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It is that simple…  It is late, you have been going through CPA Exam Review material and the questions are just not making sense.  Why?

There are many reasons for this phenomenon.  Is it lack of sleep?  Is it the difficulty of the material?  Is it just the AICPA playing mind games on you?

Well, it is a little bit of all of the above.  Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged.  Become educated!

As you go through the CPA Exam material and take in advice from your peers, you will learn what has worked and what hasn’t worked for others. However, will this advice help you?  Possibly!  Remember, everyone learns differently and everyone has a different set of obstacles to overcome while preparing for the CPA Exam.

At the end of the day there are really two things that you must have in order to be successful in passing the CPA Exam.

1.  You have a grasp of the conceptual knowledge required to PASS the exam.

2.  You know how to “RTFQ”. That’s the ability  to pick out what is important and what is simply a detractor.

Now, how to do this.  First off, it is not easy.  You will pull on all your years of knowledge gained through college and those 150 credit hours you worked so hard to achieve.  Those late nights of study and those techniques of memorizing formulas and rules, will all come in handy now.  But, the CPA exam is like those dreaded final exams, except it’s for all your college courses, not just one!Do you remember everything taught in college?  Were all of your accounting courses designed to help you in passing the CPA Exam?  Were your grades “curved”  to make the scoring fit the “bell curve” grading system?  These are all questions I can’t answer.

But I will tell you this.  The CPA exam is one of the toughest professional exams to pass.  And YES, it is worth it.  The CPA designation sets you apart from your peers, and with the impending retirement of the Baby Boomers, the job opportunities  are within reach. Don’t miss out.

Your best chance of passing comes from knowing the concepts the AICPA thinks you should know.  You get that knowledge by taking a quality CPA Review course (like YAEGER CPA Review).  The quality programs will review, or maybe, teach for the first time,  those concepts that you “must” know in order to pass the CPA Exam.  Without a review course, taking the CPA Exam becomes much more difficult. A quality review course will pull together all of the most important information from those years of college, wrapping it in a nice, tidy bow for you to re-absorb (or absorb for the first time).

Now, to the point of the blog.  RTFQYou now have all of that information. What do you do with it?  Well, you now need to apply that knowledge to the multiple choice questions and simulations that you will encounter.  But wait a minute, the questions don’t appear to be straight forward?  I read it this way, but the answers don’t reflect my understanding.  Why? 

Remember, the AICPA is testing the knowledge of what is expected of an entry level CPA, not an entry level accountant.  There is a difference.  That’s why the questions are most likely NOT straight forward.  They will be loaded with important information, along with detractors, that will point you in the wrong direction.  To be successful, you need to understand this and understand why an answer is what it is and how you got there. 

Will answering thousands of multiple choice questions help you see different types of questions and how they can be asked?  Sure, but will that “teach” you the concepts you need to know?  Learning and reinforcement go hand and hand.  You must learn in order to reinforce.  It is that simple.

Also, keep in mind that on exam day, 15-20% of questions will not be graded.  Why?  The AICPA puts these questions on the exam to see how candidates answer different types of question structure and potential topics for future exams. These are called pre-test questions and are not counted in the final score.  Even on pre-test questions, make sure you answer it and move on. You might not know which one is a pre-test questions so it’s even more important to RTFQ.So “RTFQ”? You have read the question, and using  your accumulated knowledge, have determined what is important, and what is there to trick you, so you get the questions correct.  YAHOO!!!  You did it.  You didn’t let those detractors point you in the wrong direction and you have a big smile on your face.

Is it because you highlighted your textbook to death?  Is it because you worked tens of thousands of questions?  Is it because you learned the concepts and how to pick out the detractors and get to the true question being asked?  Only you know the answer to this, but  learning how to “RTFQ” is really, really  important..

Oh, I forgot to mention what the acronym “RTFQ” stands for.  Read The Funny Question (or select your own adjective) 

Yaeger CPA Review


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Tags: CPA Exam Success Guide, YaegerCPA


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Comment by Niusha H on April 16, 2014 at 1:01pm

I love the last few words about select your own adjective.  Good one!  LOL


I suppose this is a skill that we learned in our primary years of schooling but it really does take years of practice to hone.  Understanding the terminology in the question is a large part of studying for the four-headed exam.


That said, I'm so glad to be working on audit now with where I will be practicing RTFQ for hours on end.


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