The road to the CPA and a MAC
It’s February and we’re all feeling the full brunt of our last minute preparations for the CPA exam. In addition to this all-encompassing study schedule, we are now full swing into the second semester of the MAC program with midterms soon approaching. So, I thought it would be helpful to give some insight into how it is that we are all managing our time and efforts to stay on top of it all.
As most might expect, finding the time to study for such a challenging test as the CPA exam can be pretty hard. This is where the idea of “making time” comes into play. If you wait around until you feel like you have some spare time to study for the CPA exam, you soon discover that spare time is hard to come by while in a graduate program.
So, we make time. For some, this means waking up an hour earlier to squeeze in some study time before the day begins. For others this may mean setting aside that precious “down time” on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon that we’re so used to allocating towards a break from our usual study regimen. No matter what means you choose to accomplish this task, you need to stick with it if you want to have those wonderful three letters following your name. So the first step in this process of preparation is not to try to find the time beyond your normal schedule, but to make time wherever feasibly.
Taking a look at what we are really working towards in the long run can sometimes leave us with questions over what priorities should come first. This is where forward planning and scheduling falls into place. While trying to manage what may feel like scheduling mania, we often struggle to establish a list of priorities. The answer to this problem really can be quite simple. Write out your schedule and stick to it! In doing so, we have to remember that although we desperately want to pass the CPA exam, we are also actively engaged in obtaining our master’s in accounting. Seeing that we are already so far into the program, we should always take care of our grades first.
Remember when I wrote about the job placement rate that the NC State Poole College‘s Jenkins MAC program has achieved? Well for many of us in the MAC program, our job contract specifies that in order to retain our jobs, we must maintain a specified GPA level and graduate from the program. Aside from contractual obligations, we also need keep in mind that that an education doesn’t come free. It would be a shame to perform poorly in classes and not receive the MAC degree on time, or at all, after so much time, money, and effort has been invested.
They never said it would be easy, but that it would be worth it.
Finally, I would like to address the level of difficulty we all face in taking on the task of preparing for the CPA exam on top of graduate studies. When we all made the decision to become professional accountants we knew well in advance that the journey would not be an easy one, but it would be well worth the effort. So I offer some words of encouragement to prospective Master of Accounting students: hard work and determination are by far the best tools in your arsenal for attacking the challenging road ahead. The greatest thing about these tools is that you create them internally. That’s right, they don’t cost a thing, and they’re easily usable by anyone with the right mindset to exploit them. You and I know full well that achieving success is never an easy task, but the rewards that follow our accomplishments will inevitably make it all worth while.