CPAR Review Assessment and Strategies

Books/Materials used:

FA VALIX: Very handy for quick concept reviews. Don’t expect to read these books like its undergrad time.

P1 VALIX: Classic practice material.

BLT SORIANO: Basic foundation concepts and questions. The information you get and RETAIN here will go a long way.

MAS AGAMATA: Very good concept study/review for those forgotten topics.

MAS ROQUE: Short highly summarized concepts. Goes straight to the heart of what’s important. Practice solving MAS here.

AUDPROB ROQUE: Answered it during undergrad. Still a great source of practice material.

AUDPROB OCAMPO: Answered it during undergrad. Still a great source of practice material.

AT SALOSAGCOL: Very good resource for fundamental concepts.

TOA VALIX: Theory questions are exhaustive.

AT WILEY: Increasing wiley-sourced board questions make it a must-have during review

TAX VALENCIA: Very comprehensive taxation resource. Make sure you have read these books during undergrad.

CRC LAW handouts by Maam SAGANA: highly organized material which boosts efficiency in absorbing information.


Business Law and Taxation: (To be separated)

Reviewer Profile: Atty. Dante dela Cruz

Power Tip: Attend every class.

Teaching Style: 40% Detailed Concepts 60% Humorous Examples.  He establishes a relaxed atmosphere during lecture. When he teaches it’s like he is talking to you personally. It becomes easier to understand the complex topics of business law and taxation. However you have to really pay attention to the discussion because it can be fast. You just go to the restroom and when you come back the whole whiteboard is full of scribbles you will never understand unless you were really there to witness it.


Suggested Overall Strategy:

  1. Start the BLT review way earlier. Before the start of the review, I was done with Obligations and was about to finish Contracts. I wasn’t able to have a head start on taxation though. The buffer I had established in BL helped a lot to open up more time for me to focus on the heavy demands of taxation.
  2. Mix effectiveness and efficiency. In business law, get a hold of the hand-outs from CRC. The lecture parts are highly organized and provide the important concepts in a straightforward way. Atty D’s discussions delve into the details of the concepts. His insights give you better grasp of the subject at hand. However, the amount of information can be overwhelming if not managed well.
  3. Always do your best not have backlogs.
  4. Work on the hand-outs given. It should be  the number one priority. Answer as if it will be your last time to see the hand-outs. It’s almost impossible to review these papers days before the actual examination.


Practical Accounting 1:


Reviewer Profile: Atty.  Conrado T. Valix

Power Tip: Handouts are the Key.

Teaching Style: Problem-Answer approach. Answers the hand-outs given. If you have a good background in P1, his lectures simply become an affirmation of what you already know. He is slightly serious during discussions and might bore some but to be fair P1 is pretty straightforward and putting humour would be inefficient. Also, the magnificence and organization of his books had already saved my sorry ass during undergrad. He indicates items in the hand-outs that you should focus on. Mark and study them.


Suggested Overall Strategy:

  1. Practice.
  2. Achieve reasonable confidence on the topics. For example do not guess whether a given item is added or ignored in computing Cash. Uncover principles that will guide your decisions. In the actual board exams, there are numerous problems which are basic enough yet one might forget whether to include an element in the solution or not.
  3. In the first half of the review (asset side) I have minimal backlogs since the concepts were only cash, inventory etc. During the second half (liabilities and equity) the number of concepts per week had greatly increased and P1 became a huge mountain to climb into. It was tough.
  4. Do not underestimate the hand-outs. Just when you think you have established a sizeable advanced study for the subjects, P1 hand-outs begin to pour. Before you know it, your buffer is gone.


Management Advisory Services

Reviewer Profile: Mr. Rodelio Roque

Power Tip: Attend every class. Concept over quantity.

Teaching Style: His lectures are very insightful. His humour  gives a quick punch. He provides shortcuts and strategies to important concepts. The pace of his lectures pace are reasonable. Sometimes he will only have lectures and concept reviews, other times it will involve answering long problems in the hand-outs.


Suggested Overall Strategy:

  1. I highly suggest his book on MAS. His book and the hand-outs are enough to bring us average pips to passdom. The structure, difficulty and variety of theories and problems mirror that in the actual board exam.
  2. Focus on key concepts. MAS is a high yield subject. By that I mean, what you studied and practiced will be put into good use during preboards and the actual boards itself. In every topic, list down key concepts which should never be forgotten. These critical concepts are expected to appear in a reasonably difficult MAS examination.
  3. Mr. Roque’s hand-outs are a bit challenging and longer than the actual thing. What I did was to answer the hand-outs the best I can but would not dwell into harder problems. Instead, I gathered confidence through answering similar topics in his book which are easier to answer. Im not saying ignore the hand-outs, just don’t let it crush your confidence just because you have only answered half of the what was given.



Practical Accounting 2:


P2, for me, is the most challenging subject in college. During undergrad, we were trained to solve very complex advanced accounting problems and we usually wonder if this complexity is useful for the actual board exams. Maybe you’ve heard your upper batch friends that the actual is very much easier than what we are given in college. I ended up crawling out of P2 during my undergraduate years hoping the review would be a piece of cake by then.


Reviewer Profile: Mr. Chris German

Power Tip: Attend every class. Never get intimidated. Concept over Quantity.

Teaching Style: On the first few meetings, many will be awed and some will be intimidated by the way he solves the problems with only a calculator in his hands as he says “Calcu lang lang”. He lectures with the expectation that you have a reasonably good background in P2. For me, I kind of compare him to a drill sergeant. He pushes you out of your emotional and mental comfort zone. Every session you are up on your toes. There will be no mercy in here. If you are slow, become faster. If you are weak in this topic, improve. The P2 pre-boards are the most bloody among the subjects. You need to bring you’re A-game here.

Suggested Overall Strategy:

  1. Work hard on the first half of the review. The topics are heavier and more detailed. First half topics include: Partnerships, HOB, Special Revenue Recognition, and some part of Business Combination.
  2. Again, concept over quantity. However, you will need practicing problems in order familiarize with the way problems are structured and phrased. Do not bank on finishing the Dayag book for your confidence. Your mentality should be that you should be confident enough to face any problem given to you. Our first pre-board exam in P2 was hell. Also, CPAR pretty much allows some of their most intelligent reviewers to give their killer questions in the first preboard. Its actually a clincher subject for  the topnotcher-calibre students. Unfortunately for us average citizens, we will be answering the same exam.
  3. Be diligent in answering the hand-outs. The CPAR P2 handouts are more comprehensive and harder than the reviewer book of Guerrerro. It’s made for discussion and efficient concept recall since all importance elements of a  topic are already found in two or three items. I found it hard to answer the questions in the handouts so I made it a lecture aid. I followed German as he answered the items and gave real attention to the problems during the class discussion. After that I start answering reviewer books.




Theory Of Accounts

Reviewer Profile: Atty. Conrado T. Valix

Power Tip: P1 and TOA classes are combined. The more questions encountered the better.

Teaching Style: Teaching style of Sir Valix would be the same as the P1 discussion.

Suggested Overall Strategy:

  1. A lot of students say that studying for P1 and the FA books would be enough for them to make it through. This may be true but be careful, if you want to cement your success in this subject you still need to practice answering the TOA1 and 2 of Valix. There are certain topics (e.g framework, qualitative, FS elements, interim report, etc) which might not be stressed when studying P1. These silent topics may usually jumps over unsuspecting reviewees during the preboards and even the actual boards.

What does it take to pass the CPA board examination?

The Philippine CPA passing rate had never been more or less higher that 50%. What I’m trying to say is that almost all of the time, half of the people in a 24-seater examination room will not make it through. I have always wondered why that’s the case when almost everyone enrols in a review center, they study materials with the same level of difficulty, they all have access to varying resources and we all have the same 24-hour clock.

Passing Factors: The 40-10-10-40 Rule

  1. Undergraduate Training 40%: Its reality. If you just goofed around college or you did not put enough effort to be above average, you’re going to have a tough time during the review. If you are still an undergraduate, it’s not too late to turn things around. If you are now reviewing or in about to start the review weeks from now, you can still manage this. Since you have passed the BSA, it means you are intelligent enough to take the board exam. However, intelligent enough is not the passing criteria. You need to double on your attitude (40%) to pull it through (discussed below). Identify your strong and weak subjects. Prioritize the weak and gain confidence over them. It is recommended no one subject is left behind. You can have an average of 90 on all except a 60 on the other.
  2. Review School 10%: Get to know the review school of your choice. CPAR, ReSA, CRC-ACE, and PRTC have different styles and strengths to offer. Choose one that suits you best. I’ve been to CPAR so I do not have enough credibility to review the others. Maybe one day we can have a review school assessment entry.
  3. Review Environment 10%
  4. Overall Attitude 40%

The Average CPA Reviewer

I want to share with you what I have learned throughout my Accounting undergraduate course all the way to the examination day of one of the most respected board examinations in our country, the CPA Board Examinations. These lessons will provide you the framework on which to align your study program. This is not an inspirational blog. This is an instructional resource for those who want to make the most out of their review.

My view and experience is limited with the CPAR review system. But the principles transcends the review schools.