5 CPA Exam Tips for a Future Certified Public Accountant


Are you aspiring to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)? Passing the CPA Exam is a crucial step toward achieving your goal. Embarking on the journey to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is both challenging and rewarding. It's essential to have a solid strategy in place.

In this article, UC San Diego Extended Studies Accounting Program shares five invaluable tips to help you prepare and pass the CPA Exam.

  1. Understand the Exam Format and Content

    Before you start preparing for the CPA Exam, it’s important to get a high level of understanding of the format and content to guide your approach to studying. The CPA Evolution Exam, launched in 2024, now offers candidates more flexibility than the previous model.

    The new model is a core and disciplined licensure model. The exam is given in four sections: Auditing & Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) and Taxation & Regulation (REG). For the fourth section each candidate now gets the choice of one discipline section, Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC) and Tax, Compliance and Planning (TCP) in which to demonstrate further knowledge and skills. The AICPA and NASBA highly recommend that CPA candidates review the 2024 exam Blueprints, which are available to download, to familiarize themselves with the new format of the CPA exam.

  2. Create a Study Plan

    Crafting a solid study plan is essential for effective CPA exam preparation. This rigorous exam demands dedicated time, unwavering focus, and meticulous planning. To kickstart your preparation journey, begin by identifying the study style that best suits you. Whether it's visual aids, interactive resources, or traditional textbooks, choose the methods that resonate with your learning preferences. Allocate ample time for review sessions, practice exams, and preparation for the actual test day.

    Once you've determined your approach, map out a realistic timeline for tackling each section of the exam. Try to book your first exam promptly and finish within 12 months. Consider the 2024 test administration schedule and score release timelines to synchronize your study plan accordingly. Factor in your existing commitments, such as work, family obligations, or any significant life changes that could impact your schedule. Remember to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy balance between your study sessions and personal relationships. Incorporating scheduled breaks and leisure time will prevent burnout and foster a sustainable study routine.

  3. Utilize High-Quality Study Materials

    The quality of your study materials can significantly impact your preparation. Consider enrolling in a CPA Exam review course, such as the CPA Examination Review Course offered by UC San Diego Extended Studies. This course provides comprehensive study materials, including lectures, practice questions, and simulated exams, to help you prepare effectively. Additionally, make use of other resources such as textbooks, online forums, and study groups to enhance your preparation.

    As you gear up for the CPA Exam, explore a variety of study materials, both free and paid, to support your preparation. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers an array of resources, including complimentary tutorials, informative bulletins, and invaluable Exam Blueprints detailing exam content. Consider supplementing these resources with a CPA Exam review course like the 2024 UWorld CPA Review Elite-Unlimited Course, offered through UC San Diego Extended Studies. This comprehensive course equips you with a wealth of study materials, including a full CPA review curriculum, Task-based Simulations, Digital Flashcards, Spaced Repetition, and lectures by esteemed instructors such as Roger Philipp & Peter Olinto. With unlimited access until you pass, this course ensures you have ample time to thoroughly prepare.

  4. Stay Consistent - Practice, Practice, Practice

    Staying consistent and practicing is key to mastering the concepts tested on the CPA Exam. Allocate a significant portion of your study time to practice questions and simulated exams. Work on timing and planning out exactly how many minutes you spend on each section before moving ahead. Be diligent with your study routine, whether it's nightly after-work sessions or another routine that suits you best, maintain diligence in your study habits. This will not only help you understand the concepts better but also improve your time management skills, which are crucial for the exam.

    Focus on areas where you feel less confident and review them thoroughly. Take the practice exams and understand why you got questions wrong. Another tactic is to complete a first pass through all of the chapters well before the exam. Identify patterns, review practice simulations, and avoid cramming.

    Taking a vacation around exam time can also help you stay energized and refreshed for the test day.

  5. Stay Consistent - Manage Stress and Fight Off Exam Nerves

    Consistency is key when preparing for the CPA Exam. Stick to your study plan and avoid procrastination. However, it's also important to take breaks and manage stress effectively. Engage in activities that help you relax and rejuvenate, such as exercising, meditating, or spending time with loved ones. A well-balanced approach to studying will help you maintain focus and perform better on the exam.

    Navigating the CPA Evolution Exam can be a daunting task, but it's essential to manage stress and combat exam nerves effectively. As you prepare for this comprehensive assessment, it's natural to experience feelings of anxiety and pressure. However, incorporating stress-management techniques into your study routine can help alleviate these concerns and optimize your performance on exam day. Take proactive steps to prioritize self-care, such as practicing mindfulness, engaging in regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

    While the study period may necessitate temporary detachment from social circles, maintaining relationships is crucial. Build a support network, pace yourself, and prioritize breaks to prevent burnout.

    Establishing a consistent study schedule and setting realistic goals can also reduce stress and enhance your sense of control over the exam process. Remember to focus on the progress you've made rather than fixating on perceived shortcomings and remind yourself that feeling nervous is normal.

    By adopting a positive mindset and implementing stress-relief strategies, you'll be better equipped to tackle the CPA Evolution Exam with confidence and composure.

The Bottom Line: CPA Exam Success is Within Reach

Preparing for the CPA Exam requires dedication, discipline, and effective strategies. You can set yourself up for success by understanding the exam’s structure, first and foremost. From there, when you establish timelines and habits to enable consistent practice with high-quality study aids and tactics to manage your stress, you can enhance your chances of passing the exam and becoming a Certified Public Accountant.

The UC San Diego Extended Studies Accounting program recommends a CPA examination review program as being a huge help in the process. UC San Diego Extended Studies offers students taking accounting courses a special rate for the CPA Review Course.

To learn more, view the Accounting Professional Certificate.

Posted: 4/5/2024 8:00:00 AM with 0 comments

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