The CPA Study Tweaks Gabi Used to Pass Her CPA Exams

how Gabi passed her CPA exams using SuperfastCPA

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In this SuperfastCPA podcast interview, you’ll hear how Gabi initially spent a ton of time and energy studying for the CPA exams, only to fail a few sections. She put the exam on pause for a few years, and then came across the SuperfastCPA study strategies which motivated her to try it again. After making a few tweaks to her previous study process, she started passing exams while putting in a lot less study time.


Master your study process by attending one of our free study training workshops:

Watch the interview on YouTube…

Episode Timestamps

  • 0:00 How Gabi Passed Her CPA Exams Using SuperfastCPA
  • 03:09 The Most Valuable Things She Got from SuperfastCPA
  • 04:05 Thought About Giving Up And Why She Didn’t
  • 05:55 The Reason Gabi Wanted to Get Her CPA License Five Years Ago
  • 07:04 What Gabi Felt for Her First Two Tries Taking the Exams
  • 09:46 After Failing the First Two Attempts, Left Public Accounting
  • 10:36 Started Studying Again But Never Felt Ready to Take the Exam
  • 11:27 Even Bought Another Review Course But Didn’t Take the Test
  • 12:27 Finding SuperfastPA and Deciding to Get It
  • 14:31 Went Through the PRO Course First and Setup A Plan
  • 16:47 How Gabi Felt Studying Again for FAR with SuperfastCPA
  • 17:47 Taking Notecards in Her Study Made a Big Difference
  • 19:28 Another Thing That Gabi Did Differently from Her Previous Exams
  • 20:21 Learned to Know How to Get to the Why Behind the Questions
  • 21:29 Still Had Time to Do Other Things While Studying for the CPA Exams
  • 22:37 Utilizing Audio Notes when Driving for the Additional Study Time
  • 23:39 Balance is What Gabi Got from SuperfastCPA
  • 25:03 Studying Both for Her Doctorate and the CPA Exams
  • 25:54 Wanting to Teach at College
  • 27:16 Gabi’s Weekend Study Routine
  • 27:45 The Feeling of Passing Her First Score with FAR and Her CPA Exams Journey
  • 31:51 Gabi Did Notice a Difference With the Old and New REG Test
  • 34:03 How Gabi Would Plan Out Her Weekend and Study Process
  • 35:39 Gabi Would Always Finish Her Tests Ahead of Time
  • 36:58 The Feeling After Getting Her Mornings or Evenings Back
  • 37:52 Gabi’s Celebration Plans After Passing Her Final Exam
  • 38:43 Always Recommended SuperfastCPA to Colleagues
  • 39:44 Tops Tips for People Still Struggling with the CPA Exams

Interview Transcript

Gabi: [00:00:00] Read everything, did the videos, did the questions, and then I psyched myself out, didn’t take the test, and I said, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore where I’m studying, like my whole life is studying for me to not even feel confident enough to take the test. This is crazy. Like the whole test is crazy. Everything’s crazy. I can’t do this.

Logan: Welcome to another episode of the CPA exam experience podcast from SuperfastCPA. I’m Logan, and in today’s interview, you’re going to hear Nate and I talking to Gabi.

Gabi is an extremely accomplished person. She served in the military, she’s currently a CFO, and she’s even currently studying to get her doctorate.

When Gabi started studying for the CPA, she was doing exactly what most people are doing. Too much.

She went through everything in her review course, and she still failed.

Then she tried reading through her textbook all the way and still failed.

Eventually she just left it [00:01:00] behind. It was too frustrating and too difficult.

Years later, she decided to go forward again. Gabi’s experience is the perfect example to show that even super accomplished, super intelligent people can still struggle with these exams.

Because it’s not really about how smart you are. It’s about how effective and efficient you are. I think you’re really gonna like this interview.

Before we jump into the interview, just want to give another reminder about the free webinar training on superfastcpa.com.

It’s only one hour long and Nate teaches the six key ingredients to passing the CPA exam. Now with that said, let’s go to the interview with Gabi.

Nate: So before we go into, like your whole CPA story, first before you found SuperfastCPA, what were your biggest struggles with the study process in general?

Gabi: So my biggest struggles, I was doing too much if that made sense. So I bought Surgent CPA review, and I went through every single video, went through every multiple choice question, every single simulation to take the test. Took me [00:02:00] months to get through it all, and I got a 73. I didn’t know how to re-review, so all I did was hit the multiple choice, but I didn’t know I should have known, but I didn’t know to really understand what the question was asking me.

So I started memorizing the answers so I could pass and check off all the little green boxes. And then when I went to retake, like a month later, I got a 60 instead of a 75. So. I kind of gave up after that and I tried to come back to studying a few times, but when I came back to study, I thought, well, I never read the books they gave me.

That’s what I was missing. So I read the textbook, they gave me cover to cover multiple times and still could not pass the test. So what I was missing was the re-review that SuperfastCPA was able to provide for me, and I was also missing just the questions first approach and actually understanding why is this the right answer and why are the other answers wrong? And that’s what [00:03:00] really made the difference for me.

Nate: Yeah. Okay. Well, I mean, I, yeah, I’m glad you found us eventually. Um, but yeah, like I said, we’ll, we’ll get into all that.

The Most Valuable Things She Got from SuperfastCPA

Nate: So, I mean, I think I know what you’ll say to this next one, but next question is, what were the most valuable things you got from SuperfastCPA on either the strategies and or the study tools, however you used them.

Gabi: Yeah, so for me it was both, it was the strategy with how to study. The two hours a day, I followed that to a T. It was also the study tools of doing the re-review over and over again throughout the day. My goal was eight mini sessions to hit throughout the day. And another thing that really changed for me was the motivation. So I had kinda lost steam, um, and had almost given up until I saw some of your videos and I was like, let me try this one more time because I think this is gonna make the difference and sure enough did it. This is my other animal, Selena Sky.

Nate: Nice. Um, do those two get along? [00:04:00] Obviously, they must.

Gabi: Yep.

Nate: Yeah. Um, so that’s really cool to hear.

Thought About Giving Up And Why She Didn’t

Nate: So, when you say you had kind of given up, you’re, you would seriously kind of given up?

Gabi: I did. I threw away the textbooks. I wanted nothing to do with their flashcards. They gave me the textbooks, threw it all in the trash. Didn’t set up another test date. So what sparked me to find your stuff? I wanted a new job. So I’m the CFO of the school district, still. I wanted to leave this job, but all the CFO positions I was looking at require a CPA, a CPA license. And so I just kept thinking, man, this is really limiting me and I’m over it. So I googled how fast can I pass the CPA exam? And sure enough, stuff came up. So that’s how I found exactly, that’s how I found your stuff, and that’s what kind of gave me the motivation I needed to get back into it to do it one more time?

Nate: Awesome. And you’re, uh, quite possibly done. I mean, you’re done with three. Your thing says you, you’re just, you’ve gotta wait [00:05:00] till June for this last.

Gabi: Yes.

Nate: That’s crazy. I mean, hopefully it’s a pass, obviously.

Gabi: Hopefully. So there’s been a lot of crazy things that have happened with the CPA exam for me. So not only, so I started the process five years ago, so it took me five years to get to this point, but like my testing center that was nearby got closed. So I’ve taken tests in three different states to try to get these tests done. There was one time they shut their website down and I didn’t print off my notice to schedule ahead of time before they went down for maintenance for two weeks.

Nate: Oh wow.

Gabi: So I missed a test date because of that, and it took them two weeks to unburn my NTS so I could retake. Yeah, the, we’ve had a lot of crazy things happen in the last six or seven months, but we’re here.

Nate: Yeah. Well, uh, again, I was gonna ask you, so what are you doing? Now, are you studying still? But let, we’ll get into all that. So let’s go now, we’ll just kind of start from the beginning.

The Reason Gabi Wanted to Get Her CPA License Five Years Ago

Nate: So you mentioned five years ago you started, [00:06:00] what, what was it like in the beginning? Well, actually, what was your, uh, reason for wanting to get your CPA five years ago?

Let’s start with that.

Gabi: So I wanted my CPA license five years ago because I was working for a CPA firm and I wanted to be, at the time, a partner of the CPA firm. I was kind of on that path working towards it. And it worked out where I failed twice and I left the CPA firm not too much longer after that ’cause I realized tax season was not really my thing anyway. So left the CPA firm, got into complete governmental accounting, and then I was like, well, I, I guess a CPA could be helpful. So I started kind of half studying, reading the textbooks, things like that. Never sat again for the test though. And then I found my way as a CFO for a school district and trying to get a CFO position for a private or public company. A lot of them require a CPA license, so that kind of is what brought me [00:07:00] back full circle to wanting and needing that license.

Nate: Okay. All right.

What Gabi Felt for Her First Two Tries Taking the Exams

Nate: So, and you kind of described this already, but five years ago when you first started to study, uh, what was that like? I mean, you, you already described that you would basically try to do everything in your review course, watch every video, read the text, uh, but yeah, just. How, how long did you study for your first attempt?

Just kind of describe that first year of, or those first two attempts.

Gabi: So the first two attempts I followed to a T exactly what they said, to check all the little green boxes. I would watch the video, take the practice, uh, quizzes, questions. I would then do the practice simulations afterwards, and so everything was nice and green and the scores seemed to be okay. I studied for three or four months for FAR, and it was not it. I remember sitting in the test and reading some of the questions and I’m like, what is this? Like, this [00:08:00] is almost a completely different language than what I’m used to reading and studying. So it definitely shocked me a lot. And I thought, because I got a 73 and you need a 75, that I kind of got cocky, I guess, and I was like, I don’t need study that much to pass again. So I took a month. Before I took it that second time and all I did was go through questions, but I didn’t actually go through why am I getting this right or wrong. I was just studying what the answers were and so of course on game day I did a lot worse than I did the first time.

Nate: Yeah.

Gabi: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah.

Logan: uh, how, oh. Um, how about how long, like how much were you studying every day? Were you doing like a typical like four hours after work or what did that look like?

Gabi: That’s exactly what that looks. So I never set a rule for myself with, I need to study this amount of time. I just studied every possible second that I had. So I was studying before work. I was studying during lunch, I was studying after work, just anything I had to throw at [00:09:00] this. I was attempting to do the best I could.

Nate: Yeah. And so it’s, that’s when it’s really frustrating, right? Is when you’re putting in a lot of effort and then it’s just not working, and then you’re forced to think, okay, I, I mean I’m doing everything I know how to do. Is that, I’m sure that’s how you felt.

Gabi: I was giving it my all and it still wasn’t good enough.

Nate: Yeah.

Logan: And that’s that’s the thing that, that’s the road that leads to so many people getting so burnt out with the CPA exams. You know, their pass rate is like 50% or lower, and there a lot of people are doing exactly what you were doing, just like, their whole life was work and study and you just still not passing.

So yeah, I mean, I’m sure that was super frustrating.

Nate: Okay.

After Failing the First Two Attempts, Left Public Accounting

Nate: So you do those two attempts and then, was failing the retake, was that part of why you decided to leave public accounting?

Gabi: A mix of it. Yeah. Um, so part of it was the firm I worked for, part of it was tax season is just [00:10:00] rough in general. And then failing the CPA exam a second time, I was like, maybe I’m not cut out for this. Like, this may not be what I was meant to do anyway. So it was actually a period of time where I got into governmental accounting for about six months. Didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I actually left accounting altogether and quit my day job and I started teaching yoga and spin. So that was early 2020 right before the pandemic hit, and then the pandemic hit and shut all the gyms down that I was working for. And I was like, let me get back into accounting. That’s what I think I need to be.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: That’s, that is a, yeah, that’s a crazy story.

Started Studying Again But Never Felt Ready to Take the Exam

Nate: And, and then you mentioned you kind of got back into it for a while, meaning the studying, but you didn’t take an exam. So what was that? Another several months or a year?

Gabi: It was, so I studied, so I did that twice to myself where I said, okay, I, I do want the CPA, I wanna finish what I started, you know, let me get this done. And I would read the textbook, I would go through the practice questions, and I would never [00:11:00] sit for the test. Those two times I actually paid for my NTS. And when the date rolled around, I like freaked out and said, I’m not ready. I can’t, I can’t sit right now for this. I don’t wanna get another failing score. I don’t know. I guess in the back of my mind I wanted the third time to be the charm, you know, and get it done. And I just didn’t think it was going to be so I didn’t even bother, which is definitely a waste of money, but.

Nate: Yeah, I mean it, uh, it happens all the time to so many people.

Even Bought Another Review Course But Didn’t Take the Test

Nate: Um, okay, so without taking an exam, and then where you got to, where you said you completely gave up on the CPA exams. What, uh, led to that, you know, if you were studying but you never took an exam, at some point you just, or how’d that happen?

Gabi: Yes. Uh, so 2021 was the last time I did that. I studied up, read the textbooks. I actually bought myself another CPA review course, so I thought maybe Surgent CPA review course, maybe just wasn’t as good as they said it was. So [00:12:00] I bought Yeager CPA review course. Studied up through Yaeger, read everything, did the videos, did the questions, and then I psyched myself out. Didn’t take the test, and I said, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore where I’m studying, like my whole life is studying. For me to not even feel confident enough to take the test. This is crazy. Like the whole test is crazy. Everything’s crazy. I can’t do this.

Nate: Yeah. Okay. So, uh.

Finding SuperfastPA and Deciding to Get It

Nate: Then what you mentioned earlier, you searched how fast can I pass the CPA exam and one of our , I don’t know, either our website or our ads came up. Did you end up watching like the one hour webinar? Is that kind of the first thing you saw?

Gabi: I did. So I read through most of your website first, and I saw that you did the one hour training, and I said, you know what? Doesn’t cost me anything. Let’s just see if this is something I can do fit into my life and get this done. So watched the training. I took a bunch of notes, like I have multiple pages worth of notes that I took just from your one hour [00:13:00] training, and I, for a couple of days, wasn’t super convinced about anything about the CPA exam or about your products.

So I kind of sat back and thought about it some more and said, is this A, really what I want, and B, can I fit this into my lifestyle without it taking over my life this time? And after three or four days I said, this is it. Like I need to buy the products. I need to use the products. Give it my best shot, but do it my way.

Do it well your way, essentially, where it’s not running my life anymore.

Nate: Yeah. That’s awesome. So.

Logan: Was that like the, the thing that caught your attention? Like what? What, when you were listening to that webinar, what was it that you were just like, I mean, obviously you thought about it for a few days, but what was it that was going through your head for those few days that made you decide to go for it?

Gabi: So I’ll say a lot of your follow-up emails really helped too ’cause they kept like nudging me saying, Hey, it’s still here if you’re interested. So that definitely helped me make the decision. But as I was listening to the one [00:14:00] hour training, everything you were saying like, are you burnt out from studying?

Have you tried questions first? Do you, all these things you were saying, it just started clicking in my head and I’m like, wow, this is so smart. And it’s such a good idea and it’s so simple. Why not give it a try? And I decided to buy all the products that you offered because I really wanted to make it work this time. I was very determined that I was gonna get this done and I knew that your products were going to help me be that little bit I needed to get me from a 73 to that’s passing score.

Went Through the PRO Course First and Setup A Plan

Nate: Okay, so, so did you go right in and watch the pro course videos first?

Gabi: Yes, I made myself go through all the pro course videos first. Kind of came up with what time of day was I gonna study. So it was first thing in the morning. So my alarm is still set for 4:00 AM up at 4:00 AM uh, takes me about 30 minutes to take care of my animals and everything and myself. And then study for two hours exactly. I have time then to work out for about one hour and then get to work. [00:15:00] And then at work, whenever I had a chance, I would do mini sessions ’cause my goal was eight a day. And if for some reason at work I couldn’t do mini sessions during lunch is when I would hit like three or four mini sessions and then I would come home from work and hit another. Finish any mini sessions I still had hanging out there for the day when I got home, but then that was it. I was done. So that helped me some. So I started studying June of 2023. I took FAR, um, July 21st, 2023, so I gave myself seven weeks to knock out FAR. I started my doctoral program July 1st, 2023, so I had to be, very, I was very, I was very confident that your products would work and your system would work. So in the evenings when I came home, that’s when I was doing homework. So I didn’t have any flexibility to add more time or to play around and not do many sessions during the day. Like I had to get it all the way done.

Um, so I took FAR July 21st, found out my score. [00:16:00] In August, I got an 83, so definitely not the highest score ever, but definitely above passing.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Gabi: I took audits August, so I didn’t give myself a break in between. I went from one right to the next, so I took the test July 21st. Started studying for audit July 22nd, like there was no re, I was confident.

I was like, I passed this. We’re moving on to the next one now, which in the past I had not done. I didn’t have that confidence. I would sit around and wait for my test score to come through, and then when I found out I failed, I would get really upset, but I told myself, pass or not. I am going to the next section and seeing if I can at least get a few of these done, even if FAR will hold me back, but it didn’t hold me back so.

Nate: That’s, that’s awesome. Go ahead, Logan.

How Gabi Felt Studying Again for FAR with SuperfastCPA

Logan: And, and, uh, with like, so, you didn’t feel confident before. And what, how long did it take, or what was your feeling as you got into studying with this different method? Like at what point were [00:17:00] you like, you know what I, did you ever feel like you felt really good about FAR? Like kind of what were your feelings as you were going through it at, at the start?

Gabi: Definitely. So in the beginning, I think you even mentioned this in your videos, the first two or three weeks I was sitting there like, what am I doing with my life? Like I don’t actually know the answers to these questions, you know that I’m making myself answer without reading it or watching the video. And finally after about three weeks, things just started to click. And so by week four and five I was like, this is it. Like we are smooth sailing. We’re gonna, seven weeks was perfect for FAR for me, and we are gonna get this.

Logan: Awesome.

Nate: Okay, so after about three weeks, you could just kind of tell it was working better than what you done in the past.

Gabi: I was remembering more and my scores were improving.

Taking Notecards in Her Study Made a Big Difference

Gabi: So something else that made a big difference for me is I made my own note cards as I was going. So I would give myself the first three weeks without making any note cards, just to kind of process through what I could. [00:18:00] And then after about week four, I would hit the note cards hard, anything I was getting wrong.

I also had an Excel spreadsheet, so I’d have two screens going, one with my Surgent CPA review quizzes. And then another screen, an Excel spreadsheet. So anything I got wrong from Surgent, I would type into an Excel spreadsheet so I could search it later, but I never searched it later. But I would take basically the question and the answer and rephrase it differently to help connect the dots for my brain. And sometimes that’s all I needed, but I would find so I did not only, which you recommend the hour and a half of new material and then 30 minutes of like a re-review. Uh, I would do at least 30 questions in those 30 minutes. During that re-review as I was getting things wrong, if I got something wrong more than once, it became a note card.

I didn’t care how easy it was. If it was a silly mistake, it was a note card. So there were definitely some note cards. I was like, oh, I really do know this, but I’m gonna keep refreshing. So then [00:19:00] my goal was to get through my note cards once a day like that became one of my mini sessions in the evenings was let me get through my note cards.

So I did that for the last week or two of every test was, two hours in the morning sessions, plus going through all the notecards that I made.

Nate: That’s like a perfect, yeah. Perfect description of kind of the PRO course all like everything and, uh, yeah. It’s awesome to hear that, you know, it just, it works so well for you. Yeah.

Another Thing That Gabi Did Differently from Her Previous Exams

Gabi: Yes. I was gonna say, the one thing I did a little different is I did all the simulations that I had in Surgent CPA review. So I would back myself up, um, I’d have my test day already booked. I would give myself usually a week sometimes three to four, three to seven days worth of like a big overview review.

Where every morning I was doing two sets of 30 and some sims, two sets of 30 and some sims, and the week before that I hit all simulations for an hour and a half and then 30 [00:20:00] minutes of re-review afterwards. So for me it was a mental game. I didn’t wanna get to the simulations on game day and like blank out and panic. So to help me through that, I needed to see them, but instead of focusing on, well, the answer here’s supposed to be 30, let me just type in 30. I was focused on why am I getting this wrong?

How do I get to the right answer?

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Nate: Yes.

Learned to Know How to Get to the Why Behind the Questions

Nate: And and where did that distinction come from? You know, ’cause you mentioned you were doing questions, you know, your first time around. And I mean, most people are, but, uh. That’s such a big distinction that I don’t know goes unnoticed or, or like you said, people just don’t realize, I’ve gotta get to the why behind these questions.

So was that something from the PRO course or, I mean, where’d you get that?

Gabi: Yeah, so I think it was a mix of both. So I found myself when I failed the first two times. I found myself the second time that I was memorizing the question because, and just memorizing the answer because I wouldn’t have to really read the question. I could skim [00:21:00] it and I’d know the answer and I would always get it right, and I failed really bad. And then when I was watching the PRO Course, and you mentioned reading the description they put out to the side as to why that was the right answer. Then it clicked in my head, I can’t just study the questions because on the test it’s not the same question from my review course.

They’re going to change it.

They’re going to make it harder. And so yeah, the piece all just clicked at once and I said, this is it.

Nate: Okay. Awesome. Um, let’s see.

Still Had Time to Do Other Things While Studying for the CPA Exams

Nate: So you kind of mentioned exercise, but you know, one thing I ask is, uh, did you have like a hobby or something that you weren’t willing to completely give up? You know, that you still made it a point to do throughout the process to stay sane and feel good, you know.

Gabi: Yes. So one of the things I wouldn’t give up is my workouts. So I served in the Marine Corps for about five years, so working out to me is very important. I now love to do triathlons, so I did actually two or three [00:22:00] triathlons this summer during studying for the CPA exam and my doctorate. So I would give myself an hour a day for a workout.

The other thing I wouldn’t get rid of, so I hike with my dog every weekend, every day I have off work, we go hiking, and I refuse to give that up as well. What made it convenient is I would listen to your audio notes as I was driving to go on a hike and then listen to the audio notes on my drive back from the hike.

So it still kind of got a little bit of studying in there, but I wouldn’t give that up and I wouldn’t let myself study when I was hiking either ’cause it would’ve been easy to like bring my flashcards or something. But I wouldn’t let myself do that ’cause I needed that time to decompress.

Utilizing Audio Notes when Driving for the Additional Study Time

Nate: Yeah, that’s, uh, that’s, and it’s really, I mean, convenient, but it also, I think people really discount the idea of studying from their phone. Like how, how effective could this be to do a few questions, you know, here and there, but did you feel like that was kind of a key component? The mini sessions and being able to listen to the audios over and [00:23:00] over.

Gabi: So anytime I was driving to and from work or really anywhere, a lot of my friends, so I live about an hour south of Asheville, so a lot of my friends live in Asheville, so I’d have that hour drive and it was easy enough just to put on the audio notes. And I’m not a big social media person, but I still find myself on my phone quite a bit. So instead of checking emails or answering text messages, I would make myself do a mini session first. So I would kind of pause and say, okay, I’ll get to the email in a second. Let me bust out a five question quiz and then I’ll go check my emails.

Nate: Gotcha.

Gabi: So it’s super effective.

Nate: Yep.

Logan: Exactly.

Nate: And it all just adds up. Mm-Hmm.

Logan: Yeah, that’s perfect.

Balance is What Gabi Got from SuperfastCPA

Nate: So you’re, you were studying before, you said you were trying to study at all times of the day, so it was just pretty miserable, in other words. And so with this, it just allowed you to be much more, just have, balance day to day, week to week.

Gabi: Exactly. I had a lot more balance. I’m also a very schedule oriented person, [00:24:00] so I’ve got everything scheduled out perfectly. So before the CPA exam used to run my life for the most part, and any free second I had, I felt like I had to dedicate to the CPA exam.

But then with your method, it was two hours a day and that’s it. And then you’ve got your mini sessions and your audio notes. So I actually made that something I need to check off on my to-do list that I have every day. So I made it recurring, a two hour study session, eight mini sessions so I could check off each session, and then listened to the audio notes was on there as well.

Nate: Yeah, and that’s, yep. It’s just hard to go wrong, like when you’re, that’s what I’m always telling people. If you’re doing all parts of the process. It’s honestly hard to go wrong. I mean, as long as you, you know, you get really clear on what’s in the PRO videos. So I love when someone, I can just tell by the way you’re describing the process you really, uh, like internalized or just you got really clear on what was in those videos as far as the strategies [00:25:00] and it just makes things so much easier.


Studying Both for Her Doctorate and the CPA Exams

Logan: So I had a question. You sound super busy already, so what, what is your doctorate that you’re going for? And what made you want do that?

Gabi: So my doctorate is a DBA, so it’s a doctorate of business administration.

I want my doctorate for a couple of reasons. I, I don’t know if you hear my dog round in the background. I’m trying to keep her quiet.

Um, the mailman’s dropping off the.

Nate: That’s not bad.

Gabi: Okay. Um, so my DBA, it’s an all online program. They are eight week classes that I take. Um, so you take one class at a time. It’s a 32 month program. So I will say your study methods have made me efficient enough to, I’ve convinced to let me go double full time to school. Um, so since I’m not studying anymore, I’m taking multiple classes at a time, I’ll finish their 32 month program in about 22 months.

Wanting to Teach at College

Gabi: So I’m excited for that. But I want my doctorate. I would love to teach at a collegiate level, [00:26:00] which is also where the CPA exam, the CPA license will be helpful for that. I would love to teach business classes and accounting classes as well, so kind of well-rounded. I wanna do a little bit of everything.

Nate: Yeah.

Gabi: Hmm.

Nate: That’s awesome.

Logan: And what makes you want to teach? Like What got you to the point where you want to be that like teacher and that like somebody on that level?

Gabi: Yeah, so I always, ever since I was a little kid, I always told my parents I wanted to be a teacher. And when I talked to a Marine Corps recruiter in high school, I changed my mind and decided I wanted to join the Marine Corps. Um, my family was very upset for a little bit there, so joined the Marine Corps, got out, didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I got into accounting and then I realized how much I love teaching, but I also love accounting, and so I would love the opportunity to be able to do both teach and still be in the accounting realm in some aspects. I also know if I could teach little kids anymore, I think I’d have be adults at collegiate level.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah, some of my favorite teachers, uh, [00:27:00] were like, that, that, or I mean professors, I guess, like specifically in my master’s degree, there were a few, uh, they would just teach a certain class ’cause they were kind of just an expert in real life anyways. But yeah. That’s, that’s cool.

Gabi’s Weekend Study Routine

Nate: And then you kind of mentioned, well, I think you did on the weekends, did you study longer or did you keep the same format? How’d you study on the weekends?

Gabi: So it depended on the weekend. So some weekends I’m a little more busy than others, so most weekends I kept it to the two hours. But usually as I was pushing towards the test, so like the last week or two before the test, I would try to do more like four hours a day on the weekend, but I would never let it go beyond the four hours.

Nate: Okay. Yeah.

The Feeling of Passing Her First Score with FAR and Her CPA Exams Journey

Nate: And then, uh, oh, one thing I was gonna ask, so you had this long journey, you know, before passed FAR that first time. So what was it like getting your passing score finally and you know, [00:28:00] realizing, okay, this is working, like this is gonna happen this time.

Gabi: I’ve definitely felt like I was on top of the world for a little bit there, especially FAR ’cause I did that one first and I got a score in the eighties. Like, I thought this the, the best thing ever. Um, Then moving into audits, I feel like it’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster, you know, just from the beginning, lots of ups and downs, but I feel like the last seven months I’ve had a lot of ups and downs.

So not only I passed FAR, but then I couldn’t take audit when I wanted to take audit. So I started studying for REG had to pause on studying for REG to go back to studying for audit, to sit and take audit. And so I didn’t know if I was gonna pass audit or REG because of the back and forth that I had to do with them. Um, with their website being down for maintenance and I couldn’t print my NTS in time.

Nate: Oh, that’s right.

Gabi: Um, yep. And so I didn’t find out my audit score until I was on vacation in Thailand and South Korea. So when I found out I’d somehow passed audit, I was like, oh my gosh, [00:29:00] this is amazing. And I wouldn’t know my REG score until I got back from my trip to Thailand and South Korea. So when I got back, um, in the meantime when I tried to take REG, they came, they closed my testing center, so I had to drive. My testing center was an hour away. That’s where I took FAR, and audit was an hour away. Then they closed the testing center. I had to drive two and a half hours, one way to get to the testing center, and I had bump my test dates up by a week for REG.

In the middle of me trying back and forth between audit and so I was like, I don’t know how I did with REG, but we tried and so I got my failing score. I actually got a 60 on that, but there was just so much going on that I was like, okay, we’ll move on to BEC because BEC is gonna be gone as of 15th. Moved on to BEC. I actually found that section harder than all of the other ones because it’s just ran to me. It was random pieces of information that I was trying to combine together into [00:30:00] one test. So I started studying for BEC on vacation in Thailand and South Korea took its November 27th. I had to drive to Virginia for that one.

I live in North Carolina, so it was another two and a half hours. One way for me to get up to Virginia to take this test, didn’t know how I was gonna do, wasn’t gonna find out my score. So I took the test November 27th. I wasn’t gonna find out my score until December 26th and I was like, you know what? I still have two weeks.

Let me try REG one more time before the testing window closes in December. So I had to drive down to South Carolina to take REG on December 15th, like Hail Mary. See if I can finish this out before the year is over. Um, got my scores the same day on December 26th, passed BEC with an 81 failed REG with a 73.

Nate: Oh man.

Gabi: I was well, I was so close. Um, so I decided to retest REG. Thankfully they opened my [00:31:00] testing center back up, so I only had to drive an hour for my third time for REG. So that was January 22nd. But because it’s the new testing, everything is new, they won’t release our scores till June 4th or sixth, something like that. So I’m not doing any kind of studying at the moment, but so I say all that to say it felt like a lot of up and down. So as I was getting a passing score, then my testing center got closed and then I had so many other things come up. So it was a little frustrating, but I’m glad I’m where I’m at now, and I feel like even if for some reason I get another 73 on REG in June, I’ll retake it again. I know I’m gonna pass. So it’s not a matter failing of, these failing score aren’t gonnaa stop me. I’m so close to the end. So I’m very happy with where it is.

Nate: Yeah.

Logan: Wow.

Gabi Did Notice a Difference With the Old and New REG Test

Nate: Did you see a big difference in the last 2023 attempt on REG and then this [00:32:00] January 22nd attempt that was now the 2024 version?

Gabi: I, I know there were a lot of things that got removed, especially on REG. They took out a lot of topics. So to me, the topics they took out were the ones I was struggling with anyway, because I’ve got the least amount of experience in tax. I don’t do anything with taxes, so I’m not gonna say it’s easier just in case I don’t pass it.

But I think it was different. Similar but different. Um.

I also will say that after every test, I didn’t know if I was gonna pass. So like I walked out of every test, my parents would always ask me, how did you think you did? And I’m like, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know I passed or I failed. I’m not sure.

I’m not saying anything until I get the score.

So yeah, it was definitely different tra uh, studying for this round of than the last two because of all the pieces they took out. So to made it easier.

Hopefully the test scores will show that.

Nate: Yeah. So I, I thought that’s where you were going with that. The, [00:33:00] the other attempts you were always like, I don’t know, and I thought you were gonna say on this one, you felt better than previous ones or kind the same?

Gabi: I, I did. I did. I did feel better, but I also don’t wanna jinx it still.

Logan: Mm-Hmm.

Gabi: I guess I feel like if I come out saying, yeah, I passed that, and then I fail, I’d be really bummed. So I always kind of like to myself even, I guess with, I don’t know.

Logan: Yeah.

Nate: Yeah.

Logan: I felt the same way. People would always ask me, they’re like, oh, do you think you passed? And I’m like, I have, I have zero idea. I really have no idea. And even I, even my last exam where I was like. I thought I would pass just ’cause I had passed the other three. It was still like, I, I felt the same. I was like, I don’t want to tell people I for sure passed because what if I do fail? So, yeah, I, I totally get that feeling.

Nate: Yeah, it sounds, yeah, that would sound bad to say that. No, I know for sure I passed that ’cause no one really says that for the CPA exams. Um, what was I gonna say? Uh, we, what about [00:34:00] your, you kind of described your final review already, right?

How Gabi Would Plan Out Her Weekend and Study Process

Nate: You do, you did a week of sims, so throughout the process you don’t really do Sims, but you do ’em all towards the end, is that kind of how you did it?

Gabi: Yes. So my goal was always, so my goal was to finish them all by December 15th. So I kind of had planned out on the calendar when I wanted to take each test. So from there I would work backwards and say, okay, my test is five, basically five, six, or. Seven weeks from now, let me save a week for re-review. A week just for sims and however many weeks I have is for multiple choice. And so I would go through all the new multiple choice that I got, that I had. Um, so usually in Surgent CPA review, it was well over a thousand multiple choice questions to kind of chew through before I would do a week of sims, and then a week of doing both together as like a final review.

Nate: Okay.

Gabi: I also took, so my Surgent CPA review has practice tests you can take. [00:35:00] So I did take the practice test as well. I would try to plan at least one or two in there before. So I’d usually do the practice test on a weekend, and instead of a two hour study session, I would just take a practice test. So for me, the practice tests don’t take very long. They may take other people a long time. Even the tests that I pass, I’m usually done in about two hours. Doesn’t matter which section. Doesn’t matter. Yeah, in and out in two hours. So for me, taking the practice test, just that was my two hour study session.

Nate: Okay. So you got really, really fast at MCQs, basically.

Gabi: Very fast.

Nate: That’s just huge advantage on test day.

Logan: Yeah.

Gabi Would Always Finish Her Tests Ahead of Time

Logan: So, so on test day, if you, so you’re saying that on your tests you were done with your like, actual exam in about two hours. About, uh, how fast were you doing the MCQs so that you, like how much time did you have left for the sims if you were doing over two hours?

Gabi: So my, yeah, so my goal was always to finish the multiple choice in under an hour, and I [00:36:00] usually can. So if I was going through my, so the Surgent CPA ones, I could get through 30 minutes, 30 to 45 minutes. But on test day, I want to take a little more time and really read and make sure I’m understanding. So my goal was 45 minutes to an hour be done with both sets of MCQs and move on to the sims.

So in the back of my mind, it always was, I’ll sit here through the sims, however long it takes me, and so some of the, sometimes it was an hour, sometimes it was an hour and a half, so, but every single test I’ve been done in under two and a half hours.

Logan: Wow.

Nate: Yeah, that is quick and usually, well, it’s usually a good sign or a really bad sign. I mean, I’ve heard from some people that just went in to do a Hail Mary attempt and they’re like, I don’t know. I got done in an hour and a half, and I’m always thinking.

Gabi: So that was my, that was my first attempt at REG was an hour and a half, and I sat there and I was like, that was too fast. Like all my other ones are about two hours, hour and a half is too fast. This isn’t go good.

Nate: Yeah.

The Feeling After Getting Her Mornings or Evenings Back

Nate: Um, what about [00:37:00] when you, uh, so currently you’re kind of done with the study process, you know, so how is that just having your two hours in the mornings back or sleeping longer or whatever?

Gabi: Yes, so I still have my alarm set for 4:00 AM So what I’ve done now, since I’m taking two classes at once instead of one class, I’ve moved my homework from the evenings into the mornings. But that completely has freed up my evenings. So I’ll say for the last two weeks, my work has been crazy. So unfortunately that’s kind of eaten up my evenings. But there’s been a few nights where I’ve kind of gotten home and I just sit there and I’m like, wow, I, I have time. Like what am I gonna do with myself? You know, I could read book, I could go do whatever I want now and not have to think about anything. So that’s been nice. The couple of nights I’ve had kind of off of work and homework and studying, it still feels almost not real.

Nate: Mm-Hmm.

Gabi’s Celebration Plans After Passing Her Final Exam

Nate: And what about in June? If you get that passing score, do you, are you gonna go on a big trip or do you have any big plans to celebrate?

Gabi: So [00:38:00] I already, yeah, so I already have a trip planned anyway whether I pass or not. So I’m going to, um, to Europe, basically, my younger brother, he was stationed in South Korea last year, which is why I went to Thailand and South Korea. This summer he’ll be stationed in Germany, so I’m gonna go do Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic in Belgium.

Nate: That’s awesome.

Gabi: And that’ll kind of be my celebration.

So that should be August. So even if I don’t pass in June, I’m hoping to retake and get the passing score in July. So I’ll still be able to go and be done and get to celebrate.

Nate: To, yeah. Not have to think about it. Yeah. Um, let’s see. I, Logan, can you think of any questions we missed or

Logan: Honestly, yeah.

Always Recommended SuperfastCPA to Colleagues

Nate: Yeah, we kind of went over everything, but were there any other study methods that you kind of discovered along the way that helped a lot? Um, or anything I don’t know, unconventional about your study process?

Gabi: I don’t think so. I feel like I [00:39:00] followed what you had to a T and that really helped me a lot. So I would definitely recommend that for everyone to get the PRO course video. So I have a few people that have told me, oh, I think I’m gonna start studying for the CPA exam.

I always tell them, go look at SuperfastCPA, buy all the products and start with that so you don’t have go through the drama and the headache and having the CPA exam, like take over your life. Just start off the smart way and get it done the right way from the beginning.

Nate: Yeah.

Gabi: So I don’t I did a whole lot outside of that yet, right? That would’ve been nice if I had found that in the beginning.

Nate: Yeah, well you did eventually. That’s, uh, that’s the only thing that matters. I’m pretty confident you’re done. So, definitely let us know in June when you find out.

Tops Tips for People Still Struggling with the CPA Exams

Nate: So, I mean, the last thing I always ask, even if it’s stuff we already talked about, what would be your top two or three tips to people that maybe are in your initial phase, you know, really frustrated, putting in a lot of time, what would be your tips to them?

Gabi: So my tips would [00:40:00] be not to give up because this is doable. I think most people can pass this if they put their mind to it and have the right study methods and right study tools behind them. So definitely number one is don’t give up. Number two, it’s to follow exactly what you say is to do the two hours.

Don’t let it take over your life. So schedule out your studying and get it done. Get it done first thing in the morning. Don’t leave it hanging over your head for the rest of the day that you have to worry and stress about. Just get it done. I think, and the third thing that sometimes I tried not to do, but I realized how important they were, how important it was, was the flashcards.

Writing it out again in your own words, and then going over and over and over it again until it really started to click in your head.

Nate: Yeah. Okay. Perfect summary. All right, well yeah, uh, we won’t take up much more of your time, but I appreciate you doing the call. That was really valuable. You had a lot of really good tips and almost more so just your story, you know, of, uh, just another [00:41:00] example of, you know, I think if someone’s studying really hard and still failing, it’s hard to not take it personally eventually, you know, and wonder like, okay, what’s, what’s wrong? But with just some tweaks to the study process, you know, the same person gets completely different results. So I’m, I’m glad you found us, and congrats in advance on being done.

Gabi: Thank you.

Nate: Yeah.

Logan: All right. That was the interview with Gabi.

Like I said at the beginning, this interview is a perfect example of no matter who you are, you need to have effective and efficient strategies to pass these exams.

If you liked this video or interview, be sure to leave a comment and like this video on YouTube. Or leave a rating in your favorite podcast app. Be sure to share this podcast with anyone, you know, who is going through the CPA exams. This podcast is the best free resource out there for any CPA exam candidates.

Thanks for watching or listening and we’ll see you in the next episode.


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