Studying for the CPA exam is a big commitment. If you’re hoping to pass the CPA exam in 3 months, you’ll need to study smarter, not harder. We’ve outlined the best course of action to prepare for the CPA exam below.
You may wonder, can you really pass all four sections of the CPA exam in 3 months? The answer is yes, you can! While the preparation will be tedious, it’s definitely doable.
The first step is to sign up for your exam. Then, find a CPA exam review course that best fits your needs.
Wiley offers 3 options, and there are other companies’ courses, too. Once you select a course, make sure you know how to make the most of it. We offer a free workshop to help you maximize your review course and build a plan once you become a Wiley customer.
Here are some quick tips to help you study successfully:
The CPA application process is somewhat tricky; it’s important to fully understand it before you begin studying. Ultimately, you’re responsible for following your Board of Accountancy’s rules.
A list of the Boards of Accountancy and their contact information may be found on NASBA’s website.
Once you understand the CPA application and registration process, it’s time to decide which section of the exam you’ll take first.
The answer to this differs by individual and by how the exam content changes each session. For example, in 2018, it was a popular strategy to take the REG section of the CPA exam first, as much of it was to change on January 1, 2019.
Generally, most people choose to do FAR or AUD as their #1 or #2 choices.
Based on pass rates, the easiest section of the CPA exam is BEC. Many consider the hardest section of the CPA exam to be FAR because of how much information and how many concepts it covers.
Learn more about the four sections of the CPA exam.
If there’s an exam section that you’re particularly concerned about passing, it may be a good idea to look into how different review courses cover that section of the exam.
Finding out which programs others who passed the exam used is a great way to get information firsthand. Their input can help you decide what course is best for you.
It’s important to schedule your exam before you start studying. That way, you know exactly how much time you have to prepare.
Distribute your hours evenly throughout the weeks leading up to exam day. It’s best to create a routine for yourself so you optimize your study time.
You must schedule your exam at least five days in advance. Before you can sign up, you need to read The NASBA Candidate Bulletin and be declared eligible by one of the 55 states or jurisdictions of the United States.
You can take the exam at any authorized test center in the US, even if it’s not in the jurisdiction where you’re seeking your license.
Visit our CPA State Requirements page to see if you meet the CPA requirements in your state.
Each section of the CPA exam contains units, known as testlets. Each testlet is a set of multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations (TBSs), or written communication tasks. TBSs can include small case studies or other types of problems like selecting the right answer, matching, evaluating documents, analyzing scenarios, determining and entering amounts, and performing research.
When selecting a review course, make sure that it substantially covers all testing formats.
It’s also important to consider your learning style and schedule. If you’re working full-time and preparing for the exam, you should decide on a course that offers flexibility.
Some courses are self-paced, while others follow a set timeline. Whichever course you pick should equip you with the skills to succeed in the exam, making it imperative that you use a trusted provider.
Once you create your 3-month plan, stick to it! To successfully prepare for the CPA exam, you need to stay on track.
An important thing to consider is exactly how you’re going to study. While it isn’t the end of the world if you have to retake a section, we want to provide study tips that will ensure a good exam score.
Here are 6 tips to help you study successfully:
Wiley CPA Review offers a personalized exam planner, which is the industry’s best CPA study tool. You simply put in your exam date and it tells you which lessons you need to get through each day.
Practice questions are potentially the most effective tool you can use to prepare yourself for exam day. Wiley CPA Review Courses explain answers for every question, which is most helpful to you in learning why each answer is correct and why each of the other answers is incorrect.
For any topics you may struggle wrapping your head around, you can go back to watch lectures and read lessons. For these more difficult topics, you may need the additional detail provided by the lectures and readings.
It’s also important to be completing practice exams that imitate the real thing. These mock exams will give you an idea of what to expect on exam day, and you can practice getting your timing down (i.e., figuring out how much time to allocate to each testlet).
When you review your answers to the practice questions, create flashcards for the ones you missed. Writing flashcards in your own words helps you to better comprehend the material and commit it to memory.
Use the information from the answer explanations to write your flashcards. Once you’ve reviewed the day’s material through answer explanations and flashcards, it’s time to move on to the final part of your daily preparation.
End your study session each day with a set of cumulative, multiple-choice questions. It’s a great way to really cement the information into your brain. Wiley’s CPA test builder generates comprehensive practice sets of 30 questions at a time, and you can do them over and over.
This is a vital part of knowing where you stand in your preparation. It allows you to adjust your study plan if needed. Another value of Wiley’s CPA Review Course is its mobile app, which brings us to our last major piece of advice.
Whether you use Wiley’s CPA course or another company’s, download a mobile app that gives you access to practice questions as a vital part of preparing effectively. Use the “Quick Quiz” feature by setting the number of questions you want to do and choose which exam section to pull questions from in the app settings.
Having access to questions on your phone allows you to practice any time that you have a couple of minutes, such as in the elevator, waiting for a coffee, or before bed.
Finally, use the last week before your exam to really focus your time on the topics you’ve found difficult once you’ve completed your study plan.
Try to complete as many practice questions and exams as possible, and faithfully review your flashcards—repetition is key!
Our CPA review courses use Adaptive Review, which is powered by CODiE-nominated FocusMe Technology™ to show you the areas you need to focus on, maximizing your study sessions.
For example, if you’re answering practice questions in an Adaptive Review session correctly, the question difficulty increases, so you can avoid easier questions that eat up your time. On the other hand, if you’re struggling, the questions will get a bit easier.
After each session, you’ll receive study recommendations based on your performance that outline your strengths and weaknesses and link you to lessons that you need to review.
While it’s certainly possible to pass the CPA exam in 3 months, sometimes life happens and it may take longer than you planned. That’s why Wiley has the “Access Until You Pass” guarantee.
Even when courses are updated or new material is added, you get all the updates and never have to pay again.