He who seeketh, findeth

May 29, 2009

BEC – exam taken

Filed under: BEC,CPA — Steve (Chessiq) @ 11:59 pm

My appointment for the exam was at 8pm. I think I started the exam around 8:15pm and got done around 10:45pm.
It was okay. The first testlet was.. okay. In some ways I thought it was easier than I expected. The second, as was the case with FARe, was pretty tough, and the last one, surprised me – it was not tough, just very tricky. I think there were 5 to 7 questions total that I had no idea and I had to guess. There were a few that I was not sure about. I came out feeling… relieved. I am not sure whether it was because it was not as bad as I feared, or it is because the exam is done and there is not much I can do but wait for the results.

So CPA exam – BEC is done – at least for now. Tomorrow, I start studying Auditing and Attestation (AUD). No more wasting time.

This is 11:59pm. Time to sleep.

It is a wonderful life.

May 25, 2009

BEC – 4 days to go

Filed under: BEC,CPA — Steve (Chessiq) @ 9:16 pm

I am a little tired. Lots more work to do. I won’t go into the details of how I have done on various study units. I am a little bit behind schedule. A little bit. I will change the way I will study what’s remaining. Instead of going through all the multiple questions in a study unit like I have been doing so far, I will do sets of 20 questions and spend an hour on each study unit. I would like to think that I will be okay. I finished Information Technology yesterday, and today, I did most of Planning and Budgeting.

Speaking with my uncle earlier, he asked me how Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) was, and I told him it was tough. Sometimes you have to lower expectations that way the result doesn’t kill anybody. I think I passed, but I didn’t wanna say that. Anyway, he mentioned something about my cousin who is doing 2 Masters degrees and usually scores over 95% in his tests… It was meant to encourage me to work harder… that I have the potential to do that. Only if I could not cram! Or if I was that interested. May be I should prepare for the CPA the way I prepare for Chess when I really want to win. I cram, but not this bad. May be because I am good at Chess, and I enjoy it more than I enjoy Accounting? Anyway, change of course going forward. I will do go through this the best way I can, but AUD and REG should be ready for a monster me!

Let’s see what the next 3 hours will bring. Shooting to sleep by midnight. CPA – BEC, here I come 😉

I am not sure if I will make any posts between tomorrow and Friday, 5/29. I will make some notes on my preparation and progress to be posted after the exam. Til then!

It is a wonderful life!

May 24, 2009

BEC – 5 days to go

Filed under: BEC,CPA — Steve (Chessiq) @ 4:18 pm

I went to the library at around 1pm. The next Study Unit was International Trade. This has 90 multiple choice questions! Ouch! I think I was at the library til 3:30pm when the private study room was needed. I was tired, so I came home to grab a can of soup and drove off to work. I read some magazine for about an hour – just relaxing for a little bit, and then I finished off Study Unit 7. Got an average of 74: Advantages of International Trade 66; Trade Barriers 86; Foreign Currency Rates and Markets 76; and Balance of Payments 71. I didn’t think it was a bad first pass through. I took another break to catch up on soccer, basketball, and politics.

I think I went back to the books around 7:35pm. I had decided that I had seen enough numbers, economics and/or finance-related subject matter, so I decided to switch and jump around and go to Information Technology. So, I did Information Technology I from 7:35pm – 9:41pm, 66 questions, and got a horrible average 62%. It got me wondering if my I.S. background is any good. I told myself that it has been a while since I studied or looked at anything IT-related in the minute-detail that these questions were asking. Most of it was rote… enough of the excuses! Let’s see the breakdown: Role of Business Information Systems 54; Risks Associated w/ B.I.S. 68; Roles and Responsibilities w/n the IT function 69; Systems Development and Design 61. Well, that was Study Unit 11. Another break.

I downloaded Audacity software from the Internet to record Arvo Part’s Spiegel im Spiedel — a classical music gem. I copied the recording over several times to last 8 hours, so that I can use it when I am working or studying without replaying or repeating it too many times. I think I will do that with one or two of Mozart’s pieces that I really like. Back to the computer for more studying.

From 11pm til 12:25am, I did Study Unit 12, Information Technology II, 57 questions, and got an average 71: Hardware 82; Software 70; Networks – classified by Extent and Function 70; Networks -classified by Equipment and Protocol 77; and Internet and Intranet 40! The last one makes it look so bad… I got 2 out of the 5 questions! and you know how the value/stakes go up when you have fewer “options” —- averages. Again, not excuses. I would like to think that the two questions had to do with Internet than Intranet! Anyway, I felt it was not a bad first pass through! It was a combination of studying and test-taking. Another break.

I drove home – and ate… dinner?!? around 1:15am. I think I slept after that. I don’t remember reading the simpledollar or mrsmicah – some of the blogs that I like. I woke up at 6am – sort of. Went to manutd.com to see if the last game against Hull was on. It wasn’t. I logged on mutv to turn on the live commentary, and somehow I crushed again until around 11:30am. I must have been tired from having a long day yesterday and not sleeping well the day before. Anyway, I listened to the soccer match while researching some salary information in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The computer froze a couple of times and I took it to mean God wanted me to start studing again!

From 1:53pm til 3:29pm, I did Study Unit 13, Information Technology III, 67 questions, and I got an average 77: Operating Systems 80; Security 77; Types of Data Files 60%; Nature of Binary Data Storage 100; and File Organization and Access Methods 77. The 100 is coming from getting 3 questions out of 3! As explained above, the fewer the items… However, it does not skew the average, as the system looks at the total correct questions divided by the total questions for the Study Unit. I told myself, not a bad first pass through!

That’s my progress so far on the CPA exams’ Business Economics and Concepts (BEC) so far.

I guess I should eat something and then coming back to the books and see if I can get to Study Units 14 (Information Technology IV, 82 questions), 15 (Information Technology V, 66 questions), and 16 (Planning and Budgeting, 153 questions) before the day is over.

It is a wonderful life.

May 23, 2009

BEC – 6 days to go

Filed under: BEC,CPA — Steve (Chessiq) @ 12:24 pm

After posting the intro and update, I had dinner, and then I talked to a friend for a while, and then I hit the books. (More like hit the computer!) I finished Study Unit 5 Microeconomics – didn’t do too badly – a 75. I then tackled Study Unit 6 – Macroeconomics – not great – 73. I am doing all the multiple questions in each study unit. It is my first time to go through the Study Units, so in a way, I am not feeling as bad as I would otherwise, if I had studied anything about these things and then I was not able to get to the scores I would like. I slept around midnight. Study Unit 6 took me about 2.5 hours, and I think there were 67 questions, so that’s about 2.25 min per question. I think it is a reasonable time considering I am studying as I go. My weakest area in Macroeconomics was Monetary Policy, but I think I have it down pat; the 73 was average of all various Macroeconomics sections. I think I got a 65 in Monetary Policy; Three Principal Issues in Macroeconomics 76; Domestic Output, National Income, and Price Levels 72; Business Cycles 100; and Fiscal Policy 80.

Even though I went to bed after midnight, my mind was still very active… but I also had a very bad splitting headache. I turned off all the lights except the one in the closet, and had some Gospel music going on itunes to relax me to sleep. I think I slept after an hour or so. I still have a minor headache, and I think it is due to looking at the computer for too long with focused attention and thinking non-stop. It is almost like I am playing tournament Chess again!

Anyway, my goal is to do Study Units 7 through 11 today, 12-16 tomorrow, and 17-20 on Memorial day. Then Tuesday-Thursday, I will spend 3 hours each day taking tests. I think I will do 30 questions/30 minute tests, so that’s 6 a day and that will get me up to speed. Normally when I take tests I spend about a minute a question, and if it’s tough or needed calculations, I will give it 2-3 minutes. So, time management during tests is not my worry.

I am heading out to the library. This is 12:09pm, and I will be there til 4:45pm. I hope to do two Study Units when I head out. Then I will head out to work… not to work, but to study, until I finish the other 3 units.
Cramming is not great, but flopping is worse. I think if I stick to my plan, I will do just fine.

What is my Marginal Propensity to Study (MPS)? How about my Multiplier? Marginal Propensity to Cram (MPC)I would like to think that my Multiplier is 1/(1-MPC). I am working towards making MPS larger. It is going to negatively affect the multiplier, but in this case, I am not worried about it since I know that when I study, I retain quite a bit. May be I should stop this and go study/cram 😉

So, that’s it for today on preparing for BEC on my way to becoming a CPA.

It is a wonderful life.

May 22, 2009

Blogging away the CPA exams!

Filed under: AUD,BEC,CPA,FAR,REG — Steve (Chessiq) @ 5:30 pm

I have decided to start blogging again. This time around, instead of blogging about Chess or God or some other things that really interest me, I will blog about … my efforts towards passing CPA exams. I will try to keep my posts short. I think it will be my way of tracking my progress and keeping myself motivated to study. To stay on the path to passing and getting certified. I have some pretty good records of how I have studied so far – good or bad – but the records are there.
So, briefly, here is what has happened so far.

I sat for Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) on 4/20/09. I felt relieved after the exam. I thought the exam was not as tough as I expected. It was tough, but mainly because I didn’t prepare the way I should have. I had studied really hard for about 2 months, and then I burnt out. I didn’t study for almost 3 weeks and then I had to cram 3-4 days before the exam. I think I slept for about 16 hours in the 4 days before the exam. Not the greatest way to study. My take from the exam… if you know the fundamentals or basics of everything, you should be okay. For example, given some information, can you work out a statement of cash flow using the direct method and/or the indirect method? Can you break down the information into operating, investing, and financing activities? Similarly, do you know the main categories of governmental funds? How about the types of funds that fall under each category? etc. The volume of material to remember is great, but it is not undoable. I thought I managed my time well: 45 min, 60min, 75min, 35min, and 25min for the 5 testlets. Did I pass? I don’t know. I would like to think so. Some results came out over the past couple of days, in wave 1, but mine was not part of it. I think it is a good thing, that way I can focus on preparing for Business Economics and Concepts (BEC). How is that? Well, if I passed, then may be I would relax a little bit and waste a day or two along the way. On the other hand, may be it would give great motivation to pass BEC and then pass the other two (Auditing and Attestation (AUD), and Regulation (REG)) next quarter. May be. If I failed, may be I would be disturbed and not be able to study for a day or two. May be failure would give me the drive I need to focus on BEC so that I don’t go 0 in 2! I don’t know.
What I can tell you is that I have spent the past 3 days checking result-related information at the State Board of Accountancy website, at NASBA, at CPAnet, at another71.com, and a few other places. Today, I have come to the conclusion that, as I had originally hoped, my result for FAR will come out around June 21st.
How has my prep for BEC been? Not great. I should say there has not been much preparation at except the past 3 days. What is my explanation or excuse? I have been pretty busy with work. I have been stressed out about work – will I have a job tomorrow, next week, next month? I am not as stressed this week week as I was about 2-4 weeks ago. I will not go into the details. The other explanation/fact, but not an excuse, is that I have just been avoiding studying. No motivation, no drive. I would not look at this explanation separately from the first one. They may be linked. Anyway, so what am I doing going forward?

Well, first off, I was supposed to take the exam tomorrow – 5/23, but I moved it (two weeks ago) to next Friday, 5/29 after I saw that I was so busy at work with month end close, and even after that, I could see a hellish week or weeks preparing for Auditors. I am not moving the exam again. I have been off work since Wednesday and I have done some decent studying. I think I will be prepared to take the exam by the time 5/29 rolls around even though I am working every day next week. I will try to get out of work by 6 pm so that I can have at least 4-5 hours of study before I sleep.

This week I will be using Gleim’s test prep software to go through the study units. Today I have finished unit 4 and I am half way through unit 5. I have only 15 to go! I have been averaging about 71. The recommended is 80 and above so that you can feel “assured” that you will get a 75 on the actual exam.

I have written more than I intended to, but it was a quick summary of what I have done so far and where I am headed.

It is a wonderful life.

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