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Three Study Tips to Help Prepare for the CPA Exam

Galina IvanivBy Galina Ivaniv

CPA Exam preparation is a multistep process. I was determined to pass the exam, and becoming a graduate student at Temple University helped me accomplish my goal. Not only had I access to a Becker CPA review course, but I also had enough time allotted to studying for the exam full time. After passing all four parts of the exam within 10 months, I am happy to share my three study tips to prepare for the CPA Exam.

Tip 1. Make sure to choose the right CPA review course provider.

We all tend to have different learning styles. Some people need visual information to better comprehend the material, others learn better by listening, and some learn through experience (doing exercises and performing procedures to gain a better understanding of the process/concept). CPA review course providers have different approaches to preparing candidates for the exam, so finding the right provider that fits your needs is crucial. Some companies offer free trials of their review courses, so make sure to take the opportunity and sign up for them. After you find the one that fits, choose the provider that will best help you pass the CPA Exam.

Tip 2. Create a study plan and stick to it.

Use the CPA review course provider's schedule to determine the approximate number of hours needed to study for each chapter. Then, based on your schedule, set up the exam date. Having a due date in mind is helpful for keeping yourself organized; there will not be any room for procrastination. In addition, devote every day to studying so you can easily retain information learned in the beginning. Practice exams, which can be taken at the end of studying for a particular section, are useful in assessing the preparedness. If you stick to the study plan, you will have plenty of time to work on the weak areas and be ready when it comes time to take the exam.

Tip 3. Maintain a balanced life.

Even though studying for the exam is going to be your top priority, devoting attention to other areas of your life is important for your mental health. Do not skip your morning workout, Sunday brunch with the family, or shopping with a friend. Try to reserve some time for yourself to keep the stress away. By taking time off from studying, you will gain more energy and your loved ones will not be affected by your busy schedule. A well-balanced life is essential if you plan to pass the exam.

Yes, preparation for the CPA Exam is time-consuming, but the reward is worth it!

For more tips on choosing the right CPA Exam review provider for you, check out Episode 1 of the Pennsylvania CPA Foundation’s “Work Your Way to CPA” podcast series. All episodes of the series, as well as additional resources to help you successfully reach CPA status, can be found on www.picpa.org/workyourway.

Galina Ivaniv is a staff accountant with Kreischer Miller in Horsham, Pa.

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