Friday, May 27, 2011

CPA Exam Resources

I have realized that there are so many CPA exam resources out there but they are just splattered here and there and not all in one location. I decided to make a listing of them here and a short description of each of them. I don't follow or use all of these but use them as I feel they are needed for particular area's of the exam.

CPA exam forums

CPA exam free questions database

CPA Study Material Links

Other CPA exam resources
CPA Webinar: The Need to Knows @

This list is a work in progress, I plan to have a link to it on the right hand side of my blog and update it regularly. If anyone knows of any helpful sites or link please post them in the comment section.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My AUD exam experience

These exams are so hit and miss, some questions you feel confident about and others make you wonder if they were out of the same content that you studied. Thats what makes these tests so difficult.

I really concentrated my studies on Planning, Internal Control, and Audit Reporting since these areas were heavily tested when I took the test last February and I can say without a doubt it paid off. I feel good about what I studied and new almost all the answers to these area's. The rest of the multiple choice area's were a toss up, some I knew some I had no idea. I only guessed on 3 questions so that was really good.

IT was 2 questions (which were two of my guess questions), International was 3 questions. There also were several compilation and review questions on this exam, more than I had on my last exam. The first testlet was easy, the second testlet I couldn't tell if it got harder but the questions got more wordier. The third testlet was definitely a hard one as it took me longer and threw in trick questions all over the place. I had planned to spend 45 minutes on each MCQ testlet but ended up spending between 35-40, even after I reviewed my flagged questions.

Simulations, 1 was difficult and I am hoping its the one that is thrown out as I couldn't figure out the answer to 1/6th of it.  Research question was easy, and the rest of the simulation was pretty tolerable, although I did feel it was more difficult than the one I took in February. I would recommend that anyone that would like to prepare for their simulations only work on how to look things up in the research tab as this will help you in the other area's of your simulation since you will have access to it for them as well. Both of my exams had a work paper reference and journal entry tab so know these areas.

I hope that it was enough for a 75 this time! Good luck everyone, and let me know of your experiences.

Now onto Regulation.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Four Days until AUD exam

Four more days until my audit exam. Last minute cram session is on!

For those that don't know or follow me, I took audit back in February and scored a 70 and I decided to take it again this window since all the information was still fresh in my mind.

I went through only the MCQ's (multiple choice questions) in my study material, then I made flash cards on the questions I got wrong or my trouble spots. These really helped me to commit the information to memory. So I am now going through my own final review of all the materials which looks like this:

Final Re-review schedule
Planning  -  MCQ (2nd time) Scored 85-90% on them, Yay, moved on
Internal Control - MCQ (2nd time) Scored 70%, went through area's that I scored low in
Audit Evidence - MCQ's (1st time) Scored 75%,  moved on
Audit Reporting - MCQ's (2nd time) Going to do this weekend
SSARS - MCQ's (2nd time) This weekend
International - MCQ's (2nd time) This weekend
Professional Responsibilities (2nd time) - Light review as I scored really high here

Last February I scored above average on my simulation, which was expected since I have 10 years of auditing experience, and was weak in each area except professional responsibilities. My goal is to be familiar with everything to ensure at least the same score as last time but to boost my Planning, Internal Control, and Audit reporting scores. I will focus on those area's until I score in the 90% on my practice tests.

I think that this schedule will ensure that I get a passing score! One can only hope and then prepare properly to maintain that hope.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Study group & REG

I am excited today! I am trying to talk my co-workers into studying with me and have a REG study group going in June/July. Our tentative schedule would be M,W,F 4-7PM that would be a total of 72 hours of study!

When I brought it up to my employer he was excited as well but I told him I was having a hard time getting everyone on board, needless to say I asked him for his help in motivating them and boy oh boy did I get motivation from him! He has offered to pay us all (there are 4 of us total) from 4-5PM at the office to study! For me, that is HUGE, and for everyone else here I think that will entice them enough to study with me. 

Audit season begins full steam in August, so we won't get the additional 1 hour of paid time to study during audit season (Aug - Nov) but at least it will get us started and hopefully get us all on board.

Now to figure out how to do a study group for the CPA exam, wonder if there are any tips out there from others who have done it?

"Seize the moment!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Diet, exercise and how it can help you pass

First and foremost this post will help anyone in their general life, but more specifically it is tailored to those of us studying for the CPA exam. I am a creature of habit and I enjoy structured routine... well let me rephrase that, I "work"at best when I am in a structured routine environment. Since we have to be at peak performance each day to ensure we are not only learning this information but RETAINING it, it is important that what we put into our body be positive stimulus.

A side note, as I implemented these changes I noticed a significant improvement in my immune system.

These are purely recommendations and you may not need to, or want to, do each and everyone of them, you may just notice a significant difference in your performance by adding just 1 or 2 of these recommendations.

Sleep - 8 hours a night, every night. YES, everyday. If you have to stop studying late at night to go to bed to ensure 8 hours of rest then do it. You will notice your energy level, alertness, memory retention all become more focused. Also your susceptibility to illness will decline. Staying up 1 extra hour will cause you to have 10-15 hours of sluggish behavior the next day. 1 hour is not worth it, besides we need to keep at top performance level each day and sleep is a crucial key to that equation.

Meal plans - Fruits, vegetables, fish, and chicken. Smart foods! On our shopping day I plan out my meal and snack plans for the week. With a family of 4, including two very active sport oriented teenagers, I cannot afford to eat out everyday. I must bring my lunch to work. Salads have been a life saver for me, I throw them in a plastic container, bring some cooked chicken or fish to sprinkle on the top. Voila, brain food. My wonderful husband cooks dinners, which I typically have another salad with. For breakfast I have oatmeal, the protein gives me energy. Smart snacks near my desk and in my drawers, nuts, fruits I enjoy, granola, yogurt. It's also important that you find healthy food that you enjoy eating. You wont be doing yourself any good eating healthy if you feel deprived. I drink green tea, with lots of organic honey (helps with allergy's) for caffeine boosts when I need them.

Vitamins - Fish oil! Its been proven to help with memory retention and slow the onset of dementia (I don't have the time to actually research that claim, but it was from a trusted enough source that I acted on it) I take 3 capsules a day, 1 in the morning and two in the evening. I have a terrible long-term memory (and a really good short-term memory), but I have noticed that I have had less issues with my memory lately. I also have switched to taking a liquid multi-vitamin.

Exercise - I have saved the best for last! Trust me on this one, exercising will increase your memory retention! Getting the blood flowing increases the oxygen to the brain which increases your alertness. At the end of my audit section I decided that I did not have enough "time" to exercise. Boy was that ever a big mistake! I was tired all the time, I had a hard time retaining anything and worse then that it ruined my whole routine. When I get home from work I go workout at the gym, then go straight home feeling rejuvenated and ready to study! Once that was no longer a part of my routine studying became more of a chore for me and far less enjoyable. In the end I actually studied less when I quit exercising, even though I had more time. Routine! Once you have a good one, don't change it!

"Anyone can give up, thats the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, thats true strength."

Monday, May 2, 2011

CPE and studying for the CPA exam

Since I am an in-charge auditor of A-133 audits here in Oregon I have to get 80 hours of CPE in yellow book standards everyone two years. June 30, 2009 to June 30, 2011. I went through yesterday to see where I was with my requirement and was shocked to see that I need 44 hours more! I have no idea how I am going to fit that in between now and June 30th.

I am taking a governmental auditing update on the May 16th and 17th and plan to bring my CPA books to cram. My boss will be there but I already told him plan and he is cool with it. (He is only cool with it because I am a nonprofit auditor, but he has asked me to pay special attention to all yellow book and A-133 requirement changes)

So thats 28 hours left... Ugh  I think I will watch some webinars with a co-worker and have them take notes of the hot topics so I can study. I have no idea how I got so behind on my CPE, this has never happened before. I can tell you though, the CPA exam should have CPE attached to it!