Monday, March 11, 2013

The Test That Could Decide It ALL

On Saturday February 16th, 2013, I once again drove to the testing center in GR to take yet another section of the CPA exam. Up to that point, I had taken and passed three out of the four sections. That meant that if I passed this fourth test, I would be FINISHED with the CPA exam. It is safe to say that I was very nervous and stressed.

I once again arrived early to the center and was able to start my test ahead of schedule.  Once through the ridiculously strong security process, I was led to my computer,  where I entered my launch code and began taking what could potentially have been my last test. This section was BEC (Business Environment and Concepts). It is basically a hodge podge of whatever wasn't covered on the other three sections. Some of the topics covered on the test included cost accounting, economics, finance, and information technology.

The first few questions seemed to be easy enough, and I was fairly certain that I was on track to pass by the end of the first testlet. That feeling quickly changed when I began the second testlet. The questions I received from that point on were absolutely insane. Unlike the questions on my review software, these questions expected me to have an in depth working knowledge of every minuscule detail and an ability to manipulate complex formulas. For all my test prep questions, a basic understanding of the formulas covered was more than enough to get a question correct. Once again, there were many many topics that I studied for that weren't tested at all, and things that I thought were unimportant were tested hard. In addition, I received several questions on topics that my test prep material did not discuss at all.

By this point in the test, I felt as if I had been beaten. I just wanted to give up. I really didn't think I was going to pass this one. I had the urge to stand up, throw the computer, and scream at the top of my lungs that "THIS ISN'T FAIR!" The test was definitely messing with my mind. I stuck with it and stuck with what worked for me in the past on the other tests. I went with my first instinct, and wouldn't second guess myself. I have been burned time and time again by second guessing myself out of a right answer in college. I made sure I moved at a steady pace, not letting myself get bogged down on any particular question. I probably could have stared at any one of those questions for an hour and not been any more confident about my answers.

In a fog of frustration and confusion, I made it through the three multiple choice testlets and through the three written simulation questions. I signed out, gathered my things, and walked to the parking walk with my head hanging low. There was NO chance that I had passed that torture they had the audacity of calling an exam.

Then to add insult to injury, I found out that I had left the lights on in my car. So my battery was dead. So I shamefully had to wait at the place of my defeat until road side assistance could come and give me a jump.

It was  a rough day.

That was about three weeks. I spent those three weeks enjoying what little freedom I had. I knew that at the end of those three weeks I would once again have to give up that freedom to study once more.

Last night, I was all anxious. I knew that I would get my results the next day. While we were driving to church, Jamie asked if I had checked the website. Sometimes the results get posted before they officially release the scores. I didn't know if I wanted to check. I wanted to live in blissful ignorance a little while longer.

But once that thought got put in my head, it slowly ate at my sanity. Once that thought was put in my head, there was no way I could wait. As we started small group, I discretely took out my phone and went to the nasba website. I entered my section number and birth date. I held my breath, said a quick prayer, and waited to be dolled out my fate.

The members of my small group said that the look on my face was a look of pure joy and utter relief.

I PASSED!!!!!!

I had passed, and I had passed by a fair margin. I really didn't understand. There was no way that was my score. I was so excited I was literally shaking.

I had managed to pass all four sections on my first attempt. This is a HUGE accomplishment (I'll do a post later on passed rates and the estimated percentages of people who accomplish this).

To be honest, I'm not sure it has really sunk in yet. I've basically been working towards this for the last 5 years of my life, and I've finally made it. I've finally reached the end of my academic career. To become a CPA was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done, and I am extremely proud to have finally made it.

Here is to moving on and finally getting to live my life.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Enjoying my New Found Freedom

Usually about this time of year, I would be neck deep in audit planning and corporate tax returns. I would be going into work early, staying late, and working Saturdays.



With my new job, I can go to and leave work at a normal time. And working a Saturday would be very unusual.

So what am I doing with this new found freedom?

Enjoying every minute of it.

I've been able to take time to do things that I haven't been able to do much of in the last few years.

For example.... Snowmobiling.

Last Saturday, My dad and I went up to Reed City to get one last snowmobile trip in before spring hits. I met my dad a little after 5:30 am so we could get on the road and get up there decent on time. By 8:15, after a quick McDonalds dollar menu breakfast, we were unloading the sleds and getting bundled up, though apparently not bundled enough.

It was definitely cold. As we took off down the long straight stretch of trail which follows US 131 North towards Cadillac, I slowly began to loose feeling in my fingers. By the time we reached Cadillac, I could no longer feel my fingers. Thankfully, Dad couldn't feel his fingers either, so we stopped to warm them in the exhaust of the snowmobile. After a few minutes, I slowly regained movement of my fingers.

Besides the cold digits, it was a great day snowmobiling. We got an early enough start that the trails weren't very busy. As well, the trails were nice and smooth. There was only one brief section which wasn't groomed. For lunch, we stopped at the Wellston Inn. Unfortunately, it has become more and more run down over the years. Too bad. I used to enjoy that restaurant.

We kept a good pace, and by the end of the day we put on about 175 miles. Not too bad of a day in the lower peninsula.