With June graduation and a November start date for work, I found a six-month study schedule to be right for me. I figured I could take all of the sections before I started work and retake any parts I needed to after busy-season. I selected the Becker CPA review course self-study option. I knew I would be travelling and preferred to study at my own pace, emphasizing some sections and skimming over others to make the most efficient use of my time. I decided to take FAR first since it has the most content, it seemed the most time consuming to study for, and I would have hated to take it after starting full-time. I wanted to give myself two testing windows to take it in before starting work in the event that I did not pass the first attempt (particularly because much of the material was not anything I would be exposed to in the field of tax). I decided to schedule REG as my last exam, since my training and experience at work could supplement the tax-related concepts in this section, and, if necessary, it could be pushed back. I also thought AUD would be a greater challenge then BEC so I scheduled AUD second, followed by BEC, and finally REG.
As great as it was to have all of this scheduled on my personal calendar, it is only as feasible as NASBA allows by issuing a Notice to Schedule (NTS). In many states, you apply for this directly - this is not the case in Virginia, news to me! After completing the Virginia CPA Initial Online Application, the Virginia Board verifies CPA Exam Candidate's educational eligibility prior to sending the Authorization to Test (ATT) to NASBA, who will issue the NTS within three months after the ATT is sent. This would have been helpful information three months ago, right? Lesson learned! Make sure you check your state requirements early to make sure it will work with your plan.
So my plans were set-back a little, but I received the NTS in time to schedule FAR for the end of August, AUD for the start of October (taking advantage of September, the off-testing month to study), BEC at the end of October, and REG in late November. Three tests were a lot to cram into one testing window and with better planning that could have been avoided.
Once you become eligible to sit, I recommend you take the exams as soon as possible, this is the one piece of advice you can never hear too many times!