How To NOT Study For The CPA Exam

There I sat, staring at my laptop waiting for the scores to roll in from NASBA. I had taken my “hopefully” last section of the C.P.A. exam about a month prior and to be honest I had just wanted to be done with the whole thing. 99, 95, 80, 75, it didn’t matter, I just wanted to see that “credit” come through on my NASBA transcript. All it had to be was a 75 or higher, and sure enough as soon as that score can in it was a “77” and was forever done with the CPA exam.

However it really shouldn’t of took me as long as it did to pass. I mean in a total sense taking 2 years to pass, or six minutes doesn’t make a bit of difference, but it would of been much easier had I been studying the right way. It took me 10 attempts to pass the four sections and I came with in two weeks of losing the credit on one of the sections. It really shouldn’t of been close as most people seem to take 5 attempts to pass four sections (meaning they only failed one section, once), and can pass it within a year. However one thing that I am grateful for is this experience allowed me to really nail down what I was doing wrong. And I intended to explain what not to do when studying for CPA exam.

DON’T memorize multiple choice questions: This is the number one reason I kept failing the exams. When I was studying, I was always getting crazy high percentages on the multiple choice quizzes in my study software (I used Wiley, good software, would recommend), but that was after doing the same multiple choice quiz over and over again. Basically I had memorized almost all the questions and could easily pick out the answer without reading the question, which I did. I would take these quizzes in like 30 seconds and fool myself into thinking I was going to pass because I could cram 500 questions in a day of studying.

DON’T dip your toes in the water when studying: This was another thing that hampered my success. I would study for what seemed like hours and hours but was in reality like 30 minutes. I would study in these quick bursts and then goof off and then get back into studying, which led to me learning some things and then immediately forgetting about them.

DON’T try and cram the day of or the night before: This may seem counter intuitive, but stay with me on this one. The day of the test should really be you having a nice, balance breakfast and trying to cut down on stress in any way you can. It shouldn’t be a time when you are needlessly stressing yourself out moments before the test. If you failed the test, you did so weeks before you took the test, not the day of.

AND DON’T skip the practice test on your study software: When I was failing tests I would take like one or two of the practice tests and only do the multiple choice sections. And while it is pretty common knowledge that the multiple choice questions are much more useful, skipping the sims can make you unprepared for when you actually see one on exam day. You don’t necessarily have to get a 100% on the practice sims but at least give them a go and see how you do.

In conclusion, if you were a good student in college you should be able to recall good study habits. If you study enough for the CPA exam you will pass. So just be diligent and don’t give up. The only thing that matters is that you get that license, not how many times it took you to pass.

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