In this episode we’ll go over the aspects of the best way to study for the CPA exam that your daily study routine needs to have.
Alright, welcome to Episode 5 of the CPA Exam Experience podcast with SuperfastCPA. I’m Nate. And today, we’re gonna cover what is the best way to study for the CPA exams.
Now, in my true fashion, I am going to give you some of the background information so that your actual strategies can actually pay off, because if you’re not finding the time to study every day, having the best strategies won’t matter at all. So let’s go down the list here. Here’s what we’re gonna cover today.
First, why you need to be strategic about every aspect of your daily study routine. What things in your daily study process really matter and what things really don’t? We’re… we’re going to cover getting to the right mindset for success with the study process. The optimal length of your study sessions, how to fit in a lot of extra study time every day.
And so we’ll start from the top.
There are really two key aspects for a successful study plan. First is your daily routine, then your actual study methods. So your daily routine and how you set that up, that is going to be just as as crucial as the actual study methods that you employ when you do sit down to study. So your daily study routine.
This is very important to understand a lot of people. They just get their review course and they think, OK, well, I’m going to just start this process and they just kind of ambiguously assume that they are going to magically find four or five hours a day to carve out and sit with their review course. Now, the reality is we all have a daily routine. And even if you don’t think of yourself as a routine person, your daily routine is going to be very, very similar day to day.
You’re going to do the same things in roughly the same timeline every day. What I’m really trying to say is that your day, your days are already filled up with stuff, whether that’s your work, what you do when you come home from work, who you spend time with.
That is very routine, even if you don’t think of it as a routine. So you won’t magically find four or five hours a day. So you have to understand that. So it’s going to require sacrifice, cutting other things out. Really, it just requires a major rearranging of your normal day as it already happens currently. So you have to be strategic about when, where and how you will fit in your studying each day. You will have to sacrifice things, you have to find the things that you’re willing to cut out that you’re willing to do less of.
The things that just aren’t that important or aren’t… aren’t going to help you pass your CPA exams any faster. You have to give up some of those things or a lot of those things for a few months while you get these exams over with. You might need to go to bed earlier. You might need to get up earlier. If drinking a few times a week. I mean, however much you party. Whatever. But if drinking ruins you for the next day, then you need to stop drinking for a few months while you pass your exams. Whatever it is that impedes your ultimate goal of passing your exams, you are probably going to have to give those things up for a while.
And that brings us to the “all in” mindset. So for all of this to work for you to a) find the time to study every day and b) actually have the motivation, the drive, the perseverance to actually sit down and grind through your study sessions every day for months on end, for any of that to work, you will eventually have to get to the point mentally where passing your CPA exams and hitting your study goals each day is more important to you than your favorite leisure activities, again, at least for a few months. This is something that I I like to ask people or I mentioned this in emails or other content of mine.
Would you rather buckle down and be a hard core study maniac for four to six months and just get these exams over with once and for all? Or kind of half ass it and then let this process turn into a year or more. And I’ve talked to a lot of people that have been messing with these exams for multiple years. And possibly you go on to not even pass at all, because if you’re just kind of… Here’s the thing, the mental stress level is the same, because you have this you have these exams hanging over your head every day until all four of them are passed. And that mental weight is the same, whether you are studying like a maniac and fitting in as much study time.
As often as you can throughout your day versus someone who’s kind of just half-assing it and missing a few days a week of studying, the mental stress is the same. So you might as well act like a study maniac and… and just be hardcore about this process where that’s outside of your job, this is really the only thing that matters. And get it over with as soon as possible because that mental stress is the same and you don’t want to have that hanging over your head for a year or more when it’s, it’s relatively simple when you figure out a study, a study process that works as long as you put in the steps every day and you’re consistent. It’s relatively simple to get these over with in four or five or six months.
OK, now all that being said, however you do study, it has to fit into your daily routine. So that brings us to the SuperfastCPA approach. Now, my personal opinion is, this has to do with the 50 percent fail, 50 percent plus fail rates across the board. Everyone out there has a review course and everyone out there is more or less doing the same thing.
They’re trying to watch every video lecture, read every chapter or do the practice questions. And they’re also trying to study like four or five hours a day, because that’s kind of what the review course or the study planners tell you is how much you need to study. Now, the problem with that, that would all that would all be great, but the average person that’s working full time and trying to pass these exams does not have four or five hours a day. That’s the big problem.
You will not consistently find four or five hours a day every single day to sit and do those long study sessions. So what we teach our customers is how to have a two hour main study session. And when you do this right, it’s more effective than someone that’s studying four to five hours the normal way – what I just talked about. Then what you do is you use study supplements on your phone all throughout the rest of your day, such as review notes, audios, taking quizzes, studying from your phone allows you to make up the second half of your study process each day as you go through the rest of your day.
So again, where you’re trying to study four or five hours a day all at once with your review course, that requires dedicated, you know, a separate, a completely separate four or five hours that you have to find and carve out of your day to sit in front of your review course. Now, clearly, a two hour session is much easier. It’s less than half the time. It’s easier to accomplish on a daily basis. And then you make up the rest of your study time by using effective study supplements on your phone. So that is the approach that we teach our customers.
You can get a free overview of our study process at superfastcpa.com/training. These are one hour trainings where we just go through the details of our study process for free. So you can see how that works. And it will be very eye opening. You will have a lot of aha moments as you go through one of these trainings.
You can also text PASSNOW – one word – to 44222.
Anyways, moving on from that.
Now we’ll go into the actual study methods. Now, relentless work ethic does not guarantee success on the CPA exams. That’s a harsh reality.
There’s no you know, there’s no option on test day to say, OK. Now, if you end up getting a failing score, as long as you check this box that you spent at least 200 hours studying, you know, we’ll we’ll bump it up to a seventy five. That doesn’t that doesn’t happen. Obviously. You have to get a passing score. It doesn’t matter if you’ve somehow studied 50 hours or 300 hours for for the section.
You have to be able to pass the, the exam. So how you study matters again, going back to those 50 percent plus fail rates. Everyone out there has a review course. Everyone out there has access to the same information and they approach it more or less the same way, watching the lecture, reading the chapter, doing the practice questions. But on test day of all the people that go in there. Only 50 percent pass.
That comes down to, that means the difference is how people are studying. Now, again, this will be an overview. Watch one of those trainings I mentioned for the full details, but I don’t want this to be an hour long video. So in general, you want to focus on the questions first for any lesson, you look through the questions first. So you’re going through the questions to get an idea of what you’re trying to learn. Now, remember.
You are studying to pass, not get a PhD. You don’t need to be able to get up in front of a class and lecture on every single topic. Like a accounting professor would. That’s not the requirement. You just need to be able to answer the questions that you’re going to see on test day. For any given lesson, you can do this yourself. Run this as a little test. Go and watch the entire video lecture for a lesson and you’ll get all the background information.
All this stuff that you really won’t end up seeing a lot of on the actual questions. So the the lecture in the text gives you the full picture. But now go through the questions, for any given topic or for that same topic. Go through all of them just to get an idea of what they’re actually asking questions about, and you will see that for any given lesson, most of the questions will will come from the same three or four main ideas from that topic.
So that’s a huge reason to go straight to the questions from a lesson so that you can get an idea of, OK, if I’m going to ans… answer the questions from this lesson. These are the things that I apparently need to know or need to know how to do or how to calculate. So it goes through the questions first and read the explanations.
Some lessons will be relatively easy based on your background, the information that you already have based on your background or your job experience, whatever it is. Some lessons will be easier than others for you personally. Now for those. You might get what you need to. You might get the understanding you need to, from just going through the questions alone.
So that is a huge timesaver. If even 30 or 40 percent of the lessons are that way, you can move through it very quickly. Make yourself a few flashcards, maybe. But essentially you move on without having to watch the lecture or read the chapter. Then on the harder lessons, you still want to look through the questions first, because again, you’re trying to get an understanding of what you need to learn. Then if you go and watch the video lecture, the lecture will instantly make 100 times more sense because you have an idea of what you’re trying to learn from it. And you do that instead of again, just starting from starting with the lecture and watching it.
You don’t really understand what you’re hearing at all. It doesn’t mean really anything to you because you don’t have context of what you need to learn from that lesson. So you can avoid zoning out and restarting at 20 times by going through the questions first. Now, here is the best tip I can give you about how to study, again, using the normal way of studying, you go through each lesson in a linear format. One by one. And you don’t rereview any previous lessons until your final review. So what that really turns into is you slowly forget all of these things that you’ve spent so much time learning up front and then you get to your final review and you have to just relearned everything, which is a recipe for disaster.
Again, I would refer to those 50 percent fail rate. That’s why that happens. So instead, here’s the tip. Find a way to build rereview into your daily routine. You have to find a way, you should be spending a portion of your study day on re-review every single day so that you’re continually hitting the stuff that you’ve already studied over and over and over. Now we have specific strategies again that we teach our customers. Using your own review course doesn’t matter what review course you have. We cover that on those free trainings I mentioned.
Again, though, you can just text PASSNOW to 44222 and you’ll be sent you’ll be texted a link to those trainings so you can sign up for one, or you can go to superfastcpa.com/training. So we have a specific strategy or a few of them that we teach to our customers. You can learn for free on those trainings. The other thing is and the reason we have our study tools, our study tools such as our review notes, the audio’s and the quizzes on the SuperfastCPA app – they make it extremely easy and convenient and very effective to be able to just consistently and conveniently go through all topics from the lesson over and over and over.
So the idea is you read the review notes whenever you have five minutes throughout your day from start to finish, you just work through it from start to finish. The audio is of the same way. Whenever you’re in your car, whenever you’re commuting, whenever you’re preparing meals or cooking something or whatever it is you do to get ready in the morning, you can just play the audios on your app. And then also whenever you have whenever you would normally pull out your phone and look through social media like I talked about – take a few months off from that kind of stuff and replace it with just using study supplements on your phone.
Take quizzes, you can take quizzes in our app. The questions on our app have been modified with nice round numbers because the problem with review course apps is they have full strength questions in there. And so if you’re waiting for a meeting to start, I mean you basically needed a calculator and scratch
paper to try and do those questions. It’s just not functional or feasible to do on your phone. So we’ve modified our questions so that they work easily and you can do questions in your head.
So here’s a recap.
Your study routine needs to fit into your daily routine. So again, the SuperfastCPA approach is a two hour main session in the morning. Plus what we call mini sessions so that the second half of your studying each day can happen as you go throughout your normal day. That’s much, much easier behaviorally to fit in each day than trying to set aside or find four or five in four or five hours all at once where you have to sit with your review course.
That’s… it’s clearly easier to accomplish this on a day to day basis. You can watch our free training for the full walkthrough of how that should all work. And then for the actual study strategies, remember that you should be focusing on questions, learning how to dissect questions, going through the questions first, because that teaches you or that’s showing you what you need to know for test day from each lesson and then build re-review into your daily routine so that you’re consistently improving on all topics instead of just slowly forgetting the things that you’ve spent so much time learning.
So again, if some of these ideas have made sense to you, what you want to see a full walkthrough of how we teach our customers and clients to study. Go to supefastcpa.com/training or just text PASSNOW to 44222 and a link will be sent to you where you can sign up for one of these upcoming training sessions. So hope you found this valuable, and until the next video…