Help! I Can’t Pass FAR!

From the beginning of my CPA journey, I always told myself that if I could just pass FAR, I’d be halfway done. That’s not literally true, but for me it was true mentally.

At work I was really open about when I was taking my exams and what my plans were, and it stung to have to tell people that first time that I failed FAR. When I first found out I had failed FAR, for the next couple of days I felt overwhelmed at the thought of starting the study process over.

Determined to Win

But, after a few days, I decided I was going to beat that test’s ass (as much as that’s possible), and that I wasn’t going to push my other test dates back. So that plan meant I was going to take AUD and FAR a week apart, but I didn’t care. My senior at work was a really nice guy and didn’t want to say anything, but I could tell he thought it was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard.

By the way, I really don’t recommend scheduling two exams a week apart- that’s just what I did and it turned out fine.

Anyways… that is tip #1:

Decide That You’re Going to Pass

You can pass, and you will pass FAR. I really think most people make the study process too hard, they spread it out too far, and they spend their time doing the wrong things. Whether you’ve taken it once, 3 times, or not yet, set your date and do not break yourself against that deadline. If you’re the type of person who keeps pushing it back- you’ve got bigger problems than just pushing it back. You keep pushing it back because you’re not doing a good job of studying. You’re choosing to let “life get in the way” instead of doing whatever it takes to get your two hours in a day.

That’s tip #2:

Hit Your 2 Hours a Day, No Matter What

FAR isn’t some huge monster that you have to study 5 hours a day for, for 4 months straight. It’s just a test. You can get done what you need to in 2 hours a day.

Related: My absolute best study tips are in my book, “Pass the CPA Exam the Easy Way“. If you haven’t read it and you’re having trouble with the exams, buy it and read it. I’m that confident it will help you, and the audio version is included free.

But not less than that. If you’ve taken it and failed- possibly a few times- then you probably know what areas you’re weak in. Chances are they include government accounting, non-profit accounting, and IFRS.

Seal those up. Spend your time on those first. Multiple choice questions, simulations, then lectures when you need it, in that order. And, be making your own flashcards along the way on questions you miss or key concepts.

Study Every Chance You Get

Hitting your 2 hours every day is crucial, but then studying throughout your day can bridge the gap. Every 5 minutes you get, pull out your mobile app and pound some questions.

This really adds up- and I feel like this was a crucial part of my success. If you do an extra 50 to 100 questions throughout your day, that obviously gives you a huge boost when test day comes.

What People Do Wrong

Are you a highlighting maniac? Highlighting the textbook is something people love to do because it feels like you’re doing something but you’re not doing jack crap.

There is no highlighting on the real test. There’s a shitload of multiple choice questions though, so do that instead of highlighting.

Movie buff? Quit watching the lectures like a zombie. Go back to the questions, and when you get tripped up on a topic or you can tell there’s some framework you need to learn, then go watch that specific lecture. The lectures are incredibly helpful when you have context or you’re watching them with something in mind that you’re trying to learn. Just watching them from the beginning doesn’t help a whole lot.

Nuclear Options

Now, if you’ve taken FAR more than twice, you might want to consider some of these options.

1) You need more questions and more practice. Get the Wiley FAR testbank and go through every single question. The Wiley testbank also has extra sims for you to practice on.

2) Again, if you’ve failed FAR twice or more, I suggest checking out the Roger’s review FAR section. Roger’s lectures are the best lectures there are, and if you feel like you just can’t learn the material, maybe that’s what you need.

That’s my advice… if you have a question or comment just leave it below.

2 Comments

  • EFREN BATES

    Reply Reply October 9, 2014

    i really need help, i am being struggling with the cpa exam for almost 3 years

    • Nate

      Reply Reply October 10, 2014

      Hi Efren-

      If that’s the case, my absolute best stuff that will help you the most is in my Superfast CPA course. I recommend you give it a try.

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