New and Improved CPA Boot Camp
The ninth annual CPA Boot Camp is "100 percent different this year," according to Dr. Paul Copley, Department Head of the School of Accounting.
Instead of spending valuable time watching videos in class, students work on multiple choice problems with professors during class, then watch videos at home on their own time.
"We’re flipping the classroom," Dr. Copley says. “It’s the perfect opportunity for it.”
Dr. Copley says the focus of the Boot Camp is to teach students how to take a test—in this case, the four-part Certified Public Accountant exam. Through the Boot Camp, students learn how to analyze old CPA exam questions with the help of accounting professors.
Students use interactive clickers to answer each question and can then see a class-wide distribution of answers. By discussing questions that students get wrong, it keeps everyone engaged, Dr. Copley says. Students can even review flashcards on a phone application so they can practice any time.
Another benefit of changing the format of this year’s boot camp is that the course is also half the cost of last year’s course.
About 50 students are taking the six-and-a-half-week long class. Many of the students are recent master of science in accounting (M.S.A.) graduates.
“All of the students will be ready to take the CPA in July or August,” Dr. Copley says.
“The pass rate on each part of the exam is well over 90 percent for our kids. The goal is to consistently be in the top 25 schools for the pass rate.”
In 2010, JMU was named No. 1 for the CPA exam pass rate.
“We like being number one, and that’s why we’re changing the format this year,” Dr. Copley says.
“The reason our kids pass is what they learned in three years of upper-level accounting classes,” he says. “Our faculty is dedicated to student success.”
Meg Stitely graduated in May 2013 with her master of science in accounting degree and decided to enroll in the CPA Boot Camp session this summer.
“It’s really helpful,” she says. “I’m getting a lot more out of my time here, and it’s nice to have professors pinpoint the issues and help us understand them.”
Jordan Gilmore also graduated in May with her M.S.A degree.
“Going through the questions with the professors in class is especially helpful,” she says. “It reinforces everything we’ve learned.”
Once students begin the CPA exam, they must pass all four parts in 18 months. Jordan took the first part of the exam on Friday, May 31.
“I definitely felt prepared,” she says. “There was nothing unexpected.”