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Can a CPA Exam Candidate Who Failed REG With a 71 Prepare for a Retake in Three Weeks?

Today’s CPA exam question from the mailbag has to do with a familiar topic to many of you: failure.

Hi Adrienne,

I slaved for an HOA audit firm and our busy season just officially ended. I found out last week that the very last day I can schedule to sit for REG is on 5/27 so that give me approximately 3 weeks to cram for the materials. I sat for that section in January and failed at 71. I am planning to spend 4 hours studying during the week and 8 hours to cram on Saturday and Sunday so I can study at most 36 hours per week. Should I go try for 5/27 or postpone the exam until July when I am more prepared?

Also, I am using both Becker & Gleim to review. In the past, I watched the Becker lectures, completed MCs and simluations on both Becker & Gleim and using Becker book to review. Due to not having enough time, should I just work on MCs and simluations and forgo re-watch the lectures?

Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Our candidate has also sent in her score report, included below:

We should point out here that our candidate admitted in a follow-up e-mail after very little badgering that she had, in fact, done poorly on the simulations as she suspected, telling us “I went into Regulation knowing that I was weak on simulations and as you can see on my score report, not making an effort reviewing and re-doing the simulations led to my failure.”  And yes, it’s pretty clear to us that’s exactly what happened here.

With only three weeks to study before the new test date, it wouldn’t make sense to spend much time reviewing lectures or even entire chapters as a 71 shows an excellent command of the information and her score report confirms that suspicion. Unfortunately, the days of “kind of blowing the simulation part of the exam” are over with the advent of CBT-e, meaning you’re obviously going to have to do better in that area if you want to pass.

The good news is you get it, overall, except maybe for that federal tax process area. Check the CSOs (page 25 of the PDF) for more detailed info on what is tested in that area (naturally it has a lot to do with federal taxation) and practice problems in those areas. If you feel particularly lost in any one area, go ahead and read the chapter or watch a lecture over again but since time is of the essence, try not to use the lectures at all. Don’t get too focused on your one weak area, though, since you presumably haven’t studied any of this stuff for months. You’ll need a good once over (that means all your MCQ at a minimum) before exam day, so try to set aside at least three hours a day, more if you can fit it in. If you have more than three hours a day to study, try not to study for more than three hours at a time, break it up to some in the morning and some in the evening if you can.

As for the simulations, practice working through simulation problems while timing yourself. Set your cell phone alarm or an old school kitchen timer to work out 10 – 15 minutes per problem and start blasting through them on whatever software you still have access to in hour-long intervals. Work towards finishing each simulation in no more than 10 minutes as that will allow you time on exam day to review your sims once you have finished.

Good luck!

Wife of Ex-Deloitte Partner: Porn-extortion Plot Saved Our Marriage

[caption id="attachment_17969" align="alignright" width="260" caption="The happy couple. SOURCE: Jeff Day/NYP"][/caption]

Remember back in May when we told you about Steven Klig, the former Deloitte tax partner-cum-lawyer who attempted to extort his ex-lover with a sex tape? Klig was merely looking for some additional nude pics of his mistress after she broke it off and when she didn’t comply, Klig started with his devious-randy plot.

Klig thought to do some of his blackmailing while on vacation with the wife in kids at Disney World, which is especially creepy considering he would have been drowning in happiness.

Well, Klig is to be sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty in May to illegally accessing a computer network to threaten his mistress. Yesterday he had a whole host of people singing his praises, including his wife, who told the judge that this whole situation has turned things around for them.

In court papers filed yesterday, Steven Klig’s wife, Ellen, said she “thought our life was over” when six FBI agents showed up at their Great Neck, LI, home last year and arrested her hubby for extortion.

“Instead, it was just beginning again. I got my husband back and my children got their father back,” she wrote to Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl, who will sentence her husband Friday.

Ellen — who said Klig had “withdrawn from our family” due to job-related stress — noted that they’ve been seeing shrinks “individually and as a couple,” and “really work at keeping the lines of communication open.

“As a couple, we have rebounded to the point that after 20 years of marriage, we renewed our wedding vows and our commitment to each other and to our family,” she wrote.

Oh sure lady. Blame Deloitte! It’s bad enough that they have to take shit from the likes of Marin County California. But now you’re saying your marriage troubles were the fault of a firm that is going to (supposedly) create a quarter of a million jobs and the arrest of your husband for plan he concocted in order to get his rocks off are what turned it all around?

Even Klig himself claims that he was somewhere in between mild-mannered tax attorney and something out of a David Lynch film:

Klig — who has never revealed if he actually had the sex tape — blamed his shameful scheme on a sleep disorder, saying, “I really have no explanation other than I strongly believe . . . I was in a world that existed somewhere between insanity and sanity.”

Several former Deloitte co-workers also penned missives in support of Klig, who left the firm in disgrace after his arrest.

Former colleague Monte Jackel wrote that he “heard no mention of any misconduct of any type on Steve’s part . . . until the story broke in the New York Post.

“I was truly shocked at the allegations . . . but view them as out of character with the Steve Klig that I knew then and know today,” Jackel wrote.

The guy in between, well, who’s to say?

Lusty lawyer bust turned marriage around [NYP]

Here’s Your Study Plan for the Audit Section of the CPA Exam

Friendly reminder: >75 is here to answer your CPA Exam questions so send them over.

A reader sends us the following dilemma:

“I took the audit section only and failed, most of it was due to not committing enough time to it. If you have any tips to develop plans I would like any suggestions to creating a plan.”

First of all, no offense but I think you have already identified where you went wrong, are you sure you need our help? Oh well.

Let’s talk about Audit, shall we? The average CPA exam candidate will spend 60 – 90 hours studying for the Audit section – that assumes watching your CPA Review lectures 1 time and spending 2 – 3 hours on MCQ/sim practice problems for each hour of lecture. If you are taking the self-study route, you will obviously need to spend more time on MCQ/sims (about about 2 or 3 hours on top of the 2 – 3 you would be doing if you had videos to review) and create a structured study plan based on the most current CSOs (Content Specification Outlines), which you can always find on

Those of you taking exams in early 2011 will want to be on top of exam changes planned to kick in in the first quarter, though the AICPA has been helpful and already released the CSOs for that period.

If you’ve taken the exam and failed, you already have an incredibly useful tool at your disposal – your score report. The report provided after you fail will compare you to other candidates: IGNORE THOSE NUMBERS. Who cares how you did relative to other candidates? All you need to glean from that information is an idea of where your stronger areas are in comparison to your weaker sections. The score report is broken down by different components of the CSOs for that section so obviously you will want to focus harder on areas that you performed poorly in.

About a week or two before your new exam date, give the entire section a once over just to be sure you are also sharp in areas you did well in the first time.

Schedule your new Audit exam AS SOON AS POSSIBLE as the information is still fresh in your mind. If you have a new exam scheduled in the meantime, reschedule it if you can. Unless you REALLY bombed Audit (68 or below), you will want to jump right back in while it is still floating around in your brain.

As for exam preparation and planning, we’ve covered that plenty of times on Going Concern so check out this, this, and this.