A few CPA exam observations.

Blogger: Tim Ellis

I would like to just briefly touch on some of the things that I feel are important when preparing for the CPA exam.  I think that this advice can be used no matter which review course or materials you are using.  I am certainly not implying that one course is better than another!  I just feel that in studying for the exam the last few months, these items have helped me out.

Number one, consistency is the key.  I don’t feel that the CPA exam is something that you can expect to do well on by cramming it all in during the last few days before you sit (this is probably pretty obvious, but some people do this).  Depending on how much time you have to study for each section, find out how long you need to study each day and stick to that plan.  I would definitely budget in your review time as well (which I will talk about in a moment).  I really feel that this will help you from feeling overwhelmed as you go through the material.  Especially in sections such as FAR, you need to keep your sanity and tackle the concepts a little at a time.  Doing this also gives you a sense of moving forward and productivity.

During your initial pass through the study material, you will invariably come across concepts and problems that will give you fits.  Most of us are perfectionists in this regard, but it may truly be more beneficial to give yourself a drop dead time and move on.  I found that once I saw the problems again on the review I knew it much better than the first time around.  When you are first studying, most review courses will give you many options on how to tackle the information, such as videos or reading lessons.  Whichever way you learn, be sure that you focus your energy on the past test questions!  These are accurate representations of what you will see when you sit, and a lot of the courses give you these in the identical format you will see on the exam.  Believe me, even a little bit of familiarity and muscle memory can go quite a ways on the exam.  Be sure to also do all the Task Based Simulation questions, these are a huge part of your score in some sections.

Once you have climbed the mountain the first time, you get to start all the way back at the beginning!  Not really, but you should give yourself enough time to at least review all of the material again in passing, while focusing on the areas that you expect to really be hit hard on.  My opinion is that a week is a good amount for most of the sections.  FAR is a little different, there is so much to cover, but your review course should give you some guidance on the areas that have historically been tested heavily.  The bottom line is this test is doable, but time consuming.  However, as long as you cover all of the material, stay consistent, and get a good final review in, you should be fine.  As far as the daily commitment, depending on how long you have before your test date, around four hours a day seems to be the consensus.  Good luck!


About txcpa2b

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. TSCPA has 20 local chapters statewide and has 27,000 members. The Society is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. TXCPA2B is a blog written by Texas students in pursuit of the CPA certificate. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily held by TSCPA or our members.
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