Updated: a day ago
This article outlines the top 5 tips and tricks to pass your CPA exam. You can also watch the informational video below on our YouTube channel.
1. Get through the textbook/subject content quickly & as early as possible
- In terms of how to study for your exam, this depends on how far away your final exam is:
a) If you are <1 month out from your exam, we recommend focusing 100% of your time on practicing MCQ and practice final exams – nothing else.
b) If you are > 1 month out from your exam, we recommend first studying the core content (i.e. notes) to get a strong foundational knowledge, but to get through this as quickly as possible so you can spend your time practicing MCQ. To this point, we recommend studying the notes instead of the textbook as the textbook is too thick, with too much unnecessary information and structure. The notes cut out the unnecessary content. Even better, you could watch our online exam prep courses videos, which summarise the core content in <10 videos.
2. Practice as many MCQ and practice final exams as possible
o Many students spend many hours in advance of their CPA exam reading the textbook in detail as their main form of practice to pass the final exam. Whilst understanding the core content of the textbook is important as a foundation, you should be doing this at beginning of the semester (or watching our textbook video explanations in our Exam Prep Courses) as a foundation for your learning only.
o Try to aim to read through and understand all of our practice MCQ and practice exams (this is 500+ questions). Once you have answered enough MCQs you will start see trends in questions, similar styles and similar approaches to answering. At the end of the day, this is how you will be getting your mark, so you should try to focus as much of your time on getting this perfect.
o It also gets you used to using the templates, notes (print out the notes and start putting a tab on every page that you have referred to already, that way you can quickly flick to that page).
o Keep a list of all MCQ that you don’t understand or are having trouble with, or get stuck on and lose time. Keep this list handy and practice these challenging questions over and over + ask your friends (or message us via the chat) if you need help understanding any. The more you practice these the quicker you will be.
3. Print out the MCQ list and bring to your exam
o We provide 100’s of MCQ questions wit
h answers and explanations, which are quite similar to what you can expect in your final CPA exam.
o By bringing the list into the exam, you are able to cross check the CPA exam question against the questions in our list. Most likely you will be able to find a similar question and answer to replicate. Printing out the MCQ by chapter will help, as you can find questions by topic this way.
4. Practice as many MCQ and practice final exams as possible
o Even if you know the answer to every question in the exam, if you don't have time to put an answer down, you won't get the marks for it. That's why time management is super important in a CPA exam. CPA exams are often tight for time. It's very easy to get stuck on a question, lose time and this can have a flow-on effect for the rest of your questions, losing you a lot of marks you didn't need to. To avoid this, there are 2 solutions.
I. First, practice MCQs under timed exam conditions. This will give you a sense of how long it actually takes to answer questions (hint: it's longer than you think, particularly when you are stressed) plus it helps you learn little tips and tricks in terms of when to move on, how to prioritize questions, operate faster, how to approach questions etc. It will also allow you to fail in a safe environment. It's much better you run out of time in a practice exam than it is in the real exam! You can use one of the several practice exams we provide in our notes packs to practice. You can get these here.
II. Secondly, set strict rules for yourself before you begin the exam. Calculate how much time you have for the exam and then calculate how many questions/marks there are in your exam. Next, calculate how much time you have for each question. Do not allow yourself to continue more than a minute over that time. If you get stuck on a question, leave it and move on. Do not ruin the rest of the exam paper because of a tricky question - you can always come back to it at the end and chances are others are also stuck on it!
5. Start Your Preparation Early
o Many students leave their exam preparation to the final 2 weeks before their exam. Whilst it is not the end of the world if this is the case - you can still pass your CPA exam if you concentrate your efforts on doing as many practice MCQ and/or watching our exam prep course - we strongly recommend starting your learning process as early as possible. You can even begin learning the textbook content before enrolment date - simply get started watching our videos in our online exam prep course on the core content. This will give you a headstart on other students and allow you to concentrate more time on practicing papers instead, which will give you an enormous advantage over other students. Pacing out your learning will also enable to you to better retain this information, which will also help you in your final exam.
o Overall, don't stress! The CPA exam is difficult but with the right preparation, resources and guidance, it is quite manageable. We have many useful resources on our site which you can draw from, including CPA notes + online exam prep courses, both of which you can try for free.
Overall, don't stress! The CPA exam is difficult but with the right preparation, resources and guidance, it is quite manageable. We have many useful resources on our site which you can draw from, including CPA notes + online exam prep courses, both of which you can try for free.
If you need further assistance, we offer 2 main products that may help you:
Good luck for your exams!