CPA exam study tips
CPA Prep

Five CPA Exam Study Tips

There is one common theme to become a CPA - passing these exams will always require hard work.

CPA exam preparation is often characterized by verbose instruction, convoluted explanations, and some of the most outdated written material in the professional education world. Don’t worry, we’ll help you get through it! These five study tips can make your life a whole lot easier.  Here are five CPA exam study tips that will help you pass!

Looking for additional help studying for the CPA exam? Be sure to check out these CPA Review Materials that we recommend. You can even sign up for a free 2 week trial with no credit card required!

1. Understand the intuition.

Yes, some CPA exam topics can purely be memorized, but you must understand the intuition for 80%+ of the topics. The volume of information alone is too much to be solely memorized.

Additionally, much of the CPA exam is very conceptual (e.g., Audit). The exam will ask questions in a way that the possible correct answer choice can literally be any of the four answer choices. Therefore, understanding what is actually happening in the question’s scenario is key.

You have to answer a question with enough confidence to not only know why the correct answer choice is in fact correct, but also have a strong understanding as to why the other three answer choices are incorrect.

When working trough multiple-choice questions, be sure you are memorizing the reason for the correct answer, and not just the answer itself. This can be applied to really any test you are studying for. Understanding the intuition is definitely one of the top CPA exam study tips.

2. Understand why you got the practice question wrong.

I know, everybody says that they passed the CPA exam by practicing multiple-choice questions over and over and over. While that is a fine strategy, it only works if you understand why you get the question right or wrong.

As far as test-banks go, Universal CPA review holds your hand in obtaining this understanding. Each MCQ and simulation has a video explanation that is similar to sitting down with a tutor and going through the question.

Be sure to check out our CPA Review Materials page for a sample of the video explanation.

3. Study for 30 minutes in the morning.

Many studies indicate that critical thinking is optimized for the first task each day. If you think about it, this makes sense. Your brain is fresh from a full night rest and your much more equipped to dive into complex accounting topics.

This is why another one of the top CPA exam study tips is to study in the morning. Whether it’s before work, or as you gear up for an all-day bender on a Saturday, studying bright and early is better than studying late at night after a full day’s work.

Said differently, would competing in a marathon after working out all day be a strategy for great results? Remember, the point of getting the CPA license is to get a job that is better than the one you currently have.

4. Spaced repetition and weekly practice tests.

Although some sections of the CPA exam might seem less robust than others, each section has an enormous amount of material that must be remembered and understood. For that reason, spaced repetition techniques can be applied to CPA exam studying.

Many students love to memorize their way through CPA exam material, so if you’re going to do it, might as well do it right. Spaced repetition essentially reintroduces prior information that is considered most challenging, while easier information is displayed less frequently. By psychologically spacing out information, and reiterating challenging concepts over spaced-out time, it will become much easier to memorize, and understand the intuition behind challenging concepts.

Do some practice tests on the weekend that cover all of the topics you have studied for to date!

5. Use a final review.

Whether your final review is from an established CPA review course provider like Universal CPA Review, or your own notes, it is critical that you spend at least 7 days performing a thorough final review.

There is simply too much information to retain to take only one lap through the material. A final review can be anything from examining a high-level outline, to hitting flash cards or studying AICPA retired questions. Regardless of what you decide, final reviews are a must. 

Five CPA Exam Study Tips – Summary

There is not a “one size fits all” strategy to passing the CPA exam. Everybody is different. One common theme will always remain. Passing these exams will always require hard work. 

Enjoy reading this article detailing five CPA exam study tips? If so be sure to head over to the CPA section of our site for additional resources to help you achieve this license.

Also be sure to sign up for a free 2 week trial of Universal CPA review! Their integration of visual learning elements are super helpful.

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