We are excited to introduce our newest CPA Exam guest blogger: Doug Richter! Doug was our Student of the Month back in November of 2013 and we're thrilled to have him write for our blog. Doug is a valuation/forensic analyst and he is ready to share his stories and experiences as he completes his CPA Exam journey this year. 

As I write my first blog post, my two most recent exam experiences come to mind.  With BEC and AUD behind me, I chose to tackle REG in November.  The entire process was exhausting. There is a ton of material, and you really have to know it all. Like Forest Gump says about a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. I put together my plan to study all of September and October, with an early November exam scheduled. This is doable.

I started watching Rogers videos in early September, and for about three weeks I kept a stringent schedule.  I watched the videos, took detailed notes, reviewed my notes, reviewed practice questions, highlighted my notes, and reviewed my notes again.  You get the picture.  Each night, after my toddler would finally go to sleep, I would spend three to four hours studying.  This meant closing the office door and locking it so I would have zero distractions.  It seemed to be working.

A few weeks later my jobs increased workload reared its ugly head, and I found myself using my evenings to do work.  Before I knew it, September was gone and we were well into October.  I hadnt studied for over two weeks!  I realized that something had to give here.  Work was not going to slow down and I vowed to my wife that I would remain engaged in family duties, so I had to pull a rabbit out of the hat.  That rabbit was a combination of more efficiency and less sleep.  Mountain Dew and coffee, here I come!
By November I was two-thirds of my way into the material, but I wasnt confident on the tax pieces, and Id barely broken the ice on business law.  Still, I trudged ahead with my studies, but I wasnt nearly as efficient as I had planned.  I was tired, and the Minnesota weather was making it worse.
With one week to go I made it through all of the lectures, but my notes were more like chicken scratches.  I highlighted buzz words and worked as many tax MCQs and SIMs as I could, but each night of the final week I brought work home.  I couldnt focus.  I would take a break to work some MCQs and I would make rushed decisions on the answers without really focusing.  The results were not good.  Passing this exam in a few days was looking bleak.  My inner voice kept telling me to get some sleep and give it everything youve got.  So I did.
I walked into Prometric and took the exam on a Friday morning. I walked out feeling absolutely defeated.  The hardest part is that I would have to wait three weeks before the results come out.  I used those three weeks to rest and spend time with my family. Then sometime a week or so before Christmas I read that results were posting. I went to my computer, typed in the NASBA website, and kept hitting refresh. 73. I was actually surprised.  Not that I had failed, but that I came so close.  Then the pity party started.  For a couple of hours I pulled out every excuse in the book. The SIMs were unbearable, the MCQs were unorthodox, yada, yada, yada.  FACT: I wasnt efficient nor consistent with my preparation.  This is my fault, no ones but mine.
I jumped back in the saddle right after Christmas.  I picked up my studies where I left off back in September when I had three consistent weeks, and I didnt look back. Work kept throwing me curve balls and my son kept being the crazy little man he is at night, but I worked through it and kept my focus. I walked back into Prometric on another Friday in January and walked out feeling, well, defeated once again.  It was a hard exam, and it felt even harder than the first time around. Yet, I was so much better prepared, so it was ironic. The waiting begins again.
I am happy to report that when I hit the refresh button on my browser, I saw a number that almost put me into shock.  92. I couldnt believe it. I still dont, but I can say that persistence is the key in this battle. Like Roger says in his lectures, this is not an IQ test. This is a test of perseverance and preparation. Keep at it! Those three initials at the end of our names are going to be worth it!

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