So I've had a chance to come down from the high of emotions I felt on Friday after seeing my score. The passing score was great, because for the first time in a while, I'm not forcing myself to study around the clock. It feels nice to not have the pressure of studying (for now). It looks like estimates put release of audit scores around the weeks of March 15th and March 22nd. So I'll start worrying and stressing about the score in about another 2 weeks. Until the release, its all about playing the waiting game.
Just some notes from my experiences with the exam sections:
1. I don't remember doing many multiple choice questions (compared to other sections) for this section. I memorized all the mnemonic devices from Becker, and I spent a majority of my time working the examples in the Becker book to make sure I understood how to do all the calculations. That understanding and time spent helped me in a manner consistent to working multiple choice questions in other sections. So summing up, tip #1 would be memorize the mnemonics and really understand how to calculate the various accounts.
2. Understanding the basic principles also helped. I wanted to make sure that even if I didn't know the specific accounting rule, I could still work my way through the questions. I tried to understand the purpose behind the different accounting treatments (i.e. wanting to conservative as not to overstate, or make sure revenues are recorded in the period they are actually earned.) This made it easier to learn the rules and work through the actual exam.
1. For this part, since there was no simulation, I read the material and did as many practice questions as I could. I felt that there was a lot less material that would not change greatly such as economics or basic managerial accounting principles (unlike REG or FAR where new legislation or accounting pronouncements could lead to new questions). I studied the least for this section and working the questions helped.
1. For this section, I used the newest Becker course materials. I spent a lot of time learning the tax rules, and spent a majority of my time studying Adjustments and Deductions. For the tax side, this would be my first tip: Understand the tax formula and the rules behind adjustments and deductions. The multiple choice helped this more so than going over the lecture multiple times.
2. I studied the Business law chapters first as I felt more comfortable with this material. The multiple choice really helps to reinforce this information.
My normal study habits result in normally spending way too much time on reading the material and trying to develop a comfort level rather than working the multiple choice multiple times. This worked with FAR, but for every other section, I needed towork more questions to reinforce the topics. When I first started studying, I would read the entire lecture, take detailed notes, and then afterwards, I would work questions. This helped when I had the extra time, but more recently I found this approach inefficient. My approach recently has been skimmingthrough a section of a lecture and only spending extra time memorizing what Becker felt was important. Afterwards, I would work every multiple choice that I could until I was comfortable.
The biggest advice (and I've stressed this throughout my time blogging) is to create a plan and really understand your schedule and timing. I've always felt that the test isn't hard, especially as it tests materials that we've learned before. The thing I felt that makes it hard is the breadth of material it covers. As such, you need to make sure you have a schedule that lets you cover all the material and work through multiple choice questions. The most important part of the schedule is planning it so that it can be followed and you have room to make up for any issues that may come up such as illnesses or changes in schedule (and trust me, unexpected changes to my schedule plagued my planning).
The last thing I can say is when the test approaches, there is no point in stressing about what you haven't covered. I have yet to walk into a CPA exam where I felt that I knew 100% of the topics and 100% of the details. While the breadth of the exam is a major factor in the difficulty of the exam, it is also a factor in making the test day easier. If you forget one topic, at the least you don't have to worry about failing the exam just because you forgot some small details. Also, since so many topics are tested, and not in any particular order that I've seen, it is important to not stress or worry about one question, but rather, stay calm enough to work through other questions.
Persevere and continue to work at it, because I know all of you will be able to pass this test.
Although the scores won't be out for a couple of weeks, I'll try going over my Audit mnemonics in case I need to make one last ditch effort.
Good luck to everyone studying.