Many professionals have to pass licensing exams before they can work. The CPA exam is one of the most rigorous exams. Experts say passing the test requires 400 to 500 hours of intense studying. Here are some helpful tips to prepare for the CPA exam.
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The CPA exam has four parts that must be taken over 18 months. The four sections are Auditing and Attestation, Business Requirements and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation. This is why test-takers need a study plan.
The exam covers a tremendous amount of material. Further, there’s a limited amount of time to study. One student prepared for the exam studying for four hours every weeknight. In addition, he studied for four hours every Saturday morning. Sunday was a rest day and there was no studying.
There are free sample exams online. Take them over and over again until you know the material. Thirty percent of the exam is tackling real-world situations. It’s not enough to know the material. Rather, knowledge must be applied to solve problems.
Form a Support Group
Put together your own group of cheerleaders that you can rely on in the morning, noon and night. This group should include mentors, family, and friends. Don’t try to complete a difficult task alone. Further, a study group is a useful tool. Like-minded people share information and work together.
Know the Lay of the Land
Experts stress the importance of knowing the CPA exam footprint. It’s important to understand how computerized tests work. The multiple choice portions of the exam are progressive. The questions get more difficult the better the test-taker performs. The American Institute of CPAs offers free exam study material. This includes a simulated version of the exam.
Find a Way to Relax
Preparation for the CPA exam goes on for months. Find ways to relax during this stressful time. Most test-takers work in addition to studying for the exam. One has to make time to work, study and sleep. That’s why you need a mental health break periodically. Make sure you get plenty of sleep during the months leading up to the exam. Sleep helps to keep stress at bay.
Distractions prevent test-takers from sticking to the study schedule. Further, they prevent you from studying at all. Turn off the television and leave the cell phone in the car. Focus is key to studying and retaining information.
Get Away From It All
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to get away from home to study. Find a secluded spot in the country and get away for the weekend. Spend time studying and sleeping. Additionally, find a study place when you’re home. Some people like to study at the library. Find out what works for you.
Test takers need to be organized and stick to the schedule. Remember, individuals have 18 months to take the exam. Study hard and pace yourself. Utilize all the study materials and make time to sleep.