Well, scores have been released and I am pleased to say I passed the fourth part of the exam. While this was a quick process for me (began studying for my first exam on June 8th, and took my last exam on August 31st,) it was by no means an easy one. In this final post I will highlight some of the strategies I used that allowed me to be successful in such a short time.
Lay out a plan for yourself prior to beginning... AND STICK TO IT. One of the hardest things for me taking the exam this summer was that I felt like every weekend something would pop up where a friend would ask me to go somewhere or do something. That is when the little accounting devil and angel pops up on your shoulder. I included in my plan some days off from studying, so If something popped up that I really wanted to do, I always had the option of moving one of my off days to that day, much like a flex player in fantasy football (NFL JUST STARTED SO I'M IN THE ZONE).
Break up your studies throughout the day. For me this was one of the most necessary parts of my studies because I don't have the longest attention span. My typical day looked like the following:
8:15-9:00 - Wake up, shower, eat breakfast.
9:00-12:30 - Start Lecture/Homework
12:30-1:00- Eat Lunch
1:00-3:00 - Continue Lecture/Homework
3:00-4:15 - Go to the Gym
4:15-6:30 - Continue Lecture/ Homework
6:30- 7:15 - Eat dinner
7:15-9:30 - Continue Homework/ Wind down
10:00 Relax/ Sleep
At the end of each study hour, I would take a 5 minute break to get a drink of water or check my phone. This schedule gave me about 10 Hours of studying a day; however, it was manageable because I was breaking it up into no more than 3.5 hours at a time
Use a review course, and follow their plan. Now I'm not here to advertise; however, I used the Becker CPA review, and attended their final review sessions and I have nothing but good things to say about it. It truly is what I attribute most to helping me pass the exam. My education was a phenomenal base of knowledge; however, the Becker software gives you strategies for beating the exam, teaching you how to take it, and has a wealth of multiple choice and simulation questions at their disposal.
Demand the best from yourself. No one is perfect; however, they can give a perfect effort each day. I demanded that I would give a perfect effort of sticking to my schedule each day. I said I wouldn't let anything come between me and finishing this exam prior starting work. Once I had that mentality, it was easier to drown out the white noise and focus on what was important.
I know the exam will be changing soon, so I hope these tips are still applicable. I have enjoyed writing about my experience, and now look forward to the next chapter in my life. I will be starting work for Deloitte on September 28th, and there is no better feeling then walking in on day 1 with this exam behind me. Good luck to those taking the exam now and in the future. That's a wrap for me.