CPA Exam Strategy: Part 1 of 3.

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This is the first of a 3 part series with some brief, specific strategies of folks who have passed the CPA exam. My story is up first; I hope it helps!

Personally I didn’t have a ton of confidence in my accounting test taking. My grades were never the best, and I usually relied on homework and projects to offset my struggles on accounting tests. I was an essay test guy who always did well in history classes naturally. I knew I had to pass all 4 parts within 18 months, but at the same time I knew I needed to get some momentum to build confidence. I figured the best plan was to “over study” for each part in hopes of only having to take it once, even if that meant a tight squeeze fitting them all in. I used Becker and pretty much did everything the program said to do. 

I scheduled the one I figured I had the best chance of passing first to build momentum and confidence. I took BEC first and studied about 3 months for it. I did about an hour or so each night after work and about 4 hours each weekend. This kept the pace manageable and steady, rather than concentrated and voluminous per sitting. I then used a week of that Big 4 generous PTO package and locked myself in the library studying all day as if it was college finals time. I took the exam that Friday. Once I got my score back, I saw that strategy had worked so I repeated it.

Taking such a big chunk time between each part increased the time I studied which increased my odds of passing each part, but the risk is that if I hadn’t passed my last part when I did, I would have only had a small window to reschedule it before BEC expired. I didn’t fail any because I engaged such intense preparation and actually got my highest score on REG, which is the one I knew the least being an auditor- again this was due to over studying.

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