For family reasons, I decided to take the summer off from testing. I did, however, use the time to complete the remaining review courses. I signed up for all three remaining parts in October 2008, spaced at two week intervals. Still unemployed, I was studying nearly eight hours a day, while my son was at school, with vigorous review, practice-question and practice-exam study sessions. This was interspersed with jogging or walking my dog to get some exercise and clear my head. I was quite nervous about the remaining sections, since they included the simulations. As I took each test, though, my extensive practice gave me a good deal of confidence — except on the Regulation section. There were tax questions on that exam I was sure I had no clue about. I was certain I had failed that part, and already planning to retake it in January.
The week before I took the last section, I saw an ad for my perfect job – SEC and other financial reporting, accounting research, publicly traded company, and three miles from my home. Check, check, check and check. I applied, and by Thanksgiving, precisely one year after losing my prior job, I had a job offer from The Spectranetics Corporation. Now I’ve been there nearly two years.
When I received my scores for the three remaining parts in December and January, I was stunned. The first 99 I was sure was a mistake. I had to refresh the website several times, maybe this was just a dummy number that came up. Ninety-nine! I couldn’t believe it. A couple of weeks later, the next score appeared… 99… and the final one, Regulation… 99. So much for my gut feeling about that exam.
In the spring of 2009 I received another shock, and literally screamed out loud when I read the email. Really — my son even ran into my office to find out what was going on. Had the Penguins just won the Stanley Cup playoffs?! Not quite. It was actually an email from the AICPA saying I’d received the 2008 Elijah Watt Sells Award for outstanding performance on the CPA Exam. I was one of only ten recipients. Fantastic news, after so many hours of hard work.