5 CPA Exam Preparation Tips


One of the hardest challenges for an accountant is passing the CPA exam. During preparation, an individual must study intensely. According to the American Institute of CPAs, only half of test takers pass on the first try. To be successful, it is important to uncover five top study tips. These will help take some stress out of the preparation process.

Create a Solid Study Schedule

When it comes to CPA exam prep, a steady pace wins the race. Waiting too long to study will make it nearly impossible to get through the essential material. In order to successfully pass the test, it is vital to create a detailed study schedule. It is impossible to learn everything, so it is advised to ignore one specific topic that causes trouble and concentrate on the remaining subjects.

Months before the test, it is important to make a specific study outline. To cut stress, it is vital to schedule at least one week for a review of old material.

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Pay Attention to Multiple Choice Questions

Although there are different parts of the CPA exam, multiple choice questions account for nearly 70 percent of the FAR, REG, and AUD and 100 percent of a BEC score.


During the course of a person’s review, it is important to take sample tests and actively concentrate on the multiple-choice questions. The provided answer explanations will teach more about the subject matter. It is not uncommon for similar questions to be found on the real test.

Take Advantage of Down-Time

Since most CPA candidates work full-time and study on the side, it never seems like there are enough hours in the day to adequately prepare for the exam. To make things a bit easier, there are audio courses available. Instead of sitting down and dedicating special time to studying, a person can listen while commuting, performing household chores, exercising, or during any other downtime. Without much effort, it is possible to accumulate a few hours of studying.

Take a Break

The CPA exam is split into a number of sections. Each one can be mentally exhausting. After completing two of the four sections, it may be wise to take some time off. This helps clear the mind before finishing the other half of the test. Many CPA candidates rush through all four parts in an 18-month window.

However, this can end up in failure. If a person works in an accounting office during peak tax season, it is best to take time away and continue the test when things calm down. Even if an extended break is not possible, it is recommended to take a personal day each week for time away from studying. Shopping at the mall, going to the movies, or enjoying a nice meal at a favorite restaurant provides a respite from the stress and allows the mind to “recharge.”

Get Proper Rest

Although many people remain awake late into the night studying, it is better to get proper rest before the big test. Instead of guzzling coffee and cramming for the exam, it is more effective to head to bed for some sleep. Without proper rest, a person cannot think clearly. Every person is unique and requires a different amount of sleep to keep the mind sharp.

To avoid midnight study sessions, it is helpful to make the most out of the daylight. For example, it is smart not to waste hours foolishly playing on social media or doing other things that take time away from early studying.

Studying for the CPA exam may seem daunting but staying motivated and organized will yield positive results. The above tips will be useful and help a person pass the test with minimal stress.