When you prepare for the AICPA CPA exam, you want results. Over the next few weeks, I want to share what I learned about preparing and passing the exam.
The first thing you need to consider is how your CPA test preparation is going to fit into your life. Whether you take a review class or study on your own (I will explore that particular decision later), you will need a couple hours of study time on a daily or almost daily basis. Devoting long hours to study, only 1-2 days a week, is simply not effective.
Due to the complexity and denseness of the material that has to be consumed and understood, more frequent study sessions of 2-3 hours each works MUCH better. So the question remains – can you fit 6-12 months of this CPA exam prep time into your schedule?
The best piece of advice I got before beginning my exam preparation was from Debra Hopkins, Director – CPA Review at Northern Illinois University. She spoke at my college when I was finishing my Accounting coursework. While mentioning the time commitment required to prepare for the CPA exam, she said that you aren’t the only one preparing to take the test – your whole family is. Your study schedule affects everyone you live with, so you need to sit down with your family and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding your schedule while you prepare for the exam. Without the support of your spouse, significant other, kids, and/or parents, you won’t have the peace of mind or the peaceful environment you need.
I had a family meeting and laid out my study plan, complete with how much time I would need each day and how long the entire process would take, which gave my wife an opportunity to voice any concerns or suggest any changes that would make the following months’ schedule work for both of us.
I suggest reading Debra Hopkins’ book, “You Can Pass the CPA Exam: Get Motivated”, as early in your planning stage as possible. It is easy to read and full of helpful hints and inspiration to get you pumped up to pass the CPA exam.
Next time: State specific requirements, applications, scheduling strategies, and the ever-changing content of the CPA Exam.