The Most Difficult Topic on FAR: Pensions, Pensions, Pensions!


We all work hard when we are young so we can enjoy our retirement. Retirement won’t come easy without a good pension or 401k plan; I get it. But it seems to me that as a CPA candidate, you have to even work harder than anyone else for your pension plan because you don’t just have to earn it, you also have to understand it, study it, and get tested on it

This was the hardest topic for me while I was studying for FAR.

I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. The pensions topic lectures made me fall asleep over and over again. I was really stressed because I got most of the MCQs wrong and I knew this topic is usually heavily tested on the exam.

It took me twice as much time to watch all the lectures on this topic and do my normal routine 

(Reading the book, writing my notes, doing the homework, etc). After some thinking, I decided to move on to the next topic and just come back later to pensions. I ended up finishing all the remaining topics before I came back to pensions as I was really dreading it. My advice is not to do what I did, which is leaving it till the end when you are burned out and stressed about the exam being so close. It’s not a good idea.

Here is what I did to tackle this topic.

I viewed all the lectures again. They still made me very sleepy, but this time I was 12 days away from the exam, so I tried harder to stay awake and take notes. I would rewind parts of the lectures a few times until I got it. Then I read the test book again. As I was reading my own notes that I wrote a few weeks earlier, I decided to make flash cards. 

This was the only topic that I made flash cards for. 

If I were “Pensions”, I would feel very special! Then I started on the homework. I re-did all the MCQs and TBS. This time I did a little better, but still not as good as I wanted. And since I did not know how much time I would need to designate for pensions since I left it last, I feel like this is one of the things I would do over again when studying for FAR. 

So, my simple advice for my fellow CPA candidates:

Plan extra time in your study schedule for “Pensions.” Trust me…you will need it! “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Margaret Thatcher

-Margo Pacific, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review 

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