CPA Exam

New 2017 CPA Exam Vs. The Old Exam: The Biggest Differences

Hi there. My name is Amy Nolan, and I’m originally from Ogden, Utah which is about 45 minutes North of Salt Lake City.  I met the love of my life while I was in college at the University of Utah, and we will have been married two years this June.  We have one fur-baby named Chewy that rescued us in 2012.  

After graduating with my BS in Business Marketing 2 days after turning 22 years old, I really didn’t know what to do next.  

I did not feel internally prepared to go out into the professional world yet, still feeling and looking like I was about 16 years old. So I worked at jobs that were the norm for me for a few years.  

In 2010 I decided to go to Cosmetology school, thinking maybe my passion laid there.  I found a definite passion, and found something I am really good at.  Fast forward 2 years later and I felt my career was not as stable for my personal growth goals as I had hoped for.  A friend of mine, whose husband is a CPA, mentioned to me that it may not be much more school to go for my CPA, seeing as how I already had a degree in Business.  

So I started researching this path, and felt a drive internally that I hadn’t felt for a while.  

A new goal, and a challenge for myself, that could build into a wonderful career.  I can’t lie; the idea of analyzing numbers and data, making things balance, and investigating information for a job made me grin from ear to ear. 

I went back to school in 2013.  I was working full time and only took 1-2 classes a semester.  I found that going back to school with the personal knowledge of what I really wanted for myself at the age of 29 meant something different than it had before.  I finished my classes needed in May of 2015 and applied for the CPA Exam. I was approved to sit for the CPA Exam in August 2015, and bought the Roger CPA Review course.  There were a couple of exams in the beginning that I did not pass, one of them being FAR with a 74.  

But then it started happening.

I changed my study habits and used every piece of material provided from my review course.  I passed FAR, then I passed REG, then I passed BEC.  After my 74 in FAR, I knew I had to try again, and right away.  I was so close and if I could get through that one, I hoped I would have enough time in my 18 month window to pass the rest.  I tried to do the 2 subjects that were most challenging for me first.  

I passed BEC in the last testing window before the roll out of the new version of the exam, leaving one test to complete with the new version.  Audit was actually the first test I took, and it was now the last one I needed to take to complete.

The new version of the CPA Exam was not as different I had originally thought it would be.  

Instead of 7 TBSs, there were 8.  Instead of 90 MC questions, there were 72.  Most of the changes I felt were in the structure of the exam, not necessarily in the content. There were 5 testlets instead of 3, since the TBS questions were split up into 3 testlets instead of being all in the same one. The only drawback to this is that you cannot go back to a question on a previous testlet.  

I actually felt that it helped me focus a bit more. Instead of being overwhelmed by 6 more TBS questions to do, I just focused on the testlet in front of me. It was only 2-3 TBSs at a time.  I looked at the exam blueprints beforehand and made sure I felt very comfortable with the topics that might appear as an evaluation or analysis type question.  

For me, the most challenging question types were the Document Review Simulations.  

Not because they are necessarily more difficult concept wise, but because there is usually more information to consider and the answers can vary by one word or phrase that makes them right or wrong. 

The least challenging type of question was the Research TBS.

Learning how to use the search function before the test helps a lot. There was also an optional 15 minute break after the first TBS testlet that doesn’t count into your test time. I chose not to take it.  Personally, I felt I would have started going over previous questions in my head and would start to doubt myself, so I kept on going. Overall, I felt that the questions demonstrated scenarios or decisions that a CPA may be presented with at a job.

The study schedule that worked for me on the 3 I have passed (and hopefully the 4th) was 6 days a week, for about 1.5-2 hours at a time.  

I usually spent about 4 weeks watching lectures and highlighting my textbook, then another 4 weeks re-reading the textbook and making flashcards, then the final four weeks doing MC and TBS questions with the Interactive software. 

The first test I took that I did not pass, I didn’t use all of the tools that Roger CPA Review had available, and it showed.  I love that there is an option on the Interactive Practice Questions to explain the answers.  Even when I got them wrong, I could read why my answer was wrong, why the other ones were too, and why the correct answer was correct.  And the mnemonics…amazing.  During my testing I have actually heard Roger’s voice saying something in my head that would not only help, but made me smile.  “Lessor, Lessee, Roger, Rogee.”

My best piece of advice to students preparing for the exam is to outline a study schedule with measurable points so that you can stay on track, and use all the tools you have available.  

Even if you think you understand a concept, you will be thankful you made sure.  Do as many practice questions as you can, this is what helped me go from not passing, to passing.

See how Roger CPA Review is helping students prepare for and pass the new 2017 CPA Exam here

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