In this episode, you’ll hear how Sophie used SuperfastCPA along with Becker to cruise through the CPA exams without spending tons of time watching video lectures. You’ll hear her study strategies for approaching the MCQs and simulations, and how she structured her daily study process while working full-time. She has a ton of great info to share, so don’t miss this episode!
Table of Contents
- Learn our “ultra-efficient” CPA study methods here…
- Enter the free podcast giveaway…
- See CPA score release dates here…
- How to study for the CPA exams…
- 00:00 Sophie Interview
- 02:49 Sophie’s CPA Journey
- 05:56 “Third time is a charm…”
- 10:34 Sophie’s Process for Using the Questions to Learn a Topic
- 14:56 Doing the Daily Set of Rereview MCQs
- 16:00 Her Study Routine at Night
- 17:28 Working Through the Simulations
- 19:21 How Sophie Used the SFCPA Study Tools
- 21:56 “You don’t truly know something unless you can explain it to someone else..”
- 23:56 Sophie’s Final Review Process Before Exam Day
- 27:27 Three Tips for People Currently Studying
SuperfastCPA Reviews: Sophie’s Story
Sophie: And I told him I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t get married or like, wouldn’t even talk about marriage until I pass my CPAs. Like that was, I’m like, don’t talk to me about this, even though it is like something that that’s good and something that we both want, like don’t, don’t bring it up.
Nate: Welcome to episode 91 of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate and in today’s interview you’re going to hear me talk with Sophie. Now, Sophie in her interview there’s not a huge backstory where she struggled with the exams for years because she had found SuperfastCPA and had our program and started with our study strategies from the beginning.
So her study process went pretty smoothly and she just worked her way through the four exams. So this interview is more technical where we pretty much get straight into the strategies, how she applied them on a daily basis, why they worked and you know a little bit of the, uh, the philosophy behind the strategies and why they work so well.
So regardless of where you’re at in your own CPA study journey you will find this interview very helpful and informative because it’s just so heavy on just the strategies what works what to avoid and what to spend your time doing.
So before we get into the interview, I just need to mention two things. First, you know what I’m going to say at this point, our free study training. As you’ll hear on Sophie’s interview, that is what she started with, our free study training webinars. I don’t care how long you’ve been studying or how much you think you know about the study process.
If you are struggling at all or even if you don’t think that you’re struggling, watching one of those free one hour trainings you will have at least three to four light bulbs go off as to how your process could be much more effective. And if you feel completely lost and overwhelmed then that training will be a complete revelation to you.
So to sign up for one of those free webinars, just go to our main site at superfastcpa.com or the link will be in the description whether you’re reading the description on your podcast app or watching this on YouTube.
The second thing would be to sign up for our free podcast giveaway. Each month we give away three pairs of Powerbeat Pro headphones to three of our listeners that have entered the giveaway. It’s just your name and email. You can find the link down in the description as well.
All right so with that being said let’s get into the interview with Sophie.
Nate: So the only thing I remember from your, your note or you kind of just said you did the CPA back in 2019, is that right?
And then do you just, you just still get our emails. You’re just on the customer list still.
Sophie: Yeah. Just on the customer list.
Sophie: You know I’m not subscribing to things but I’m like, “Uh, it’ll probably come in handy at some point”.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m excited to hear your story or how it went.
Sophie’s CPA Journey
Nate: So on that note, um, let’s just start from the beginning. When you started studying, what were you doing? What were you using and what was it like?
Sophie: Yeah. Awesome. So, uh, during school I interviewed with a bunch of firms that ended up landing a spot at Deloitte. And so they offered like the full Becker package with the videos, the, the like physical manuals and different things like that. And, um, it was just kind of like overwhelming to take all that in.
I didn’t really know where to start. I had heard from other friends and coworkers that had taken the exams, like you should start with- I was in tax. I got my masters of taxation. So they’re like, you should probably start with REG, um, just cause you’re more familiar with that. Uh, and then maybe move into FAR next just because, you know, get the harder ones out of the way first, but I don’t know.
I just, I didn’t feel like I had enough knowledge to go off of. And so it kind of just like kept pushing it off, pushing it off. Um, and I had all this study materials for probably six months before I found SuperfastCPA. And I can’t remember how I even found you guys. I think it may have been like an ad on Facebook or something like a video that just popped up.
It’s now what it is. I’m kind of a sucker for things like that. So I just like, I was like, oh yeah, I’ll- I’ll see what’s going on. And so, um, clicked on the video and it was just kinda like, this was my story and, uh, all the people that I had talked to was like get through all the material because it’s, uh, the test is a mile wide, but an inch deep.
So you need to know a little bit about everything. And I feel like your, um, the video that I saw and I think it was you on there was just like, you know, I didn’t do everything. And I was like, okay, like, this might be my jam then. Um, so I, you know, hook, line and sink, hook, line, and sinker. You got me in, um, purchased the study materials and then, uh, read through the introduction manual.
I think it was just like a couple of pages. It wasn’t like that big. And, um, just kinda like your mentality behind it and like how you went about it and yeah, totally got me. So I followed your study pattern. I woke up at 5:00 AM every morning, popped a diet Pepsi and just got studying and then went to work.
So at this time I was working, it was actually like fall busy season. And so it was brutal but, um, would study from like 5:00 to 7:00. Get ready for work, head to work, get home at like 9:00, study from 9:00 to 10:30 or whatever. Um, REG went pretty fast just because again, like I just got my master’s in it, so stuff was pretty familiar.
So yeah. Took REG, passed it fine. And then just like, yeah. Moved on to audit and did what you said. I only did the multiple choice. I didn’t do, you know, all the videos cause those are so cheesy and they kinda like irritated me a little bit. They weren’t helpful. I was like, this is not super helpful.
And when it came to the test, you were a hundred percent right. Like all the questions, um, were variations of the questions that were in the study materials. I mean, they changed the numbers which changed the answer but essentially like the formula behind it was the same and definitions were exactly the same.
So yeah, I thought it was super helpful.
“Third time is a charm…”
Nate: So audit you, you passed your first time without, just doing that?
Sophie: Um, so audit was actually kind of user error. I had to like reschedule a few exams because my husband’s cousin ended up getting married. And so we wanted to go and I had scheduled, I think it was audit for that weekend. And so, um, we rescheduled stuff.
And I thought that I moved my audit test to a Monday. And so I like took work off that day, studied and everything. And I showed up to the testing center and was checking in and they were like, we don’t have you on our list. And she’s like, well, that’s weird. Like, oh, what happened? You know, come to find out.
I had scheduled it for the Saturday before, and I feel like that’s like, not in character for me. So it was super weird. But anyways, so I ended up missing my audit exam and then scheduled it for, and I felt so prepared. Like I felt so prepared for that exam. And then I ended up moving it after I took BEC just to like keep the continuity and stuff.
Yeah. And I think by that time I was like, oh, I should just need a refresher. Like I won’t really need to do too much studying. And so when I actually showed up for my, when I showed up for that next exam, I ended up failing that one. I just was not prepared at all. I feel like all of that just kind of binge and purge mentality and it was just purge.
So I um, yeah, we went through all the study material again like fully this time, as far as like all the multiple choice, all the chapters and then passed it that the, the third, third time’s a charm.
Nate: Yeah. That’s so, so when you miss it, um, when you dismiss the exam, you just, what happens? Did you, did you hear anything from pro metric or did they like you just get a zero or how do they even, I’ve never heard, I’ve never heard that.
Sophie: Well, I’m glad to be here. Glad to be hear first.
Nate: I’m sure it happens a lot but…
Sophie: They didn’t reach out at all and say like, Hey, where are you at? Or anything like that. Um, uh, I think they did it. They marked it like as an incomplete, like I just didn’t even take the test. Yeah. And so, um, but I still had to, I had to- It just take me back. Um, I think I had to reach out to someone to say, like, what happened?
Like someone within the testing center cause they don’t like when people just don’t show up. Um, and then I had to pay for the testing again. So that was kind of a bummer just to, to repay for it and everything. And then I had to wait. There’s like a, oh man, what do they call it? Like a-
Nate: You got a new NTS?
Sophie: Yes exactly the how to get the new NTS and everything. And then, um, so just took a little bit and I think I was kind of discouraged.
Nate: Yeah. I mean, yeah, that would be, yeah, that would be annoying. Um, well, yeah, so why I was asking is if someone has never worked in audit then audit a lot of times is one of the harder exams because it’s, uh, it’s just really specific to auditing obviously.
And a lot of it sounds the same. It’s very, uh, boring, you know, to try and learn it in like textbook format and you’ve never worked in audit. So I was just surprised you, you know, you passed it without, uh, watching the videos or reading the text really.
Sophie: Yeah. I think like the acronyms really caught me up and I passed with like a, what was like it- 76? So, I mean like just, just barely. Yeah. Um, but yeah, the acronyms threw me off and I feel like their answer choices were all so similar. I was just like, this is, this is ridiculous. And audit was definitely my worst class in college too. And that’s probably why I didn’t go into audit cause I was like, I don’t like this at all.
Nate: Yeah. That makes sense. Um, and so then, so your BEC, did you pass that? Cause you moved on from audit to BEC.
Sophie: The rest of them passed, no problem. I should not say no problem. The rest of them I passed. And so, yeah, I think my score progressively got lower and lower as they went down but I was like, I don’t need anything higher than the 75.
Sophie: This is great.
Nate: So you did, did you do FAR last or was it REG and then FAR? Oh, I see.
Sophie: REG, FAR, BEC, Audit. Although I had those switched in my mind but yeah.
Nate: Nice. Um, so you said you, you, you kind of mentioned this, but would you basically just follow the study format? I’m guessing in 2019, we would have called our strategy videos, the like the study hacks course. Does that sound familiar?
Sophie: Yeah. Yeah, totally.
Sophie’s Process for Using the Questions to Learn a Topic
Nate: So the two hours in the morning, um, you would just kind of do that format, go through the questions first for new lessons, kind of get an idea of well, and that’s, that’s helpful to other people. If you can remember that far back, what was your actual process for using the questions to kind of learn a topic?
How did you actually do that?
Sophie: Yeah. Great question. Um, that is taking me back. I think I just jumped into, well, no, cause you guys had like really good summaries of each, uh.
Nate: The review notes?
Sophie: So I think I went over those first. I like went over the, the binder of information first, uh, and then just jumped straight into Becker’s multiple choice questions.
And then we’ll just go through them. And I didn’t really care whether I was right or wrong because they provide that explanation at the bottom. And so then I would just read through all the explanations with the question. And, uh, I can’t remember if I, I don’t think I made study cards, but I think I had like a note pad in front of me.
And then if anything just like wasn’t clicking like if I kept getting the same question wrong, then I would like write it down. And for some reason, I think I’m like a visual learners. So like writing it, seeing it, helps me to absorb it a little bit better. Um, and so, yeah, I would just write it down and then I would just keep going through that same multiple choice section.
Cause they have like the different chapters and then within those chapters or the sections. And so I would like go through those sections until I’d gotten like a hundred percent, um right. Maybe like five times in a row. And then I would move on to the next section and then match that up with your guys’s, um, study notes.
And then same thing, just like keep going through and make notes if anything doesn’t didn’t make sense or wasn’t really quite clicking. Uh, and then, and then at some point I feel like I just accepted the answers that they gave at the same time. I’m just like, okay. If the answer to this question is this, I don’t necessarily need to know the theory behind it.
I just need to get the answer right.
Nate: No, I mean, there’s a lot of, you know, Uh, strategy in that basically. Cause that’s kind of what our, my whole approach was how do I learn? How do I just figure out how to get a passing score? Like in as least time spent as possible. And so it’s like, okay, on test day, I’m going to see these multiple choice and then these simulations.
And so I’m just going to kind of use those from the review course. And because anyways, without getting into the whole thing, lessons, you know, cover everything but then the questions really just ask about maybe three or four things from that whole lesson. And so, yeah, I just, it just was like way faster way of doing it.
Um, so, so that was a good overview. So you would, you would click through the questions, not caring about whether you’re getting them right or wrong because obviously you’ve never seen the topic. And that’s, that is an idea. That’s, it’s really hard for people to grasp that. Where, when I say like, listen, you’re using the questions when you go through, when you go through it first as a learning tool, just like the video, you know, but people have this hangup with like, well, no, if I’m going to do the questions, I need to like, be getting them right.
And, you know, it’s like, okay, you got to, you will learn faster if you can kind of set that aside, that mentality of, yeah.
Sophie: And I think that’s hard for accountants because we’re perfectionist type people and we most likely did pretty well in school. And you like to see those passing scores or like high scores or whatever.
Um, but it’s hard to just be like, just forget about it. Just learn, learn the material.
Nate: Okay. Yeah. So you would, you would click through the questions and maybe take some notes, just see how, you know, maybe read the question like, okay, for this, this is how the calculation is done. And then once you kind of felt like you understood it, you would then start the questions over and try to actually answer them?
That’s a really good, uh, yeah.
Sophie: Yeah. Just like memorization tools. So and then probably would ended up going through them like six times, which might be excessive. I don’t know. But, um, that may not work for everybody but that was kind of something that I was like, okay, this is what mistaken and whatnot.
Doing the Daily Set of Rereview MCQs
Nate: Uh, and then would you do the, um, like a daily set of rereview questions pulled from everything or…
Sophie: Yeah, totally. Okay. I think, well, I think it was like once I got to the end of the chap rule. Yeah. Right. Because they do have those questions as far as you’ve made it, they’ll have like questions that line up with what you had, right? This is terrible.
Nate: No, well no. It’s yeah. Cause it was like three years ago if 2019. But so, uh, one of the main things we, that are in those videos is to, um, you do your first. 90 minutes, you know, going through the questions first, like you described. And then the last 30 minutes of the two hours would be you generate a set of 30 from all the chapters you’ve previously been through.
Sophie: Yes. Totally. Yes. And then that would keep you up on like past things. So that way it’s not just, you know, you learn this chapter really well, and then you move on to the next one and you forget it. I feel like our school system has taught us to do that really well. Yeah.
Her Study Routine at Night
Nate: Yeah. Okay. So you would do that. And then you also mentioned you would study at night for an hour or an hour and a half.
What would you do at night?
Sophie: Just multiple choice. That’s all I did was that multiple choice. If there was something that like that I thought I should learn the theory a little bit better. I would go into the textbook into Becker and just read through it. Um, I didn’t really waste my time too much. I’ve like I said with the videos because I felt like they were kind of slow.
Um, and you can’t just like click right to the point. Like if I wanted to learn, oh man. Yeah. I can’t even remember what was on that. That’s like some yeah,, very specific subtopic. You can’t just click right to it. So then I would just go to the Becker manual, um, because essentially those videos are then reading off the manual and I would just read through it a couple of times until I felt like I understood that a little bit better.
Um, and then would move on, uh, yeah, just a lot of multiple choice. And that’s what I’ve told people that I work with. Uh, Moab is kind of a funny office. There’s a lot of people that join the office as like an accounting services member. So they’re just like doing accounting for different businesses in town and they don’t have their degree yet.
So then they start going to school, they get their degree, then they do their masters all while working, and then they start studying all while working. And they have families, they’re a little bit older, like not your traditional straight out of college kids. And so that’s what I’ve told them.
I’m like, just do the multiple choice. Like that’s all you need to do. And, uh, I don’t know if they quite believe me, but honestly it works.
Working Through the Simulations
Nate: Yeah. I know a lot of people really want to torture themselves and watch every video and read the chapter. Um, what about the practice SIMS though? I’m assuming you did those at least a little bit or how did you work those into your process?
Sophie: Yeah, so I did those for um, REG and FAR at the beginning. I heard a lot about BEC is just like writing and I’ve always felt really confident in my writing. So as long as I could make a point, then I felt okay with that. Um, but then I realized that like the SIMS in, like it was just kind of a, a coin toss, what you were going to get, like it may line up exactly
or you may get something that you’ve kind of seen before, and it may be something that you’re just like, have no idea. Um, and I felt like the multiple choice really helped with those two cause you kind of know like the backbone of the answers, at least. Uh, and so sometimes I don’t want to say like, I just want those but more like we have a novel, like I kind of just want it and…
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. I mean a lot, a lot of people say that and it does. I think when you spend, when you spend the majority of your well going back, what, what, what most people do to study and they don’t realize like if you divided up their time and percentages, if you watch the whole video, read the chapter and then kind of looked, you know, do the practice questions.
You’re really spending like 60 to 80% of your time in like presentation, you’re learning topics in presentation format instead of like in question format. But when you spend most of your time doing the questions like you were saying, you do, you just, you learn the material or the topics in the context of questions and it makes the, the SIMS way easier.
How Sophie Used the SFCPA Study Tools
Nate: Even if you haven’t really spent a ton of time on practice SIMS specifically. Yeah. That’s a good point. Um, during the day, would you use our study tools at all from your phone or you just kind of stuck to the morning and night?
Sophie: Primarily to the morning and night, just because it was busy season. So during the day we just didn’t have quite the time.
And I think it was my first busy season. So that on top of it, it was just a fire hose of how to use the software that we had, how to, um, cause you come out of your master’s program, you’re like, oh, I feel so confident. And then you actually get in the workforce and you’re like, this is nothing like, this is completely backwards.
Um, and so, yeah, so I feel in the day it was just kind of a I don’t have time, but, um, sometimes during lunch I would pull stuff up, but often during the day I just didn’t quite have the time.
Nate: Yeah, you’re just working. Um, but you also, you said you would read the notes before you kind of jumped into the chapter or the questions, first thing, I know a lot of people say that as well, even though I’ve started telling people to do that because I, I kept hearing that on these interviews. but I was never really, that wasn’t like part of our videos back then at least. I would just tell people, no, just read the notes throughout the day or whenever you have time. It’s just kind of a refresher type thing but a lot of people say that they do exactly what you said.
Sophie: And I think it’s just to kind of like, get your head on straight or I dunno, kind of get like a heads up of what you’re going to be talking about. Um, I do remember now like thinking back when I was, I’m trying to think, my commute to work was probably 45 minutes, no traffic at that time. Um, so in the morning, like during Phoenix rush hour which is not really that bad, uh, it could take like upwards to an hour to get there.
So I do remember listening to the podcast version or like the audio reading?
Nate: The audio notes? Yeah.
Sophie: Um, yes, the audio notes. Just because, uh, it’s just again like reiterating stuff. Uh, I can’t believe I forgot that. So I did listen to those a lot just to kill the time and yeah, whatnot.
Nate: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s boring, but you know, if you do that daily, that’s like an extra hour and a half of just exposure.
And it just that over whatever six to eight weeks is like an extra 50, maybe a hundred hours. Um, just time you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Sophie: And you don’t have to be looking at anything. So while mindlessly driving it’s perfect and sitting in traffic, like what else am I gonna do?
“You don’t truly know something unless you can explain it to someone else..”
Nate: Right, yeah. And you said that so another kind of core strategy and you kind of mentioned it, when you ran into something that you kept forgetting or struggled to understand or whatever you would just kind of write it down in your own words, make notes, even though you didn’t do actual note or a flashcards, but you had some form of doing that practice basically.
Sophie: Yeah. And then I would review those sometimes too like if I came back to that question, I would look at my notes again. Um, but yeah, that was pretty much the extent of like making note cards, quote unquote. Um, I don’t think it could really qualify those as them, but note cards never really worked for me in school anyways.
Like I remember even back in high school, like all the kids with note cards during in chemistry and different things, and that strategy never super worked for me. Um, more just like taking notes on a piece of paper it was helpful. So yeah, if note cards worked for somebody else, I would highly suggest that but that was never really my jam.
Nate: Right? Yeah. The, I think the point is just some way of things that you, again, things that you’ve struggled to understand or remember you write it out in some way and it just that’s way different than what a lot of people do is they’ll miss questions and then they read the explanation that’s just there on the screen or whatever.
And just think, oh yeah, I just, I forgot that. But writing it out, putting it kind of in your own words, it just does something it’s like one level above ineffectiveness, you know, to try and remember something you keep missing.
Sophie: It’s kind of like when they say you don’t truly know something unless you can explain it to someone else. Cause almost like you explaining it to yourself in a way.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. In those videos, I say like, literally if it’s something you keep missing, like stop, explain it out loud to yourself as if you’re until like, just keep talking until it like clicks and that’s what you write down and it’s just you’ll have it after that.
Sophie’s Final Review Process Before Exam Day
Nate: How did you treat the last few days before an exam? Like your final review process?
Sophie: Yeah, multiple choice, man. Um, I think I would generate those 30 questions, uh, packages. I can’t even think of what they call them, oh like all the previous chapters.
So it can be anything from chapter one through, I think it was like, what 15 chapters of FAR or REG, for example, I can’t remember. Um, and just 30, 30 at a time and would just crank through those as much as possible. Um, and then tried to relax a lot. I think like the hype like getting into these tests, it’s so stressful.
It’s so stressful. You feel like your livelihood depends on it. Cause it’s, it kinda does. Um, and so just like taking time to just relax a little bit, because if you’re all hyped up, uh, you’re not going to do as well. Your brain just like won’t, you know, make those connections. So I tried to relax quite a bit.
Um, Not to take things too seriously, and then just 30, 30 at a time, just crank the them and then for speed too. Cause I think that’s a big factor of the test is like you have all these things you have to do, but it’s only at a certain amount of time. Um, so just like you see keywords in a question and you know what that answer is.
So just click that answer and move through and then if I’m missing those questions cause if I remember right, the 30 questions, uh, accumulated ones didn’t give you like the explanation to the end. Like, I don’t think it would tell you a right or wrong at the minute. Right. Okay. Um, and so once I was on those 30, read through, even if I got it right.
Read through the explanation, and even I see that question a million times read through the explanation, just to, I mean, the more, the more you see it, the more it sticks, so..
Nate: Right. Yeah. And I was just gonna say that the, uh, the time aspect, those sets of 30, they just, they solve a lot of problems in advance.
obviously the exposure to exactly what you’re going to be doing on test day. And that’s one of the best ways to try and deal with exam anxiety in advance because if you’re just really comfortable with sets of 30, then it’s just not, it’s not going to be something that stresses you out on test day.
And then second, the fact that the SIMS like you said, are kind of a coin toss. You might see something that just the way that it’s set up is something you’ve never seen in your practice SIMS. And the number one thing you can do for yourself on test day for the SIMS is to be done with the multiple choice as quick as possible.
And so those sets of 30 help you just get fast, just like you said. Yeah.
Sophie: Totally. Yeah. And I think something that helped me with stress anxiety to do this is separate from SuperfastCPA but just making sure, obviously this didn’t happen with the first time I took audit but making sure I had all my ducks in a line, like I had all my stuff printed out,
I had all my identity, uh, like my ID cards or license and passport and different things like in a folder ready to go. So that way, when I showed up I am just like pass my folder across the counter to whoever’s checking me in. And you know, I didn’t have to worry about that side of things cause it’s kind of stressful, like sitting there in the lobby and do I have everything I need because the instructions on the test are like, you don’t have this, you can’t test and that’s just kind of gives you anxiety thinking about it too.
So just make sure you have everything you need ready to go.
Nate: Yeah. That place the testing centers intense, like fingerprint you when you go to the bathroom and- I just, I never went to the bathroom for that. I’m like, I’m not doing this whole process and just making sure I can just sit for four hours, but yeah.
Three Tips for People Currently Studying
Nate: Well we kind of went through everything. Anything else that we didn’t cover or even if we covered it, if you just summed up your top three tips for people that are still studying, what would you say?
Sophie: Yeah, I remember another point that you made was like having a reward at the end.
Nate: Oh yes. You mentioned that I was going to ask you. Okay, go ahead.
Sophie: Yeah, that was super helpful. I didn’t, well, okay. So while I was studying and stuff, my husband and I weren’t actually married at the time but we were dating and kind of getting to the point where we were like, we should get married, you know, we’ve been dating for a year and a half and so that’s just like the next step, you know?
Um, and I told him I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t get married or like, wouldn’t even talk about marriage until I pass my CPAs. Like that was, I’m like, don’t talk to me about this, even though it is like something that that’s good and something that we both want, like don’t, don’t bring it up. Um, and so yeah. Give yourself a goal whether it, or a reward.
I think yours was golf clubs. Is that right? Yeah. Or something? Yeah, whether it’s like a financial purchase, a trip, um, your next stage in life, like just knuckle down and like, put that on your bathroom mirror, put it in your bedroom, on your door. Just like have that everywhere cause your, these tests won’t last forever, even though they seem like they will.
And so put in the time, even if you have to miss a couple of social events, even if you have to stay up late or wake up early, um, just you know, keep reminding yourself like at the end of this, there will be something so good that comes. I think I also was like, we’re going to go to Hawaii after I pass and that didn’t happen.
But the thought of going was like super motivating to keep studying, keep studying.
Nate: So what did you, what did you actually do? Did you put pictures of stuff, like you said, or around your house? Or what, like what kind of visual reminders did you use?
Sophie: I used Hawaii because that was an easier one then like, I don’t know, they were just kind of questioning but yeah, totally put pictures of Hawaii.
My parents, or my mom’s from Hawaii. And so I like had texted my cousins, I was like, I’m coming to visit you. And like would just kind of in my mind like prepared a trip. Um, and yeah, had literal printouts it like Hawaii 20- 2020. Cause it would’ve been the 20, which obviously wouldn’t have happened anyways.
But, um, it was like the end of 2019, I ended up passing and so we wouldn’t have been able to go to up to 2020, but yeah, it was, that was a super motivating, like do it for Hawaii, man. Do it for Hawaii.
Nate: So and then the other part, is that what you guys did, you, you got married after you waited and then set up your whole wedding and planned everything after you were done?
Sophie: That’s pretty much how the, how the cards fell in place. I think like the funny thing is, so let me think how this one. I failed audit. So I’m taking my last test, right? I had taken audit, I missed audit and then I had taken it actually taking the test for the first time and the one that I failed,
and so right after I’d ever taken it my husband’s still, or boyfriend’s still at the time, he started talking to me, he’s like, okay, you’ve taken all your tests. We just start talking about getting married. I’m like, no, I want to wait for the results comes out. Totally, I failed. And I was so mad. I’m so mad. Um, but yeah, I meant, he was like, okay, I respect that you just need to make this one final push and like pass and whatnot.
And then after that, um, that’s when we ended up getting engaged and everything. So..
Nate: I mean, that’s yeah. I mean, practically speaking, that’s just a good idea too, I guess, because trying to plan weddings and stuff with just kind of what this requires, especially if you’re working full time, it really kind of takes up most of your time outside of work, that would just be hard.
Sophie: Totally, and we don’t have kids yet, but I know people that studied with kids and if you can do it before you have kids, I mean, I think that that would be all the better.
Nate: Right? Yep. Yeah. On one interview, I just did, um, like we’ve had several people with, you know, full on families that have been on the interview or been on the podcast and stuff.
And now having two kids, I did it before we had kids but yeah, it’s just, when I did it, it was more of a, uh, I’m just kind of sacrificing my hobbies or whatever I would normally do, you know, or sleep, I guess cause I studied in the mornings. And it’s just like a personal discipline thing. But when you have kids, you know, they don’t care that it’s like, hey, you can’t be up right now
cause I’m trying to study. If they wake up at five, you just like, they have to be dealt with, like it’s just totally different thing. It’s not just you making the choice to sit down and study yeah. Way harder.
Sophie: But anyways, so top three, do the multiple choice, have a reward at the end. Um, relax and get yourself ready before the test. That would be top three.
Nate: Yeah, the relax, actually those last two, I think a lot of people that are just starting would kind of scoff at those ideas like, you know, the motivational tactics, like what are you, what are you talking about? It’s like, okay, well start start doing this for a few weeks. And you’ll quickly realize that it’s hard to just like, keep your head in the game type thing.
And then yeah, anxiety. I get so many emails about that. Like how do I just like, I score good when I’m studying at home. I go to the testing center and just freak out. And so yeah, it is, it’s a huge thing to just kind of however that has to happen, just calm yourself down.
Sophie: Yeah. And I think I remember my very first exam. Getting there, getting sat down at the computer and like my mind just went blank and I was like, oh, this is not the time, this is not the time of mind to go blank.
So I think I took a few, not a few minutes, but definitely a few seconds. Um, I played sports like all growing up and during college and like game day, right. Game day anxiety and that’s what I kind of attributed test day to. But my coach would always say like four by four breathing. And so you like inhale for four, hold it for four exhale for four, hold it for four.
And just doing that, like, I think I did it probably five or six times gave myself a second and then was like, okay, now I’m ready to start. And you know, things came back as like questions came up and you’re like, okay, I feel comfortable now. But yeah, even when you’re there at the testing center, just kind of like, you know, to take a second, breathe it’s game day. You gotta, yeah, you gotta perform.
Nate: Yeah. I mean, that’s a very, uh, like very simple but practical tip for people that yeah to just take a second. So you would do that as you you’ve already sat down at the actual station and your time has started and you’re just like okay, I just got to take 30 seconds type thing?
Sophie: Yeah. And only really if like it was, I think it was only on that first test, maybe midway through a couple other tests, like even sitting down for an hour and a half and you know, you’re just like, oh my gosh, when will this be over? But I don’t have enough time for it to be over yet.
And you’re kind of feeling those nerves and just like, take a second, breathe. I think those 30 seconds wasted will actually like pay off a ton more than just trying to push through and push through. Yeah.
Nate: Yeah. Awesome. All right, Sophie. Well, yeah, I appreciate you doing the call. Uh, people find these, people find these really, really helpful, you know, just now that we have almost a hundred of these interviews.
Uh, we just get, yeah, we get a lot of feedback about just the podcast itself, how helpful hearing other people’s stories are. So I’m glad you found us back in 2019 and that it seemed to help and yeah. Congrats on being done.
Sophie: Totally. Thank you. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. This was fun to relive some, some accomplishing moments, right?
So that was the interview with Sophie. Like I said, I’m sure you found that very informative especially since we got so specific on the different strategies and what works what to avoid all that kind of stuff. So again if you found this episode helpful, take a second and share this with someone you know who is also working on their CPA exams because these interviews are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for someone trying to pass their CPA exams.
And if you haven’t yet make sure to sign up for one of our free study training webinars and then show up at the time you signed up for and invest the one hour. It’s completely free. You will have several “Aha” moments as you go through that training and see how the strategies fit together and how it will make your process much much more effective and efficient.
So thanks for listening or watching and we’ll see you on the next episode.