in some, some kind of checkpoint that you’re, you’re trying to like cross off. I’ve heard, heard that in different forms from a bunch of people on these interviews.
How Torre Would Study Throughout the Day
Nate: Um, so practically speaking, cuz I get asked this all the time, like if you’re at work at the office and you have a reminder go off, do you just kind of take a lap around the office building? How did, how do you actually pull out your phone and do that?
Torre: Yeah, so I mean, especially during tax season when you’re working a lot of hours, um, it, it’s understood like everybody needs a break from time to time.
So I would, I would take a break to go get water or step outside for five minutes just to do a five question quiz. Um, when I was doing the, the five pages of review, review notes, I actually, well side story here. Um, one of your previous students, Felicity, who was on the podcast, funny enough, I bought your, I bought your program in like November or December, um, end of 2020.
And then I got this job at the CPA firm here in Irvine, and I met, Felicity, worked there, which is so funny.
Nate: Oh, okay. And I just, that just clicked who I can think of her face now. Yeah. Felicity.
Torre: Yeah. So we were coworkers and I told her I was using your program outta the blue. And she’s like, I was on the podcast and I was like, you are Felicity, I realized like. So, um.
Nate: That is so funny.
Torre: I know it was amazing, like such a small world, but, uh, and she was so helpful in, in like encouraging me to keep going and checking in. But anyway, she mentioned she had used UPS, uh, UPS store to print the study notes and bind it.
Torre: So that’s what I did.
Torre: Um, I got your study notes bound and so I would take that outside and walk around, read five pages, and then come back and get to work. So, um, I just built in like, time throughout the day to, to do those quizzes. And I would say two, two or three of those quizzes, the five question quizzes I was doing when I got home later that night, just when I was sitting around or hanging out.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. I mean that’s, yeah, that’s how it should work. And uh, I just get asked that a lot, like, how do I, I can’t be sitting at my desk, you know, messing around on my phone for 10 minutes, like every hour.
Nate: And I’m like, yeah. I mean, I know. I get that. You know, it also is pretty normal to, for people to kind of leave their desk for five minutes every hour or two, so.
Torre: Oh yeah.
Nate: You just kinda have to find opportunities.
Torre: You honestly probably should. Anyway, we all work a lot, so we should probably be standing up and walking around and taking a breather, so, yeah. Yeah, it was a good, it was a good break.
Torre’s Study Routine on Weekends and Free Time
Nate: Um, and what about on the weekends? Did you just kind of do the same thing just a little longer or what? Was your weekend studying any different?
Torre: Yeah, I was pretty consistent with the two hours. I would probably on like a Saturday, I’d up it to three and then depending on if I was behind on lessons, I would try to get, get back on track. Um, so yeah, Saturday was a heavier, um, study day, but I would try to stay consistent and get up early just because, you know, the, the sooner you get it done, you can have your Saturday back, so.
Torre: Um, just especially with life and I’m married and we just, yeah, wanting to get out and do stuff and hang out with friends and go see family and not let this thing become all consuming. Um, but I, yeah, but I will say like it is a sacrifice and it’s a sacrifice for any, any loved ones in your, in your family.
And, um, so I do appreciate my friends and family giving me this time to be able to do this.
Nate: Yeah. But on that note, I, and I was gonna get to this, um, I, I’m guessing as long as you nailed your morning and, uh, mini sessions throughout the day
Nate: You could kind of relax in the evenings, right?
Torre: Yes. Yeah. And that was like the big goal. It was like, I don’t want to have to study, you know, during the evenings or in the second half of Saturday. So let’s just get this done, get it out of the way and move on. And not to say that there weren’t Saturdays where I ended up studying for more hours than I had planned, just because maybe I was off schedule or just didn’t have a very good, you know, focused study session.
So it , I got extended out. But for the most part, that was always the goal. Let’s, let’s buy back the rest of the day by having focused time now in the morning.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s just, I don’t know, I can’t convince me that’s, I mean, it just makes sense. That’s the best, uh, obviously it’s the easiest in the morning. Get it done.
Nate: Then you can, yeah, just have a pretty normal weekend after that.
You Need to Take Action to Remove Distractions
Torre: You only have so much willpower too so.
Torre: Like trying to muster that at the, at the end of the day is just too tough. There were times where I would try to come back to studying because I had a bad morning of studying and nighttime study for me just was not effective.
It, it was just so much better if I got myself up, um, pushed through the pain of waking up early and just got the studying done first thing.
Nate: Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve read, um, like I think it’s Atomic Habits, that book.
Nate: But he kind of makes the case that willpower is almost, you could almost like consider it a myth. It’s this very finite thing that, um, you’re way, you’re much better off to physically remove things or like put yourself in situations where an outcome is inevitable.
Nate: And instead of like trying to battle yourself to not eat garbage and workout and not do this, not do that. To just not have bad stuff in the house or you know, do your workouts first thing, because yeah, you have like this much willpower each day.
Torre: That yeah and, and a lot of it is like when you sit down to study. Everything else in the world becomes so much more interesting. Like.
Nate: That’s such a good point.
Torre: You Google anything and it’s like, this is way better than studying for FAR. So like trying to keep yourself on track is, is tough for these tests. And so like you’re saying, I would. I would remove apps from my phone. I think you recommend doing that, like replace your social media apps for a while.
Torre: Um, so that when you, and then put like the SuperfastCPA app in their place, like on your phone your brain goes, oh yeah, this is, this is my big goal. Not to like scroll. I’m trying to pass exams here. So yeah, setting yourself up for success, like building your, your life, your week, what your day, you know, planning ahead for how it’s gonna go, I think is so important for these exams. It’s just so easy to be distracted by all the things we, you know, the other things we could do.
There were, it, it’s, I, there were times like I was just looking up like tax stuff for, for work and that was more interesting than studying like FAR, BEC. Really so.
Nate: Yeah, I did a lot of, uh, historical research on like old battles during the CPA exams, like I have to know about the French Revolution right now.
Torre: Yeah. Yeah. Like this is really important.
Nate: That’s funny. I haven’t heard someone like encapsulate it that well, everything, everything becomes more interesting when you’re trying to study.
Torre: Oh yeah.
Nate: That is funny.
Torre: Everything. Yeah. And you had like a question triggers, like a thought of like, oh, what about, what about this idea?
And then you’re searching, you’re like deep in a rabbit hole of like whatever it is and you’re like, what? What am I doing? I’m obviously avoiding doing the the hard work that I’m here to do.
Nate: Yeah, exactly. I know. It is. Self-sabotage is like such an interesting thing, man.
Torre: Yeah, yeah.
Nate: I know it well.
Torre’s Final Review Process
Nate: Um, alright, so you’re going back to your second comment, you said, uh, during the two weeks. Oh, okay. So this was maybe almost a final review strategy. During the two weeks leading up to my exams, I would put the audio notes on one and a half speed and read the notes at the same time while listening, while walking the dog in the morning and evening. And so I was just gonna ask you about that. So you kind of did that as part of your final review then, I guess?
Torre: Yeah. Yeah. As the exam got closer, then I knew I wasn’t gonna push it back. It was like go time for me. And I think u unfortunately, you know, I probably learned the best when there’s like a deadline and there’s some pressure involved, I end up being more productive.
Torre: Um, and, and so that was kind of my, my, uh, my move to kind of cram a little bit, um, was. And, and for the most part in the mornings, like my wife would take care of the dog, which I was so thankful for, but towards the end, I would take back the responsibility of walking him and I would use that extra like 45 minutes to have study notes on my phone.
Or I would take the the bound study notes that I had gotten. and then I would pop, like I said, pop in the, the headphones and listen to it at the same time and, and going through it fast. Cause I think for me getting that like 30,000 foot view of the whole test, it, you start to really kind of piece everything together and, and things start to make sense at like the macro level. Cause on the, you know, the, the daily lessons, you’re so in, in the weeds. , it’s nice to then afterward like have this overview of the whole thing and you’re, you’re just listening to it over and over again and, and reading it at the same time.
I, for me, there were times on the test where I would, I could see the page, you know, the page of what the topic was talking about.
Torre: So it was, it was helpful in those last two weeks to really just drill the overarching perspective of, of the total exam, uh, through the study notes, listening and, and reading at the same time.
Nate: Yeah, that’s, a lot of people have, a lot of people do that. A lot of people have figured that out, um, on their own. Cause I’ve never, um, I had never recommended that. I just started hearing that on these interviews where people would, uh, listen and read at the same time. And it does kind of lock in, you know, it’s, I’ve heard this, I can’t.
I can’t, uh, talk about it coherently like a brain scientist, but, you know, engaging different or multiple modalities kind of like mm-hmm. locks your brain up. If you’re just reading text on a page, your mind can think about something else.
Torre: Oh yeah.
Nate: But if it’s, if you’re watching it and hearing it, um, your brain is like locked down or something like that.
Nate: Just a lot easier to focus. And you can go faster, like you said.
Nate: Tons of people have mentioned that. Yeah. They can. Read or read and listen, I guess at two times speed and just, it’s just easier cuz you’re seeing the words even though it’s going really fast.
Torre: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And it’s almost like, like you’re saying, when you’re reading it, it’s easy to like drift off, you know, get distracted, but because the audio is moving at such a pace, like your brain is kind of getting dragged along through the material, which is kind of nice. It’s like, I don’t have to do the heavy lifting of pushing myself to read through it. I’m, I’m getting like, pulled through it with the audio as well, so you’re, you’re making sure like you’re getting through it quicker, which is I think good.
Torre: Especially towards the end.
Nate: That’s a good description. Yeah. Getting pulled through. Yeah. We have a new study tool coming up that keeps getting delayed. That’s that exact thing, just in one.
Torre: I think I saw your email. It looks, it looks cool. It looks really cool. Yeah, that’s a good idea.
Nate: Right? It’ll just be that like in, just in basically a video, but it’ll have speed controls on it and the words highlight as they go.
So it’s like a little bit should be easier to follow. A little bit more engaging than, and then not having to try to start the audio and, you know.
Nate: Scroll, keep up. Scrolling on your, with your finger or whatever.
Torre: Yeah, I think it’s a great idea. I would totally, if that were available when I was studying, I would absolutely use it. Yeah.
Nate: Yeah, yeah. I mean, just cuz so many people have mentioned this over the last, uh, I mean, just through these interviews, so yeah.
How Much Time Torre Would Leave for Final Review
Nate: Um, what about, let’s see, we talked about your weekends, so, so what was, how long would you leave for a final review and then, I know you just kind of described it, but what was your full process when you entered, like the review phase?
Torre: Yeah. Uh, I wouldn’t leave a whole lot of room for review at all. I kind of went right down to the wire, so sometimes it was like as little as, well, there were a couple times. , I think once or twice where I didn’t quite finish all the lessons, but I was just, I was like, I was ready to take the exam. I was doing okay on the 30 question re-reviews.
Um, and I had been doing my process of reading and listening to the study notes, so it was like, I’m just gonna go in and take it so, uh, I didn’t, I guess I didn’t leave a whole lot of time for a review, and I think I compensated by doing that, the, the audio and, and reading through the notes. That was kind of my way of compensating, leading up to the exam.
I didn’t build in a, like a, a extra week or two weeks of review. I would just go for it. So, um, and I, it, it would make a whole lot more sense to, to do that, to build in that review time, but, um, like I said, I’m kind of like a pressure guy. I need, I need the pressure of the exams. So, um, yeah, I’m not, I’m not a very, I’m not a pro-active studier, so this was kind of a better method for me of like, I gotta push and get it done rather than leaving myself a ton of space.
Nate: Yeah. Well, and at the same time, and in fact I think in the PRO videos, I, what’s in there right now is you don’t really need a review because you’re doing these sets of 30 and you’re, I mean, if you’re doing the process along the way.
Nate: You’re reviewing everything all the time.
Nate: Through the mini sessions and the daily set of 30. Um, but then again, just on these interviews, I’ve noticed, I mean, some people don’t, don’t leave any review time. They just go straight into it. Maybe that weekend cram session thing. Two days.
Nate: Um, but then other people leave a week and, uh, you know, it could never hurt. But I think at the same time with this approach, you’re, you’re much better prepared than under the normal way where you’ve covered 200 topics and you haven’t looked back at anything, so you don’t, you essentially have to relearn everything doing that, so.
Torre: Yeah, that was that. Yeah, exactly. So it did make all the difference already having that re-review built in. And then usually I would take a test on a Monday like you recommend, and so on Saturday and Sunday you’re, I would do a lot of 30 question quizzes like you recommend.
Um, and then I would kind of make a goal of like, I wanna get through, I wanna read the entire study notes on Saturday and read the entire study notes on Sunday. So going in, you’re like, you’ve seen the entire exam almost, you know, twice. Yeah. So that was, that’s what I did for the most part.
Nate: That’s awesome.
I love when someone’s basically telling me every strategy back and you just, yeah. And you nailed it. That’s awesome. Just everything you’ve said, I can tell. you. Yeah. Just followed everything to the letter and, and then it, then it works.
Gauging How Much You Know Through SFCPA Strategy
Torre: It’s, it’s interesting. It’s like your process, all of the different features of it work together to get you ready and it, and it’s like you kind of have to let go of the a plus student thing and you’re just, you’re thinking like, all of these different things. It’s like you kind of, you start to get a feel of like, am I ready or am I not? So as you’re going through the, the daily lessons that’s prepping you, and then that 30 question re-review, it’s like the litmus test.
Am I, am I ready or am I not? And then the five question, uh, mini quizzes throughout the day. Am I ready or am I not? So you’re kind of gauging at all times, like, where am I at? How am I looking? Um, just because you’re getting basically 60 ish questions a day of the entire, um, the entire exam. So you’re really kind of getting a feel for where I’m at.
And so you’re just, and once you commit to that process of working the different method, that you teach, I think you get kind of an intuitive sense of like, where, where am I in this whole process? How far along am I, am I ready or am I not? Um, so it makes it easy to go, um, like those last two weeks, you know, like, you know, like, I’m gonna get it.
I’m gonna, I’m gonna be able to sit for this exam. So it’s, it’s great once you commit to it, I think your brain kind of acclimate and you gauge, you know, where I’m at in the whole process.
Nate: Yeah. And that is, like you said, you get this, uh, deeper. So I know you’ve, you’ve probably heard me give the bike example.
Like you could sit a kid down and show him 20 videos of how to ride a bike and say.
Torre: Yeah. Yeah.
Nate: You know, logically, you just sit on that seat and move the pedals with your feet. That’s how you do it. And that’s a technically correct explanation, there’s the whole balance thing that you can’t really put into words that the kid has to figure out themselves, right?
Torre: Yeah, totally.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. So watching the, watching the videos is one thing, and I mean, you kind of have to do that to have the blueprint, but then there’s implementing it for two to three weeks and you, you start to get that, again, it’s hard to put into words, but like your own, you understand it on like a deeper level than just seeing it explained.
Take Control and Trust the Process
Torre: Yeah. Yeah. If I, and I could, if I could go back and talk to myself, I would tell myself, trust the process because your brain is gonna tell you this isn’t working, or, I don’t understand this. I don’t see how it could all work. Uh, but if you stick with it, like we’re saying, you’re going to see you’re, it’s gonna click eventually and you’re gonna be like, oh, I get what we’re doing here.
I, I understand. Yeah. Because even I, I think, like I had listened to all your videos, I listened to the, the PRO videos, um, and you still don’t get it really.
Torre: Like you’re, you’re, you’re still so stuck in your old way of thinking and studying. And, and so it really does take, like in the beginning, pay close attention to what the process should be.
Um, listen, you know, if, if I could tell anybody listening to this, listen closely to the instruction that Nate gives and then build your, your daily process so it reflects what he recommends and, you know, tailor it to how you study, but then like, just commit to it. And, and don’t stress about like, if everything’s perfect, just go and then like two or three weeks in, like we’re saying, you’re gonna figure out like, oh, okay, I know what we’re doing here.
I can adjust but for the most part, just commit and don’t overthink it. I think that’s important because you’re not gonna get it right away. It’s just, it’s.
Nate: I seriously might make, cut that clip and put it unlike the introduction email, cuz that’s, yeah. That’s a perfect encapsulation of ex. Yeah. I mean the, the welcome email largely sa says that same thing.
Nate: But, uh, yeah. Having someone else say it, I, yeah, I appreciate you saying that.
Nate: That’s the exact, that’s the exact. That’s just how it has to work. Yeah.
Torre: Yeah. It, it was, I just remember vividly like, you think you understand it and you get what you were explaining, but you really have to sit down and do the work and, and it kind of clicks a couple weeks in and then you’re ready to go.
Getting Used to the Study Process Through the Last Exams
Nate: And then, uh, the, going along with that, um, I think you kind of said, , on my last two exams, I was less consistent and I hear that a lot. And so what I’m getting at is you get so good at this process and, the time you’re spending is so effective compared to, you know, just pouring hours down the drain, watching video lectures and 5% of it gets in your head.
Um, that’s a common thing I hear from people, but they still keep going in and and passing their sections, even though in their mind they’re thinking, I really slacked off on this last exam.
Torre: Yeah. Yeah. that. Yeah, totally. That’s exactly what happened. I think it, funny enough, like I got my highest scores towards the end, even though I felt like I wasn’t as consistent.
So you are kind of, you’re getting used to the tools cause you’re giving us tools for how to pass these exams and so you’re kind of, in the beginning you’re like, I don’t know how to use this tool. But by the end you really know it really well, so you’re able to use the tools effectively even though maybe you’re less consistent on maybe the time spent or the consistency of like hitting the 30 question quizzes at the end.
But, um, regardless, you have built in kind of the habit of using these tools. To get through the process. So yeah. Funny enough, my last two exams were better scores than my first two.
Nate: Yeah, that’s, I know, that’s funny. But yeah, I, I don’t remember, I think mine was maybe the same way, but I was not, I was not blowing these exams away.
I mean, I was taking ’em really fast, but I was getting like, yeah. 77, 70 nines, I think.
Torre: Yep. I am, uh, yeah, I’m, I’m like 75, 76, 77, and 81. So I was just, I, I, I didn’t care to be the best at CPA exams. That wasn’t my goal.
Nate: Yeah. No, and it’s one of those things where it’s like, uh, the time to get like in the nineties would just be an inordinate and compared to just what it takes to just pass, you know?
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. This is not about winning the Elijah Watt Award or whatever.
Torre: Right, right. Although, it’s always impressive when you see that. It’s like, what are these people doing? That’s amazing.
Nate: I mean, yeah, like. Yeah. That’s awesome to be the best.
Torre: Yeah. I do think, like if, if somebody were to commit to using your process and, and like if you went all in, and I would say I didn’t, I didn’t go all in.
Um, but if you went all in, use all your tools, you teach us and you gave yourself ample time to take these tests, maybe you could, you might be able to get 95 and above. Like, I, I just think like right. The study method is so effective that if you really wanted that, you know, crazy high nineties, you could probably do it.
Um, but it’s just the amount of.
Nate: Yeah. You know, the people scoring in like 95 plus, I mean, that’s like literally all they do, you know?
Nate: It’s just all day.
Nate: And, uh, mo most people would take the trade off. Yeah, I can still pass these but have my evenings and like 90% of my weekends still, you know?
Torre: Yeah. And I was still working at a tax firm where we do overtime hours. We did a lot. So there were weeks where I was doing 60 plus hours and I’m still able to study and pass the CPA exams. So, um, you realize like, well, what’s important here? Is it important that I get, you know, high scores on the exams, or is it important to have, you know, I get, I get my work done, I get my study done, and I still have time to spend with my wife and my friends and family. So that’s, it’s, it’s a great way to go.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No question in my mind, but, yeah. Um, okay. So let’s see, we, oh, the last, well, one of the last things.
How Torre Studied for the Practice SIMs
Nate: So how did you weave practice sims into your process? Or did you use them much at all, or how’d you use, use them?
Torre: I probably did like two or three practice sims the entire time so I’m not the best student to be asking. And I know you say like, don’t stress too much about those as long as you’re getting through the, um, the lessons and you’re doing 30 question quizzes.
Um, don’t, don’t make too much of the sims, because they’re always gonna be different. They’re always gonna be challenging. And so I, I didn’t, I didn’t put too much emphasis on that. I just tried them to kind of see how they were, um, yeah. And then at that point it was like, okay, I get it. Like you’re basically piecing together.
It’s almost like they take a bunch of multiple choice questions, stuff ’em into a long, big problem. And so it, it’s not that bad if you think of it that way. Um, it’s, you just know, like when you go into a sim, you’re gonna be doing like 10 to 15 multiple choice questions essentially. Um, yeah, and, and there’s steps to it.
So I, I didn’t, I didn’t do a whole lot of study on the Sims, but I found that what a lot of people say is true, that if you’re getting through the multiple choice from the daily lessons and you’re doing the re-review quizzes. Um, as long as you’re getting your speed up on taking multiple choice questions, you’re gonna get through your multiple choice testlets quick enough to spend a lot of time on the sims, so you don’t, you don’t have to stress too much. I would say the one thing I probably wish I had paid more attention to is some of the sims, um, even on REG, I remember they have, you look at like the tax code, the, the irc. So knowing how those, how those, um, how it wants you to, to do the, um, different research of the tax code. I would, I would recommend people look for those sims to maybe get prepped on that. But other than that, I, I think it’s, um, like you say, getting through those questions, the, the multiple choices is probably the most important thing to prep you for, for since.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Getting good at the multiple choice just solves a bunch of problems in advance. Um, and the, yeah, the biggest thing on test day by far is leaving a bunch of time because three or four of those sims are gonna look extremely confusing no matter how many practice sims you did. And, yeah, if, if you’re crunched on time and you, you know, you have three that you’ve seen that look really confusing, you’re just gonna freak out and feel rushed and not be able to think, but.
Nate: If you have like more than enough time, it’s a totally different thing in terms of your ability to just, calmly, kind of, okay, I have time to like read through this, know for sure what it’s asking and then just try to start filling it out.
Torre: Yeah. Yeah. I think it was, I don’t think I ever had a test where I didn’t get through or I think on far, I, I skipped one sim but that was it.
Out of all four tests, I never skipped a sim. So, um, other than on far, so I, I had, I had a good amount of time to get, to get to all.
Nate: And you were finishing the, uh, the MCQs on test a by like the halfway mark probably, or before?
Torre: Yeah. It was pretty much the halfway mark. Yeah. And I know that’s what a lot of people say.
I think if you’re committed to the way we do things, um, you’re gonna get through it. You’re, yeah. By then, you’re gonna be so good at those 30 question quizzes. You’re just gonna knock out testlets of multiple choice pretty quick, and you’re gonna be ready to go on the sims and give yourself plenty of time.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Um, and so when did you, your post was four months ago, so it’s been four months since you got your fourth passing score.
The Feeling After Finally Passing the CPA Exams
Nate: So how’s it been having that, not having to study?
Torre: It’s really good. I mean, it’s great. I think, um, yeah, it’s, it’s crazy. I, uh, I finished my REG exam and I, I met my wife Bianca at In-N-Out to celebrate, and I’m sitting there eating a, a, a double double.
And, um, it dawns on me like I’m sitting there eating it and I’m thinking like, that might be my last CPA exam ever. And like, I teared up, like I didn’t expect to be like, emotional about it, but I’m like eating in In-N-Out and I start to get choked up and, uh, yeah, it was just, it was overwhelming to realize like, you know, throughout the process, sometimes you feel like you’re failing cause it’s just like you get a 75 and it’s like, okay, I passed. What? But it’s like just barely. And so it’s a lot of feeling of like, so much struggle, very little like, like feelings of success. Um, and if you take these, like I, I, I think I took my, yeah, I’m looking at it right now. I took my first test in, in May of 2021 and my last one in January of 2022.
So I was studying for about that amount of time and uh, it’s just, it’s like low level background radiation, you know, like you’re just feeling like you’ve just been, uh, through some kind of awful, emotional and physical pain, but.
Torre: Yeah, to have that done and behind me and, and, um, I did what you said, I think in the PRO videos you recommend writing down your why and having that is kind of like your North Star, um, to really be, yeah, I had it. I pinned it to my wall cuz I wanted where I study cuz I wanted to be able to see like, why am I doing this? Because it’s so hard.
Torre: It’s such a pain. But if you can remember like why you’re doing it and both the, for me it was like highlighting the negative consequences of not passing and then highlighting the benefits of passing. So I had kind of both things.
Torre: Um, it was a good reminder cuz when you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to remember like what you’re doing and why. Um, but then when you’re on the other side, it’s just, you’re, you feel awesome. It’s like, I did this. I don’t have to ever question like, what would my life have been like if I had just passed those exams?
I, I, it’s like I’m on the other side of that and that’s such a good experience to be, to just feel free. I, I, I accomplished this really hard, challenging thing and forever, as long as I can maintain it, I have those letters. I get to put those letters behind my name, and that has meaning in our society. So, um, it’s just so, it’s totally worth it. It’s just, and, and the experience of being done is great. It’s just awesome.
Torre: I don’t have to study.
Nate: Yeah. I remember for a few weeks just having like a tangible sense of like, freedom.
Nate: It sounds weird, but just, uh.
Nate: Like the relief was like this thing that I would, I don’t know, like each day, multiple times, you, like, you’re sitting there working and you’d realize like, I’m done.
I don’t have to study tomorrow morning. You know, just that kind of a thing.
Nate: And then, uh, oh man. Something you said I was gonna, that reminded me. I had a great comment, but I just cannot, can’t remember. It’ll, it might come back to me.
Torre: Yeah. I’ll let you think about it.
A Realization Torre Had Throughout His CPA Study
Torre: And I’ll just say, um, like through the process, you’re, yeah, you’re just, it’s so overwhelming. Having to sit there and, and do this work every day. And you’re right. Like you get that sense of freedom after you’re done. But funny enough, it dawned on me because like afterward, I thought I would have all of this time. And you do have all this free time after you’re done studying, but you do realize like anything you want to do, if you just, you got, if you build it into your day, you’re gonna be able to accomplish it, which is cool.
It, it like this, this whole process did teach me if, if there’s like a big, scary goal you want to accomplish, like build your day to be able to get that goal accomplished. And you kind of fill your day with whatever you’ve decided ahead of time, you know, so, like when the exams, when you don’t have to study for the exams, you end up spending way more time on Instagram or doing random stuff, or just sitting there watching Netflix and it, it has dawned on me, um, anything I want to do, I, I could build it into maybe a morning routine.
You can accomplish a whole lot if, if you’re willing to carve it out. We fill our days with whatever we have. And so, yeah, I think one lesson I’m, I’m taking away is like being intentional about what you do with your, your time and your day, because you really can accomplish a lot when you, you know, commit to a certain process, um, and break down from like, okay, what’s the big goal?
How do I break that down into daily task? So, um, yeah, just an additional benefit there of realizing what you can do if, if you set your mind to it.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah, and a lot of people on these interviews, again, have expressed that same sentiment, just that this process has made me realize I can, I don’t know, get another certification or I’m gonna start a business on the side, you know? Like you said, just anything. And I think what I was gonna say earlier about that, yeah, a big goal. Um, there are not many things in life that are like this, where it honestly takes hours a day for months on end of like very intentional, like hard work. You know, people go to work every day for their whole life and you know, that’s, that’s that, but you just kind of have to do it. But something off that you, in your own time, you take away from things you’d rather be doing. Yeah, there’s not that many things like that, but it’s so rewarding once you finish it. Um, and yeah, and, you know, not, not many people set goals just completely on their own that would be something similar to this. And even my brother, my brother is a, uh, is a dentist and he’s in a specialty program now that he’s been a dentist for a few years. And some, somehow we were talking on the phone the other day and I was just telling him, I’m like, actually what I spend most of my time doing is, talking to people about study methods. That’s actually what I probably spend most of my time doing. He’s like really studying like, and he was just saying even all through all his dental school, he’s like, you know, it’s kind of like how I did it in high school. You could just, you know, I would study for a few hours before these exams or midterms and stuff, but you know, I could largely show up to class and kind of just pass.
Nate: And I was like, yeah, I know that’s how I was. I was like, yeah, you’re, these exams are not like that where you know, you’re smart in high school and college, and you could just show up to class and kind of get it.
It’s, these are not like that. And so people have a really hard time with these because it takes months of studying on your own time, so.
Torre: Yeah. Yeah. It is true. It’s, it is so hard to, um, I, I think like, without the, these methods and, and also the, what we talked about earlier, like developing your why and maybe having it written down.
Uh, without those things, man, I would, I think it would be such a challenge to do these tests, and I think that’s why, like you see on Reddit and other forums, you know, individuals who end up taking these exams like 30 times and you’re like, woah! You mean? You, you’ve spent like multiple years doing that and that’s amazing that they commit to it and are able to do it.
But I like my recommendation is like, look for the less painful way of doing it because this isn’t, this isn’t high school exams. This is something totally different.
Torre: And I think, I think the tests, um, they’re testing you on something different. You know, it’s not your intelligence. I think like you’ve talked about. It’s like, it’s almost like your fortitude, your ability to take in like a vast amount of material and then, you know, retains enough of it to, um, kind of know the lay of the land of, of CPA world. But yeah, it’s, I I think like we have to think differently about these tests. They’re just not traditional exams the way we were taught growing.
Nate: Yeah, it is. It’s, yeah, it’s just something different altogether and takes a different approach, for sure. Yeah. All right, Torre, well I appreciate you taking the time. Um, I loved hearing your story, meeting you in person. I don’t want to take up much more of your time, but, uh, yeah, I’m glad you found us or saw that ad or whatever.
I’m glad it worked for you and congrats on being done. That’s awesome.
Torre Recommended SFCPA to a Colleague
Torre: Thanks so much. Yeah, it’s, it’s been great. Um, huge fan. I’ve, I’ve recommended it to, um, one of my coworkers who’s going through the study process, Colby, so she’s, uh, she’s working on the exam. She bought, bought the program and yeah, hoping she gets it done.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Maybe she’ll be on here too. Then you’ll have two colleagues. That is funny.
Torre: Yeah. Yeah.
Nate: I was doing an interview recently, and, and that guy knew like two previous people who’d been on the um, podcast, but that’s only the second time I’ve heard that. That’s funny.
Torre: It was so funny when it it, when she said I was on the podcast. I was, I was just like, your Felicity, like, I, I know your story. That’s so weird.
Nate: That’s crazy. So, so you recognized her. So would you watch the interviews on YouTube? ?
Torre: No, I, I did, I watched some of them and I think I actually did watch Felicity’s on YouTube, I think.
Um, but either way, I had like watched them and then I listened to them too. So I had, I had probably listened to hers multiple times and it just didn’t even dawn on me that when I met Felicity that I had listened to her podcast before. Um, it was just, it was pretty, pretty funny.
Nate: That is, yeah. That is hilarious.
Torre: Um, and it was honestly great to be able to talk to somebody else who had, who had gone through the process, used the Superfast study method and had passed. Like just knowing like somebody, you know, in, in person that I met who had done it and used it and could actually like, relate to what I was going through.
It was, it was just cool to have her there to answer questions or, yeah, give recommendations.
Nate: Yeah, definitely. That is funny. Um, yeah. So sorry, I just have one kind of feedback question or just, uh, yeah.
Top Benefits Torre Got from SFCPA
Nate: Um, so what would you say were the top one or two, maybe three benefits? Just the biggest impact that SuperfastCPA had?
Torre: Yeah, I would say, um, yeah, I think without this m ethod, you’re, you’re on your own. It, it’s like you can use the what, whatever study course you buy, you can use their recommended pathway. But to be honest, I don’t think they’re thinking about it the right way. You know, using your method, the questions first approach is I think, pretty revolutionary.
And I actually think, like you probably have talked about this, but it’s the way our brains are wired to work in the first place. Like we don’t really attach to any information until there’s a problem or an obstacle placed in our way that requires us to come up with a solution, you know? So the, the fact that this is tapping into how we think in the first place and probably the way we should all be learning globally, I think is pretty cool.
Like this is probably the right way to be learning for everybody. Like we’re as humans, we’re like built to solve problems. That’s what like all of life is built on. Like any business has come up with a solution to somebody’s problem. Um, and I think we’re, you know, at SuperfastCPA you’re tapping into that deeply human way of thinking and, and we’re using it to, to get through this material quickly.
Um, and probably the most efficient and actually, right way for us to learn. So, yeah. Um, the questions first approach I think is pretty brilliant. Um, and then the, the other tools you give us, like the five question quiz, re the re-review, those things are so important cuz you’re locking in the concepts you’ve already come across.
You’re never gonna remember what you learned on day one unless you’re doing some kind of re-review. So I think those two are probably the most important. And then what I did with the study notes and the audio notes, I think that for me, right at the end gives you that, like I said, the 30,000 foot view, you’re seeing the whole test again.
You’re hearing it, you’re reading it. Um, You’re seeing kind of the, some of the equations in there that’s so helpful too. So maybe those three, the questions, first approach, the re-review, and then the audio and, and uh, study notes. Those were like my go-to’s for sure. Non-negotiables.
Nate: Awesome. All right. Yeah, thank you. I appreciate all that. And, uh, yeah, you’re, you’re quite the, you’re, you should be a philosopher. Aft, maybe as a hobby. You’ve said a few things where I’m like, I have never thought about it like that. That’s a really good way of putting it. That’s funny.
Torre: I feel like I’m a, I’m a words guy in a numbers profession. It’s probably, probably why.
Nate: Yeah. There was one time in my master’s degree where we were divided up in a group. And uh, we were talking about who was gonna do what and I was like, well these two should do like this cause they’re the numbers guys. And this girl in our group was like, aren’t we all numbers guys? Like we’re in accounting. Yeah. And I was like, yeah, good point. But they’re really good.
Torre: Yeah. Yeah. Right. I know I have a few coworkers like that where you’re like, wow, you are, you are definitely a different kind of numbers person. It’s awesome.
Torre: I’m always, I’m always impressed.
Nate: Right. That is funny. All right, Torre.
Nate: Okay. So that was the interview with Torre. I’m sure you found that very helpful and informative. And if you did, please take a second to share this episode or just the podcast in general, with somebody, you know, either a friend or a coworker, that’s also working on their CPA exams because these interviews are incredibly helpful as you’ve probably realized.
So thanks for watching or listening, and we will see you on the next episode.