By Tom Rogowski, CPA
Program Director, Accounting
Becker Professional Education
The Watts Sells Awards are given to those who achieve the ten highest cumulative scores on all four parts of the CPA Exam. For the 2009 award year, multiple candidates received identical cumulative scores, resulting in a tie, increasing the total number of winners to 15—the largest number ever.
How did they do it? Most of the winners agree on the keys to passing: Set goals. Have a plan. Stick to it. And 14 out of the 15 most recent recipients also agreed on something else — they prepared to pass with Becker’s CPA Exam Review.
“Reviewing for the exam was time-consuming but certainly worth the investment. I chose Becker’s live classroom course, which provided accountability for exam preparation. I especially appreciated the organized detailed plan for studying,” offers Jessie Wagner of Ernst & Young.
In addition to using Becker, goals, planning and perseverance all contributed to award winners’ success.
Set goals. Andrew Rebstock of PricewaterhouseCoopers encourages completing the CPA Exam right after graduation. “I absolutely would advise taking the exam before you start working if you can. It’s not the most appealing prospect for spending the summer after graduation, but absolutely worth it.”
Have a plan. “I laid out a specific plan for studying and taking each part of the exam. I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish every day, whether it was listening to a lecture, reading a text, or doing practice questions. Sticking to such a strict schedule takes a lot of discipline, but that’s important if you want to do well the first time through,” says Isaiah Massey of Deloitte.
Stick to it. Kim Brant, also from Deloitte, successfully prepared with Becker’s self-study format. “I had to stay motivated. No one was forcing me to attend a class or complete an assignment. I developed a routine of watching the lecture, reading the textbook, going through the practice questions, then repeating them. Make sure you’re understanding the concepts, not just memorizing answers.”
The Watt Sells Awards, created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, are presented annually to ten candidates, each of whom must have passed all four sections of the CPA Examination on their first attempt, earning the highest cumulative scores. More than 93,000 candidates sat for the exam in 2009.
For more information about Becker Professional Education, visit www.becker.com/cpa.