I got asked this question in an email recently (see below), and decided to give the long version of the answer.
Table of Contents
Why the CPA Study Process is Much Harder Than College
A full review course is kind of a double-edged sword because, on one hand, they provide all the information you need to pass, but then the big issue is that people become extremely overwhelmed with the amount of material in their review course, and just how to form a strategic approach. The study process quickly becomes a lot harder than people think it’s going to be.
The CPA exams are harder than any college class you had, and you’re doing them in this self-study format. And the idea of: watch the video lecture, read the chapter, do the practice questions, AKA the “normal approach” or the “normal way of studying” that I always talk about, obviously leads to the 50% fail rates.
So that only works for roughly half the people out there. And that’s not even accounting for the people that end up failing over and over, do that for a few years, and eventually give up on the CPA exams.
The SuperfastCPA PRO Course: How to Study Like a Pro
So, we have two core products. We have our pro course, which teaches you our strategic approach to every aspect of the study process.
So that’s the PRO course. It is a course on how to study optimally, or how to approach every aspect of the study process optimally so that you have a highly efficient and highly effective study process. So you primarily take the strategies in the pro course, and you will apply those strategies to your main review course materials for your main study sessions.
PRO Study Strategies = 2 Hours/Day with Your Review Course
The big claim with our study approach is that when you are following the strategies in the pro course, you only need to spend two hours a day with your main review course. Versus the four to six hours a day that’s typically recommended if you were to put your test dates into your study planner in your review core software. And it’s, you know, in a reasonable time period, it’s like six to eight weeks per section. It will spit out that you need to study four to six, maybe even eight hours a day to get through the lessons. So, with our strategies applied to your main review course, you really can get through in two hours, the same amount of material that somebody studying the normal way it can get through in four to six, maybe even eight hours.
And without getting into all the specifics of the strategies, that’s our big claim, that’s exactly what I did when I studied for and passed the CPA exams. And now, you know, we have hundreds, if not thousands of examples and success stories from people who have taken those same strategies and done that exact same thing. Now, talking about the timeframe. Where I passed the four exams in three months. And I was only spending two hours a day with my main review course. I’m not trying to tell everyone that: “You should set a goal and try to pass in three months.”
The Difference When You Know Your Process Is Working
That’s not really the idea, it’s not really about the timeframe. It’s about having a strategic study approach that is highly efficient and highly effective. So that 1) the study process doesn’t have to take over your entire life, in fact, you can take the evenings completely off when you nail our process, even if you’re working. I mean, especially if you’re working full time. Again, I was working full-time when I passed these exams, and I was only spending two hours a day studying in the mornings. So again #1 being that the study process doesn’t have to take over your entire life and 2), it leads to passing scores on test day.
Because whether you’re spending two hours a day studying or eight hours a day studying, if you fail the exams on test day, you’re just wasting your time, I mean, it doesn’t matter how much you studied, if you fail on test day.
So the timeframe aspect or getting done with the four exams faster than normal, that’s simply a by-product of your study process being highly effective and highly efficient. All right. Now I really, I don’t want to brag or sound like I’m tooting my own horn too much. But again, in the frame of this question, why would I choose your study tools or your study approach versus somebody else who, you know, has a course on how to study?
Pass Studying 2hrs/Day, AND Take the Evenings Off?
So, first of all, I did exactly what I claim to be able to teach someone else, which is how to pass your CPA exams without it being a miserable process. You only need to spend two hours a day with your main review course, because I did that exact thing. And the second part again, the timeframe I did that while working full-time, passed all four in one, three month period.
CPA “Mentor”? Look At Their Backstory
So when you’re choosing someone’s advice to follow on how to study, a big thing I would say is, to look at their backstory. If their backstory with the exams is that they failed the exams a bunch of times, and eventually passed just because they took the exams 20 times, I mean, I’m a big advocate of never giving up, so that part is admirable, but do they have a really unique insight into the study process if they had to take the exams 50 times to pass?
So I would just say, look into someone’s backstory that’s trying to tell you how to study, especially if they’re selling a course on it.
Now let’s get into the actual reasons. The thing that I like talking about a lot is the big three problems.
The “Big 3” Obstacles to Passing the CPA Exams
Every CPA candidate will struggle with one or more of these 3 obstacles at some point in the study process:
- Finding the time to study and/or sticking to a consistent study routine
- How to study: what is your actual process for effectively moving through lessons quickly?
- Retention: How do you remember everything you’ve studied over weeks/months by the time you get to test day?
Every struggle with the CPA study process will come down to one of these three issues, and a lot of people struggle with all three at some point. But typically, one of these is a major issue for every CPA candidate in some form.
Obstacle #1: Finding the Time to Study
So the big three problems are number one, finding the time to study or sticking to a study routine consistently.
Obstacle #2: Overwhelm and “How to Study” Efficiently
Number two is just how to study, your actual study methods. Your review course is a literal library of information, and there are a million wrong ways or a million ineffective ways of getting through all that information. How do you deal with multiple-choice questions strategically? How do you deal with video lectures strategically?
How do you effectively learn the most tested parts of each topic strategically, in a short enough amount of time that you don’t forget it all? And then trying to not forget it all as a whole other aspect. In fact, that’s problem number three.
Obstacle #3: Retention and Forgetting What You’ve Studied
So problem number three is retention. How to get through again on, on FAR for example, it covers over 200 topics. How do you get through 200 dense, technical topics, and not forget half the stuff you studied a month ago? So finding the time to study, your actual study process, like how do you study? Is it effective? Is it going to translate into a passing score? And then number three is retention.
So let’s say you find the time to study. You’re disciplined, you’re putting in four hours a day or whatever it is. You’re just kind of doing the normal approach or whatever your process is, you have the first two things nailed as far as, you know. And you spend eight weeks studying for a section, and you get to your final review and you’re like, wow, I’m basically trying to relearn everything over a week or two, and then you’re frazzled, you’re freaked out again. You have all this anxiety going into the exam.
And you start seeing questions, it’s asking about really specific parts of, you know, any of these given 200 lessons, and you just can’t pull the specific piece of information out of your mind. So that’s a very common experience on test day. So finding the time to study, your actual study methods, and retention.
SuperfastCPA Directly Solves the “Big 3” Obstacles
So our study process and our study tools directly overcome those three things. Again, going back to my own story. I did fail my first attempt. So I did fail one exam, I failed FAR once. And that was after studying for two months, seven to eight hours a day, the normal way. I had the summer between my master’s program and when I started my first public accounting job.
And I just studied the normal way, cause I didn’t know any better. So I ground through video lectures, read chapters, did the practice questions… just the standard approach. Essentially trying to memorize everything in the whole review course. Seven to eight hours a day for two months, and still got a failing score.
So, when I got into the exam that first time and saw FAR in person, that is when the realization about retention hit me, and then I had several ideas for how I would study differently. And I immediately recognized that these were the three big problems; Finding the time to study, not knowing how to study efficiently or effectively, and then retention.
Time Issue Solution: 2hr Morning Session + “Mini Sessions”
So starting with finding the time to study or sticking with a consistent study routine, and I will just walk through how our approach solves this. So finding the time to study. Instead of trying to study four to six hours a day, with our approach, again, our big claim is, you only need to spend two hours with your review course each day, when you’re following our study strategies.
Because they are highly effective, highly efficient, you cut out a ton of wasted time, and if you’ve watched one of our free trainings, or you’re a customer, and you’ve watched our pro videos, it’s very clear why that is.
It’s a very common sense shortcut. You’re cutting out all the fluff, the big things that most people spend most of their study time on that are very ineffective, without getting into all that. So you’re, you’re going straight to what matters, in these two-hour sessions, is the bottom line. You do these two hours in the morning.
So again, two hours is twice as easy as trying to find four hours a day to study. That’s obvious, there’s no, you can’t really argue against that idea. So assuming that our strategies are as effective as we say, they are, the two hours in the morning, it’s twice as easy to maintain consistency, and just nail the two hours. And you do that in the morning, it’s a huge mental relief, because you’re done with your big ugly task for the day.
You can then go to work stress-free. I mean, at least as far as the CPA study is concerned. You don’t have this thing weighing on your mind, that, you know later that night after you’re already tired and you just want to go to sleep, you have to try to prop yourself up and study for four hours after work in the evenings. You avoid that whole vicious cycle.
Take Advantage of 3-5 Minute “Gaps in Your Day, AKA “Mini-Sessions”
Two hours in the morning, and then you do mini sessions throughout the day with our study tools.
So the idea of the mini sessions is very simple: instead of your favorite time-waster apps or social media in all the little gaps in your day, and, you know, you get these screen time reports each week that prove, no matter how busy you feel like you are, our modern lives are extremely busy.
But, when you consider the little two to three-minute chunks that you look at your phone a hundred times a day, it’s surprising to see how much that adds up to when you see that screen time report. So, what I’m talking about is everyone has a phone, they carry it around and they look at it a hundred times a day. Everyone does that.
So you take advantage of that time so that you don’t have to find four to six hours of dedicated study time. You use our study tools all throughout your day, you switch out your favorite time-waster apps or social media, uh, music and podcasts for a few months, while you get these CPA exams over with, and you instead listened to our audio notes, whenever you’re in your car, or when you’re working out, going on walks, whatever.
You read our review notes and take quizzes on our app instead of again, your favorite little time-waster apps. And our study tools, are such, they were designed with this idea in mind. So they all work nicely, very simple, they work right inside the app. You just pull out the app and in two taps, you’re either reading the review notes or taking a mini quiz.
Take the Evenings Off, Take a Mental Break to Recharge & Relax
So, you’re fitting in another one to two to three hours just as you go about your normal day. So the second big claim that we make is you get to take the evenings off so that you can do the things you like doing in the evenings. You get a sense of getting your life back before you even pass the exams.
And it just makes this a lot easier mentally, and emotionally, I mean, whatever you want to call it, it makes this process much less stressful to just study for two hours in the morning with your review course, do the little mini-sessions throughout your day, and then you’re done studying by the time you’re done with work each day.
So that is a huge benefit and that wouldn’t matter at all if it wasn’t working. Right? Studying less each day sounds great, but if you fail on test day, it was still a huge waste of time. But the fact is, this format does happen to work extremely well, it’s extremely effective. Again, I would just refer back to all the success stories we have in our, you know, 75 interviews we have with our past customers.
All right so, that is the “finding the time to study” issue or sticking to your routine. It’s way easier to only need to find two hours a day to study. That’s basically the bottom line, assuming our strategies actually work, and of course, they do. And you’ll figure that out once you get into our PRO course and watch the videos; you’ll have many “aha moments”.
And you’ll just think that the thing I hear in emails constantly is, “I just can’t believe I’ve never heard this, or I I’ve never thought of this”, when you see the strategies and how they work. All right. So that’s the first issue, finding the time to study.
The “How to Study” Issue Solution: The PRO Course Strategies
The second issue is: how to study? So that is how you spend that two hours in the morning, and that is what our PRO course covers in detail.
So how to study, that’s the entire point of our PRO course. It teaches you how to make sure you’re not just wasting your time when you sit down to study. You go straight to what’s important, you learn how to dissect lessons. That’s a term I like to use because that’s really what it’s like. The full video lecture for any given lesson is bloated and has way more information than it’s actually going to turn into on test day, in question format. And so you learn how to use your review course strategically.
How to figure out, okay, from this lesson, I know because of this, these are the things that I really need to know how to do, and these are the types of questions I need to know how to answer. And this is how I, you know, deconstruct this simulation and break it into pieces. Anyways. That’s all covered in the PRO course. So that’s number two.
And then number three is retention. So again, as part of our overall study strategy, a portion of your study time each day, is dedicated to ongoing re-review. Whenever I point this out to someone, it’s one of those aha moments where they’re like, “That makes so much sense, it’s almost infuriating that I’ve never thought of this before”.
So, it does not make any sense, again, the normal way of studying, you go through lesson by lesson, one at a time, but then you don’t look back at anything. And again, for FAR, for example, you’re covering over 200 topics. And for the most part, every topic, every lesson, is dense, technical information.
It’s hard to understand and assimilate and put it together and remember it in your head. And then you go through it and then you go to the next lesson, each day, you’re refilling your short-term memory with a bunch of new information. So a big portion of the previous day’s information gets pushed out. And you don’t look back at any of the stuff you’ve studied previously, and you go through a six to eight week study period, and I mean, some people study for like three months, three to four months per section, which that alone is a huge mistake, but I won’t do a tirade on that. Anyways, you’re like six to eight weeks removed from the stuff you studied in the beginning, and then you try to relearn 200 topics in a one to two-week final review.
Mastering a Topic Is Useless If You End Up Forgetting It
That approach does not make any sense. It obviously makes way more sense to dedicate a portion of each day of your study time each day, to ongoing re-review, to constantly be going back and re hitting the key parts of previous topics, all the previous topics you’ve been through, over and over and over, so that you’re improving your retention and understanding of all the topics in layers.
That clearly works better from just a long-term memory point of view. It’s way more time-efficient. Because let’s say that, on a really difficult lesson, you spend eight hours mastering this topic, and then you go six to eight weeks and you haven’t looked back at it and you, for the most part, forget most of that really difficult lesson?
All that means is you wasted that eight hours, right? So it’s much more time-efficient to learn all the topics in layers, as you go, not trying to master each lesson once and then not look back at it for six weeks, forget it all, which means that you wasted all that time you spent mastering it that one day, six weeks ago.
Right? That doesn’t make any sense. So, our process again, and this is part of the pro videos, it teaches you how to do this and our study tools, are set up to be this way.
Benefits of the SuperfastCPA Review Notes
So our review notes, they’re easy to understand, easy to read. They are not written in “accounting-professor-speak”, and I get, I’ll call it a compliment, I get that comment a lot.
People like that they’re written in plain language, just easy-to-understand language. They’re based on thousands of exam questions. They’re not just bullet point reminders, and at the same time, they are substantial enough to help you learn the 80/20 of topics that you haven’t even studied before. Whereas other review notes or focus notes, they’re so summarized that they don’t make sense, they’re not helpful, if you don’t already know the topic. They’re like a nice reminder, but they’re not substantial enough to actually help you learn a new topic or learn the basics of a new topic.
Our review notes, in my opinion, strike the perfect balance between these like summarized really short notes and then the full-on textbook.
So the big key with our study tools, going back to the idea of ongoing re-review, is that they are short enough that you can read the full notes for a section over several hours, like two to three to four hours. So translated to the idea of mini sessions, where those little mini sessions add up to one to two hours a day, which means that you’re getting through the entire section of our review notes every three to four days. And that is the idea. That you want to get through the key points of the material, dozens of times as you go through your study window, whether it’s five weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, whatever. You just want to keep grinding through the key points of every topic over and over and over and over.
Constant repeat exposure to all topics is how you get passing scores quickly on the CPA exams. And our study tools are just directly set up and created to accomplish that in a very short amount of time.
Benefits of the SuperfastCPA Audio Notes
So then the audio notes are the same way. Obviously, they’re the audio version of the notes, so it has the same benefits, but the big benefit with audio is that you can be listening to the review notes while you’re doing other things. So that’s a huge distinction and, again, if you listen to a lot of the interviews on our podcast with our previous customers, that’s a huge thing that people point out. And again, that’s just, that’s obvious, right? You can be driving to work or driving wherever you’re going and be listening to the audios.
You can have headphones in, and be preparing your meals in the morning or at night, or, you know, whatever, or you’re working out, you can be listening to audios and just grinding through the section over and over and over as you do all these normal things that, you have to do anyways each day.
Benefits of the SuperfastCPA Mini-Quizzes
Then our mini-quizzes are the third study tool. And the idea with these is that you just alternate between taking quizzes on the app or reading the review notes in all these little gaps in your day, whenever you would normally pull out your phone and text your friends or look at Reddit or again, whatever the little time-wasters that you do with your phone all throughout the day, for a few months to get these exams over with once and for all, you switch that out for taking quizzes on our app and reading the review notes. So you just work your way through the review notes over and over and over. And you just want to do a 50/50 split when you would pull out your phone and look at it between our mini-quizzes and the review notes.
Use All 3 Study Tools Every Day, Dramatically Improve Your Retention
So doing all three each day: audio note sessions, mini quiz sessions, and reading the review notes sessions. There is just some synergy between using the three study tools altogether and having sessions of each one each day. Compared to mostly just using one.
So that is how our study tools help you accomplish the idea of ongoing constant repeat exposure of all topics, or re-review. So it just makes it easy to fit it into your normal day.
Back to the three big problems, finding the time to study, that is solved with our overall study approach of two hours in the morning, following the PRO course strategies, and doing the mini-sessions throughout the day, so that you’re done by the time you’re done with work. You don’t have to think about studying or work in the evenings, you take a complete mental break and that will just enable you to not burn out as you go through this process. And it makes it obviously way less miserable. If your life is purely: go to work, study (or pretend to study while you feel miserable and tired at night), and then you sleep, get up the next day and do the same thing for months on end, and then especially if that’s not even working and you’re failing sections, life gets miserable pretty quickly.
So with this approach, two hours in the morning, follow our study strategies. You do the mini sessions throughout the day. You’re done studying by the time you’re done with work.
“Using this approach, you’re done studying by the time you’re done with work, AND it’s working better…”
And then on the weekends, you do want to study a little longer, four to six hours. That’s covered in the pro course as well, like how to optimally study on the weekends, like how do you use your weekend time, the best. And again, if you nail that in the morning on Saturday and Sunday, you’re done studying by noon, you go off and do whatever you want to do the rest of the day.
Big issue number two, the study methods, that is all covered in the PRO course in detail, every single aspect of the study process, how to do it correctly, so that you’re not wasting your time when you do study.
And so that the time you do spend turns into passing scores on test day. And then number three is the retention component, and our study tools help you solve that.
Also, the last half hour of the two-hour session, is another re-review method or an exercise, and that’s covered in the PRO course. So you put all that together, you are learning the material in layers so that you’re not forgetting huge portions of all this stuff you’re studying.
You have sky-high retention and understanding on test day, you have a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts that enables you to do better on the SIMs. And again, the SIMs strategies, that’s covered in the PRO course.
This stuff works, that’s all I can say. We have my own story to back that up, but more importantly, hundreds, if not thousands of other stories to back up that this process works, and the big thing is that it works while making your daily life much easier and much less stressful.
Why SuperfastCPA Is a Better Value Than Other Supplements
- Unlimited access for as long as you need it
- Free updates for as long as you need
- No never-ending subscriptions. Pay once and keep access & free updates forever
- No unhelpful “file dumps” that you have to figure out: the study tools work right inside the app
- All study tools are optimized for “on-the-go” studying so you can rack up study time and exposure as you go about your normal day
Just a few things on the value compared to other study supplements. So first, you get lifetime access, what I mean by that is you pay once. So you pay once for our bundle or individual study tools, and you will keep access for as long as you need it. That’s compared to what you’re starting to see is like a subscription model, meaning a never-ending subscription.
You pay, you know, a smaller amount each month, but that never ends. You have to keep paying that monthly fee to have access to whatever it is you’re using. And, the big downside with that is that you might have a “life happens”, type situation in the middle of your CPA study process, and you either choose to keep paying that monthly fee, or even if you’ve already paid $500 worth, you lose access as soon as you stop paying the monthly subscription.
So with our study tools or our products you pay once, you get lifetime access, and we routinely have people that did have a life event type thing, and they come back two years later and they’re like, “Hey, I can’t even remember my login info,” so we get them back into their account, so lifetime access when you pay once. And then you have free access to all current materials. So in other words, free updates for again, as long as you need it.
So again with other study tool products you might see, if they do offer one time payments, it’s typically for a version. So like the year, so the 2022 FAR review notes or whatever. And again, if you don’t pass in 2022 and you need the 2023 version, you’d have to repurchase that version.
With our products, you do not have to do that. You get free access for as long as you need it and free updates.
So another big thing is the usability of our study tools. So again, with other providers, you just get access to this big file dump and you have to figure out how to get these PDFs and audio files onto your phone. And even then you have to like pinch and zoom.
And we have made everything, we’ve put a lot of money into making everything work seamlessly and very simply right inside of our companion app. That’s for Android and iPhone. So you get access to the actual source files if you want those. But then also everything works right inside the app.
We have made the app incredibly simple, because again, if you’re trying to take advantage of these little three to five minute windows all throughout your day, what you will find with the app that came with your review course, is that there’s a million options, I mean, it’s like a review course in an app which presents its own set of problems, and it’s just not feasible to use it in a little three or five minute chunk as you’re walking down the hallway in your office building, or the last five minutes of your lunch break or whatever it is.
And then it literally is two or three taps to be listening to an audio track or reading the review notes or taking the quiz on our app. It’s just dead simple, we made it incredibly simple on purpose for the usability factor so that you will actually use it, and it’s easy to make it a habit to when you pull out your phone, before you read that text from a friend, you just force yourself to take a mini quiz really quick.
All right, so back to the original question, Kevin, that was a long rant to answer your question. I believe I beat your question to death. So hopefully that answered it for you.
Give our tools & strategies a try, and make sure to email me when you pass!