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Cpa Exam Success

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CPA Exam Success 3 steps to sitting the CPA exam: Register  Study & Prepare Sit Exam Background The Uniform CPA Examination is a 14 hour exam with four sections: Auditing & Attestation - 4.5 hours 3 Multiple choice question testlets (30 questions per testlet) – 70%; 2 simulation testlets – 30% Covers knowledge of auditing procedures, auditing standards generally accepted in the United States (GAAS) and other standards related to attest engagements and the skills needed to apply that knowledge. Financial Accounting & Reporting – 4 hours 3 Multiple choice question testlets (30 questions per testlet) – 70%; 2 simulation testlets – 30% Covers knowledge of accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP) for  business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge. Regulation – 3 hours 3 Multiple choice question testlets (24 questions per testlet) – 70%; 2 simulation testlets – 30% Covers knowledge of federal taxation, ethics, professional and legal responsibilities, and business law, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge. Business Environment & Concepts – 2.5 hours 3 Multiple choice question testlets (30 questions per testlet) – 100% Covers knowledge of general business environment and business concepts that candidates need to know in order to understand the underlying business reasons for a nd accounting implications of business transactions, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge in performing financial statement audit and attestation engagements and other functions normally performed by CPAs that affect the public interest. Important Information Ensure to obtain a copy of the Candidate Bulletin from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website1. This and www.cpa-exam.org are key resources for all detailed questions you may have. Before registering and receiving support from the firm you must gain a thorough understanding of the exam process and submit a detailed study plan to HR for review (See Appendix A for example study plans). Your study plan should include a broad outline of  your study schedule and your intended exam dates. It is advised that you also communicate your study plan to your counselor and managers and/or seniors who you will be working closely with. Also see the Bermuda Code of Conduct Supplement section 5.6.3.3 for details of entitled study leave and support provided by the firm. Any further questions, comments and suggestions can be sent to your CPA Co-ordinator  at [email protected] The CPA Co-ordinators are Wolete Lottimore, ext. 7238 and Wesley Trott ext. 7265 (TO BE CONFIRMED). 2 Register  There are currently 55 Boards of Accountancy and each board may have different requirements in order to be applicable to register to sit the CPA examination. The majority of PwC students register with the New Hampshire Board of Accountancy2. The main reason applicants register  with New Hampshire is because the requirement of 150 credit hours (equivalent to a Masters) has not yet been implemented thus only 120 credit hours, equivalent to a Bachelors, is required. Of this a minimum of 24 credits must be in business and 12 must be in accounting earned either  within the bachelor’s degree or outside the bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or  college. The following registration information is applicable to registering in New Hampshire. 1. You must complete an initial application, which can be found on NASBA’s website. Along with a completed application form the following are required: Both an application and an examination fee 2 x 2 photograph Official transcript from each institution at which original credit towards the educational requirement was earned. CPA Examination Services does not evaluate foreign transcripts. If you have earned academic credit outside the U.S., you must have your  credentials evaluated by any member organization of the National Association of  Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)3. Candidates should obtain evaluation request forms directly from the evaluating services. Evaluations may be submitted by candidates to CPA Examination Services. • • • Important: The name on your application must appear exactly the same as it appears on the 2 pieces of identification you plan to take to the testing center. 2. Allow 8 weeks for complete processing of the initial application. Processing of your  application will begin once all required information has been received. 3. Once application is approved NASBA will issue a Notice to Schedule (NTS) (See Appendix B) by the method of notification indicated on the application. 4. Once a NTS has been issued, the candidate has 6 months from the date of the NTS to schedule and take the examination sections applied for. Upon receipt of your NTS, you are required to log onto the Prometrics web site4 and/or call to schedule your exam. Candidates must have their Notices to Schedule available when making test appointments. No appointments can be made fewer than five days in advance of the desired test date and candidates requiring special testing accommodations must schedule at least 10 days in advance. Prometrics delivers the examination to candidates through more than 300 testing centers in the United States and U.S. territories. Prometric sites are located in most metropolitan areas. • • Important: Ensure your exam appointment confirmation is accurate. The CPA exam is offered the first two months of each calendar quarter, up to six days a week. The following months of testing are known as “testing windows”. January and February April and May July and August October and November  Candidates can sit for one or more parts of the exam during a test period but may not take a specific part of the exam more than once during that same test period. Each State Board can establish its own policy on the time frame in which a candidate must pass all four parts of the exam. This period is 18 months for New Hampshire registered candidates. 3 Once registered you may book your air travel with Watlington Conyers Travel and let them know you are with PwC; also request a copy of you invoice and intinery to be forwarded to HR. Reserve your hotel room and arrange payment with HR. Ensure your hotel is near the test center  or you have reliable transportation. For any subsequent exam attempts submit a new study plan and a CPA exam budget to HR. (The CPA exam budget template can be found attached in the Bermuda Code of Conduct Supplement section 5.6.3.3) 4 Study and Prepare The majority of PwC students have enrolled in the Becker CPA Review program5. This program offers three course formats: Live Classes - You get the most instructor and peer interaction in live classes and also receive the benefit of class discussion. If you tend to procrastinate, live classes may be your best choice. Online Classes - Online classes are ideal for people who appreciate the structure of a weekly class, but want to participate anywhere there’s Internet access. Personal guidance from your  online instructor and class discussion threads are great ways to interact and get support. CD-ROM Classes - Study whenever and wherever you want. Students who are self-disciplined and prefer to work alone will appreciate the CD format. Becker CDs provide the same expert instruction as their live and online classes, with the flexibility to study completely on your own timetable. Becker offers an intensive final review which is a last minute pre-exam workshop. You can attend live sessions or order the self-study CDs. Becker also sells flashcards which includes 950 ready-made cards with questions on the front and brief answers on the back. Arrange payment of your review course with HR. Also see Jane Knight in Learning and Development for access to the firm’s library of BISK material. This material includes comprehensive text books, lecture videos and quizzes. Important: Becker CD-ROMs expire one year after activation.  Attributes of Exam Success 6  • • • • • • Positive Mental Attitude – Preparation for the CPA exam is a long, intense process and a positive mental attitude is required to succeed. Development of a Plan – Prepare your required study plan amended to your situation and schedule. Include in your schedule events, obligations, homework, and simulation review. Ensure to incorporate enough time to complete a comprehensive final review before the exam (see Appendix A for example study plans). Periodic quizzes shall be administered by Jane Knight according to your submitted study plan. This will aid in preparing you for the exams and ensuring you adhere to your study plan.  Adherence to the Plan – Stick to the plan in order to ensure you get through all the material and complete your comprehensive final review. Time Management – Budget your daily study time and ensure to adhere to your  schedule. Schedule in work and recreational activities. Communicate your study obligations to your counselor, managers and seniors you are working with. Make sacrifices to ensure you spend adequate time studying i.e. activities with friends, T.V., phone etc. Knowledge – Having a superficial understanding of accounting facts isn't good enough to pass the CPA exam. You must know the material likely to be tested, how to apply the knowledge and address the difference between merely knowing the material and knowing how to use the material. Examination Strategies – Be familiar with the format of the exam and know exactly what to expect when you enter the exam. Have a broad plan of how you will spend your examination time. 5 • Examination Grading – Knowing the grading procedures will help you maximize the number of points you receive on the exam i.e. the communication portion of the simulations is worth 10%. Be familiar with the Examination Content Specification7 included in exam preparation material and focus on more heavily weighted topics as they are more likely to be included on simulations. This will also prevent you from putting too much focus on topics which are not heavily tested.  Additional Tips on Tackling the Becker Review Material  • • • • • Begin studying consistently from day one of your prepared study plan and stick to your prepared schedule. This will ensure you are getting through the material in a timely manner. Remember you can never study too much. Approach the material piecemeal, completing each section before moving on to the next. This will ensure you are effectively learning all the material while preventing you from feeling overwhelmed. Review text and attempt all h omework questions after each section. Review previous chapters and sections frequently throughout study. It is easier to review previous sections as you go along rather then attempting a first time comprehensive review of the whole text after completing all the material. Reviews are also a good time to attempt homework questions you answered incorrectly. Ensure to become familiar with the format of the example simulations.  A Good Study Place You need a good study place in order to study effectively and efficiently. Your study place should: Be available to you whenever you need it. Be free from interruptions and d istractions i.e. T.V., phone, video games, family and work. Contain a large enough desk or table and a comfortable chair. (A couch or bed is NOT a good study place) Have enough light and a comfortable temperature. • • • • 6 Sit Exam Important: You must take your NTS to the test center. You will not be permitted to take the exam without your NTS. Ensure to read all the instructions included on your NTS. Plan to arrive at the test site early and arrange transportation ahead of time. Overcoming Test Anxiety8 You have to know the material to do well on the exam. You have to control test anxiety to show what you know. Here are some things you can do before, during , and after your exams to reduce your test anxiety. 1. Use good study techniques to gain cognitive mastery of the material that will be covered on the exam. This mastery will help you to approach the exam with confidence rather than have excessive anxiety. 2. Maintain a positive attitude as you study. Think about doing well, not failing. Think of the test as an opportunity to show how much you have learned. 3. Go into the test well rested and well fed. Get enough sleep the night before the test. Eat a light and nutritious meal before the test. Stay away from junk foods. 4. Stay relaxed during the exam. Taking slow, deep breaths can help. Focus on positive self-statements such as “I can do this.” 5. Follow a plan for taking the exam. Don’t panic even if you find the test difficult. Stay with your plan! 6. Don’t worry about other students and if they pass or fail. Take the time that you need to do your best. 7. Once you finish the exam, forget about it temporarily. There is nothing more you can do until you receive your results. Guidelines to Correctly Answer Multiple-choice Questions 1. Focus on important words in the item. This will help you focus on the information most needed to identify the correct answer choice. 2. Read all the answer choices before selecting one. It is just as likely for the last answer  choice to be correct as the first. 3. Eliminate answer choices you are certain are not correct. This will help you narrow down the correct answer choice. 4. Look for two answer choices that are opposites. One of these two answer choices is likely to be correct. 5. Look for hints about the correct answer choice in other items on the test. The correct answer choice may be part of another item on the test. 6. Look for answer choices that contain language used in your study material and homework questions. An answer choice that contains such language is usually correct. 7. Do not change your initial answer unless you are sure another answer choice is correct. More often than not, your first choice is correct. 8. Choose “all of the above” if you are certain all other answer choices in the item are correct. Do not choose “all of the above” if even just one of the other answer choices is not correct. 9. Choose “none of the above” if you are certain all other answer choices in the item are incorrect. Do not choose “none of the above” if even just one of the other answer choices is correct. 10. Answer all questions regardless if you know the answer or not. 11. The communication portion of the simulations is worth 10%, ensure to attempt these. 7  Additional Information about the CPA Exam • Accounting and auditing pronouncements are eligible to be tested on the Uniform CPA Examination in the testing window beginning six months after a  pronouncement's effective date, unless early application is permitted. When early application is permitted, the new pronouncement is eligible to be tested in the window beginning six months after the issuance date. In this case, both the old and new pronouncements may be tested until the old pronouncement is superseded. For the federal taxation area, the Internal Revenue Code and federal tax regulations in effect six months before the beginning of the current window may be tested. For all other subjects covered in the Regulation (REG) and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) sections, materials eligible to be tested include federal laws in the window beginning six months after their effective date, and uniform acts in the window beginning one year after their adoption by a simple majority of the  jurisdictions.9 Important: If using the Becker Review course check their website regularly for updates to the study material. • A multistage adaptive test delivery model is used for Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG) multiple-choice testlets. This means that the first testlet presented to the candidate is at a level of  moderate difficulty. Subsequent testlets - at the same or slightly more difficult level are then chosen automatically based on the examinee's performance on the p revious testlet. At the present time, Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) does not follow the adaptive model, and is composed of testlets at the moderate level of difficulty only. The simulations presented in FAR, AUD, and REG do not follow the adaptive model. They are not selected on the basis of prior performance. Take the exam tutorial and sample test at www.cpa-exam.org. Additional exam facts can also be found on this site. 8 Appendix A – Example Study Plans Important: The following are suggested guidelines and examples of study plans. Each student is strongly urged to plan and implement a study plan that works best for them and fits their learning style. Example Study Plans While Working Full-time The following study plans are based on these guidelines: • • • • • Each Becker Review Course chapter is broken up into several sections and individual lectures. Each lecture has assigned homework questions. Each chapter’s lectures, in total, range from 2.5 hours to 4 hours, thus each chapter  can be divided into 3 sessions. Each session shall consist of 1 to 2 hours of lecture, review of the material covered and attempting all assigned homework a pplicable to that lecture. Each session review shall also consist of a review the material in the chapter, revising incorrect homework questions and review of the chapter’s simulation examples. In total each session’s lecture and review shall be 2 to 3 hours. Financial Accounting and Reporting Example Study Plan Sunday Monday Tuesday Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Session 1 Session 2 Chapter 2 Chapter 2 Session 2 Session 3 Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Session 3 Review Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Review Session 1 Chapter 6 Chapter 6 Session 1 Session 2 Chapter 7 Chapter 7 Session 2 Session 3 Chapter 8 Chapter 8 Session 3 Review Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Chapter 9 Review Catch-up or  review Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Catch-up or  break Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Session 3 Review Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Review Session 1 Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 4 Chapter 4 Chapter 4 Session 1 Session 2 Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Session 2 Session 3 Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 6 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Session 3 Review Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 8 Review Session 1 Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 9 Chapter 9 Chapter 9 Session 1 Session 2 Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  review Catch-up or  review 9 Catch-up or  review Catch-up or  review Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Review Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Catch-up or  review Auditing & Attestation and Business, Environment & Concepts Example Study Plan Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Catch-up or  break Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Session 3 Review Catch-up or  break Session 1 Session 2 Chapter 2 Chapter 2 Catch-up or  break Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Review Session 1 Catch-up or  break Session 2 Session 3 Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Catch-up or  break Chapter 4 Chapter 4 Chapter 4 Session 1 Session 2 Catch-up or  break Session 3 Review Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Catch-up or  break Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Session 2 Session 3 Catch-up or  break Review Session 1 Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Review Regulation Example Study Plan Sunday Monday Tuesday Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Session 1 Session 2 Chapter 2 Chapter 2 Session 2 Session 3 Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Session 3 Review Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Review Session 1 Chapter 6 Chapter 6 Session 1 Session 2 Chapter 7 Chapter 7 Session 2 Session 3 Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Catch-up or  break Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Session 3 Review Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Review Session 1 Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 4 Chapter 4 Chapter 4 Session 1 Session 2 Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Chapter 5 Session 2 Session 3 Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  break Chapter 6 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Session 3 Review Catch-up or  break Catch-up or  review Catch-up or  review 10 Catch-up or  review Catch-up or  review Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Review Session 1 Catch-up or  review Example comprehensive review during study leave: F - Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) B - Business Environments & Concepts (BEC) Sunday Monday Tuesday JULY 2007 Wednesday 4 Thursday Friday Saturday 1 2 3 5 6 7 Morning: F Ch 1 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 1 Homework Morning: F Ch 2 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 2 Homework Morning: F Ch3 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 3 Homework Morning: Review Ch 1,2 &3 Afternoon: Ch 1,2 & 3 Homework Morning: F Ch 4 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 4 Homework Morning: F Ch 5 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 5 Homework Morning: F Ch 4 & 5 Review Afternoon: F Ch 4 & 5 Review & Simulations 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Morning: F Ch 6 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 6 Homework Morning: F Ch 7 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 7 Homework Morning: F Ch 6 & 7 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 6 & 7 Homework & Simulations Morning: F Ch 8 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 8 Homework Morning: F Ch 9 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 9 Homework Morning: F Ch 8 & 9 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: F Ch 8 & 9 Homework & Simulations Catch-up and Simulations 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Morning: B Ch 1 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: B Ch 1 Homework Morning: B Ch 2 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: B Ch 2 Homework Morning: B Ch 1&2 Review Afternoon: B Ch 1&2 Homework Morning: B Ch 3 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: B Ch 3 Homework Morning: B Ch 4 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: B Ch 4 Homework Morning: B Ch 3&4 Review Afternoon: B Ch 3&4 Homework Morning: B Ch 5 Lecture/ Review Afternoon: B Ch 5 Homework 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 BEC & FAR Comprehensive Review BEC & FAR Comprehensive Review BEC Comprehensive Review FAR Comprehensive Review FAR Comprehensive Review 29 30 31 FAR Comprehensive Review FAR Comprehensive Review FAR Comprehensive Review 3 4 Travel & BEC Review Sit BEC Exam AUGUST 2007 1 2 Sit FAR Exam 11 Travel X X Appendix B - Notice to Schedule 12 Appendix C - Resources 13 1 National Association of State Boards of Accountancy www.nasba.org The candidate bulletin http://www.nasba.org/nasbaweb/NASBAWeb.nsf/FNAL/CandidateBulletin?opendocument 2 New Hampshire Board of Accountancy www.nh.gov/accountancy 3 National Association of Credential Evaluation Services www.naces.org 4 Prometrics www.prometric.com/CPA 1-800-580-9648 5 Becker CPA Exam Review www.beckercpa.com 6 Attributes of Exam Success obtained from the BISK text books. 7 CPA Examination Content Specification http://www.cpa-exam.org/download/CPA_Exam_CSOs_revised_10_05.pdf  8 A Study Skills Resource Site Overcoming Test Anxiety and Guidelines to Correctly Answer Multiple-choice Questions obtained from www.how-to-study.com 9 www.cpa-exam.org