I thought a lot about this one, which section should I start with first? I read lots of articles and blogs online and I asked my family, friends and co-workers. It seemed like there were two main schools of thought out there:
"Start with the easy one so you can pass on the 1st try and that will give you a boost."
"Start with the hardest one to get it out of the way and not worry about the 18 month period."
It was March, the kids were still at school, and we had that daily routine that vanishes as soon as summer break starts. I also have been burnt once with leaving the hard one, "FAR", till the end. So I decided to start with it this time around.
FAR has a lot of material and I think it’s very intense
But the best thing I did (and what I also recommend other candidates to do) was take some time to make my own study calendar and log. My schedule is very tight and I knew that if I had it all planned out, I would feel better about it once I have it all under control (even if that is not the case sometimes!). I used Roger's study planner as a guide and I also used the course breakdown that had the lecture times to know how many lectures I could fit into my study sessions.
The log was very helpful in tracking my progress
And in giving me the ability to rearrange my schedule when things came up. It was a simple spreadsheet table with a column for each activity and a row for each topic. I would just mark each activity with an "x" as I finished it, which was very satisfying and it gave me a great visual to see how I was progressing day by day.
Here is what I did for each topic:
1- Watch lecture
2- Read the book
3- Take really good detailed notes. My notes are what I used for the interim and final reviews
4- Do Homework and flag all the questions I did wrong
5- Then I reviewed all my notes and did a quiz of all the topics I finished every 3 weeks. FAR has too much material and I didn't want to forget what I studied
If you haven't tried this type of study technnique before, I highly recommend it
While your course may already provide you with a way to track your studies, it's not the same as having your own personal log to look at every day that really pinpoints your personal goals and achievements. You can also use it to keep notes about areas you need to improve, what your strengths are, and how you can improve next time. Think of it as a daily diary for your CPA Exam. It will keep you on top of your CPA Exam game and also help you work through the challenges you will encounter while you're studying.
I will leave you with this quote until next week:
“I believed in studying just because I knew education was a privilege. It was the discipline of study, to get into the habit of doing something that you don't want to do.” -Wynton Marsalis
-Margo Pacific, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review