Discussion:Back from SEE exam part I (individual)

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Back from SEE exam part I (individual)


Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2009
WOW.


I probably put in 125 hours of study for this one part--honest hard study time--and gave it the best try I could possibly give. I read the Phoenix notecards (has rules, limits, etc), highlighted things I needed to remember on those notecards, typed up the material I needed to remember from the notecards (I remember things I type better than just reading it), reviewed that 5 times at least. I also worked the entire set of test questions (475) five different times. I don't know how anyone can prepare more.


I worked the exam, skipping and marking anything I wasn't sure about or hadn't studied (if I didn't study it, it wasn't in the materials I bought). I reworked the skipped questions expecting that time was almost up. I looked at the clock and had only used one hour and forty five minutes...surely that couldn't be right. I took a bathroom break to clear the head and re-worked the exam to make SURE I didn't misread the NOT's and ONLY's and the tricky worded questions. I changed two answers. I still had and hour and a half left....but I didn't think going through the exam would yield any inspiration. I was certain there was no way I passed...not in that amount of time and not due to the questions.


I must say I like the 2005 test much better. It was clear and didn't confuse the exam taker. For instance, my study materials to determine basis it might say "You purchases a boat in 2008 for $50,000 and depreciated it $8,000" but the test stated it as "Your cost basis is $90,000 and accumulated depreciation on the boat is $8,000". WTH? Does the cost basis on the exam include or exclude depreciation for determining basis. I can't tell you the context of the question or even my answer because I don't remember.


Anyway, I figured there was nothing I could do to better my score and knew I failed it before I even pressed the submit button. Only I passed. I am psyched....this is a good feeling.


Michael

CinSee (talk|edits) said:

June 8, 2009
Congratulations!

At least you didn't have to wait long to find out.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2009
By far, the best benefit of this test over the CPA exam. That wait after the CPA exam was excruciating! :D


Now it is off to order part III which I will work on over the Summer and take it in mid to late July. I have too much going on and I need the rest before going for part I.


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

8 June 2009
B&A,

Congratulations! How well I know that "bullet to the brain" feeling when you push the "finished" button!

Don't put off Part 3 that long. Give it a week to study, no more.

TexCPA (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2009
Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations!

Good job Michael !

TexCPA 20:28, 8 June 2009 (CDT)

Tabbott (talk|edits) said:

June 9, 2009
Congrats!! I felt EXACTLY the same way after I took part 2, only to be pleasantly surprised when I hit submit. Once you get the second section out of the way, you might be able to relax a little as I thought part 3 was the easiest of them all. Enjoy your time off before the study materials arrive for the next section.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2009
Thanks all....


NMexEA....would you consider Part III something that I should purchase the study materials (gleim, Phoenix, etc.) for or should I just print Circ 230 and read it? Other material?


Michael

Wonder Woman USA (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2009
Congratulations, Michael! Happy to hear you did so well!

Doug-tax (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2009
Congratulations!!!! See- I told you you'd be ok!

I hated that they made you take the survey before they gave you the score. I rushed through the survey questions!

I am in the thick of studying for part II- scheduled for August 13. Fingers crossed.

Pete

Riki EA (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2009
Michael,

In addition to Circular 230, I recommend this book for studying for Part 3:

"Tax Procedure and Tax Fraud" by Camilla Watson. I used this book and the Gleim materials and passed Part 3 on first try in February 2008. Hope this helps! -Riki

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2009
It was the diet and exercise plan I put him on.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2009
No, do the Phoenix for Part III because that way, you will be sure to cover the areas of concern. People DO fail Part III at about a 20% rate.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2009
NMexEA, I ordered the Phoenix for part III this morning and registered for July 21 for the test. I am going to hit it hard but I want to make sure I don't underestimate it. I want to spend some time with the kiddos over the Summer.


I absolutely think it was your porn, alcohol, debauchery diet CrowJD suggested. I didn't follow any of it but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. :D


Michael

Mcbreck (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2009
Congrats. Don't let up now because IMO that was the easiest section! Keep up the same study program because you appear to have it working for you.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2009
Thanks.


Has anyone compared Gleim to Phoenix? I purchased Phoenix again for Part III because I felt that this part had the least part of interpretation. I think that facts are facts as it comes to part III.


I didn't really think that Phoenix did that great of a job of explaining the answers to the questions on part I, especially relating to IRA contribution deductions. I found supplement elsewhere to correct it. I also found at least one question (unified credit) that they were wrong on.


I am wondering if Gleim or some other would be best for part II which sounds like the hardest part.


Thanks,

Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

10 June 2009
Phoenix did it for me and is a lot cheaper than Gleim. But judging from their online CPE offerings, Gleim stuff would be excellent prep.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
The only problem I have with Gleim is that there are 1,200 questions in their Part II. I would have to significantly have to alter my study plan to do 1,200 questions repeatedly...or study for six months. I learn by repetition. Of course, I then wonder if the 600 questions in the Phoenix would be enough.


How much harder is the business than the individual? I would imagine it would cover quite a bit of extra information.


Michael

Doug-tax (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
Michael

I am full steam ahead with my study for part II using the Phoenix materials. There is a lot of repetition with the Phoenix questions- in some cases they ask the same question three different ways. Judging by that and by other's experiences I think using Phoenix should be fine. If I am ever not sure about anything I just go to the IRS publications.

I am sure if people were routinely failing with Phoenix then they would be out of business. Just my thoughts.

Pete

Doug-tax (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
And yes there is a lot more material to cover....

However you are a CPA so you already know what amortization, capitalization, intangible assets etc. etc. are. I think if you had no accounting background then part II would be really tough.

I am not finding it too bad so far...

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
I don't think Part 2 is actually harder than Part 1 so much as it is different. Part 1 covers a bewildering mishmosh of arcane rules. There's no underlying consistent set of principals to guide you; you just have to memorize a big wad of meaningless glop.

Part 2 covers material that is significantly more technical and accounting based than Part 1 but most of Part 2 actually makes a kind of accounting sense. You often get a "feel" for what the right answer should be.

I think that the reason most candidates find Part 2 to be the hardest is that they have spent some years actually preparing individual income tax returns. Part 2 deals with stuff that many people have never seen before.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
NMexEA,


I took a pre-look at the Part II topics and many of the topics are things that I had to research for many of my clients in any number of my unpaid handholding expeditions. I am excited although the ADD Cowboy in me just wants it all to be over.


I must say that in my current work environment, getting positive forward career movement is a high motivational factor and passing the exam is quite the boost in morale.


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
You will sail through Part 2, I have no doubt. So do what I did; I prepared Form 23 and wrote my check the day before the last exam. On the way out of the Prometric office, I dropped it in the mail. Then I promptly forgot all about it. "Tax? What's that?"

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
One thing became really clear to me this morning while reading through some other posts about the CPE credit....being an EA is going to require me to kick it up a notch and find more customers. Between the cost of the CPE (much higher than my wife's Radiologic Technology CPE) and the cost of the tests/review materials I am going backwards. Oh well....it will be worth it in the end.


Michael

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

11 June 2009
or just charge more of your existing customers.


Actually, becoming an EA should help you with economies of scale: you should be more efficient and retain much of the material you learned to pass the exam, therefore will have less non-productive research time (rather the time you research will be more productive and efficient, therefore less wasted time).

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
And there's plenty of cheap online CPE out there. Do a google search on EA CPE and you'll see.

But you make a point; becoming an enrolled agent is not only a time consuming project, it actually is rather expensive. Just under $300 for the exams, assuming you pass each Part the first time. $135 for the application fee. $200-400 for study materials. Because I bought my Phoenix Tax materials one Part at a time, I think I invested a total of about $700 not counting time off from work. You can do your annual CPE for $150-250 on the cheap side and the cost of re-examining by itself is a good resaon never to let the T card lapse.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
don't get me started on cheap CPE. It's not worth it.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
Michael,

What did you really like about the Phoenix materials over Gleim?

Just wondering as I used Gleim to pass the CPA exam and I am needing a refresher.

Also, congratulations on passing the exam!

Tom

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
Kevin5h, it isn't that I am looking for 'cheap' CPE it is that I simply cannot afford the expensive. If I spend the kind of money I saw you advocating on the threads that made me start thinking about the CPE issue to begin with, I will be so far into the red that it would not even make sense to operate the business. Keep in mind that unlike many of you, at least for now, I am an ultra small part-time business with about 10 clients (err make that 7 or 8 because two got mad that I actually charged them money). It may have to be low rent CPE for a while and then self-study to keep myself current on tax law and other issues. Unfortunately, I simply cannot change reality as fast as I like. I know you are passionate about the CPE, what do you see in or get from these courses that you think I cannot find on my own...your answer will help me figure out how best to comply.


10-4 on the economies of scale and passing the business taxation portion will let me be much more confident to go after the C's and other forms of taxation I have been reluctant to bid out. Thus far, I have focused on individuals and LLC's/S Corps. I don't think that I could raise rates as I am already charging above average rates.


Taocpa....I didn't try Gleim (Phoenix is cheaper that was my deciding factor). I intentionally did not get any of the software because for me, I thought that it would create 'lazy' studying where I would be more likely to remember the answer instead of the explanation. I also figured I would be more likely to click through without reading the answers. As far as the diagnostics, I wrote the date on each page of the Phoenix test questions and a check or X depending on whether I got it right or wrong. I used that information to pull out the questions I missed during my last two run through and those became my last minute study material. Phoenix did a good job with their note cards--I highlighted those with the information I was weak on and then typed that up. I did that for a couple of reasons---I could print the pages I typed out each time I reviewed it and re-highlight anything I wasn't sure of. Plus, the notecards can produce some passive learning where you read it and think you absorbed it but didn't. It may sound crazy but that's just the way I learned to study. I have never even laid hands on the Gleim but given--again--my horribly small business every penny counts. Phoenix did a poor job of explaining the IRA deduction rules and if I were to just have relied on the questions they gave in the sample test (as opposed to reading their card and supplemental material), I would have been confused.


Michael

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
we've got to help you get more clients so you can afford good quality CPE (which isn't always expensive)

send me your email address on my talk page

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
More clients are good.....will do Kevin5h. At least two of my existing clients need to be fired and one (apparently) already left when I went billable to help them manage their move, new businesses, changes to the quarterly calculations, and other issues with withholding, etc. However, doing so without replacing them would just gut the revenue of the business---hey at least I earned enough this year to absorb and use the carryover of home office exepenses and depreciation that I couldn't use the last two years.


I am finding that I am stuck in that perpetual cycle of a start up and fairly limited what I can do being part-time. The EA will hopefully allow me to extend my services into the rest of the year and make more money. I wish I had listened to my Dad when he told me to go through this when I was a broke graduate right out of college where each new client would have doubled my net worth! :D The rest of this year will be spent on the EA exam and then I will get back to marketing (I hate cold calling).


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

12 June 2009
Lest anyone form a wrong impression, although I suggested cheap CPE (to keep one's T-card alive), I actually buy my online CPE from Gleim. It IS worth it though more expensive. I absolutely agree that you get what you pay for in CPE as in everything else.

But a crdit's a credit.

The EA certainly should generate year round billings for representation.

Bubzeebub (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
Upon completion of the EA exams, what do you receive? A certificate?

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
A cookie! :D


That's a good question, at the end of each exam you get a letter starting you passed it (I wasn't leaving without something). I don't know what happens at the end....haven't thought that far ahead yet.


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
For sending in your three hard-earned "boxtops" and $125, YOU (eventually) GET:

-a diploma printed on cheap thin paper but bearing a genuine imitation gold foil Treasury seal, suitable for framing and using to cover the crack in the plaster;

-an entirely appropriate and impersonal form letter reminding you that you are bound by Circular 230;

-the real license itself which takes the form of a very plain, federal-government-looking wallet card (that you must cut out from the surrounding gangue and sign in blood) bearing the effective and expiration dates of your current enrollment and yet another Cir. 230 warning; and

-last but certainly least, an attractive paper folder in deep blue that contains it all.

No cookies.

Yes, the diploma now graces my office wall, mostly because no one knows out what it is but it looks official. Which, of course, it is.

Note for trivia fans: The wallet card "evidences" enrollment, thus avoiding the forbidden "certified" but the diploms throws legal caution to the four winds and "certifies". Go figure.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
One other benefit is that your name goes to the top of the list for federal jury duty. So, expect to be called to fulfill your responsibilities as a citizen (at the most inconvenient time possible).

Also, once you get your EA, tell your gardener and your household staff that you are a "federal agent". It cuts down on the pilfering, and you can usually get away with working them a few more hours each week, without pay (like Walsmart).

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
I don't worry too much about jury duty....they don't like me. I even volunteered during college to be on jury duty because I wanted to experience the process. Civil attorneys (Defense side anyway) tend to hate critical thinkers so they 86 the Accountant and go to the girl with the purple hair and nose ring. Criminal defense attorneys hate me because I am a white professional male who looks really agitated, jumpy, and annoyed (caused by the fact that I am an Accountant).


For those that remember the the big GM side saddle gas tank lawsuit, my friend was the 16 year old that was killed. I went in for one voir dire session on a DUI death case and was asked if I had any friends or family harmed by a drunk driver so I told them. I saw the defense mark an X through my name as soon as they heard that and I knew I was gone. But in order to strike me for cause (without using one of his challenges) he had to put on a show of asking me how that would affect my ability to remain impartial. I gave them my opinion of what should happen to the defendant if found guilty and was promptly escorted out (at the request of Defense council) and excused from service. Since most cases in my county are DUI, I have an auto out.


Hey at least I will get to have a cool wallet card...I think I will put it in the same flip out section of my wallet as my concealed carry permit. Make me look like a secret super enrolled agent man! :D Impress all the nearsighted Accountant groupies! :D


Michael

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
yes, but the correct answer to the groupie question "is that your gun or are you just happy to see me"

is to lie

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
Double comedy....Kevin5h is unwinding and I LIKE it. :D


I answer both!


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
At MY age, I'm not sure I know which answer would BE a lie.

The wallet card isn't "cool". Really. I can't imagine why anyone would carry it except, maybe, when actually going to an audit or appeals conference where some pinstripe might demand to see it.

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
NM, just for clarity sake I was being a 'wee bit' sarchastic...I won't carry it. I promise.


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
Won't carry which? The card? Or a pistol?

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
The government would not give you a card if they did not expect you to use it. Therefore, try it out first at the Holiday Inn. Ask for the federal rate.

Same goes for the kitchen at the hotel. Insist on the finest steak. Tell them that an Enrolled Agent works for the Department of Agriculture "Food Police", and you can shut them down unless you get a choice cut at a discount.

Stroll over to the bar, and insist that you are now an agent with ATF... not just any agent, an Enrolled one. Have five single malt's on Uncle Sam before retiring to your room.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

You get the idea....

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2009
Ha NMexEA, the EA card. I live in Atlanta and never go anywhere without my CCW card and Betty.


Michael

Taxman3132 (talk|edits) said:

18 June 2009
When did they start giving out wallet cards? i have my 8 x 10 certificate on the wall and im sure i received the 230. i dont recall the cards though. i passed the exam in 1996 if that matters. no computers way back then for the test.

Taxman3132 (talk|edits) said:

18 June 2009
also, if i remember correctly, passing the EA exam gave me a bunch of CPE hours--if that matters.

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

18 June 2009
The wallet card to which I refer is Form 24-A(c). Cir. 230 Sec. 10.6(b) says that the Director of OPR "will issue an enrollment card...after July 26, 2002."

I don't know what they issued before that date.

CPE credit for what credential? A current or inactive EA who passes all three Parts during the enrollment cycle gets what amounts to 56 hours of CPE credit because he need complete only 16 hours of CPE during the last year of the enrollment cycle to qualify for renewal instead of the usual 72 hours over three years.

That last provision has me scratching my fool head; why require MORE to renew than to receive initial enrollment?

Brock And Associates (talk|edits) said:

19 June 2009
I assume you need less initially because you just studied the heck out of the tax code and they give you some props for that.


Michael

NMexEA (talk|edits) said:

19 June 2009
Yabbut you ALSO just studied the tax code to pass the SEE the second time around, too. Still doesn't make sense.

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