10 Tips for Studying for the CPA Exam

10 Tips for Studying for the CPA Exam

The Certified Public Accountant exam is an accredited and well-recognized exam across the globe that can land you with a range of bright career prospects. However, you need to show constant determination and commitment to pass this exam. In addition, you must invest your time and efforts to better prepare yourself before attempting this one of the most challenging accounting exams.

A CPA exam consists of four sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation, Auditing and Attestation, and Business Environment and Concepts. As a CPA exam candidate, you must pass all exam sections within 18 months. Each exam includes multiple-choice questions, the written part, and task-based simulations.

To pass the CPA exam, you must follow these ten tips.

Set a Schedule

Count the number of days you have left before an exam and prepare a study schedule accordingly. It is always best to start early to cover all of your course content. Moreover, plan your schedule according to when you can study with total concentration. For instance, if you can grab and understand concepts in the early morning, start your day early or vice versa.

Use your computer or smartphone calendar to create a well-suited study plan. The visual presentation on the calendar and reminders can help you stick to your schedule more efficiently.

Choose the Right Study Tools

The study tools are essential to get you through the CPA exam preparation. You can select study resources based on your learning preferences. For example, you can prepare with the help of books, digital resources, and an online CPA Review Course.

It depends on your own choice whether you are better at preparing from books or online courses. Online courses give you access to study material in one go, and you don’t have to shuffle through different books and chapters to find relevant material.

Focus on Understanding rather than Cramming

At this stage of higher learning, you cannot expect to score high marks in exams by cramming. Accounting is a complex subject that includes interconnected terms and concepts. So, if you plan to cram accounting terms without developing a proper understanding of their meanings and applications, you cannot pass a CPA exam.

The only way to learn terms and concepts is to break them down from easy to challenging and understand them.

Prepare for Difficult Questions

When you prepare for the CPA exam, don’t just consider the superficial or moderate level of questions that you can attempt or solve quickly. Instead, always include tough questions in your preparation so that you can learn and develop methods to attempt those questions in the best possible way.

Sometimes you may have questions in exams with multiple correct answers or no right or wrong answers. In this case, you must conduct proper research and discuss such questions with your instructor. Then, ask your instructor to provide a practice exam with a combination of difficult questions so that you can attempt them before appearing in the actual exam.

Study in Short Intervals

It is a waste of time to sit with books and study material in front of you the whole day without concentration and the will to study. When preparing for the CPA exam, it is best to study for a short period with vigor and attention. For instance, you can study more effectively for five hours a day than 10 hours. The human attention span only lasts for twenty minutes, so when you sit for preparation, make sure you are attentive and skip distractions while studying. It will help you prepare for the CPA exam earlier and in a better way.

Attempt Practice Exams

Practice exams are a great way of achieving success in exams. They prepare you to take an exam in a similar environment with a similar set of rules when you appear for an exam. Discuss with your instructor and take practice exams in similar conditions to an actual CPA exam. It means you have four hours to attempt all the questions in the exam without interruptions and breaks.

Attempting practice exams, again and again, helps you to manage your time and build your confidence and stamina. In this way, you become familiar with the exam environment and rules, and you won’t feel uncomfortable during the exam.

Review Your Notes

It is better to develop your notes for the last few days to review study material. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to go through all the study material at the last moment. Your notes will help you review key terms and concepts on the last day before an exam.

Study at Least 30 Days Before the Test Date

Getting started to prepare for an exam is an individual choice. It depends on your speed, learning style, and attention span. Some students take more time to learn, while others are fast learners. To keep it safe, you must start studying and revisiting your course material at least 30 days before the exam date.

If you want to ace your exam, you must develop responsible study habits to help you throughout your preparation journey. In addition, make sure to start preparation in time to have enough room for multiple practice tests.

Study in a Quiet Environment

Find the secluded area in your home and make it your study area. Make sure no noises and unwanted disturbances distract you in this particular study area. Studying in a quiet place helps you stay focused and learn information without getting distracted. Moreover, you will also spend less time grasping the knowledge in such a place due to a higher attention span.

Use Flash Cards

Flashcards are valuable tools to memorize and review study material. You can study and review them on the go. For example, you can go through them while stuck in traffic or heading towards your exam center. You can revise and revisit your study material faster than other means.


Some people neglect their health while preparing for the CPA exam. Remember that you can only perform better in exams when you take care of your health. Make sure you get enough sleep of 6-8 hours before appearing in an exam. You cannot expect your brain to be fully functional when you are deprived of sleep. It would be best if you stay alert and active during exams, and for that, you must take care of yourself.

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