CPA Exam Diary 2014 Archives

Spring 2014

Hell Week: Just What it Sounds Like
By Ray Medrano
“Hell week.” It’s a term not just reserved for the Navy Seals. This is the term I affectionately used for my two weeks before taking the next portion of my Uniform CPA Exam. Here’s the recipe: a 40-hour work week, 30-hour study week, five to six hours of sleep a night, food from wrappers and boxes, headaches, eye aches, back aches and hand cramps. And the bitter crème on top? A serious caffeine addition. Then repeat. These were my weeks before Audit; these were my weeks before my final CPA exam.

If you know what I’m talking about, I’m sincerely sorry for you. If you don’t know, I’m jealous of you. There’s an piece of wisdom that states, “Study plodding brings prosperity, but hasty speculation leads to poverty.” If that’s you, I applaud you for your consistency. However, for the rest of us, “hell week” is crouching at our door.
Harsh words? Maybe. But let me remind you of this: “hell week” is just that, a definite parcel of time. You will get through it, you will test and you will wait, and then wait and, once again, wait. It’s an odd feeling, just waiting with nothing to study. Like Schrödinger’s cat; you’re in a state of both CPA life and death. There’s no way to change your answers when you wish you chose “B” instead of “C.” There’s nothing that can supplement a poor simulation response. And no changing, all testlets are closed; you are now just waiting. And the truth is, the waiting can be just as hard as any exam, often bringing with it worry and apprehension.

For those of you who find yourself in the waiting: be encouraged. The waiting, like “hell week,” doesn’t last forever, and any worry or apprehension is pointless. In the grand scheme of things, who can add a single hour to their life by worrying? What’s done is done. Pass or fail, it’s now in the past. Breathe. Take the waiting as a moment of rest: you earned it and you deserve it. And when you get those results, breathe. If you retake, then retake with a vengeance. If you pass, welcome to exam five: Ethics. Good grief, the rabbit hole just gets deeper.
Ray Medrano is a staff accountant at Heberger & Company.

Winter 2014

No Credit, No Show … Oh No!
By Ray Medrano
No credit, no show. It’s a moment like no other: You realize you missed something very, very important. “Ray, how could you have forgotten something so important?!” Yet, I knew the answer. My mind wasn’t there. Like an scratched record or damaged CD, my mind had lost its eloquent flow and was replaced with skipping monotone elevator music. How did this happen? It happened because my heart had gained control by bulldozing my methodical mind. And my heart was busy breaking.

Two weeks before my final exam, my father died. I was shocked. I don’t mention his death for sympathy—or for comfort—but rather to make a point: Sometimes, no matter how prepared we are, life’s happenings can ruin our best intentions and plans.
In 1848, William Harrison was elected as the ninth president of the United States. While he isn’t as well known as Washington, Lincoln or Madison, Harrison did do something I think is worth mentioning. During the election, instead of opposing accusations from his opponent, who called Harrison an old man who loved his hard cider and spent his days secluded in a log cabin, he embraced the propaganda. Harrison began distributing bottles of hard cider and incorporating the log cabin imagery into his campaign. He took what was meant to hurt him and chose to make something good come from it.

Sometimes, we just need to ride the wave of life and make the diamond from the coal. Now, I have another reason to pass the Uniform CPA Exam. My goal in becoming a CPA has always been to honor my God by kicking the Exam’s butt. Now I have an addendum to that goal: I’m going to pass the Exam in the next few months because it’s what my dad would have wanted. While he can never again come to me, I one day will go to where he is, standing in the presence of Jesus Christ, worshipping our God forever. These are the thoughts I sit down with as I review for my last exam.
Ray Medrano is a staff accountant at Heberger & Company.