The Right Frame of Mind: 6 Preparation Tips to Maximize Your Chances of Passing the CPA Exam

Are you trying to figure out how to pass the CPA exam? It’s a daunting task and one that all CPAs must face. These professionals can make upwards of $100,000 a year so the hard work pays off. Here are some tips on how to prepare for the exam.

Be in the Correct Mindset

Experts say it takes between 350-800 hours of studying to prepare. That’s a lot of time and you won’t be able to do a lot of other things. Make sure family and friends are onboard so they’ll be prepared for your absence. Further, you have to be ready to sacrifice free time. CPA Prep Courses are a must because you’ll learn about the exam content and what to study.

Stay Motivated

One CPA suggests writing down why you’re taking the exam. Keep this with you and take it out when you study. Indeed, you’ll need to find ways to stay motivated. Being part of a study group is very helpful. Like-minded people with the same goal keep each other motivated.

Avoid Distractions

Get rid of your cell phone when you’re studying. You’ll be tempted to answer it, no matter how strong you are. Put away all gaming systems so you won’t get lost in a game or two. Find a private place to study even if you have to leave home. Make sure your partner is prepared to be lonely if you’re in a relationship.

All About the Exam

The exam has four sections and it takes about 18 months to complete. Individuals need to find out the requirements to take the exam. For instance, each jurisdiction has specific candidate requirements. Candidates can apply in any state while taking the test in another state. Additionally, find out what’s on each section of the exam.

 Get a Mentor

It’s a good idea to talk to a CPA or two. Pick their brains and steal some tips. For instance, some CPAs will tell you how they studied. One blogger recommends making a study schedule and sticking to it. He followed a schedule that involved studying three hours after dinner each weeknight. Four hours were spent studying on Saturday morning. Finally, he took a study break on Sunday.

Studying the Sections

The FAR section is the longest part of the exam. FAR stands for Financial Accounting and Reporting. Test-takers face 90 multiple choice questions and 7 simulations. Candidates should study for 100-120 hours for this section. CPA Review Courses tell test-takers the main areas that will be tested. It’s best to use study time to focus on these areas.

The REG or Regulation section tests candidates’ knowledge of federal taxation and business law. This section features 72 multiple choice questions and 6 simulations. Experts say write down the facts you need to know and memorize them. Spend about 100 hours studying for REG.

The AUD section focuses on auditing. There are 90 multiple choice questions and 7 simulations. Spend 70-90 hours on this section. Many CPAs say the BEC or Business Environment and Concepts section is the easiest of the four. The section focuses on information about general business concepts. There are 72 multiple choice questions and 6 simulations.

The exam and studying will not be easy. However, test-takers need to do the work to prepare. A CPA prep course is a must along with having a quiet place to study. Pace yourself studying and do give yourself a break.

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