Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are considered to be at the top of their accounting game. While passing the CPA exam will be challenging, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the test. Here are some great tips on studying and passing the CPA exam on your first try.

Invest in a High-Quality CPA Review Course

Consulting a CPA study guide and a review course can give you the edge you need, but you’ll need to find the right course based on your needs. You should judge a CPA course based on:

  1. Learning Style: Are you a more visual learner or a text-based learner?
  2. Study Environment: Are you a self-studier or prefer a classroom environment?
  3. Extensive Research: Are you optimistic that your review course will help you succeed?
  4. Free Trails: Did you feel that what you experienced in the free trial worked for you?
  5. Discounts/Price: Is the CPA review course worth the price?

A CPA review course should help you pass the CPA exam because it features examples of questions you’ll see in the actual test. It can also help you create a study guide, perfect your time management skills, and cover all sections of your study materials the first time.

There’s no one-size-fits-all CPA review course, but there’s bound to be one that maximises your study potential. Don’t settle for a course that prioritises busy work over study optimisation.

Mental Preparation is Key to Success

Preparing for your exam doesn’t just include reviewing your study materials; it also involves mental preparation. Agreeing to take the exam requires 100-200 hours of study time, which may cause you to spend less time with your friends and family. Always keep in mind that rest is vital.

To mentally prepare, keep a list of reasons you want to become a CPA and accept that you may fail the exam the first time. Burnout will only make it harder for you to successfully pass the exam, take your time, build a study routine, and make time for things you enjoy.

Know What’s Tested on the CPA Exam

Knowing what you’re in for can help you prepare more efficiently. As the CPA exam is created and conducted by The American Institute of Certified Accountants (AICPA), you’ll receive the same exam, regardless of what state or institution supplies the test. The CPA consists of:

  • A whopping 276 multiple-choice questions, 28 task-based simulations, and three writing portions.
  • A test divided into four sections: Auditing and Attestation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Business Environment and Concepts, and Regulations.
  • A test where candidates have four hours to complete each section, for a total exam time of 16 hours.
  • Sections that you take individually usually occur on separate days.
  • An 18-month total time frame for candidates to pass each section.
  • A scoring system with a scale of 0-99. You must score at least 75 to pass each section.

Even with an MBA and work experience, CPA test takers have their work cut out. However, those who pass have access to a broader job pool and a better salary.

Use Various Study Techniques

Experimenting with different study techniques can increase your success. For example, the spaced repetition technique involves studying for an hour and returning to the material after 30 minutes. This technique can improve your focus and keep your mind sharp for the exam.

Studying simultaneously every day can help you build a routine, which is crucial if you have other commitments. Setting aside 15-30 minutes every other day to review study material is necessary, as the exam is all-encompassing. Make flashcards so that you can review them on the go.