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How To Prepare For CPA Examination

Updated on July 1, 2012

CPA reviews are some of the most stressful and demanding times for accounts students. The atmosphere right before the reviews is usually one that is highly tensed and stressful for students. Many people feel that they may not have acquired as much knowledge as they need to pass the reviews. The curriculum tested in the CPA reviews is quite wide and often difficult to master for the students. The popularity of long distance and online training is also affecting the preparation skills for the reviews. It has often been agreed that even though long distance and online training is convenient for those who work, or are involved with other schedules that would be interfered by class, nothing can replace the classroom atmosphere. Most of the long distance and online students put off preparing for the reviews until the last minute when they find they have too much to do and in such a short time.

Even for those in classrooms, the syllabus may be taught in such a rush that the students barely understand and internalize what the teachers have taught before they are examined. In either case, the most important and valuable tool for the CPA students, is well planned and proper preparation. Proper preparation ensures that the students gain the confidence and master the subjects in a manner that allows them to tackle the CPA reviews successfully and keeps them on the right track with regard to the careers they wish to pursue. Hurried and improper preparation often leads to a waste of resources and time for the students and in many cases ends up in failure.

It is important to ensure that you build on your strengths before you begin to work on your weak areas. For every student there are those areas that you feel you are competent and confident enough to handle. Ensure that you allocate time to test your skills in these areas. This is simply because severally, students allocate a lot of time to work on their weak areas and completely forget their strong areas until the last minute. The result is that most of the times you find you have lost points where you should have garnered all the points. Remember that the review gives you an entire choice of the questions you wish to handle. When you have made your strong areas even more stronger, you find that you get more points and can choose topics easily. Where you feel you can get high points, work on these issues and build these areas.

There are plenty of review papers available online and even at the libraries. Take the time to do as many practice reviews as you can. Remember that most of the questions set in the CPA reviews are actually a repeat of other questions. When doing past questions you get to understand the basic requirements of each subject and paper. With past reviews you also have the answer available, which makes it easy to trace your errors and understand what the examiner requires in order for you to earn high points. There are times when as you continue to do the practice reviews and CPA exams, you realize small errors that you may have ignored and that could have cost you highly. Therefore join with friends and other classmates to discuss the past reviews, this way you can go through more papers than if you attempt this alone. In discussions, you are able to get more ideas in a short time than when you pursue the entire preparation y yourself. As you complete more and more past reviews, you realize that your confidence increases and you are able to tackle the questions with much more ease.


Many students leave the revision to the last days, and as such they are unable to complete the entire revision on time. It is important to formulate a legitimate plan that covers all the topics you will be attempting during the review and allocate ample time to each. This includes all the topics that you feel you are already competent in. a proper plan gives you enough time for revision and still some extra time to cover topics that you may not be entirely confident in. since the exams are usually in set months that is may and December, preparing a study plan is quite easy. Take into consideration your normal timetable for the day and include some hours for proper rest and rejuvenation. If you leave studying to the last days, one often finds that they have no time for proper rest and you may end up with stress and even inability to concentrate on subjects when you need it most.

It is important for all students to understand the rules and regulations of the reviews properly and integrate them. There are some students who have found themselves disqualified from exams for using the wrong instruments or arriving late. Visit the venue of your review before the date in order to familiarize yourself with the place. Ensure that you put aside all the instruments you require for the review including pens and calculators. This ensures that you do not forget anything of importance, a situation that could result in panic and hence loss of confidence and in some cases total failure.

Although CPA reviews are known to be tough and have developed a reputation among students, it is important to note that they can be conquered. With the proper preparation, you will realize that the exam becomes much simpler and easier to complete. As much as it is important to put in hours of study, it is also important to rest properly. Therefore take the time to relax, pick up a hobby and clear you mind to make the information flow easier. Stress and tension lead to lack of concentration and affect your memory making it hard to remember things you have read.


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