CPA Exam

My REG Exam Experience: What I Learned


I sat for the REG section of the CPA exam this past weekend. I had been preparing for it for the last 3 months. In late Spring, I began studying the tax-related sections first. I wanted to focus the majority of my study time on this area because I do not have any tax experience, aside from filing my own taxes, and that content has always been the most challenging for me. There are so many rules and exceptions that at times I struggle to keep it all straight in my head. I had spent countless hours studying for REG throughout the entire summer and I finally reached a point where I was ready to see whether it all would pay off.

Originally, I had planned to sit for the exam after studying for 8 weeks, but I prolonged scheduling an actual test date.

One of the reasons for delaying the exam was because I was still trying to get through all of the material at least once. Some concepts were a little challenging for me and so I spent some extra time focusing on those. Another reason was that I was never at a point where I felt confident. Confidence is a huge deal when sitting for the exam. The amount of confidence you have in knowing that you have grasped the material and can reasonably select the correct answer to some of the more challenging questions is necessary.

I was waiting for that moment. I had that confidence prior to passing BEC, but had trouble getting that same feeling while reviewing for REG. It got to a point where I was going to have to trust that I knew more than I realized. It was time for me to put my fears behind me and take the test; so that’s what I did. 

At no point during the few days prior to the exam was I nervous or anxious.

I took a practice exam the day before the test. I highly recommend this for someone who has never sat for the exam before. Doing so gives you an idea of the test format, while helping you manage your allotted time on the exam. However, I have sat for the CPA exam several times previously and would advise against taking the practice exam if you have sat for any sections previously. I believe that time would be better spent reviewing multiple choice questions in areas that have not yet been mastered to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

When exam day came, I was calm.

I had made up in my mind that what I was able to retain while studying was sufficient. I reviewed some of the material prior to walking into the exam location. I was fully prepared for my first exam question to be super challenging, but it was not. In fact, the multiple choice questions were not too bad at all and I did great with staying within my time limit. On the other hand, I cannot say the same for the simulations. This is where it started to fall apart for me. I got extremely nervous and overwhelmed. Ultimately, I ran out of time after answering every question and giving it my best effort. 

Unfortunately, I do not suspect that I passed REG this time around.

Although I learned a lot of lessons while preparing to sit for REG, there is one that I perceive as the most valuable for my retake. How you perform on the task-based simulations will usually confirm whether or not you truly have a good understanding of the concepts and will likely determine whether you pass or fail.

It’s important that you learn how to effectively use the authoritative literature that is available for use within this testlet. Also, ensure that you allocate a significant amount of time to this portion of the exam. This time can best be used to locate solutions to problems that may be significantly more challenging. I will be better prepared to tackle the simulations next time.

–Kimberly Smith, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review