Get to Know Our Survey Winners

Euphoric winner man with a tablet

We recently surveyed Wiley CPAexcel students to find out how they performed on the CPA Exam during the first testing window of 2016.

The general consensus: Their performance was outstanding!

Congratulations to all of our high-achieving winners:

• Catherine Savage of Texas
• Thomas Schaller of Kentucky
• Chad Shoemaker of Pennsylvania
• Ying Jin of California
• Jeff Holmes of Minnesota

Whether you are getting ready to start preparing for the CPA Exam or you are already elbows deep in  the process, we hope that the experience and tips shared by two of our survey winners will be both inspirational and helpful on your journey to becoming a CPA.

thomas schaller Thomas Schaller – Louisville, Kentucky

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you live? How did you get into accounting? Is it always something you’ve been interested in?

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, now live in Louisville, Kentucky. I entered college majoring in economics. My first taste of accounting came as a need to satisfy major requirements. The introductory classes came so naturally to me that I decided to keep taking more. It just sort of clicked. I was really drawn to the puzzle-like aspects of accounting. Something about seeing how everything comes together, I found really interesting.

What was the most challenging part of the exam for you?

The hardest thing for me is that last week before you’re scheduled to sit for the exam. Trying to maintain motivation to keep reviewing when the end is so near is really tough.

What tips or advice do you have for people studying for the exam now?

Two words: Practice questions! Get as accustomed as possible to the style of questions that you will be seeing on the exam. The most helpful thing I found in my own studies was getting questions wrong, and learning why I was wrong. That knowledge is far more likely to stick with you come exam time.

Why did you choose Wiley CPAexcel?

CPAexcel provides a truly comprehensive study experience. The text and practice questions cover the material thoroughly while maintaining an emphasis on the key concepts within the lessons. There were absolutely no surprises come test day.

Chad Shoemaker: Bedford, Pennsylvania chad shoemaker

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you live? How did you get into accounting? Is it always something you’ve been interested in?

I’m from Bedford, Pennsylvania which is a small town in Central PA. I graduated from Penn State University in August 2007 with a degree in Economics. I had trouble finding a job specifically using my degree and ended up taking a job with a local accounting firm. The job started out as something temporary but ended up being something I really enjoyed.

What made you decide to pursue your CPA certification?

My bosses encouraged me to go back to take accounting classes. After a few years, I ended up with enough credits to sit for the exam. Since I had already done the credit work, I figured it would be worth it to take the next step and study for the CPA exam.

What was the most challenging part of the exam for you?

The most challenging part for me would be adapting to studying several years out of school with a full-time job, family, and other interests taking up my time.

What tips or advice do you have for people studying for the exam now?

Try no to get too overwhelmed during the studying process. It’s a lot of information as you are studying — however, at least for me, I could see the how the concepts fit together once I was done and reviewed.

 What was your strangest study habit?

I don’t think I have any study habits that are too strange. I usually study in a room with the television on, so in case I need a break, I can focus on that for a few minutes. I guess that might be strange to people who need peace and quiet.

Why did you choose Wiley CPAexcel?

After a few years of work, I was encouraged to go back to school by the firm to take accounting classes and possibly work towards a CPA license. Over the next few years, I took accounting classes while still working. In 2015, after obtaining the required number of credits, I decided I would attempt to tackle the CPA exam. I looked at a ton of course options, but I felt CPAexcel would be best for my work situation, study habits, and price range. FAR, at the beginning, seemed like too much to handle, but the smaller lessons and course exam plan kept me on task. After I was done, I could see how the smaller lessons fit into the big picture and FAR didn’t seem so intimidating. I ended up with a 95 on my FAR exam using mostly CPAexcel’s lectures, reading materials, practice questions, and flash cards. I still have 3 exams to go, but I feel very confident that CPAexcel will have me prepared.

 

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