Tips for Preparing for the CPA Exam

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pokelahoman

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Aug 31, 2009
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#1
I am a full-time accountant (B.S. Accounting and Minor in Economics OSU 2010) and taking night classes towards my M.S. in Accounting in Oklahoma City. I will be finishing the program either this coming summer or next fall, but the last 2 semesters consist of Ethics and 3 electives, so I should have a little more free time than lately.

I figured I should begin thinking about the CPA exam. I had planned on studying for about a semester after I graduate, but any headstart on the process couldn't hurt. Does anyone have any opinions on which courses are the best or whether it is best to go the live class route or self-study route? If I did self-study I could begin in my free time now, but if the classes are a much better route I'd rather wait.
 

pokelahoman

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#2
Just to expand on this. After looking at some information I think I've decided to start the application process over winter break so I can sit for at least 2 parts in July. This would give me spring to browse and most of May/all of June to study. If anyone who has been through this process thinks all 4 parts in July would be possible let me know.
 

cowboyethics344

Federal Marshal
Apr 2, 2008
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#3
I am a full-time accountant (B.S. Accounting and Minor in Economics OSU 2010) and taking night classes towards my M.S. in Accounting in Oklahoma City. I will be finishing the program either this coming summer or next fall, but the last 2 semesters consist of Ethics and 3 electives, so I should have a little more free time than lately.

I figured I should begin thinking about the CPA exam. I had planned on studying for about a semester after I graduate, but any headstart on the process couldn't hurt. Does anyone have any opinions on which courses are the best or whether it is best to go the live class route or self-study route? If I did self-study I could begin in my free time now, but if the classes are a much better route I'd rather wait.
Use the Becker Review course. It is the best for preparing for the CPA exam....I thought about doing it for a while and have a few friends who are CPAs. They all recommend this course. If you are disciplined then I would suggest self study.....however, if you are more motivated by having others around then take the live class. Good Luck!
 

pokelahoman

Keeper of the Cursive Script
Aug 31, 2009
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#4
Use the Becker Review course. It is the best for preparing for the CPA exam....I thought about doing it for a while and have a few friends who are CPAs. They all recommend this course. If you are disciplined then I would suggest self study.....however, if you are more motivated by having others around then take the live class. Good Luck!
Thanks cowboyethics344 ! Most of the people I know who've taken it have taken the Becker course. However, I think it's $3,315 and $800 to retake if you don't pass. If its actually that much better they do have 0% financing.

One alternative option I was looking into is CPA Excel, who advertises through our university. They're much cheaper, offer a 20% student discount with proof of enrollment, and provide free continuing access with no expiration.
 

pokes19

CPA extraordinaire
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Mar 30, 2009
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#5
Just to expand on this. After looking at some information I think I've decided to start the application process over winter break so I can sit for at least 2 parts in July. This would give me spring to browse and most of May/all of June to study. If anyone who has been through this process thinks all 4 parts in July would be possible let me know.
I used Becker. It was excellent. Of course I had a job with Grant Thornton who paid for it. I passed all 4 parts on the first try. As far as taking all 4 in one month... I'd spread it over at least 2 months if you can. I'd recommend studying for one at a time... especially right before you take that part. If you did all 4 in one month you could get overwhelmed pretty easily.
 

BAMF cowboy

The Village BAMF
Aug 10, 2007
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#6
I have also heard good things about Becker. A coworker from my old firm took the course and passed all four on the first shot. However, I also know people who used Becker and haven't been quite as lucky.

I myself use CPA Excel. I took a class that got me three hours of grad school credit which used CPA Excel. I have borrowed a friends Becker books so I also use those every now and then for comparison. CPA Excel is way more detailed, which is somewhat of a disadvantage. Becker hits the relevant points quickly and effectively, but there are a few times that I felt like CPA excel does a better job of covering points.

I almost switched my materials entirely to becker after I started off failing my first four attempts (FAR, REG, REG, AUD). I was on the verge of throwing in the towel when I miracuslously passed BEC with minimal studying. I then failed AUD again (got a 74) but since then passed AUD with 89 and FAR with a 77. I'm taking REG here in a few weeks and hopefully will be done.

I think it just took me a while to find the best method to prepare myself. At the end of the day the material will only take you so far, you need to have the brains to understand it at a deeper level than what the books are saying. I don't think you'll go wrong with Becker, it's the most popular for a reason. Just work hard and don't give up and you'll be fine. If I can do it, you can.
 

wyzone

Banned
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Nov 14, 2010
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#7
I am a full-time accountant (B.S. Accounting and Minor in Economics OSU 2010) and taking night classes towards my M.S. in Accounting in Oklahoma City. I will be finishing the program either this coming summer or next fall, but the last 2 semesters consist of Ethics and 3 electives, so I should have a little more free time than lately.

I figured I should begin thinking about the CPA exam. I had planned on studying for about a semester after I graduate, but any headstart on the process couldn't hurt. Does anyone have any opinions on which courses are the best or whether it is best to go the live class route or self-study route? If I did self-study I could begin in my free time now, but if the classes are a much better route I'd rather wait.
I won't be able to help, but my best friend got the highest grade in the state of Oklahoma back when he took it. If you are still wanting advice, I could ask him. It definitely helps to have a job that pays for it!
 
Oct 19, 2008
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#8
I successfully completed all four parts of the exam starting last July through the end of August, so it's possible. However, I graduated in May, was still in the study mode, and didn't start work for a few months because I wanted to focus on the exam, so I had nothing to worry about besides the test at the time.

I used Becker and did my own study program, and I'd recommend that. As long as you have some self-discipline, it's a great way to go because you can tailor your studying to your specific needs/areas.

If you haven't started the application process, be prepared for dealing with the Oklahoma Accountancy Board. I got approved to schedule my exams about two weeks after I sent them everything, and that's a pretty good turnaround for them.

Shoot me a pm if anything else comes up and I'll try to offer some advice
 

pokelahoman

Keeper of the Cursive Script
Aug 31, 2009
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#9
Thanks for all the advice everyone. I'm thinking I will wait until after I'm done with master's classes to begin studying. I thought I would have some down time this semester with Ethics and Fraud Examination, but did not anticipate the amount of reading and writing these classes would require.

I'll have two electives remaining after this semester, so I will either finish in summer or fall and probably try to go right into studying for the exam and get the application process started while I'm still used to having no life outside of work other than weekends.
 

jobob85

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Mar 11, 2009
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#10
Thanks for all the advice everyone. I'm thinking I will wait until after I'm done with master's classes to begin studying. I thought I would have some down time this semester with Ethics and Fraud Examination, but did not anticipate the amount of reading and writing these classes would require.

I'll have two electives remaining after this semester, so I will either finish in summer or fall and probably try to go right into studying for the exam and get the application process started while I'm still used to having no life outside of work other than weekends.
Good luck. Study, study, study.
 
Jul 8, 2004
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www.alignmywealth.com
#11
I didn't take the CPA, but my partner took the CPA and CFP. Luckily, he suggested I take one of the top review courses. That was everything! From what he and others have told me about the CPA, and my experience with the CFP, the review course is key...better to spend more money and pass than to spend less and get nothing for it.
 
Nov 1, 2004
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#12
CPA exam is an academic test ... take it as soon as you can after school, even while in school if you qualify to. I used some book by some guy named Gliem ... that's close anyway ... reviewed the multiple choice questions. That's was 3 decades ago ... there's a big curve on the practice and theory portions ... that I remember. Finance is more fun and more intuitive I think ... but creativity goes a long way in accounting and tax ... bend but don't break ....