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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2014 Spring Issue]>[Person on the cover] 2nd year Students Pass the 2013 CPA Exam

Hakumon CHUOIndex

Person on the cover

2nd year Students Pass the 2013 CPA Exam

Including One Female

Chiai Takagi
3rd year, Department of Accounting, Faculty of Commerce, Chuo University

Four students of Chuo University in their 2nd year, passed the essay test of the Certified Public Accountant Examination, one of the most difficult national examinations. All of them attended classes at the Institute of Accounting Research of Chuo University, and three of them, at 19 years old, were the youngest passers in the year, as the average age of people passing the test was 26.2 years old. We interviewed them to learn how they managed to pass the exam at such an early stage. They did not seem to cram, and one of them hopes to be a professional boxer.

The Power of Friendship

Three of them, at 19 years old, were the youngest in the year
The Institute of Accounting Research, Chuo University

--Congratulations, everyone. The Certified Public Accountant Examination is, along with the National Medical Practitioners Qualifying Examination and the National Bar Examination, one of the most difficult examinations to pass. I’m sure you faced many difficulties, but for younger students in the university, I would like to first ask about what you enjoyed during your studies.

Miwa: “I tried to enjoy every step of the way. I felt happy once I understood a part of a textbook I hadn’t understood previously.”

Takeaki Takagi

Takeaki Takagi (hereafter “Takagi”): “I was also excited when I understood things that were unfamiliar after I studied. I repeated this process.”

Chiaki Takagi (hereafter “Chiaki”): “The more you understand, you stop wasting time and begin to use your time more efficiently. It becomes fun. When you find a study method that suits you, you can enjoy studying even more.”

Sakamoto: “I have studied bookkeeping since high school, and it was fun when I was able to deepen my knowledge at university.”

■According to the Certified Public Accountants and Auditing Oversight Board (CPAAOB), the pass rate of the examination passed by the four Chuo University students was 8.9% in 2013. Over 90% were unsuccessful. To pass the examination for certified public accountants, it is necessary to first pass a multiple-choice test (held twice a year, in December and May) and then take the essay test (once a year, in August) in five subjects.

--What were the difficulties that you faced as you studied?

Masaya Miwa

Miwa: “I got frustrated about one month before the final exam (the essay test in August) because my performance deteriorated. I had to study, otherwise I couldn’t pass the exam. Until then, my performance had been good.”

Takagi: “I had a hard time when my performance didn't improve even though I was concentrating on my studies. I doubted my abilities and sometimes wanted to escape from reality.”

Chiai: “I passed the multiple-choice test in December, and had some time until the essay test in August. During this period, I got lazy and my interest was diverted. My score was not so good, and was outdone by students who had started to study later. In the Student Research Building “Honoh-no-Tou” where I studied, a countdown calendar showed “50 days to go until the essay test.” As the number of days left on the calendar decreased, I suddenly felt pressed.”

--What else are you interested in?

Chiaki Takagi

Chiai: “I want to be a professional boxer, and so I go to a boxing gym almost every day. I like the boxer Hozumi Hasegawa.”

■Hozumi Hasegawa
Hasegawa is a former WCB Bantamweight and Featherweight champion. He defended his Bantamweight title 10 times. Boxing requires hard and unpretentious practice.

Sakamoto: “I had difficulty getting up in the morning [wry smile]. I was a late-night person, and stayed in the university until the campus gates closed at 23:00. Then I returned to my room near the university, cooked, and ate around midnight. During test season, I tried to get up at 7:00, but I had a hard time arriving at school by 8:15.”

--Tell us about how you coped with both the preparation for the exam and your undergraduate classes.

Takagi: “I am also an undergraduate student, so I attended every class.”

Chiai: “I copied Miwa’s course-attending method [smile]. With this schedule, I was able to balance my undergraduate classes and preparation for the exam. Thank you, Miwa!”

Koki Sakamoto

Sakamoto: “Even if I passed the exam, I wouldn’t be a successful certified public accountant if I neglected my undergraduate classes.”

■Passing the exam and studying on campus
According to the Institute of Accounting Research of Chuo University, because the Institute is located in the Student Research Building “Honoh no Tou” in the campus, students can enjoy their precious student life more efficiently without any commuting time or transportation costs. Lectures of the Institute start in the 6th period at 18:15. In general, they never overlap with regular classes in any other departments. Classes end at 20:45.

--Who helped you study for the exam?

Miwa: “I was supported by the instructors in the Institute of Accounting Research and my fellow students, who were also good rivals. We showed our mock exam scores to each another. When I lost, I made up my mind to study harder for the next exam. I think having good rivals enabled me to keep studying.”

■According to the Institute of Accounting Research of Chuo University, the full-time instructors who are also certified public accountants give advice to students about not only learning, but also their future career and life. It was found that 38 out of 348 university students nationwide who passed the 2013 exam had a connection with the Institute of Accounting Research of Chuo University. The pass rate of Chuo University students studying at the Institute of Accounting Research in 2013 was as high as 52.8% (national average: 30.3%).

Takagi: “I was also assisted by the institute staff, older students, and my friends. Seeing students who outperformed me studying hard, I was motivated to study more.”

Chiai: “I was helped by my classmates when I slacked off [laughs]. When I was lazy, everyone was concerned for me and told me I should study. When I asked what I should do first they would say, “Let’s tackle this problem first.” We taught one another, although I was mostly being taught by others. I remember once a friend of mine wrote a message to me on the back side of a Kit Kat packet, which was really nice.”

Three male students: “Chiaki has good ability, but she doesn’t study hard. If she is motivated, she shows excellent performance.”

Sakamoto: “I was supported mainly by my parents. I thought that unless I passed the exam, entering Chuo University would become meaningless. So I decided to study hard for my parents as well as myself. My classmates are precious, as they understand me and help me improve. I believe that it was very important to exchange opinions and share the same passion.”

--What changed after passing the exam?

Miwa: “In the Institute of Accounting Research, those who pass the exam become staff members to answer questions from students. Changing my role from asking to answering questions, I really think that I should be more responsible. When I was studying for the exam, I was too relaxed. But today, I have more sense of responsibility, because I am recognized as someone who passed the exam.”

Takagi: “Because I was only doing preparation for the exam, I want to study something else, and enjoy my time off campus. I will become a staff member of the Institute of Accounting Research. I think I have to continue studying so I can give correct answers to questions from students who are studying for the exam.”

Chiai: “Everything has changed. The people around me see me differently than before. They regard me as an intelligent person. What should I do? It’s amazing that I have changed at this age. Previously, I asked others for help. Today, younger students ask me to teach them.”

■Passing the Certified Public Accountant Examination does not guarantee success in business as an independent accountant. Many passers are generally employed by a major auditing firm to acquire work experience as a certified public accountant. Certified public accountants are dubbed as doctors of economic society, and Article 1 of Certified Public Accountants Act defines their mission as “contributing to the sound development of the national economy.”

Sakamoto: “All those hours I spent desperately studying are now blank. While I wonder how I should spend them, I just fall asleep. When I changed from an exam taker to someone who passed the exam, the people around me regard me differently, but I am still a novice. I will keep studying, the same as everyone else.”