In this SuperfastCPA reviews episode, you’ll hear how Rolwin figured out his study process and eventually passed his CPA exams In this SuperfastCPA reviews episode, you’ll hear how Rolwin figured out how to study for the CPA exams, and passed the CPA exams by using effective CPA study strategies.
In this episode we’ll cover Rolwin’s tips for the CPA exam REG, CPA exam FAR, the Audit CPA exam, and the BEC CPA exam, along with many more CPA exam study tips and CPA exam study strategies.
- 00:00 Rolwin Interview
- 00:54 Introduction
- 03:52 How Rolwin Started His CPA Journey
- 04:56 Difference Between Indian CPA and U.S. CPA
- 09:31 How He Discovered SuperfastCPA
- 10:40 How Rolwin Used SuperfastCPA with His Main Review Course
- 12:51 How He Prepared for His First Exam
- 14:34 Using PowerPoint as His Flashcards
- 16:27 His Study Process for Task-based Simulations
- 19:53 Rolwin’s Daily Study Routine
- 21:16 Studying on Weekends
- 22:04 What Motivates Rolwin to Finish His CPA
- 23:05 Rolwin’s Test Day Experience
- 24:03 “This time I need to get my MCQs right…”
- 26:48 How Rolwin Prepared for His AUD Exam Retake
- 28:51 Preparing for the Changes in the Exams
- 30:34 “As an Indian student, it seems to be very new”
- 32:26 Rolwin Recommended to Speak to People Who Already Got their Exams
- 33:54 Rolwin’s Tips for Students Trying to Figure Out Their Study Process
SuperfastCPA Reviews: Rolwin’s Interview
Rolwin: So I would say that getting into the material every day, day in and day out is key. You shouldn’t skip a day of study because if you skip the day and then you lose the momentum, it’s very hard to get back. Momentum is key. And, uh, revisit, revising the topics whatever we studied earlier.
And I think that, yeah, I forgot to mention the set of 30 questions which you reiterate every now and then, I used to do that. I used to keep in mind that doing that set of 30 questions every day, even after I do my new material because that’ll help us retain the material that we had already studied before.
So that is very important and flashcards, I would recommend a PowerPoint slides, maybe that is a new thing to the audience who, who are listening to them. The PowerPoint slides definitely helped.
Nate: Welcome to episode 79 of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate and in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Rolwin.
Rolwin is one of our customers from India and at the time of this interview, he had just passed FAR. I think this was about three months ago. He’s now all done with his other three sections. So congrats to Rolwin.
What I really like about Rolwin’s story is that in the interview, you know, I could tell that he was always evaluating his own study process and he was making changes when something wasn’t working. And as you’ll hear him describe in the interview, when he started the study process, the material was really difficult for him.
So in this interview, Rolwin has a lot of very specific tips about how he studied, how he broke down each aspect of the study process. You get to hear like I said, his iterations of what he was doing in the beginning, why he realized that one thing wasn’t working and what he would switch to, or the things he discovered that really did work for him.
So before we get into the interview, I just want to mention two things. First, if you have not taken the time yet, the best place for you to start, and this is where pretty much every person you’ve heard on these interviews started, is one of our free study training webinars. That is where we do the full overview of how we think the study process should work, how to use your review course much more efficiently and much more effectively.
What I always say is this is one hour that will literally save you months and months of time and frustration mainly because you want to figure this stuff out on your own through trial and error.
So to sign up from one of those sessions, just go to our main website at superfastcpa.com, or if you’re watching this on YouTube, there should just be a link down in the description. The second thing is our free podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Powerbeat Pro headphones. What we really emphasize is that while you’re trying to study for these exams anyways, you should be trying to use all the little gaps in your day to constantly be rereviewing, rehitting topics,
They are my favorite headphones. I use mine constantly.
Audio is just such a helpful medium because you can be listening, reviewing something, learning new things while you’re doing other mundane tasks that we have to do everyday like driving, going to the gym, going on walks, while you’re preparing meals, whatever it is, you can have headphones in.
So to sign up for the free giveaway, just go to superfastcpa.com/enter or again if you’re on YouTube, there will be a link down in the description. So with that out of the way, let’s get into the interview with Rolwin.
Nate: You said you’re in India?
Rolwin: Yes, that’s correct.
Nate: What part or what city?
Rolwin: Yeah, I am from Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
Nate: Okay. That’s a big one, right? I’ve heard of that. I think.
Rolwin: Yeah. That’s a big city.
Nate: Awesome. I just looked and we’ve sent a lot of emails back and forth over the last year or so.
How Rolwin Started His CPA Journey
Nate: How long have you been working on your CPA?
Rolwin: Yeah, so my CPA journey started in the month of January, 2020. I think that is when I watched a lot of YouTube videos, YouTube advertisements from your website, SuperfastCPA. And that is how I got to know about it. And I think that is when the new version of the CPA study material as well, which came out. It seemed pretty interesting and the videos and testimonies which the candidates give, the already purchased customers, that seemed to be very interesting and very influencing.
And that is why I got very motivated and then I was like, totally satisfied that the study material will help me pass the CPA exams.
Nate: Awesome. So you mentioned some of the interviews. So did you hear some of the other podcast interviews then?
Rolwin: Yeah, I have heard a few of them.
Nate: Cool. and then you’re using a main review course as well for kind of your main study sessions, right?
Rolwin: So I use a Miles. So there’s a course called Miles.
Nate: Yeah. I’ve heard of that.
Rolwin: From India. Yes, I used that.
Difference Between Indian CPA and US CPA
Nate: Okay. So not so much about the study process, but how does it work if you’re isn’t there an Indian CPA? Like it seems like I’ve heard, like there’s a separate CPA in India, the Indian CPA, and then obviously you’re working on the like the US CPA exams. So what’s the difference between those two and how, if you were in India, how do you choose between which one you try to get?
Rolwin: Yeah, sure. So Indian CPA is basically called Chartered Accountancy. Chartered Accountancy is a three year course. And you can start the course right from, you passed your 12th Grade.
That is when you can start. So that does not require three years of bachelor’s degree or any sort of degree, which it makes you eligible for a 120 credit like you don’t need that 120 credits in order to sit for the Chartered Accountancy course.
And there are three levels. So there’s a foundation, intermediate and final which spans across three years. And during these three years, the candidate has to work under a qualified chartered accountant in order to sit for the final exams. Yeah. And that is why I felt that this is a three-year course which is pretty long.
You have to remain invested in the course. And then a lot of time goes into this but at the same time while I was studying for my bachelor’s, that is when one of the big fours came to our college and then they had come for placements and in their pre-placement talk, they had mentioned about the certified public accountant course and what are the benefits of it.
And I was convinced enough, you know, to sit for the interview and yeah. And fortunately I got through the interview process and right now, yeah, my CPA journey is on.
Nate: Yeah. And you’ve passed three so far, right? That’s what you’re…
Rolwin: Yes, that’s correct. I’ve passed FAR, BEC and Audit.
Nate: Awesome. FAR is the big one but I mean, having three done that’s awesome. So you know your process is working. Going back to that real quick so did you do the chartered accountant thing already? And then now you’re adding the CPA?
Rolwin: Not yet Nate, so I haven’t done that. I actually did the foundation course after which I joined my bachelor’s degree program where the classes used to be pretty long and then I couldn’t manage both.
And that is why I thought maybe just complete my bachelor’s degree and later I’ll probably get back to that after accountancy course. However, you know, one of the big fours came to our college and unfortunately I got placed so that, then got sidelined and I got into the CPA course.
Nate: Awesome. And so that’s why it’s applicable because you’ll be working on a like American client stuff using…
Nate: Okay. Gotcha.
Rolwin: Yeah. So CPA is, the firm encourages candidates to do CPA so that is a win-win situation for both of us.
Nate: And they changed it right where you can test for the CPA there in India? I think even like a year ago you had to fly somewhere else. Was that, is that right? I don’t know that much about…
Rolwin: Yes, that’s correct. Actually, 2020 has been a blessing in disguise because earlier we was supposed to go to the Middle East or come to USA in order to give the exams. But during the COVID-19, I think AICPA were kind enough to meet the Indian candidates not to travel anywhere and give the exam in India.
So I think in India that around eight centers across, across the country where candidates can get the CPA exam. So I found it you know, very easy and very convenient to give the exams and not to travel during COVID-19.
Nate: Yeah. That’s nice to not have to travel during that. Has all the big four kind of, did they have a presence down there? So there’s a decent demand for getting the CPA?
Rolwin: Yes. Yes. There are a lot of agencies which have come down to India and then they are looking out for CPAs so the credibility of CPA is very much increasing in India. And a lot of candidates from India are looking forward to CPA.
As I was mentioning earlier, the chartered accountants were already qualified, are also looking for CPA as an extra qualification so that they can get an exposure of international accounting or maybe get settled somewhere outside India or anything of that sort.
How He Discovered SuperfastCPA
Nate: Gotcha. Awesome. So going back to your study process. You kind of found our website and our study tools pretty much as soon as you started studying for the CPA then?
Nate: Okay. You followed one of those ads and watched our free hour training? That’s what most people did. Is that, was that your first thing?
Rolwin: Yeah, that was the first thing. Actually, when I went on YouTube and tried finding CPA, that is when a couple of ads from your site, I got to watch, and then I was a pretty, you know, curious to get to know about more about your strategies and how, how fast you clear your CPA exams in three months which was very eye-catching.
And I got into the videos and I was convinced enough. Then I kept watching your motivating videos which you used to, you know, post about doing the MCQs every now and then, and then revising the material on a daily basis. All those things, you know, actually when we look at it pragmatically, it actually works.
So it kind of, you know, I realized that, okay, this study material will help me in clearing my exams in some way or the other.
How Rolwin Used SuperfastCPA with His Main Review Course
Nate: Yeah. That’s awesome. So you have your main review course. So how do you use our study tools along with your main review course?
Rolwin: All right. So as I already told, I have Miles, the course provider from India, along with that SuperfastCPA.
So what I did was, I used to start go through the SuperfastCPA review notes. Actually, I can probably tell you one more thing. What I did was before purchasing the Miles, I had purchased the SuperfastCPA review course in the month of January. And I had actually bought my Miles review in the month of, I think February or March.
So I had already started, you know, reading through the review material and I was planning for my FAR exam. So I had already started the reading through the review notes again and again, while I was commuting to office. That time I was going to the office and in between the lockdown started.
So, yeah, so I had made notes. I had highlighted the important points from the FAR section and during the office hours, whenever we had a tea break or anything of that sort I used to have the app open and then I used to do the five minute MCQ sessions. Yeah. So I used to pretty much do that during my office time. After the lockdown started, the…
after that, like, you know, I got into my, the main course provider and then I used to watch their videos and then do MCQs everyday.
Nate: So you, So you just kind of follow the, uh, you just take our strategies of mostly doing sets of MCQs and you just kind of apply that to your, your Miles material? And then you still just use our study tools on the app as you go through your day type thing?
Rolwin: Yes. Yes. Yes. Actually, since for me, I am a bachelor’s graduate, right? So my concepts for accounting were not that great. So I had to go through the video in order to get that basic level of understanding so that my concepts are correct. Yeah. Because initially I didn’t find the MCQs first approach to be, you know, very convenient. Like I found it to be slightly difficult.
So I was going through the videos first and when I went back to the MCQs that was when I could you know, join the dots and then go on with MCQs.
How He Prepared for His First Exam
Nate: Yeah, and depending on the topic, you know, some people you, you have to do it that way, Then that makes sense. And so which one did you take first?
Rolwin: So I gave my FAR exam in the month of December 2020. I took a lot of time to prepare for it because I really wanted FAR to get out of the way initially. Yeah. So I had, I started studying for my exam, I think in the month of July, August. That is when I kept on doing my MCQs the main course, uh, Miles.
Then when I got time in between, I used to do the SuperfastCPA, a five minute video, I mean sorry, the MCQ sessions. Yeah. And one more thing that I would like to mention is the flashcard concepts. So what I used to do is I used to prepare my notes in the form of powerpoint presentation.
So I used to use Microsoft PPT as a tool. If you look at the PPT over there, the slides are in the form of a flashcard where you can just scroll down up or down in order to review the material. Yeah. So when I did my MCQs and if I had found that, okay, this MCQ is slightly tricky or maybe little challenging, that is when I wrote down in my own words on whatever the information that MCQ used to provide after I click on the right or the wrong answer.
I used to get that information and then I used to put that in my PPT slide one after the other, which was actually very handy on my exam day because I never opened my main course provider on the exam day. I was just relying on the PPT slides that I had prepared which actually, I think pretty much had everything that I wanted to, you know, cover before the exam day.
Using PowerPoint as His Flashcards
Nate: Yeah. I mean, I haven’t heard that someone using PowerPoint but the key idea is to have some form, like some people take like just notes, normal notes, handwritten notes in a notebook, some people type it out in Microsoft word. Some people make digital flashcards, physical flashcards, but the key idea is just some form of writing out the concepts that you struggle with in your own words, so that you can understand it and look at it later.
And yeah, the most helpful time right before your exam. So you still do that? You do all your notes and PowerPoint still?
Rolwin: Yeah. I still do it because I find it very effective. Initially for the FAR section, it was my first time. So that like I didn’t realize it earlier. So that is why I took a long time preparing for the FAR section. So early on, like you said, I used to just watch videos in order to understand the FAR section. And, uh, to be honest, I have watched most of the videos twice because I know what happens is I tend to forget the concept or it doesn’t remember sometimes. So then, for the third time I realized, “okay, you know, I have to put this down somewhere in order to remember it”.
And at the exam day, it will be very easy because I can’t again go through the books. The books are you know, very thick, like, you know, very fat. It’s very difficult on the exam day to go through that and that is why I decided to resort to the Microsoft PPT slides which was very handy. And I could carry my laptop to the exam center before getting my exams.
And it was actually pretty convenient.
Nate: And so when you, when you review them, do you, uh, I can’t even remember what it’s called. Do you like go into presenter mode so you can just click through your slides really fast?
Rolwin: Yes, it’s I used to go to the presentation mode and then I also bought a presentation’s remote which used to help me you know, from a far away place and then switch slides.
His Study Process for Task-based Simulations
Nate: That’s funny. I mean, that’s a, that’s a good idea. I bet someone will hear that and try it that way. And then what was your process for kind of learning multiple, not multiple choice. Um, task-based simulations? And how did you use those in your study routine?
Rolwin: Yeah, task-based simulations, I actually, you know, didn’t start attempting it until I was complete with my MCQs and the entire course because in the task-based simulations seem to be quite intimidating if you just jump in between.
So what I did was I initially completed my MCQs and the review course, the videos, all of it. And after which I started my task-based simulations. So task-based simulation are pretty much I used to just go through them. Initially, I find it very hard because this entire CPA exam itself was new to me.
So it was initially very hard for me. But, as then I got to know the gist of it, how the you know, the tester tries to test the concepts on the exams then initially, and then after that on weekends, I used to, you know, do a couple of them or maybe three or four of them. I used to take a lot of time initially because like, to be honest, I used to do it maybe 30 minutes- 45 minutes for a simulation because they were hard. FAR simulations are hard..
Nate: Yeah, they are.
Rolwin: Yeah. And after that slowly, I started picking up the pace, and I think before the exam, maybe a one week before that I used to do a lot of SIMS and MCQs, and I gave a couple of mock tests as well. And one more thing I would like to mention is I give my mock test at the time zone when I’m actually taking my exam.
So I used to take my exam in the afternoon session, so I give a couple of my mock tests in the afternoon session itself so that I get to understand how I’m feeling whether I’ll, you know, whether I’m sleepy or active, all of that. I just wanted to experience that before going into the actual exam.
Nate: Yeah, that’s a good idea. Just the same time of day. See what four hours feels like. I mean, it’s a good idea. So are you, are you going back to work now or are you still at home? You’re working from home?
Rolwin: Yeah. I’m still working from home and I find it very interesting and lucky enough to be at home.
So that I can prepare for my exams. So I’m just hopeful that until December, I can clear all my sections and then maybe after that I can get back to office. So I’m still working from home.
Nate: When is your REG exam scheduled for?
Rolwin: In the month of December.
Nate: Oh, it’s in December. Okay. Yes. So you you’ve taken, you take quite a bit of time for each exam?
Rolwin: Yeah. That’s because I’m currently working, right? So I find it a little difficult and I’m not that great with the concepts so I, I still have to go to the course and then go through it. So yeah, as you say, it’s, it is very convenient to go, uh, as per the MCQ first approach. But I just find it a little more, uh, easy to go to the videos and then get back to MCQs. I know it is little time consuming, but since the concepts are not that great, I just prefer that.
Nate: Right. And like you said, it’s kind of a different thing because it’s kind of I mean, you’re kind of learning some of the basics at the same time, you know? So it is kind of a different situation.
Rolwin’s Daily Study Routine
Nate: So what is your daily routine look like from start to finish? Do you study in the morning and then work or just, what’s a normal day look like?
Rolwin: Yeah. So I normally prefer to study in the morning. I used to, you know, get up around 6:00 AM in the morning. So it normally differs, not every day at 6:00 AM, maybe 6:30 AM sometimes or 5:30 AM sometimes. It differs but I used to make it a point getting up early in the morning and then trying to study before I log in for my office work.
So yeah, I have studied pretty much. I have always preferred to study the morning and if the work was light during the day and it might have to log off a little early, then I also, you know, try to make an effort in the evening to just go to the concepts again, or some videos so that, you know, because doing MCQs in the evening, it’s a little hard during the day.
So if it’s videos or something, then you can at least go through them, passively you can just try to understand the concepts.
Nate: Right, that’s always what I’ve said, is it just makes more sense to do your most mentally demanding thing in the morning when your brain is fresh before it’s, you’re tired from work.
And so that would be the morning. And then, uh, stuff in the evening that’s just kind of easy on your mind, like reading the review notes or looking through your own notes, or I guess your PowerPoints or just stuff that’s, not as, uh, mentally taxing.
Studying on Weekends
Nate: How do you study on the weekends? Is it any different or is it about the same?
Rolwin: Weekends I used to study around maybe four to five hours. Weekends that I didn’t keep it very, you know, uh, very strict and terms of studying but then I used to chill for some time. And then I used to study as well. So but during nearing the exam, that is when I, you know, studied for more time, more than 4 hours.
But, uh, I, I kept it light on the weekends but I made sure that I study everyday because even if we skipped at least one day also the momentum breaks and then it’s very hard to get back to the study because the momentum is key, in the procedure..
Nate: Yeah, definitely. That was a big thing for me. It was just easier for me to not take days off and just made the, just made the whole thing easier.
What Motivates Rolwin to Finish His CPA
Nate: And then do you ever struggle with motivation? Like have days where you just really don’t want to study. And if you do like I mean, what do you tell yourself? How do you get yourself to still do it?
Rolwin: Yeah, for me the benefits of the CPA after becoming a qualified CPA was enough for me to motivate myself. Apart from that, whenever I was down like looking at the simulations or maybe the content in the AUD section, I used to take it you know, slightly slow so that I don’t get overwhelmed.
But apart from that, like, you know, in one of your videos, you mentioned that no, you need to gift yourself something or reward yourself something after every exam. So like, after my second exam, I tried to reward myself. Like I like, I, I got a little bit of, you know, uh, bicycle gear. Like I got up a sunglasses while riding your bicycle.
And then up in the next exam I bought the you know, the cycling gear. And then maybe after the exam, maybe I’m planning to purchase a bicycle for a long distance cycling probably.
Rolwin’s Test Day Experience
Nate: That’s awesome. What was your test day experience like?
Did you get through the MCQs pretty quickly? So you had a lot of time for the SIMS? What was the hardest part about test day or any surprises? Just what was your whole test day experience like?
Rolwin: Yeah, sure. So the first exam was I didn’t know what to expect in the FAR section but before the exam I had made up my mind that I’m just budgeting the time during the exam.
So I had a thought of maybe giving around 40- 45 minutes, for a couple of sections each, so that in within one hour I can clear the two testlets of MCQs and the rest of the time I parked it for the simulations. And also for each simulations, I planned around 10-15 minutes in order to solve them. I was actually pretty much, uh, successful in in terms of going through the FAR section because I was able to complete the exam and I took the entire four hours to, you know, give my FAR section.
“This time I need to get my MCQs right…”
Rolwin: But, uh, the experience wasn’t the same for the Audit section. Over there the, since I had already given my exam, so I was of the opinion that, “okay, this time I need to get my MCQs right”, and I ended up spending a little bit more time than I budgeted for the MCQs and after that the simulations, I just had to rush through them and during the exam, I felt that, okay.
I think I went from somewhere and I couldn’t help for the first time. The audit section.
Nate: So I was going to ask you about Audit. Did you ever have an auditing class, like in your bachelor’s degree or anything?
Rolwin: Yes, I did. But then that was Indian audit. It was not US audit. It seems similar.
I actually done the audit after studying for the CPA exams because in the bachelor’s degree of like, you know, it was just a course and then I just, you know, went through it.
So nothing special but then the actual audit I learned from the CPA course because it’s very comprehensive. It is very detailed. And then it, it goes process after process. Like you would really get to know what an auditor does. So I actually done audit like with the help of CPA, of course.
Nate: Yeah. But what I’m getting at is when you study, when you started studying audit or studying for the audit section, that’s essentially all that was just brand new to you. Like you’re learning it from scratch basically.
Nate: That would be, uh, that would be hard, real hard. In fact, Audit ends up being hard for a lot of maybe I shouldn’t say a lot, but if you don’t work in audit and then you take the audit exam, like audit ends up being the hardest exam for a lot of people just because it’s so much of it sounds really, really similar, but it’s obviously very different depending on what report you’re talking about or, you know, what process.
So was that the case for you? Was it really difficult to even get to where you felt like you had a good understanding of it?
Rolwin: Uh, no, actually audit I found it interesting and that kind of easy as well because I actually, I took around the couple of months to prepare for my first and second Audit exam. And I was, you know, confident enough that I will clear but what happened was on the exam date, I ended up going off my budget and then spending more time on the MCQs, which led me to rush through the simulations.
And then like I had to just, it didn’t go further at the end. And, uh, the second attempt, I totally made a point that, you know, I’m not giving more time, even though I don’t get the MCQs correct. So the second attempt I went through the exam and then I actually finished it, I think, 15, 20 minutes beforehand. And I was confident enough that, you know, this time it actually went well so the second attempt recorded was good and I cleared it.
How Rolwin Prepared for His AUD Exam Retake
Nate: Awesome. And how long did you study for your retake for the second one?
Rolwin: I took around a week.
Nate: Oh, that’s it?
Rolwin: Yeah, actually the thing was, I give my first attempt in the month of April and the second attempt in the month of August. So that was pretty long because in between I get my BEC section as well, which I cleared in the first attempt.
So I think there were a couple of weeks time between the BEC and Audit section and that I, yeah, I think I took around a week’s time to prepare for Audits at the second time. And since I have to get my PPT slides as I told you, right? So that was very, very crucial because I couldn’t afford to get back to the books again.
So I had read through the SuperfastCPA review material and the main course provider material, all of that. And I had prepared my notes and all the MCQs that I have attempted in my first attempt, I made those flashcards in the form of PPTs
and then this way for me, I was able to, you know, prepare for it in a, in a week’s time and then get my exams.
Nate: Yeah. That’s pretty good. So you failed out at the first time and then just moved on to BEC, took that, passed it, and then did your Audit retake?
Rolwin: Yes. Yes. That’s because I think the CPA they were undergoing the changes after July 1st, right? So I really wanted to get. Yeah. I really wanted to get the sections before the July, but, uh, like, you know, I think in India, the COVID again started to rise.
The COVID cases started to rise during that time and Prometric centers, you know, they didn’t allow the candidates to come and take the exam. And that is why I had to just wait after July. And then I get my BEC in the month of July last week and Audit second week of August. So, yeah, that’s the way I ended up getting it to the new syllabus itself but fortunately, I cleared it.
Nate: Nice. And I guess that’s uh, so you, you studied mainly for the BEC version pre -July changes?
Preparing for the Changes in the Exams
Nate: So was there a lot of surprises on the exam because you ended up taking it after the July changes? I mean, I know we’re not supposed to talk about any specific things you saw, but were there any big surprises or was it still pretty much what you’d studied for?
Rolwin: Yeah. So actually I had prepared for the old syllabus set itself but, uh, since I had to get it late July, right? so I was kind of aware, you know, what were the new topics that are going to be tested especially the information technology part of the BEC exam.
So I was, and also the main course provider, they were, you know, kind enough to provide updated material. And also I had updated my SuperfastCPA version as well for the 2021 study material. And in that way, the BEC material was pretty much updated. And on the exam day, I didn’t find it surprising,
like I was, you know, it went actually well for me but I think the task-based simulations were kind of, you know, tricky. And the written communication tests that was okay. I actually get one hour of time in order to complete written communication in testlet because of that requires that much time because they’re not used to the keyboard which the test center provides us.
And that there are a lot of factors that we actually don’t think that come into the picture while getting the exam. And so I, you know, got around one hour for the written communication test. And I was, uh, I was not that confident after getting BEC exam because of the simulations, but I felt that the WCTs were, you know, the key which, which helped me clear the exam.
Nate: Sorry, the, what were the key?
Rolwin: The written communication testlet, the last testlet.
“As an Indian student, it seems to be very new”
Nate: Oh, okay. And then, so now that you’re studying for REG, how are you finding that material? Is that really difficult or it’s just like anything else you’re just learning it and it’s really not that difficult? It’s just taking time to get through it all?
Rolwin: Actually, right material is kind of, I dunno for me as an Indian student, it seems to be very new.
And, uh, and I’m finding it difficult right now because there are a lot of sections and, uh, yeah, right know I’m just slowly going through the material trying to understand. So I still have to end up months of time to prepare for it.
However, office work is also there, so just I’m trying to balance.
Nate: Yeah, I would say on REG, especially you want to focus on what you’re seeing in the questions, because what what’s easy to happen on REG, is when you start thinking about things, especially with tax questions, you will think of how it connects to other tax rules.
And it might be like a, an exception or you think it might be an exception, I guess basically what I’m saying is, restrict yourself to the explanations per question, instead of seeing a question, thinking about it and then thinking, okay, I need to go back to that entire lesson or, you know, look up how this connects with these other tax rules
I’m kind of familiar with, just try to like, keep it simple and confine your yourself to the explanations given for each question. Because typically the questions, they won’t get that complicated as in really trying to test if you’re thinking of this other exception like that comes into real practice
if you were actually doing tax research for clients but, hopefully that’s not confusing, but it’s easy to, it’s easy to confuse yourself and make it more complicated than it really is, is basically what I’m what I’m saying for REG.
Rolwin Recommended to Speak to People Who Already Got their Exams
Rolwin: Oh, okay. Okay. Okay. That’s what I’m just trying to go to the syllabus right now. And also I would like to you know, just help the audience whoever is watching that speaking to people have already given their exam as to how they experience was. It is very much important because as a candidate getting the exam for the first time, it is very important to have the experience talks who have already given their exam.
The tips are very important from all the candidates. It’ll help you very much during your exams. So I recommend that, uh, the candidates who were watching this to speak with people have already given the exam and try and get that experience before they get their CPA exams.
Nate: Yeah. And that’s, uh, that’s one thing that sometimes like at my firm when I started and all of us new hires were studying for the exams, we would talk about it, but it would always be like, did you pass? Like, it was almost kind of a pride thing. It seemed like, like almost you didn’t want to, I don’t know,
talk a ton about your process. I mean, maybe it wasn’t like that, but it kind of, there was some element of that. Like, you know, it was very much a pride thing. Like who’s passed, who’s passed the fastest. Um, and then some people didn’t even didn’t want to say they were taking an exam that weekend in case they failed.
Cause then they know you’d get asked about it. Anyways. Yeah. But I think that’s a good point. Just asking and then also people that have taken it hopefully just being helpful about whatever tips they have.
Rolwin’s Tips for Students Trying to Figure Out Their Study Process
Nate: So, so that’s kinda, that’s kind of getting to my last question. Um, so even if it’s something we already talked about, what would you say your main top two or three tips are for people who are still trying to figure out their own study process?
Rolwin: Yeah. So if I have to, you know, give tips or, you know, since I’ve given my CPA exams, so I am experienced enough to slightly the new candidates who are going to get their exam. So I would say that getting into the material every day, day in and day out is key. You shouldn’t skip a day of study because if you skip the day and then you lose the momentum, it’s very hard to get back. Momentum is key. And, uh, revisit, revising the topics whatever we studied earlier.
And I think that, yeah, I forgot to mention the set of 30 questions which you reiterate every now and then, I used to do that. I used to keep in mind that doing that set of 30 questions every day, even after I do my new material because that’ll help us retain the material that we had already studied before.
So that is very important and flashcards, I would recommend a PowerPoint slides, maybe that is a new thing to the audience who who are listening to them. The PowerPoint slides definitely helped.
Nate: Yeah. I would say the main three things that I always talk about is obviously like going through the new lessons. That’s just obvious, like you have to do that. That’s you have to go through all the material and then to retain the information, retain that material and always build on the, your understanding. Those three things are the daily set of 30, because that solves a lot of problems in advance. That helps you get good at answering multiple choice questions just in general, so that you can get through them pretty quickly on test day, and then having some form of putting
the topics that you struggle with in your own words, like you said. The third thing is just using the study tools from your phone because we all have a phone. We look at it all day long and if you’re going through this process, you’re putting in the time and money and effort to try and pass these exams, you might as well just be always working on it even in five minute chunks. So…
Nate: Well, yeah, Rolwin, it was awesome to meet you. I appreciate you doing the call and, uh, we’ve actually had, I actually get requests for, because there’s more and more Indian CPA candidates, obviously. Like, I mean, you’re an example of that. So I’ve had I get requests like do, do more interviews because I think, I think so far we’ve only had one interview.
Did you see that? Did you, have you heard that interview with, um, I can’t remember his name. Do you remember hearing one of our podcasts interviews with another Indian candidate?
Rolwin: I think I have like on Spotify. I had come across, I think that Indian candidate but I didn’t listen to that, but since I had to get through this interview, right.
So I had made it a point to just go to the recent podcast but I think I had come across that person’s name but even I don’t remember.
Nate: And which one was that? I’m just looking at the podcast right now. Well, I know it’s on there. I can’t see it. We have a lot at this point we have like over 60, I think we have like 65 interviews.
Well, yeah, again, it was great to meet you. I’m glad our study tools could help. Yeah, let me know how, what is it REG? Let us know how REG goes. Oh, cause you’ve been posting in the forums, right?
Rolwin: Yes. Yes, I actually, and also one more motivating fact that I had was, uh, I, I really wanted to share my success with everyone.
And I had decided that if I clear my exam, I will definitely post it on the SuperfastCPA forum. And that was actually some sort of a motivating factor for me because, you know, once I clear, I immediately went ahead and posted my results on the SuperfastCPA forum, even that was motivating to me.
Nate: Yeah, and that’s what’s nice about being part of a part of a group, you know, the, having a forum like that or whatever it is, a lot of people are starting to say because we’ve had the podcast for like a year, a year and a half now. We, we just get, we get people reaching out to us, wanting to be on the podcast and they say stuff like once I heard your podcast, it was like my goal to pass so that I could be on your podcast. And so yeah, just those kinds of factors like whatever, whatever helps motivate you, you know? Awesome.
Okay. So that was the interview with Rolwin. I’m sure you found that very helpful and very motivating.
Nate: If you do find these interviews helpful, these take a lot of time, if you think through what this takes to do these interviews, it takes a lot of time to get with our customers, line up our schedules, get on these interviews, record them, edit them, publish them. So if you’re finding these useful, I would just ask you two things.
Please take a second to find the podcast in the podcast app where you listen to these, whether it’s on apple podcasts or actually don’t think you can leave reviews on Spotify. Not really sure cause I don’t use Spotify for podcasts, but I know that a lot of listeners use Spotify podcasts. So if you can leave a review, do that as well.
But basically if you’re finding these helpful, please take a second to leave a rating and a review. It obviously really helps and it’s a free way to support these free interviews. The second thing would be to just share an episode or the podcast in general with someone you know who is also working on their CPA exams.
My opinion is that these interviews, getting to hear the full experience that somebody goes through and all these different perspectives and all the different things these different people have struggled with, figured out, mistakes they were making, their breakthroughs then the things that were really working. These interviews are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for anyone trying to figure out their own CPA study process.
So thank you for watching or listening, and we will see you on the next episode.