Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to prepping up for your CPA Licensure Exam. In this section, we’ve listed the ultimate tips you need to know before and during the examination. Read on.
Ultimate Tip No.1: Know Your ‘Enemy’
This is the classic tactic that most students tend to forget when taking a ‘make or break’ examination. You have to understand that taking exams and passing them is not always about studying everything, it’s a combination of studying the most important concepts and being strategic about it. If you want to pass, you should know what you’ll be tested on, what kinds of questions you’ll face, and what your limitations are (your strengths, weaknesses, time limit etc.). In short, you have to know “the game” and “the player.” Examiners will not just test your memorization or analytical abilities; you’ll be tested on how you will apply the concepts in real business circumstances. The usual format of the exam is this:
- Multiple Choice
- Task – Based Simulation Questions (FAR, AUD, REG exams)
- Written Communication Tests/ Business Application Tests (BEC exams)
Ultimate Tip No.2: Maximize your time in Review Centers
Now that you have an idea on how to approach the test and have formed a strategy on how to face this challenge, the next thing you need is to sharpen your knowledge and skills through learning everything you can in review centers (if you are enrolled in one). Some students don’t enroll in review centers for their CPA exams, but this is highly recommended because it’ll give you a more in – depth knowhow when taking the exam. They’ll also teach you on how to navigate the interface online since most CPA exams are now being given online. Review centers will serve as your training ground before the exam.
Ultimate Tip No.3: Test Yourself and Learn from Your Mistakes
There are now lots of online resources available that can help you prepare for this big test. You never know exactly what kind of questions, style, and exam format you’re going to be facing or whether or not it will be subjective, objective, computational or theoretical. The best way is to study each type through the help of test prep software or other similar study tools. The more exposed you are, the better your chances of passing the exam. You need to take each question seriously as if it’s already the real exam. Pay attention to the question types, the format, the pattern, and the right answers to the questions you got wrong. This is the most critical part of your review, it’s better that you fail in the practice tests (and learn from it) than failing in the real one. This is also an advantage for you because you’ll be able to plan and strategize how you’re going to maximize your time when answering, and how you can score more points despite of your mistakes.
Ultimate Tip No.4: Make Time Your Ally
It doesn’t matter how much you know or how well you’ve study or strategize, if you don’t know how to use the allotted time wisely for each exam type, you’re doom to fail.
Time management is perhaps the most important key if you want to pass the exam. Your strategy and your knowledge about the format of the exam should all play out within the allotted time frame. This is where pressure also comes in, so make sure that you know how to handle it, and handle it with grace and with precision. Know how to allocate your time; know how to make time your ally because this is your key in passing. Here’s my suggested time allocation for each exam type:
- FAR Exam (4 hour exam): This is one of the hardest tests in the CPA Exam. Allocate only 45 minutes for the 3 testlets and the 2 simulation tests giving you a 15 minute spare time to review your answers (adjust accordingly).
- AUD Exam (4 hour exam): This is a relatively easier test than the FAR exam and most don’t need to consume the 4 hours to finish the test. Nevertheless, stick to your schedule and have enough time to spare for a review.
- BEC Exam (3 hour exam): Most takers find the time given to be just right. Again, stick to your time allotment for each test and have enough time to spare. This is where the written communication part and practical questions come in.
- REG Exam (3 hour exam): Most takers don’t complete the REG part so make sure to allot enough time for each testlet. You can allocate 30 minutes for each simulation test so that you can have 15 minutes to spare.
Ultimate Tip No.5: Keep Calm and Become a CPA
Learn to relax! Learn to have time for study and for other things that will help you absorb what you’ve learned. Don’t stress yourself too much. Don’t be too invested in becoming a CPA, don’t be obsessed with it. Sure, you have to take it seriously, prepare as much as you can, and work hard to pass the exam, but at the end of the day you just have to put your best foot forward, and trust that if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. After all if you don’t make it the first time, you can still retake the exam, you’ll be better and wiser this time. And if by any chance you really don’t make it (just in case), you’re going to be fine! Consider it a learning opportunity. There’s liberty in just doing things because you simply want to do them, and not because you have to. If you have that kind of mindset, you’ll be fully prepared to crush the exams!