FAR Exam Tips

Ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls. Hurry! Hurry! Step right up and be amazed by the one and only Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) Exam. “Wow, Ah!” That’s right. You have heard about it. You have read about it. You have dreamt about it. Now it’s time to learn soak up the tips and tricks to slay the beast known as FAR.

The Beast

You have four hours, 240 minutes, or 14,400 seconds to slay this beastly section that is comprised of 90 multiple choice questions across three testlets and seven task-based simulations. In order to maximize your chance of success to pass FAR, I would highly encourage that you hone in on your time management skills by grasping the following testlet timeline:

Suggested Timeline 1: Magic without Dementors

Testlet 1: 45 minutes

Break: 5 minutes

Testlet 2: 45 minutes

Break: 5 minutes

Testlet 3: 45 minutes

Break: 5 minutes

Task-Based Simulations: 90 minutes

Harry Potter Marathon: 20 hours

This timeline equates to 1 minute and 30 seconds per multiple choice question and 12 minutes and 51 seconds per task-based simulation. You may be thinking, “Andrew, I am slow at multiple choice. I need more time. What’s the deal with three five minute breaks? Also, task-based simulations are a breeze. I could do them in 60 minutes. Why is the Harry Potter Marathon crossed out?”

The timeline above is simply a suggestion. If you are having similar thoughts to the person above, here is another suggested timeline:

Suggested Timeline 2: May You Have the Force

Testlet 1: 57 minutes

Testlet 2: 57 minutes

Break: 4 minutes

Testlet 3: 57 minutes

Break: 5 minutes

Task-Based Simulations: 60 minutes

Star Wars Marathon: 15 hours

This timeline equates to 1 minute and 54 seconds per multiple choice question and 8 minutes and 34 seconds per task-based simulation. To maximize your game day success, it is essential that you have a test day road map that will allow you to gauge your mid-exam progress.

Mnemonics and Minutiae

At this point you may be thinking, “Andrew, Peter Olinto and Tim Gearty love, and I mean love, talking about mnemonics and all things minutiae. Do you have any of that for me?” Great question! Fortunately or unfortunately, this post does not list crazy mnemonics such as PIED PIPER, HOGWARTS, or DEATH STAR (sadly, I am not sure if these mnemonics exist…yet 🙂 ), but this post will continue to highlight keys for your success on FAR.

Blue Steel

To be successful on FAR, it is important to not always see the forest for the trees. Chances are in your Financial Accounting I, Financial Accounting II, Advanced Financial Accounting, Governmental Accounting, and Not-for-Profit Accounting courses, you saw a lot of detail (more detail than necessary for the CPA Exam). However, more importantly, you learned a framework bounded by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, GAAP (which is pronounced like the retailer where gen-Xers shopped in the early to mid-1990s). Although you may not know the answer to every single question thrown at you, this framework that you practiced and mastered though years of study is your guide to success. If you encounter a question about revenue recognition that you are not 100% sure about, be confident, use your framework, and tell yourself you got this! Confidence is key. Channel your inner Derek Zoolander. Give us your best Blue Steel. As always, remember to breathe.


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