What is the approach you adopted in preparing for the CPA exam?
From the very beginning, I had set up a goal that I need to clear the exams in my first attempt itself. And then chalked my timeline accordingly. I want to thank Miles for playing a huge part in my success. Miles’ team was very supportive from the very beginning – they monitored my progress all through – especially Dinakar P.(Centre Manager – Bangalore). He used to call me, check on my progress to see if I am on the right track, and motivate me a lot. I am very thankful to him.
What was your strategy in preparing for the different CPA subjects?
Varun had often pointed out that AUD and FAR are slightly more difficult than REG and BEC, so I heed to his advice and prepared accordingly. My strategy was to get done with AUD and FAR first. I took 7 months to prepare for this exam. I focussed on getting my concepts strong from the beginning and then applied the concepts to MCQ and simulations. One good aspect was that – 80 % of the OTB and simulation of the actual paper was very similar to Miles OTB. Thanks again to Miles. Because of this, there were no surprises for me.
I took some time off after giving my FAR/AUD exam. During that time there were some changes in the curriculum for REG – and Miles proactively let us know about the changes.
Did you face any difficulty in preparing for a particular subject or topic and what was your strategy to overcome that?
Audit questions were super tricky, so my first strategy was to understand the base of the standard audit report for which I read the books thoroughly. Within the audit subject – section 3 ( Operating Cycle section ) is most difficult. So I watched a lot of videos online and went through the cycles religiously.
FAR is extremely lengthy – so for FAR I understood the concept by heart and applied it further for MCQs and simulations. You need to devote time to FAR to get it right from the start.
BEC is pretty straight forward, but yes the MCQs are lengthy. For the written communication section, go with an open mind. What I did was to read through the solutions Miles provided multiple times. You need to be good at the language you use to draft your WCTs. Work on the usage of jargon a bit – this helps too.
For REG, we need to be sure to be updated on the changes in the curriculum coz these changes will be a part of the exam.
So in a nutshell, go with an open mind with a broad understanding of all the 4 subjects – practice simulations multiple times and make sure we take some time to understand the question first before starting to answer them. It all boils down to those four hours of the exams at the end – so we need to mentally prepare ourselves for that.
Tell us about your Prometric center experience.
My Prometric center was at Prestige building ITPL – Whitefield, Bangalore. I had a pleasant experience overall – good safety measures were taken by the staff and the entire area was sanitized well.
Also, I took the 15 minutes break for 2 of the exams – it is important to take that break – helps you rejuvenate. In my case – I took a small walk to unwind and get geared up for the next exam.
How did you prepare for the interview after completing your CPA?
To begin with – I did some research on the position and the company – Deloitte in my case. My first round of interview was simple and straightforward, nothing too technical. They asked a few questions on basic audit procedures. The next Senior Manager round was tricky – she actually bombarded me with a lot of practical applications questions – I answered most of them, For the ones that I wasn’t aware of, I was honest to say that I don’t know and am willing to learn quickly if given the opportunity. They gave importance to behavioral questions too – I was asked questions like – Why choose Deloitte over others, how do I work in a team, etc.
I am thankful to Vasudha for organizing a session with the existing alumnus who had been previously placed at Deloitte – it gave us a fresh perspective on how to proceed and what to expect, etc.
Any words /Tips for future CPA Aspirants
- Consistency is the key.
- Set a time table for yourself and follow it through.
- Do not rush in for the exam – give the exam when you are thoroughly prepared for it.
- Practice the OTBs multiple times.