When I first began studying for the CPA Exam, I thought about going with FAR. I wanted to get the hardest one out of the way and not repeat my mistake from 10 years ago, which is moving to a different state 3 days after I sat for the FAR exam. But now that I have moved again and have decided to pursue my CPA license once more, I knew I was going to be busy and distracted with getting settled in and getting my life back in order. So, I decided to study for BEC first, also named by most CPA Exam candidates as the easiest one.
As time went by, I knew I made the right decision. I had 4 months of complete chaos, and I kept rescheduling my exam. As it turns out, making a big move with children is not that easy. I also started a new job just 4 weeks before the exam. I usually like to dedicate at least 2 weeks for final review, but I only had one weekend. I made the best of it. I focused and really worked hard. My exam was on an early Monday morning. I got to the testing center 1 hour before my appointment. I like to arrive early so I don’t feel rushed and then just sit in the car and study. Half an hour before my appointment I started heading to the center, but it was still closed. So I waited with more than a handful of people. The testing center employee was late and after a few minutes, I realized there was only one employee. It was a long wait before I was checked-in. I was feeling anxious and worried. I tried to stay calm, but that wasn’t working.
I finally went into the exam room. It was probably the combination of not feeling adequately prepared and the long wait to get checked-in that put me in a scattered state. I started on my 1st testlet. The questions were moderate and I was starting to feel confident. As I got to the 2nd testlet, the questions seemed to be getting harder and less straight forward. Then I remembered that I should take this as a good sign; I must be doing well. By the time I was done with testlet 2, I really had to visit the restroom. It must have been all that water I was drinking while I was waiting! I took a break, but maybe I shouldn’t have. The 3rd teslet was hard and it took me a long time to finish. I had 20 minutes to finish the 3 written communication questions. I started to panic. I focused on formatting and tried to write as much as I could and be relevant.
When I was done, I wasn’t feeling confident anymore. I didn’t think I was going to pass for the rest of the afternoon. As I calmed down and had some time to think about how I did, I thought maybe it’s not that bad after all. I have to wait 2 weeks to find out. That feels to me like eternity right now.
My advice for CPA Exam candidates who may have had similar exam experiences is to make sure that you dedicate enough of your time and energy to studying and that you're realistic about it. I was originally going to study for FAR first, but after my circumstances, I realized I would not have enough time if I wanted to take a part of the CPA Exam at the end of this year. Also, if you normally like to spend 2 or 3 weeks reviewing, make sure you have that time to do so. If you feel like you’re just not well prepared enough, see if you can reschedule until you’re in a place where you’re confident enough. Lastly, try to manage your time when you’re taking the exam. I know that all of these things seem easy enough, but once you’re in the situation, it’s a whole different ball park.
I’m taking the week off then starting on AUD. I’m not going to wait until I get the results. If I don’t pass, I have to wait until January to sit for BEC again. So, I’ll get a head start on AUD and hope for the best.
“I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying” – Michael Jordan
--Margo Pacific, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review