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How to Study for the CPA Exam Effectively

Becoming a Certified Public Account is a career goal many share for a number of reasons. Some enjoy the mental work that being a CPA involves. Others aspire to become CPAs due to their high earning potential and wide range of job opportunities.

Regardless, if you wish to become a successful CPA, along with studying accounting in college, networking, and striving to make the right impression on your professors and instructors, you’ll also need to pass the CPA exam.

You may have heard that it’s notoriously difficult. While it’s true that the CPA exam can be somewhat demanding, it’s not necessarily as challenging as you might assume. Many aspiring CPAs pass it year after year.

Those who pass it on the first try or achieve very high scores on the CPA exam are often able to do so for one simple reason: they know how to study effectively.

Entire books can be (and have been) written on effective CPA study habits. A single web story can’t tell you everything you may need to know about studying for the CPA exam. That said, if you’re preparing for this test, the following tips will help:

Think About the Test in Advance

When you’re acquiring knowledge and skills in your college courses, you may be taking notes and studying with the intention of performing well in said courses. That’s wise for clear reasons.

However, it’s worth noting that what you learn in those courses will help you perform well on the CPA exam as well. That may sound obvious, but many who have achieved very high scores on the test say that a key factor in their success was the simple fact that, throughout every college course they took, they made a point of considering how what they were learning could be applied later during CPA exam prep.

It’s never too soon to start studying for this exam. Even if you’re a student who won’t be taking the CPA exam for many years, start preparing for it now.

Take a Review Course

The CPA exam covers numerous subjects. Although what you learn in college may also cover these subjects, by the time you’re ready to take the CPA exam, you might have forgotten some of what you’ve learned. It’s also rare for students to learn everything that will be on the exam from their college and university courses alone.

Thus, as you’re getting ready to take the exam, strongly consider taking an online CPA exam review course. This is a convenient option that will allow you to brush up on your knowledge without requiring you to take a review course in person.

If Possible, Study in the Morning

This is a somewhat unique tip that many successful CPAs nevertheless swear by.

Virtually all who perform well on the CPA exam emphasize the importance of routine when studying for it. You need to set aside certain days in the week when you will regularly study.

You also need to set aside certain times of day for your study sessions. Although this may not be a practical option for all people, CPAs often recommend studying in the morning.

There’s a scientific basis for this suggestion. Research shows that the average person is more mentally agile and alert early in the day. If you study in the morning, you’ll have a better chance of retaining what you’ve learned. Study at night, when you’re drained mentally, and you could be wasting your time.

Just don’t let any of this intimidate you or stress you out. The CPA exam doesn’t need to be unreasonably challenging. It’s a much easier exam than many assume when they’ve taken the time to prepare for it.