In this SuperfastCPA Podcast Interview, you’ll hear Patrick’s CPA journey and how when he started studying, his entire life was work and then study, which didn’t leave any time to spend with his family.
After switching to the SuperfastCPA study format, he started passing his exams AND had his evenings free to spend time with his family.
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 Patrick Tai Interview Video
- 00:49 Intro
- 04:00 Patrick Talks About His Background and How He got To Accounting
- 06:06 How Patrick Started Studying For the CPA Exams
- 07:45 Failing the Exams and Feeling Guilty Not Spending Time With Family
- 09:01 Keep Failing the Exams and Finding SuperfastCPA
- 09:56 The Reason Why Patrick Became Interested In SuperfastCPA
- 10:58 Making the Switch to Wiley and Things Started to Click
- 13:02 How Patrick Got His First Passing Score
- 15:15 The Change Patrick Did Once He Realized It’s Working
- 20:12 Patrick’s Thoughts on Studying for the CPA Exams
- 21:50 How It Was Switching Study Routine in the Mornings
- 23:01 Being Less Stressed After Studying in the Mornings
- 24:41 Gaining Confidence After Passing His First Exam
- 27:51 The Change in Strategy and Studying Throughout the Day
- 30:41 Managed to Find A Hobby While Studying for the CPA Exams
- 31:57 The Relief of Finally Passing the CPA Exams
- 33:36 How Patrick Had More Time with Family While Studying on Weekends
- 36:17 Figure Out Your Why and Write Down Your Goals
- 40:35 Patrick’s Top Tips For People Still Studying for the CPA Exams
- 42:30 Patrick’s Final Review Process Before the Exams
- 45:40 How Patrick Utilized the SuperfastCPA Notes
- 48:08 Patrick Spreading the Word How SuperfastCPA Helped Him
- 48:43 Outro
Patrick: It was much easier just to continue with the, with the CPA journey. Um, and, and you know, even, even my family, they, they were like, it’s, it’s remarkable. Like they, they don’t see me studying that much because, you know, I’m, I’m up before they’re up and I’m, I’m, I get to spend time with them.
Um, and they’re like, but you, but you passed. And then I tell her about Superfast, and she’s like, yep, um, that’s the, you know, that that’s the way to learn. And like, she, she sees me like getting up super early and then, you know, she, she, she saw the change and so she was really happy that I, I made this change and then I started passing.
Nate: Welcome to episode 112 of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA, I’m Nate. And in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Patrick.
So with Patrick story, when he started the CPA study process, he did what pretty much all CPA candidates do. They just start with lesson one in their review course, try to mark off everything. Turn the dashboard green. Watch the video. Read the chapter. Go through the questions. And just went lesson by lesson. He was putting in a bunch of time, you know, working full time, then he would study four to five hours in the evenings. Go to bed around midnight or 1:00 AM. Was missing the evenings, missing family time so we felt guilty about that. And even after all of that, it still just wasn’t working. He was missing the passing scores by a few points.
So at some point he saw one of our ads watched our free training and really the idea of re-review made a lot of sense to him. So instead of going through each lesson one by one, not looking back at anything until your final review. Of course, you know, one of our main strategies is to dedicate a portion of your study time each day, to constantly re-hitting all the topics you’ve been through so that your retention and understanding constantly increases instead of slowly forgetting all the things you’ve previously studied.
So Patrick started doing that mostly by using our review notes and audio notes. He used those really heavily in his study process. And as you’ll hear, he feels like that made all the difference. So before we get into the interview with Patrick, I want to mention two things. First are free study training webinars.
So, if you haven’t yet, that is the best one hour you can possibly spend towards making your study process more effective and more efficient. In one hour, we will cover our core study strategies, why they’re so different and much more effective than the traditional study approach for the CPA exams. And I think you’ll agree once you watch the training. You will have several “Aha moments” as we go through the different strategies and why they work so much better.
So to sign up for one of those trainings, you can 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. The idea being, and Patrick’s episode is a good example. You can listen to our audio notes while you’re doing a lot of your normal day-to-day routine type things, like making meals, cleaning up the kitchen, being around the house. Doing whatever you’re doing, walking the dog, things like that. It’s very easy to add in another one or two, even three hours a day of exposure to the material by just constantly listening to the audio notes from start to finish as the weeks go by.
So again, with that giveaway, the link will also be down in the description of this video or in the podcast description. So with that out of the way, let’s get into the interview with Patrick.
Patrick Talks About His Background and How He got To Accounting
Nate: Just from the beginning, um, when did you, when did you start studying for the CPA? Or I guess one step before that? What got you into accounting? Let’s start with that.
Patrick: Okay. Yeah, so I had, I got a degree, my bachelor’s degree in, uh, management science concentration in supply chain. Um, but I had a difficult time trying to get a job. Um, and a lot of it was just not so easy, not being, you know, I’m not a citizen and all that. So I wanted to stay in the US, um, get my master’s degree and find a career that’s, you know, with good job opportunities.
So accounting was one of the ones that came up. Um, so funny enough, when I was younger, I, I told myself, I’ve never become an accountant, but here I am, so
Nate: That’s funny.
Patrick: Yeah. Uh, so I did two years at the University of South Carolina, um, of just like first year, uh, catching up on my undergrad accounting and then second year doing the grad program.
Nate: Yep. Okay. And so how many years ago was that at this point?
Patrick: Uh, so I graduated in 2019 actually. Graduated bachelor’s in 2016 and I did six months, kind of, uh, took gap and then took the two years. So how about five? Hold on. No, no, no. Yeah, four. I can’t do math. Four years. Yeah. Yeah.
Nate: So, um, so your original bachelor’s.
kind of, you could use that, right? You just had to get the specific accounting requirements on top of that to take the CPA exams?
Patrick: Yes, correct. Yeah. The general core business classes transferred over to my grad class. Uh, it was just like the accounting, um, you know, your intermediates and your advanced accounting courses that I had to take. Yeah.
Nate: Gotcha. Okay. All right.
How Patrick Started Studying For the CPA Exams
Nate: So, once you decided you were gonna take the CPA exams, um, how did that whole process go? Did you just get a review course and start studying? What was the beginning like?
Patrick: Yeah, so in the beginning, after I graduated, you know, everybody in the grad program were taking class and then studying for their CPA exams.
Um, I wasn’t very, you know, I wasn’t, some, during the grad, my grad program, I was focused on trying to get a job. And then after I landed one of the accounting firms, uh, they offered Becker. So that’s the one that I started out with. Um, I didn’t even look at the other courses. I didn’t do their free trials thinking that, you know, Becker’s their standards so I went with it.
So the, the process for me, I, I very typical. I watched the lectures. I read the books, uh, I did the underlining. Um, and then afterwards I would do the multiple choice and then I’ll make sure that I get everything, you know, the check marks ticked, uh, make it green on the vector.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah.
Patrick: Dashboard. Um, do all the MCQs and then try and get a hundreds on those. Um, and just move on. And then after I finish each, say like, uh, it’s like FAR one, FAR two, I started out with FAR. I would do simulations and I’ll keep moving on. Um, I never actually came back and did the reviews. I, I only did my review after I complete the entire course.
Failing the Exams and Feeling Guilty Not Spending Time With Family
Patrick: So I bought a, uh, final review from Becker. Um, I did that. I went through the whole book and then I went to take the exam and then I would get a 68 and I’m like, okay, I’m still close. So. I would do the re uh, I would take like four weeks to re-review, and again, I would just kind of focus on my weak spots.
Um, and I, I never actually went back and go through the whole course. Um, and then again, second time, 69, slightly better.
Patrick: But still, so I just didn’t know what was going on and you know, I was always studying after work. So, you know, get off work, study like two, three hours and I would be so tired.
Patrick: I just, the grind it, it was just miserable and having a family, um, I had, you know, they, they, I feel very guilty not spending time with men that, but, so, yeah.
Nate: Yeah. So, uh, how, so, how long did that kind of process go on where you would, you know, you were just trying to mark everything off in Becker, take the exam.
Keep Failing the Exams and Finding SuperfastCPA
Nate: Like how, how long did you go doing that?
Patrick: Uh, so I did that, I took FAR at least two times, three times. So like that whole process, I did it for about a year or two actually.
Patrick: Um, it really just struggled so hard like, um, I, I did, I took FAR fail it twice, and then I actually made a mistake. I switched over to Audit and then I, I did the same process again, um, and came out with sixties, high sixties.
But I was like, what is going on? And, and, and I guess that’s when I saw your, uh, commercial on YouTube. Started to pop up.
Patrick: I know, uh, a lot of people mentioned that but, you know, that’s definitely what helped me.
The Reason Why Patrick Became Interested In SuperfastCPA
Nate: So what, if you remember, um, you know, based on the struggles you were having and everything, do you remember what it was from that ad that like, kind of got you interested or?
Patrick: Right. So, so with my, uh, original process, I, I couldn’t retain anything, you know, I was like, how, how is it possible? The books were so thick and you get covered on so many little tiny details. And whenever I go sit in the exams, I’m like, this is so different from what I studied. Um, but when I saw your ad, what really caught me was the, uh, re-review, planting your seeds and then watering it, and then doing that over and over.
I’m like, this is interesting and.
Patrick: Also you mentioned to start with the MCQs, so I’m like, this is, I’ve never heard that, but I kind of took a leap of faith and I’m like, no, let me try this cause you know, what am I gonna lose?
Nate: Yeah. Okay.
Making the Switch to Wiley and Things Started to Click
Nate: So from the ad, I’m assuming you watched the free one hour training webinar, right?
Patrick: I did. I did. and I’ve, I felt like a light, light bulb just went off. I’m like, wow. And I’m like, maybe I should just, uh, after watching the ad, I, I just purchased your products and, and I actually tried it out. And that was also when I switched over to Wiley.
Um, so I switched over to a different study course because I, I have friends that used it and they really recommended it. Um.
Patrick: So I paid that out of pocket. Uh, but with Wiley, you know, having a pretty big test bank, I tried your method out on Wiley and it was just starting to click. Um, yeah.
Nate: Awesome. So, uh, so what happened after that?
So actually, did you, did you go in and watch our PRO course videos? That goes like deeper into the strategies?
Patrick: Um, I didn’t really do that until, so, so the story goes, um, so I used your, like your one hour seminar method on, and then I pushed your products, but I didn’t really follow everything by the book.
Uh, when I took audit the first time using Wiley and I got so close to 70, and that’s when I realized that your methods definitely work. And that’s when I started to download the app of the SuperfastCPA. And then that’s when I actually, um, looked at your PRO course of material and I’m like, okay, this, this, I sh, I sh, this is what I needed to do in order to get that 75, that passing score.
And, and that’s when I incorporated Superfast, the method, and along with Wiley, um, my studying materials. Yeah.
How Patrick Got His First Passing Score
Nate: And, and then what happened from there? You just kind of start following the strategies, applying it to Wiley, and then did you start passing sections?
Patrick: Right. Um, so, so funny enough, the third time when I took audit, um, I used Superfast and I used my studying material.
Um, I would, you know, uh, do the questions before the, the lecture, um, kind of watched the videos on 1.5 speed and then, uh, figure out which, what are the main points and then, and then actually read it on the Superfast notes. And then highlight those and make my own notes. And then I also follow your method of, um, what is it? Oh, making your own flashcards. Yeah.
Patrick: Waking up in the morning, do the multiple choice, watch quick video, and then make flashcards and just move on. And then during the day, uh, when I had time, I would do the mini quizzes. Um, when I’m, you know, had some free time, I’m standing in line or just waiting on something, I would just do it. Uh, come home and then before I go to bed, I would do the, um, the 30 questions, daily set of 30 questions and then make my, uh, flashcards that way. So the next day I would do the mini quizzes, but sometimes I would just look at my flashcards.
Patrick: To, to refresh some of the, um, some of the concepts. Um, so I didn’t pass it the next time. That I didn’t pass audit the next time because of I was in a rush.
I, I didn’t, you know, my time management, I didn’t do it well. Um, had to use the restroom during the multiple choices so that, that really messed. Uh, my timing, but the second time when I took audit, I just passed it straight away with a 80, 80 something. Yeah, like a high.
The Change Patrick Did Once He Realized It’s Working
Nate: So that was your first passing score, so that’s when you were like, okay, this is working?
Patrick: Right. Yeah, it, it, that’s when I was like, like, I gotta follow this method. It works for me. Um, so the second one I took was FAR. I figured if I could I pass audit, I should just come back and just knock FAR out of the way. Um, that was when, um, my second was born, so I had some PTO um, so I used that PTO time to study for FAR, um.
Yeah, so I, I, I would, you know, do the same thing except I’ll spend more time doing the questions. I’ll spend more time studying and spend more time just reading the notes. Um, the, the Superfast notes, I swear is for me is the key to passing all four exams. Yeah. Um.
Nate: That’s funny.
Patrick: I, yeah, yeah.
Nate: Yeah. I appreciate you saying that, that that’s what I tell people a lot is, uh, like, cause a lot of people just want to take quizzes on our app.
Like do the, every time they do mini sessions, they just want to do quizzes. I think I say this in the PRO course now, it it’s, you want to alternate, like if you’re gonna do 10 or 20 mini sessions each day, it should be half and half because the notes really are, the way that we make those is we just go through exam questions and kind of, we’re not trying to summarize everything from a chapter.
It’s mostly just what we see. Keep coming up in all the questions. So like the notes are very, 80 20, like to what you’re gonna see on the exam. It’s, yeah. Anyways.
Patrick: Yeah, I, I actually found that the notes, I, I would just review them and pair it up with the audio notes, so when I’m driving and commuting, I would just listen to the notes and I figured out that, you know, the first time I go through it might not, might not really, um, stick, but I’ll just keep going through them, keep going through them, and then do the multiple choice and they’ll start to stick.
And I figure that every time I pass, it’s because on that last few times that I go through the notes where I listen to your audio notes, I start to click, everything starts to click. Um, and I’m like, okay, I really do understand these concepts and I feel confident enough to go and sit in the exams.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, yeah. The other day I was, I don’t know why I was thinking about this and you know, the CPA material. It’s a lot like learning a new language kind of, because really it’s a bunch of words that you don’t understand the first time you see ’em. And it’s kind of like if you were to learn an actual new language, you know, you can use the little apps and everything, take lessons, have a native speaker, you know, give you a lecture on how, you know, different lessons, but really the way you’re gonna learn it is immersion. Just constant repeat, you know, watching movies in that language, um, constantly exposing yourself and just little by little you start to understand it like in layers. And I think that’s why the traditional approach where you just go through each lesson once and then your final review, you know, just doesn’t work that well.
Cuz you really need to, you need that repeat exposure all the way through. Yes. That’s kind of what you’re saying.
Patrick: Yeah, correct. Uh, I, I would listen to it and I would just find myself start thinking about all these things. Um, I would also, because with my original process, it was kind of, um, I, I’m just kind of being led on by a lecturer and I’m not being immersive, right?
I’m not really thinking about it, uh, during work or during the day but when I per, when I started using the Superfast stuff and doing all these questions, I would actually start thinking about all the concepts that I encountered before or during the day. And I would, number one, I’ll feel very accomplished cuz I did something in the morning before work.
And then I could just start looking up the concepts and, yeah. It just start to make sense.
Nate: Yeah. That, and you’re basically describing the difference between like passive learning methods.
Nate: Where you just sit there and the computer’s like talking to you through the lecture, you know, and it’s just kind of, your brain’s not forced to try and like deal with or figure out the information cause you’re just sitting there, um, taking it in passively.
So very little gets in. But once you are trying to work through questions, you know, and you’re, you’re having to like use your brain actively. It’s just a totally different thing.
Patrick: Correct. Yeah.
Patrick’s Thoughts on Studying for the CPA Exams
Patrick: Um, and, and when I started using your method, it started to click, like my, my parents used to tell me like, you know, you gotta write down, you gotta do the questions.
But that wasn’t how I learned during college, during high school. It’s just, you know, there’s always been, um, the professor always give you like what would be on the exam or areas that would be on the exam, and they just focus on those areas. So it was very structured style of learning. Uh, but definitely for the CPA, you know, there’s no one to really, um, take you through the process and tell you what’s gonna be on the exam, right? Everything is fair game, um.
Patrick: On the, on the exam. Yeah.
Nate: Yeah. It’s very, it’s just a very different experience. Like, um, going to college classes, you know, you show up two to three times a week. You’re just kind of led through the material, like you said, like by the professor. Yeah, and I would say any given CPA exam’s, probably more difficult than any college class.
Mm-hmm. , and you’re completely on your own, you know?
Nate: Time management discipline, the, the study strategies, the material itself, there’s all these factors that aren’t how college works, so it’s just, yeah, it’s just very difficult.
Patrick: Yeah, I mean, college, you know, you have a set time, set number of days.
You go to class, you have assignments, right? And you have exams to, to test your knowledge. Um, but with the CPA, you, you don’t have any of that. You don’t have, so you just really gotta be very disciplined.
Nate: Um, yeah. Okay.
How It Was Switching Study Routine in the Mornings
Nate: So on that note, um, you mention your first, like your, you know, when you were scoring like 68’s and 69’s and stuff, um, you were studying in the evenings and so it sounds like you switched to the mornings. Was that after watching our free training?
Patrick: Yes, after watching the free training, um, I, I switched over to the mornings. It, it was really hard at first. Uh, but.
Nate: So, so what time did you actually have to get up? Like when did you have to be at work? Meaning you had to wake up at what time?
Patrick: Um, so I started doing the, the mornings during Covid.
Okay. So I had a little bit more time and that I worked from home and I would have to be online between 8:30 or 9. So I had two hours, so I kind of did the math. I’m like, look, I can get up at six. You know, I know some people get up earlier, five or four, but I got up at six, um, made myself a cup of coffee and then just start studying until 8, 8:30 when I have to start working.
Nate: Yeah. Okay.
Being Less Stressed After Studying in the Mornings
Nate: And, uh, you also, you kind of mentioned this but I think you would agree it just getting that done cuz you kind of, you know, that’s your most important thing for the day, right? It like, your study time and getting that done in the morning that just made the rest of your day much less stressful, I’m guessing, right?
Patrick: Yes, correct. Um, I had less to think about because, you know, I don’t have to get off work and be like, okay, now I gotta study. Instead, um, I already did it in the morning so all I had to do was just, you know, make some flashcards or, or do the daily set of 30 to reinforce. Do my flashcard and then I’m good to go.
Um, and, and also that meant going to bed earlier. Um, I would go to bed around 10 and then try and get up at six. Whereas normally, you know, with my original process, I would go to bed at like 12 or 1. And then, yeah, wake up at eight or nine feeling very like groggy. I’m like, uh, this is the grind. This is miserable. Yeah.
Nate: Yeah. So, okay, so like your original way of studying was you get up, go to work, study the whole evening, miss family time. So you’re kind of like stressed, bugged about that.
Nate: Study until you have to go to bed at 12 or one wake up, do it all. And even then, you know, like you said, you were still just like missing the passing score by a little bit.
So that’s very frustrating, you know, to try and continue to do that.
Patrick: Right. Yeah.
Gaining Confidence After Passing His First Exam
Nate: Um, so with this new way, did you, you had more time in the evenings to have, you know, normal family time, right?
Patrick: Yeah, so, um, I guess I, I took FAR twice using that, uh, my original method. and then I went, switched over to audit and, you know, failed two more times until I’m like, okay, that’s enough.
Patrick: I just, something needs to change here because obviously what I’m doing is not working. And, and when I switched, I saw that bump in my score and I’m like, wow, uh, this is definitely working. And then passed it on the fourth try for audit. And then after that everything was just bam, bam, bam. Just pass, pass, pass. Yeah.
Nate: That’s awesome. Okay, so you’re, you’re remaining three, you just passed on your first, like your first try after changing the study methods, correct?
Patrick: Yeah. Once I started passing audit, I did the same method for FAR. I went back to take FAR, uh, get up early and then use the notes and audio and the mini quizzes.
Um, and I’ll just start passing. And then when I went over to REG. I, I told myself like, ah, I had practice with audit and FAR, like practice sitting for the exam for those, I don’t have, but you know, I, I had so much confidence in the method that I was like, okay, I’m pretty sure what I’m doing. It works.
So I just focused on the notes, did the multiple choice, and actually I, I, um, started to slack off a little bit, um, knowing that what I did works.
Patrick: So I, yep, so I stuck to some of the key methods such as the notes, the audio, and then the MCQs. But I wasn’t that, um, diligent about doing the daily set of 30’s.
I would do it maybe like twice a day, sort of. Um, and toward the end, like I took BEC, BEC at the very, as the last one, um, like I, I scheduled it like three, I took three weeks to study plus review. Um, and I just passed. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it, I even passed BEC. Yeah.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and that’s the thing is, uh, and that’s a pretty common kind of like story arc from these interviews where a lot of people kind of have that experience where once they get these, uh, these study methods nailed down, they almost start to, they feel like in their last few section, that they weren’t working nearly as hard as they were on the first few, but they were still passing. Um, which is, you know, which is awesome.
And it’s, uh, it just is a, it just proves that this is all about your strategy like that, how do you spend time studying? Are you sitting there watching lectures and nothing’s really getting in or if you’re being super effective and actively studying, you can really get more done in two hours than someone studying the normal way for five or six hours.
The Change in Strategy and Studying Throughout the Day
Patrick: And, and that’s one thing that, um, is because when I did my, like, you know, using my method, like I would, I would dread studying because the, the lectures just take so long and then the multiple choice and nothing was clicking and sometimes I would just like drag my feet, take like a whole week just to finish like one, say like section about leases and then another week to go through governmental. But, you know, going through the, um, going into uh, concept, just doing the questions first and then doing the re-review, like skip save me so much time. Yeah.
Patrick: It was way more efficient.
Nate: Yeah, I mean, I know it is. That’s because my first attempt on FAR was exactly like you said, like worrying about, try to check off everything, watch every lecture.
Spent seven to eight hours a day studying and still failed. And, uh, anyways, and then I studied, I switched to exactly what is in like the PRO course. Like all the stuff I talk about is exactly how I studied once I just decided, I’m gonna just do this. Like what makes sense to me? And then I was studying two hours a day in the morning.
I studied a ton from my phone throughout the day. Like I did mini sessions like crazy with just the stuff that I had at the time. Um, but yeah, that, I think that idea of re-review just makes a huge difference. Kind of like you said, your first time you were just going lesson by lesson. Because you’re not taught to look back at anything like that is the approach with the big review course, just lesson by lesson, then do a final review.
But the idea of a portion of your time each day is spent constantly hitting everything you’ve been through, you know, just makes, makes so much sense and works better.
Patrick: Yeah. And, and during the workday, I, I actually set, you know, first of all, I, I have, I would download the Superfast app and then my course review app, so I could just, whichever one, I could switch it up.
Um, I could look at the notes, I could do the mini quizzes or look at my flashcards, but one thing that helped me be more, um, is I set up like an alarm or a reminder, uh, set for one hour. And so every hour between nine to five, it would remind me to, you know, spend 10 minutes looking at the notes or just do some mini quizzes and then I, I would do like, look at the clock, spend 10 minutes, do that, and go back to work and just do that all, all throughout the day. Um, and yeah, and I found that to be really just rewarding.
Managed to Find A Hobby While Studying for the CPA Exams
Nate: And that was, okay, that was something I was gonna ask about. So a minute ago you were saying, uh, you really dreaded studying, you know, again, your, what should we say?
Like the old, your first year or two studying. Um, and then cause the, the thing I’m always telling people is once you get a sense of momentum that like you feel like this is working, then it’s a lot easier to get yourself to study because you, you feel motivated because you know it’s working. So, I mean.
Nate: It kind of sounds like you experienced that shift as well?
Patrick: Right. Yeah. Like I, I, I wasn’t constantly study. at all. I, I even picked up a hobby, you know, I could spend some time with family, um, or just, you know, watch a show or two during, while I was studying and, and it was just, it was just amazing how different it was compared to, uh, my original study where all, all my days were just work and study, work and study.
Um, yeah, just, so, game changer essentially. Yeah. Yeah.
Nate: Well, that’s awesome. Uh, yeah. I’m glad it could help and yeah, that’s really cool.
The Relief of Finally Passing the CPA Exams
Nate: So what did you do to, uh, celebrate, or just what was it like getting your fourth passing score and just realizing you were done after all that time? Uh, when
Patrick: I, when I found out my, because the last one was BEC, I, I thought I definitely failed it
Um, I’ve never, I’ve never written those, uh, written communication stuff before.
Patrick: I, I looked at it the day before the exam. Um, and when I found out that passing score, I literally ran around the house and screaming because I was just so excited. I’m done.
Patrick: Finally done. I, I, yeah, it was, oh, I was so relieved.
I was like, I’m done.
Patrick: Finally. Yeah. Um.
Nate: Yeah, and that’s, that’s the biggest thing. It’s like, you know, you know when you start studying, you know, you’re always gonna make more money and like have better opportunities the rest of your career. But once you’re six months into this or like several years, the only thing you care about is just getting done.
And yeah, it’s like the best feeling ever once you finally are done.
Patrick: Yeah. And, and you know when, when every time I got done, we would go celebrate, right? We would go out to eat, um, because we normally don’t, we stay, uh, eat, um, we cook our own meals, but every time we pass out we would go to a restaurant that we would really want to try and we’d just go
So that fourth one definitely was extra special.
Patrick: Uh, because that minute I was done, I was like, ah. So relieved.
Nate: Yeah. That is awesome.
How Patrick Had More Time with Family While Studying on Weekends
Nate: Um, what was your, so going back a little bit, what would you do differently on the weekends or I, I guess just how long would you try to study on the weekends? And would your, would your strategies change or was it the same thing, just a little longer?
Patrick: Yeah. So with audit, um, when I just first started the, the new process, I, I would get up and do four hours, uh, do two, two hours and then break, and then two hours. Um, and then I’ll have the rest of the day to myself. Um, and throughout the day I listen to audio notes. Um, and just do some quizzes or, or just switch it up.
Um, I did that for audit, FAR because I, I had pretty much, I didn’t have to work, so I had a lot more time. So my weekends, I’ll just spend, um, less time studying about maybe one hour, two hour, and then towards the end, I, I would just, I barely ha. I didn’t do any studying at all except just audio notes and notes, because I knew that those were the two key things that will help me pass.
So I focus on those during the weekends. Um.
Patrick: And spend, spend more time with family or just friends. Yeah.
Nate: Um, okay. And so when you say that on the weekends, would you actually like start playing the audios and read, follow along in the written notes. Or you would just spend time reading and then while you’re doing other things, listen to the audios.
Patrick: Yeah. Uh, I would, I wouldn’t listen and go through the audio, uh, sorry, the written notes together. I, I would, depending on what I’m doing, if I’m driving, um, I make sure, like basically throughout this whole process, I didn’t listen to any music. The only music was the Superfast notes.
Patrick: So if, if I was at home, then I would try and read the written notes as much as possible.
Um, because I’m, I’m more of a visual learner. Um, that’s what I’ve learned. Uh, so, uh, at home and then in the car, I would listen to audio notes and even on our drive to get groceries or just somewhere. I would, I would force the entire families to listen to the audio notes with me.
Nate: Oh, that is funny. A few people have said that, like making their kids listen to it and I’m just, yeah. Feel bad for their kids. But yeah, now you’re done. So doesn’t matter.
Figure Out Your Why and Write Down Your Goals
Patrick: Um, and one thing that I think that you said in your PRO course or maybe the webinar, the free webinar was, um, just figuring out why you want to pass the cpa, and I think when I embarked on this journey, um, I never really thought about it.
I just went with it because everybody, you know, took the CPA. Um, that was just kind of what you needed to do. That’s, or, or at least I never really thought about it until I started to write it out, um, because it’s very important to, that’s what really kept me motivated is I wanted to get CPA because, you know, um, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and just to show, show the, just to kind of test my knowledge on accounting, I guess.
Or just learn more about accounting, uh, because that, that wasn’t my background. My background was in management science.
Nate: Yeah. And, and that is, I mean, I do, I say that all the time and I do think that’s one thing that when someone’s starting this, like just starting or about to start the study process, the whole idea of motivation or like writing out your why might sound kind of dumb or like they might think, that’s not why that’s not important.
But once you’re a few months into it and it’s really become a grind and tedious and you hate studying. Getting yourself motivated is like the whole battle basically. So did you, you wrote something out and did you like, put it on the wall where you studied or you just, you mostly, it was just a one-time thing.
Just writing out your goals helped a lot.
Patrick: It was a one-time thing. Um, I, I didn’t put it up, up, I could, because I thought, you know, I didn’t want my wife to laugh at me.
Patrick: I wrote it out and then hit it in my drawer and I’m like, and I’ll look at it every now and then, and I’ll put it back in.
Patrick: Um, and I would just keep telling, remind myself like, why I, I started on this journey.
Um, and even, even when I went to sit in the exam, I would try and motivate myself by saying, you know, you will pass the exam. And so, while I’m taking the exam. Sometimes I get so frustrated or I’m like, like, how, how am I gonna, you know, finish the exam in four hours? I look at that and I’m like, okay. That, that’s what keeps me motivated.
Nate: Yeah. It is a, uh, yeah, again, it sounds like, I don’t know, not a dumb idea, but all the way through, you like kind of have to keep your head in the game. That’s like the phrase I always use. It’s about, you know, I’m going to bed early so that I can get up and nail my studying in the morning. And I set these timers on my phone so that I have the, you know, I make sure I fit in the mini sessions and I get up early on the weekends to get my studying out of the way so that I can have the rest of the day.
And just this whole, this whole process, you have to be, it’s just that overall commitment that kind of bleeds into everything to make sure you’re just getting it done each day. But then as long as you do and what you’re doing is working, then it starts to become easier to get yourself to do it because you know it’s working and then.
Nate: Yeah. Before you know it, you’re done.
Patrick: It was easy. It was much easier just to continue with the, with the CPA journey. Um, and, and you know, even, even my family, they, they were like, it’s, it’s remarkable. Like they, they don’t see me studying that much because, you know, I’m, I’m up before they’re up and I’m, I’m, I get to spend time with them.
Um, and they’re like, but you, but you passed. And then I tell her about Superfast, and she’s like, yep, um, that’s the, you know, that that’s the way to learn. And like, she, she sees me like getting up super early and then, you know, she, she, she saw the change and so she was really happy that I, I made this change and then I started passing. Yeah.
Nate: Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. Okay. So yeah, we’ve kind of gone through everything.
Patrick’s Top Tips For People Still Studying for the CPA Exams
Nate: So the, uh, the last question I always ask is, even if it’s something we already mentioned, what would be your top three tips to people that are still studying, trying to figure this out?
Patrick: Uh, I guess the number one would be, you know, um, use the Superfast Method, uh, but figure out which ones work for you, like for me, the notes or the audio notes were definitely key. Um, that I would read throughout my studying and couple days before the, the exam, I would just re-read through the notes as many times as I can just to give okay coverage and, um, to, to make it fresh in my mind.
So I guess one, you know, either MCQs or notes or whichever one I, I, that’s my top tip is just cram or review it as many times as you can. Um, my second tip would be, um, study in the morning, uh, at least. Cause I’m, I I wasn’t on the morning per at all. I was like everybody else, you know, um, kind of, kind on the late night owl.
But it, it was interesting that, uh, once I got used to the routine that I, I, my mind was just ready to go in the mornings. Um, much shocker.
Patrick: And then the third one I, I mentioned is figure out the why. I’ll throw out the exam because many times I just wanted to just give up because when I see that 60 or 70, I’m like, why am I doing this?
Why am I spending so much time to study? Uh, not with friends and family and just torturing myself. Um .
Patrick’s Final Review Process Before the Exams
Nate: Um, so I actually, I forgot to ask you about your final review, but you kind of mentioned that. So you, the last few days, well, would you set like a week or two aside for final review and then it sounds like the last couple days you were trying to really read the review notes several times through.
Patrick: Yeah, so I learned, like throughout this entire process, I learned a lot about myself. Um, during my original process, I would just drag it on for a long time, un until I take the exam. Um, so I actually shortened my re-review to like 9 or 10 days, like just really short.
Patrick: Um, and I would just do daily sets of thirties and then all the mini quizzes, um, and then make sure that I have coverage like the Wiley.
I make sure that I see as much different types of question in the test bank, um, and then just make flashcards off anything or concepts I feel like I need to, you know, focus on. Um, so that’s during the review period. And during that time also, I will, I would make sure that I at least go through the notes, the Superfast notes as many times as I can.
Because, you know, I, I, I, I, I learned that a lot in the exam, the, the notes cover a lot of the things on the exam, so.
Patrick: It was, um, and, and actually, um, on the day or two before the exam, cause during my studying process, I would never look at the sims because just listening from the prior podcasts, like I, I, I figure.
And then from my own experience, I figure out that sims are just another MCQ question wrapped in different formats, right?
Patrick: Presented differently. Um, it was the concepts that I needed to learn. So actually I would go to the AICPA website and look at their sample sims because that’s very similar to the exam that’s what I found. Um, yeah, I, I wouldn’t look at the sims until a day or two before the exam. Um.
Nate: Yeah. And that’s, that’s one of those things that I, I have, I have a hard time saying, giving that as like a blanket recommendation. Like, don’t worry about the sims at all. Because some people that’s just like their bugaboo, like they just, you know, the sims are what they really struggle with.
And so, you know, just depending. Yeah. A lot of people on this podcast have said that where they didn’t really do any of the sims until the last, like their final review. They’d look through some just to get used to the format. Um, but checking out the AICPA sample exam is always good. I tell people to do that.
Uh, but yeah, I mean, it is true at the same time that each little segment of a sim is essentially an MCQ just kind of in a different. So, all right. Uh, I guess, sorry, one other thing I wanted to ask you.
How Patrick Utilized the SuperfastCPA Notes
Nate: So you used our notes in your main study sessions a lot, it sounds like. So basically what you were saying is you would have our notes and whatever lesson you were gonna go into in Wiley, you would just read that part of our notes to just kind of get a big picture idea.
Is that what you were saying?
Patrick: Um, not really, no. I would read it in this entirety, so it, it, it was so like for my process, um, it, it wouldn’t click in the, at first, like, during my study materials, I might be doing maybe bonds for example, but in the, uh, Superfast I might be reading about leases. But, so in the beginning it is quite chaotic.
That’s, but at towards the end, everything starts to kind of connect and mash together.
Patrick: So, so I wasn’t, I wasn’t just looking at bonds specifically, um, in the Superfast notes. I would just, both of them would be going at their own pace basically. Yeah.
Nate: Gotcha. Okay. So when you would read the notes, you would just start from the beginning, read all the way through and start over.
Patrick: Right. Yes. Yes. That.
Nate: Okay. That’s actually what I tell people to do is, uh, is that, so. Okay.
And yes, in the beginning, the first few weeks, you know, you’re studying one thing in your main review course. Our notes are short enough, you’re gonna get way ahead of that, you know, um, in a couple hours of reading.
But it’s that repeat coming back in loops you just a little bit makes more sense every time you read ’em.
Patrick: Right. And, and I found that the notes were concise enough that some of the keywords were very important cause they started to show up in the exam. And then I was like, oh this is, this is the golden, this is the holy grail.
Like I gotta make sure I study this, that I, I know the stuff you know by heart. Yeah. So that’s always the goal. That’s always the goal when I start out a new section. Yeah.
Nate: Yeah. Awesome. Well, um, yeah, Patrick, I appreciate you taking the time to do the call. That was, uh, I loved hearing your story and, uh, yeah, I’m glad it could help, or I’m glad the, the notes and everything, the strategies helped you turn things around, make your life a lot easier.
Patrick Spreading the Word How SuperfastCPA Helped Him
Nate: So yeah, congrats on being done.
Patrick: Oh, thank you, Nate. I mean, I couldn’t have done this without you and your, your product. You know, it’s, it, it, it sounds very simple, you know, saying out loud, but it’s, it’s, it’s crazy when I go on the forums how like people don’t really do this enough and I see people struggling and I always try and tell people like, look, you just need to get Superfast. You just need to get and he will start passing cause I did, so.
Nate: Yeah. Well, yeah. I appreciate you spreading the word. Yeah, like with Reddit and stuff,
Nate: So that was the interview with Patrick. I’m sure you found that very helpful. And if you did, please take a second to share that interview or the podcast in general, with a friend or a colleague or a coworker that you know, who’s also working on their CPA exams. These interviews are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for people trying to figure out their own CPA study process.
So thanks for watching or listening and we’ll see you on the next episode.