The CPA exam is the most challenging test you will ever take in your life. It will be difficult during your first year, and it will be just as tricky on your last day of exam preparation.
It is stressful, long, demanding, frustrating, and most likely, anxiety-provoking. Here are five things you need to know about what’s important for you to pass the exam.
For you to pass a CPA exam, you need to have a strategy. A strategy may be how you study, how many questions you should answer, how much time you will need to study each day to pass the exam, and how hard you’ll need to work.
Strategizing is absolutely key since you are not guaranteed to pass your first time. The strategy you develop must be a realistic one, or else your chances of passing will greatly decrease. The people who manage to pass an exam the first time are those who have a confident knowledge of what is important and how to manage their time effectively.
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2. Time Management
Time management is absolutely critical for your success on the CPA exam. You need to form a strategy about how many questions to answer each day. There is no magic number here, but there is an average number of questions that most people should answer in one hour.
You will need to figure out your maximum capacity before developing a study routine that works best for you. Keep in mind that it’s possible to do 40-60 questions per hour if you’re prepared for them and have already been answering similar questions.
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3. Practice Questions
This is the best way how to study for cpa exam. There is no way for anyone else besides yourself to know how you learn best. One person might learn being a listener, and the other might learn by reading, while yet other people might learn better by reading and hearing at the same time.
Keep in mind that these ways of learning are just examples, and there are many more. You can also learn by watching someone else perform a task. This is called visual learning.
The more you use the knowledge acquired from textbooks and instructors, the better off you will be. It is important to know where every answer lies on a number line because not all questions are multiple-choice. Make sure that when you take practice exams, it becomes as real as possible.
For example, if your instructor covers payroll taxes in class using CCH ProSystem fx Tax, make sure that is what you use for your practice exam. This is very similar to how an athlete would train for a sport. They mimic game-like scenarios as much as possible.
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4. Knowledge Transfer
Many people have a hard time transferring what they learn from a book to how it is applied on an exam. Like how taking notes in class is not as helpful as to how well you understand them after reviewing.
For every question you read in a textbook, make sure to apply how accountants solved it. Knowledge transfer is essential if you want to be successful.
5. Focus on the Rules
You have heard how important being a detail-oriented accountant is. If the clients give rules, how do you think they will look at how well someone follows those rules? Make sure to focus on how to follow guidance rather than how to apply it in every situation.
Focusing on the rules will help you understand how the rules, guidance, analysis get applied, and how it is valued. Also, you need to understand that when an accountant is focusing on the rules, they will be missing some nuances, which means you should not expect someone to follow the rules and focus your practice questions.
In conclusion, the rules are important to know, but they do not tell you your client’s expectations. Know the guidance and how it can help you to interpret the rules.
Follow it well because following the rules is considered best practice for an accountant, and if someone does not follow a rule perfectly, then they will be found out as having made a mistake even by just one small detail. Follow the tips outlined in this piece to be guaranteed of being successful in a CPA exam.
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