December 11, 2018

bulimic learning

What to Do If You’re Stumped on One Section of the CPA Exam

I’m assuming not all of you are going to have great news as CPA exam scores trickle out, so maybe the following reader question can help you, too.

Adrienne,

Hi I’m looking for some advice regarding the Audit section. I have passed FAR, BEC, and Regulation thus far. However, I can’t wrap my brain around auditing.

The first time I took audit I got a 73 and I felt like I did not know any of the material. This was with three weeks of studying with Becker.

The second time I took audit, I got a 71 and I felt like I knew everything. This was with one month of studying with Becker and the computer Becker Final Review.

I just started working and I’m trying to determine the correct approach for studying audit again. I feel that it would be a waste to watch all of the Becker videos again unless I’m just absolutely confused on a section.

I plan on purchasing another study tool for more problems, etc, but I’m not sure which one to buy. I’m torn between the Gleim, Wiley, and Yaeger CRAM. The reasoning I have to purchase another tool is that I have a familiarity with the Becker questions already since I have tried them all twice.

Do you have any advice?

I absolutely have some advice, having seen a good chunk of our CPA review students go through this for a variety of reasons, none of which was related to the quality of the material or even the material itself.

Audit, of all the sections, can sometimes be the one that requires your brain to be the most bulimic (meaning learn it and barf it out at Prometric), mostly if you have no educational experience in that area and no affinity for the material covered. Auditors are – as we all know – unique, so it requires a different sort of thinking to truly thrive in that area.

You have the right idea. If you score between 70 – 74 (especially twice), you already have an excellent command of the information, so watching lectures you’ve already watched is a waste of time and won’t help you understand the concepts any better unless, as you said, you’re really lost on a particular part. You’re also doing the right thing by considering a supplement that will provide you with new problems, as memorization is not only a waste of time but also a detriment on exam day.

I have heard good things about Gleim’s MCQ, and some have had success using those alone. Since you already have the foundation of a full review, a cram is also a good option. But keep in mind crams involve videos and I don’t think it’s the basics you’re struggling with, it’s the tedious details. Crams usually cover the most heavily-tested material, which is probably not your issue at all.

Your best bet at this point will probably be to do as many practice questions as you can leading up to your exam retake. You have hopefully scheduled it soon while the information is still fresh in your mind.

I leave it to our readers who have undoubtedly been in a situation similar to yours to take it from here and tell you which they used to get over the hump as it were. Good luck!