Thursday, December 31, 2009

REG-7 Questions

106 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 2.0 hours (128.5 total - REG: 40.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Passed:  AUD-94, 

 I went through the questions this morning.  I got 83% on them overall.  I mostly scored in the high 80s except for two sections where I scored in the high 70s (78-79).  Some of the issues were RTCDQ issues, others were just tricky wording that I missed.  All in I feel pretty good about that material.  I now have the rest of the day to relax.  I'll hit up the reading for the actual classes this weekend and back in the saddle I'll go.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

REG-7 Lecture

107 days remaining
Mood – Daunted
Study Time – 4.0 hours (126.5 total - REG: 38.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Passed:  AUD-94,

I got a head start on my studying tonight.  I'm off from work the next two days (New Years Eve and Day).  I had to load up the Becker 2010 software since I did not have the lecture cd for the last REG lecture.  It was all pretty basic stuff.  I missed one of the class questions due to a RTCDQ (read the cockadoody question) issue.  I plan on doing the MC questions tomorrow morning. 

I start the actual REG classes on Monday.  I'll re-read the REG-1 and REG-2 materials (and maybe run through the MC questions) this weekend to start my regular class study cycle.  I'll be 40 hours into my studying before the real class even begins.  This pre-class time is what will allow me to get the REG test taken in the tiny window between the last REG class and first BEC class.  On a side note, the Texas board still has not processed my application fees for the REG and BEC test.  I was hoping to have all the payment stuff over with by now so I could get the REG test scheduled. 

The next 3.5-4 months are going to be painful.  Hopefully I can get my mind into the "one day at a time" mindset. I made it through the AUD classes by understanding it was 1 month of annoyance then a multi-week break.  Once this stuff starts this time it is going to be months before it is over and I can rest.  It would be really nice if there was an extra week and a half between classes, but that would push the BEC test into March, which isn't a testable month.  Anyhow, one day at a time will need to be my mantra for the next week as I get back into the heavy schedule.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

REG-6 Questions

110 days remaining
Mood – Ok
Study Time – 1.5 hours (122.5 total - REG: 34.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Passed:  AUD-94, 

I did better on the questions than I thought I would.  I came out at 83% on the questions.  I got all of the real property questions correct, as I should since I work with land acquisition.  I did about 67% in the Surety and Secured Transaction sections, so I'll need to look at those again much more closely.  There were several questions that had minor word differences that tripped me up.  I've got a better idea of what to look for on those, so I should do better.  I still think I need to go over these materials again though.

REG-6 Lecture

111 days remaining
Mood – Ok
Study Time – 4.0 hours (121.0 total - REG: 32.5 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Passed:  AUD-94, 

< < of course I slacked and didn't get Saturday's post done until Sunday morning just before I started the next study session > >

Christmas came and went.  It was a good relaxing day with the wife and my parents.  Bonus points was that the dog even behaved.  I couldn't think of anything better to do the day after Christmas other than another CPA exam far my life has fallen eh?

The first lecture after the great passing AUD news was bleh.  I got about two-thirds of the  lecture questions right and the material seems pretty detailed.  It isn't hard, there are just very minor differences in the different items so it is tricky telling them apart.  I'll have to see how the homework question go.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Becker AUD Class Review

< < per my post on > >

I took the live class of Becker Audit in October 2009. I sat for the exam in November and passed with a 94. I had no working audit experience and it had been 8-ish years since I had my audit classes. One of the big questions I’ve seen people asking in the short time I’ve been reading is how to study and which review materials to use. I can’t speak towards the other materials, but thought I’d share my thoughts on the Audit portion of the Becker materials.

Overall the Becker Audit materials are a fair representation of the AUD test. There may have been 3-5 questions that I can say were not covered directly in my study materials and those could very well have been the pre-test questions. The simulations given in the Becker software gave a good mechanical feel to the types of simulations I saw in the exam. There are so many possible topics and/or ways the simulations can test I don’t know that it is possible to cover everything in the practice simulations. That being said, the Becker materials had about 2 simulations per class (5 class X 2 = 10 simulations) plus two simulations in each of the practice exams (total around 14 simulations). Given that Becker has been around for ages I am not sure why they couldn’t have an extra 10-25 simulations available. I did download an update that put one of the AICPA released simulations into the Becker software. The same thing applies to the written as the simulations. I would love to have just had questions and answers to read through. Reading through the good solid answers in the ones available was helpful, I just wanted more of them.

I questioned the style of the lectures after my first couple of classes. The lectures mostly revolve around the lecturer reading chunks out of the book and telling you to highlight and/or underline certain parts and other notes in the margin. At times I was busy highlighting or writing and missed parts of what was said. I would have preferred the book already have the arrows, notes, and highlights/underlines, but I understand having me (the students) do it is part of the learning process. I still think I got more out of the examples and explanations of things moreso than the mechanically highlighting, but each person learns differently.

There is a question people ask that I haven’t seen a good answer on is “how do I study?” People spend a lot of time telling people how much they studied, but I didn’t see many answers detailing the how. This was important to me as I never really had to study much in college to get good grades (I was lucky). So, how did I study using the Becker AUD? I read the material and answered the multiple choice questions prior to going to the class (shot for 70-80%)%). I then went to the class. The day after the class I would work all the multiple choice questions (including supplemental) (shot for 90% but often got 85-90%). I would also work the prior class’ multiple choice questions (here is where I was firmly in the low-90%s).

Maybe less confusing version:
Saturday: read the following Monday’s class material and work prior week’s simulations
Sunday: read the following Wednesday’s class material and work MC questions for upcoming Mon/Wed class
Monday: class
Tuesday: work Monday’s MC questions and previous Wednesday’s MC questions
Wednesday: class
Thursday work Wednesday’s MC questions and that week’s Monday MC questions
Friday: night off

Basically I was constantly doing the current class and previous class questions as I moved through the material. The weekend would do the prior week’s simulations and answer the upcoming week’s MC questions.

When doing the MC questions I might get the answer extremely quickly (especially after seeing the questions a ton). I didn’t stop with getting the right answer. Before I would look at the answer I would try to explain why the other answers were incorrect. This is important as the actual exam might ask a question on the specific content from a different angle or slightly different situation. By explaining why the incorrect answers are incorrect it allows you to think through things so when you see the same type, yet different facts it is just like what you studied.

This process basically means I went through the material twice; once before class and once in class. I went through the MC questions three times; once before class, once right after class, and once a couple of days after class. The simulations each got one pass through them. During my final review I went through each class’ MC questions in their entirety yet again as well as read through all the simulations. I then took 4 or 5 practice MC sets (100 questions each pulled from the homework MC questions weighted by content). I finally finished up with the two practice final exams. By time I took the exam I had seen every MC question 4 times plus whichever pulled into the weighted exams and every simulation at least twice.

I almost feel like I could have ignored the book. I didn’t memorize the standard audit report verbatim (as recommended). I actually only briefly skimmed the book during my final review. I didn’t learn all the mnemonics listed. I did pick out 4 or 5 of the ones I thought were most important (internal controls, modifying previously issued opinion, and a couple of others). Mnemonics are good, but when you have a dozen of them they start to run together and remembering which goes with which concept can get confusing.

Becker AUD Flashcards: I did purchase the flashcards. I figured if I was already spending $3,000 I probably shouldn’t be cheap on the last $200 for the flashcards. I found them to be both good and bad. There were some things that were split onto three flashcards that really was a single concept and could have been on one card. Some cards had minor points that was either extremely basic knowledge after listening to the lectures and not worthy of a flashcard. Ultimately I removed many of the cards and kept a core group of flashcards I thought were the most important or areas I felt weak in. I kept about a third of the cards in the set I carried with me to review and the other two-thirds went back in the box. The cards I used were great. If the other classes are of similar quality then they will be worth the $200. On a side note, I did find one incorrect card that had the same answer as the previous card on it. This was somewhat irrelevant since that material had changed due to a recent update anyhow. It was actually a good learning tool for me since I identified the incorrect answer and then thought out and looked up what the correct answer was.

Material that had changed or was being updated and possibly tested on was covered by handouts from the in-class facilitator. He covered the changes and how they might be tested. These updates were presented in the same format as the book. Some of my exam questions were covered by these updates. If you have updates be sure to read them and get the one or two points towards your 75. Do not ignore them.

All in I spent 89.5 hours studying for the AUD test including class time (tracked it on my blog). This time did not count minor 5-10 minute flashcard sessions I did occasionally during my lunch breaks at work (didn’t do as many of these as I would have liked, so really minor time investment overall). While taking the actual exam I felt that everything on the exam had been covered. Even the stuff I had issues with I knew and had seen the material.

I took the exam 12 days after the last class. Some people from the class told me I was crazy for taking it that soon, but I would have felt comfortable doing it a week after. I really did not spend much time studying the last 5-6 days before the exam. It was actually nice to do two classes worth of MC questions and be done for the evening instead of spending every waking moment after work studying. The last several days were actually very motivational as I would hop on, do the questions, and score in the 90s and still have 30-60 minutes of conscious spouse time.

On a rant note, half the challenge of the questions was figuring out what they were saying/asking. It was frustrating knowing what concept they were asking about and knowing that concept inside and out but trying to read through triple negatives in the questions and answers was annoying (which of the following does NOT include…..and then double negative in the answer choices).

I hope this write-up will help someone with the exam. The goal is to let people know that the Becker AUD material does adequately cover and give you practice relevant to the exam. I also included how I used the material to assist those trying to formulate their study plan.

Monday, December 21, 2009

AUD Score Finally Here!

I checked to see if the scores were released this morning and they were.  I did not score like I thought I did.  I was expecting a 72-78.  My jaw hit the floor when I saw the score.  I got a 94!  Wow!  I scored stronger than other passing people in all but one area, which I got an average in.  I did stronger in the MC and Simulations than other passing tests and average in the written.

I'll do a write-up of my review of the Becker AUD class/materials once I settle down and can type straight.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

REG-5 Questions

117 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 2.0 hours (117.0 total - REG: 28.5 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Passed:  AUD-??,

I got right at 80% on the questions for REG-5.  Many of my misses were RTCDQ problems.  The others that I missed with the exception of one I had limited down to two answer choices.  Alot of the law stuff is coming back to me from my college class days.  All in I don't think the law portions of the next test will be too hard.

PS.  Still not score updates.  I am thinking it will not update until the Tuesday 3am update.

REG-5 Lecture

118 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 4.0 hours (115.0 total - REG: 26.5 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Passed:  AUD-??,

I listened to the REG-5 lecture this morning.  It wasn't too bad.  I still don't care for the law lecture guy as much as the tax guy, but I'm growing accustom to him.  The material seems pretty straight forward overall.  There isn't much to it that seems tricky.  I'm sure the questions will find a way though.

Friday, December 18, 2009

You Will Know Pain

The score release system should be challenged on cruel and unusual punishment grounds.  I am still not nervous or anxious about it, but my test has probably been scored for a couple of weeks now.  It is sitting in multiple computers all over the place except where I can get at it.  The AUD scores were sent to the state board on Thursday (I am in a non-NASBA state of course).  I was hoping Texas would get them up last night. The website always has a 3-3:15 am update time.  No such luck.  With a little luck they could be processed today and go in on tomorrow's update, but I'm not sure the site updates on the weekend at all.  It may be sometime next week (just in time to make or break Christmas).  Evil I tell you.....evil.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

REG-4 Questions

edit: my post from Sunday disappeared for some reason.  reposting from my local copy, hence the odd post date.

124 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 3.5 hours (111.0 total - REG: 22.5 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

I got through the questions today and did better on them than I did on the other sections so far.  I scored in the high 80s for both the partnership tax and the code of conduct stuff.   While I'm only half-way through the lectures I have covered 2/3rds of the material by weight.  I get the feeling that how I studied for AUD will be more applicable to the remainder of the REG class.  I still need to work some alternative study methods for the tax part.

I am not so impressed with the guy doing the non-tax part of the REG lectures.  He talks faster and it just doesn't rub me the right way so far.  I have a couple more lectures with this guy, so hopefully I'll adjust to it.

Jeff over at is predicting score releases this week.  He is predicting the AUD to be released Thursday, so I might get the score from the Texas state board on Friday.  I am still not anxious about the score release, but I am getting a little impatient.  My test has to be scored by now, it is just sitting in some computer somewhere and could be easily sent.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

REG-4 Lecture

125 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 4.0 hours (107.5 total - REG: 19.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

I went through the REG-4 lecture today.  It seemed alot easier compared to last week's lecture (although we'll find out tomorrow when I actually do the homework questions).  The latter part of the lecture was done by a different guy that will finish off the business regulation and law portions of this class.  I do not like him nearly as much based on this part of the lecture, but we will see how the next couple of lectures go.

On a side note, is predicting the release of the AUD scores to the state boards next Thursday (Dec 17th), so it is possible that I could get my score from the AUD section next Friday.  So far I am still not anxious about it.  Even if I failed it I don't have time to squeeze in more studying and retest until after I get through the next three classes.  If I passed it I still have to work my ass off towards the next three classes.  I can't imagine not looking as passing could be motivational and knowing that how I've studied isn't working could prevent future failure.  In any event, hopefully next week I'll know something.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

REG-3 Questions

131 days remaining
Mood – Annoyed
Study Time – 2.0 hours (103.5 total - REG: 15.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

I did fairly poorly on the questions today.  I only got 71% on the questions.  Most of these were due to missing small minor rules.  These questions really show the method of study I used for AUD is not going to work for REG.   The questions are few enough that going through them over and over again will only make me memorize the specific questions, not the rules and exceptions.  REG may be served better by reading and re-reading the material.  Written notes beyond the highlighting and in-book notes will probably be useful as well.  I also need to take a deep look at the flash cards to see if they will be of value in my study.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

REG-3 Lecture

132 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 3.5 hours (101.5 total - REG: 12.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

I listened to the REG-3 lecture today.  It was 3 hours of lecture on corporation taxes.  Alot of the information is the same as individual, which means on other study time, work on one will help with the other.  I feel pretty good about the whole thing right now, but we'll see how the questions go tomorrow.

I should have my AUD test score in another week and a half or so.  I haven't been nervous or anxious on it yet, but I wonder if that will change any as the score release gets closer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

REG-2 Questions

139 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 1.5 hours (98.0 total - REG: 8.5 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

I got through the questions for REG-2.  I got a bit over 80% on my first pass through.  I'm beginning to get a good feeling on what types of information I need to memorize in order to have a solid understanding of the questions.  I'm also beginning to have my head swim between the different items in the different categories.  I think the flash cards for the REG section will be more valuable in studying than they were for AUD.  I also went through the questions again for REG-1.  I got in the high 80s for those.

Friday, November 27, 2009

REG-2 Lecture

140 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 3 hours (96.5 total - REG: 7.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

 I decided to get a jump start on the REG lecture for this week.  I got up around 8 this morning and had the lecture knocked out by noon.  So far it doesn't seem too bad.  I imagine the trick will be remembering all the tiny details, but there isn't anything that comes across as really odd while going through the lecture.  Tomorrow I'll do the questions (and probably the REG-1 questions again as well since there are so few questions relative to the AUD multiple choice).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Light Day

145 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 1 hours (93.5 total - REG: 4.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

There are not hundreds of questions to the REG classes.  I worked through the MC questions for REG-1 and got just over 80%.  I'll re-read through the parts I missed questions from this week sometime.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

REG Starts

146 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 3 hours (92.5 total - REG: 3.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

It has been a nice relaxing week.  Work was nuts and annoying, but my time after was my time.  This morning I got up and went through the 1st of 7 lectures for REG.  I'll go through the questions and such tomorrow.  My plan is to do 1 lecture per week between now and the end of the year.  This will let me get through 6 or maybe 7 of the lectures before class begins. I'm hoping this will be enough of a lead to be comfortable taking the test in the small window between classes. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

AUD Test Taken

151 days remaining
Mood – Hmmm
Study Time – 0 hours (89.5 total - REG: 0.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Sections Taken/Passed:  AUD/none

I took the AUD section of the CPA exam today.  The test still sucks as it did 8 years ago.  The one benefit is the chair was more comfy and my wrist doesn't hurt from writing this time.  I got to the testing center an hour and a half early.  I was expecting it to take longer to get there than it took.  The good news is they had room in the testing center (wish the parking lot could say the same thing) so I got started over an hour before I was scheduled.  The exam and interface was just like the practice tests in the Becker software except that the mouse scroll wheel worked better in the actual test.  The testing center was decent.  The chair was comfy and it didn't take long from the time I walked in before I was into the exam.  The room was pretty full when I got seated but was empty by time I left (including people that showed up hours after me).  The room was freezing by time I left.

The exam itself was exhausting.  I took just over 4 hours to take it.  I had to really slow myself down during the multiple choice.  I forced myself to take much longer than I felt I needed to.  As it stands, I still finished the multiple choice questions in just over an hour and a half (1 minute per question).  I could have done the MC parts in half of that time.  I felt really good about the first testlet.  The second testlet was pretty tough (good sign).  I am pretty sure my second testlet was one of the hard ones.  The thrird testlet was tough, but not as bad as the second.  I'm pretty sure my third testlet was also the hard level.  The simulations ended up being pretty spiffy.  The first simulation I blew through the first parts.  I had trouble tracking down the research question, but I think I finally found it.  The written part on that one struck me as really odd, but I think I did well on it.  The second simulation had fewer items and had the type that was in the review that I knew the concepts but had trouble nailing down the specific answer.  All in I still think I did alright on it.  The research question here was less problematic, but I'm less confident in that answer than on Sim 1.  The written portion of Sim 2 struck me as typical yet kindof kicked my butt.  I finally got something 90% finished and then basically reworked it.  I think my final product was much, much better than my first go, but still weak.

So, did I pass?  I kept track of the multiple choice progression.  If I missed every single question I wasn't 100% positive about I'd miss 19 (79%).  Many of those that I wasn't 100% on I had a really good feeling about my answer (half of those).  Most of the rest I had down to 2 answers.  There were only a couple of questions where I didn't have it down to 2 answers.  I could have done as well as 94% or as bad as 79%.  I imagine I'll end up in the mid-80s like I did during my studies.  This gives me between 55 and 65 points on the multiple choice section on a raw numerical basis.  I'm pretty sure I nailed almost all of simulation 1 (90-95%).  Simulation 2 I got between 75-85%.  Using a low end overall of say 15 points out of the 20 for the simulations (not counting written).  That puts my low end around 70 and my high end at 80 before the written.  That means I might not need any points on the written to 50% of the 10 points.

Overall I think I passed.  If I didn't pass it is going to be close.  There isn't much I can do about it other than wait.  It will be a month to month and a half before I know anything for sure.  I am actually fairly non-freaked about the score thing.  I can't do anything to make it get here faster and I haven't begun to worry about it yet.  I don't feel the compulsive need to go crazy trying to refresh the online page yet (I might though).  My co-workers would probably kill me if I start obsessing over the scores anyways.  Even if I didn't pass I can't really schedule another go at the AUD section until after I get through the next three classes anyhow.

I've got the REG book and lectures in my bag and my AUD materials put up.  I think I'm going to try and work on the REG lectures on Saturday/Sundays.  Saturday morning I can watch the lecture and Sunday morning take a look at the questions.  This would be one lecture a week.  If I do that I'll do 6 of the 7 lectures before the class starts.  That means the actual classes will be a portion of my review and hopefully I can get the test in the small window between the REG class ending and the BEC class starting.

My next post probably will not be until Saturday.  For tonight though, I'm pooped.  Bed and much needed sleep awaits.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day Before AUD

152 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 2.0 hours (89.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I didn't do much today besides skim through the book.  I looked at most of the highlighted material again as well as a couple of the areas I've missed questions in the simulations on.  I also created a two page sheet with several of the more important mnemonics.   I've put in a lot of time into my studying in areas I think will best help me pass this section.  I've done good on the practice tests and improved my written portions lately as well.  If the test follows the material in the class and/or practice tests I should be in good shape.

Friday, November 13, 2009

2nd Practice Exam Completed

154 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 3.5 hours (87.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I took the second  practice exam this morning.  I did better on this one than the first.  Using the same methodology I'm coming up with a 79.6 before any consideration of the written.  Again, that is calculated on a numerically correct basis that isn't what is actually used to grade (as far as I know).  Anyhow, this is encouraging and motivating.  I've got several areas that I am going to re-read in depth tomorrow and Sunday as final preparation.  Outside of that I think I'm about as ready as I'm going to be.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Practice Test 1 completed

155 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 3.0 hours (84.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I took the first practice exam tonight.  Unsurprisingly, I still do not like the written part.  That being said, I did really good on one and slightly better than piss poor on the other.  Even on my bad one I could have gotten a couple of points at least.  I did really well on the simulation with the piss poor written part (93% by number of items) and decent on the other (86% by number of items).  I scored 84% on the multiple choice.  It isn't as good as I would have liked, but not horrible.  I was hoping for a stronger showing on the MC really.  Based on 70% of the test from MC and 10 points per simulation I came up with a score of 76.7.  It isn't how the grade would be determined, but that is the best I have to work with.  Throw in 3 or 8 points on the written depending on which got graded and I'd end up around 80.  It is encouraging, but a little scary.

Practice Test #2 is on the agenda for tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

1st Progressive Test

156 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 2.0 hours (81.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I took a progressive test tonight.  In the Becker software, this gives you 100 questions (assuming all 5 classes are selected), weighted by subject content.  This means subject matter that covers 35% of the tested material based on the exam guidelines would have 35 of the 100 questions.  This should simulate a population of questions similar to what should be seen in the exam.  I got 98 out of the 100 questions.  This is very motivating and is locking in my confidence for this section.  I'm still weaker on the simulations and especially the writing parts, but if I can get 95% on the MC on the exam then I really only have to come up with 10-15 out of the 30 points on the simulations.  After the progress test I went through the supplemental questions for AUD-4 that I missed.  I got most of them right today.  How much of that is just knowing that I got them wrong yesterday and choosing a different answer vs understanding it I am not sure yet.  I plan on going through all the AUD-4 MC questions again this weekend.

Tomorrow and Friday I plan on taking the two simulated final exams (one each day).  Hopefully I'll do as good on those MC questions as I did tonight.  If I do, I'll be feeling really good about the exam.  I'm getting close to where throwing more study time isn't going to make much improvement.  Once I get the two final exams done and go through the AUD-4 material again I plan on mostly reviewing notes instead of just more mindless MC question repetition.  Reading the Simulation solutions and reading my notes (studying the mnemonics) will be the focus for my weekend studying.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting Closer

157 days remaining
Mood – Ok
Study Time – 3.0 hours (79.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I reviewed all the supplemental simulations today.  I also downloaded the additional AICPA released simulations that the Becker folks have converted into their software.  I am doing 85-90% on the content of those.  I would still mostly suck at the written part (I've got a mental block against the written part at this point I think).  I worked through the 137 supplemental questions  for AUD-4 today as well.  I got 84% correct.  I was split on my misses.  Half of them I had it down to one or two answers.  The other half I had a hard time figuring out what the question was asking or what the answers were saying.  It is sad when half the battle is just trying to figure out what they are saying. 

I suppose the CPA title wouldn't be as exclusive if they just asked questions in a clear, concise manner that tests knowledge rather the ability to translate intentionally crappy wording.  I am not being bitchy when I say this.  There is a distinct lack of consistency (hello GAAP principles!) in wording throughout the questions.  A specific example of this is in the use of the words Trace and Vouch.  This is  probably a function of different people writing the different questions, but there should be some sort of quality review process (internal control perhaps?) that should consider consistent use of terminology.  While I am on a soap box, there also seem to be many questions designed to test the differences between how thing use to be and how they are now.  I find these types of questions both pointless and relieving.  I find them pointless from the perspective of "I have no idea how things were done 3/5/7/10/more years ago" and putting questions in concerning specific wording (or how it has changed) is moot.  They would be good questions if you were testing people who already had their CPA and they needed to know the changes (CPE classes?).  I find them somewhat of a relief in that the answers to these questions tend to be easier than other questions.  I have four choices and three of them use wording or terms I've not seen in any example report.....duh!  I suppose this is a function of existing CPAs writing questions to test things they find interesting/compelling/important without regards to why they are asking it or who they are asking it of.

On another note, I managed to get a doctor's appointment in.  Unfortunately I don't have strep.  I looked at my doctor funny when he said that like he had gone crazy, but I understand his explanation.  If it was strep he would put me on antibiotics and I'd be good in 3-5 days.  Since it isn't strep, it could be the beginnings of something worse that will come up over the next week.  I suppose it would be just lovely to be coughing up a lung or drowning in snot while trying to take the CPA exam on Monday.  In any event, I've paid $250-ish already to take it, so it will be taken assuming I'm well enough to be conscious long enough to get into the test.

Monday, November 9, 2009

AUD-4 Within My Grasp

158 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 2.0 hours (76.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I didn't get a lot of time in tonight due to family stuffs (tm).  The time I did get in served as a good moral boost though.  I reworked the main multiple choice questions again for AUD-4.  I got 94%, which is a good, strong improvement over where I've been.  I am feeling much more confident in the questions.  I made improvements in every sub-section except the one I previously got 100% in (still got 100%).

Tomorrow I'll tackle the supplemental questions to see how I do there.  I'll also hopefully have time to take my first crack at a fully simulated MC test (gives 100 questions by content weight).  That leaves Wednesday for covering the supplemental simulations, Thursday/Friday for the simulated exams, and Saturday/Sunday for a final pass through the course material and reading of any other AICPA released material. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Murphy's Law

159 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 4.5 hours (74.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I spent today reviewing AUD-2 and 3.  I did all the MC questions for both sections.  I got 95% on AUD-2 and 99% on AUD-3 (missed 2 out of was a RTCDQ issue).  I then did the simulations.  I missed one minor item on each simulation.  I did better on the written parts on both, but still lacking in overall performance here.  I also went through my flashcards.

On another note, I might be getting sick.  My throat is scratchy and hurts a bit.  This would of course happen this week rather than after the exam.  The possible good news is if I am getting sick, hopefully I can be over it by next weekend (before test).

Tomorrow's plan is to do AUD-5's MC questions and simulation.  That shouldn't take up all my evening, so after that I'll look at a couple of the supplemental simulations.  That leaves me a couple of days to do AUD-4 and then 4 days to do the 2 practice exams and other simulated MC question sets.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Doing Better

160 days remaining
Mood – Ok
Study Time – 3.0 hours (69.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

 I got a good chunk of stuff done today in the three hours I worked.  I did the simulations for AUD-4 & 5 and did well on most of it (85% or so) aside from the written part (seems usual for me).  I then did all the MC questions and simulation for AUD-1.  I got 97% on the MC and missed 2 bits on the simulation.  I did better on the written part, but not as good as I need to.

I feel a bit unfocused on how to proceed at this point.  I've got a ton of material to cover and am weak in two areas (AUD-4 and written parts).  I've got a week and a day left to bring it all together.  I think I can do it, but I've got to be more focused than I was able to be today.

Friday, November 6, 2009

10 Days Until AUD Test

161 days remaining
Mood – Ok
Study Time – 7.0 hours (66.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I took the day off from work today to relax and study.  Well, I got one of the two goals done.  I put in eight hours today with small interruptions for laundry, a couple of phone calls, and to eat a sandwich.  I re-watched the AUD-4 lecture and did the main MC questions again.  I improved my score from 73% to 85%.  That is a good jump, but still not where I need to be.  I am still struggling with many questions.  There are many questions though where I am down to two choices, which is much better than my first pass through them.   There were several questions that after I answered them wrong I couldn't believe I selected the answer I did over the correct choice.  Hopefully the next pass through the questions will push me up into the 90% mark. 

Tomorrow I'll do the simulations for the AUD-4 & 5 class and go through the questions for AUD-4 again.  I'm trying to hold off on the supplemental questions to AUD-4 until I can hit the 90% mark in the regular questions.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Light Night

162 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 2.0 hours (59.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I didn't do a lot of studying tonight (only 2 hours).  I went through the AUD-5 class MC questions.  I did pretty well (88%).  I was 3 questions short of of 90% and had 5 RTCDQ misses.  A couple of the questions I missed were related to changes in the material.  There were 30 pages of the book material that has changed.  There are several questions that are effected by the change, so keeping track of which set of material I'm working off of is a tad confusing.  Anyhow, I should be up over the 90% mark on my next pass through them.

I've taken the day off work tomorrow.  Work has been crazy and the AUD class on top of that has been rough.  I do plan on going through the AUD-4 lecture again tomorrow and then doing the questions again.  I'm hoping another pass through the material will help a great deal.  If not I'll have to come up with another plan.

I'm also working on some of the testing on my computer.  So far I'm not getting the results I was actually hoping for.  I've swapped the memory out and so far it hasn't frozen again.  This is pointing towards a motherboard problem, which is worse than the memory problem I was hoping for.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

AUD Class Completed

163 days remaining
Mood – Tired
Study Time – 4.0 hours (57.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I finished the final in class lecture tonight.  I did good on the in class questions tonight, so I feel good about the 5th class material.  I'll find out tomorrow when I rework those questions.  The hard part of self-study now begins.  I've got 11 days to get ready for the my first go at the AUD test.  For now, I am pretty pooped and ready for a shower and good nights sleep.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Thunder Rolls

164 days remaining
Mood – upset
Study Time – 3.5 hours (53.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I only put in 3.5 hours, although I was really only 10 minutes from hitting the 4 hour mark.  Today's studying did not go as planned.  I did the AUD-4 (Monday's class) MC questions (but not the 137 supplemental ones) and only got 73%.  This is around or a little lower than I've done on questions prior to watching the lecture, although it is in-line with my other first pass through the questions.  The down side, I didn't have a clue on many of the questions.  These questions are more application of principles rather than more direct questions that have been given so far.  I didn't feel that I missed anything in the lecture, although there were many ratio questions that the lecture did not cover.  I will probably need to re-read and re-watch this lecture. 

I actually felt better about the AUD-5 questions, even if I did score slightly lower on them (70%).  Many of the questions in this section that I got wrong I had eliminated 2 of the 3 incorrect answers (was down to 2 choices).  I'm sure after the lecture and another pass through the questions I'll be doing good on this section.

No one likes to do what makes them feel stupid.  AUD-4 made me feel pretty dumb.  I can't just ignore it though.  I'll have to find some spare motivation lying around and push through it.  This has probably been my most demoralizing study session so far.  It was pretty sad that answering the questions for the material I haven't covered left me with a better feeling than the stuff I should have done better on.  This is really only my second "bad" day in the process, so I suppose it could be a lot worse.  It doesn't make it any easier to deal with though.

I'm trying to come up with my study plan for after the last AUD class.  I have 11 days to study after the last class assuming I take no study days off.  Half of one of those days has to be the simulations for AUD-4 & 5.  It will take another day and a half to do the AUD-4 & 5 questions again.  2 days have to be the practice tests.  I really need to re-watch the AUD-3 & 4 lectures and re-read the material.  So, that is 2 days to finish off homework for AUD-4 & 5, 3 days to re-read/watch AUD-3 & 4, and 2 days to do the practice exams.  That is 7 of my 11 days, leaving 4 days to cover the other stuff (and assuming I pick up the deficiencies in my AUD-3 & 4 material).  It is doable, but the lack of class isn't going to make it any less hard.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Four Down, One to Go

165 days remaining
Mood –head swimming

Study Time – 4.0 hours (50.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I made it through the 4th class tonight.  Like the last class, I missed several of the in-class questions.  This section is like the AUD-3 class in that I'm just going to have to get through the questions several times before I begin to feel comfortable with it.  This is the first class where I didn't get through the questions once before class.  I really don't like it, but the computer issues this past weekend took up too much time.  The material was pretty detailed and counts towards a good chunk of the overall AUD test.  We'll see how I do tomorrow on my first pass through the questions.  If I were a betting man, I'd say 75%-80%, but I'm hoping to do better.

On the computer side of things, my machine has been running for almost 29 hours now without locking up or freezing.  I need to do some trial and error to pin down if it is a memory issue or an issue with a memory slot on the motherboard.  I could do this tomorrow, but it would distract from my studying.  I am hoping to get some more computer-fix time in on Friday, but I've got it stable enough now to make it through to my AUD test.

On a next class note, I got a copy of the REG book and the first 3 lecture discs for that section.  I'm hoping to start working through that material in December to get a head start on the January class.  I really need to be pretty far ahead in that class if I have any chance at taking the REG section in the seven day window between the last REG class (Jan 27) and the first BEC class (Feb 3).

I got more information from others taking the class.  They are saying if I've got the AUD stuff down that the BEC class should be much easier.  This makes me feel good.  I've basically got 2 sections I feel good about and 2 I think I'll have to worry about. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Some Witty Title Here

165 days remaining
Mood – Annoyed
Study Time – 4.0 hours (46.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I read through the materials for the final AUD class (AUD-5) this morning.  It is pretty long, so it took a while.  I am still fighting with my computer, so I didn't do all the AUD-3 and AUD-4 questions like I had hoped to.  Actually, the amount of time it took to read AUD-5 would have stopped me from doing both anyhow (sounds like an excuse to me though).  Anyhow, I took the weighted practice test covering AUD 1-3.  This populates a 59 question test with a timer.  I was on number 52 when my computer froze (I screamed).  I know I had all the answers with the possible exceptions of one correct.  I restarted and started the test again (different set of questions this time).  I got 59 out of 59 for 100% on those.  I've got the MC questions down really well at this point.  Hopefully I'll find some time tomorrow to get through most of the AUD-4 questions before class.

I'm getting a bit excited and nervous now that the first exam is actually coming up.  I've got the MC questions down really well so far and I have no doubt with a couple of times through the AUD-4 and AUD-5 questions I'll be in good shape for those.  I'm pretty comfortable with the simulations so far as well EXCEPT FOR the written part.  I've got to come up with some way of "studying" for that part.  I'm not sure how yet, but I've got a week to figure it out.

On the computer front, I think I've finally made some progress on identifying the source of the problem.  For those that are of a computer mind, I've basically eliminated software, cooling, hard drive, and power supply from the list of possible issues.  I ran a memory test for 4.5-5 hours today after I studies and it came back clean.  However, I removed one of my two sticks of memory and I haven't had any issues since.  This either means the memory is bad or the slot on the motherboard is bad.  The memory is an easy fix, although I can actually survive without it for now anyhow.  The motherboard is a bigger issue, but if it is just the one memory slot that is bad I can work fine with the other 3.

I'm still not sure how I'll make it through my January to April stretch.  The last three weeks have been a killer.  If this were January I'd barely be halfway through the classes.

And on a final blog-ish note, I got another comment.  The fact that anyone besides me is reading this is pretty spiffy.  The comment asked if Texas required you to take all 4 sections in 90 days.  The thought of that is just ucky.  Thankfully, we have 18 months, which is somewhat standard.  I believe several/many states actually give 24 months.  Personally, if I have gotten it done in the 18 month window I doubt the extra 6 months would really make a big difference to me.  By that point I'll already be in the crazy house.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Love Computers, But They Hate Me

166 days remaining
Mood – Annoyed
Study Time – 4.0 hours (42.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none 

My technical problems continue.  I do computer stuff as my main form of entertainment, so that fact that my computer is messed up is annoying me to no end.  Even with a clean install of my operating system I'm having issues (has to be hardware thing).  I think it could be my memory or motherboard/processor.  In either case, I'm annoyed as the computer is only 6-7 months old.

On the study front, this morning wasn't great.  I was pretty tired from the week, so I slept in longer than I had intended.  I got started on my studying almost two hours later than I wanted.  After reading the material for AUD-4 (Monday's class material) I worked the simulations for AUD-2 & 3.  I did great on the simulations except for the written part, which I butchered on both.  I finally gave up the day as a waste and ran some errands I had to do.  I felt guilty by time I finished those, so when I got back I sat down to do the multiple choice questions for AUD-3.  I missed a whole 3 questions out of the 231, for 99%.  This is much better than the previous 86%.

Tomorrow I plan on reading the final class material and do more multiple choice questions.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Technical Problems

168 days remaining
Mood – good
Study Time – 4.0 hours (38.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none 

Technical problems annoyed me throughout the night tonight.  While working the AUD-3 class problems my computer locked up twice and rebooted once.  The reboot was when I was on question 100 of 100.  That means the software didn't record anything for that set of questions for me.  I was between 84% and 86% though for that set.  It took right at the four hour mark not including breaks and dog issues to get through all the AUD-2 and AUD-3 questions (all 396 of them).  I scored a 96% on the AUD-2 questions, which is in line with having done them a couple of times.  I came out at the 87% mark on the AUD-3 questions, mostly due to poor performance on the supplemental questions (66-70%).  Unlike Tuesday's pass through the AUD-3 questions, I felt a ton better about them this time.  I had the answers down to two options most of the time when I missed or had a RTCDQ issue.  I'm still short 4-5 hours between now and Monday's class in order to do all the study items I'd like to (see yesterday's post).  I might do a second mini-study session on Saturday to help.

Anyhow, I feel better about the AUD-3 section even if I am below the 90% mark I wanted to be at for my second pass through the questions.  I'm feeling really good about the AUD test in general still.

A side note for tonight:  Our dog was rather distracting tonight.  She kept pawing at the door like she needed to go out, only to run for a toy when I'd get up to let her out.  I know my study time is hard for her too, but she has actually been pretty good overall.  I also had a 15-20 minute break tonight for a friend that showed up (house sitting this weekend and needed the key).  While I got in 4 hours tonight, it took just shy of 5 to get those 4 hours in.  Tomorrow is a study-free night, but it is also Halloween, so frequent doorbell interruptions are expected.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

AUD Class 3

169 days remaining
Mood – little bit down
Study Time – 4.0 hours (34.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

Three classes down, two to go.  This was a long class that covered a ton of information.  It took almost 30 pages to cover 2 letters of one of the mnemonics (painful).  I also missed 3-4 of the 20 in class questions.  The air conditioning is also a bit funky in the room we are in.  I think there is an override that kills the air conditioning about 6:30-7.  The end result is I get to burn up for the last half of the class.  I did find the two people sitting behind me bringing in an entire pizza to eat during the class hilarious.  I wasn't annoyed or anything by it, but found it very amusing.

I also have found a problem with my current study plan.  I need an extra day or two do complete all the tasks I want to complete before next Monday's class.  This means doing an eight hour day on Saturday or Sunday , giving up my day off of study, or changing the laws of physics and space/time.  Personally, I'm hoping for the third option.  By my count I need to re-read section 3 (and 2 if I can manage), answer the MC questions for sections 2 & 3 at least twice more , although I'd prefer three times (160ish and 230 questions in the sections), read AUD-4 & 5 class material (60-70 pages each), do the simulations for 2 & 3.  That list includes 8 items (read 4, read 5, MC 2, MC 3, read 3, MC 2, MC 3, Simulations 2/3).  I can effectively do 2 items per study session, which means I need 4 study sessions while only having 3.  That doesn't include doing the MC questions for 4 once before class like I want to do.  Reading the material before class is very beneficial, so those can't go.  I really don't consider 2-3 times through the MC questions to be enough, so those can't go.  This means not re-reading the section 3 stuff, even though I am a bit weak on it relative to other sections.  I can probably squeeze in just enough to allow me to do the questions twice and read next week's material if I skip lunch the next couple of days.  We'll see how it turns out.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Questions, Questions, Questions! Do you ever end?

170 days remaining
Mood –Committed
Study Time – 3.5 hours (30.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none 

I worked all the AUD-2 multiple choice questions and got 92% on them.  Some of my incorrect answers were RTCDQ problems (Read the Cock-a-Doody Question).  I feel pretty good about the questions, but really need to go through them another couple of times.  After that I went to look at the questions for AUD-3 class (tomorrow's class).  There are 197 questions not counting the supplementary ones (another 30-something).  Those took a long time to go through.  They were a bit demoralizing since I scored lower on them than the others.  While I didn't do too bad (76%) for my first pass through the questions, it was less than I had done on my first pass through AUD-2.  With AUD-2 I felt that I wasn't too far off the mark.  With these there was a lot of plain old guessing.  I only read the material the one time and I actually did better than I felt I did (felt like 60-65%).  If this follows like the other sections, I'll feel a ton better about the material after listening to the lecture tomorrow.  I almost wish I had one class per week so I could lock in my understanding of each section before starting another section.  I am less concerned with this for AUD than for the REG and FAR sections.

The realities of what I am undertaking is beginning to sink in this week.  So far I've done great on sticking to my study schedule.  It is tiring, but I'm doing it.  I am looking forward to November 16th when I can break for a couple of weeks.  The scary thing is once the next bit kicks in it is 3-4 solid months of pain and suffering.  I've still got a pretty good feeling for AUD and the study method I'm using.  I'm concerned that this method of studying will not be effective for REG and FAR (but should be good and sound for BEC).  I've looked through some other messages/forums for CPA exam takers and the more I read those the less comfortable I feel with the extent of my studying.  There are a ton of stories about people taking sections 3 and 4 times.  I can't imagine what I'll be like having to go through this level of study for that extended period of time.

One minor point of note:  I am finding an innocent comment from people is really annoying me for some unknown reason.  The comment I've heard from several people is "You're smart, you'll do fine."  I really wouldn't say that anyone sitting for the CPA exam would fall into my stupid category.  This isn't to say stupid people can't take the exam, just that it takes a lot to be able to take the exam, so most people taking it put in a good deal of effort.  Even with that effort a good chunk still fail (40-45% pass rate?).  Being smart by itself isn't nearly enough to pass this exam based on my previous taking in 2001, nor talking with those that have taken and are taking it.  While there is no ill-will in the comment, it doesn't have the reassuring message it is intended to have.  I wish I had more people around me that actually know what the deal is rather than just some vague notion of "oh he is studying for some test that is suppose to be hard."

Monday, October 26, 2009

AUD Class 2

171 days remaining
Mood – Tired
Study Time – 4.0 hours (26.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none 

15 hours days are not something I'd recommend to others.  I got out of bed around 7 am this morning and the first thought in my head was "it will be 15 hours before I get out of class tonight."  Here we are 15.5 hours later and I'm writing my post.  The work day started with loading a dozen printers in the pouring down rain (wet and sweat).  The work day concluded with getting behind overly dusty server racks in a noisy server room trying to help solve server/switch issues with our corporate IT folks.  After that, the real fun began.  I was pretty pooped going into class.  I felt good about the class itself though since I did so well on the questions on Sunday.  The class was mostly like the first.  The first seven pages of the section have been replaced by new material that is testable.  Thankfully, it is mostly the same as the old, just different terms and a couple of additional bullet points to learn.  There was a lot of highlighting and notes made.  We'll see if I can get over the 90-95% mark on the questions tomorrow.

The fun for tonight:  periodic chirping.  We've been fighting our smoke detector for the last week.  A couple of times we've woken up hearing the periodic (every 20ish seconds) chirp from the alarm.  Normally this would be a low battery chirp.  I put a new battery in it on Friday, but the chirping continued, but went away by time I got home.  Apparently it started back up sometime today, so now we get to try to go to sleep with the loud chirp every 20ish seconds.  Oddly enough, the chirping continues even when the alarm is disconnected and no battery is in it.  It sounds like the chirping is actually coming from the wiring in the ceiling, but that could just be a function of the pitch and shortness of the chirp making it hard to tell.  I'll have to see if the warranty guys I work with (work for a home builder) have any ideas or can get me the number of someone who will.

Off to the showers and bed for this CPA Exam preparer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Week Completed

172 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 4.5 hours (22.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

It was a very long morning (bit over 4.5 hours).  It took three hours to read the material for Wednesday.  How we will get through all that in the 4 hour class is beyond me at this point, but we will see on Wednesday.  I decided to skip the multiple choice questions for the first class.  I think my eyes started to bleed in anticipation of that.  Instead, I took a crack at the MC questions for the AUD-2 class.  I did all the MC questions except the supplementary ones.  There were 128 questions answered and I got 104 of them correct (81%).  This is better than my first crack at the AUD-1 questions.  Many of the ones I missed I had limited the answer to two possibilities that included to correct answer.  I'm looking forward to seeing how I do after sitting through the class tomorrow.

I'm looking forward to getting to relax the rest of the day.  It is going to be a long week.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


173 days remaining
Mood – Good
Study Time – 3.5 hours (18.0 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none 

I re-read the material for the class this coming Monday (AUD-2) and feel much better about it.  I read the questions in the book prior to the re-read and wasn't as ignorant on the material as my initial reading has led me to believe.  Thursday when I had read it initially had been a hard day at work, so that is the only thing I can think of that explains my mood then.  I then did all the multiple choice questions again for the AUD-1 class.  I did slightly worse on them than I did on Thursday, missing 5 out of the 177 instead of only 4.  I still think it is a good showing.  Three of my misses were purely do to my not RTCDQ as my accounting professor in college use to say.  RTCDQ = Read the Cock-a-Doody Question!  I like to add a RTCDA to that as well for Read the Cock-a-Doody Answer.  The questions that ask which of the following "do not" that then have double negatives in the answer selections are just plain freaking evil.  I didn't hit the 4 hour mark exactly (about 10 minutes shy of it), so I only counted 3.5 for today.

Tomorrow's plan is to read the material for Wednesday's class since I won't have time between now and Wednesday to do it and to go over the MC questions yet again (do them 'till my eyes bleed).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Head Swimming

175 days remaining
Mood – head swimming
Study Time – 3 hours and some change (14.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I did a ton of reading tonight.  I re-read the material from the first class and feel really good about it.  I then read the material for the next class.  I see the general idea of what they are trying to do, but the 50 pages of material (for the second class) is all so similar to each other that my head is swimming trying to figure out the differences they are trying to explain.  Although, this is exactly why I like to read the material before the class.  I'll go to class, hear it again, get better examples from the video lecture and the person administering the class, then it will make more/better sense.  It was a painful couple of hours though.  The good news is tomorrow is day off from studying!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fun with Auditing

176 days remaining
Mood – Confident
Study Time – 2 hours (11.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none 

I worked through the simulation problem and got most of it right.  I was off by one sub-section on the research portion.  The question wording was less than clear, but that about describes 90% of the CPA exam.  I worked through all the multiple choice questions, including the supplementary questions, again and got all but 4 correct.  That is out of 177 questions I missed 4.  If I can keep that level of retention going I should be in good shape.

I wish there were more simulations to work through.  I have a good understanding of how the multiple choice questions work (the correct answer has to be one of the options after all), but the simulations are more open ended.  I'll have to look for other sources of practice for those.

I feel a little cheap only putting in 2 hours tonight, but I think that has more to do with not having a second class this week than lack of effort.  I think I'll re-read the book material and start on next week's reading tomorrow.

I wonder what post titles I can come up with for just a regular study-day message....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


177 days remaining
Mood – Proud
Study Time – 4 hours (9.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

I went through all the homework multiple choice questions twice and the supplementary multiple choice questions once.  My first pass through the questions I got in the mid-70s for percent right (68% low, 88% high) between the 5 sections.  My second pass through I think I missed a grand total of 4 on the regular homework questions and got 90% on my first (only) pass through the supplementary questions.  After the questions I watched the final part of the lecture that we didn't cover in class (the simulation).  After that, I went through the flash cards once.  I've really improved on the flash cards compared to a week ago.  The only thing I am missing on those is minor items (ie. I understand the concept each card is going for).  There was an hour or so between my first pass at the questions and the second pass.  I'll go through them again another day to make sure I have retained the information.

Since there is no class tomorrow, the plan will be to work on the simulation.  Based on the lecture example it really doesn't look that bad.  I will probably be lacking on the written communication part, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.  The research tab looks usable, but I'll need to practice.  I hope there are enough simulations to get enough practice on.

The lack of class sort of throws my regular plan out.  Thursday should be more multiple choice for the new class and Saturday/Sunday for simulations.  I plan on using one of those days to read the two lectures for next week (1.5 hours each I'm assuming based on last reading).  The chart in the book says I should watch the intro lecture and tutorial videos, but I watched those last week.  I might end up with a few extra hours this week before the next two weeks hit me full speed.

I also scheduled my AUD exam with the testing center today.  Monday November 16 from noon until 5pm I'll sit for the first section.  The last class ends on the 5th, so that gives me 11 days to finish the homework for the final class, review all the material, and take the two practice exams for this section.  I better enjoy it as the next two sections will be on a much more compressed time table.

Monday, October 19, 2009

First Day of Class

178 days remaining
Mood – Even
Study Time – 4 hours (5.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none 

I sat through the first class tonight.  It was 4 long hours.  I found the building without too much trouble (I have no sense of direction).  The people were friendly and had answers to the million questions I've had for a couple of weeks.  The chairs are pretty comfy, although after 4 hours nothing is comfy.  The room got a bit warm halfway through and it was distracting.  The lectures themselves mostly involved going page by page through the book and highlighting a third of it (they provided a nice highlighter) and adding cross-references and other minor notes in other places.  While this doesn't strike me as a valuable use of my time (I pre-read the material in an hour and a half), they are the ones that have been doing this for decades, not me.  Class got out right at 10 pm.  It has been a long time since I've been mentality engaged for that long of a time at that level and it is tiring.  I'll hit up the lecture simulation tomorrow that we didn't cover in class as well as the multiple choice questions.

Other side information I learned.  Starting in January 2011 the BEC portion of the test will include a written component.  The written component in the other three sections is being removed (still have simulations, just not written part).  This is just one more reason to pass these things on the first round.  Also, the thoughts of me finishing the class and sitting for the exam before the next class between January and February got a pretty sever beat down.  There are people in this class that still have a week before they sit for the classes that ended at the end of September.  I wonder if I can just endure pain and suffering and take some days off work to make up for it?  Although, the people I spoke to were taking substantial time off work as well and taking several weeks.  This was the one real negative that I got tonight.  I really can't do much to change it though, so I'll just have to ignore it until closer to January.  I still think starting my studying in December will let me squeeze by.

On a side note, the wife is still sick.  Off to the showers and bed for me.  Tomorrow we get the first crack at my self-discipline and commitment.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Day Before

179 days remaining
Mood – Nervous
Study Time – 0 hours (1.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

My last weekend before it begins was pretty nice. I relaxed and didn't think about what is about to happen until Sunday afternoon. My wife came down with swine flu Thursday night, so she was sick the whole weekend. I was dreading that I'd end up with it (and still might). So far though I'm feeling fine. As long as I can make it through class tomorrow night I'll be in good shape. After that I have a full week to be sick and get over it.

I've got my book, discs, and flashcards ready to go tomorrow morning. I know where the building is for the class (one of two buildings anyhow) and should have enough time to find it before class. I'm anxious about the whole thing right now. Moreso when I think about the January-March stretch. I've got to settle down a bit and just focus one week at a time. I didn't put any study time in this weekend, but will hit it full speed tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Beginning

184 days remaining
Mood – Cautious, Excited
Study Time – 1.5 hours (1.5 total)
Sections Taken/Passed:  none/none

On September 18, 2009 I apparently decided I didn’t have enough going on in my life.  I was talking with a co-worker about her college classes.  I had been toying with the idea of taking a college class or two myself for fun.  I had considered taking a couple of Astronomy classes.  I was annoyed to learn that even to audit the classes was just as expensive as it was to take the classes for real.  This put the cost way above what I was willing to pay for recreational learning.  The conversation turned to CPE credits that two other co-workers had suffered through that week.  This got me to thinking about going for my CPA again.
I graduated from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in the Summer of 2001.  I sat for the CPA exam in November of that year to lock in my eligibility.  I used all the vacation time I had at that moment in order to sit.  I did no studying or other preparation.  I didn’t expect to pass or do well at all.  My goal was to get a 50 or better in each section.  I was pleasantly surprised by the results as much as I was put off by the process.  I ended up with AUD-62; BEC-61; FAR-65; REG-72.  I found the whole thing amusing.  I actually did better in what I thought were my harder sections and worse in the ones I expected to be good in.  I did my best in the section I thought I did the worst in.  In any event, I had no plans on sitting for the exam again.  The vacation time, the expense of the test, the expense of the hotel, and the awful testing experience made me not want to go through that again.  I knew before that point I didn’t want to do public accounting and that I liked the private work better.  The test changed over to the computer format a couple of years later (2003-2004).  By that time I had just changed jobs, moved to Austin, and was just plain busy with life.

So, here I was back on September 17, 2009.  I realized I’d been out of school for ages and would need a review course in order to have a shot at it.  Given that I could schedule the exam one section at a time gave me hope it wouldn’t be the pure hell the previous experience was.  I looked up the review courses online.  I had a couple of friends from college that really liked the Becker stuff back when they were doing their CPA exam.  I tend to be easily distracted when sitting in front of a computer, so I was looking for live classes.  The good news is they have them in Austin.  Better yet, they have a 4 month schedule to get all the classes and testing done.  I feel that I can do 4-5 months of suffering to get this out of the way.  I go back and forth on what to do that weekend and have a couple of calls getting pricing and such.  $3,000 for the classes.  Ouch!  I discuss it with my wife and we decide it is better to do it now than to wait and it be harder later.  I decided to put out the extra $200 for the flash cards as well.  No sense in going cheap for $200 when I’m already spending $3,000.  Total costs came in a bit under $3,200.  On September 22nd I call in, register, and pay.  I am now committed.  On a side note, I’ve decided not to tell my parents that I am working on this.  I don’t know why, but I’d like to just spring it on them after I’ve passed all sections.

The Schedule – Becker has two sets of classes each year.  I am going to do the last class of the cycle in 2009 and the first three in 2010.  I will take the AUD class from mid-October to early-November and sit for the AUD section in the middle of November.  I then have classes solid all of January through March (REG, BED, FAR respectively) while trying to cram in the actual exam at the end of January, Februrary, and early April.  I really question if 5-6 days after the end of the REG class will be enough to get in my final studying and sit, but I’ll kindof have to in order to be ready to get into studying for the BEC class the first part of February.

Registering for the exam is an exercise in patience.  I am grateful that I did sit for the exam back in 2001 solely due to it locked in my eligibility and allowed me to skip that whole process.  Thank goodness for the internet as well, otherwise I’d be stuck doing things by snail mail.  I can’t help but laugh at the bureaucracy involved.  I know there are multiple separate organizations involved, but you’d think they could get the whole thing down to two steps of 1.  Apply to take and then 2.  Schedule the exam.  Instead we have the back and forth of ‘I’d like to apply’; ‘I’d like to take XYZ section’; ‘I’d like to pay’; ‘I’d like to schedule’; ‘Please schedule for X/XX/20XX’.  The websites for some of these organizations could use some work and/or update with current info better.  The good news is the people you talk to at NASBA and (in my case) the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy were easy to get hold of and pleasant to talk to.  I paid my $15 last week as the first part of my fees and just paid the $230.55 for the AUD section 30 minutes ago.  Everything is moving forward with my schedule pain and suffering right on time.

I received the first part of my materials a couple of days after signing up for the class.  I was actually really surprised by the book.  I was expecting something more along the lines of a 4” thick tomb of knowledge.  Instead, it looks much more manageable, although there is still a ton of condensed stuff in there.  I loaded the software and it appears to be running fine, including the video.  I was a bit worried as they claim to not support Vista 64-bit which of course both my computer and my wife’s has.  I’ve read the first class materials.  There is going to be a lot of plain old fashion memorization for this section. 

Having sat for the exam once, I can honestly say there was nothing on the exam that I hadn’t seen in my various classes.  I’d say most of my accounting class tests used the same format and types of questions I saw on the exam.  I know I’ve seen all the material tested, it is simply a matter of recalling that knowledge.  If I put in the study time I will pass.  If I half-ass my studying or don’t put in the time I won’t.  There is a certain relief in that simplicity and horror at the same time. 

My current study plan is roughly as follows:

Modnay:  6pm-10pm class (4 hours)
Tuesday:  6:30-9:30  homework questions & study(3 hours)
Wednesday:  6pm-10pm class (4 hours)
Thursday:  6:30-9:30  homework questions & study (3 hours)
Friday:  relaxation and/or time with wife/friends
Saturday:  4 hours (2 sessions?) simulation and other study (4 hours)
Sunday:  4 hours (2 sessions?) simulation and other study (4 hours)

Misc:  use flash cards 5-10 times per day for current and past class portions.

This is 22 hours per week including class. This is below the 30-35 the course recommends.  I need to find a way to squeeze in another 8ish hours.  I’m not really sure where to squeeze that time in though between work and sleep.  I could possibly squeeze an hour in before work, but I’ve never been a morning person and don’t know how productive I could be during that time.

I’ve bounced between excitement and dread ever since paying for the review courses.  I know I can do this.  I also know how much effort it is going to take.  I worked full time and took full time college (including graduate course work) and it sucked then too.  It is 178 days from October 19, 2009 (first class starts) to April 15, 2010 (sit for last section sometime in early April).  That is 6 months of calendar time and really only 4.5 months of painful study focus.  It is basically like one fully loaded college semester.  That is a very limited time with the light at the end of the tunnel visible from the start.

This blog is here to help me keep my sanity.  In the two weeks after deciding to do this I looked for alot of stuff online.  I did find a couple of forums where people discussed things.  I found a blog that was nice.  Nowhere did I see anything showing the day to day activities of how anyone survived the process.  I plan on using this to track my study time and to help me stay focused.  In the end it might be a good case study in showing a person's decent into madness.  Maybe I'll end up like that story about the lady and the wallpaper I read back in high school.  Maybe somehow someone other than me will find it and it can help them with whatever they need as they go through the process.

Things I plan on tracking at the opening of each post:
1.  Number of days left (currently based on April 15th end date, although hopefully it will be a little sooner)
2.   Mood.  I imagine I'll move between excited, dread, and exhaustion throughout the process.  It might be nice to be able to look back on it with detail some day.  If I don't collect/track that data now it won't be something I can create later.
3.  Number of hours studied.  I may change this up to add totals, but not sure yet.
4.  Sections passed

I also have my email listed on the side in case anyone ever feels the quirky need to email me about something.  Under that is my Status and Scores page I made.  This will be updated to show  what I'm working on currently; my class, testing, and passing status; and my testing/scores data.  Currently I've got my old 2001 scores listed as well as my status as working on the AUD section that I start Monday (starting flash cards tomorrow).