Only about half of the people who sit for a CPA exam pass on any given try. This speaks to the difficulty of this rigorous exam. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to put you in the position to pass with flying colors. Here are five study tips for you as you prepare to take the CPA exam.
Make a Study Plan
The students who are the most successful studying for this exam are the ones that take the time to craft a plan of attack prior to getting started. Starting from the day of your test, devise a calendar working backward to ensure that you allow sufficient time to cover all of the material. This will give you a guiding framework and will also provide checkpoints along the way to make sure that you are staying on schedule and not getting behind.
Before you make your plan, it is a good idea to take a CPA practice test. This will give you some insight into where you stand and what areas of study that you need to focus on. There are numerous free practice tests online that you can take to gauge exactly where you stand.
Sign Up for a Prep Course
Part of your study plan should be signing up for a CPA prep course. This targeted prep course will provide you with the tools that you need to set yourself up for success on test day. A quality CPA exam preparation course will provide you with study materials, practice questions, and access to professional help in the form of mentors.
Be sure to look at the various attributes of the available prep courses and pick the option that delivers the tools that mean the most to you. For example, if you learn best through memorization, you will benefit from a course that includes digital flashcards. However, you need to realize that you are going to need to put in the work to harness the benefits of a prep course. Simply signing up and going through the motions will not be enough.
Study with a Partner
Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can go at this alone. That said, it is important that you choose a study partner who will not distract you from your efforts. While you want to get along with this person, it also probably should not be your best friend.
You may also consider joining a CPA study group. Everyone has different strengths when it comes to preparing for this exam. By leaning on the collective knowledge of the group, everyone will do better. Not only will you gain valuable insight from your peers, but you will also benefit from explaining the areas that you understand well to others.
It is easy to get so focused on cramming for the exam that you neglect to take care of yourself. However, you cannot expect to perform well on a test day if you have not paid attention to your personal needs during this time of stress. As you prepare for the exam, it is important that you practice self-care.
Be sure to nourish your body with healthy foods during this season of life. You also need to be diligent about getting enough sleep, particularly in the days leading up to the test. Regular workouts will also go a long way in keeping you healthy, boosting your mood, and ensuring that your mental health is in a good place.
Be Confident and Relax
When the test day finally arrives, it is imperative that you relax and head into the exam with confidence. At this point, there is nothing more that you can do to ensure success. Have confidence in all of the prep that you did leading up to this moment.
Do not second-guess your first gut reaction to a question. Remember that you have spent hours preparing for this moment. If you do have time after answering all of the questions to go back and double-check, keep in mind that your first guess was probably the right answer.
Developing a solid study plan, leaning on available resources, and practicing proper self-care during this time will give you a better chance to pass the CPA exam on the first try.