How to Pass Your CPA Exams in 2023

How to Pass Your CPA Exams in 2023

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Wondering how to pass your CPA exams in 2023 before the big CPA exam changes in 2024? In this video, you’ll learn how to pass your CPA exam in 2023 using the three components of a highly effective CPA study routine.


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Episode Timestamps

  • 00:00 How to Pass Your CPA Exams in 2023
  • 00:18 How to Pass Your CPA Exams in 2023 Intro
  • 01:12 3 Components of an Effective CPA Study Routine
  • 03:29 Component #1
  • 10:16 Component #2
  • 12:56 Component #3
  • 17:00 Recap

Episode Transcript

Nate: Everything about your success on test day depends on your daily routine. There are three components to a daily routine that will lead you to passing scores on test day.

How to Pass Your CPA Exams in 2023 Intro

Nate: So in this video, I want to describe how you can pass your CPA exams in 2023, make this process very doable without it becoming an all-consuming nightmare that takes over your life. So that you can avoid having to go through the big changes on the 2024 version of the CPA exam.

Now, if you’ve watched any of our other videos or you listen to our podcast, you hear me talk constantly about your daily routine. Everything about your success on test day depends on your daily routine. What do you do on a daily basis for the weeks and months leading up to each exam?

So there are three components or three aspects to a daily routine that will lead you to passing scores on test day.

3 Components of an Effective CPA Study Routine

Nate: First, your daily routine needs to be consistent and doable.

Those are kind of interchangeable. If you’re not consistent, if you don’t consistently study every day as the weeks go by, it doesn’t matter what review course you have, it doesn’t matter that you’re using the most effective strategies. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. Nothing matters if you’re not consistently studying and putting in the time.

The second component of your daily study routine is that it needs to be effective.

So the sad thing is, it’s very possible to have component number one, someone who’s very dedicated, consistent, you put in a lot of time and effort over weeks or even months or even years, you know, I’ve talked to a lot of people that have spent years trying these exams and, you know, not getting passing scores.

It’s very possible to put in a ton of time. And if what you do when you sit down to study just isn’t connecting the dots between your brain and the material, as far as it relates to on test day, it’s very possible to put in tons of time and effort and still not pass these exams.

So when you sit down to study what you actually do, needs to be effective enough that it leads to a passing score on exam day. And of course, that sounds really obvious. But we also know that the pass rates are barely above 50% on any given section of the CPA exams.

The third thing that your daily process needs to have is it needs to have a retention component. So again, you can be dedicated, putting in a lot of time and effort. You can be really effective when you do cover each lesson. But if when you get to exam day six or eight weeks later, you just can’t remember, you know, more than 30% of the material, you will get a failing score and all that time and effort doesn’t matter.

All right. So now we’ll go into the specifics of each of these three components. And just describe how you make sure that your daily process has each of these three components.

Component #1

Nate: So for the consistency component, most people are trying to study four or five hours a day. I mean, when you put in your test dates into your study planner in your review course, and you know, you say, okay, today’s January 1st and I want to take FAR by the end of February, so you’re giving yourself I don’t know, six to 10 weeks somewhere in there to study for your exam. It’s going to spit back out that you need to study at least three, usually four or five hours a day.

Now the thing that most people don’t realize until they get into this for a few weeks is that, specifically if you’re working full time, it is incredibly difficult the way that your life already is, I mean, whatever your life contains to just throw in this extra thing that takes you four or five dedicated hours on top of the rest of your life every single day. For most people that just doesn’t happen unless you literally rearrange how your whole life works.

And again, as you’ve probably found out. If you’re trying to study four to five hours a day, that means you’re putting in a huge amount of work. Well, if things go off the rails and you miss one or two days, then you’re looking at eight to 12 hours just to catch up. So it’s easy to see why somebody gets so overwhelmed and feels so behind when they miss even one or two days of studying.

So the whole thing with SuperfastCPA and what we teach our clients and customers is your main study session, especially just on workdays, it only needs to be two hours a day. And you do that in the morning and then you make up the rest of the time with what we call mini sessions.

So instead of having to find four or five dedicated hours a day, to sit in front of your review course, you only need to spend two hours a day in the morning with your review course. And then you would just study from your phone in small chunks throughout the rest of your day. And our big promise or our big claim is that by the time you’re done with work each day, you can take the evening’s completely off because you have studied for the four to five hours. Without having to find a dedicated four to five hour chunk all at one time. And obviously finding two hours a day is much easier or half as hard as trying to find four to five hours a day. So it’s just much easier to stay consistent and it’s a much smaller, uh, mental pill to swallow, so to speak.

You know, you really have to gear yourself up to sit through four to five hours straight of CPA study. And when it just comes day after day after day after, day for months on end, it pretty much means that your whole life is work, study, fall asleep, wake up, do the whole thing again for months on end. Your life becomes pretty miserable, really fast when you’re trying to study in four to five hour chunks all at one time, every single day. It’s just obviously so much easier to only have to do that for two hours a day.

So the next element that will solve so many problems is to just do this in the mornings and I know that no one likes to wake up earlier than they already do. But it’s a very small trade-off for a huge benefit. You lock in your two hours in the morning and then it’s done. You don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to dread it in the back of your mind all day while you’re at work and just think, okay, I’ve got this huge project at work and then when I do get off at seven tonight, I’ve got to grind until midnight just to study.

You simply get up two hours earlier and of course, you know, tweak your whole daily routine. Cut yourself off at night from watching too much Netflix or whatever, whatever you do, go to bed an hour or two earlier, wake up an hour or two earlier. And everything aligns as long as you get into the habit, it makes your life so much easier.

So the next aspect is the mini sessions. So our study tools are designed specifically for this purpose. So we have three main study tools, the audio notes, the review notes, and then our quizzes. So everything about our study tools, they are based or they were created specifically for the idea of studying on the go. So whether it’s our audio notes or our review notes or our quizzes, everything is simplified, the questions or the examples in the notes use nice round numbers so that you never have to think about pulling out a calculator or scratch paper. And the idea is very simple. Instead of listening to music and podcasts while you drive or while you walk the dog, when you’re doing dishes at home or preparing meals, you can be listening to the audios.

So, yes, I understand. That’s, doesn’t sound super fun. But this idea of the mini sessions, if you just think about it. Whatever your main study session, whatever that is, just by using study tools from your phone: audio notes, review notes, quizzes, whatever. Replacing all your normal social media scrolling time throughout the day in these little five to 10 minute chunks, you can easily add an extra two to three hours of study time each day. Just as you go through your normal day.

So two to three hours a day over the course of six to eight weeks. That is easily over a hundred extra hours of study time that you wouldn’t have otherwise had. So that kind of extra time is of course going to lead to increased scores because you’ll have increased retention and comprehension of all the topics.

Now the last point on this consistency aspect, is that being really consistent and disciplined each day. Doing the two hour main session in the morning, and then the mini sessions, making that a habit as you go throughout the day. That kind of discipline really does set you free because you can take a complete mental break in the evenings, do the things you normally like to do. Whether it’s watch shows. I mean, just not have to think about studying. I mean, whatever it is, it just helps this whole process go much smoother to be really disciplined the first part of the day, and then to actually take a complete mental break in the evenings so that you have some semblance of a normal life throughout this process.

Component #2

Nate: Moving on to the effective component that your study process, when you sit down to study actually needs to be effective. How do you know that you’re being effective? What types of study methods are effective? What types of things are ineffective?

Now, if you have started the study process, you’ve probably had the experience where you start a video lecture. You realize 10 or 20 minutes in that you’ve zoned out several times so you have to restart the video lecture. And, or it’s just not making sense so you have to start the video lecture over. So basically a 30 or 40 minute video lecture can easily take an hour, an hour and a half, maybe even two hours before you feel like you’ve actually watched the whole thing. And then you go and look at some of the practice problems from the content that you just watched, and they still don’t make any sense. You don’t know how to actually answer the problems.

So again, at SuperfastCPA, what we teach our clients and customers to do is to jump straight in to the MCQs for any given lesson. Now there’s a lot more that goes into that, how to strategically use the questions as a learning tool to break down the material and instantly try to understand it in exam day context. Because when you think about it logically, on exam day, you need to be able to answer the MCQs and the simulations that you’re going to see. And so in a nutshell, our entire study approach is based on spending 80 to 90% of your study time doing those two specific things.

And again, once you hear that, that almost sounds too obvious. But again, most people spend most of their time really without realizing it doing exactly what I just described. If you have two to three hours of study time. Most people spend 90% of that time stumbling around with the video lecture before they even get to the practice problems and practice sims for the lesson, which is the most important part, because again, that is what you need to know how to do on exam day.

So of course in this short video. We can’t cover everything about the “How To” behind all of our study methods, but our free study training webinars spend an hour going into exactly that. So if you’ve never watched one of those, that will be the most helpful hour you can invest in your study process. So the link to one of those free one hour training sessions will be down in the description of this video or this episode.

Component #3

Nate: Okay. So moving onto the third component which is retention. You need to have a retention component built in to your daily study process. Okay. So let me explain the traditional study process and you’ll immediately see why it is so ineffective and, you know, in general, across the board leads to those 50% fail rates. So you go through each lesson one by one and an exam like FAR or REG, they cover over 200 topics. So you go one by one through every lesson.

But every day, you’re filling your short-term memory with all this new information. So most of what you learned yesterday goes right out. So you go over six to eight weeks of going through every lesson. And of course, somewhere in there, you start to kind of realize you’ve forgotten most of everything you’ve studied. Then you get to your final review where you’re essentially trying to relearn everything in one to two weeks.

So, you know, when I describe it like that, it’s easy to see why that is so ineffective. Now, what I’m talking about is simply spending a portion of your study time each day on re-review every single day. So all the material that you’ve been through, you spend a portion of each day of your study time re-reviewing all that info. So that as the days and the weeks go by, you’re constantly, you’re not just, not forgetting everything. You’re constantly improving on all topics. You’re building your understanding and comprehension of all the material in layers as you go.

And if you’ve never thought about it that way, I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking right now. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Because it does. It just makes logical sense to spend a portion of your study time, constantly improving on everything you studied previously. So that by the time you get to exam day, you are peaking on all your retention of the material, instead of trying to relearn everything in just one to two weeks in your final review, which of course you can’t relearn everything effectively in that short of amount of time.

Okay. So how do you build in that retention component? What do you actually do? So there’s two ways: now, this is all covered in our free webinar that I mentioned earlier, but the first 90 minutes of each study session is going through new material via the questions first approach, or as you’ll see it described on the webinar, we call that planting the seeds.

Now that the last 30 minutes of each study session, you will generate a set of 20 to 30 MCQs from all previous topics that you’ve been through.

The other way that you fit in re-review is through the mini sessions.

So when you listen to our audio notes on your phone, or you take quizzes on our app, or you read the review notes on the app, the idea is you’re just constantly, rehitting all the material over and over and over. Because the truth is, and again, this makes logical sense. The best way, or really the only way to gain a deep, practical level of understanding of all these topics is to expose yourself to them over and over and over.

The really deep understanding has to come in layers. And so doing the set of re-review questions at the end of each study session each day, and then also doing the mini sessions throughout your day, where you’re just constantly re hitting the key parts of each topic through our notes and audios and quizzes over and over and over as the weeks go by, that just gives you a very solid level of retention and comprehension of all the topics.

But like I said, if you want a deeper or a more comprehensive explanation of this, of how to do the retention component, that is covered in our free training webinars.


Nate: So to recap, your daily process needs to have three components. It needs to be doable so that you are consistent. It needs to be effective so that what you’re spending time on actually leads to passing scores on test day. And then it needs to have a retention component so that you don’t get to test a and forget enough material that you fail, which means all that time and effort was a gigantic waste of time. Instead, you spend a portion of your study time each day on re-review as the weeks go by so that you’re constantly getting better at all the material you’ve covered.

So, if you’re watching this on YouTube, I would like you to go down to the comments and post at least one “Aha Moment” that you got from this video. If you found this video helpful, you know, do the normal stuff, give it a like on YouTube, subscribe to either the podcast feed or the YouTube channel or both.

Most of all share this video or podcast in general with someone, you know, who’s also working on their CPA exams because videos or episodes like these, but especially our interviews with successful CPA candidates are the most helpful free resource available anywhere for people trying to figure out their own CPA study process.

So thanks for watching or listening and we’ll see you on the next episode.

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