So, you’re getting ready to take the plunge into the Uniform CPA Examination. Congratulations! You’re one of the few who are brave enough to take this big step. But this test is not like any other test you’ve ever taken.
The average pass rates for each of the 4 exams hover in the mid 50’s and most students who sign up never make it to the finish line. Here are the top 5 tips you need to ace all 4 sections of the CPA exam to engrave those 3 letters at the end of your name.
1) Purchase CPA Prep Material
One of the most important steps in your journey to become a CPA is picking the right CPA prep course. The prep course you choose will depend on how much you are willing to spend, your study habits, and what format you wish to study from.
If you want an all inclusive CPA prep course with online and offline capabilities, test banks with thousands of multiple choice questions, and an online instructor helping you along the way then expect to spend a few thousand dollars. However, students who are willing to make the investment often have higher pass rates than those who chose to study on their own.
But if you’re more of a self study kind of learner who is fine with studying from a book, you will have more options when it comes to price. No frills CPA prep material supplemented with an all inclusive test bank can run you less than a thousand dollars.
2) Make a Study Calendar
The CPA exam is a never ending epic which rivals that of Homer’s Odyssey. If you want to stand a chance on your journey to become a CPA, let alone pass one section of the exam, you want to get on a study schedule.
The best way to craft a study calendar is to decide how much time you want to devote to studying per week. For those looking to take a section of the exam within 1 to 2 months, you will want to allocate at least 20 hours per week towards your studies. This even varies depending on which exam you are studying for especially considering FAR takes significantly more hours in preparation than AUD.
Your CPA study course will even give recommended study times per chapter so you can estimate how long it will take to be fully prepared for the exam. Remember, the exam is a marathon and not a sprint so make sure to leave some leeway for additional prep time, especially a week before the exam.
3) Get a Support System
The last thing you want to do is go into the exam alone. Becoming a CPA is not only expensive but it can also be time intensive. Having a support system that understands your goals and helps you along the way will make a huge difference in your study routine.
There is nothing worse than having friends and family members who don’t understand your study schedule and can’t support you in your journey. Odds are you will spend many weekends alone studying for the exam and you’ll have to miss out on parties and minor events.
But remember, studying for the CPA exam is only temporary while the CPA license stays with you forever (unless you do something illegal and have it taken away from you). Get your friends and family on board first and you’ll save yourself headaches down the road.
4) Understanding Concepts is More Important Than Memorizing Facts
If you’re thinking about memorizing your way to a 75 or higher than think again. The exam is moving closer to testing critical thinking skills and further away from testing candidates’ abilities to memorize facts.
Even so, memorizing facts for the exam is all but impossible. With thousands of multiple choice questions and hundreds of key concepts to study from, memorizing facts and figures will only get you a portion of the way there.
Studying those key concepts and understanding how they apply to specific scenarios will ensure success on the exam.
5) Confidence is Everything
After hours, weeks, and months of studying for the exam one of the most important tools you need to bring into the exam room is your confidence. The current exam administered by the AICPA takes a total of 16 hours for all four-parts so you want to make sure you’re on your game.
Breathing techniques, timed breaks, nutrient dense foods, and even lucky socks can give you the advantage on test day. You’ve studied hard and put in the time needed to ace the exam. The rest is just the confidence to take those concepts you learned and apply them on the test.
You have everything you need to pass the exam so go out there and make yourself proud!
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