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Comment by Dokimcpa on November 30, 2009 at 7:44pm
Okay. I just came back from the FAR exam. Taken at NYC..

I did good job managing my time during the exam as I planned this time. I spent 45 mins, 50 mins, and 55 mins on each MCQ testlet and 50 mins on the 1st simulation and 40 mins on the 2nd simulation. I was able to complete the exam in time except that I could not find right answer for the 2nd research.

I am not sure if the 2nd testlet and 3rd testlet were getting any harder or not.. I had a lot of concept questions and some calculations. It was quite reasonable to meet my time deadline on each testlet this time. I was able to answer most of them without much doubt except for few odd questions.

My 1st simulation required a lot of reading and reviewing financial information to answer the questions. The 2nd simulation was about more detail level of F/S, which I have never done before. I just used my common sense based on the knowledge I have. I would say that the problems itself were straight forward in both simulations.

The subject matter of written communication was more like a consulting question- addressing pros and cons of a proposal.

I think I did okay in overall, but I feel nervous about the level of difficulty in each MCQ testlet as it felt like they were at the same level as the 1st testlet. If I pass this, this would be the best Christmas gift ever.. This is my last part of the CPA exam.
Comment by FutureCPA on November 30, 2009 at 9:44am
Dokimcpa, do share your FAR experience with all of us.
Comment by Christopher Scott Guess on November 29, 2009 at 9:04pm
Thanks, guys. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a passing grade as I focus on audit the next 30 days.
Comment by kj_nyc on November 29, 2009 at 1:30pm
Dokimcpa, FYI, if you got "comparable" performance on the MCQ, you did miss questions, but you missed as many as the people who scored 75-80 did. "comparable", "weaker" and "stronger" on the performance report is relative to those who passed with scores of 75-80. If you had not missed any MCQs, your MCQ performance would have been "stronger."
Comment by Dokimcpa on November 29, 2009 at 10:22am
Christopher Scott Guess-

I got 66 last time from the FAR exam, but i think this score is not really relevant. I did not miss any MCQs and did well as I got comparable performance on MCQ, but it was not good enough for me to pass with a missing 2nd simulation.
Comment by Dokimcpa on November 29, 2009 at 10:20am
Thank you so much your input, KJ and FutureCPA!! It is really helpful how I should manage time during the FAR exam.
Comment by kj_nyc on November 29, 2009 at 9:21am
Christopher Scott Guess, I have heard of people passing who did as much of the sims as you and Dokimcpa did. But this happens only if you did really well on the MCQs. Do a search on cpanet forum for "oldog new trics", who I think had that experience and discusses in more detail.
Comment by kj_nyc on November 29, 2009 at 9:18am
Here are my FAR timing tips. I think a better guideline is to spend 45, no more than 50 minutes on MCQ testlet 2, especially if you end up with the awful sims I got, but you never know what you'll get, and you can still be safe if you spend 55 minutes on MCQ testlet 2. But you should try to spend 40 minutes on testlet 1, and under no circumstances should you spend more than 45 minutes.

Time management is *key* for FAR. On no other exam did I feel so very rushed and frazzled. It will be the fastest 4 hours of your life. First of all, try not to drink fluids in the 2-3 hours before your exam, and then use the bathroom at Prometric right before your exam. There is no time for bathroom breaks.

Yes, you can average 50 minutes per MCQ testlet because you need at least 45 minutes for each sim, but preferably a little more sim time if you can manage it. But try not to take more than 40 minutes for MCQ1, and definitely less than 45. For MCQ2, try to make it under 45 minutes, but force yourself to move on, no matter what, if you start approaching 55 (preferably no more than 50). Guess answers B or C if you still have questions blank. They say A is most often the wrong answer, followed by D.

But to avoid having to make these random guesses, do not allow yourself to get bogged down on any one problem; if you've been spending close to 1.5 minutes on a problem, just mark it, write by your notes on the scratch paper the question number and circle it, and move on to the next question. Each testlet has questions of varying difficulty and of varying lengths. Make sure you hit all the fast problems for easy points. You can come back to the longer ones if you have time; just go to the marked questions and look at what you wrote down by the circled questions on your scratch paper.

I always marked any question on which I felt the least bit uncertain, but on my scratch paper, I would circle the question numbers on which I felt more than a little uncertain, and circle multiple loops pressing the lead hard for the ones I was really uncertain on. So I knew which ones were most important to go back to after I had hit all the easier questions. I also started a new page on the scratch paper at the beginning of each testlet.

Testlet 3 will probably contain more of the stumpers. When they say the testlets get harder, it does not mean the difficult testlets have only difficult problems. Each testlet has easy and hard problems, but the "hard" testlets have a greater % of hard problems. No matter what, force yourself to move on to the sims when you have 1 hour 30 minutes to go.


Below is a copy and paste of what I wrote about my experience after my July exam, and here is a link to the cpanet thread with more discussion:
http://www.cpanet.com/cpa_forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=24187

So here was my experience yesterday. Time was definitely an issue. My goal was to average 40 minutes per multiple choice testlet and have 1 hour per simulation since I am slow and not good at simulations. I spent 40 minutes on MC testlet 1, 41 on testlet 2, and about 60 minutes on testlet 3. A few of the MCs in testlet 3 really stumped me, and I know I got at least 1 of them wrong after I came back and looked it up (and this is another case where there was only a few sentences of coverage in Bisk that did not directly address the topic, and I got a better idea of the correct answer after using my company's research tool). A couple of the other stumpers I think I got after the 2nd or 3rd pass after the solution all of a sudden hit me. I had just under 1 hour 40 minutes left for the simulations. I think I used 55+ minutes on the first and then had only a little under 45 for the second. First tab on the 2nd simulation took a while, and I started looking at the other tabs and saw that there were just 35 minutes left. Yikes, better take care of the written communication! Spent maybe 12 minutes on the written communication, struggled through a couple other tabs, and then there were only 4 minutes left. Oops, I hadn't done the research question! So I scramble to punch in some search terms, and luckily I think I found the correct paragraph. Then I scrambled to check each tab over at least once, even if it was just very quickly.
Comment by kj_nyc on November 29, 2009 at 9:15am
Hey Future CPA, sounds like your exam went well. I'll post my FAR time management tips in a sec. I normally say that 2nd MCQ testlet should not take more than 50 minutes, but after reading your experience, it sounds like 55 was OK. I guess my FAR exam followed the more traditional progression where the 3rd testlet was most difficult. Sounds like your 2nd testlet was most difficult, but that does not mean you did badly on it. My REG testlet 2 was absolutely the most difficult MCQ testlet I've had on all 4 exams, and REG testlet 3 was significantly easier, although not as easy as testlet 1, so I remember feeling embarrassed (because I am a tax person who, at that time, had passed only AUD with a 99) and worrying that I had bombed testlet 2. But I got 99 on REG, so I did not bomb testlet 2 after all.

Hope you are taking some time to rest. I'm sure you're all done with the CPA! At least you need to wait only another 3-4 weeks for your score (I had to wait almost 6 weeks for BEC, my last score).
Comment by Christopher Scott Guess on November 29, 2009 at 8:14am
Dokimcpa - what score did you get? I basically did the same thing as you ... took 3 hours and 10 min for mcq, but really do believe i scored perfectly. did both written communications and research (albeit, rushed), but left about 2/3 of sims blank ... the math works ... 70 on mcq ... 5/10 on writing + whatever little i get from sims, but i'm curious as to how close you came ... or did you miss a bunch of the mcq too?
 

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