Studying for the CPA is a long, arduous task. It also happens at a difficult time in a young accountant’s life. After years of hard work to receive a bachelor’s degree, most accountants look for work in their field. Once they’ve landed their first job, they turn their attention toward the CPA exam. This typical chronology puts aspiring CPAs in a remarkable challenging situation. They have to juggle their work commitments with their social and familial obligations, all while studying for the most important exam of their lives. What’s more, they’re often burdened with the stress that comes from knowing just how crucial this exam can be.
If you find yourself in this daunting situation, you’re likely eager for advice. It’s certainly not inherently evident how one can make the most of these difficult circumstances. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are certainly some steps that you’d be well advised to take. Here are five tips to keep in mind as you study for the CPA exam.
Take Advantage Of Study Tools
The internet gives modern day students a major advantage over their predecessors from decades past. There are plenty of CPA study materials available for free online, including sample tests that allow you to recreate the test-taking process in your own home. There are other resources available for purchase, and some extra materials might be worth the investment. After all, passing the exam will set you on a course for much higher earnings in the future.
Choose The Right Review Course
An online review course provides you with a structure around which you can base your studying efforts. Following such a course through the essential material will leave you much more prepared than any haphazard approach you might take on your own. Most courses include lectures, sample tests, and documents, all of which can give you the boost you need before you take the actual exam. Just be sure to choose a course that suits your learning style and includes updated material.
Commit To A Steady, Realistic Study Plan
By making a study plan and sticking to it, you’ll give your brain the regular doses of input necessary for real knowledge acquisition. When studying for a test as broad and difficult as the CPA exam, a ramshackle approach to studying simply won’t cut it. Take a look at your typical work schedule, and determine where in your day you can consistently find time to study. Take your unique preferences into account, opting for pre-work study sessions if you’re a morning person and midnight reviews if you’re a night owl. Just make sure your plan isn’t too ambitious. If you set goals you’re incapable of reaching, you might get frustrated and abandon your plan altogether.
Take Plenty Of Breaks
If you ask your mind to do more than it’s capable of, sooner or later it will rebel. The result will be an epic burnout that could seriously hamper your studying efforts. Respect your personal well being by taking regular breaks. Divide long study sessions with a bit of exercise or a walk around the block. Plan occasional outings, day trips, or weekend getaways that will allow you to momentarily forget about the exam altogether. The goal is to pass the CPA exam while remaining sane.
Study During Those Little Moments Of Free Time
Life affords us lots of brief moments of down time that we often fill mindlessly with social media and online games. Instead of letting these moments go to waste, use them to study a little more for the exam. Bring your materials with you to doctors appointments and the like so you’ll always be ready for a quick study session.