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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dealing with Loss of Focus

There is nothing more difficult for me than juggling the studies with family time during busy season.  April 15th is history for 2014, but with one more exam to go before my May 31 exam deadline, I need to patiently hold my celebration until then.  I’m currently sitting at my desk at work while the majority of my co-workers are enjoying the end of busy season.  Well, mine is still going, but I’m using their well deserved celebrations as my energy to keep going.  Next year I’ll be leaving early with them!

The past few weeks have been less productive from the studying side than I would like to admit.  I even found myself skipping over the end of chapter questions just to keep moving forward.  (Self slap on the wrist!)  I even blogged about how important it is to do the end of the chapter questions and I still didn’t follow it.  The result now, tonight, is that I don’t have a firm grasp of Inventory or PP&E because I slacked.  The retention just isn’t there when you don’t do it in its entirety.  You have to do the questions each time you get to the end of a chapter. 

I’m recalling a great quote from a movie from the 80s, “Over the Top”, starring Sylvester Stallone.  He tells his son, “The world meets nobody halfway.  When you want something, you gotta take it.”  That might sound cheesy or may not work for you, but finding something simple like a quote, small reward, etc. to keep yourself going is necessary.  I don’t think there is a better quote for describing what it takes to get these exams done.  You have to get after it and keep after it because the exam will not do you any favors if you aren’t prepared. 

I failed at going after it these past two weeks.  I’m writing this because the next time I blog I don’t want to hang my head in shame and provide a repeat story.  In fact, I’m going back to Inventory and PP&E tonight and doing it right.  I’ve got 6 weeks to go before the next exam, so I’ll tell you next week how I left it all on the field with no excuses.

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Keep your focus by watching free CPA Exam lectures on our tutoring center: 

 
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Busy Season is OVER Sale!

Congratulations! You made it through busy season. What are you going to do with all that free time? If you said CPA Review, you're in for a treat. From 4/16 to 4/21 you can take your pick of the flagship Online course or Premier Course and save up to $400! 

Choose the Premier course if:
-You're studying at a slower and steadier pace; this is because you  will have access to the Premier course for 24 months.
-You often study in places with no internet access, or would like to study during your work commute. The Premier course is same as the online course, but it comes with  offline lectures on a portable USB.
*Use Promo Code BRINGITON24
Total Price: $1795 (includes a $100 refundable USB Deposit).

Choose the Online Course if:
-You have a strict timeline to take the CPA Exam in the next 18 months; that's how long you have access to the course.
-You always study somewhere with reliable internet.
*Use Promo Code BRINGITON18
Total Price: $1495

Like our promo codes? They were made with the intention to inspire and gear you up for the most important exam of your life.  Now that you've kicked busy season out of the ballpark, do the same with the CPA Exam.

Offer valid from Wednesday, April 16th to Monday April 21st, 2014 at 11:59 pm (Pacific Standard Time). Offer only applies to course retail values ($2095 and $1695). Discount price of $1695 for the Premier Course does not include a fully refundable $100 USB drive deposit. Discount cannot be combined with any other offers or applied retroactively to past orders. Residency restrictions apply.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Student of the Month Spotlight-April 2014 Congratulations to: David Coyne

Name: David Coyne
Exams Passed:  AUD, BEC, FAR, REG

Student of the Month for April 2014 goes to David Coyne! David has passed all 4 parts of the CPA Exam and has some great words of wisdom to offer. 

What was your favorite aspect of our course?: There were two things that I appreciated about the course. First, I think the cohesion of the lessons is a major benefit of the course. Each lesson flows logically to the next and builds upon topics that have been presented previously. There is a real focus on understanding the big picture so that you can drill down to the more minute details. Second, Roger's enthusiasm and wit make the lessons really engaging and makes your mind that less likely to wander off mid lecture. 

How has passing the exams affected your personal and professional life?: Personally, my wife is happy because I have more time to spend with her. Professionally, it gives my employer and clients the comfort of knowing that they can rely on my work.

Words of advice for those studying for the CPA exam?: If you are married or in a committed relationship: Set aside time everyday to share with your partner; the exam is a long process and you need to make sure to keep time for your loved ones. Also, do as many pactice questions as you can.

Favorite Quote: "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

Anything else you'd like to share?: If you're currently taking the exams; keep up the hard work! It will payoff!


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

CPA Exam Day Experience

I took REG on Saturday and now all I can do is wait…. for a month!  Oh, and start studying for BEC.  Saturday’s exam was the third different Prometric Center that I have tested at.  On my way to Prometric I listened to Roger’s Audio Course. Of course, I swear I only had two questions on the section that I listened to, so I guess I should have chosen a different section.  I arrived at Prometric early as planned and I studied some flash cards that I had made in the car before I went in. I recommend you go into the Prometric center about 30 minutes before your appointment time, just to give yourself a nice buffer.

The office was by far the smallest that I had seen and the place was crowded. There were 6 other test takers in front of me and I had to wait a while before I got to go into the testing area.  When it was my turn to go in they made me flip out my pockets, lift my shirt arms and pant legs and waved me down with a metal detector.  The testing center was almost claustrophobic.  Fortunately, once you sit down at your cubicle, you do not really notice your surroundings.  In the past I have worn the headphones to block out any noise in the room, however the pair at my desk were crooked and I took them off immediately.  When I was waiting to be checked in, I saw a guy who brought in his own ear plugs (the ear plugs that squish into your ears).  I’ll have to remember to bring in my own ear plugs next time.  Hopefully I will be able to use them.

When I was done with the exam I was not sure how I felt.  I’m still not sure how I feel about my performance.  I can tell you that I was much more confident on my way in then on my way out.  It’s amazing that I practiced over 800 MCQs and they still had questions that boggled my mind.  I could tell that the testlets had gotten harder as I progressed.  The first section I only flagged 3 questions, and then more on the second and even more on the third.  I had at least 3 questions that my answers were flat out guesses.  Other questions I had narrowed down to two answers and guessed between those.  I finished my exam with about thirty minutes to spare so I went back and reviewed my TBSs.

The good news is that I have never felt confident after an exam.  I did pretty well on AUD (88) and I still felt like it could go either way.  I just pray that I pass or else July will be my last chance to pass REG before FAR expires.  Fingers crossed until May 5th!

-Daniela

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CPA Exam Studying: How to Have Your "Ah-ha!" Moment

Earlier this year, we talked about the 4 Things Your CPA Review Is Doing Wrong. Now, we want to explain why it’s important to study with materials that not only fit together, but also work hand in hand to ensure a successful studying experience.

Why is it important for your course materials to fit together? The most obvious reason is you’re going to be really confused if they don't! Imagine a puzzle. Each puzzle piece is connected to another and when you finish putting all the pieces together, you can see the entire picture. Isn’t it always a beautiful feeling? A CPA Review course should work the same way: all study materials, such as textbooks, lectures, notes and study questions should be interconnected so that when you’re through with your studying, you can have that “ah-ha!” moment. As we’ve mentioned before, the most effective learning happens when there is structure and integration among all course review materials. 

If that isn’t reason enough for your course materials to fit together, then consider this: suppose you are using Company X’s textbooks and lectures, but you’re using Company Y’s homework problems. While doing a homework problem from Company Y, you come across a problem that you don’t understand. So you crack open Company X’s textbook and flip through it, trying to find where the concept is explained. Confused already? We are too! More importantly, do you see how this is turning into a waste of time? Many CPA review courses do this: they will sell you parts of the course and promise that you’ll have that “ah-ha!” moment. However, this is not how a student successfully learns the concepts on the CPA Exam. 

When a student studies with the Roger CPA Review course, all the learning happens on one fully integrated eLearning platform. This means the puzzle pieces are at the student’s fingertips and he/she can put the pieces together without scrambling around for information. All materials are connected. allowing for a streamlined studying experience: each practice problem on the platform is linked to a specific location in the textbook and lectures. With integrated study management tools, such as the study planner and light bulbs to gauge learning, students have full control over their studies are able to study in the most efficient way possible. 
 
We encourage all CPA Exam students to study on a fully integrated platform so that they too can have that “ah-ha!” moment- a time when they finally understand why a certain accounting principle is the way it is, when all the dots are connected, and when what they’re left with is a completed puzzle.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Career Options for CPAs

I’ve already blogged about the path that led me down the road to becoming a CPA, but with this busy season wrapping up (I hope soon!), I thought it would be good to re-examine more of the career options for CPAs.  I could talk about how my studying has been going the past week, but honestly, I think it might bore you.  It has been tiring, but Roger’s energy and highly caffeinated beverages have kept me going.  When I read a blog, I do like to hear about how people’s studies are going, what works for them, what doesn’t, etc., but I also like to hear about the opportunities the CPA profession has for the aspiring CPA.  This helps keep me motivated.  Success stories during and post CPA are what we are all aspiring to have and tell.  This busy season has opened up my eyes to opportunities that are the nontraditional career paths, but very worthwhile and exciting career options.  They are also in huge demand.

I work in public accounting, but not in the traditional assurance or tax areas.  Taxes and audits are what most people think of when they think of CPAs.  My family to this day keeps asking me how tax season is going, and I have to remind them that CPA firms aren’t just tax or audit professionals.  Busy season, for me, means purchase price allocations, impairment analysis, M&A valuations, tax and estate valuations of closely held companies, ESOP valuations, complex security valuations, corporate planning analysis for clients, litigation support, and even some fraud and data analytics.  There are so many areas of the profession that add value to the credential and vice versa.  

For example, holding a CPA credential is seen as an authoritative source for knowledge and expertise.  Federal and State courts look at CPAs as experts in many financial situations.  CPAs testify in court for lost wages, lost earnings, business interruption cases, divorce settlements, fraud cases, etc.  I have colleagues who perform valuations for very complex issues involving derivatives and options.  They use Monte Carlo simulations and Black-Scholes pricing models and a number of other math and statistics intensive methods.  I have other colleagues who perform data analytics and write computer code to look for patterns of fraud and for helping companies improve efficiencies.

You don’t even have to work in public accounting to pursue many of these career options.  There are many boutique and specialized firms that focus solely on these practice areas.  Of course, the CPA is highly regarded in the private sector as well.  Many financial planning and analysis departments and corporate divisions need people with a strong background in finance and accounting, and the CPA is one of the most sought-after credentials that speak the language.

If you need some encouragement while you are studying, begin with the end in mind.  I’ve really only mentioned a few options other than assurance and tax that CPAs choose as a career, and there are many more.  Just remember that these options are there and waiting for you when you finish these hard exams.  We’ve got Roger’s help in our corner, and we are all rooting for each other.  I certainly am.

Have a great week!
Doug

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