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.