Especially when it comes to the CPA Exam, old study habits that worked in college–like last-minute “cramming” or all-nighters–simply won’t cut it. To ensure you’re relaxed and prepared (and well rested!) on Exam Day, follow these 10 essential CPA Exam study tips.
1. Plan Your Attack
This is easier said than done, especially if you’re not the type who lives by a schedule. However, making a study plan and sticking to it is among the best CPA exam study tips, and for good reason–it works. Start early, months in advance, and cover your material in manageable, evenly-spaced blocks of time.
2. Shorter is Better
Studies show you absorb more information at the beginning and end of each study session. That’s why our bite-sized lessons are structured as they are. Studying in 30-45 minute increments, with 10-15 minute breaks in-between. The longer the session, the more you’ll forget.
3. Change Your Coordinates
One of the best CPA Exam study tips is to change-up your location – from the library to the coffee shop to your kitchen table. This forces your brain to make new connections with the material, which will help with information recall later . Just make sure your study locations are clean, well-lit, and quiet enough for concentration!
4. Use Flash Cards
Thought you graduated from flash cards when you left grade school? Think again. Digesting large amounts of information in tiny, fast increments is a great way to improve memory and retention. Wiley CPAexcel courses feature more than 4,000 digital flash cards for just this reason. You can also make your own. All you need are some 3 x 5 index cards.
5. Make It A Group Thing
If you like group work and can find other serious CPA candidates, form a study group that meets once a week or so. Not only can your peers help you work through difficult areas, but explaining concepts to others can help you better understand those concepts yourself. Plus, they may have some great CPA Exam study tips of their own to share.
6. Practice (Testing) Makes Perfect
Take practice tests early and often. Try to simulate actual test conditions with timed starts and stops. This will put your information recall to the test (no pun intended) and let you spot your problem areas. Wiley CPAexcel courses include unlimited practice exams and there are often paper practice exams included in many popular CPA study books.
7. Make Time to Review
Whether it’s by yourself or with a group, take time each week to review what you’ve learned while it’s fresh. You’ll reinforce what you’ve learned, but you’ll also discover lessons or information you need to revisit.
8. Don’t Go It Alone
Even if you can find a study group, keep in mind that there is an abundance of resources available to you. This includes online forums where you can get great CPA Exam study tips from people who have actually taken the exam. Use them!
9. Take Care of Yourself
There’s no use spending months preparing for the CPA exam only to stay up the whole night prior cramming or worrying. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and eat properly the morning before the exam. If you’re a nervous wreck, get in a nice workout to burn off the stress. It’ll help you sleep.
Last (But Not Least) of Our CPA Exam Study Tips …
Above all, find what works for you and do it! No two people study alike, but as long as you follow these CPA Exam study tips (and stick to #1 – your study plan!) you’ll be on your way to passing the exam.
Have questions about what to do after you pass (or don’t pass)? Check out our CPA Exam FAQs.