Certified Public Accounting (CPA) is an accredited and officially recognized certification worldwide. It is one of the most difficult and highly acclaimed certifications in the accounting field. After passing the CPA exam, you can achieve remarkable and lucrative career growth in the accounting profession.
The CPA exam tests your knowledge and skillsets in business acumen, financial literacy, business management, ethics, regulations, etc. Moreover, when you become a CPA, you have a competitive edge over non-CPA professionals.
The path that leads to acing the CPA exam is not easy and simple. You have to develop study stamina, determination, and commitment to achieve your end goal. In addition, some tips can help you pass your exam with flying colors. Here are some tips:
Start Preparation As Early As Possible
When you decide to take the CPA exam, you must start your exam preparation as early as possible. Make your routine study-oriented and encourage healthy study habits. Less time means less preparation for the exam. You cannot expect to develop an in-depth understanding of concepts quickly. Start early preparation to have space for practice tests and mock exams.
Pick a Study Method that Suits Your Needs
Some students prefer to study from physical books, while others learn from online resources. Reputable platforms like Wiley Education offer all the help in the form of videos and audio.
Online educational platforms are becoming more popular these days. However, the choice of learning method is dependent on students’ academic needs, personal preferences, and study goals. When you become aware of your study needs and goals, you can efficiently put in more effort and time.
Set a Schedule
Acing the exam like CPA requires discipline and consistency. Make a study schedule and stick to it to gain better results. You can make a study schedule that meets your study goals by including the most productive hours of your day. For instance, some people are more focused and fresh in the morning while others prefer to study at night due to lack of interruptions. It depends on you what time works best for you when you feel more concentrated and refreshed.
In addition, you can also include study topics in your schedule that you need to cover in a week. In this way, you can track progress over the week and adjust your preparation according to the time left before exams.
Focus on Your Weak Areas
While preparing for the CPA exam, make sure you cover all the study material. It would give you a chance to identify your strong and weak areas. Some parts can perform better due to primary education or professional experience and personal interest. At the same time, some areas can become difficult for you if you are unfamiliar with concepts and terms.
It is a good idea to pay more attention to your weak areas so that you can prepare them well before the exam. Don’t ignore any part of the course due to your lack of interest, as it can become a leading cause of your failure in exams. Discuss your weak areas with your instructor and find methods to improve them. You can use flashcards, review courses, and other helping tools to sharpen your preparation.
Don’t Get Stuck on Difficult Topics or Questions
You can come across difficult topics while preparing for exams or tough questions while sitting in the exams. The trick to get through these times efficiently and effectively is to plan your strategy according to the time. Time is a valuable asset during preparation and attempting the CPA exam.
Focus on the big picture and switch to easy or moderate topics or questions while preparing and during exams. Skip the chapters or questions that take more time. In some cases, after studying or reviewing other chapters, you come in a better position to understand topics that you deem difficult. Sometimes it makes sense and puts your knowledge in context to learn difficult parts easily.
Some students believe that productive study habits only entail long hours of study without taking any break. However, this scenario is not healthy and productive. There is no use in studying when you easily zone out, or your mind roams around everywhere but not focuses on the study material.
It is essential to take breaks while studying so that your brain becomes refreshed and ready to absorb new information. After taking some time away from studies, you can become more motivated and engaged to resume preparation. There is no benefit of sitting with open books and study material on screen in front of you when your eyes are distracted by other things.
Plan Your Exam Strategy
Before appearing for the CPA exam, make sure you conduct enough research to understand the nature of each subject, section, question, etc. When you become familiar with exam patterns and rules, you can decide what can work best for you and how. Plan your exam strategy by determining what section to take first. Some students prefer to take difficult areas first and then go for easy ones. The order of taking the exam is a primary contributing factor behind your success.
Attempt Practice Tests as much as you can
Practice tests give you the leverage to test your knowledge and preparation for the exams before actually appearing for them. When attempted with real-life exam settings, CPA practice tests, such as those administered by Prometric, can help you manage your time. In addition, it also gives you the feeling of what it’s like to sit in the exam. You can better understand different exam sections, tests, task-based simulations, etc.
Remember that it takes time to reach the top with continuous determination and hard work. To become successful in the CPA exam, don’t go for shortcuts. Invest your time and energy productively and efficiently. Study smarter but not harder. Make a checklist of topics that you need to cover and divide them into different parts according to the difficulty level. Prepare them well and review them multiple times. Don’t be overconfident about your preparation.