Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The CPA Road

Where do I start? The review? This road is long where you will experience bumpy roads, crossroads and one heck of a ride. Many will tell you choose this course cause there are lots of opportunities when you graduate, let alone when you pass the board. Well, for me, I chose the course for myself. The first year was a bit easy. Though this depends on your choice of school, many have four year while others already adopted the five year program.

For first year, there's basic and the partnership and corporation accounting. The latter is harder, obviously. Then there's the qualifying exam. I took two exams, one during first year and second was during second year. I won't dwell too much in undergrad but trust me, this phase of your life is one of the most important part that you shouldn't waste. You'll experience a lot of hardships, late nights, failing quizzes, nerve wracking recitations and out of this world exams. Apart from memorizing stuffs, I experienced memorizing answers and please NEVER do that, NEVER. Even if I passed due to that and incredible prediction of what will be asked during the exam, you will experience the effect during the review or latter part of your fourth year and you will surely regret it. I know cause I did, I did regret it. Also if you did not make it, keep on trying, keep on going, no matter what anyone tell you as long as you want to be a CPA, go and you will be eventually. 

Review. Where? As far as I know, there are five choices, CPAR, ReSA, PRTC, CRC-Ace and self review. I reviewed in CPAR though we also received an in-house review from ReSA during undergrad. Our batch were scattered in the three review centers so we have plenty of resources (pre-board exams and pre-week lecture). Many of our classmates told us that the two subjects during board exam (.TOA and AT) came from ReSA and as for me I don't really totally believe it since the BOA is new. By the way, I took the October 2014 exam. If you ask me what do I recommend, I will  still recommend CPAR. The experience is CPAR is worth it and fun. A little warning though, I know you've heard this many times already if you planned to enroll in CPAR, the phasing is a bit fast especially if you're not prepared for the review. What do I mean by prepared? You already know the topic even if not mastered or fully understood, you must know the basic. You must answer the handouts before the lecture. Do not expect full hands on lecture, just a summary (and I appreciate that summary especially in P1). But the reviewers are great. I love them. They were amazing, lecture wise, life advise wise and humor wise. 

Just a little bit tips before/during review (I'm sure many have told you all of this things):
  • Go there early for reservation if you want a near-front seat. Early means weeks before the first pre-board I guess. We went there for reservation after the first preboard of the October 2013 batch and it was almost full. (for CPAR if you want morning sessions) 
  • Look for boarding house at the same time when you went there for reservation. Preferably near the review center but mostly those boarding house are more expensive than those that are a bit far.
  • Conserve energy. (This is for boarding house that electricity is separate from the lodging fee; especially those with air conditioning. You'll be shock when you receive your first bill.)
  • Study. Do I need to say more? 
  • Relax. Well, just the weekends. Unwind, okay? I've read mangas the night before the preboards. It help me relax. Just short ones though cause you don't want to stay up all night just to finish it. (I enrolled in morning the morning session so I studied my ass of during afternoon till 10 in the evening and went back to the province during the weekends.)
  • You must know what subjects you excel and the subject you mostly likely need to study more
  • Do not be intimidated. (There are lots of reviewees that seem relax during the first day of the review and talkative especially if you are alone in a crowd of strangers.) 
  • Sleep early (especially during exams but follow your own style of studying)
  • Follow a schedule.
  • Do not cram.
  • Be inspired.
  • During preweek, I advise afternoon sessions but I attended morning sessions and I had to wake so effing early because there are no seats left if you went to CPAR an hour before the lecture. 
  • During preboard, try both (I mean CPAR and other schools just for the experience), take both (first and final) and try to aim to enter the top 100.
  • Prepare your requirements. Basically, you need to register in PRC, register online. You need cedula (you can get it in municipal hall or prc), NBI Clearance (register online, it's best to go to UN Avenue, print your form or write the number, you'll look ugly in the picture, it's normal.), Documentary stamp tax (you can get it in prc for P21, prepare exact amount), passport size picture with name on it, TOR (photocopy), Passport Size picture  and NSO birth certificate (photocopy). You have to pay 900 pesos. It's best to go to PRC after lunch during Fridays based on our experience. Oh and don't forget to bring stapler and glue.
  • Be prepared for floods. It was hot (I was dying) until it finally entered into rainy season. It almost rained everyday. (I thought I won't experience walking in floods but you just have to experience it. The water is filthy. There will always be a flood especially if you live along the Espanya Blvd. Luckily for us, it was only one time when the flood reach our boarding house. I was stranded there cause I wanted to go back to province that day.) Stock foods. 
  • Wear slippers when it's raining. It's best to be prepared. You don't want your shoes to be all soggy and everything. Also be careful when the floor is wet and slippery. I slipped once in the stairs of CPAR and it hurt. I got large bruises in my legs and back. or always bring slippers when you know it will rain 
  • Be careful of snatchers. Yes, my cellphone got snatched during the review and I was just crossing because my boarding house was just one cross away. It was morning and not even crowded. It was partly my fault for putting it in my backpack. 
  • Clean. My boardmates and I are not very keen on cleaning. One time, we had a centipede in the room and it crawl on me. Well, the room was small and we had lots of things.
  • Be prepared for eating foods. (Well, I was just not used to the cooking there. We almost had the same food everyday. Hot dogs for breakfast and adobo for the rest of the two meals. There's also ministop, anyway.) If you can cook, better.
  • Fall in love. If you have boyfriend/girlfriend, keep connected. They will make you feel better when the going gets tough. If not, there's tons of people in the review but do not devote your time to just falling in love and building an intimate relationship. Use that person as your inspiration. There's Christian Valix of CPAR (I did. Til now) or Jack De Vera or Atty. D. But don't get heartbroken but if you do (I did too, same person), move on. It hurts but you have no choice, suck it and move on because time is ticking. 
  • Enjoy the review. I was not really homesick but nothing really beats home. 
  • Listen well to the reviewers.
  • Pray.  There are lots of Catholic church around the area but we regularly attend mass with novena in St. Jude during Thursdays especially when the board exam was one month away. We usually attend during Sundays cause there are so many people during Thursdays. We also went to St. Clare and offered eggs the day before the exam. 
I guess that's quite a long list and I haven't even mention the board exam yet. I have tons of things/experiences I want to share. The whole post itself is a long one. Well, it was a almost four years and half ride. 

Tips before/during board exams:
  • Sleep early.
  • Do not study the day before the exam. I know you can't help yourself. Just browse during the morning then stop.
  • Wake up early. You don't want to be late. 
  • Visit the testing school before the actual board. I took the exam in Central Colleges of the Philippines near the SM Sta. Mesa. I went there through LRT Line 2. 
  • Do not panic. You will receive text and hear things that says 'Ito ang lalabas. Aralin mo.' If you have time and you are finish with what you are studying, then go and study it but just browse. 
  • Do not discuss the answers. You will feel down if you don't have the same answer. 
  • Do not experiment. I got this from Rodel Roque though I already heard this during undergrad in a different way. Do not eat/drink what you are not used to eat/drink.
  • Stay healthy. Prepare medicine in advance.
  • Do not let it get to you. Your friends/classmates from the other review center will tell you, 'Yung sa amin yung lumabas.' Do not dwell on it. Forget what they said. 
  • Move on. If you did not do good in the first subjects, breathe, cry, pray and let it go. There are more subjects. There is at least one subject that you will find really easy.
  • Pray. Always pray, before, during and after. We went to St. Jude after the exam (during the four days). 
  • Bring water.
  • Remember to breathe.
  • It's okay to be nervous.
  • Just follow the proctor.
  • Believe in yourself. If you know for yourself that you've done your best, you did. Do not doubt. You prepared for it. You will feel it. If you feel like you're not still prepared, just take the next board exam.
  • Do not solely rely on the 'lalabas to, sure ako' by reviewers/classmates/friends.  You are making a big mistake when you relied on that solely. There is nothing wrong when you study it but don't rely too much. 
That was a rather long list yet again. I might forgot something but just listen to your professor and reviewer. They will probably say things that were listed here because I mostly got it from them or through experience. One last thing, the board exam itself. I'm sure you have asked those alumni. I'm not sure if it applied during my exam. They said it's basic. Some of it, yes but there are items that will make you doubt and items that will make you say, 'bullshit, we didn't even studied this during undergrad or review.' I'll just say this, build on concepts.
The ride has been tough but it's finally over. I have that three letters in my name. Just remember that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. Never give up. 

For now, I'm still on a crossroad, on the process of brainstorming for the next chapter of my life.

Got questions? Too shy to ask here? Ask in here


  1. hi! natatakot po ako sa hormonal imbalance before menstruation pagdating ng araw ng exam! nagiging panicky po ako, at lagi ko nakukumpara ang sarili ko sa iba na relax lang sila dahil alam na nila ang lessons or nakarami na po sila ng nasagutan na problems. in short taranta po. ano kaya pong magandang remedy dun? :D

    1. Nako, yan din yung problem ko kasi tatapat sa araw ng board exam yung period ko todo dasal ako na sana hindi. At hindi naman, thankfully. Hindi ko alam kung magiging effective sayo pero try mo din. Huwag mo ikumpara ang sarili mo sa iba. Kung hindi mo mapigilan, think of happy thoughts, distractions. Huminga ka ng malalim. Normal naman yun, lalo na pag nandyan na. Hinga lang talaga para marelax at happy thoughts. At tiwala sa sarili. Kaya mo yan.

      Magulo ba? Ang dami ko pa gusto sabihin pero isa lang ang point nun. There's no need to rush. Mas okay yung naintindihan mo kesa dun sa madami. At trust yourself.

  2. Hi po! Ask ko lang kung kelan yung first preboards nyo nung time nyo? Was it scheduled ng July? Thanks!

    1. Yep. July 26 to 27, 2014.