Monday, August 29, 2011

Don’t Let Hurricane Irene Stop You: Studying for the CPA Exam if You Lose Power

Tropical Storm Irene (also known as Hurricane Irene until it hit New York), hit my area late Saturday night and into Sunday morning. After the rain stopped, everyone went outside to assess the damage and start to clean up. A few hours later, the winds started to pick up again (the back-end of the storm) and it caused more damage.

We lost power very early Sunday morning but I consider us lucky since there are huge uprooted trees, large branches and fallen power lines in the streets and on houses all around us. A tree fell into the street a house down from us and blocked the street. Luckily no one was hurt and property was not damaged. Our neighbors a little south are trying to bail water out of their homes since the water is knee-deep in their streets.

We are on Day 2 without power. Half a million customers (this is at least a million people since there is more than one person living in a house or apartment) lost power in the part of New York where I live. This is more than 500,000 out of the 1 million customers served by the power authority (2.5 million people live on Long Island). The power authority says it could take until Friday to restore power.
Nevertheless, I still need to study as my FAR exam is scheduled for the first week of October. If you remember, I was supposed to sit for FAR on August 20th. However, I felt seriously unprepared and decided to reschedule the Exam for early October. I felt instantly relieved but know I have to keep up the studying since October is close by.
Since I am without power and can’t watch my Roger CPA Review Cram, I came up with some ideas to help you study during a long-lasting power outage.
When there is enough daylight for you to read:
-          Review all the notes you took. Why wait until the week before the Exam to review? Start now!
-          Re-read any difficult chapters. Don’t re-read the entire study guide, just pick the topics that were difficult to understand and do a few questions. This is a great no-pressure way to master a topic that has been problematic. I reviewed the list of US GAAP vs. IFRS rules in my Roger Cram book because I am obsessed with trying to know the IFRS rules.
-          Do multiple choice questions. Do as many questions as you can. It’s always a smart idea to do the questions at least twice if you can.
-          Work some Task Based Simulations. Try a few Task-Based Simulations to familiarize yourself with the format.
By candlelight or flashlight:
-          You can also do the above. I tried, but found it too straining on my eyes.
-          Use your laptop. Re-watch a lecture or work on question software for a little while.
-          Review a deck of flashcards or lists of key words. Not only will this help for multiple choice questions, but will help with the research portion of Task-Based Simulations.
-          Download an app on your cell phone! I have the following on my Android phone: Wiley FAR Focus Notes, Pocket MBA, MBA Reference, Gleim Diagnostic Questions (but this one has been force closing lately).
Once it is safe for you to leave your home:
-          Go to a friend or family member’s home that still has power. Borrow their computer or bring your laptop (that’s what I am doing right now!).
-          Go somewhere with Wi-Fi access.  Libraries, cafés and bookstores are good places to go to study.
-          Go to work. Seriously, if you work in an office and they have power, it can be a nice place to study. But only if you are authorized to be there. I have often done this on a weekend.
I hope everyone is safe, especially my readers and friends in the Bahamas, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, New England and Toronto.

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