Preparing for the CPA exam is one of the biggest commitments in the long and rewarding journey to becoming a licensed accountant. Licensed accountants have a large amount of responsibility, and so to reflect this, the CPA exam has been designed to ensure that only qualified professionals receive licensure. However, there are a variety of study techniques that can make the exam process easier. Let’s discover 3 study tips to help you pass your CPA exam.
1. The Power of Visualisation
Staying driven and focused is vital if you want to pass the exam. As with any major test, being in the right frame of mind is almost as important as having a comprehensive knowledge of the four topic areas covered. When it comes to attracting success and prosperity, visualising your achievements can help to shift your thoughts into a positive space through conscious awareness of your goals.
If you are stressed about your preparations for the exam or feel overwhelmed by the course material, your energy levels and motivation can begin to diminish. Try to work on framing your thoughts and attitude and aim to overcome the limitations of your own mind. For instance, some CPA exam candidates find it useful to visualise scenarios such as working through the exam or opening a pass result on CPA score release day. Above all, being clear with your goals is vital if you want to stay driven and secure a pass.
2. Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Planning your study schedule is a crucial part of the CPA exam process. Being organised can reduce any stress or anxieties you might have about the exam and can ensure you use your time in the most beneficial way. Your first steps should be to break up the topics for each section of the exam into manageable parts. The four sections of the CPA exam (Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation) each focus on unique subject areas and understanding the structure of how these sections are managed is vital.
Overall, it is worth devoting the bulk of your study time to any weaker areas that require time, to fill any gaps in your knowledge. Breaking your revision down into achievable targets can help you to stay on track and avoid the pitfalls of feeling overwhelmed or uninspired. Remember to timetable in blocks for free time activities like getting out with family and friends. Although sticking to your study plan is essential if you want to improve your chances of doing well, making room for flexibility and relaxation can in fact help you to achieve a sense of balance between work, your studies, and your social life.
3. Hand Write Your Notes
In an increasingly digital word, the art of writing your study notes by hand has almost fallen out of favour. However, not only does writing something down increase your chances of remembering it, but research also seems to suggest that students who take handwritten notes with pen and paper tend to learn better than those who use a keyboard. This could be due to the fact that handwriting notes engages more of the senses than typing. Moreover, it is no secret that our memory is enhanced when the brain is more active.
Handwriting your notes while studying for the CPA exam can result in an increase in retention. Additionally, the complex relationship between the hand and the brain should not be underestimated. The effort required to write out key formulas and rules by hand can help you to commit necessary information to memory.
Consequently, putting key facts from each CPA topic into your own words is a much more effective method of learning than simply reading through notes from the course materials or using notes taken by someone else as it makes them relevant to you and your individual learning style.
Ultimately, when studying for your CPA exam, take time to check in with exactly why you have decided to pursue a rewarding career in the fast paced and diverse world of accounting. Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind and remember to tailor your study techniques to meet your own lifestyle and needs. Technology is one of the many factors changing the accounting landscape. Take a look at this blog post about the role of technology in accounting to find out more.