Friday, April 29, 2011

AUD study plan - May

From what I have read/experienced memorization in audit is the key to passing. First we need to understand how it all fits together. Then we have to memorize, memorize, memorize all the details. When I finished the exam in February I had over an hour left! I used 30 minutes to go back over the simulations and I tested strong in that area. I was weak in almost all area's of the MCQ's, so I need to allocate an extra 10 minutes to each of the MCQ test lets and go over them. I was finishing the MCQ's in 30 minutes, so having 40 minutes will ensure that I have time to review anything I might have flagged for review.

"You either know the subject of the question or you don’t." This is the underlying thinking behind what people say when they leave, they either knew the answer or they didn't. I plan to go over all my material and notes twice. Since this will be a refresher it will go quicker this time allowing more time to concentrate on the MCQ's. 

Once I make my first pass through my material, notes, and MCQ's I will then memorize the standard audit, review and compilation reports. I plan to read these reports out-loud and practice presenting the audit reports to board of directors. Since I have had the pleasure to be included in my firms presentations I, at least, will know what to do and where to begin. In going through this I will focus on how each area relates to GAAS.

I have scheduled 42 hours for my initial review, and then 33 hours for re-review of MCQ's and memorizing the audit reports. In my schedule I made sure to give me Sunday's off. Now for those of you who think I am crazy right now, its just a spacer in my time schedule. I will most likely still study on Sunday's, its just not on my scheduled alloted time so that if something comes up I have 4 Sundays to use time to get ahead or catch up, whatever the case may be. I do have a family so my schedule has to have some flexibility planned within it, to ensure my sanity.

AICPA score release estimate Apr/May window

Released by a NASBA/AICPA email.

Well an email came today detailing the exam release schedule for the Apr/May window. I assume they did this to cut down on the amount of people contacting them in the middle of the blackout month wondering when the scores will be released. Good idea NASBA & AICPA to communicate that information to us!

"For candidates who have tested in the April/May 2011 testing window, barring unforseen circumstances, the AICPA will release the scores to NASBA within a 7-10 day period beginning the third week of June 2011."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My BEC exam experience

I just took the exam on Thursday April 21st, and can say there is no way to prepare for the written part. 2 of my 3 questions were FAR related. I am strong (in the past) in written simulations so I didn't study much there.

As for the rest of the exam, know the COSO framework inside and out. CCRIM - old, CRRIIMOE - new I made a mnemonic to memorize them. There were a large amount of questions on COSO and Internal control related topics. (1 of my written was on this topic) 

Economics - Understand inelastic and elastic as it relates to demand curve.

Financial management - Know current and quick rations, as well as how to calculate present value etc. 

IT - know EDI, some of my questions here were exactly like the past AICPA questions.

Planning & Measurement - Go over as many cost questions you can, these are time consuming in the exam and you need to know how to do them and do them quickly. I had to guess on 2 of my cost questions due to time constraints.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Not ready for your exam?

Lets face it, life happens. Often times we make this wonderful, beautiful study schedule. We print it out and make it all pretty. We are organized, yes we are! Everything is going great, day 1 done, day 2 done, day 3 done, and BAM on day 4 something happens. Whether it be a broken water heater, which happened to me in the Jan - Feb testing window, or a family illness, or something with your job, your entire study schedule is now disrupted.  Once things get back to normal and the emergency has passed you can then get back to studying, but where do you start and where are you in finishing on time?!

First thing first, assess how much time you need to study to feel comfortable taking a part. Then figure out if you have enough time to finish it before your current scheduled exam date.  If by your calculations you don't feel comfortable with the workload you have several options. You can use your vacation time at work (assuming you work) to allow you the extra time necessary. This works really well since you are already use to being at work for 40+ hours a day typically.

If you are 30+ days out from your exam you can reschedule your sitting for free. Just head to the prometric site and take a look at the available spots in that month, sometimes all you need is a couple of more days or maybe a week.

If you are less than 30 days from your exam date you can pay $35.00 to make the change, however if you are 7 days prior to your exam you cannot change it. This is why it's so important to have a study schedule to know exactly where you are with regard to the time before the exam

In my study plan I put in several -off- days just to ensure that I am ahead of schedule so if something does happen I am not to far behind. And trust me, something happens every single testing window.

"Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Have you lost your Mojo?

I lost mine in March. To much studying in February burned me out and I missed out on so much! March is a busy time a year for me at work, so I worked probably more overtime than I should have, but I loved the paycheck (especially since here in Oregon once I get my CPA I no longer can get overtime).

Also had a hard time focusing on BEC because I was waiting for my results on AUD. That wait is harsh, so many things running through your head. The excitement of what will happen when you pass, the let-down if you don't... what you could have done better, what area's you did really good on.

Once the results came in though it was serious business and back to the books. I resisted the temptation today to work late, even though there are piles of difficult, long hours of work on my desk and I am out on an audit.

How to stay focused, when I perfect this area of my study plan I will post more about it. Anyone have any idea's, I would love to read about them!

"Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

BEC Study Schedule

I have an intense next 16 days. I take my BEC exam on April 21st. I plan to put in at least 85 hours, hopefully more. I will be using 3 PTO days to study for 5 days straight before my exam, an intense cram session. This is something I have not done before. Typically I would relax the day or two before my exam, but since I didn't pass I am going with the cram and see how that works out for me.

Also going to make flash cards this time, Ugh! Yes I said it, flash cards. My husband is commuting with me 2 days a week so I can study with his help in the car using the flashcards.

I plan to do every multiple choice question twice (If not more). I finish each area and then the next day I will review the questions only portion of what I did the day before prior to starting my next section.

Also, on a side note I sent in my application to take AUD asap. I have everything still fresh in my mind so I will take it again in May prior to doing REG or FAR, otherwise I won't get to it until the July/August window and thats just to long. I plan to concentrate and BEC and AUD this testing window and re-evaluate where I am for the rest of my tests when I finish these.

Also, if anyone has any pointers on how I can stop being an over-achiever and work-a-holic at the office, its killing my study time schedules and I can't seem to find a balance. I won't say no to more work being  put on my desk, then I have to work weekends and evenings to finish it. This is a serious problem area for me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Failed AUD, so let down

Got my score in snail mail on Saturday, so let down.  Score of 70.

Failure, at the end of my rope, let down, want to crawl in a hole. I have never experienced these feeling before. Why did I fail?

I felt crummy about the multiple choice and so I should have, weak in every area except for one. Had a strong showing in the simulations. Well thank goodness I was good at something audit related. I finished the exam with an hour to spare, I think I raced to quickly through the multiple choice questions for fear of running out of time. I was finishing the test-lets within 28-34 minutes, next time I will relax and give them more time.

I am an auditor with 10 years of experience, and not just small audits I do A-133 audits with millions in federal money.  I am the lead auditor and train all of our interns and new staff members, how can I fail audit after putting in so much time?!  Why am I so horrible at multiple choice?!?

Tough to tell people that I failed. Ugh, back to the drawing board to revise my "perfect" study schedule and techniques to something that will work.

One think that I have heard of the recent passers is that they did the multiple choice questions 2-3 times each, I only got through my material once.