He who seeketh, findeth

July 20, 2009

CPA exams – AUD (Auditing and Attestation) – rough!

Filed under: AUD,CPA,REG — Steve (Chessiq) @ 10:08 pm

I took the Auditing and Attestation exam today, and it was rough. I do not remember the last time I sat for an exam and almost every question was hard. Part of it was because the exam itself was really tough, another reason is that I didn’t prepare as well as I should have. I didn’t open the Wiley book except for less than 10 pages. I relied on the going over the DVDs and lots of multiple choice questions (MCQs). This past Saturday, 7/18/09, I finished going over the last batch of the multiple choice questions. I looked to see how many MCQs were on the Wiley CD, I was disappointed to see that there were only about 900 questions. I looked at the 2007 Gleim testprep database to see how many questions there were, over 1600! So, the 2007 Gleim CD had more AUD MCQs than the 2009 Wiley CD? I told myself not to worry. I decided to take a bunch of 30 MCQ tests on the 2007 Gleim Testprep to see how I would do. I was averaging 70%. I almost said, “not bad” as I used to, but this was different. I used to get about 70% on the Gleim on my first pass through… this time around, I was getting that on my 2nd pass through. Not good. Auditing and Attestation is totally different from FAR or BEC. Obviously, you expect the content to be different, but the approaches, and thinking demands and question methodology is totally different. It is hard to explain. I told myself that people have passed with Wiley testprep software before, so I should not despair… but I had my doubts. Anyway, I went to work yesterday afternoon and I was there til 1 a.m. I reviewed all my hand-written notes, printed out a bunch of things to review today, etc. I studied a little bit, about 2 hours in the car, before going into the exam.

The first testlet was pretty tough, but not much different from the other “tough” testlets in BEC or FAR. The questions were very tricky. It seemed like each time, I had to choose from two options – I guess that’s the essence of MCQs! But if you know your stuff, you are able to quickly choose between the two. I spent 48 minutes on the first testlet. Submitted it. The second one was worse than the first. I have read that if you do really well on the first, you get a really bad/tough second testlet. Well, I got a really bad one even though I didn’t think I did great on the first one. This one slaughtered me. Seriously. I spent about 52 minutes on it, I think. I checked at one point, and I had may be 8 questions marked for review. I think it was during this testlet that I resorted to my old way of testing, which is to skip whatever appears long and tough and get back to it after I have gone through all the questions in the testlet answered the “easier” questions first. Well, I didn’t quite stick to that plan because there were some questions that were kind long or tough, but I thought I could figure out if I spent a few more seconds on them. Anyway, I turned those in, and then came a third testlet, which was more tricky than tough. If the theories that say that if you do well or flop then you get a tougher or easier (respectively) testlet are true, then that was sort of proof that I really messed up on the second one. I had almost 3 hours to answer the next 3 testlets. Anyway, I went through the third testlet sort of quickly. By the way, I spent about 5 minutes reviewing each testlet before turning it in. I wondered why I was doing it because I don’t change my answers; well, until today! I changed two answers on the third testlet, and lucky enough, I found out that those were the correct calls when I was doing the simulations and I happened to see sections that addressed the same in the research tab. No wonder they don’t let you have access to all the questions at the same time! Well, I guess people would waste time researching and not finish;-)

Anyway, simulation time… I was bombed and tired by this time. I had 2 hours and I figured that was plenty of time for the 2 simuls.

Of course, as always, I scanned all the tabs to see what was asked. I started with either the research tab or the written section. Those were okay. The other questions were just a mess, but I completed them all within my alloted time, 1 hour. Then came the 5th simulation… Oh, my God! Talk about my second testlet being horrible… this was the worst possible simulation one could get. 6 question tabs, about 10 questions on each of the first 4 tabs… The questions were not clear (to me). Anyway, thanks AICPA! I was only able to complete 5 of the tabs with a bunch of guesses. I think the tab that I did not complete had the most points, just by remembering how long it took me to figure out what needed to be done on that question, and how to answer even one question. Anyway, I ran out of time, and I was sure I had failed AUD. I don’t even have an idea how bad I did. All I can say, I did really bad. We will know in the next 2 1/2 months.

Lessons learnt and resolutions:

I will not use Wiley 14.0 MCQs again. Even if I pass, I will maintain that I could have faired much better if I had stuck with the Gleim CDs. So, I saved about $55 by not paying for the Gleim testprep for AUD, and it may cost me about $300 to retake, $$$$ of heartache, $$$$ of lost raises at work! Not the greatest decision! I surely could have done better with my studying. I should have read the book. I should have finished my review weeks ago. I should have practiced more MCQs, and I should have bought the Gleim software.

I am going to start preparing for REG (Regulation) tomorrow. I going to buy the Gleim testprep for that section. I will use that in tandem with the book and the DVDs.  For the first time in a long time, I will study something everyday.

AICPA, CPA Exam REG, here I come!

It is a wonderful life.



  1. Thanks for the tips… I use CPAExcel & Kaplan materials (CDs, DVDs, books, flashcards). So, far it seems ok. My exam is in October so I have about 1 and a half months and I am through half of the material.

    The question I have: you said that the essays were easy. How do you mean? The essays scare me the most… How did you prepare for those? Did you read a lot of sample letters and such? Do you remember the question?

    Anyway, good luck on the next exam!!


    Comment by Iulian — August 19, 2009 @ 10:58 am | Reply

    • Hi Julian,

      Thanks for stopping by, and the question.

      I think what I meant by the essays were easy is that I understood the question, and I had at least a good answer for the question. Once that part is taken care of, that is, you understand the question, and you have the knowledge to answer the question, the rest of it is (as some chess players say) “a matter of technique”. You know what the review materials say, don’t spend too much time trying to be technically correct; but you have to be grammatically correct, of course. You have to stay on topic, that is, answer the question. You have to write the way good books, or good essays, are written – for the most part, show that you are trying to answer what is being asked, even if you are wrong, and do it logically. These are things that are emphasized in most study materials. If one follows that method, my impression is that one will not fail the question. If you answer the question correctly, in addition to correct writing, then it is fair to expect that you will do well on the essay. [I thought I did well on the essays. We will know in due time.]

      For my preparation, I write at this blog, so I practice writing and communication skills. I guess that helps to express myself properly, or I would like to think so. In addition, I read a few simulations, not necessarily for AUD, but also FAR. I think I wrote out several of my responses when I was going over the simulation questions and I then compared them [my responses] to the solutions in the book.

      Yes, I remember the questions, but we are not allowed to share or disclose them!

      I hope I was able to answer your questions.

      Good luck with your preparation and the exam itself.

      Comment by Steve (Chessiq) — August 19, 2009 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  2. […] pm I took the Regulation (REG) section of the CPA exams today. I think I had a rougher time than I had with AUD. I don’t know if my “complaints” that the exam was tough are […]

    Pingback by CPA Exam REG – rougher than AUD « He who seeketh, findeth — August 25, 2009 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  3. […] took the Regulation (REG) section of the CPA exams today. I think I had a rougher time than I had with AUD. I don’t know if my “complaints” that the exam was tough are […]

    Pingback by CPA Exam REG – rougher than AUD : Passing the CPA Exam Tip by Tip — September 12, 2009 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

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