Ah, the life of a CPA – a higher salary; greater chances to grow and advance; enhanced credibility; and increased job flexibility and mobility. The motivation is definitely there to pursue a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. Actually passing the exam can be a difficult proposition, however. That’s why we have compiled the following tips to help you prepare for – and successfully take – the CPA exam.
1. Enroll in a Review Course – Many CPAs credit a review course for preparing them to pass the exam. Some vendors that offer such courses claim their students pass at twice the rate of those who don’t participate in review courses. Whether the actual number is really that high remains to be seen. Suffice it to say that enrolling in a formal course of review can be highly beneficial as you prepare for one of the most important tests of your professional career. If you haven’t a clue which course to choose, ask your CPA friends which courses they found helpful and which ones you needn’t bother taking.
2. Set a Study Schedule – Chances are you will be working full-time will preparing to take the CPA exam. You might have a family and other obligations, too. That means you are going to have to schedule specific times for study so you don’t neglect to put in the hours necessary to pass the exam. (Unlike those college exams, late night cramming will not work.) Consider what time of year it will be easier for you to dedicate sufficient study time. If you have children, summer might be difficult, as they are likely to be home far more often. Finding time for hours of concentrated study may be tough when kids are running through the house or begging you to take them to the pool. If possible, arrange to take some time off work just prior to the exam for some last minute non-rushed review.
3. Take Advantage of Snippets of Time – Technology has made it easier than ever to make good use of previously wasted time. Instead of burying your nose in the latest best-seller, take advantage of time on the bus or subway or in your doctor’s waiting room to review the relevant materials. You’d be surprised how much an extra 15 minutes here and there will enhance your comfort level with the subject at hand.
4. Practice Healthy Habits – Adequate sleep, healthy eating, and exercise are important at any time. At no time are they more critical than when you are preparing for an important, stressful event, like taking the CPA exam. That doesn’t mean you can keep late hours up until the night before the big test and then try to cram in eight hours, however. You must start several weeks before the exam. Practice good sleep hygiene by turning off electronic devices, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening hours, and cultivating a cool, dark, sleep-inducing environment. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. Drink a minimum eight glasses of water each day. And get moving! There’s nothing better for your brain than to get the blood flowing.
Whether you have already earned your CPA or have plans to do so in the future, we can help with your financial job search. Contact Daley and Associates. We offer superior recruiting and placement results, specializing in auditing and financial placement.