Christina beat COVID while using the Wiley Platinum CPA Review Course to beat the CPA Exam!

Christina Berluche, 33, a tax accountant at Witham in Maryland, remembers the time very clearly. She was already halfway through an arduous journey to obtain her CPA when she was called on to do something, well, superhuman. Christina, mother of two little girls (3 and 4), was working fulltime and caring for her aging parents. Then COVID-19 came for a visit.

Tragedy Strikes

In May of 2020, her father, already a dialysis patient, contracted the virus. Christina and her husband, the owner of a small business, both leaned on her parents to help with the kids. Now, Covid made that impossible. With Christina in the middle of tax season and studying for the CPA exam—she passed REG and FAR and was looking to take AUD and BEC—they really needed help. Two days after her dad reported contracting the virus, Christina got it too.

“I still had to study for the exam, work, and take care of the kids,” she recalls. “When I finally sat down to study, I could barely sit up. People were telling me, ‘You have Covid! Don’t lay down! Don’t lay down!’ So I propped myself up on a chair and tried to study. The exam was a few weeks away. I was really battling! I didn’t want to call out of work because everyone was so busy, and I was trying to be everything to everyone.”

More Bad News

While she gave it her best, Christina failed both BEC and AUD after getting COVID. She was devastated. She wanted to wake up as if it had just been a bad dream. “I was like, ‘Dammit COVID! You messed up all of these things for me! You ruined my winning streak!’”

The fogginess and memory loss had hampered her ability to absorb information. Christina already lives with lupus, which has a similar, foggy effect. “I couldn’t think straight,” she says. “I’d be reading things and reading things and reading things, and it would not stick!” Had she not passed FAR and REG before COVID, she admits she probably would have put her quest for her CPA on the shelf. But she looked at it optimistically and soldiered on. She was halfway there.

In the months after recovering from COVID, life didn’t get any easier. She returned to helping her parents. She studied whenever and wherever she could. She made use of every free minute. Her Wiley study prep materials helped: flashcards, quick hit lessons, test bank questions, all neatly geared for those brief, available time slots in her chaotic life.

Christina Passes AUD and BEC on Second Try

She studied through the summer and fall of 2020. Christina passed AUD then BEC, both on her second try. She felt tremendous relief. “I put my whole family’s life on pause for this exam,” she says.

Today, life is closer to a normal kind of crazy for Christina. Now a CPA, she’s still busy at work and at home—she’s still taking care of her parents while making sure her family stays happy and healthy.

“I look back at that period and I’m just amazed that we got through!” She admits. “And it’s not just me. I have to give credit to other people in my life, my support system.

“I think people are sometimes scared to ask for help, and I can definitely be one of those people. But I knew I couldn’t do this myself. I was like, ‘Hello? Can someone hold this baby and give her a bottle?’”

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Inspiring Others

After passing the CPA exam, Witham posted Christina’s photo and success story on the company intranet, congratulating her and giving her some valuable exposure—which is a tough thing to come by at a big company full of talent.

“So many people came by and congratulated me,” she recalls. “People came into my office. I even received a few messages from people that said I inspired them. They saw what I went through and thought, I have no excuses! I’m going to get my CPA!’”

For Christina, that felt like the best part. That after all she went through to land her CPA, others in her situation could see her as a role model. “So many people just don’t think they can do it. The obstacles are endless. It’s hard being a mom, and it’s hard taking care of everyone. It’s just hard. Life is hard. But I have to say, I’m just a regular ol’ girl, and I did it, so you can too!”

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Christina chose to study with the Wiley Platinum CPA Review Course for her best chance at passing the CPA exam. When you’re ready to start studying, be sure to check out Wiley’s CPA Review Course options to find the course that best fits your study style and budget.