I know you guys are all about some CPA study tips. So I’ve compiled a list of the BEST CPA study tips that I know. Read, learn, apply.
Learn Your Learning Style
This is my top advice for anyone studying for the CPA exam. When I first started studying for the exams, I read everything, highlighted, took notes, watched the lectures and went to the lectures. By the last exam, I was ONLY reading the study materials and doing MC.
You HAVE to know your learning style, or you’ll spend countless hours studying in a way that isn’t helpful to you at all. You can cut down on the time you have to study for each exam simply by knowing how you learn.
After four years of college, you should know what your learning style is. If you aren’t sure, you can take this test to see which style works for you.
If you are a visual learner, reading things over and over is likely going to be your best learning tool. If you are auditory, listening to lectures and answering questions out loud may be best for you. If you are tactile, writing and rewriting notes may be best for you. Use the first exam to find out what works and continue doing that through the next exams.
Have An Idea Of Content Weight
Let’s be honest. Unless you have a strong photographic memory, you aren’t going to be able to remember all the material. Knowing which sections have more questions on the exam is helpful in this aspect. Check out the AICPA’s guide to know the weight of each subject on the exams.
Set Daily Goals
If you don’t have a plan each day, you’re likely to spend at least 3 hours doing something that has nothing to do with studying (i.e. Facebook, online shopping, watching cat videos).
Maybe start small and gauge yourself. Set a goal to answer at least 50 MC questions or get through at least 2 sections. You can build or cut back from there.
Do The Practice Questions and Tests
Really, the Multiple Choice questions and example simulations are the best help for the exam. Not only do they test your knowledge and ensure that you’re learning, but they give you an idea of how the questions will look and feel on the exam.
Do the practice questions for each section and take the practice tests. I know sometimes you just aren’t feeling it, but it will be worth it in the end.
Set Aside Time For Final Review
Final review is key. You should set aside between one and two weeks to review all the material. Make a plan to do a certain amount of material each day leading up to the exam. Then spend one or two days really digging into concepts that you aren’t completely sure on.
You should also do a practice exam simulation about a week before the real exam. It will give you an idea of your weak points, and it will show you how your real exam is going to work.
Change Your Scenery
Studying in the same place constantly can get really stale. Switch it up by having a few places that work for you. I found that home, the library, and the closest coffee shop were all good bets. I sometimes even took my studying to the beach.
As you look for places, keep in mind how you get distracted. I could do multiple choice questions at the coffee shop, but I couldn’t read at the coffee shop. There were too many distractions.
You should be taking small breaks throughout the day to give your brain some rest. You should also take a few day-long breaks during your entire study period. If you’re planning on four solid weeks of studying before a certain exam, schedule a couple days of break time.
Go out with friends, have a “me” day, do things that aren’t related to the exam. You’ll come back to studying the next day refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the next section.
Good luck my CPA friends!