Everyone hopes to pass each of the CPA exams on the first attempt. Whether that is your goal and you have not yet attempted one of the exams, or if you have attempted one or more and failed, a CPA tutor is a potential – and one might argue underutilized – resource to help you pass. Working with an expert who can help you build a study plan around your particular situation and explain things that are tripping you up efficiently and accurately is of immense value. This article details 5 ways that a CPA tutor will help you pass the CPA exam.
What is a CPA Tutor?
A CPA tutor is not just a content expert. Simply having passed the exams is not enough. But yes, a CPA tutor should be someone who has already passed the CPA Exams, thus gaining the experience and knowledge of how to coach someone in passing the exams. But a CPA tutor is not solely a teacher, he or she is also a coach, an accountability partner, and an all-around guide to your success in passing.
My name is Nick Palazzolo, a CPA, a current CPA tutor, and a former tutee of a CPA tutor. After experiencing both sides as a tutee and tutor, I would like to share with you how immensely beneficial working with a CPA tutor can be.
Why should I work with a CPA Tutor?
There are countless sources of knowledge on the Internet, all accessible for free. Whether you are interested in studying coding, finance, or accounting, a simple Google search will return more information than you could ever cover by yourself. Since this is the case, why is every individual not an expert in every field? The answer is accountability.
We as human beings are not robots, and we lose focus. Throughout my experience studying in college or preparing for my own CPA Exams, accountability was the deciding factor of my own success. Holding myself accountable is not the easiest to do. As I prepared for the exam, did I have someone reminding me to finish studying pension accounting? Even if I reviewed a whole pension chapter, did I fully comprehend it? Did I immerse myself in the questions asked and could I apply what I studied? These are the factors that a CPA tutor addresses most efficiently. Yes, it is possible to pass the exam on your own. But if someone is holding you accountable every step of the way, you will probably be more productive.
That was something many candidates accept early in their CPA Exam journey, it is why I myself worked with a CPA tutor, and it is why I continue to work with coaches and tutors as I pursue new opportunities in professional development.
2. Weighting of Exam Material & Experience
You as a CPA Exam candidate do not have all the time in the world. Whether you are raising a family, beginning or maintaining a career, or simply doing your best to enjoy life, committing 500 quality hours to study for an exam can seem close to impossible. As someone who tutors CPA Exam candidates for many hours each week, I have become adept at the “ins and outs” of how the AICPA presents questions on the exam. When a CPA tutor spends years teaching through every concept needed to pass the exam with multiple students, he or she develops an understanding on what content is necessary to pass and which topics are “fluff.”
While review courses such as Becker and Roger are essential to passing the exam, they cover every topic that could ever be asked on the exam including those so lightly weighted, only 1 in 10 candidates may see a question on it. Working with a CPA tutor provides you with insight into which topics are worth your time to study so you are able to prioritize the more critical topics. A CPA tutor has gone through the struggles you are currently experiencing and knows that the exam is a marathon, not a sprint, and has run this race before.
3. Giving the Exam 100%
In order to sit for the CPA Exam, you have spent countless hours and dollars on college courses, perhaps worked an intensive job as a tax or audit staff and endured much stress to ensure that you will meet the 3 Es to earn your CPA license (Education, Experience, and Exam). This exam is your final (and many times most difficult) hurdle. This exam is what you have been preparing for all these years and it is crucial that you set yourself up for success by obtaining the relevant sources to pass.
While passing the exam is the goal you have prepared so much for, many candidates realize too late, after not passing once or more times, that it’s harder than they realize. If you find yourself needing to seek additional support in your studies by working with a tutor or investing in more or different types of prep material, you shouldn’t hesitate. Tthere is a financial component of having to invest additional funds into your studies and exam prep. But it can be worth it when, with your hard work and effort and a CPA tutor by your side, you find yourself giving the exam the 100% amount of effort that it deserves.
4. Creation of a Study Plan
During your journey in reviewing each section of the exam, the quality of your hours is just as important as the quantity of hours you spend studying. A tutor can independently assess a student in order to create a personalized study plan. By considering factors such as strengths and weaknesses, exam timeline and daily schedule, a tutor can craft a study plan best suited to lead the student to success. By doing this, a CPA tutor relieves the student from having to create a plan themselves, and also eliminates any doubt the student may have in creating a schedule themselves.
5. Money Saver
As previously mentioned, working with a CPA tutor will most likely require you to pay more than if you were to study by yourself. However, when being conscious of exam costs, consider how investing in tutoring may increase your likelihood of success of passing the exams the first time, rather than having to pay hundreds of dollars to retake a section. Also, consider the opportunity cost of spending less time working without a CPA certification vs. passing all sections on the first try and earning more money per hour earlier in your career. This is especially prevalent if you put a price on the value of your own time. By finding the right tutor who will take the time to get to know you, create a well thought out study plan, and hold you accountable, your odds of success in passing the CPA Exam can be much higher than before.