In this SuperfastCPA reviews episode, you’ll hear Victoria’s CPA exam story that came with several challenges.
For many people, the thought of studying for the CPA exam is daunting enough. But for Victoria, there was an extra challenge: she was pregnant during the study process, along with already having an 18-month old. Despite the morning sickness and fatigue that came with her pregnancy, Victoria was determined to pass the exam. She fought through morning sickness and still managed to fit in her study sessions before work, and used the SuperfastCPA study tools throughout the day. In the end, all her hard work paid off. She passed her fourth exam just in time for baby #2 to arrive. For anyone facing a challenging situation while studying for the CPA exam, Victoria’s story will provide a lot of motivation and inspiration.
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 SuperfastCPA Reviews with Victoria
- 3:42 Victoria’s Career Background
- 6:44 Beginning of Victoria’s CPA Journey
- 9:07 Using Surgent as Her Main Review Course
- 10:17 Victoria’s Thoughts on Adaptive CPA Review Software
- 13:15 Dealing with Morning Sickness During the Study Process
- 14:40 Victoria’s Daily Study Routine
- 18:47 Going 4 for 4 on the Exams
- 20:27 How Victoria’s Study Process Evolved
- 25:30 “I didn’t think it was possible”
- 27:09 When Victoria Knew She Had the Study Process Figured Out
- 28:36 Victoria’s Actual Process for “Planting the Seeds” for a Lesson
- 32:17 Victoria’s Flashcards Process
- 35:01 Going from 11 Weeks on FAR to 4 Weeks on BEC
- 38:27 “I was actually happiest with my 3rd score…”
- 40:48 Victoria’s Final Review Process
- 42:45 Study Tips for People Currently Studying
- 48:06 Most Helpful Part of the Study Strategy
SuperfastCPA Reviews: Victoria’s Story
Victoria: That just saves so much time. I don’t know how people do it with just watching videos because when I did that for FAR, I even like watched several videos for revenue, the revenue part. And I was, I was still scoring low.
So I’m like, I’m watching all these videos and it’s not like really helping that much. But, um, yeah. So having that, that’s huge because that that’s a total shift in how you’re going to study, you know, uh, and hours and hours that you’re saving.
Welcome to episode 88 of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate and in today’s interview, you’re going to hear me talk with Victoria.
Victoria has an interesting story because she did her accounting education in a different country, moved to the U.S. and did a master’s in a different topic, found herself back working in accounting, and then realized that she wanted to finish the CPA. But she thought that with her accounting background being under a different framework, she never studied U.S. GAAP. She thought that the CPA exams might not be something that she could pass or it would be really difficult.
She thought the CPA exams might be too difficult or take too much time or that she might even have to go back to school in the U.S. The CPA exams just seemed really intimidating.
At some point, she came across this same podcast. Heard some of the success stories. Decided to watch some of our videos and get our bundle and then 10 months later, she was all done with the CPA exams.
So in this interview, you will hear Victoria’s story about how she figured that out, what parts of the study process really worked for her, how she navigated each day and at the time she was working full time. She had an 18 month and she was also pregnant. So she went through a lot of morning sickness throughout the study process. So it just wasn’t an easy road but she got her study process really nailed down. And in this interview, you will just hear the specifics of that, what each day looked like, the strategies that she used to study effectively and efficiently.
And we just get really into the details of all the different study strategies.
So before we get into the interview, I just want to mention two things. First, our free study training webinars. If you keep listening to these episodes and you have not taken the time to watch one of those, that is the absolute best place for you to start to get a really good overview or a big picture understanding of how an effective study process should work and on those trainings, we cover our study strategies in a lot of details. So you will know exactly what to do when you sit down to study each day.
You can sign up for one of those on our website at superfastcpa.com or there should be a link in the show notes or the description of this episode.
And then the second thing would be our monthly podcast giveaway. So each month we give away three pairs of Powerbeat Pro headphones to three random listeners, whether you’re a customer or not that have entered the giveaway, you can do that at superfastcpa.com/enter. Or again, the link should be in the show notes or the podcast description.
So with that being said, let’s get into the interview with Victoria.
So where are you located?
Victoria: In Chicago.
Nate: Nice. I don’t know if you’ve listened to any of the other episodes, I mean, obviously it’s one of the biggest cities but we’ve had a bunch of people from Chicago.
Victoria: Oh yeah. I have been hearing those actually. They they’ve been really encouraging for me.
Nate: Okay. So you have listened to a few of the other interviews?
Victoria: Yeah. And I did hear, I think at least one from Chicago, I don’t remember how many.
Victoria’s Career Background
Nate: So yeah, what’s kind of just a general background on you? Like where are you at in your accounting career? How long have you been doing it? Just that whole thing.
Victoria: Sure. So, um, I did actually my education in Argentina so where I was born. Um, finished my master’s degree and bachelor’s in accounting, uh, back in 2012.
And then I did, um, two years or almost two and a half years, um, in public accounting then decided to change, um, you know, paths and, uh, came to the U.S. to do a Masters in Intercultural Studies, uh, with a basis in theology. And, um, and then I worked for nonprofits doing also accounting but, you know, in nonprofits it’s very different than corporate but, uh, in 2019, I got a job in, um, in the energy industry.
So it’s been three years that I’ve been, um, working as a senior accountant.
Nate: Awesome. Okay. So you’re, so you’re not in public then?
Victoria: I am not.
Nate: Okay. And what’d you say your, was it your master’s you said a minor in theology?
Victoria: So I got my bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting but back in Argentina. So then I got a master’s in intercultural studies, um, basis in theology. Yeah.
Nate: Okay, cool. Just a, uh, religions and interesting topic. What’s your favorite part of theology or what did you study or what, like what interests you about that?
Victoria: Yeah, let’s see. Um. Well, that’s based on my faith, uh, Christian faith. I mean, I wanted to understand how to communicate with people from different backgrounds. Me, myself, um, being, you know, uh, have a, an Asian ethnic background in a Latin American country speaking Spanish like that, that has always been my. Um, you know, uh, my thing.
So I’ve been really loving being, settling in Chicago and, uh, in theology, but, um, yeah, I mean, I did have a lot of Bible classes, um, but I think my favorite classes, uh, have been the ones where I understood how to communicate with people. In, in a way that was disarming and not just, uh, yeah.
You know, and like, it’s hard to communicate with people that are different than you, not just the language barrier, but just like, um, just different worldviews and things like that.
Nate: No, I, I mean, I know, I know exactly what you mean because I grew up in a really religious household but me now, I’m not very religious at all, but, uh, that was always a big thing growing up was trying to like spread the word, you know, so, yeah. Right, right along that avenue.
Beginning of Victoria’s CPA Journey
Nate: Okay. So coming back to the accounting thing, so when did you start your CPA study process? And what was that like in the very beginning?
Victoria: Uh, so I started in February, 2021. Uh, I have been wanting to do that, uh, for awhile, like, uh, I got married in 2018 and I was like, at that point was probably the best time for me to take it but I didn’t and well, different things happen.
Um, I have a 18-month-old and so like, I was like, uh, hesitant, should I start? You know, so I, I did, uh, I did started anyways. Um, And I took my last test, uh, December. So it’s been like, I think it was 10 months that I finished all my test.
Nate: Awesome. And in the beginning, did you just get a review course and start doing it? You know, just how basically everyone does it.
Victoria: So, um, I think I was already thinking about taking the CPA and so I came across one of your ads and I was like, I think I’m not sure if I would have just purchased the review course without knowing that there’s a chance that I can actually pass because I mean, I didn’t study in the U.S. so I didn’t study U.S. GAAP.
I didn’t go to the city here. So I knew there was a lot of information that I just had to, you know, like learn from scratch. Um. And, uh, so yeah, it was after you ad that I was like, I think, I think I can do this. I might be able to and I, you know, uh, reading different reviews, um, of people, uh, that, uh, passed with SuperfastCPA, like having a busy life, you know?
Uh, and so I was like, okay. After I decided to go with SuperfastCPA. I actually purchased my review course.
Nate: Okay, that’s awesome. I would say, I don’t know, I’m basically making this up, but maybe three out of 10 people kind of do it that way. They come across one of our ads before they fully started but then the majority have like started, you know, realize how hard it is and then or kind of looking around online for how do you act like what is the best way of doing this type thing. And then they’ll find us usually.
Using Surgent as Her Main Review Course
Nate: Um, what, uh, what review course did you use?
Victoria: Uh, I bought Surgent.
Victoria: Yeah, I just wanted to get over with that fast and I read like, it was faster with Surgent but I’m not sure, honestly. I mean, I did hear from, I think, um, yeah, different people told me like Becker, for example, uh, like has a lot of information.
So I just really wanted to cut to the chase and be like, okay, just give you what I need for my test. Like, I don’t need to know everything. And so, uh, that’s what. And the vid and the videos were really like short. So the videos were 20 minutes. Even though I, I only watch videos for FAR and I know that you say not to watch videos, uh, or it’s like, it’s not part of the, uh, of the study process. But, um, you know, I, I felt very insecure at first, just, uh, even knowing that people pass with SuperfastCPA. Um, so I had to get over that insecurity.
So, um, with FAR was the only uh, exam or test that, that I did watch some videos and, and, and, you know, they were short, so…
Victoria’s Thoughts on Adaptive CPA Review Software
Nate: Yeah. Uh, so I’ve heard with Surgent that you can kind of use it two different ways, kind of just use it as you want to use it, you know, go into whatever lesson, uh, how use it however you want to use it.
And then they have the whole adaptive side where you take this massive exam on all topics from the section and then it kind of scores you based on different lessons. And did you do it that way or did you kind of use it manually? I guess.
Victoria: Yeah. No. I went with a structured one. With the adaptive, like it gives you questions that you tend to do wrong.
And I guess because, you know, first of all, like with FAR I was not tested well at all. I was, I was like I cannot do the adaptive one again, like really low scores. I feel like I cannot do this because you know, you have to get over even that, you know, uh, insecurity of um, I kinda, I kinda pass it, just like give up.
So I’m like, no, give me, you know, the structure way and I’ll just take quizzes of everything, you know.
Nate: Uh, I had a question about something you said. Oh, well, and because like you said, your, your background like you never even really like people in the U.S. if you do accounting for your bachelors and your masters, it’s all in GAAP anyways.
And you said you didn’t really have that background. So doing the adaptive thing probably wouldn’t really work that well because yeah, I’m sure in your mind you were feeling like you had to kind of get a foundation on most topics, right?
Victoria: Right. And also with the adaptive, you, you kind of had to take I think it was a 350 question like a diagnostic. I’m like, I don’t know anything if I answered, it’s just going to be guessing.
So, and that takes forever to take those questions. So I’m like, okay. I don’t know. I don’t know, like, you know, keep moving on. Um, and I think you, you did, um, suggest that just, just go the traditional way.
Nate: Yeah, I do. I do like that better because even topics that someone’s covered in college, the way that it’s asked about on the CPA exams might be slightly different or it is slightly different.
And so I think it’s better to just cover everything manually and then stuff that just instantly clicks. And it’s like, okay, yeah, I know this. You just naturally don’t spend that much time on it anyways. You know, and then at least you’ve seen it in the same context of the actual, like CPA exams.
Victoria: It also with Surgent um, you, you can choose a structure way and still like, whenever you’re choosing, let’s say questions from this one section, you can click adaptive instead of, um, bald questions. So it will give you the ones that are harder for you.
Dealing with Morning Sickness During the Study Process
Nate: Yeah. So, so you said you had a baby when you started? Your 18 month old?
Victoria: Um, I have my baby. Um, my baby was I think, eight months old when, um, I started study
Nate: And that’s, that’s not easy. And you were working?
Victoria: Yes. Full time. And, uh, so I started studying in February, right? Um, in June I found out I was pregnant again so I’m actually having a baby in two weeks.
Nate: Oh yeah. You said that in your email. Congratulations!
Victoria: Thank you. Um, so I actually just, so I took FAR not being pregnant and then all my other test I was pregnant. So I had to even like deal with just like morning sickness and all of the different issues of pregnancy while I did it. It was not an easy thing but now I’m done. I was like, oh, uh, just so relieved.
Nate: Yeah. That’s I mean like for me, I always say like finding out you’re done with the CPA is like the best feeling in the world but I didn’t even, you know, I obviously I didn’t have any of that other stuff at the time.
I, it would be an even bigger relief to like, in your situation to know like, okay, this is out of the way before the second baby comes and everything.
Victoria’s Daily Study Routine
Nate: So, yeah. So, uh, The question I was trying to ask earlier was, so you had a new baby and you’re working full time. So what did a full day of studying or just, what did a full day look like? Like when did you study and then working and just everything.
Victoria: So, um, I tried to, so I did mornings, but I didn’t really wake up super early at 5:00 AM. I cannot do that. I try, you know, and I just couldn’t. Um, but I did wake up, um, you know, two hours earlier and, you know, I had to do coffee, like get ready and stuff.
And so I would do the planting the seeds in the morning for like an hour or an hour and a half. And then I would work all day and then I would take care of my baby til he went to sleep at around like 9:00. And then I would do the cumulative at night. So I couldn’t really like take nights off.
Um, you know, but like that’s possible if you’re single and you’re like, you know, uh, you know, and you don’t have a baby. Um, so that was throughout the week. And I did, I would read the notes. So I did different with different tests. FAR was the most different just because I wasn’t getting used to, uh, the study method. But as I got more confident like that, like my study process did look more like what you recommend.
So, um, I would talk about the last week. So I would read the notes before planting the seed, like on the topics that I was going to start. So it gave, it gave me really kind of an idea of what type of questions I would get. Just because so with FAR, I didn’t really read your notes until like, I did read your notes, having done that, but like, I didn’t really put a lot of time into it.
And then the day before I went to take the test, um, I read all the notes from start to finish and I realized, wow I could have saved so much time but just, by just reading this notes, um, instead of, uh, just taking all this time, just thinking, you know, how do I answer these questions? Um, and so then after that, I’m like, you know, I’m going to learn from the notes, uh, before I even plant the seeds, you know, with, uh, taking the questions.
Um, and then whenever I took the questions, like I had an idea. So I was doing way better. So and then, so the quizzes I would take like, I wouldn’t take many mini quizzes except for audit. I did that a lot and that really helped me. Um, but I was not very consistent in that. Now with the audio notes, since we, we don’t travel like I work from home so I didn’t get much time to do the audio notes every single day but like whenever I would cook or, um, you know, clean or go for a walk, uh, you know, during those summer months I did use them a lot.
So, um, that really helped to like get my ear used to, um, the material. So that was where the weekdays and then for the weekends, I would wake up like be with my baby for an hour or two. And then from, let’s say 9:00 or 10:00 AM till 5:00 PM, I would study. And, um, I did take quizzes then.
And did what you said, like planting the seeds and then take the cumulative. But I did not pay them much attention to the SIMS. Like I, I think I did take lessons that you recommend then, um, Yeah, I was kind of nervous about that. I also like listen to different podcasts and a lot of the people that you interviewed. Some of them didn’t do quick SIMS at all.
So I’m like maybe I can get, get away with it and still pass. Um, so I did pass it.
Going 4 for 4 on the Exams
Nate: Nice. Uh, did you fail any sections or did you go four for four?
Victoria: Yeah, four for four.
Nate: Nice. That’s awesome. So you mentioned planting the seeds, so like you clearly you watched our pro videos?
Victoria: Yeah. Yeah. I purchased the bundle so everything I’ve got everything from start. Um, and took notes. Actually, I watched every video and took notes of every, every video so that I can go back to it and be like, okay, this is how you do it.
Nate: Nice. I appreciate you saying that or doing that cause it just that’s one of my biggest things is, uh, someone will ask me a question about the process or how do I do this and I’ll just say, you know, like, okay, listen, I know you don’t want to spend three hours watching these videos but I promise you, it will save you so much time and like make, make your whole process work better. Just watch those videos first.
Victoria: Yeah. And it just kind of gives you a structure of how to, you know, um, go back to it because it would, it’s very easy just to not follow.
Um, you know, the routine especially if you’re not getting results, um, you know, while you’re studying and you feel like you’re not making much progress to be like to start rethinking it and be like, let me do it this other way. And so, um, just having it written down for me, you know, like that struggle between my own thoughts and how I would do it and like reading how, you know, you recommend we should do it.
Um, You know, like at least balance is a little bit of that.
How Victoria’s Study Process Evolved
Nate: Yeah. Yeah. So going along with that, so when you were doing FAR, if you can remember this specifically, what were some of the, cause you, you said, uh, I didn’t follow the routine exactly for FAR which I don’t like that doesn’t like personally hurt my feelings or anything.
Like a lot of times people figure out their own way of doing certain parts. But anyways, what were the parts of it that either you didn’t trust, like you said, you would still watch the videos because you maybe needed the background or what were some of the differences in how you studied for FAR? And then going on to the other three where you kind of, at that point, had your study process really figured out.
Victoria: Yeah. Well, main thing I would say, um, I didn’t do the 30 cumulative just because I felt like I didn’t have time for it. Um, and so sometimes I would spend more than one day, uh, like let’s say of my like two hour study session. Um, instead of like, you know, doing just one and then taking the cumulative, I would take all the time doing just questions, planting the seeds, and then maybe the next day still if my score was really low.
Um, so that I think for FAR I think I took like 11 weeks or so to, to take it. Um, and still actually, um, the weekend before I had to take the test, I was scoring super low. Like I was like 40% or like 60% but never like, you know, I think I got 70 or 80 some percent twice in like a cumulative, you know, and this is the weekend before going in and taking the test.
So I was like…
Nate: Can I ask real quick? When you’re getting 40s and stuff, was that because you were pulling 30 questions from what Surgent was saying you were weak on or was that a completely random 30 questions from the whole section? Do you remember?
Victoria: I think it was, um, I think it was everything but Surgent tests though, um, kind of focuses on the ones that you have not done for a long time even when you take all, um, or that you get from.
Nate: So, so it was though kind of feeding you your personal hardest questions kind of?
Victoria: Yeah. Yeah, because I think you also have to like put the date that you’re taking the test. And I guess I could say like you should know this topics, you know.
Nate: Sorry. That was just a few days before the exam and then, uh, like what did you do the, your final review for the last few days or whatever, and then you’re just your test day experience, I guess.
Victoria: Yeah. So, um, you, you asked me first what I did different. You know, that was different. Yeah, with the notes very, very much, except for the last day.
And that was like, oh, so things started to click once I read the, you know, um, the notes at the end. I was like, oh, I knew this, but like halfway now it’s confirmed with, you know, with the notes. Um, Then what else did I, well, I didn’t take many mini quizzes. And yeah, I think that’s pretty much it, like maybe at the end I started taking more cumulative quizzes but at the beginning it was like spending a lot of days planting the seeds in sometimes in the same topic.
Um, but, um, so I think I wrote, you know, where everybody posts and I said, “Hey, My test is 40%. And like, my test is in two days like, what do you recommend or can, do you think I can do this?” Because I was thinking, well, maybe I should move my, you know, my tests. Um, and they said, well, I think it’s possible.
Um, so I, I took like quizzes and quizzes and quizzes like all like Saturday. And I think on Sunday besides reading the notes, I just, uh, took more quizzes. So, um, I actually ended up scoring the highest in FAR even though like, that was like my, my lowest.
But it, I did take a long time. Then BEC I only took four weeks to study and, you know, I felt very, like, I didn’t know much. And I was not testing really well either on a practice test, um, or while I was studying. Um, but also like I got a big pretty good score. Um, In those actually, I kind of like, can I cut this study process to less? Because 11 weeks that’s a long time.
“I didn’t think it was possible”
Victoria: Um, and, uh, yeah, so I did that for weeks and, you know, I know you recommended I think for BEC and audit like four to six weeks. I, I didn’t think it was possible. And actually I did feel like I didn’t know much but when I went there, um, even though like that BEC I feel like even though they say it’s the easiest one, I just felt like it was the questions that I really didn’t know but I was just answering, you know, um, and I got an 8- 82 there, so, um, that was pretty surprising.
I really felt I failed out but no. I did read your notes a lot though, uh, for BEC and REG and audit. So yeah. With BEC, REG and audit, like everything started kind of like making more sense then I was getting used to the rhythm a lot more. I did the planting the seeds then I took cumulatives.
After I took the cumulatives, so I had an Excel file open and I would have like a tab for each day and I would copy all the results and do a pivot table of you know, like to count how many I got correct and incorrect from each section. So I knew, uh, not only the total score but also like what were my main mistakes, you know, just, um, just a visual.
And, um, then I could focus on those areas in the weekends or whenever I had extra time, you know, I would just do a 10 question. Um, yeah, test or something like that.
When Victoria Knew She Had the Study Process Figured Out
Nate: Okay. I mean, I’m sure this is the case but from FAR to the other three, did you just kind of get the hang of the planting the seeds thing so that you were getting through the lessons faster so that you had the time to do the set of 30 cumulative each day? You just got better overall at the process, right?
Victoria: Yes. Yes. I still had to do sometimes in the evenings. But you know, it was, it was way, it felt way more natural with those others. You know, I had been doing that process for three months already. So, um, yeah, it, it just started like moving more like, like faster and naturally without me having to like you know, kind of question, um, my progress.
Nate: So, uh, this is it’s one of the hardest things to kind of put into words but what I tell people with the planting the seeds, you know, a lot of people like you said at the beginning, they’ll hear that and they’ll say, well, how can I, how do I jump into the questions if I haven’t even like watch the video?
And my best analogy is like, okay, well. There’s a video in the pro course of me walking through a lesson kind of doing it. And it’s kind of like trying to teach a kid to ride a bike through just showing them videos. Like you can have them watch 10 videos but they’re going to have to get on the bike.
Victoria’s Actual Process for “Planting the Seeds” for a Lesson
Nate: Kind of struggle tip over a few times before like that they just, the balance, you know, like clicks and from then on, it’s just not hard. Like riding a bike is, is easy. Um, but if you were to describe your, your actual process of if you are planting seeds, kind of going through the questions first for any given lesson, what was your actual, or what were your actual steps?
If you came to a, did you go through all of them pretty quickly to see, okay, these are like the two or three things that keep coming up. Um, and then if you ran into a calculation based type of questions, how did you actually break those down to get an understanding? Or just in your own words like, what was your actual process for planting the seeds for a lesson?
Victoria: Um, I mean, I don’t know if it was that easy for me to just, uh, know what type of questions I was getting the most but I think, you know, your notes made me know where to pay more attention to. Then whatever I got wrong with that Excel file that I kept on the side, you know, I would, um, write my flashcards on, um, and, you know, write them in my own words.
So that did help, you know, kind of settle the knowledge. I wasn’t really good at reviewing those flashcards in the evening. I did get better at the end of it but even writing it kind of solidifies your you know, your understanding of it.
Nate: Yeah. That’s a lot of people have said that, um, and it makes it makes sense, you know?
The one way of, if you keep missing questions on a topic, you like you miss it. And then you read the explanation in your review course but it’s easy to read that for like the 10th time and it still doesn’t like cook into your brain. But if you take the time to explain it to yourself in your own words until it clicks and then writing that down. Yeah. It’s just obviously a huge difference.
Victoria: Sometimes even like, kind of not summarized but you know, your notes, for example, like for, um, for REG. Like you have, you know, don’t get broken down in partnerships, C corps and all that. And like the information is there for all of those different types of, uh, of corps. But then, um, I feel like if, uh, you know, during the test you get a question, like we kind of be thinking, okay, where in the material was that question?
So I did kind of summarize and kind of did a table with all the different like you know, partnership like it kind of see the differences and visually like see that, you know. With your notes which are much more summarized than a book. I never opened a book actually. So…
Nate: Yeah. Well, that’s good to hear. I mean, yeah.
Um, I’ve said this on other episodes but, and I think now it’s in the pro videos because I kept hearing that from other people. But originally that wasn’t one of like the part of the study plan. I would just tell people, yeah, with our notes, you do your main study session then you just read them throughout the day.
But so many people I don’t know, caught on to that. They would like they read before they jump into a main lesson in their review course. They read that part in our notes. They get the big picture understanding and it makes the lesson itself or the questions even make a lot more sense. I guess, I mean, I never studied that way, obviously.
Victoria’s Flashcards Process
Nate: Yeah. So, um, and you mentioned the flashcards and so would you write those on a, like, what am I trying to say? Physical, you know, like normal paper flashcards or did you use, uh, like Quizzlet or a digital one?
Victoria: Yeah, I, I did use Quizzlet. Um, so I had, I have two screens and I would write in on the other screen. Yeah, in my own words. I’m still obviously like reading the answer and kind of from the answer, you know, like kind of typing in at the same time, uh, with my own words, but, um, yeah, I was not like. Uh, something that I’m like, I’m not looking and I’ll write it on my own, you know? I mean…
Nate: Yeah. Right. Um, and when would you or like, how did you, you mentioned your Excel spreadsheet thing but I’m guessing you didn’t write flashcards as you went through a new lesson because your first time through everything sounds new.
So did you kind of, did you do those during the sets of 30? Or when would you decide, okay, this is something that I need to make a flashcard for.
Victoria: Yeah. It was with the, with the 30 question.
Nate: Okay. Yeah. So basically again, I can tell you, uh, you really watched the pro videos cause everything you’re saying is like exactly from, from those. I love hearing that by the way. So after FAR, did you continue on with not really spending much time on the simulations on the other three? That was just kind of, that’s just kind of how you did the whole thing? You didn’t really do many practice SIMS?
Victoria: Yeah. Uh, I mean, I would only do it on weekends. I think BEC I didn’t do many. REG I think in audit I did more than I did for the other ones. Although FAR I think I, I, uh, I did spend a good amount of time, um, I guess because I, I had more weeks to study, right? Like it’s different when I take four weeks for a, for a test and 11 weeks like, um, yeah, I did more SIMS at the end and I think, you know, that helped but as you say, it’s just like the same information but in a different format.
So as long as you, you know how to answer, uh, an MCQ you’ll know how to, you know, answer that.
Nate: Yeah. You need to do enough practice SIMS that you’re just familiar with like the structure of how they look.
Nate: Yeah. And so that’s kinda just the, that’s like the bare minimum I would say. You need to know how they actually work.
Going from 11 Weeks on FAR to 4 Weeks on BEC
Nate: Um, so one question I thought of. So going from 11 weeks on FAR to four weeks on BEC, was that just because you, you got done with FAR and you just decided that’s way too long. I’m just going to try this to see if I can do it in four weeks or how’d you go from 11 weeks to four weeks?
Victoria: Yeah. I guess the 11 weeks was because I’m like, I, you know, as I said, I was not scoring scoring really well. So, you know, I think I did I push it back. Maybe I did push it back because I was not doing well,. Even like at the end, you know, I was not doing well but with BEC I think, uh, well, first of all, uh, they do say that that’s the easiest one.
And the notes were short and I went through the material faster. Um, but also my son’s birthday was in July. So I was like, I wanted to get that over with so many errunds too. It was not just, you know, I can do this. Um, but I, even though like I didn’t feel like super confident with, uh, with the material. I mean, I guess like the work that we put in every single day, uh, following those steps is doing something even though you know, we know it.
Um, but I did feel like very confident with REG and audit. Like I knew the material really well. It’s weird though, that with REG, that was the one that I think like I was scoring like, yeah, 70s, 80s. And, and still that was my lowest score. So I don’t know what happened. There’s not always that, you know, what you get in your review courses, what you are going to get in the test.
Nate: Yeah. Well, what you mentioned feeling more comfortable with what the last two’s material, did you have previous experience in I don’t know, tax or audit, or was that more a function of your study process just being like so streamlined that you, you could just kind of, it just was working better by the end?
Victoria: Yeah, no, I think that, uh, so I, I was in audit. I was in public accounting but back in Argentina for two years so I did know, um, you know, how audit works. There’s a lot of, you know, things that are added there just because, you know, it’s different countries and different rules. Uh, but overall, like, you know, it was, it was kind of similar.
So I think, uh, yeah, audit. That’s why it I think it was easier but also, I guess it also influenced that it was at the end of my study process. It was already like kind of mastered the study process. But with REG, I think it’s just, I did not have any experience with U.S. taxes at all. But you know, it’s kind of like, um, like I have, it’s, it’s pretty easy for me to study anything that is like kind of law or, you know, kind of like that.
So, um, yeah, it was, it was pretty, it was pretty easy just because of just, uh, an interest in, in that. But yeah, I think it did help that it was at the end of it. I, I’m not sure if I would have started with REG, I would’ve felt so comfortable with it.
“I was actually happiest with my 3rd score…”
Nate: So getting your fourth passing score, did you do anything to celebrate or like where, where were you when you found out? Well, like probably at home if you work from home but what was that like getting your fourth passing score?
Victoria: Uh, actually, I felt happier with my third score rather than my– I don’t know why. Well, I was, I had been sick, really sick for a whole week so when I found out I was still not well. Um, and I was not in my house so I would, I was at my mother-in-law’s house.
And so I guess that influenced too. Um, so I have to yet, yet to celebrate that I passed but after that, my husband had to save for his own test. So, you know, we had to push them. Um, but I mean, I felt really relieved when I found out it was like, oh good. I don’t have to study anymore because so I, I, um, when I first, uh, schedule audit, I scheduled it for after Christmas and I that’s because there were no dates available.
So I did that and I, but I was really hoping to get it done before Christmas. Um, and, uh, and then the day, because you always say like I think take it on Monday at 1:00 PM and that’s like the best time for me actually. So, um, all my tests were on Monday said at 1:00 PM. So I, I forgot my point but, um. What was I going to say about that?
Oh, okay. So a day came up on December 20th. I was like, oh, I have to change my date to that. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to make it but I’m going to, I’m going to do it. So I ended up studying six weeks for, for audit. And then, I’m glad that I did because then after Christmas I got sick. And you know, that wouldn’t have been good.
So, yeah. Um, that one I’m done like it still feels pretty so real. I’m working on my license at this point. So, um, I, uh, I just purchased the ethics, uh, course. So I have to do that before. And the plan is to do that before the second baby comes but I am not sure if, if that’s going to be impossible but I it’s over the books so…
Victoria’s Final Review Process
Nate: Right. Yeah. That’s awesome. I guess one of the last things. So do you feel like the, so you took the, your exams on Mondays so you kind of did the mega cram session, whatever you want to call that. Um, going through everything, sets of 30, reviewing your flashcards, you feel like those two days before helped a lot for the actual exams?
Victoria: Um, I think so, especially reading the notes all together, like that was, you know, the best, because I mean, I cannot say that it was um, the cumulatives that I took, uh, you know, in the 48 hours, it was everything. It was like all the days that I actually did that, uh, all the weeks leading to that. Um, but, uh, reading those notes, those notes, um, before, and having all the information very concise and like reading it all together, you know, uh, that, that helped a lot.
Nate: The, uh, yes, I, I try to say that all the time with the 48 hour final review, if you were inconsistent and never really put in the time, it’s not gonna save like give you a passing score. But it’s honestly worth, if you have been consistent, like you said, and you’ve covered everything you’ve done the day with sets of 30 and you’ve been re-reviewing the whole time. Just that concentrated dose of like everything again, just in your short-term memory right before the exam. I just, I feel like that’s, I can’t quantitatively like guarantee this, but I swear it’s worth like 10 to 15 points or it can be like, it can be the, it can be the difference maker. Even if it’s a five point difference from like 73 to a 78 or, you know, whatever, it can easily be that much of a difference.
Study Tips for People Currently Studying
Nate: All right. So yeah, we, we went through everything. So even if it’s something we already covered, this is always my last question. What would be your top two or three tips to people that are currently studying?
Victoria: Consistent. You know, if you do need to take breaks in between tests, uh, you know, for mental health, if you’re in a situation where you absolutely cannot do that like all like one after another. Do that but be consistent with your, with your study. Try not to miss any, any day. And, um. Read the notes. Pay a lot of attention to those notes because a lot of the questions that come in in the test are there.
So that’s one like, that would be my second tip. Um, yeah. Have a group of people that can kind of, uh, can cheer you on, on this journey because it’s not like you will find the motivation to do it on your own. You need the support of your family. I mean, my husband’s putting me to take care of the baby while I was studying a lot.
Um, but it also had a group of people that was praying for me and, you know, was cheering me on and asking me about it. Um, so that really helped because you know, some level of accountability and also, you know, to celebrate together, they’ve been used of I have passed.
Nate: Um, so practically speaking, were these friends and family that are non CPAs or where were these like Facebook groups you joined or what was, uh, like who, you know, who, who did you involve in your process when you say that?
Victoria: Yeah. Um, my family back in Argentina and, um, my, uh, my friends from seminary, my church here in Chicago. So, uh, it was like community people that I’m in contact with. Uh, yeah. Often.
Nate: Yeah. I liked that. It’s a good idea. I was kind of like, I don’t know, grinded in silence. Actually, that’s not true because you know, I just got hired at the accounting firm with like 10 other people for my masters.
And so every day at work, we were everyone’s always talking like when are you taking this exam or did you pass? You know, so I guess I didn’t think of that but, uh, yeah, that’s good advice.
Victoria: Right. And, and they’re not, um, CPAs so it’s not like, you know, they don’t know what goes into it. So you don’t feel the pressure of like, okay, I need to get passed.
Like, it’s not like I’m sharing with my coworkers and like, you know, expecting. You know, then to ask me about my test because you know, you have to kind of deal with, you know, maybe discouragement if you do not pass. But you know, these are family and so it’s safe. Um, Community and, uh, yeah, I, I have re like in general I would keep things to myself.
Like, that’s how I operate. I’ve always operated but I’m so happy that I did involve so many people just because it just like, feels like, uh, like a celebration now with other people that have impart of this whole thing. And, uh, yeah, it’s just like much, much merrier, you know, the celebration then.
Nate: Yeah, that makes sense.
All right. Um, well, I appreciate you taking the time to do the call. I love hearing people’s stories and especially, I love it when somebody watched the videos from the beginning and, uh, you know, you went four for four. That’s awesome. I am taking like 5% of the credit. I mean, obviously you’re the one who studied everyday so…
Victoria: No, I really don’t really, really appreciate that you put that out there because I really don’t think that I could have done it.
Not even like to have the courage to start it, you know, the process because you see the passing rates and then they’re like, you know, for FAR 47%. And like, uh, and you know, knowing my background and that I didn’t study here. Like, I’m like, well, like if people who have studied here it’s like, you know, 40% rate for FAR let’s say, and for me it’s even lower.
So, you know, even having, not only you like, you know, in that ad but like seeing in the podcast and in the videos that you posted and in that, um, just chat that there is going on and people like celebrating each other’s wins and it’s like, oh, okay. So you can do this. And that already like gives you, you know, kind of a, a push to be like, oh, I can attempt this.
Like, you don’t have any hope that you can do this then, you know, like you won’t even buy the review course. So just knowing that, you know, there was something out there that would help me in the process like okay, gave me the courage to be like, okay, I’ll, I’ll get this done. And, uh, even with the pregnancy, um, I was like, okay.
I’m going to finish this before the baby comes, you know. Just because I had this,, if I hadn’t, you know, it would have been so easy just to give up before that.
Most Helpful Part of the Study Strategy
Nate: Yeah, no, it is. Yeah. That’s, that’s awesome to hear. Um, I’m glad it could help. Um, sorry, one last question between the, the study tools and the pro course, what did you find or maybe just, just what were like the two most helpful things just having the strategies laid out, like here’s how to approach every part of the study process or you mentioned once you kind of started using the review notes, you use those a lot. Um, I’m just based on what you said, what’d you say those are kind of the two main things you found the most helpful?
Victoria: Yeah. Just studying, like, you know, studying with the questions instead of a book or the videos, you know, that is huge. That just saves so much time. I, you know, I don’t know how people do it with just watching videos because when I did that for FAR, I even like watched like, uh, several videos for revenue, the revenue part. And I was, I was still scoring low.
So I’m like, I’m watching all these videos and it’s not like really helping that much. But, um, yeah. So having that, that’s huge because that that’s a total shift in how you’re going to study, you know, uh, and hours and hours of, you know, that you’re saving. But yeah, the there’ll be the review notes were huge as well.
Nate: All right. So that was the interview with Victoria. I’m sure you found that very helpful and informative and motivating.
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