How I Passed the CPA Exam in 5 Months


Roger’s advice of “It’s not a test of intelligence. It’s a test of discipline; if you study you will pass” definitely rings true. 

Passing the CPA Exam in 5 months wasn’t easy. It truly was a test of discipline. I was working full-time (50-60 hours week) and spending all the free time I had studying, which involved 30-40 hours per week and 20-30 hours on the weekends. I wanted to pass 2 exams per testing window, and I knew that in order to do that, I had to be on a very strict study schedule. If you’re someone who’s looking to accelerate your CPA Exam studies or are simply interested in good study techniques, I’m here to share my experience and what I went through in order to pass the exam effectively and efficiently. 

The order I took the exam in was BEC, FAR, REG and then AUD. 

I felt like each section built upon knowledge from the prior one, allowing each exam to prepare you for the next, in turn. I recommend using all of Roger CPA Review’s available tools, which is included in the Elite Course Package. Yes it’s expensive. Yes it’s time consuming. However, it’s incredibly valuable and was key in my success. Here’s how I studied for each section. 

First, I watched all the lectures for each chapter. Then I wrote down each chapter in my own words in a notebook or word doc. 

Essentially, I outlined the book in my own words in order to reinforce important topics. I wrote down all the meaningful charts, key terms, and concepts; many people underestimate how the simple act of writing something down can be a powerful memory aid. It will help cement the concepts and give you a deeper understanding. 

I then used different color tabs to organize my textbook and notes in a meaningful way. 

There is definitely a lot of information to absorb, and I knew I had to find a way to help myself focus on heavily tested topics outlined in the textbook. By using different colored tabs to denote charts, concepts, memory aids, and practice problems, I was able to re-organize my book to create an outline that allowed me to instantly refer to material I needed to further my understanding of the concepts. 

After each chapter, I worked on the end of chapter questions and study quiz. I also practiced more problems on my own. 

Practice makes perfect, so after you have solidified the concepts from each chapter, it’s important to apply what you’ve learned. Roger’s Interactive Practice Questions software was great since I was able to build my own quizzes, see why answer choices were correct/incorrect, and see where my strengths/weaknesses were. Then I would go back and review the areas I needed to. I recommend doing at least 15 Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) and 3 Task-Based Simulations (TBSs). But the more you can do, the better. 

Once I finished going through all the chapters, I moved onto the Cram Courses. 

Roger’s Cram Courses provide a great final review. It’s a condensed and intensive course that will help you reinforce the most heavily tested topics on each section of the CPA Exam. I use it to solidify difficult concepts and as a nice way to wrap up the section. For the Cram Course, I also transcribed the lectures and text into my own words and completed all of the practice problems. 

As a final hurrah the week before Exam Day, I went back and focused on important chapters and re-studied the Cram Course chapters for these.

I also spent extra time with any other areas I felt like I needed to understand more. Then I would focus on practice problems for those concepts, such as inventory, bonds, government/non-profit for FAR, and statute of limitations for audits and the 1933/1934 acts for REG.  

Lastly, every single night I went through my flash cards, made notations, and studied them. 

I marked them up with the mnemonics and expanded definitions in red ink. I made my own notes on the charts and I often used the “notes” section at the end of each chapter to create a small outline of important charts, problems, definitions or concepts. I also paid special attention at the sample problems Roger provided. If he took the time to solve a TBS for you, then it’s a huge hint to solve that a few times yourself. 

I hope you all found this to be helpful. I’m a huge proponent in accelerated study- if you let too much time pass, you will forget the material. But if you learn one topic after another, it will build upon a foundation of knowledge. I also know it’s important to remain sane while you go through this process, so remember to take breaks when you need to. 

Good luck on your studies and in your endeavors of becoming a CPA! 

–Chris Kishel, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review

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