The first question to answer before figuring out whether module fast track is for you is to define the issue at hand:
What is Fast Track?
Quite simply put, Fast Track is taking two modules at the same time. Check out the CPA PEP module schedule at www.cpawsb.ca. Candidates can take Core 1 and 2 at the same time, and if they are successful in completing both examinations, can proceed to take two Electives at the same time.
What are the restrictions?
When registering for the modules, ensure the exams are on different dates. You cannot write two exams on one day. The course content from Capstone 1 is used in Capstone 2, while Capstone 2 is case writing preparation to pass the CFE. This means you cannot Fast Track the Capstone modules.
Who does Fast Track work for?
Fast track works best for people who have limited work commitments. Many candidates completing Fast Track modules completed their undergraduate degrees in April and have full-time employment lined up to start in October. These candidates are keen to invest their summer to studying to minimize the amount of time in the future they need to study while working.
What is the time commitment?
Each module requires 12-to-15 hours per week, not including any refreshing of pre-requisite material. This time commitment does not increase or decrease for candidates who choose to take concurrent modules.
What should I consider?
Consider using the following questions to assess whether you should Fast-Track your modules:
Do I have a minimum of 24-to-30 hours per week, each week?
Think about a busy week for you. Not your ideal week. Not what you wish and hope your weeks will look like. Open your calendar and match it up to the CPA PEP module schedule. Take a long hard look and be honest with yourself. If it feels like it will be too much, it probably will be. That’s okay. Better to know now.
Am I working full time?
Last I checked, there are 168 hours in a week. When I completed my experience, I think my partners tried to bend the laws of space and time to increase this, but no can do. Here’s some math:
40 hours for work + 24 hours for modules + 49 for sleep = more than 67% of your available total time. That’s not including any time for meal preparation or eating, commuting, and zero time allocated to mindlessly scrolling social media or catching up on Animal Kingdom on Netflix.
If this paragraph didn’t send you into a panic, please continue.
Is my employer supportive of the fast-track option?
If they are not, I suggest finding out why. If your employer is still unsupportive after the discussion, consider taking the modules consecutively. Where possible, it important to have a happy and supportive work environment during this demanding journey.
Are people in my inner support network supportive of the fast-track option?
The same advice I provided above for a supportive workplace applies here, perhaps even more so. This is a challenging program both for candidates and those who support candidates.
Does this fit into my career timeline and goals?
Candidates are required to complete their work experience and speeding up the education portion likely will not result in a candidate becoming a designated CPA any faster.
I’m torn and not sure what I should do, what do you think?
“If It’s Not a H*ll Yes, It’s a No” – Derek Sivers.
Run YOUR race.
If after evaluating your work and personal commitments, quality of life, and sheer mental capacity, and are unsure of how to proceed, here is my suggestion: Don’t Fast-Track.
Life is a journey, not a destination. There is no ultimate goal, rather a series of milestones where YOU choose what matters.
Do you have feedback on this post or a question you’d like answered by an experienced CPAWSB educator? Please contact your facilitator or send a question to the General Topic in the Candidate Discussion forum.
Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB and an instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education. Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.