It’s been a year now since I took the Becker Fastpass course to help pass the CPA exam. It was a dreadful process and perhaps the worst summer of my life. But was it worth it? Absolutely. Here is a copy of the letter I sent to recent graduates at my alma mater as words of encouragement. Good luck to everyone who is taking the exam! Just remember, you know and are retaining much more than you think you are.
Sorry about the whole graduation thing. It had to happen sometime though and now here you are taking your first important step into your career. I know it is nobody’s first choice to be in class immediately following graduation but trust me, this is the right choice. Hopefully most of you have jobs waiting for you and if you’re lucky they aren’t asking you to start before September. This is ideal because what you have on your side right now is much more valuable than your starting bonus or a few months of paychecks. What you have is time. Trust me. In my year since graduation I’ve already worked with individuals two or three years my seniors who haven’t passed the exam. They’re working full time and studying full time and this is much much worse than what you’re about to go through. Believe it or not you have it easy (despite what you may think when you crack open that FAR book).
It’s not going to be easy. You’ll have times of doubt and frustration. You’ll curse. A lot. But the program works. I can honestly say there is no earthly way I could’ve passed this exam without this course. The amount of information you’re about to try and cram into your head is just insane. There’s no other word for it. Make sure you take breaks and drink lots of water. Try not to get overwhelmed, which is easy to say, much more difficult to follow through on.
Whether you actually learn it or cram it and forget it, just get it done. Use acronyms, mnemonics, songs, poems, drawings, whatever. Just get it done. It will be so worth it. Everyone will have different methods. Set a schedule and stick to it though. I took each section 10 days apart after Becker was over. It was awful, I studied 12-14 hours a day for 9 days straight, took the test, took a day off, and then started the next section. But this is what worked for me. My brother took the exams 2-3 weeks apart and passed them with higher scores (not surprisingly). Flashcards are helpful although honestly I’d consider making your own for each section as opposed to buying the Becker ones. They cram a lot of information on them which makes them a little impractical.
Your first week you’re probably going to feel as though you’ve been hit by a train. You’re going to wonder what in the world you were thinking. You’ll feel the same way after the test too. I walked out of the regulation section so frustrated I forgot my wallet at the proctoring site. But I passed, and you will too. Keep your chin up, set a schedule, learn as much as you can before the exam and then give it a shot. You’ll be surprised at what sticks with you. The CPA exam is very much a test against yourself, seeing if you have the confidence and persistence to keep trying. You’ll be just fine. And if all else fails, there’s always the next testing window.
Feel free to reach out if you need any advice or words of encouragement.