Study Tips From an Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner


I am originally from Taiwan and I came to the United States in pursuit of my MBA degree at Willamette University.

During my two years of MBA, I developed an interest in accounting and finance management and set my mind to pursue the CPA certificate. Right after graduation, I didn’t pursue my career right away. Instead, I chose to stay home with my newborn baby while studying for CPA Exam. 

I was an industry analyst focusing on the solar and semiconductor sector when I first started my career. After three years of work, I wanted to see a bigger world and sought career change. So I decided to pursue my MBA, hoping to find a career path I would be passionate about. 

During my MBA, I was able to take a variety of courses and found my passion toward accounting. ​​​​​​​

After passing all my CPA Exams, I landed a job as a staff accountant at Doty, Pruett and Wilson PC in Salem, Oregon. Returning to a career after staying home for four years wasn’t easy. Facing my first tax season wasn’t easy. But I am glad that my mentors trusted me and provided me with guidance to deal with all the challenges.   

In the beginning, I used other study materials and had a hard time retaining information.

I found myself falling asleep while listening to videos. One night, I was searching YouTube videos in hopes of finding good explanations about Audit terms. That’s when I found Roger CPA Review. 

Roger has an amazing way of explaining things and making funny jokes out of boring materials. I knew I had to switch to his lectures right away. However, I had already spent two grand on materials. Spending another two grand would be too much. Thankfully, my husband was very supportive and with the help of a Roger CPA Review customer service representative, I was able to switch and ended up with better results. 

I started the CPA journey when my son was 18-months old, and now he is almost turning five and my daughter is almost three.

I am very fortunate to be able to stay home with them in the first three years and at the same time advance my career by passing the CPA Exam. 
I used SmartPath Predictive Technology for the REG and FAR exams. It helped me identify my weak areas and focus my efforts. Comparing my scores to other candidates who had passed the Exam motivated me to work harder and achieve better results. For candidates with limited study time, SmartPath is a great way to evaluate whether you have studied enough. 

My advice to current CPA Exam candidates:

  • Plan and prepare for your CPA Exam. Take the one you think is easiest and that will give you confidence to prepare for the rest.  The sequence of the Exam is also important. I would recommend taking AUD right after FAR since these two exams are highly related, and you cannot understand auditing procedures without fully grasping GAAP.
  • Learn big pictures and don’t get lost in the details. Our brain processes information in a systematic way. If you build a structure in the beginning, all the details will make more sense and the memories will last longer. Roger did a great job of mapping out big pictures before digging into details. That’s what I love about him. 
  • Stay driven and focus on your goals. The whole process of the CPA Exam is like running a marathon. No matter how long the process may be, we need to find that motivation and stay driven in order to get to the finish line.  
  • Keep consistent study habits and stick to it. I usually study when my baby naps. I would take her out in the morning, or wear her out in the park or at music/gymnastic classes. Then, she will take a long three-hour nap in the afternoon, and that’s when I got my study done. Routine hours of study help our brain stay focused during certain periods of time and that’s when we could most efficiently process and retain the information. 
  • Create your own hand-written notes and use mind-mapping techniques to link all the related information. Hand-written notes take more effort and that helps us memorize the key formulas and rules. I used letter-size blank papers, and created notes after videos. I would try to memorize and write them down without looking at the textbooks.  

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