The 3 Biggest CPA Exam Score-Killers...
(it's crucial to understand these so you can create a study process that works for you)
Chances are, you're making the CPA exams harder than they need to be.
This will take a little to explain, so stay with me...
Here's the 2-step process that most CPA candidates use to try and pass the exams:
- They get their login to their review course
- They login each day and flounder through material day after day, with no real strategy or plan
What's the problem with this? Well, there's quite a few...
First, the CPA exams are a different animal then the exams you took in college. Primarily, they are much more difficult, and you are now probably working full-time while trying to pass these beasts.
Your full-time job isn't being a student anymore... you have a demanding full-time gig and you're trying to pass the hardest exams you've ever taken in your spare time.
Pulling this off requires a very specific plan and very specific strategies.
Day-to-day study strategies, time management strategies, final review strategies, and of course, your exam-day strategies.
When you don't have an overall plan and strategies that work, the CPA can quickly turn into a nightmare.
After a few failed scores, you start thinking about giving up on the CPA completely. In my hire group in public accounting, there were 9 of us - every single one of us was obviously dead set on passing the CPA - and a couple years later only 5 of us actually finished it.
And that's about right... the pass rate on any given section is 45-50%, and that's across the board for every section ever taken. So that means that a big portion of candidates fail a few times and just quit.
And it's too bad because it's not that the material is too difficult to learn, it's primarily a failure in the process of learning the material efficiently in a short enough amount of time.
And that's where these 3 score-killers come in...
Retention: How do you remember everything you've studied along they way, instead of forgetting everything you studied a month ago?
With one simple change to your study process each day, you can get better at ALL the concepts over time, which prevents you "forgetting everything", and helps you avoid feeling like you're going crazy because of your big "final review" 2 weeks before your exam.
Study methods: Do you know exactly what to do when you sit down to study? Or do you constantly feel like you don't have an effective study strategy and that you're not really making progress?
There are active study methods and passive study methods... Active study methods force new information into your brain, while passive study methods are largely a waste of time.
Active study methods work much, much better... you should be spending 80% of your study time on these, and ironically... they help you get through new material much faster than passive study methods, so you can get done with the exams as fast as possible.
Time itself: Do days and weeks go by without getting in any quality study? Does it feel impossible to hit your study goals each day?
When you focus on the right study methods, you can literally cut your daily study session in half. 4 hours, every single day, is incredibly hard to actually hit day in and day out.
2 hours on the other hand... is very doable, doesn't leave your brain feeling like mush, and helps you stay more engaged so that your study time is highly effective & productive instead of wasted.
We've organized the steps to solve these issues into a repeatable, step-by-step training, that is completely FREE so that you can take these proven strategies and use them yourself to pass your exams fast! (and avoid re-takes)
(and really- this training is completely free to attend and it will save you months of time from trying to figure this stuff out on your own)
It doesn't matter what review course you're using, you can apply these strategies and save yourself a bunch of time.
You'll also get a copy of our CPA flashcards when you attend a session of the training so that you have a starting point with our flashcards strategy.
Choose a session where you can attend on a regular computer or laptop... you'll have an easier time focusing on the training and a better overall experience.
What you'll learn on the free "study hacks" training
- Why the CPA exams are so much different than exams you took in college, and how to prepare differently
- The "accelerated" study methods that will allow you to literally cut your main session in half (for example, 2 hours instead of 4 hours)
- The study "hack" to figure out which parts of each chapter actually matter, so that you don't waste time trying to learn everything
- The best way to prepare for the SIMs, which is NOT just doing endless practice SIMs
- The exact time benchmarks to shoot for on exam day, so that you don't screw the pooch on the SIMs
- The trick to averaging one MCQ (multiple choice question) per minute
- You'll come away from this training with a crystal-clear study plan... that works
Let's just say that there's a lot to learn in order to pass the CPA exams.
If you really want to freak yourself out, open a copy of the CPA exam blueprints from the AICPA and start reading through everything you're supposed to know for each exam section.
For FAR alone there are 206 (as best I could count) subtopics. And each of these "subtopics" means full chapters and video lectures inside a review course.
The amount of information you need to learn for FAR and REG is staggering... which is why it's so common for CPA candidates to feel completely overwhelmed and outmatched.
(that's not to imply that BEC and AUD are "easy"... lots of people struggle with different sections for different reasons)
It's fair to say that any section is probably 5-10x harder than any test you ever took in college.
So, how do you learn everything in a short amount of time, but remember it as you go instead of forgetting everything you've studied?
I've got an exact routine that will not only help you remember what you've studied, but you'll drastically improve your understanding and retention over time, in addition to learning new material.
And this takes less time each day than what you're doing now.
Let's go over obstacles #2 & #3 first...
"For FAR alone there are 206 subtopics... and each of these "subtopics" means full chapters and hours of video lectures in a review course... the amount of information you need to know for FAR and REG is staggering"
This is one that you're probably very aware of.
Whenever I talk to CPA candidates about their study process, it usually sounds something like this:
"I'll turn on the video lecture, and after 10 minutes I've zoned out. Then, I'll try to read the chapter but it doesn't make sense or I just can't focus... so I'll try some questions, but those don't make any sense... so then I'll restart the video lecture..."
And that process basically repeats itself over and over until test day, and you never really feel confident about the material.
Again... there is so much material to learn, and you know that every single day counts. So it's very common for panic to set in when you're trying to study and it's not making sense, because you know the days are counting down and you're not making progress.
In my opinion, the big review courses don't do a great job of teaching you how to study. You buy access and then you login, and it's all in there... and you're just supposed to figure out how to put it all into your head.
The other thing, is that you just assume you need to know everything from every video lecture and every chapter because it's in there... but on test day you're only going to see questions on a small portion of topics.
So... what is the "best" way to study so that you're not wasting time and you're actually making progress?
And how do you narrow down the most important topics that are the most likely to show up on the exam?
I've got a lot of advice on that - including how you can actually shorten your daily study sessions while getting much better results - but let's cover obstacle #3 first.
"...it's very common for panic to set in when you're trying to study and it's not making sense, because you know the days are counting down and you're not making progress."
Literally not having enough time in the day is something that everyone struggles with.
Even the best study plan is worthless if you're not executing it every. single. day.
The problem is - and most candidates never consciously think about this - is that adding in 4 hours of CPA study WILL NOT happen unless you do something that really alters your schedule and frees up a bunch of time.
Your daily schedule and habits and regimen are already set. You're already using up the ~18 hours that you're awake with whatever your life consists of right now. But people sign up for a review course, put in their ideal exam dates, and it spits out your recommended study routine, which is usually 3 to 5 hours a day of studying.
And the thing is... that much time of dedicated studying does not just magically happen. You have to make drastic changes to fit in something new that takes that much time. You have to wake up 3 hours earlier, or you need to stay at the office 3 hours longer... and even if you don't have people at home waiting to see you, that is a big shock to your system. Your 10 hour day just turned into a 13 hour day... and most people can't keep that up consistently... hence the 45% pass rates.
I faced the exact same thing when I was trying to pass. I studied for 3 months for FAR over the summer before I started my job in public accounting. And this was studying the "normal way" that I've described above.
I ended up failing it. Then, I started working full-time, and I had very little time to study, but I was more motivated then ever to pass.
After seeing the exam in person, I had a few of my own ideas about how to study differently - and go through new material rapidly (because I had to) - and after changing a few things about how I studied, I ended up passing all 4 sections in the next 3 months.
"...after changing a few things about how I studied, I ended up passing all 4 sections in 3 months."
So what do you do about all this?
Like we said earlier, almost any struggle or issue with the CPA process boils down to some form of these 3 things.
I've taken the approach I used to pass the exams in 3 months, and turned it into a repeatable process that you can apply to your own studying.
I have a free training webinar you can attend, and it will walk you through this approach from start to finish.
You can apply these strategies no matter what review course you're using.
After this training - which takes about an hour - you will have a crystal clear picture of how to approach your daily study sessions. Which, I might add, will now be much shorter. And easier to get through.
I promise that you will find this training to be extremely helpful in your CPA journey.
NOTE: You'll have a better training experience if you attend the training on either a desktop or laptop.
Also, you'll get a free copy of our CPA flashcards when you attend, because flashcards are a big part of our approach... we'll explain on the training.
"This one hour can save you months and months of time from trying to figure it out on your own..."