The CPA exam is known as one of the most rigorous professional exams in the world.
And in order to earn your CPA designation, you must pass all four sections within a rolling 18 month period.
Doing so is much easier said than done.
However, there are few things you can do to ensure that you have all the shots in your favor. And not just for this exam, but for any other similar too.
In this article we decided to help you out a little bit and let you know the 4 things you can do to better prepare.
First, How the CPA Exam Works:
Before we delve into some of the practical tips for passing the CPA exam, let’s make sure we’re on the same page regarding how the exam works. As mentioned, the exam is made up of four sections that must be passed within a rolling 18 month period.
According to NASBA, “You may take sections individually and in any order, but are required to pass all four sections of the CPA Exam within a rolling 18 month period. Credit for any section passed shall be valid for 18 months from the actual date the examination sections were taken. Examination credit expires by section. You will lose credit for each section passed outside the 18 month period, and will have to retake those sections. Your score notice will contain any relevant expiration dates.”
For example, let’s say you pass the AUD the very first time you take it.
Then three months later, you pass the BEC. Six months after that, you pass the FAR. Then you finally sit for the REG exam the final day before your 18 month AUD clock expires.
The only problem is you fail. You’ll now have to retake both the AUD and the REG sections before the BEC clock expires.
In other words, you can’t lollygag. You have to be intentional and efficient with your time. This means creating a study plan that allows you to pass all four sections with plenty of time to spare.
4 Tips for Passing All Four Sections:
The CPA exam is one of the more difficult and rigorous professional exams around. That’s why you should tackle it like conquering a country. Tactical and wise with a lot of discipline.
With the proper preparation, organization, and discipline, it’s definitely possible to pass each section the first time around.
Here are a few tips:
1. Start Preparing Early.
The first step is to create a study plan.
We’re not talking about a 30 day study plan. This is a 90 plus day study plan where you create daily and weekly learning objectives to serve as checkpoints in your preparation.
While you should only focus on one exam at a time, you can also loosely pencil in plans and dates for the other three exams, contingent on passing the first one.
Remember that the 18 month rolling clock begins as soon as you pass the first exam. Thus, it makes sense to already have a plan in place.
This allows you to begin studying for the second exam immediately after passing the first.
2. Choose the Right CPA Exam Prep Course.
Studying for the CPA exam on your own isn’t recommended. You’ll need to select a CPA exam course to help you prepare for each exam.
While there are dozens of reputable courses to choose from, we recommend doing your research and studying the facts.
Though a lot of courses will claim they have a good curriculum, let the data guide you. Wiley CPAexcel, for example, has a track record of 9 out of 10 students passing all four sections. That’s the kind of proof you want to look for.
3. Take Mock Exams.
In psychology there is something called “exposure therapy”. It’s when you gradually expose yourself to the thing that you are afraid of, in controlled environment, to reduce the impact that fear has on you.
Well, when you do a serious test like this one it’s normal to have anxiety and fear around it. So the best way to practice a form of exposure therapy is with mock exams.
It’s one thing to take some lessons and memorize some facts. However, if you want to increase your chances of passing the exam, you should take at least a couple of mock exams during the study process.
Not only will this gauge your proficiency, but it also helps you get acclimated to the test format so that it’s not such a shock when you sit for the real thing.
4. Refine Your Test Taking Skills.
Learning the material is the first priority.
However, it’s also smart to spend some time refining your test taking skills.
Since most of the exams consist of multiple choice questions, learning some different multiple choice techniques is a good idea. If nothing else, it can increase your chances of getting difficult questions correct.
What you should remember?
Don’t assume that you can casually study for a few weeks, cram at the last minute, and pass the exam.
This is a difficult test that requires your full focus and attention for months at a time.
Plan ahead and you’ll stand a much better chance. Try these advices and we are sure you’ll make it, or. atleast do the best you can.