Adam Greene CPA's Blog

Certified Public Account in Melville, NY

14 tips to ace that CPA test

So you think you’re ready to take that CPA exam. You want to get the best results on the first try, since this is an expensive test. All four parts of it. There are several different ways to prepare in order to take the CPA test. Let’s take a quick look at several different approaches and techniques that will hopefully be useful.

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  1. Take a look at the topics related to the section that you are preparing to take. Remember that the sections are Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation, Auditing and Attestation, and Business Environment and Concepts.

  2. Consider taking the part of the exam that you enjoy the most first. If you are looking for good results, focusing on something that you like will probably yield those results.

  3. It is recommended that you study between 260 and 390 hours, total, if you really want to master the topics that will be evaluated in the CPA exam. You will clearly spend more time in certain topics than in others, but it’s likely that you will spend about 50 to 90 hours on each section. The number of hours you spend studying will be directly proportional to the amount of points that you’ll get in the end.

  4. When it comes to actually studying for the test, it’s not recommended that you study every day, since you will get tired and your preparation won’t be efficient. What you want to do is maximize the productivity of the time that you spend studying. It’s okay to take a couple of days off every week without thinking about the exam. Get some rest, get your mind off of it, entertain yourself, take a walk, do something different that you enjoy. This way of preparing will surely help you increase the amount of points that you will get on the test.

  5. It’s also a good idea to exercise a little in order to keep yourself stress free and in good physical and mental shape. You don’t have to be perfect, as long as you get a sufficient amount of points to pass the test. It’s not worth it to wear yourself out, there’s no point in doing this.

  6. When it comes to deciding the amount of time that you will spend studying each day, you should be realistic about the number of hours that you can dedicate to this endeavor without exhausting yourself.

  7. If you have a study guide, read the questions, take notes that are short and easy to understand, use memory cards or flashcards, and simply keep on doing this until you have accumulated a sufficient number of hours. Don’t waste your time planning how you’re going to study, just do it.

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    Image courtesy of Dean Hochman at Flickr.com


  8. It’s important for you to keep track of how much time you have spent studying, so you can decide if your progress so far has been good or if it needs to improve as the date of the exam approaches.

  9. Beware of procrastination. Don’t put off the parts of the test that you find hard to study or understand. Stick to your schedule and manage your time appropriately. Don’t do things later if you can do them now. This is why it’s important for you to have a schedule.

  10. The goal of the CPA exam is not to answer all of the questions with absolutely perfect answers, but to answer enough questions in order to actually pass the test. You don’t have to know everything, every single little detail. What you have to do is make sure you study as much as you can to cover as many topics as possible, and just keep moving from one topic to another.

  11. Another advisable thing when it comes to preparing for the CPA test is to trust yourself, be confident. This is often overlooked. The exam may be hard but it’s not impossible to win. If you are willing to organize your time and your energy and make up your mind to pass the test, you will accomplish it. All you need is some effort and a positive attitude.

  12. While studying for the CPA exam, it’s very important for you to take notes. This will allow you to remember the information when the time comes to actually answer the questions on the test. You can always review your notes during the time that you’ll spend studying for the test. Read them over and over again, this’ll help you learn everything you need in order to pass the test.

  13. Keep in mind that your grade on the CPA exam depends on the value of the questions that you get correct, which is why you should never leave blank answers.

  14. When preparing your study schedule, it’s recommended that you set goals for each week, in order for you to be able to keep track of them and see how you are advancing -or not- over time.

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Read Adam Greene’s How to study for a CPA test while working full time

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