Sometimes you fail. Sometimes you fail more than once. Sometimes you fail multiple times over five years. But what matters most is that you don’t give up.
Obaid Asif lives in Los Angeles and has always been a driven person, completing his bachelor’s degree (with honors) at UC-Riverside in just three years. He admits that he’s always been a “good test taker”–that is until he took the CPA Exam.
“This exam was not an intelligence test,” he says. “It was more about getting through all of the material and there is a ton of stuff.”
He had been studying with Roger CPA Review (“The books were huge and hard to get through”) and it simply wasn’t working. Obaid failed multiple times over several years.
“I was overwhelmed and I stopped taking the exam after I failed,” he says. “But I had all these courses and coursework that I paid for. I was close to passing so I knew it was possible. I just couldn’t get over the hump.”
But he still kept coming back and kept trying.
Obaid was ready to try something new. He made the switch to Wiley CPAexcel and was then able to pass all four sections of the CPA Exam within six months.
How? Things changed for him when he started working the problems intensely.
“The questions aren’t 100% the same as the exam but they’re very close,” he says. “I’d just do them over and over and figure out why I got answers right and wrong. I went through every question in the Test Bank.”
According to Obaid, he spent between 2 and 3 hours each night reading and working test questions. His strategy was to do two sections at a time (FAR and AUD; and BEC and REG) and do 20 questions from each of the sections at night after work.
We asked Obaid what advice he had for other CPA candidates that may be struggling or who have failed a section or two. Here’s what he said:
1) Be Ready to Put in the Time
You can’t wing the CPA Exam. You have to be ready to put in the 300+ hours to pass a section. If you’re not ready to put in that level of studying, you shouldn’t take the exam.
2) Work on Your Weak Points
Everything in the curriculum is tested in some way on the exam, so you shouldn’t skip the areas that you dislike. Use the test questions to help you master the concepts.
3) Don’t Forget about the Simulations
It’s not just the MCQ section that matters. In Obaid’s experience, most CPA candidates are woefully unprepared for the SIMs portion of the exam.
4) Reschedule a Failed Section ASAP
Don’t wait to reschedule the exam if you fail a section. You want to take the exam again as soon as you can while the information is still fresh in your mind.
5) There Are No Simple CPA Questions
“You have to really look at each question and analyze it and make sure the answer you’re selecting is the one they’re looking for,” he says. “There are very minute details that you may not know.”
Obaid has wasted no time putting his new CPA license to work, having recently started his own online practice at BusyCPA.com.
It’s been a big learning experience for him to build a business but he’s confident he’ll be able to overcome challenges and obstacles. After all, it couldn’t be as hard as the CPA Exam.