Monday, April 26, 2010


I'm getting fidgety now waiting on scores.  I've still got 3-4 weeks to go assuming I don't end up having to wait until June.  I am enjoying my free time again though.  I'm still checking the forums over at daily as well as responding and checking my blog a couple of times a day.  The test is over but the obsession has remained.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Post Exam Thoughts

I had a pretty relaxing weekend.  I got caught up on a ton of house stuff I've been neglecting for months as well as saw friends and relaxed.

Thinking back on the exam is getting fuzzy already.  It was brutal overall.  I think I did alright on the MC portions of it.  I am hopefully at least 50% on the simulations.  The more I think on my written the responses the worse I feel.  I doubt there is any good way to be comfortable with this section of the exam.  Overall I still think I passed.  Assuming I did decent on the MC portion that should be enough to carry me through.  There is always the possibility that I'll have to retake this one, but I'll leave that stress for the week results get released.

FAR was the worst section of the four by a wide margin.  The amount of material and complexity of it is astronomical.  You could prepared for this section for a year and still end up with stuff you have no idea about.  I really am glad I saved this one for last.  If I didn't already have 3 sections behind me I would have been completely flustered during the test itself which would have been detrimental given the time constraints.  For those looking for reassurance on this section I don't know what I can offer.  Expect to go in nervous and come out feeling like crap.  The trick is to understand that ahead of time and not let it trip you up during the test itself.  Focus for the 4 hours and then feel free to stress after the exam.  You have to remain calm and focused during it though.

Good luck to those I've spoken to in the past week that are testing this week.  I'll be thinking of you on your respective test days.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

FAR Exam Taken

It was brutal.  The simulations were a complete killer.  The written were not on topics I was strong in.  I couldn't tell a difference in difficulty in the MC testlets.  The only saving grace I have on the MC testlets are that the 2nd and 3rd testlets took longer to get through, so I'm hoping they were actually harder.  I couldn't tell a difference like I was able to in REG or AUD though.  I'm pooped and a bit cranky at the moment so I'll try a more detailed good post after I relax and settle down.  It may be tomorrow.  For now I can rest at least.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The End is Nigh!

1 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Getting Nervous
Study Time – 0.5 hours (403.0 total - FAR: 122.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

I looked at the ratios tonight.  None of them are particularly hard.  I know the main ones from previous classes.  If I get one of the really odd ones I'll just go with what I think and not worry too much about it.  I'm as ready as I'm going to be.  Hopefully I don't keep myself up all night or keep waking up dreaming about the test like I've done on other sections.  

My test is scheduled for noon tomorrow.  Like in previous sections, I plan on showing up around 10 (why won't they just let you schedule to start at 10 already) and should be allowed to start then.  If for some reason they can't I'll have some time to review my notes and the book and such.  I should be done around 3pm tomorrow.  

I'm sure I'll feel horrid after the exam and be somewhat negative (same as other sections).  I'll unwind in a day or two and can hopefully have my life back.  It is hard to believe that it has been less than 6 months since this whole thing started.  It feels like two years.  I've put in the effort and should be just fine.  If I can convince my stomach of that so it settles down though it would be better.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Final Push

2 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Good
Study Time – 1.0 hours (402.5 total - FAR: 122.0 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

It is really easy to study when you don't have much to do.  I didn't put much into tonight.  I reviewed a minor point on pensions, reviewed the foreign currency stuff, and reviewed the reconciliation of government-wide financials.  Tomorrow I'll hit up the ratios. 

Thanks for the emails of encouragement over the past two days.  My inbox started to explode Sunday and I've enjoyed emailing with many of you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ending on the Wrong Note

3 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Annoyed
Study Time – 3.5 hours (401.5 total - FAR: 121.0 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

My (hopefully) last practice final exam is my weakest performance yet.  I did outstanding on the simulations and very poorly on the MC.  They really twisted the questions in the MC for this exam to the point of insanity.  Wording on many of the questions was beyond poor.  I hate knowing the topic and being unable to figure out what the heck the question is saying or asking.  I do have two topics to go review tomorrow though.  All in I think my score would have been a 69 (again giving myself 5 points for the written).  This is only 2 points worse than yesterdays, but seems worse since I dropped under that 70% mark.  I'm still good overall once you figure in my actual performance over practice exam performance.  I am a bit scared about this section though.  Sadly I think it could come down to the luck of which types of questions I get.  Luck is not a strategy though.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


4 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Unsure
Study Time – 4.0 hours (397.5 total - FAR: 117.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

I just scored the lowest I've scored on any practice final exam of any section.  By my calculation I 66 before any consideration of the written.  While I am nervous about the written in general, I've done average to better than average on the actual exams.  If you add 5 points for the written that puts me at a practice final exam #1 score of 71.  This is a couple of points lower than what I did on the second BEC one where I got a 73.  All in it isn't too horrible.  I've done at least 12 points and as much as 20 points better on the actual exam, which would put me at 83-91.  I expect this exam to actually be my lowest, but I should be ok based on this practice final exam.  Obviously I'd like to be higher, but it should be good enough.

Onto the practice exam itself.  I had 3 RTCDQ issues (2 in MC, 1 in a simulation).  These are pretty silly mistakes that I should know better.  I had 5 misses that I consider stupid.  These are basic things that I know that I just plain missed (net of tax, mis-added/math error).  While I'm sure I'll miss some on the actual exam, between these two areas I lost 5-7 points on the exam.  If I could get half of those back I'd have gotten a 74 or 75.  Three of the questions I knew the topic being asked but due to piss-poor wording in the questions and answers missed them.  I'll see a couple like this in the exam and they are frustrating there too.  I just have to remember there is nothing to be done about them and do what I can without wasting time.  

On the timing I am ok.  I am not getting through the MC as fast as I would like, but my goal on the MC question timing is a bit unrealistic.  I want to have an hour for each simulation so that I can spend extra time on the written.  This means I have to do the MC in 2 hours which is like 1.5 minutes per question.  This just isn't practical or reasonable.  If I can get 45 minutes on each simulation I should still be in good shape.  On the practice final exam #1 I had a bit over 30 minutes to work on each written.  It is less than I'd like and less than I've actually used on the other exams, but I'll have to make due.

Friday, April 9, 2010


5 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Unfocused
Study Time – 3.0 hours (393.5 total - FAR: 113.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

It took me 5 hours of work to get in 3 hours of real study time.  I just had a bad case of the "I don't wanna".  I did get through the simulations though.  I did decent on them, better than I though actually.  Overall I think I'm in good shape.  I'm looking forward to relaxing for the rest of the day.  Tomorrow I'll try the practice final exam #1.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Good News Is.....The Bad News Is....

6 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Good and Frustrated
Study Time – 2.5 hours (390.5 total - FAR: 110.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

The good news is I did a progress test tonight.  The other good news is I am just fine on my overall timing.  The even better news is I got 89 out of the 100 correct.  Two of my misses were RTCDQ issues (calculated year 1 when asked for year 2 type of crap).  One of my misses was me second guessing myself.  I had the right answer, knew it was the right answer, and then went with the other answer anyways.  Several of the others I missed weren't too bad and I'll be ok on those topics in the future.  I've got a sheet of notes going with quick one line statements to remind me of things I've missed (ie. Gov't-wide F/S = operational accountability and Stock dividends effective as of beginning of period for WACSO calculation just like stock splits).  I'll review the one line notes for items I've missed just before walking into the testing center as a last minute reminder.

The bad news is I felt like I was struggling through the questions.  After three of these tests I really shouldn't let the questions get to me while doing a section, but they did tonight.  The other bad news is I still missed that damned $12,000 truck with FV of $20,000 non-commercial substance exchange question.  That is the third time I've missed that freaking question.  It is getting annoying.  I think I am going to watch that section of the lecture and work through those examples tomorrow until I can do them in my sleep.

On a "Dale is insane" note, I did try to reschedule my test today.  I was going to schedule it for this Saturday if possible, Monday otherwise (moving the day up).  There were no days available in the Austin testing center though before the 14th, which is when I'm scheduled for anyhow.  The Monday test day wouldn't have changed my studying.  The Saturday test would have meant I would not have done one of the practice finals.  I just want the whole thing to be over that much sooner at this point and would have been willing to pay the $35 to make it happen.

My current plans for the next week:
Friday - took vacation from work, will work the simulations in Becker's software (yard work & rest/relaxation)
Saturday - practice final #1
Sunday - practice final $2
Monday - (work) and  read notes, spend little bit of time with the ratios
Tuesday - (work) and rest & relaxation
Wednesday - TEST.........
Thursday - not study, not study, do happy dance, not study some more

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bad Study Night

7 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Annoyed
Study Time – 2.5 hours (388.0 total - FAR: 108.0 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

It took me 4 hours to get in 2.5 of actual study time.  I could not get focused at the start or even throughout my review portion.  Ultimately I did not have time to do a full progress test (that would have taken 2 hours or so to get through).  Instead I did the supplemental questions for FAR-7 since that is the section I reviewed tonight and I had not done them before.  I scored 75% on the 52 supplemental questions.  I gave away 5% to very minor things that I would not miss again.  I gave away another 5% on ratio questions that I missed.  I did not even look at the ratios in the book yet (planning on doing that Monday or maybe even Tuesday).  Overall I think I am in the low-80s on the actual material.  While it isn't as good as I'd like, it isn't bad and is consistent with what I've done on the harder materials.  

Just as a reference, I got 79% on the main FAR-7 questions my first time through, which was one of my lowest scores for FAR questions.  I've been doing about 2-7% less on the supplemental questions than the main questions, so that fits in with my normal performance as well.

I almost checked today to see if I could move my test up to Friday.  I really just need to review the simulations in the Becker software and review ratios and I could be ready.  The other days are really for the 2 practice final exams.  While they would be helpful I think I could get by without them.  The thought of not having to study this weekend at all was very appealing.  It was a nice day dream today.  In the end, there is no point in taking a short-cut this close to the end.  I will miss some some really stupid things in the practice final exams that I'll learn from and I will see at least some of those stupid mistakes on the actual exam.  But still, a weekend without studying.........

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Impatience Strikes

8 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Annoyed
Study Time – 3.0 hours (385.5 total - FAR: 105.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

I must have lost focus or something tonight.  My impatience cost me about 5% on my score easily.  I lost another 5% to very minor or RTCDQ issues.  I skimmed the FAR-6 materials (Pensions).  I then took a quick quiz of 10 questions and got 80%.  I then did a progress test that included every section except FAR-7 (that is tomorrow night's reading/review).  I got 70 out of the 87 questions (80%).  While that isn't horrible, I've done much better the last couple of nights and expected better from myself.  In reviewing the progress test, most of what I missed were very stupid things that I should have caught.  I could tell my overall focus was off tonight, so I'm hoping for a rebound tomorrow night.  Not horrible, but not what I wanted to get tonight.
On a side note, I really haven't looked at any of the ratios in the book yet.  I know I've had 2-3 questions on ratios from my other exams, but nothing too difficult.  I'm debating on how much time, if any, to put into it.  They aren't really difficult and I'll have the spare time to do it, I just really don't want to.  I'll look at it next week closer to the exam.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Passing the 100 Hour Mark

9 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Good
Study Time – 3.5 hours (382.5 total - FAR: 102.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

I made it through my review of FAR-5.  Reading through this one worried me a bit as there are lots of complex details in it.  It took me longer to read through that section and follow the examples than the previous sections did.  I took a short 10 question 'quiz' out of the Becker software and was a tad worried that I got 7 out of the 10 correct.  Looking at it though 2 of my 3 misses were something simple.  I then did my planned progress test covering sections FAR-1 through FAR-5 & FAR-8 through FAR-9.  This gave me 76 questions, so getting close to the magic 90 I'll actually see on the exam.  It took me about an hour and 20 minutes to get through them.  This is well within my time goals.  I really want to finish the MC section in under 2 hours so I can have a full hour for each simulation.  I got 88% correct on this progress test.  Out of my 9 misses, only 2 were just plain 'wow you blew that one badly' misses.  Most were minor RTCDQ or other minor detailed misses that will be easily avoidable (ie missing the mid-year purchase and giving credit for a full year's income).  It feels good to be scoring in the mid-80s.  That is where I was close to my other exam reviews at this point.  I was worried due to my 70s scoring last week, but it is coming together finally.

 Tomorrow's review will cover pensions.  This was a topic I was slightly below 80% during the normal homework for it.  I've since gone back and written out a couple of notes that I'll review during my reading.  I am hopeful (especially after the last couple of days) that I'll do well on it.  I plan on yet another progress test.  I should be up close to 90 questions tomorrow since I'll have all but one lecture included. 

I can probably get through the rest of my preparation without taking any more time off of work.  I am even debating moving my review of all the simulation problems up one day.  This would have me finishing all my planned review on Sunday (test that next Wednesday).  I might take the day off work anyhow and get some studying done early that day and take the afternoon to relax so I don't burn myself out right before the test.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Getting There

10 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - good
Study Time – 4.5 hours (379.0 total - FAR: 99.0 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

I skimmed through FAR-3 & FAR-4 today.  After reading FAR-3 I did a progress test including FAR-1 through FAR-3.  I got 94% on that one.  After reading FAR-4 I did a progress test including FAR-1 through FAR-4 & FAR-8 through FAR-9.  I got 90% overall on the second progress test.  If you just look at the FAR-1 through FAR-4 portion though I only got 84%.  Basically I'm doing decent on the materials overall and strong on the governmental and not-for-profit stuff.  Many of the questions I missed were the ones I knew I was going to have issues with, but even still I had it down to two answer choices.  All in I'm feeling better about the materials.  

The plan is to do FAR-5/6/7 over the next three days with progress tests each day.  Thursday/Friday overall progress tests (100 questions, which will simulate the 90 I'll actually get).  Saturday I'll review the simulations (and maybe another progress test).  Sunday & Monday I'll do the two practice final exams.  Tuesday I'll try and do little to nothing as it is the day before the exam.

It is finally beginning to come together.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

10 Study Days to Go!

11 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - slightly annoyed
Study Time – 4.0 hours (374.5 total - FAR: 94.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

I've changed gears yet again.  The note taking was going to take me a week at the rate I was going.  I am now just going to re-read the materials and work MC questions as much as possible.  Sadly, I only managed 77% on the questions from FAR-1 & FAR-2 that I worked today.  It is enough to get me by, but not enough to make myself feel comfortable. Only 10 more study days to go

Friday, April 2, 2010

Back at the Beginning of FAR

12 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - Ok
Study Time – 2.0 hours (370.5 total - FAR: 90.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

I thought I'd go back through the book and take notes.  My plan was to do FAR-1 tonight, FAR-2 through FAR-4 tomorrow, and FAR-5 through FAR-7 on Sunday.  It took me a bit over 2 hours to get through FAR-1 and do my notes.  That means I have two 8 hour days ahead.  I may need to modify my plan as I'm not sure I'll be able to focus for that long.   The good news is if I can get through all these I'll have a great set of notes.

Look at that day count is going to be here before I know it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Usual Performance But Expected Better

13 days remaining (adjusted to final test date - saved 9 days over October 2009 estimate)
Mood - slightly annoyed
Study Time – 2.5 hours (368.5 total - FAR: 88.5 - BEC: 74.5 - REG: 118.0 - AUD: 89.5)
Scores:  AUD-94, REG-97, BEC-93

I am somewhat annoyed with my performance tonight.  I got 79%, which is consistent with what I've gotten in other sections.  I am disappointed in the number of minor errors I made.  The good news is that many of the problems I got wrong I had it down to two choices.  I did really well on the not-for-profit questions (84%) and less well on the governmental questions (71%).  The good news is I would do much better on the governmental questions if I sat through them again.  Overall I don't think I'll have too terribly much to worry about on the governmental and not-for-profit topics.  I have some studying to do on it, but it shouldn't be problematic.  
I am annoyed with some of the questions.  In one question "soliciting prospective members" is not classified as fund raising (yet maintaining a donor list is) while in another question soliciting new memberships is a fund raising activity.  These were both AICPA released questions, so hopefully they were released due to poor wording.  In another question you have $8k in interest that is for certain salaries (ie. temporarily restricted amounts).  The fact pattern never tells you they spend the salaries.  One answer has the ending balance as $8k temp restricted and XXX unrestricted and another answer has just the XXX unrestricted.  Since they didn't say they spent it I chose the first one.  The answer solution says it is the second one and assumes the $8k was spent.  Again, hopefully this was released due to being poorly worded.  These are good questions that make me focus on the topics, but are frustrating and annoying since the nuances are really picky and not well written.

I haven't decided if I'll take tomorrow (Friday) as my usual study night off or not.  I could use the break on one hand, but I'm getting down to the last bit on the other.  It has also been a tedious week at work.  We'll see how tomorrow at work goes before I decide.

Slight humor adaption I saw elsewhere:
DR:  CPA Exam Prep (Expense)
CR:                    Life (Asset)