Studying for the CPA Exam
Contributed by: Ryan Maran, CPA
Studying for the CPA exam can be daunting, especially if you are still getting acclimated to your new “work, life, fit” routine after college, or if you have young children. Current statistics aren’t likely to reduce stress levels. According to a recent survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the average pass rate in 2017 was just below 50%.
Even if you’re a “glass almost half full” kind of person, you may find the pass rate discouraging. Fortunately, the end results make the process worth it. CPAs have excellent job security, and their median salary is about 27% more than accountants that are not certified and will almost certainly always give you an extra boost towards that next promotion.
Plan For CPA Exam Success: Tips To Keep You Focused
As a recent college grad, you may feel tempted to take a break from studying before you begin preparation for the CPA. However, as your career begins to mature and develop, your workload and obligations will only increase, making it challenging to carve out necessary study time. Staying focused on the end goal and following a structured study approach can help make all the difference throughout the preparation process. Here are five top tips to help you successfully study for and pass the CPA exam:
#1: Find The Right CPA Review Course
Investing in a structured course is essential if you want to become a CPA. There is just too much information on the exam to attempt to study without the supplemental aid of a review course. Most importantly, find a review session that resonates best with your own learning style and strengths for best results.
#2: Study When You’re Most Alert
Let’s face it; cramming in late night study hours after a long day at work is a direct route to mental exhaustion. Whenever possible, come into work early and begin your day studying. Studying when your mind is fresh and alert can promote better long-term retention for better test results.
#3 Weekends Are Gold
Yes, really. Everyone groans at the thought of using precious free weekend time for studying; however, this is where you’ll have some of the biggest open stretches to really make an impact on how well you absorb the material. Study each morning and keep your afternoons open to preserve your social life but still log some serious study time.
#4 Find A Study Buddy
Whenever possible, study with a friend or fellow staff member at work. The road to holding a CPA is a long journey. It helps to have someone along for the ride, both to hold you accountable when you don’t feel like studying on Saturdays, and for a little friendly competition.
#5 Commit To The Process
Most importantly, give in to the fact that, right now, passing the CPA is a top priority. As hard as it may sometimes be, you need to plan life around studying, not studying around your life. Remind yourself; you are only sacrificing one summer, one Thanksgiving break, etc. for a lifetime of benefits.
Sound intense? It can be. Passing an exam of this magnitude requires exceptional effort and unwavering commitment, which makes it that much more rewarding when you pass and see those letters after your name!