Passing the CPA Exams Without a Background in Accounting

Passing the CPA Exams Without a Background in Accounting

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Everyone knows the CPA exams are extremely hard, but if you don’t have a background in accounting, then they’re even more difficult.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Christine made the switch to accounting after college, and how she is passing her CPA exams even without having prior knowledge of accounting.

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Watch the interview on Youtube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 00:00 Christine Interview
  • 03:08 Switching from Insurance & Finance to Accounting
  • 04:09 Why Christine Decided to Pursue the CPA
  • 05:59 The Difficulty of the CPA Exams with No Accounting Background
  • 06:43 How Christine Studied in the Beginning
  • 07:48 How Christine Passed Her First Two Exams the “Hard Way”
  • 08:25 Using the SuperfastCPA Audio Notes to Supplement Becker
  • 09:42 How Christine Used the SuperfastCPA Study Strategies
  • 11:27 Trying to Pass REG with No Tax Experience
  • 13:31 How Christine Used the SuperfastCPA Review Notes and Audios
  • 16:32 Using the Question-First Approach to Learn the Material
  • 18:14 How Christine Used Practice SIMs
  • 20:14 How Christine Did Her Final Review
  • 22:18 Which CPA Exam Was the Hardest for Christine
  • 23:37 How Christine Used Excel to Take Notes
  • 25:47 Missing Out on Things to Study
  • 28:00 How Christine Will Celebrate Being Done with Her CPA
  • 29:32 How Christine Passed REG After Failing It Twice
  • 30:38 Why Focusing on Multiple Choice Helps on Test Day
  • 32:39 Christine’s Top Tips for Current CPA Candidates
  • 35:40 When Christine Felt Like Giving Up
  • 40:12 The Most Helpful Part of SuperfastCPA for Christine

Interview Transcript

Christine: [00:00:00] After failing REG three times, I was waiting for the fourth retake cuz I was like okay, this SuperfastCPA gotta get me to pass because the first three I didn’t, wasn’t able to pass. I remember I was on my laptop and then in my room I was like, Okay, the score’s gonna come out. And then when the score finally came out and I passed REG, I was like, holy crap, like not only did I just pass, but I was like, it really worked.

And then I was running down the stairs because I was on the second floor, my husband was on the first floor, and I went downstairs and I was screaming, I passed.

And he’s like, You passed? And I was like, Yeah. Like I don’t know how, but it really worked, the method worked. And then I did it for FAR and it actually worked and I was like, this is no joke, like it really, really helped, like your method is by far the best, and I don’t think anyone

Nate: Welcome to [00:01:00] episode 98 of the CPA Exam Experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate, and in today’s interview you’re gonna hear me talk with Christine.

Christine has a familiar story where she got really sick of studying the normal way and how much time it took, and after putting in all that time to watch every lecture and read the chapter, it still felt like it wasn’t clicking.

So at some point, she found SuperfastCPA, adopted our strategies, and it just turned her study process around and made her sessions much more effective,

so in this interview with Christine, you’re gonna hear a really good explanation of all the different study strategies and how they specifically helped her compared to the previous time where she was studying the normal way.

So before we get into the interview, I just wanna mention two things. First, every time we send out one of these interviews, I get asked about 10 times: where should I start with SuperfastCPA? And the answer is our free study training webinar. So we have a [00:02:00] free training webinar that walks you through our study process from start to finish.

It’s the best place for you to start to both see if this stuff makes sense to you, which it will, and gives you a very good overview or an in depth overview of exactly how to turn your study process around. And make your review course much more efficient and much more effective.

Pretty much every person you hear on these podcasts started by watching one of those free trainings as well. So to sign up for one of those, the link will be down in the description of this YouTube video or the podcast episode itself. Or you can just go to our main homepage at superfastcpa.com and sign up there.

The second thing is our podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Power Beat Pro headphones to three randomly selected email addresses, people that enter the giveaway. You can do that at superfastcpa.com/enter or again, the link will be down in the description [00:03:00] of this video or the podcast episode.

So with that being said, let’s get into the interview with Christine. ​

Switching from Insurance & Finance to Accounting

Nate: So uh, how long have you been working on the exams? When did you start the study process?

Christine: Okay, so, um, to actually start at the very beginning, not taking it too seriously at the time, really was the beginning of January of last year. And everyone that I knew was actually, um, either a CPA or already in the process of taking the exam.

So at that point I was like really looking into it, wasn’t really fully committed to it because I was really, um, more committed to my job, but then as time went on, um, you know, I started looking into the CPA exam a little bit more, and then that’s when I started to study for them in April.

Nate: Okay.

Christine: And that’s where I am. Mm-hmm. .

Nate: Awesome. And what’s, uh, are you in public accounting or where do you, where, what’s your job currently? [00:04:00]

Christine: So I’m currently in the private industry, in the insurance area. So I’ve been in that field for about seven years now.

Nate: Okay.

Christine: Mm-hmm.

Why Christine Decided to Pursue the CPA

Nate: You’re in the accounting side though, or how, how did you, I mean, you mentioned you work with other CPAs. Uh, what made you want or think you need to get your CPA?

Christine: Well, it actually came down to two reasons. One of them was really just to understand the foundations of really learning about the debits credits, going to the general ledger. Um, because before I went into accounting, I was in insurance on the operational side, so I didn’t really fully was in accounting in per se.

But then I actually had switched over to the accounting role in the insurance area, and then I knew. Going into that role wasn’t really easy. It was a big learning curve for me. So, of course, being in the, um, world where you’re actually working, um, you really have to know the foundation, really knowing the [00:05:00] basics before you can even talk about, um, communicating about the financial statements on a quarterly basis, um, especially as well as in the year end.

So I figured that taking the CPA exam would actually, uh, be really, really helpful for me, um, to just show that dedication, that, hey, I’m learning, I’m also looking to, you know, move into the next role, um, as I look to progress in that area.

Nate: Yeah.

Christine: So that’s why.

Nate: Wow. Uh, that’s a, I mean, it’s a big certification. It’s not like, uh, you know, one of these things where, you get a certification from like a few weekend classes or like two day seminars or anything. So yeah, that’s, that’s a big, uh, certification to earn if you’re so, so do you directly work in accounting or you say you switched into accounting now because you’ve kind of gone down this path?

Christine: Yeah, so I had switched about a year ago, but then I’ve been the, um, accounting role, um, for some time now. Mm-hmm.

The Difficulty of the CPA Exams with No Accounting Background

Nate: [00:06:00] Okay. So did you not study accounting in college that wasn’t your, uh, undergrad?

Christine: Yeah. I was actually a finance major. Okay. Um, as well as applied math. So I was definitely had no accounting experience, didn’t really understand anything, but just, um, was a finance major at the time.

Nate: Okay. So when you started studying for the CPA exam, kind of even down to the basics of like debits and credits, that’s all kind of new to, or that all was kind of new to you?

Christine: Yeah, it was a, a foreign language to me. I didn’t really understand that. Um, supposedly if you’re looking at your uh, account, you would actually understand that.

But even to that point of point of view, I just didn’t really understand at all. Yeah. So it was really starting from scratch.

How Christine Studied in the Beginning

Nate: Yeah. So, Yeah, it definitely is. And so as you started the study process, um, you just would watch the video lecture, read the chapter, just do everything in your, uh, review course. Is that just how you started?[00:07:00]

Christine: Yes. I actually had Becker, I’ve been using Becker for, um, since the beginning that I started, and it was very tedious, very, very long. It took a lot more time than I anticipated, and I was spending months after months just studying for it. And it was really frustrating, um, because that’s what everybody was mentioning.

A friend of mine was like, Hey, you know, you should use Becker. Just follow the lectures, follow like the, um, multiple choice. Do the sims from every module, module, and then you’ll understand exactly the material. So I was like, okay, well let me try doing that. And it took a lot longer, you know, um, weekends I was like spending time on multiple choice.

I wasn’t finishing and then I was skipping out on the sims. So I waited till the very end to take the sims and it was just very, very scary. Like, I couldn’t get everything. Yeah.

How Christine Passed Her First Two Exams the “Hard Way”

Nate: Okay. Uh, so on your, uh, the little entry thing you filled out, you’re done with three exams, is that right?

Christine: Yes. I took BEC, [00:08:00] REG, and I just recently finished FAR.

Nate: Nice. So you’re done with FAR and AUD, or I mean FAR and REG those are, that’s the, those are the big ones. Um, so did you pass those first two? Just doing that though? Like what you just described, Just kind of doing every little thing in Becker?

Christine: Yes. Unfortunately. Mm-hmm.

Using the SuperfastCPA Audio Notes to Supplement Becker

Nate: And then what, what about the, you just said, you used our audio notes on the third one. Did you adopt some of our strategies from the free training, or did you pretty much just supplement with the audios and your study process is still kind of the same?

Christine: I actually had supplemented with the, um, the notes as well as the audio. Okay. Um, since the notes were much shorter than the big textbook and I pretty much did exactly how you had mentioned, um, in one of your videos that I looked at.

So it was pretty much really just, uh, I went through the notes first. I went through your notes. I just stopped [00:09:00] looking at the Becker book because it just wasn’t really helpful to me. So I went through the notes, just really getting an understanding of like the general ideas of the topics that I would be learning throughout the course, and then supplement it with the Becker course to do the questions.

So were very simple, easy to follow. Then I went ahead and do the, the multiple choice question. And I knew that if I didn’t under, if I get it wrong, then I would look at the answers to try to understand exactly why I get it wrong. And if I didn’t understand it a little bit further, then I went to the textbook, um, in the digital format.

Yeah, try to understanding of it, but I did not look at the book. It was just not worth my time. So for that, and I did the sims after that and it really helped.

How Christine Used the SuperfastCPA Study Strategies

Nate: Awesome. Okay, so you, uh, you kind of adopted our study approach as well, applying it to Becker, right?

Christine: Yes.

Nate: Okay. Okay. And, and so, I mean, you kind of just summarized this, but what was the main change?

You just kind of went straight into the [00:10:00] practice questions instead of starting by watching every video or what were, what were the main ways you changed your study process?

Christine: I actually, um, stopped watching the videos. Okay. Um, I felt that it just took up way too much time. I, I was like, hey you know, if I’m going to be reading the text for the answers to try to understand it, why am I gonna watch a video and then double the amount of time to watch a video and then look?

It just really was worth my time. And with Becker, the instructor just reads the textbooks. So I’m not a person to follow everything that they like, this is not gonna work for me. The videos are way too dry and boring.

Nate: Okay. So in the first two sections that you passed that way, um, how much time were you spending each day studying?

Christine: Oh, I will say that , I spent two hours in the morning. And then I would hopefully get maybe an [00:11:00] hour, um, during lunch break. Um, if I’m unlucky, then I actually have to put in an extra hour at night, because most of the times I try to spend like two hours in the morning, one hour during lunch, and then two hours at night.

But then if I don’t get an extra hour in during lunchtime, then I have to add in an extra hour at night, which really sucks.

Nate: So you would do two in the morning and sometimes three hours at night.

Christine: Mm-hmm.

Trying to Pass REG with No Tax Experience

Nate: Okay. And then, so for REG, were, were you spending that same amount of time or we just kind of doing the two hours in the morning, or how did, how did it work time-wise throughout the day after you switched to these strategies?

Christine: So for REG, I have to spend a little bit more time just because I didn’t have any tax background.

Nate: Mm-hmm.

Christine: So I spent the same thing was two hours in the morning and then, most of the times when I was take studying for REG, I didn’t really get a lot of time to study for lunchtime, um, because there was a lot more in [00:12:00] depth, um, information that I really didn’t understand.

So I need to focus a little bit more after work. And then I spent like at least maybe three to four hours, um, just try to do the questions and just go over the answers if I wasn’t sure, and then focus on a little bit on the sims for the answers. So I spend a little bit more time at the end of the day for that.

Nate: And so you were spending about the same amount of time, but was, was this, uh, was it just easier for you to understand going into the questions first, or you were just along the way where you just feeling like it was working better than when you were trying to watch every video and read the book and everything?

Christine: In the beginning I was actually spending a little bit more time, but then when I started changing the strategies on how I was actually supposed to focus a little bit more. It actually cut down my time a little bit more for an hour just because it really helped out. Um, but in the beginning it [00:13:00] was a little bit more difficult because I was like, hey, I really need to understand some material.

Um, I need to read into it a little bit more, um, doing the questions, but really understanding. What these, um, answers are supposed to mean, which one was wrong, which one was right. I actually have to focus a little bit more. But then towards the end, I actually spent a less amount of time just because I was just doing more questions after questions after questions, and then sims and then once, uh, pretty much finished the final review.

I knew, um, by that time I was pretty confident walking into taking the test.

How Christine Used the SuperfastCPA Review Notes and Audios

Nate: Okay. Yeah. And then, uh, so when you mention our notes and audios, you already mentioned that you would read our notes before, is that what you said? You read our notes before you would jump into like a new lesson in Becker just to get an overview?

Christine: Yeah. I wanted to at least reread the notes because they were very easy to understand and then follow with the audio.

Nate: Okay.

Christine: And then, um, went ahead and do the questions to say, hey, you know, maybe I’m able to attempt these questions to [00:14:00] see if I understand the first time. If I do, then I don’t need to spend time on the textbooks, but if I don’t understand it, then I’ll kind of read a little bit more into the text to get a little bit more detail.

But I always started with the notes first because that is where I would be more comfortable with, as opposed to reading a very, very long text. It just would’ve been a little bit more scarier.

Nate: And did you say you followed with the audios, meaning you would like read the, read the notes with the audios playing, You were doing both at the same time?

Christine: Yeah. So as you were going through the lectures, I was listening and then I was following through the text. So I’m learning both ways like that.

Nate: No. Yeah, a lot of people have been telling me that. Well, I think way back, one of the first interviews like mentioned that, and then I think a lot of people heard that or people figure that out on their own.

But, um, I, that’s just interesting to me. It makes sense, but that’s never from the beginning. That’s [00:15:00] not something I ever recommended. But a lot of people on these interviews tell me that, that, uh, they would, they would do that like at night, in bed or something, like as the last thing.

They would open the audios or, I mean, open the review notes and listen at the same. And it just kind of like locks in your brain, makes it easier to focus or you can listen to it as on two times speed if you’re seeing it and hearing it. So, anyways, would you do that as you were sitting there about to study in Becker?

Christine: Um, I actually was doing that and I left Becker at the very, pretty much, like I only use Becker if I need it, but if I, um, don’t need it, I just keep moving on with the notes. And the audio, I just felt like I’d rather spend more time on the audio and the notes just because it helps me to focus a lot more and I can retain more information that way than to try to use another source of the Becker book [00:16:00] and then get really confused because it’s just going to a lot more detail.

I was like, okay, do I really need to know this? Or maybe I can, um, you know, put down the side and then just focus on the audio notes, because that gave me more confidence to try to pass the exam. If I had used just the Becker book itself and then also use the audio notes, I felt like I would be a little bit more nervous and just be very sidetracked and just not focus.

Yeah. Cause the audio notes and um, just the notes yourself was more of the main importance for my studies.

Using the Question-First Approach to Learn the Material

Nate: Okay. Okay and, and then just in your own words, when you would go through, you know, when you were studying for REG and you were mostly using the practice questions and sims for a new lesson, what was your actual process?

Uh, you start going through the practice questions and would you click through ’em really quickly and just kind of get an idea of what things you kept seeing and then go through and try to work ’em, like actually [00:17:00] solve the problems? Or what was your actual process for a brand new lesson.

Christine: So I would pretty much just look at the answers first and then try to understand exactly what, um, was incorrect and what was correct.

And then from there I said, Okay, well, does this make any sense to me? Does, does the answer make sense? And if it doesn’t, Then I would say, Okay, let me just look at the audio notes to try to substitute if I understand exactly if it makes more sense this time. And if the answers does make sense, then I would say, okay, now let me try to do the questions again, but slowly, because I can’t really do the questions too fast.

And then try to make sure that, um, if I do the questions, will I get it right? And if I don’t get it right, then I say, okay, um, now the answer’s not really helping me, so I don’t really fully understand it. So if I use the audio notes to go back and supplement the, to try to understand a little bit better than maybe it would help and it actually does.

And then [00:18:00] when I go back to look at the answers again for the very last time, it makes more sense that way?

Nate: Yeah.

Christine: So I look at the answers first and then, um, try to do the questions. And if I get it wrong, then I look at the notes, then I understand it from the notes and then redo the questions and then it would make more sense.

How Christine Used Practice SIMs

Nate: Okay. And then kind of the same format for the practice sims. For each lesson, you would just kinda reverse engineer them, essentially, like kind of look at the solution and work backwards and see, okay, this is how this works. Was, would you do that the same way?

Christine: Yeah, for the sims, um, because the, the format of the sims were definitely a lot different than the multiple choices really, to conceptually understand, um, if you really know the materials. Um, so I actually had to just look all the answers on the sims, which is pretty tedious and scary, but I went through it. Um, one question at a time, one answer at a time to try to fully understand it. Um, if there was something that was a little bit [00:19:00] difficult and part of the sim, um, I would come back to it a little bit later, but try to get through the easier ones first, just because it saves a lot more time.

And I wouldn’t have to, um, go through the notes as much, but if it was like a much more tedious, um, parts of sim that really didn’t understand, then yes, I would go through the notes to look for the answers, which actually helped quite a lot. And then it makes more sense. And then redoing the whole sim, I pretty much would get them right.

Nate: Yeah. Okay. And was that on, uh, you would just do those along with every lesson as you went, or did you save the sims mostly for the weekend?

Christine: I actually had saved it on the weekend. Um, in the beginning. I tried doing the sims in, in, in the beginning with each module. It just didn’t really help. It just, I was a lot more time and then, um, it was just really frustrating for me to try to wake up a, an hour more, which I felt it was unnecessary.

So I figure I will leave the sims at the very end on the weekend and then, um, [00:20:00] try to do them again for the final review, just because I needed to at least make sure I understand it and not just, you know, thinking I know everything from the beginning of the studies and then all of a sudden I just forget it. So I also have to review it during the final review as well.

How Christine Did Her Final Review

Nate: Okay. And that’s my next question. How long did you save for a final review and what did you actually do for your final review?

Christine: Okay. So for the, uh, final review, I usually study for about two to three weeks, um, just because the final review is a lot shorter. So they, it just really, um, focusing on the major, uh, heavily, um, picked up topics in the exam.

As for REG, so the, the study process for the final review was definitely a lot shorter. and thinking that I would be very confident that I would take the, be able to pass exam. But of course I had a few retakes, so I spent a little bit more time thinking, okay, it’s [00:21:00] not really much, much about the multiple choice, but it was more the sim because they could just throw any type of sims at you.

Um, so I actually had to spend an additional, uh, week to study for that. So instead of like three weeks, I actually had to spend most of the study time in the final review for about almost a month, which unfortunately wasn’t really too happy about, but at least they gave me the confidence to help me pass the next time around. Yeah. So the final review, I had to spend a little bit more time for that. Mm-hmm. .

Nate: Okay. Um, and then so how’s your timeline working out for your fourth one? Are you getting close to the 18 months or you have plenty of time?

Christine: Um, I have about like five months or so to study, but right now, um, doing the same method as well, I’m pretty much finishing, um, the text and everything like that, uh, within three weeks.

But previously when I was doing REG and FAR, I was spending like three months, four months just going over the [00:22:00] material and then spending a lot more time trying to even just study, I mean, going through the questions and the sims just because there was just a lot. But this time around I’m actually, um, spending a least amount of time going through the material.

So I’m, I’m actually going through the study material in, in the beginning right now. Mm-hmm.

Which CPA Exam Was the Hardest for Christine

Nate: Okay. And, uh, I know you said this, but which, so you have what left? BEC or audit?

Christine: I have audit left.

Nate: Audit left.

Christine: Mm-hmm.

Nate: That’s, And how are, how’s the material so far? Cause like, that almost might be, to me, maybe seems like the hardest one if you.

Didn’t take any o um, accounting classes in college or anything, or how, how is it so far?

Christine: Well, I would say for our audit compared to FAR, I thought FAR was worse, but I feel like audit is just as worse just because , I have to think more about being an auditor and like really understanding like the engagements, the [00:23:00] audits, um, you know, I’m just finishing, going through like some of the, the bank reconciliation, inventory.

It was just very different.

Nate: Yeah.

Christine: And it’s very much more conceptual. So, yeah, still taking time right now.

Nate: Yeah. The hard thing for audit for me was just that so much of it sounds so similar, but there’s obviously very distinct differences. Kind of like talking about the, all the different types of reports, and then there’s like, this paragraph is after this paragraph and this paragraph has to have this sentence.

Just stuff like that made it confusing.

How Christine Used Excel to Take Notes

Nate: What about your process for taking notes or flashcards, just things that you struggle with. Do you have some form of kind of putting it in your own words?

Christine: So I have an Excel spreadsheet that, um, I pretty much started using with FAR, with REG I didn’t do that, which took me a lot more time [00:24:00] to try to pass exam.

Um, so having ex, uh, Excel spreadsheet really helped because, um, it just keeps everything very organized. Um, and what I did was for each chapter, I always had a tab and then I just, Pretty much took notes that I thought were very important. That just makes a lot of sense because a lot of times there’s just so much detail that it really isn’t necessary, especially for an exam that doesn’t cover everything.

Um, so I felt that, I just took down whatever notes was pretty much from the audio notes and then just say, okay, you know, once I take down the notes, I’m gonna review it again, um, and just make sure that I really honed in and making sure that I understand exactly what was on the material. So I usually have an Excel spreadsheet, um, to really just keep track of all the notes that I’ve had.

But, um, I haven’t used the flashcards. I’m actually going to at some point, um, just because the audit, audit material’s a little bit more different. So I feel like I’m gonna need a little bit more of like [00:25:00] physical materials to just try to understand, um, the materials a lot better.

But yeah, the flashcard will be something I will be using, but the Excel especially is what I’m currently using to just take notes for the meantime in the beginning of the process.

Nate: Yeah, Yeah. I mean, a lot of people have, uh, said that through the course of these interviews that mentioned Excel is where they would take notes.

So it, I mean, that does make it easy how it has all the little tabs and it’s just one spreadsheet instead of, I don’t know. The notes thing is, it doesn’t really matter the format of how you do it, it’s just that you have some way of keeping track of topics that you personally struggle with and kind of writing ’em down or explaining it back to yourself. Um, oh, I just had a good question.

Missing Out on Things to Study

Nate: What’s, so day to day? It sounds like you study a lot and work a lot. What kinds of things have you had to kind of put put off while you’re doing this process? Just stuff with friends [00:26:00] or how do you, I mean, in the evenings it sounds like you just come home and study.

Is that pretty much all you do?

Christine: Yeah, I’m pretty much like a zombie at work. I actually have to study and it was like, really, really hard. It’s definitely not like college where you’re just gonna take an exam to say, okay, you know, I could take a break here and just go hang out with my friends, but it’s really, really bad.

Um, because you really need to focus, you really need to dedicate the time, and it meant really missing out on, um, meeting up with my friends or if I had like a family gathering about a couple weeks ago. I had to miss that. It was really, really, really hard. . I think that my family understood what I was going through and it was a very tough time.

Like there were times when I really wasn’t talking to my friends at all and the, the worst thing that could really happen is really losing touch with your close friends, because if they really don’t understand what you’re going through, then it just becomes a point where there’s a lot of, um, distance [00:27:00] between the friendship and you can tend to lose a lot of friends over time through the study process.

So you really have to, um, understand why you’re doing this and, you know, um, at the very end I feel like it is a really big reward and it’s very exciting.

Nate: Yeah. Well, and I mean you’re, you’re three out of four, so you’re getting very close and you know, I’ve like, it’s great that it’s working, you know, at least like you’re putting in all this time and effort, but it is paying off, you know, you’ve passed three of four, whereas, you know, I’ve talked to a lot of people that went through a multi-year period where they were studying after work.

Like that was their whole life work study and just missing a few things in the study process, and it wasn’t translating into passing scores, and so that’s when it would be really, really hard is putting in that kind of time and then it’s not paying off, you know, At least in your case, you’re almost done so.[00:28:00]

How Christine Will Celebrate Being Done with Her CPA

Nate: Along with that, I mean, do you have any big plans for when you are done, when you get your fourth passing score? ?

Christine: I definitely would like to go on a trip. Um, I already have something set up for November, um, to go on a cruise, so before I can book it, I need to finish this last exam before I do that.

Otherwise, I’m gonna have to spend more time studying.

Nate: Yeah.

Christine: Well definitely taking some time off because I really do need it. Probably my, uh, boss will understand that for sure. But yeah, a big trip is what I need.

Nate: Awesome. And what, so that’s in November, what month? Ugh, it’s crazy. This year’s like half over.

July, August, September. What month are you, uh, taking the, uh, audit? What, do you know yet?

Christine: Um, I actually had set up to take the exam, um, at the end of July.

Nate: Okay.

Christine: So my study, um, schedule is to really just [00:29:00] get through the materials in three weeks and just spend most of the time reviewing and, um, in hopes that I will pass in July and pretty much be done with this, uh, journey.

Nate: Nice. Uh, one other question is, so your first two exams, you know, you, like you said, just kind of studied using everything in Becker, and then on REG you did more of kind of our approach where you focus more time on the questions and not watching every single video and reading all the chapters on test day.

How Christine Passed REG After Failing It Twice

Nate: Did it feel like it made a difference? Like were you faster on the multiple choice, or what was your test day experience with REG versus the previous two?

Christine: So with REG, actually when I got the, I mean the first few retakes, I actually went to see what my progress was. And I think using the um, method over time, it actually really helped me to score strong in multiple choice, because I just spent most of my [00:30:00] time doing multiple choice and I say, hey, you know what, if I understand the materials very quickly, In like less than two minutes to do the questions, then that means to pretty much know, um, that area in, in the multiple choice. And then, um, in hopes that, uh, for in the Sims, if I get lucky with the similar type of questions, um, for that material, then yes, then I would understand it a lot more quickly and then do better in the sims. Um, so I would say that the method has helped me to do a lot better in the multiple choice and it translate to also giving me the confidence to do really well in the sim for that.

Why Focusing on Multiple Choice Helps on Test Day

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. I, I just think, uh, I, I end up saying this on every interview, I think, but doing so many multiple choice throughout the study process just solves a lot of problems on test day because you’re just very, very comfortable with half of the exam and it helps you get them done faster. Whereas the [00:31:00] biggest like strategic thing you can do really on exam day for the Sims is to be done with the multiple choices fast as possible so that you have time to look through all the documents or the exhibits and the sims and just, you just have time to figure it out and you’re, you’re not feeling rushed the whole time.

Christine: Mm-hmm.

Nate: Um, and maybe, maybe you just said this, did, so did you, did you feel like you had more time, you just felt more comfortable with the sims on, on REG? Is that what you were saying?

Christine: Yeah, so pretty much I, I finished the multiple choice for each section at the time.

I finished it within 45 minutes each. Oh, wow. Yeah, so I knew that within the one hour and 30 minute clock, like I knew that, okay, I know confidently that I did really well in the multiple choice. So moving into the Sims, I had a lot more time to really go over the documents just because there was quite a few documents to get through.

So I pretty much picked out the ones that were important to answer the [00:32:00] questions as opposed to opening everything and then just get really lost the documents. So I just really, um, pretty much opened up the ones that I needed and then, uh, get the answers that I really need and then just fill out whatever the, uh, prompts were really asking me to fill out.

And then moving on to the other rest of the sims. And then pretty much finishing on time. I won’t say early, but definitely on time and then, um, I knew that by the time I finished that last, uh, for that REG exam, that I knew that okay, I know for sure that I passed because I know I went through all these sims and I know that I got most of it right, but not all of it right.

So I knew for sure that I, at least I did a lot better than I did in the beginning.

Christine’s Top Tips for Current CPA Candidates

Nate: Yeah. Awesome. Okay. Well, I, yeah, we’ve, we’ve kind of gone through everything. Uh, the last question I always ask is, I guess maybe kind of two questions. Is there anything, any big tip you have for other people trying to figure out their own study process that maybe we didn’t even talk about?

And then even if we did talk [00:33:00] about it, to sum things up, what would be your top two or three tips to people still trying to figure out their study process?

Christine: Um, I can definitely talk a little bit more about, I can talk a little bit about FAR just because I have recently taken that. And I feel like a lot of people really are trying to figure out how to pass that exam.

But I would say with FAR to really just not fully, um, focus on the textbooks, um, because it seems that a lot of people are going through the Becker textbooks and it just really, it didn’t help me, um, and I had to take that exam at least like twice. So I knew for a fact that the book is definitely not helpful at all, and I would say that at least go through the audio notes if they are using the SuperfastCPA, which I used.

That was really, really a tremendous help. Um, to just really go through the notes, take notes first. Um, and then once you’re done with taking the those, really try to understand it takes some time to fully [00:34:00] understand the material. Try not to rush through it. Um, it seems like people that rush through the material, they think they know it.

They always say, Hey, you know, I really under, I really understood this, but then when I walk out the exam, I had no idea what they were asking. And then they don’t do well and don’t understand why. So I would say take notes, try to understand the materials, then do the multiple choice questions because they can ask about anything on the multiple choice question.

Um, and then keep working at until you get comfortable, um, where you’re at, and then focus on the sims at the very end because that will be very important, um, in making sure that you pass the exam, especially for FAR.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. And that is a, uh, I keep pairing that as well. Like a lot of people, they spend a lot more time on the practice sims during their final review, which I guess.

I, I mean, makes sense. And then some people say they completely skip the [00:35:00] sims until their final review. And so I guess it’s just one of those things that has to be whatever your personal preference is. Um, and I guess the big thing is if you’re passing sections, then whatever you’re doing is working. You know?

Whereas if you’re trying all these different things and you’re not passing sections, then it’s, you probably want to follow some more structured way of doing it. So I think I, I just realized I keep asking you about REG, but what, which section was it where you used our notes and audios? Was it REG or FAR?

Christine: I used it for both REG and FAR. For BEC, I just used the, the Becker textbook.

Nate: Gotcha.

When Christine Felt Like Giving Up

Christine: Um, because this, it was just a little bit like I understood the materials. I didn’t, um, I just focused on the Becker, uh, textbook for that. But REG and FAR was the one that I had to solely rely on just because by the time I took REG, like two times or so, I was losing a lot of confidence. I felt like I just didn’t [00:36:00] wanna take the exam anymore.

I just wanted to give up. I cried a couple times and it was really tough. It just really was emotional drain. I, I almost gave up. I didn’t even wanted to take the exam. I just felt like, hey, you know, I’m just gonna just let these expire and just, just work and yeah, be done with it. But with, with your video and, um, you know, and going through the notes.

I had built the confidence to actually kept trying my best and then making sure that I pass. And I’m very, very happy to know that these, um, notes, audio notes, really brought me the confidence to really get to the, even the last exam. So I’m very, very appreciative having your notes, like really it, I, I, I appreciate I tell my friends about it if they ever take the exams to really use SuperfastCPA because it really, really helped me to build a confidence to pass these exams, especially these exams are really hard to pass. So.

Nate: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s great to hear. So I’m glad it could help. Uh, and so, [00:37:00] yeah, I just keep thinking about how, you said you, you were just kind of jumping into the CPA exams, whereas you didn’t kind, you didn’t really go through the normal, uh, you know, accounting undergrad, master’s in accounting.

Like, I just keep thinking about how hard that would be. And so yeah, that’s, so, so basically what was happening was you were just assuming that everything Becker was putting in front of you. You had to really learn it, watch every video, read all the chapters, and it’s just so much material. Was that kind of what was leading to failing the exam and was it in that, was it during that part or after you’d failed there a few times where you found SuperfastCPA or where in there did you come across us?

Christine: So when I was, I went through the Becker book. I went through all the materials, and then the first three, uh, actually the three times that I, I [00:38:00] took it, I was like, All right, let me try to get through the Becker materials again. Maybe there’s something I’m missing or I’m not understanding.

But I knew that by the time I took the third exam, I was getting very similar scores. I was getting, like around the sixties, I wasn’t even close to a 70. So I said, okay, I don’t know what to do. Um, there’s other, you know, review course that helps and I was just really lost. And then one day, you know, I came upon your video that came up and then it was, you were just going, you were just explaining, um, what are some of the steps in trying to get the CPA exam to actually finish?

Within the reasonable timeframe, or if you’re not having enough time to study, these are the ways that you can actually go about the study more effectively. And then with less time. So I said, Okay, let me look into this a little bit more. And as I was going through your website, looking at all the testimonies that the, um, all the students were pretty much mentioning about the product, that’s when I took a chance to say, hey, why not? I mean, I’ve already failed three times. Like I don’t know if, if [00:39:00] I’ll be able to pass the next time around, but I’m hoping that the, uh, SuperfastCPA will help me. And then it really did. And then, um, I just remember that the last note on, um, your note, uh, last page on the note is when I went through pretty much everything and then took the exam the next day.

I took the exam the next day because already went through your notes again. Um, confidently I knew that I passed, so.

Nate: Oh, nice.

Christine: Yeah.

Nate: That’s awesome.

Christine: Mm-hmm.

Nate: Did you ever, did you see our video on specifically on how to study for a retake? Like the three steps?

Christine: Um, the three steps? I know I did. I I saw the video was as a normal way to study versus the SuperfastCPA way to study.

Nate: Yeah.

Christine: I went through that.

Nate: That’s probably like the free one hour training webinar. Is that what you’re talking about?

Christine: Mm-hmm.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Um, well, either way I guess it, I guess it worked, but we, we have a, I do have a video that’s [00:40:00] just for a re-study. Like if you’ve been, if you’ve been through all the material and you scored like a 65 or better, but you still fail, Just do these three steps.

Anyways, I thought maybe that’s what you were referring to.

The Most Helpful Part of SuperfastCPA for Christine

Nate: Um, in your, in your own words, and I know you already described this essentially, but what was the most helpful thing about SuperfastCPA to your study process?

Christine: I would say that in the notes itself, they, it’s, the pretty much like depending on what I study, um, especially for like REG especially, I remember I had to study for the as corporation understanding partnerships, understanding like individual, like taxable income. That was a little bit tricky for me because I didn’t really have the knowledge or the background to really understand the material.

So it was just really foreign language. So when I went through the notes and just understand like there were like a few bullet points that really just, go into just understanding [00:41:00] what these corporations mean and how they, uh, translate to, like the income taxes or the difference between like corporations, a partnership.

Um, it really, it just really helps solidify my understanding and know the difference between those type of organization. Um, so I feel like the, those are very organized in a sense and very easy to follow that you’ll get the idea where you understand the topics a lot quickly then to just read on the Becker textbook.

That would be like couples, uh, like covers like, maybe like 10 pages.

Nate: Right.

Christine: I was going into detail that I was like, okay, I really don’t really need to know all that much. But I feel like the SuperfastCPA really gets to the point where, okay, you just really need to know this and that it will pretty much help, um, with the questions that do come up on the multiple choice.

And the funny thing is like with the multiple choice that comes up on the REG exam, they really are just very straightforward questions. Um, but sometimes I feel like candidates get [00:42:00] really, um, nervous or they just forget about something because they think that there, everything needs to be on the test from like the Becker book when it’s like, hey, you know, this is a very simple question.

It just either you know it or you don’t know it. So I feel like the SuperfastCPA knows really do help pinpoint exactly what you need to know on the multiple choice, multiple choice questions and feel confident to get it right.

Nate: Okay. Awesome. Thank you. And then, uh, it’s almost the same question. What specific parts of the study process did using our study tools make easier for you?

Christine: Um, I would say that during, I think during the process of like, just going, well from the beginning, I knew that I needed the notes, um, to just really help me study, uh, just because if I try to use it, um, during different times of the study process, I felt like I would really get lost just [00:43:00] because I’m the type of person where I, if I’m using that one source of study material from beginning, I would use it from beginning to the very end and then if, um, as a Becker textbook will be my secondary, um, study material.

Um, so that’s kind of how, um, I went through the study process. So to just really use it from the beginning and then, um, till the very end. And if I need something then I will go through it.

Nate: Yeah. And so I guess the fact that it is so much shorter just makes it just easier to be your primary thing. It’s like you got familiar with the notes where things were and you could read through ’em all in a couple hours.

I guess basically what you said before, they’re just a lot more summarized so it’s not as intimidating. Um, cuz you don’t have 20 pages of information on S-Corps, it’s really just summarized to like a few bullet points.

Christine: Exactly. And then having the multiple choice to [00:44:00] also help me with my, um, study review as well.

Nate: Yeah. Did you use, so did you use the app throughout the day? Use the little quizzes on the app and everything?

Christine: I actually did. Um, I used it in the morning. Um, I, there was like a five question, like five questions. You answer the multiple choice and then when you’re done, you can work. Um, five multiple choice questions.

I felt like it was really easy, um, and that it didn’t take up that much time. Um, I know that when I used the multiple choice questions for Becker, I had like a set of like maybe 30 questions, but they took a really long time to get through. So I said, Okay, you know, let me, let me just use the app and actually still have the app on my phone.

So yeah, I still have the app on my phone. So I would do it at night before I go to bed. Okay. I did a set of five and then I did a few more, and then, and the good thing was that I actually got through a lot more questions done in an hour than I did with Becker.

Nate: Yeah.

Christine: So it really helped.

Nate: Okay. [00:45:00] Yeah. We try to make ’em simple for that reason. Like if you’re using your phone, you don’t want like an entire income statement that you have to try to deal with you. And then like the app apps that come with review courses are like that. They have full strength questions and it’s just not possible to like answer it from your phone. You’d have to pull out scratch paper and you might as well be doing like a full study session at that point.

So, So yeah, we try to keep ’em simple for that reason. All right, Christine, well again, I appreciate you doing the call. Like people find these really valuable, I think probably like you did if you’ve listened to a few. And uh, congrats on being done with three out of four. But yeah, really let me know when you’re done with your fourth one.

Christine: Yes, I definitely will, but I will definitely have to say like, you are amazing. Like if there’s any course, I seriously recommend yours the best because you really help, you help other students and need to build confidence to pass. Otherwise everybody would be lost and it just wouldn’t help. I’m very, very [00:46:00] truly, very, very grateful having this course and, you know, having you to be like the motivational speaker for anyone that needs to pass, I’m serious. Like you got, you are the best.

Nate: That’s great. That’s good to hear. So I appreciate that. Thank you.

Christine: Can I tell you one more thing, Nate? Yeah. Okay. So I remember. That after failing REG three times, I was waiting for the fourth exam, the fourth retake cuz I was like okay, this SuperfastCPA gotta get me to pass because the first three I didn’t, wasn’t able to pass. I was like, this stupid Becker book is not gonna work. I’m not gonna . So I remember upstair the score release cuz I’m from New Jersey, so the score release came out at, I think it was like eight o’clock Eastern time.

So it came out the day of that I was waiting for the score. I remember I was on my laptop and then in my room I was like, Okay, the score’s gonna come out. I’m, I’m hoping this will pass. And then when the score finally came out and I passed [00:47:00] REG, I was like, holy crap, like not only did I just pass, but I was like, it really worked.

Like Nate’s method really worked, and I’m not even kidding. Like I told my husband about this. He didn’t believe me. And I was like, No, I’m serious. Like this guy is like God. Like he really made sense for me to pass. And then I was running down the stairs because I was on the second floor. My husband was on the first floor and I went downstairs and I was screaming, I passed.

And he’s like, You passed? And I was like, Yeah. Like I don’t know how, but it really worked. The method, worked. And then I did it for FAR and it actually worked and I was like, this is no joke. Like it really, really helped, like your method is by far the best, and I don’t think anyone else has even even talked about this method, so it really will help.

Nate: Mm-hmm. , uh, that’s, that’s a good story, so yeah. I appreciate you telling me that. That is funny. Yeah. Uh, I, I mean, and that’s the thing. It, it really just comes down to, it’s this thing I [00:48:00] always say, you know, like we’ve, we’ve helped people that, uh, studied for 10 years and couldn’t pass. And then they just watch our pro course or the free training or whatever, and they could just get a few of the ideas like, okay, that’s what I gotta do different.

And then they’ll pass, you know, the next four within a few months. So it really just comes down to your, it’s all about the strategy. So, yeah.

Christine: I definitely agree it’s, it’s hard for a human to just switch over to a different type of strategy just because everybody goes through the process of, um, going through the textbook under, going through the multiple choice, doing the sims.

That’s what everyone else would do, but it really isn’t effective and it just takes way too long to just get the material and then if you don’t understand, you have to go through it again and it’s just not helpful at all.

Nate: Yeah. Uh, I definitely agree. That’s how I did it the first time and I failed FAR once and then I thought.

I dunno. It was really when I saw the exam in person, I just kind of had the three [00:49:00] key ideas, like I’m gonna go straight to the practice questions. I’m going to essentially re-review all the time, not just one final review. And then studying from my phone. Just kind of like the main, main ideas of SuperfastCPA.

And so I changed that and passed all four. So yeah, that’s pretty much it. So I’m glad it helped you.

Christine: Yes, it did.

Nate: All right. All right, Christine,

​okay, so that was the interview with Christine. I’m sure you found that very helpful and informative. And if you did, please take a second to share this interview or the podcast in general with someone you know who’s also working on their CPA exams, because these interviews are the most helpful, free resource available anywhere for people trying to figure out their own study process because your success on the CPA exams comes down to your daily process.

It’s not even necessarily about how hard you [00:50:00] work, how much time you put in, it’s more about is your process effective? And these interviews are story after story of how someone was studying in the beginning and in general, it wasn’t working.

You know, we’ve had a few people that started with us from this from the beginning, so they just passed really quickly, and the study process was no big deal but in general, you know, you have someone struggling, you hear exactly what they were doing that wasn’t working, the specific things they changed, and how that enabled them to study faster, more efficiently, more effectively.

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

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